The day after I finished The Last of Us, near the end of my summer vacation, I was talking to my sister, who had, on-and-off, been watching me play through the game. When my sister asked me to catch her up on what she had missed one day, I described a series of moments and images I had witnessed. The general themes were loss, bitterness and the dimming light of hope. I witnessed suicide, the loss of children and numerous other difficult moments. I described the profound depression and malaise underlying the game.

Every summer there is a week or two, usually after the end of internships and before the start of the school year, for which nothing is planned. It is during this time that I inevitably plunge back into binge-gaming, desperately marathoning any Games of the Year I missed out on due to school-time business.

The stealth genre is one that game developers ought to approach with caution. Stealth-centered games are difficult to execute well, and it isn’t difficult to understand why. Any proper stealth game has to balance its genre’s three core gameplay concepts: waiting, sneaking and acting. Getting the equilibrium between the three can be difficult, and it varies from game to game: the Hitman series emphasizes the waiting aspect, and most of one’s time is spent gathering information and artfully setting traps (although one can choose to forego these elements and play instead a mediocre shooter).

Two weeks ago I reviewed a then-just-released indie game called Anodyne. It was a familiar style of game set in an unfamiliar world, with quirky characters, dreamy landscapes and great music. I took my chances and emailed the developers, Sean Hogan and Jon Kittaka, to see if they’d be open to a brief interview.

Rarely does a game offer such imaginative potential and replay value that I opt to come back to it again and again. Even in the most content-packed games, I usually max out around 30 hours. But as I was recently browsing my library of downloaded PC games, I noticed something surprising next to one inconspicuous, low-budget game: “104 hours played.”

Personally, I find it difficult to select a video game to review. Do I choose the latest and greatest AAA titles? On the one hand, you’ve probably heard of them and are eager to learn more. On the other hand, you’ve almost definitely read a review by a more eloquent, professional and studly reviewer already. Plus, brand new big-name titles are expensive, and I’m a college student. So instead, each game I choose to review is one that I think will surprise you, defying your expectations and treating you to something you’ve not seen before. Of course, they’ve had that very effect on me.

The contemplation of video games as an art form rears its head every so often in gaming journalism. Comparisons are drawn to works of art in traditional media, and everyone takes a moment to reflect on the meaning of art in general. Recent years have seen the influx of “art” games, designed with the purpose of being artistically thought-provoking, that utilize unique visuals, sounds or game mechanics. Artists often desire to distinguish themselves and deliver their own unique perspective and style; game developers are no exception.