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The best games of 2023, picked by the NPR staff


Updated December 4, 2023 at 5:25 AM ET

2023 has been the most notable gaming year in recent memory. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom broke sales records, alongside blockbusters like Baldur's Gate 3, Marvel's Spider-Man 2, Super Mario Bros. Wonder, Final Fantasy 16, Diablo 4, Street Fighter 6, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, Resident Evil 4, Hogwarts Legacy and Dead Space.

It's also been a tumultuous year for the people who make games. SAG-AFTRA union actors authorized a strike against the industry's largest companies. Microsoft closed the deal to buy Activision Blizzard King for $69 billion — the biggest gaming acquisition in history. And as the year wound down, more than 6,000 game developers lost their jobsamid a wave of layoffs.

Throughout it all, NPR staff and contributors scrambled to review the year's unrelenting release schedule. Packed with modern spectacles, far-flung indies and revitalized classics, there's something for everyone on this list.


Click through for more gaming coverage from the NPR Network.

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James Perkins Mastromarino
James Perkins Mastromarino is Here & Now's Washington, D.C.-based producer. He works with NPR's newsroom on a daily whirlwind of topics that range from Congress to TV dramas to outer space. Mastromarino also edits NPR's Join the Game and reports on gaming for daily shows like All Things Considered and Morning Edition.