The best games of 2023

It was an amazing year for games. While there were no new consoles, we did get new VR headsets and a wave of new handheld PCs offered even more options for playing games on the go (or at least on the couch). That’s reflected in many of our picks for best games of the year, with several PC-only choices.

The year kicked off with a fantastic remake of space horror Dead Space and the breakout success, Pizza Tower. But there were so many more. Obvious selections? Yes: the latest Zelda epic is there, as is Baldur’s Gate 3. If you’ve got some time between Christmas and New Year, there may be no better way to spend it than with one of these games. I’ve got Cocoon waiting for me.

— Mat Smith

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The biggest stories you might have missed

The Right to Repair movement won its biggest victories in 2023

Deathloop is free on PC for Amazon Prime members

The first EV with a lithium-free sodium battery hits the road in January

What happens next depends on the ITC’s response.

Urgh, tech news whiplash. A federal appeals court in Washington D.C. has allowed Apple to continue importing the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 models. This was just a day after Apple filed its appeal against the International Trade Commission’s decision to ban imports of both models of the Apple Watch due to a patent dispute. But you probably read all about that – multiple times.

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The AI companies used the newspaper’s articles for training.

The backlash against AI companies and their tools continues to grow. The New York Times is suing OpenAI and Microsoft for using its news articles to train its artificial intelligence chatbots without an agreement that compensates it for its intellectual property. It alleges that more than 66 million records, ranging from breaking news articles to op-eds, published across the NYT websites and other affiliated brands were used to train the AI models. The Times also says these AI products can generate output that “mimics its expressive style.” This mirrors complaints from comedians and authors like Sarah Silverman and Julian Sancton.

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‘eSoil’ is here.


Thor Balkhed/Linköping University

Researchers from Linköping University in Sweden have developed a “bioelectronic soil.” It can apparently speed up the growth of plants in hydroponic spaces, or farms that grow plants in environments made up of mostly water. After integrating the engineered ‘eSoil’ into the framework where seedlings grow, researchers discovered that sending electrical signals through the soil made barley plants grow 50 percent more on average.

This is done through a conductive polymer within the soil and applying a voltage as small as 0.5V on the eSoil to stimulate the roots electrically.

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