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Huawei: Enemy of the US?

Huawei has had a hell of a year. From toppling the smartphone giants Apple’s iPhone in terms of sales to the several US government-related controversies, it’s certainly not been a dull period for the Chinese tech giants. It should come as no surprise that much of Huawei’s history is marred in many such controversies. However, you may be surprised how many of the controversies throughout the years remained unchanged. Here, we look at a few controversies the company has gone through in just this calendar year. The list will be listing these controversies from the oldest of the year to the newest. In fact, the last entry on this post only happened yesterday!

January – Defending US Government Communications Act

A French newspaper linked Huawei to the hack of the African Union Headquarters in Ethiopia. The Chinese government, of course, denied the acquisitions. Right after this, the US government would propose the Defending US Government Communications Act, call for FCC to investigate the company, and even got AT&T to pull out of an agreement with Huawei. Verizon, on the other hand, would stop carrying Huawei products in the future. This was only the start, and Huawei would have a rough year ahead of them.

February – Intelligence heads think Huawei is spyware

Huawei: Enemy of the US?

On February 14, 2018, heads of six U.S. intelligence agencies testified to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence against the use of Chinese telecom products by U.S. citizens. Like those of Huawei and ZTE. Christopher A. Wray, director of the FBI, stated that they were “deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks”. Huawei responded to the allegations, arguing that its products “[pose] no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor, sharing as we do common global supply chains and production capabilities,” and that it was “aware of a range of U.S. government activities seemingly aimed at inhibiting Huawei’s business in the U.S. market”

March – Best Buy stops selling Huawei

Best buy, one of the largest retailers of consumer technology in the US, stops selling Huawei products. Huawei takes another hit to their bottom line, and the pseudo war against the Americans start taking its toll.

April – US Government forbids self from using Huawei tech

On April 17, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) held a preliminary, 5-0 vote. It was on rules forbidding the use of government subsidies to purchase telecom equipment from companies deemed to be a risk to national security. A draft of the policy specifically even named Huawei and ZTE as examples. This would further restrict Huawei, as anyone who wants to work intimately with a massive employer like the US would have to make certain to not have Huawei phones.

May – The Pentagon bans Huawei phones from retail stores on military bases

In an unsurprising move, the Pentagon went ahead and banned Huawei from all military base retail shops. Huawei in a statement basically didn’t even address it. Instead, they said, “We remain committed to openness and transparency in everything we do and want to be clear that no government has ever asked us to compromise the security or integrity of any of our networks or devices.”

June – Revelations of Facebook and Huawei’s secret data-sharing pact

This was during that time of the year when everyone on Facebook started to get worried about how Zuckerberg may be misappropriating our data. Naturally, if it’s controversial, Huawei would have to be mentioned somewhere. This was simply one such case. A series of reports this week revealed that, for the past 10 years, Facebook’s broad sharing of data extended not only to app developers but to phone companies as well. Of course, one of the phone makers on top of that list would be Huawei.

July – Huawei overtakes Apple

In possibly the only positive news for Huawei during the whole year, they managed to outsell iPhones for the second quarter of this year. Huawei shipped over 54 million handsets in the second quarter compared to the 41.3 million iPhones that Apple sold. This would make them the second biggest phone sellers of the globe.

August – Huawei caught faking camera shots in ads

The shot in question

And we’re back to Huawei being completely morally bankrupt. To play the devils advocate, they never explicitly stated that it wasn’t a DSLR shot. They just heavily implied it with the wrist position.

Taking of the shot

September – Huawei caught cheating benchmark test for P20

Huawei gets caught with their pants down, as the list gets sillier. Again. Shocking. Literally just weeks removed from the last fiasco, in September, AnandTech discovered that Huawei’s P20 had been programmed to maximize performance specifically when running 3DMark, a popular benchmarking app. Huawei admitted to this in a statement to Android Authority.

October – The only non-controversial month

Huawei announced a few new phones like the 5G foldable they are working on. They announced the new Mate 20. They asked Trump to change his device to Huawei as reports of iPhone tapping became known. All in all, a real month of R&R for the execs of Huawei.

November – Americans discourage allies from using Huawei devices:

R&R would end soon, however. In November, the US would ask many of it’s allies to stop using the tech giants products. Allegedly. Sources claim that US government officials have met with counterparts in Germany, Japan, and Italy, and are reportedly considering offering financial incentives to countries who opt not to use equipment from the Chinese manufacturer.

December – Canadian authorities arrest The CFO:

Huwaei: Enemy of the US?
Huwaei’s global CFO Wanzhou Meng

However, the latest chapter of the story was told only yesterday. Huawei Vice-chairperson and CFO Meng Wanzhou, daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Canada at the request of U.S. authorities. She faces extradition to the United States on charges of violating sanctions against Iran. 

As anyone can see, at this point the company has become an absolute magnet for controversy. They’ve clashed so hard with the US government this year you might mistake them to be Iran or something. Huawei is backing off of US markets. Barring random marketing campaigns they do to generate buzz, the company’s future there seems uncertain. Yet, with a dominating share in Chinese markets, they remain safe globally.

Check out our first impression on the Huawei Nova 3i here.

Gorillaz: 5 things that stand out in the new music video for “Humility”

Probably the most well-known and certainly the most mainstream virtual music band, Gorillaz, is coming back this year with a new album called The Now Now. They have already released a new music video from the album called “Humility”, featuring George Benson. The video became the number one trending video on YouTube worldwide the day of its release. They also released a music video for Lake Zurich but that song has only been released as a visualizer instead of a fully developed music video. Gorillaz in the past have shown how innovative their music can be, as the fictional band tells the story of Murdoc, 2-D, Russel and Noodle. “Humility”, however, stands out for many reasons among their other music videos, in ways I’ll explain below.

A Power Puff Girl Character?

Ok, let’s address the elephant in the room first. Murdoc, the bassist and evil mastermind of the band, is in jail. We found this out in February, as a video of Murdoc accepting an award from prison was released. This means, staying consistent to their story, the Gorillaz are short one member. This is where the band finds an unexpected member: a character from the Power Puff Girls. Ace is the defacto leader of the Gangrene Gang (a pun on Gang Green, as the members were all green) and shown in the music video knifing a poor basketball. Now, we’ve known this for a little while now, but to see Ace in a Gorillaz video is insanely cool. They also made the former nuisance of a character look very awesome, giving his classic look a modern update.

A Wild Jack Black Appears

Gorillaz is not averse to having Hollywood celebrity in their videos. In fact, they had legendary action movie star Bruce Willis play a bounty hunter chasing the band. This video gets its extra star power in the form of veteran comedian Jack Black. He appears on the 33rd second of the music video and stays in it on and off for the whole video. He’s seen with a Stratocaster enjoying a lone picnic when he starts playing the electric guitar as 2-D passes him by on skates. He is repeatedly seen trying to steal 2-D’s thunder and grab attention of the camera, which is interesting. Maybe Gorillaz meant it as a metaphor of how Hollywood tries to grab attention from anything original and transfer it onto themselves.

2-D Has White Eyes

From 2-D’s backstory, we know how he came to have his signature all black eyes. Murdoc, in his insane quest to become a star, rams his automobile into 2-D’s uncle’s showroom, injuring and blackening one of 2-D’s eyes, forcing him to a vegetative state. Murdoc would be charged and sentenced to 30,000 hours of community service, much of which would be taking care of 2-D. Murdoc, however, would only further injure 2-D, this time in the other eye, and turn both of 2-D’s eyes black. This would also shock 2-D out of his vegetative state, who would be recruited by Murdoc for the way his eyes looked. 2-D is surprisingly missing this signature feature at the start of the video, which I couldn’t find an explanation for. He does end up with black eyes by the end of the video when Russel trips him, but it remains unclear why he didn’t have them in the beginning. As a side note, it could be the physical manifestation of 2-D taking his place as the leader of the rag-tag group, but that wouldn’t make sense because he does go back to having his black eyes.

Chillin’ Vibes

The music video is what many would describe as chill music. It’s a very laid back and happy tune, which is a serious departure for Gorillaz considering their music constantly revolves around darker, sadder themes. It seems Gorillaz took their music, which was already very melodious, and followed vaporwave with them. For the uninitiated, vaporwave is a genre of music invented on the internet that uses nostalgia of the past decades and mixes them with soothing music to create a calming effect on the listener. “Humility” does something very similar by having the signature melodious tunes of Gorillaz mixed with nostalgic vibes. Setting the video in Venice Beach, California while 2-D rolls around in very 80s tennis shorts is sure to create some kind of Déjà vu in even those who have never been there, including myself. The entire song is truly a joy to listen to, from the lyrics, to the music, to the video itself, shot on a bright, beautiful California day.

Noodle is All Grown Up

Noodle, the band’s formerly pre-pubescent lead guitarist, had already been seen growing up in the previous music videos but it is most prominent in this one. “Humility” shows her wearing a Hello Kinky tee shirt, a clear pun at the Hello Kitty brand’s expense, as she is seen playing chess and seemingly winning. Noodle only makes an appearance for a measly 8 seconds but its enough time to see how the little girl has become a young adult.

5 of the most controversial moments in cricket

Cricket is a gentlemen’s game. However, there are plenty of cricketers whose conduct on the field would challenge this notion. These are the top five most controversial moments in the history of cricket.

Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft get too playful with the ball

The most recent controversy in this list, this makes the cut for being so incomprehensively stupid and also very recent. Ball tampering is not new to cricket; in fact, it’s been going on for decades. However, it has been illegal for a while now, as tampering with the ball can give the bowling team many unfair advantages, such as getting reverse swing much earlier than usual out of the ball. It has also become exceptionally difficult to tamper with the ball and not get caught, as camera technology has gotten exponentially better over the years. Yet, the Australian skipper and his colleague, Bancroft, thought it would be a smart idea to mess with the texture of the ball in front of dozens of cameras during their third test against South Africa this March. Bancroft was caught by the camera and the 3rd umpire trying to scrub the ball with a tiny piece of tape with dirt on it, basically turning it into a poor man’s sandpaper. Smith was later removed from his position, as was David Warner, vice-captain at the time and also co-conspirator. Both were banned for one year by the Australian Cricket Board. Bancroft was also given a 9-month ban from all forms of cricket, while also not being considered for the leadership role for one year after then end of his ban.

Amir fixes obvious no-balls

During the 2010 tour of England, Pakistani pacer and the most promising teenager in the world at the time, Mohammad Amir, was alleged to bowl no-balls on purpose in exchange of money, a crime known as spot-fixing. An undercover reporter had bribed Mazhar Majeed, a Pakistani-British bookmaker, one hundred and fifty thousand pounds for Amir and fellow Pakistani pacer, Mohammad Asif, to bowl no balls on specific deliveries. The whole process was video recorded, and later as the two bowlers did as they were told, the video was posted online by News of the World. As a result, Mazhar Majeed was arrested by the Scotland Yard for defrauding bookies. ICC later on would have a trial and suspend the three cricketers in the match who were found guilty, as Salman Butt, the captain of the team, was also found to be guilty. Amir was banned from any kind of first class cricket for five years. Butt was banned for 10 years, while Asif was given a 7-year suspension. Mazhar Majeed would go to jail for 32 months. All three players would also serve short jail sentences in England.

Ranatunga walks out in protest

The only entry of this list that’s not cricketers outright disgracing the game, Arjuna Ranatunga leading his team out of the field as protest of a Muralitharan no-ball is no less shocking than the any on the list. The Sri Lankan skipper at the time, Ranatunga and his team were playing a ODI match against England in January of 1999. Muttiah Muralitharan, already one of the best off spinners of his generation, was cleared by the ICC to have a legal bowling action. This did not stop leg umpire and former Aussie cop, Ross Emerson, from calling a Murali delivery during the 19th over as a no-ball for chucking. This would enrage the Sri Lankan skipper, usually renowned for his calm, as Emerson was one of the umpires that had called Murali’s action into question three years prior. Tempers flared as Ranatunga argued with the umpires and the rest of the Sri Lankan team consoled a dejected Murali. Play was halted for 12 minutes as Ranatunga rallied his team and started walking off the field, apparently forfeiting the match. They would not, stopping at the very edge of the boundary and play would continue. Sri Lanka would win the match by one wicket, a result that is all but forgotten in the wake of this controversy. Ranatunga would later be fined for his conduct.

Holding loses his calm:

Perhaps the holder (pun intended) of the coolest nickname of all time, Michael Holding too was not immune to losing his cool. During West Indies’ tour of New Zealand 1979-80, Michael Holding would appeal for a caught behind against John Parker early in the second innings of the first test. Despite being one of many clear dismissals, the umpires would not raise the finger for Holding. By this point, much of the decisions had gone New Zealand’s way, even though most spectators of the match would tell you that it should not have been the case. Holding was understandably very cross, and on his way to the bowler’s end, he would kick over the stumps in frustration. The picture of Holding kicking the stumps would be a fairly accurate mascot of the tour, as decisions against West Indies team kept getting more and more biased. However, the ridiculous image of the whispering death himself kicking over stumps would become etched in cricketing history.

The fall of a South African hero:

Hansie Cronje was a hero of the South African public. He held the respect of a demigod in that country, and similar amount of respect in the cricketing world. Yet, if you are reading this article, that means you already know how this story ends. In the year 2000, a conversation between Cronje and Sanjay Chawla, a representative of an Indian betting syndicate, was revealed. Cronje was heard accepting Sanjay’s request to fix the match. South African Cricket Board would end up suspending Cronje for life, as well as handing out shorter suspensions to others related to the incident, namely Herschelle Gibbs, Nicky Boje and Pieter Strydom. That’s where the story should have ended, but it didn’t. Cronje later died in a plane crash as the only passenger, along with the two pilots aboard it. Cronje’s original flight had been cancelled. The authorities have officially attributed the crash to the pilots having unusable navigational equipment. Yet, due to the strange circumstances of his death, many still believe it to be a sabotage by any number of betting syndicates, enraged at Cronje for exposing the fixing. Even though it is not an officially supported theory, many believe that the South African government are hiding something about it. They are not wholly wrong, as many of the details of the crash are still unavailable to the general public. His death might have been a direct result of his match fixing, and that’s why Cronje’s fall from grace is the biggest controversy in cricketing history.

Upcoming 2018 summer blockbusters roundup

The year of 2018 has seen action blockbusters being released left and right. The year started with a bang with Black Panther in February, and the blockbusters have kept on coming. We’ve already had Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2 be released but this year’s summer possibly has the largest depth of blockbusters in history. Here are only a few of the most anticipated summer flicks coming out in the next couple of months.

Solo: A Star Wars Story:

Release: May 25

The latest installment in the Star Wars franchise is a solo story of one of the main characters of the original films. Although critic consensus seems to be average so far, you know this is a movie you’ll watch just for being a Star Wars fan. Han Solo is one of the most beloved characters of the series and this movie promises to be about his early years, something the franchise hasn’t dwelled on in front of the big screen. Sporting big names like Emilia Clarke of Game of Thrones fame and Donald Glover fresh off of his pop sensation “This Is America”, the movie promises to be entertaining at the very least.

Ocean’s 8

Release: June 8

 

This spin-off of the beloved heist movie franchise Ocean’s sees Debby (played by Sandra Bullock), the estranged sister of brilliant con artist Danny Ocean, take the lead in a heist of her own planning. For this she assembles a cast of professionals that includes celebrities like Rihanna, with veterans like Helena Bonham Carter also starring in the film. The plot of the film will see Debby try to steal from celebrity Daphne Kluger, played by Anne Hathaway. The film is certainly gambling with an all-female cast, but if they can succeed in being respectful to the source material, the movie might elevate itself from the run-of-the-mill spin-offs.

Incredibles 2

Release: June 15

 

This is the movie our generation has been waiting for for more than 14 years. Ever since The Incredibles movie came out in 2004, kids and young adults everywhere have been all but begging for a sequel. Pixar and Disney are finally fulfilling our wish to see the beloved characters like Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, their adorable children and of course, Samuel L. Jackson voicing Frozone. The trailers took the internet by storm and if the sequel is even half as interesting as the first movie was, then this will be a worthwhile movie to watch.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Release: June 22

 

The fifth installment in the Jurassic Park film series and a direct sequel to Jurassic World (2015), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will see Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reprise their roles from the previous film. The movie will also see a return of Jeff Goldblum to the series, although in a small cameo. The movie is about rescuing the dinosaurs three years after last movies events, as an impending volcanic eruption and a plot to auction the dinosaurs threatens the survival of the massive creatures. The heroes must also face a new antagonist in the form of the hybrid dinosaur, Indoraptor.

Ant-Man and The Wasp

Release: July 6

 

The sequel to the 2015 Marvel flick sees Scott Lang (played by Paul Rudd) try to balance fatherhood and his duties as a superhero. Hope Pym (Evangeline Lily) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) give Ant-Man a new mission that will bring to light past secrets, with Hope becoming the new Wasp. They will battle a new supervillain in Ghost, who will be played by Hannah John-Kamen.

Mission: Impossible- Fallout

Release: July 27

 

Tom Cruise reprises the roll of Ethan Hunt in the sixth installment of the franchise. Hunt in this film will be trying to stop a global catastrophe as he is hunted by assassins and former allies alike. Stars like Alec Baldwin, Simon Pegg and Michelle Monaghan will also be reprising their roles from previous films. New to the series is Henry Cavill, who will be playing August Walker.

The Spy Who Dumped Me

Release: August 3

 

The only movie on this list not to be a sequel or otherwise part of a franchise, The Spy Who Dumped Me is an action comedy that gives away the plot of the movie with its title. Audrey (Mila Kunis) and her best friend Morgan (Kate McKinnon) find themselves in a major international conspiracy after Audrey finds out that her ex-boyfriend is a CIA agent, who re-enters her life with a team of assassins behind him.

Moving out of your parents’ house in Dhaka – worth the challenge?

Cover illustration: Fahim Anzoom Rumman (botagainsthumanity)

The culture and societal structure of a south east Asian country is vastly different from almost anywhere else in the world. Bangladesh’s society, as much as it has been westernized in the past few decades, still wants to control its children up until the ripe old age of thirty or so. This creates a kind of dissonance with people who, like me, have primarily consumed Western pop-culture and have a sense of individualism not comparable to older generations.

I like to pride myself as one of the more self-dependent guys around. By 2016, I had gotten tired of being under the thumb of my parents and my older brother, who at this point was the primary economic force of the family. By this point I was also suffering from a bout of depression, and one of the reasons for it was I didn’t really share a familial bond with my family any more. I would frequently find myself locked in the tiny hole in the wall that was supposed to be my room, and not talking to anyone in the family.

This would take a toll on my mental health as 2016 is the year I still think of as the worst of my life. By the end of the year, I was fed up with the lack of freedom I had. I’m not badmouthing my family because I know they did what they thought was right and did nothing worse than your average Bangladeshi parent. With that being said, however, I realized that I needed a similar level of independence that American or Canadian children enjoy after they turn 18. This is why, at the age of 24 in 2017, I decided to move out. I wanted a life of my own, one where I might have to work like a Russian serf during the reign of Ivan the terrible, but at least I’d be free.

And boy was moving out hard. I moved out with no more than one luggage and my PC, and I was still exhausted. The most difficult parts were making sure none of the luggage goes missing. However, that was only day one of the rest of my life. Many hardships would follow. Below I will be listing them in a fashion that makes it easy for the average reader to skim through.

  • The toughest thing about living on your own is cleaning. Unless you’re really into cleaning stuff, it will be the biggest pain in your new life. After all, I’d wager not many like to come back home, after a whole day of toiling at the university and the office, to get to fixing up the house. It certainly was the case for me, as my friends started to call my sweet pad a junkyard. Admittedly, it had more junk than most garbage trucks.
  • Another massive issue you’ll face after moving out is chores like cooking or laundry. At the end of the day, if you’re a Bangladeshi kid of twenty something years that comes from a relatively well-off family, you will probably know nothing about doing chores. However, if you move out of your parents’ home, you will need to learn these life skills as quickly as possible. The bills can also stack up so you have to be careful to not overspend- or else you may not have a roof to sleep under the following month.
  • There is also a bit of a societal problem. Neighbors will gossip about you, the caretaker of the building you live in will spread rumors and many may give you a cold stare. This is usually because these people didn’t get to do what you did when they were your age. Not to mention that many people simply have nothing else to do. Not many in this country can accept the fact that being independent enough to move out is a good thing and not a reason to be suspicious. Best way to deal with this is to ignore it altogether.

  • The most obvious challenges are the bills that you will have to pay at the end of each month. If you’re thinking about moving out because you’ve been inspired by my article, then bless you for letting me influence your decisions. However, it will take a surprising amount of money to make it on your own. You’ll be looking to take an apartment in places where rent is cheap. My first apartment was in Rayerbazar, and it cost 8500 TK to live there, bills not included. If you’re anything like me, the electric bills will consist of a PC, a fridge and a couple of fans and lights, which brings the electric bills to around 500 TK only. A good broadband connection might set you back and depending on the area of Dhaka you have chosen, internet bills may reach up to a cool couple of grand. Along with food and other miscellaneous costs, you’ll roughly need a monthly income of at least 20,000 to be able to live fairly comfortably. If you can’t be bothered to do your own chores, then that minimum goes up by a couple of grand. An overall monthly wage above 25,000 TK will let you live quite comfortably.
  • Don’t fret if you don’t have that kind of money. There is always the option of sharing an apartment with your buddies. This brings down your costs severely. Personally, it is not for me. As I’ve already stated before, I’m quite independent minded and I would like to retain the privacy I have.

Although there are many challenges to moving out, the feeling of freedom that you have once you do it makes everything worth it. Well, it does for me at least. You may prefer a more comfortable life and being able to order maids around, but that’s not the life for me. I’ve always been an odd one out, and I have rarely seen anyone who has my kind of sense of individualism, but if you happen to like being free regardless of how much hard work you have to put in, moving out and getting your own apartment might be the thing for you.

Best Indie Games of all time (PC only)

It was about a decade ago. This little thing called digital distribution came about, changing the entire landscape of the gaming industry. What this meant was, you no longer needed to buy physical copies of video games from stores. Games could now be distributed as digital content through the internet. This, as you might imagine, started to make things for gaming a bit different than it used to be. With the establishment of digital distribution platforms like Steam, Origin and such, games developed by independent developers began to gain more exposure. And so began the reign of indie game.

Gamers had found the equivalent of a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Why indie games became so popular is a question that has a plethora of answers. Mainly it was because this wasn’t some big name publisher trying to make the biggest game for the biggest paycheck. This was mostly a couple of dudes or sometimes just one dude trying to share one’s vision with the world and as such there was a touch of intimacy and care. And now about a decade after indie games had begun to get the love that they always deserved, I will try to inform you of the very best that this medium has to offer.

Now best of lists are almost always entirely subjective, and this is no exception. These are the games I cherish the most, so this list is constructed on my personal opinions and choices but I’ll try to make it somewhat objective. Consider this the beginning of a conversation instead of the final word on anything.

Some ground rules. This list was made in no particular order. As such, this isn’t gonna be a ranking. Also I’ll try to cover games from different genres, because if it were up to me, a best of list could be entirely consisted of RPGs and rhythm games. Lastly, since there’s a plethora of games to choose from across all platforms, this list will contain games that are available on the PC. We might do a few more for consoles later. Cool? Let us begin.

The Witness

Jonathan Blow. Funny name, genius man. In a way, he was a contributing factor of the indie game boom, with his puzzle game Braid. But this, this is his masterpiece. A puzzle game to its core but unlike any other. You are left with a huge island containing over 600 puzzles to solve. An open world puzzle game of sorts, The Witness with its ambient music and subdued storyline gives you the freedom of exploring and solving puzzles in a way no other game does. The game helps you through it without any sort of tutorial, with a learning curve that you have to discover for yourself. Add a beautiful art design that is both modest and ambitious, the Witness is an experience like no other.

Firewatch

As games are gradually being considered more as an art form, developers are trying to make games more akin to experiences than time sinks. A result of that very mindset is the walking simulator. A form of game that is more about exploring a world and experiencing the various aspects of it. And Firewatch is at the forefront of this advent. You play as a park ranger exploring the Shoshone National Park of Wyoming in the year 1989. You explore an open world on your own with your partner Delilah’s voice over the radio being the only form of social exchange and watching the game’s emotionally engaging narrative unfold at a slow, relaxing pace. But the game’s true beauty lies in the art style and visuals, along with the relaxing music in the background. This game approaches a unique visual style composed of vibrant colors and contrast. Moreover, the game gives you a camera to capture the scenic beauty, but the camera has a limited number of films, so you can only take a certain quantity of pictures on your journey. Although it sounds like a drag, I believe this encourages players to seek out the best scenes they can see in the game and adds more value to each picture, making it a memory to cherish. Fair warning, the game has an ending that is very divisive and will not appeal to everyone’s taste.

Inside

There are some things I like so much that I don’t want to talk to people about them. Perhaps it’s something related to my own lack of confidence on if I can convince another person just how much this certain thing might have affected me. Inside is one of those things. I cannot possibly put into words how special this game really is. On its surface, Inside is just another puzzle platformer with a slightly different take on the base mechanics. But there’s something about the game’s melancholic, bleak, ominous atmosphere. Without a single line of dialogue, Inside manages to tell a more compelling story than most games today, and I do not mean that lightly. The implications and subtle hints in this game leave the player engaged in thought long after the quite linear and to be honest, quite short game is finished. It is a unique experience, and one that every person should taste at least once. Play it. Just, go play it. That is the best advice you’ll get today.

Stardew Valley

If you played any of the Harvest Moon games, this is the peak of the formula laid down by that great series. If you haven’t, firstly, what’s the matter with you, secondly, do I have a treat for you. Though it is expected of gamers today to frown at farming simulators thanks in part to Farmville, this game is nothing short of a magical experience. This game is one of the most enjoyable and thoroughly captivating time-sinks of this generation. You will put in a significant amount of time into this once you get into it, that’s a given. The satisfaction and pride derived from the growth of your virtual farm is too much to resist for long. This game is just so brimming with content that no two hours spent will ever feel the same. A must play entry for every gamer.

Enter the Gungeon

Confession. I never liked Bullet-hell games. The sheer amount of stuff going on in the monitor was always too frustrating for me, until I tried this. This rogue-like bullet-hell dungeon crawler with RPG elements has something for just about anyone. Primary among which is, puns. Every item you find will have some sort of witty legend in the description. And it’s not just the puns, some descriptions genuinely stir your curiosity for the lore of the game, which is in no sense lacking by the way. Some people complain about the difficulty in this game, which is actually perfect in my opinion. Just a perfectly balanced system, gutturally satisfying as you get the sense that you are gradually mastering the mechanics. An all-round fun experience.

To the Moon

I honestly don’t know how to explain to someone how magnificent this game is without spoiling what makes it so. There’s no form of combat in this story driven experience. Just absolutely raw emotional engagement. Everything about this is beautiful in a heartbreaking way. This is one of those games that stands as a legitimate example of video games transcending just entertainment and becoming an art form. I simply cannot tell you how good this game is without perhaps spoiling a bit of the story, something I wouldn’t want to do to my worst enemy. Just know that this isn’t a game you win. It’s a poignant melody that you must feel.

Pyre

Any of Supergiant’s games could have taken this place on this list, and all of them deserve a mention. But what they had started with Bastion, evolved further into Transistor, has been perfected with Pyre. Every element of the other games is weaved together perfectly to create a most unusual and a most mesmerizing experience. The beautiful visuals, extraordinary music and deeply emotional story all add up to make a compelling combination of sports and RPG mechanics. It is just about everything I look for in a video game executed in an unbelievably flawless manner. The care and creativity put into every frame of this game makes you marvel at the sheer genius of the minds that brought this to life. A vividly lifelike experience.

Hotline Miami

An exhilarating, intoxicating, high-octane celebration of old school violence in video games. Hotline Miami is the top down shooter with intense gunplay and brutal close combat. Nothing gets your blood pumping like this game does. A thoroughly breathtaking soundtrack to boot, Hotline Miami is the perfect example of telling a story through gameplay alone. The surreal atmosphere and music can put you in a trance like state where you become your character, gunning down enemies in tightly wound spaces. The dictionary definition of addicting gameplay, Hotline Miami will have you die and come back for more each time. Also, check out the sequel, it’s actually better in a lot of ways.

Spelunky

Okay, right of the bat, this game does not hold your hand. There is no character progression, no item unlocks, just raw skill on a gamer’s part. The levels are all randomly generated on this unique platformer, which makes this game endlessly replayable. Since there’s no shortcuts to get better, you always find new interactions and tricks to make your character’s movements more fluid and agile. Your gameplay is forced to become more versatile and refined gradually as you keep playing the game. And you will keep playing it, for difficult it might be, but addictive it is to a far greater extent. This game has actually taught me an important life lesson. Life isn’t a nightmare, it isn’t out to get you. It’s just randomly generating extremely unfair situations.

Undertale

The term “perfect” should not be thrown around randomly, and this game is perfect.

This is the most compelling piece of storytelling of this generation. And RPG at its core, Undertale challenges every known trope of the genre with fearless wit and confidence, and remains one of the most unique and deeply satisfying experiences conceived by man. Every aspect of this game has been knocked out of the park in terms of excellence. The story is amazing. The soundtrack is phenomenal and it accentuates and underlines everything happening in the game. The graphics might turn some people away. But I say to you, bring those people back, tie them to a chair and make them play an hour of the game because that is all one would need to fall in love with every bit of this game’s formula. Behind a guise of humor and wit, this is a deeply emotional game which makes you think about every choice you make in it. In a time when videogames concentrate on being making profits, Undertale makes us remember why we love videogames so much. Undertale is the one story I wish I could wipe from my memory, just to experience it again, in all its emotional beauty, for the first time, and I am truly jealous of one who is about to experience it for the first time.

So I hope this list wasn’t much of a disappointment to you guys and you all can relate or be motivated enough to actually go through one of these games.