5 Greatest Video Games of 2013

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Who needs the next generation of video games? Not you, at least not for the next few months.

The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are making waves this Christmas, but don’t worry if you don’t find one under your tree. Why? Because for all the potential and power of the new machines, it was the old machines that were home to many of the best games of 2013.

How good was this final wave of current-gen titles? So good that any of the top four games on this list could very easily have been on top. Here are the 5 Greatest Video Games of 2013:

5. Papers Please

The democratization of game development made possible by inexpensive tools and digital distribution has resulted in several surprising projects landing on our Games of the Year lists in recent years. But perhaps none has been so remarkable as Papers, Please. The concept is one of those things you didn’t know you were dying to try until you heard about it: You’re a border agent for an impoverished totalitarian rathole of a country and must examine the documents of everyone who wishes to enter. By comparing their statements to the information on their papers, you determine who gets in and who is turned away.

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The execution is exquisitely depressing; you’re crammed into a tiny room with terrible, outdated equipment and too little space on your desk to see all the papers you must review. The portraits are ugly and drab, the voices grating and harsh. You’re trying to keep out terrorists and smugglers — actually, sorry, that’s not true. You’re simply turning away people whose documents have an error and admitting those whose papers are perfect. Criminal with clean documents? Come on in. Law-abiding citizen whose documents were goofed up by some other soulless apparatchik? Nyet. Papers, Please, just like the real job, doesn’t let you be nice and helpful. Your only choice is how long you can keep feeling bad about it afterward, and how far you’ll go to save your own skin once the eyes of the all-powerful state turn their cold gaze on you.

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