Before we get on with the list, I want to make sure you don’t miss this year’s Ars Technica Charity Drive sweepstakes. You can win one of over 100 prizes, including limited edition gaming collectibles, all while helping out a good cause. Entries are due by January 4, so check it out if you haven’t already, and thanks in advance for your donation.

Narrowing an entire year of video games into a list of the 20 titles most worth your attention is always difficult, but it was more difficult than usual in 2015. We could have easily extended this year's list to 30 or 40 games without breaking a sweat or recommending any marginal titles (see our upcoming "best of the rest" list as proof).

The year was just that jam-packed with quality titles. Perhaps that's because the new generation of consoles is finally coming into its own, or because a number of independent developers surprised us with highly polished and utterly unique titles. Whatever the reason, we hope 2016 can capture even a fraction of the joy and variety found in this year's best games.

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