Australia has a long, proud history of making video games extending back to the (figurative) dawn of time. But while plenty of gamers will remember the days of Shane Warne Cricket and our contributions to much more serious genres (like Dark Reign and Krush, Kill N Destroy), contributions over the last couple of years are sometimes forgotten.
So to help celebrate our national day of not being at work and generally overeating, here’s a look at 7 of the best Australian games of recent times.
Ty The Tasmanian Tiger (2016)
An title that gets ignored in historical lists perhaps far more than it should, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger is a wonderfully irreverent 3D platformer in the Crash Bandicoot style. But rather than highlight how good the original was, I’m giving some credit to the superb re-release Krome put out towards the end of last year.
It’s been praised up and down for being a fantastic use of the Early Access model, without dulling the spirit or style of the original. Ty currently has a 99% rating from over 1,100 reviews, which is ridiculous for a) any game on Steam and b) an Australian game at that.
If you ever played Uplink back in the day and wished the game had less of a graphical interface and more terminals and more typing, Hacknet is the answer. It’s a murder-mystery at heart – you have to discover who killed Bit – but you’ll find yourself typing, memorising and dreaming about UNIX commands by the end of it. A true success.
Don Bradman Cricket 14
The latest Don Bradman might have just hit store shelves and Steam in the last few weeks, but the older, more patched brother is still the superior title for now. Australia has always had a history of making excellent cricket games – Shane Warne Cricket and Beam’s Cricket 97 are proof of that.
But DBC 14 was the first that finally reinvented the control scheme for cricket games, eliminating the dreaded pitch marker that turned bowlers into automatons. The career mode also provided hundreds of hours of fun, something I can legitimately attest to.
Hand of Fate
I could go on and on about how accomplished Hand of Fate is. And while it’s an uncommonly good mix, the real gem in Defiant’s crown is the superb narration. The survival and element of gambling are very clever indeed, but Anthony Skordi’s voice as the Dealer is a true aural pleasure.
Also, it’s very, very rare that a major publisher will bundle an Australian indie game in with their console. Hand of Fate had that honour, which speaks volumes alone.
A little older than the rest on this list but no less important, Antichamber was one of the first Aussie indies in the modern era that helped light the way for other developers.
A game that messes with your mind at every turn with a visual style that looks like an acid trip, Antichamber is a must play for any fan of puzzlers or subversive games. If you loved The Witness, and like the idea of fighting through your own self-doubt, Antichamber is a cracker.
Game Dev Tycoon
Inspired by the Kairosoft series of mobile games, Game Dev Tycoon is a well-crafted spin on a simple idea: making your own video game. Greenheart Games’ release doesn’t get much of a look in often when it comes to the “best game ever” lists. But it’s also one of those titles that gamers thoroughly appreciate. It’s a well-made version of a simple management simulator, and it’s been beloved on Steam as a result.
But perhaps more importantly, the developers of Game Dev Tycoon also fucked with pirates in a hilarious way. “Slowly their in-game funds dwindle, and new games they create have a high chance to be pirated until their virtual game development company goes bankrupt,” Greenheart said back in 2013.
It led to this fantastic in-game prompt:
Push Me Pull You
The sounds. The visuals. The turd, almost intestinal-like nature of the bodies.
Words don’t really describe just how weird Push Me Pull You is. It’s wonderful, don’t get me wrong.
But Christ this game is weird.
Those are seven of the best Australian games over the last several years. If you’re thinking that I’ve left a few off this list – don’t worry, we’ve got an ultimate Australian video games list coming up later today. But what are your favourite Australian games over that time period?