These games and awards were decided during the Ward Podcast’s Best Games Played 2016 episode, where we considered any and all games played by the members of the Ward Podcast in 2016, even if they weren’t released that calendar year.

Sometimes, you just want to break some rocks, till some soil, and grow some crops.

A spiritual successor to Harvest Moon infused with parts of Minecraft and Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley is hypnotic in the cyclical nature of its gameplay. The dopamine effect of getting rewarded for progressing every day makes you feel accomplished within the systems of the game.

Little by little, step by step; as the virtual days tick by, the physical hours slip away. When you wake up from the trance, you’ll have created a little farm to call your own and hopefully someone to take to the Flower Dance.