In these community GOTYs, we take stock of the past year of gaming: what the highlights were, which games were important to the community, what was popular and what flopped. And as it turns out, my tactics to preserve myself from FOMO have left me completely unequipped and bereft of an informed opinion! Thankfully, 108 goodjers voted for 455 games this year (versus 114 goodjers and 468 games in 2021), leaving us with plenty of quality posts. I do hope you check out the full thread with everyone’s lists.
It’s almost like these things alternate. Last year was a close call, much like in 2019. This year, it’s a landslide. I had a fair sense of which game would take the gold home fairly early on. It was reminiscent of Hades’ win in 2020 and Breath of the Wild’s win in 2017. This is me, once again, asking you folks to believe me when I say every list matters.
Which leads me to make an observation… There’s a lot of first-person in this introduction, and that’s unfortunately unavoidable. After doing 7 of these over the past 6 years, I will be stepping back from managing the GOTY. Although I’ve adored witnessing the passion and love that you all bring to the thread has been an absolute joy, I’ve also been putting too much pressure on myself and need to recenter. I will always treasure the memories of reading about your favorite games, the excitement in the discussion each year, and then tallying all the votes. I’d like to thank each and every one of you for making this journey so memorable. Your contributions to this community are what make it a special place, and I am grateful to be a small part of it. I’m confident that next year will bring just as much joy and that we’ll all keep the love of gaming alive.
So without further ado, here is your very own community’s top ten.
The top 10 of the Gamers With Jobs Community for 2022
#10… Inscryption (88 pts)
Release date: October 2021
Developer: Daniel Mullins Games
Publisher: Devolver Digital
In Inscryption, players navigate through procedurally generated dungeons, collect cards and items, and battle against enemies. The game's deck-building mechanics allow players to construct and customize their deck of cards, which serve as the player's abilities and actions in combat. Each run is different, as the dungeons, enemies, and available cards are randomly generated, providing players with a high degree of replayability.
The game has received praise for its challenging gameplay, deep strategy, and high replayability, and has attracted a dedicated fanbase as a result. The combination of roguelike and deck-building mechanics has proven to be a popular combination and has helped to cement Inscryption as a well-regarded title in the gaming community.
“My #1 game this year was the community's #1 last year, so I doubt I'll add much to what has already been said. A well-designed and enjoyable card game with a creepy theme the plays into a series of interesting and game-changing twists. With Kaycee's Mod being officially released this year, the game has increased replay-ability with increasingly difficult challenges to overcome for even more small bits of meta lore.”
“I started this mostly because of the hype and was near putting it down after a few hours and then it completely had me hooked after the narrative twist (the first of several!).”
#9… Horizon: Forbidden West (89 pts)
Release date: February 2022
Developer: Guerrilla Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
In the sequel to Horizon Zero Dawn, players once again take on the role of Aloy, skilled hunter and archer, as they explore a vast and beautiful open world filled with dangerous robotic creatures. The game features fast-paced, action-packed combat, as well as a compelling story that takes players on a journey to uncover the mysteries of the world.
Horizon: Forbidden West has received critical acclaim for its stunning graphics, captivating story, and thrilling combat. The game's rich open world and engaging gameplay have made it a hit among fans of the action RPG genre and has helped to establish the Horizon franchise as a popular and well-regarded series in gaming.
“This was my most anticipated game of 2022 and it did not disappoint. It was my entire rationale for buying a PS5 and boy did it deliver. I loved Zero Dawn and this game brought back many of the best characters in a whole new playground. I enjoyed uncovering the map and experiencing new stories in the setting while learning more about the history of this world. I scraped all the peanut butter out of this jar, doing a 100% completion run-through the first time and then coming back for seconds when they launched New Game + and Ultra Hard in a later update. I'm extremely hyped for the DLC that's due to land in April. I expect it to be near the top of 2023’s list.”
“It’s silly, but I feel for the Horizon series. The first game (which only got beat by Witcher 3 on my own list) had the misfortune of coming out within weeks of BotW, so it got pretty overshadowed. Now this one ends up, in my opinion, getting frequently mischaracterized and misrepresented and made into something it isn’t for the sake of The Cool Gamer game. So, whatever. I didn’t find this as enthralling as I did the first game, but that’s simply a function of the fact that, well, the first one was set largely in my home state, and I think that’s a more interesting setting than California. Only slightly less enthralling, though. It’s still a thrill exploring this vividly created world, and discovering the fascinating and surprisingly detailed cultures created within it. So, talk to yourself all you like, Aloy, shake off the haters, I appreciate when you tell me I’ve cleared all the objectives in a camp, it's not some profound moment of immersion to let me waste my time like that. Also, Jesus Christ, people, go outside every so often, the real world is indeed this colorful.”
#8… Marvel Snap (93 pts)
Release date: October 18, 2022
Developer: Second Dinner Studios
Platforms: iOS, Android, Microsoft Windows
It is not very often that over the course of doing anything for 16 years that you can have a “first” occur in the 17th year running. Yet, here we are. Marvel Snap: the first mobile game to land a spot in the Gamers With Jobs Top-10 Community List! In many ways Marvel Snap is a perfect Eva Bell-ian encapsulation of the current moment: an estimated 50 billion mobile games were downloaded in 2022, free-to-play games accounted for 85% of video game market revenue, and a copy of Captain America Comics #1 sold for $3.12 million (the fourth most expensive comic book ever sold. A yearning for nostalgia, familiarity, and games on the go, Marvel Snap was no real Gambit from Second Dinner Studios, a collection of former Hearthstone developers, whose Colossus of a game Stormed its way into millions of phones across the globe. The Thing that sets Snap apart from other similar digital card-collecting games is the speed of the matches and the size of the decks. Over in a Flash, an average game lasts 3-5 minutes and each deck of cards is an Ant-Man sized 12 cards. Though you might think this would put an Iceman-like chill on the gameplay, there are a Gargantuan 229 cards in the game that offer a wide spectrum of play styles. Where other developers would go Rogue, the Magik of Marvel Snap is that the monetization model is generally considered fair. While cosmetic bundles can cost more than $100, most meaningful unlocks in the game can be gained through playing. For those willing to shell out $10USD a Jubilee of rewards is on offer from the monthly battle pass.
If you’re mad as a Hulk from this Avalanche of Marvel puns, I ask you to not bah Humbug me, and instead ride the Jetstream to Forge your own Destiny, really Wallop the Domino, practically Whirlwind like a Rhino struck by a Wasp over to Marvel Snap and see if you too are a Grandmaster card collector like Galactus. (I’m no Hemingway so this Calamity really was a Shotgun Blastaar into the Echo)
“ I tried this on a whim and got really hooked. Not as free-to-play or as free from the problems I have with other CCGs as I initially thought, so it will sit here on this list even though it's all I've been playing lately.”
“ Good god I can’t stop playing this, it has filled up my entire commute and any other mobile gaming time. Just a perfect distillation of a card game. I’m going off it a bit with some of the monetization decisions but the core design is amazing in how it gets so much fun out of a very small demand on your time for a single game.”
#7… Tunic (101 pts)
Release date: March 2022
Developer: Andrew Shouldice
Platforms: macOS, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Tunic features a most adorable fox as the main character, and players must navigate through a world filled with danger and mystery. The game combines elements of classic action-adventure games with modern design, creating a unique and memorable experience for players.
What makes Tunic so popular is its charming and whimsical world and engaging gameplay. The game's art style is eye-catching, with bright and vivid colors that bring the world to life. The gameplay is challenging, with players using a variety of weapons and abilities to overcome obstacles and defeat enemies. The charming soundtrack adds to the game's overall atmosphere, making Tunic an unforgettable experience for players. Overall, Tunic is a must-play for fans of action-adventure games and offers a delightful gaming experience.
“This was my surprise hit of the year. It takes all the strengths of a classic Zelda game and does its own thing to create a unique experience. The collecting of manual pages and deciphering to learn new abilities was perfectly done. Discovering you had some hidden abilities gave a great ‘ah ha!’ moment after collecting the right pages. The final puzzle requiring all the other pages was great. It was the first time I was willing to get paper and pen out for a video game in a long time.”
“What a great game with the solutions to all the puzzles built into the game / in-game manual you collect, except for the final (not required) puzzle, which I think went too far in what it asks of the player. The puzzles up to that were great, and discovering the solutions was fantastically rewarding in a way that REALLY I did not think would happen. I expected to bounce off this one hard and got quite the opposite experience. As a bonus, I was able to play it with the kids watching, which I hope instilled some sense of perseverance to figure things out.”
#6… Stray (102 pts)
Release date: July 2022
Developer: BlueTwelve Studio
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows
I’m still confused as to how a game featuring a cat didn’t take home the gold, but… Set in a neon-lit city, Stray lets players control a stray cat (again, a cat!!), navigating through the streets and alleyways to uncover the mysteries of the city. The game combines elements of action, adventure, and exploration, creating a unique and immersive experience.
What makes Stray so special is its stunning world, captivating story, and innovative gameplay. The futuristic city is a feast for the eyes, with detailed environments and breathtaking visuals that bring the world to life. The game's story is intriguing, drawing players in and keeping them engaged throughout their journey. The innovative gameplay mechanics, such as the ability to possess objects and interact with the environment in new and creative ways, sets the game apart from others in the genre. Stray is a must-play for fans of action-adventure games and anyone looking for a captivating and unforgettable gaming experience. I mean… the cat purrs.
“The cat is adorable. The world is both fascinating and depressing. I love the robots. The game provides a nice mix of action sequences and adventure sequences. The cutest part is when the cat sleeps (on PS5 anyway): It rolls into a ball, purring sound comes from the controller’s speaker, while the controller gently vibrates. Also, the game has a meow button. The only thing that’s missing from it is the ability to customize the cat.
Would I have liked it as much without the cat though? Maybe not.”
“A cyberpunk game where you play as a street cat? Sign me up! Every bit of being the cat was an utter delight. Meowing, knocking things off of shelves, scratching, all wonderful, with a side effect of confusing my real-life cat who went behind the TV to try to find the other kitty. I enjoyed playing through the story, which was interesting to experience from the perspective of a cat. Some of the sections where you have to outrun enemies were a little frustrating, and the checkpoint system often left me needing to complete the next story beat to save twenty minutes of progress exploring for extras. Overall had a lot of fun, 11/10 would be an annoying little cat again.”
#5… Immortality (103 pts)
Release date: June 2022
Developer: Sam Barlow
Publisher: Helf Mermaid Productions
Platform: Windows, Xbox Series X/S, Android, iOS, macOS
Developed by Sam Barlow, creator of Her Story and Telling Lies, Immortality tells the story of a renowned author and his assistant as they seek to unlock the secrets of… well… immortality! The game features a non-linear narrative, with players piecing together the story through conversations and exploration.
What makes Immortality intriguing is its unconventional storytelling approach and innovative gameplay mechanics. The game's non-linear narrative creates a sense of mystery and intrigue, compelling players to explore the various timelines and piece together the story. The innovative gameplay mechanics, such as the ability to manipulate time and uncover hidden clues, add to the game's overall appeal. Ultimately, Immortality is a captivating and thought-provoking adventure game that will leave players wanting more.
“ Each year there's one or two games that I play that become more than just a fun way to pass the time. The sorts of games that I'll think about when I'm not gaming, ones that stick with me. This year, it's Immortality. This is the game that Sam Barlow's been threatening to make since he went indie. Where Her Story and Telling Lies were somewhat testing the limits of the FMV genre, Immortality pushes those limitations to the extreme. Transcends them, even.
(…) So I'll leave it at that. A truly unique experience - one of those rare games that stays with me long after I've finished with it. And given the final words of the game, that's entirely appropriate.”
“ I enjoyed Her Story a lot, but I did get a bit frustrated with the keyword interface and not really being able to unlock any new clips/clues at a certain point. I initially had the same reaction to Immortality when it first released for the first half hour to an hour of watching various video clips.
A couple of nights ago I couldn’t sleep so I decided to start from scratch. During that session, I stumbled into something that caught my eye in one clip, and then I figured out the twist. Instead of poking around for a half hour before going to bed, I was up until 2am.
I woke up the next morning and I was still thinking about the game, so I broke out the Steam Deck and proceeded to play for the next who knows how many hours before getting credits. And even with getting to the end, I still want to unlock all of the clips I haven’t seen yet. This was just a really great game with an amazing mechanic that hooked me.”
#4… Citizen Sleeper (106 pts)
Release date: May 2022
Developer: Jump Over the Age
Publisher: Fellow Traveller
Platforms: macOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Citizen Sleeper is a cyberpunk adventure game developed by The Games Collective, set in a distant future in which players take on the role of a "sleeper," an individual who can enter and manipulate dreams. The game features a branching narrative, with players making choices that shape the story and its outcome.
What makes Citizen Sleeper unique is its dream manipulation gameplay mechanic and dystopian world. The ability to enter and control dreams allows players to uncover hidden truths and explore the minds of characters in a new and innovative way. The game's dark and foreboding world creates a sense of urgency, drawing players in and immersing them in a story of rebellion and hope in the face of an oppressive regime. With its branching narrative, the game promises to be a thought-provoking and engaging adventure game that will keep players on the edge of their seats.
“ Best writing of this year. A game with so much heart that made me feel really immersed in the world and invested in what was going on with everyone around me. It has a very subtle ability to mix the heaviest life or death choices with light and wholesome moments like trying to befriend your local chef or feeding a stray cat so they’ll return to your apartment. And it succeeds in making you feel like your choices matter as you play.
- Pink Stripes
“The mood and tone of this game caught me right away. I love quasi-realistic sci-fi stories like this, and the writing immediately sold it. The gameplay is very well implemented, with simplicity yet just enough options to keep my brain engaged on a different level than the story, which works together to create a beautiful engaging experience. Loved it.”
#3… God of War: Ragnarok (110 pts)
Release date: November 9, 2022
Developer: Santa Monica Studio
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Ragnarok is Santa Monica Studio’s sequel to the 2018 reboot of the blade-swinging, axe-throwing, and god-slaying Dad, Kratos. As grumpy as ever, Kratos and company must work with friend and foe alike as they struggle to avert the eponymous Norse mythological apocalypse whose catalyst was prophesied to be Kratos's spunky son Atreus. No longer just a boy, teen Atreus brings the angst of coming of age under the World’s Most Grumpy Dad to bear as he struggles with the age-old question of predetermination or free will. Themes of legitimacy and interpretation of prophecy and the consequences of meddling in the affairs of others permeate the story and help tie together a slightly bloated cast that otherwise might be Marvelian in size and screen time. A true continuation of the original reboot, the single uninterrupted camera cut is back and not much else has changed, the puzzles are the same, your companions chime in a bit too fast, and the world is even more compartmentalized than the original reboot. Most disappointing, in a story that had an opportunity to forge a new identity with Atreus is weighed down by the baggage of Kratos who still embodies toxic hypermasculinity and parents through manipulation, shouting, and belittling.
As a Sony exclusive, it’s not surprising Ragnarok’s #3 GWJ GOTY ranking was buoyed by a strong showing on slightly fewer lists with an average ranking of 3.1 across 14 GWJer lists. The 2018 title appeared on 31 lists with an average rank of 4. Similarly, sales were stronger in 2022 with 5.1 million units opening week versus 3.1 million for the 2018 title.
“Ragnarok was everything I hoped for in a sequel. It’s the perfect game for me. I have seen criticisms regarding the narrow paths through most of the areas but that works better for me than a huge open world. It all felt very focused and I loved the dialogue. I loved the combat even more than 2018.”
“Kratos tells Freya about growing up Spartan, and basically describes those first 5 minutes of 300 that in hindsight encouraged a lot of [people] to think Sparta was awesome. But Kratos doesn’t relate any of it as awesome, he actually talks about how it made him hate his home, and how he didn’t think Atreus should have to grow up that way. This from Kratos, whose name I instinctively hear Linda Hunt declaring right before “will have his revenge!” This Dad of Boy Kratos doesn’t have the heavy metal grandeur of the previous trilogy, but I think he’s much more interesting to play.”
“A fantastic follow-up to one of the best games from the last generation. There were times when I thought this might vie for my top spot, but for every improvement, Ragnarok makes over GoW 2018 (scope, enemy variety, boss design), it makes an equally significant unforced error (companions spoiling puzzles, stoic characters becoming uncharacteristically quippy, small pacing issues).
These issues are enough to keep it a peg below GoW 2018 in my personal standing, but the positive aspects still strongly outweigh the negatives. It was a great ride overall.”
“New characters like Thor & Odin are truly captivating when they get screen time. I really think the delivery of both Ryan Hurst as Thor & Richard Schiff as Odin is quite frankly phenomenal. In high-tension/drama scenes, you not only get writing that is so on point that you're glued to what will be said next but what a certain character's body language will react like to a revelation, proposition or threat being made. I can equate it to something like Breaking Bad where there are longer scenes with pauses in the dialogue to really let the tension or overriding emotion settle in.”
#2… Vampire Survivors (181 pts)
Early Access Release date: December 17, 2021
Full Release date: October 20, 2022
Platforms: macOS, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Android, iOS
Did your 2022 GWJ GOTY bingo card have a year old, $3 game that averaged 4.1 active players in its launch month, where the only interaction is moving around, developed solo by a former gambling industry developer, rocketing its way up to number 2? Perhaps not as much of a surprise given it’s the third year in a row an indie takes a top-2 spot (2021 - #1 Inscryption, 2020 - #1 Hades). Developer Luca Galante’s roots in the Italian countryside and gambling industry permeate every nook and cranny of Vampire Survivors “idle” gameplay. Each interaction, from the satisfying *blip* as your auto-attacks whip out to an enemy, to the pleasureful *plink* of a gem being sucked into your pocket, or the dopaminergic phaser-beam *whoosh* with a *ding ding ding* of confetti splashing across the screen on level up, feels designed for maximum satisfaction, encouraging the player to continue engaging in self-gratification.
One of the most surprising aspects of Vampire Survivors is that Galante probably had better odds of guessing all ten numbers in Keno than drawing ace, jack in the morass that is indie video game discovery (see games released on the same day: Zephyrus Prelude, Magna Graecia, and Mines of Frostheim). An odds boost arrived in the form of a friendly Youtuber, SplatterCat, posting a video on January 6, 2022: “Vampire Survivors - Doomed Undead Horde Defense Roguelike” and soon active average players launched into the stratosphere increasing by 261,128.31%. In a video game landscape awash in free-to-play whale hunting economic models, it’s easy to envision an alternate reality where Vampire Survivors’ 20 characters are tucked away behind microtransactions and stages are bundled into map packs for sale, yet Galante has chosen a different route, releasing a $2 6-hour campaign expansion that brings the total cost of a game that takes 50+ hours to reach 100% completion to an eye popping $5.
Vampire Survivors is the Gamers with Jobs most liked game of 2022: receiving the second most total votes (30), but with the second-fewest first-place votes (1) of any game in the top 10. Our community really enjoyed slaying Castlevania-inspired mobs, stumbling into whacky weapon combo upgrades, and a few even managed to tackle the Reaper: a final boss with a health pool 655,350x the player's current level, a most infernal foe.
“The guy who asked for shorter games with worse graphics made by people who work less was asking for Vampire Survivors and he didn’t know it. Imagine creating a whole new genre with an ugly looking $3 early access game like this. It took a while to click with me, probably because I started playing a very early access version, but now it’s the perfect 30 min break. Also the best game for the Steam Deck. It was super satisfying to roll the credits and I’ll continue to play to get the unlocks I’m missing.”
- Pink Stripes
“This is such a perfect game to fire up when you have 30 minutes to kill (muahaha). I don't really understand why it is so fun other than that but I keep coming back to it.”
“Start with knowing nothing. Figure out the 6/6 limit. Figure out why that weapon changed into another one that one time. Figure out which weapons even have evolutions. Reach peak knowledge of game state. New content drops with new characters and/or weapons and/or evolutions for existing weapons and/or maps and/or mechanics. Figure out new stuff, attain mastery again. New content drops again. Repeat over and over and over.”
- Mr Crinkle
#1… Elden Ring (378 pts)
Release date: February 25, 2022
Developer: FromSoftware Inc.
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Forefathers, one and all, bear witness!
- Godrick the Grafted
The mellow grass and straw-tinged haze of West Limgrave hides the true nature of The Lands Between from ye Tarnished. The arboriform silhouette of an Ancient Tree Sentinel roaming the peripherals, a constant reminder of the majesty and maleficence seeping through the ruined landscape. An expansive vista stretches as far as the eye can see, etched by the dyads of wrath and wonder, mystery and misery. It is a land as open as it is closed. As deadly as it is welcoming. A realm rendered obsequious by the millennial strife of the Elden Lords.
"The fear simply assures me the ordeal is worth undertaking"
- Iron Fist Alexander
Mix one part a genre and category-defining developer with one part a stale, stagnant genre most known for map melange, quest ataxia, and so so so many towers to climb up and scan. Sprinkle on the world-building of a phlegmatic novelist whose last book was released 12 years ago and shake not stir with a global pandemic. There you have the improbable recipe for an enormous, industry-convulsing, culture-subverting video game that shattered records, and goaded players with a 100-hour main story and side quest pilgrimage in service of one of six distinct endings. Equal parts a magnanimous story-generating engine (I’ll forever remember the first time I stumbled across a procession of impaled ogres shepherding a carriage hearse across the dark moonlit tundra after dodging and evading a townhouse sized knight astride a truly majestic ebony knight. The fear and wonder I felt in that moment were truly magical) and a brutal, peripheral risking tribulation, FromSoftware reached the zenith of their technical, artistic, and preternatural power with Elden Ring.
"Brave Tarnished… Thy strength befits a crown"
- Hoarah Loux
Where does Elden Ring rank in the pantheon of Gamers With Jobs Game of the Year’s? It ranks #3 in raw weighted points behind #1 Breath of the Wild (2017 - 537 points) and #2 Hades (2020 - 454 points). However, when looking at vote share (weighted points / total voters) Elden Ring holds the title of highest weighted vote share at 3.50 points/voter, narrowly edging Hades at 3.47 points/voter. Elden Ring is also the fourth game published either console exclusive or by a first-party developer in the last six years to claim top spot on the GOTY list showing that the AAA console consumer segment is still a very powerful force in gaming despite the growth of the multi-platform and indie releases in the past decade.
“ In the many castles, dungeons, mines and crypts scattered throughout Elden Ring’s gorgeous world, the core gameplay I’ve come to adore in From games is present and correct. That exquisite tension as you move forward into the intimidating unknown, searching for an as-yet-undiscovered point of sanctuary. The growing stakes of each encounter as the amount of currency you’re carrying grows and your reserves of health dwindle. It’s a style of exploration that is thrilling but one that can, over the course of an entire game, become quite stressful. Thankfully, in Elden Ring, that constant low level tension is diluted by an open world in which, whilst mounted, there is always the option to gallop away from any enemies you don’t like the look of.
Retaining the core elements of the From formula whilst vastly expanding the game world in intelligent and considerate ways has resulted in Elden Ring gaining a exponentially larger audience than previous From titles. It’s been a delight to witness the game’s meteoric rise and a joy to hear the experiences of new players, to read the reviews, follow the multifarious streams and generally bask in the enthusiasm and positivity surrounding the game.”
“ FromSoft game. Although i'd play clones of the game type so kinda thought I knew what i was expecting. The sheer size of the place after you step out of the beginning dungeon is breathtaking and that just doesn't stop there. This brought back the joy of old-school MMOs that rewards exploration, but damn is this place an unfriendly place. I actually enjoy the puzzle quality of the combat. It can be very frustrating at times and unlike those old-school MMOs that would warn you what you're up against you don't really know until you're in the fight. Although many curse words were uttered, this was the most satisfying gaming experience I had in decades.”
“ If I'm being honest, while I enjoy all of the Souls games, very rarely do I find myself reaching the end of them. I end up inevitably losing steam once I hit a particularly challenging area or boss and I have a string of frustrating deaths that I just can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. And then Elden Ring came out.
And 150ish hours later, I got the platinum trophy.
(…) The open world is huge and went a long way to keeping me engaged if I was having trouble in a particular area. Instead of continuously banging my head against a boss over and over, I could just leave that area completely and explore an area of the world I hadn’t seen before. From there, I could possibly run into an NPC, a sub-boss, or a new dungeon. Just an all-around great game.”
Best VR game – Walkabout Mini Golf VR
Release date: July 2021
Developer: Mighty Coconut
Publisher: Mighty Coconut
Walkabout Mini Golf VR is a virtual reality mini-golf game that transports players to a series of exotic and whimsical environments. With a focus on realistic physics and intuitive controls, players must navigate each hole and overcome a variety of obstacles to reach the hole and sink the ball. The game features a variety of challenging courses, each with its own unique hazards and obstacles that players must overcome.
What makes Walkabout Mini Golf VR special is its use of virtual reality technology to immerse players in the game. Players can look around and interact with the world in a way that is not possible with traditional mini-golf games. With its colorful and detailed environments, challenging courses, and intuitive controls, Walkabout Mini Golf VR is an enjoyable and entertaining virtual reality experience that is sure to delight players of all skill levels.
“ On a whim, I decided to pick it up and join one of the weekly GWJ games. I'm not sure what inspired me to do that since I generally don't do online multiplayer because of my severe social anxiety. Glad I did since this turned out to be one of my favorite VR games, period. Despite the cartoony cell-shaded graphics, it feels really immersive and the physics were just right. If I screwed up a shot, it was my fault. My golfing ability starting out was laughable (and still is) but everyone was super kind and tried to show me the ropes. Another thing I really liked was in each course there was a hidden collectible ball to find at each hole. Some were easy to find and others drove me mad as I combed over the environment for several minutes. This might be recency bias but this has been a staple for me most weekends lately whether it's been with the fine people here at GWJ or my discord friends. Overall, I just want to say thanks to everyone that I played with.”
- Forlorn Hope
Best adventure game – Pentiment
Release date: November 2022
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Platforms: Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
An adventure video game set in a mysterious and atmospheric world, Pentiment has players navigate a series of challenges and puzzles to uncover the secrets of the world. The game features a unique art style, with hand-drawn environments and character designs that bring the world to life.
What makes Pentiment special is its combination of engaging storytelling, challenging puzzles, and exploration-based gameplay. Players must use their wits and observation skills to uncover the truth about the world, and the game rewards those who take the time to explore and uncover its secrets. With its captivating atmosphere, rich world-building, and challenging puzzles, Pentiment offers players an unforgettable adventure that is sure to keep them engaged and entertained from start to finish.
“ Coincidentally, I had to teach “Martin Luther and the reformation” at school to 7th graders while I was playing this at home. Whenever I opened the textbook that we have to work with, I thought that I would rather have my students play this game instead. It’s the best compliment I can give on a professional level. Pentiment manages to recreate the day-to-day plight of people living in the 16th century on almost all levels of society to a degree that is impressive and historically very sound. Even though I majored in History with a focus on High and Late Middle Ages, I learned things as well while having fun at the same time. It was a bit frustrating that there are seemingly no right answers to the murders Andreas Maler has to solve, but I guess it recreates the sensation of uncertainty that every murder detective has to endure every day.”
Best daily word game – Wordle
Release date: October 2021
Developer: Josh Wardle
Publisher: Josh Wardle / The New York Times Company
A word-guessing game that has taken the internet by storm, Wordle combined addictive gameplay and straightforward mechanics. With six chances to correctly guess a secret five-letter word randomly selected and the same for all players that day, each guess is met with feedback in the form of yellow or green letters, allowing players to make educated guesses to solve the puzzle. The game's simplicity, combined with the multitude of green and yellow blocks flourishing on our social media, made the game incredibly popular.
Lists, graphs and stats
In a smashing win, Elden Ring places first, leaving Vampire Survivors far behind and Inscryption, last year’s winner, made a repeat appearance.
Single voter games: 306 (out of 455 games total)
Most votes: Elder Ring (46 votes), runner up Vampire Survivors (30 votes)
Most #1 votes: Elden Ring (26 #1 votes), runners up with 3 #1 votes each are Disco Elysium, Ghost of Tsushima, God of War: Ragnarok, Immortality, Inscryption, Outer Wilds (including the DLC, Echoes of the Eye) and Tunic!!
A history of gaps…
The Top 30
- Elden Ring (378pts)
- Vampire Survivors (181pts)
- God of War: Ragnarok (110pts)
- Citizen Sleeper (106pts)
- Immortality (103pts)
- Stray (102pts)
- Tunic (101pts)
- Marvel Snap (93pts)
- Horizon: Forbidden West (89pts)
- Inscryption (88pts)
- Pentiment (81pts)
- Midnight Suns (68pts)
- Norco (62pts)
- Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (59pts)
- Death's Door (53pts)
- Ghost of Tsushima (53pts)
- Rogue Legacy 2 (51pts)
- Hades (48pts)
- Xenoblade Chronicles 3 (46pts)
- Spiritfarer (42pts)
- Wildermyth (42pts)
- Tinykin (42pts)
- Return to Monkey Island (41pts)
- Total War: Warhammer 3 (40pts)
- Disco Elysium (39pts)
- Deathloop (37pts)
- Final Fantasy 7 Remake (36pts)
- Neon White (35pts)
- Assassin's Creed Odyssey (35pts)
- Nobody Saves the World (34pts)
Charts and graphs galore
Not much surprise here, people are mostly voting for recent games.
The following graphs show the number of points each game acquired as time passed and lists rolled in. Each graph can be zoomed in if you open the image itself (right click and open in a new tab).
And last, but certainly not least, two visual representations of the race as the lists rolled in, one with the top ten games and another with the top twenty. Many thanks to staygold who made these gifs happen!!
The race for the top twenty:
The race for the top ten:
Staygold… For writing half the GOTY and without whom I probably never would’ve finished.
Sinatar… Who got this whole thing started. We won’t forget him.
ClockworkHouse… For keeping the GOTY going for years and trusting me with it. And, as always, for their boundless patience.
Amoebic… For keeping the trains running on time and making GWJ a truly wonderful place to be.
Thanks for your work, Eleima! And I love how we do this thing as a community.
Thanks Eleima! Always great to see what games the community enjoys the most each year.
Currently playing: Against the Storm, Raji, Trials Fusion, Jedi Fallen Order, Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales
Thanks for putting this all together Eleima and StayGold. I feel like this year I'm more out of touch with the top 10 than I have been, other than Elden Ring winning of course
One Guy, Too Many Games