GWJ Community Game of the Year

2021 Gamers With Jobs Community GOTY Awards


With another year heavily impacted by bitcoin mining, semiconductor shortages, and a pandemic (please get vaccinated and wear a mask), it’s unsurprising that the gaming landscape has somewhat shifted. Several conferences, such as E3, GDC and Gamescon, were held online. Some releases were pushed back. And yet… gaming life does still find a way.

Lucasfilm Games has been revived, bigger studios keep acquiring smaller studios, and now Netflix has entered the chat. In the midst of all the change and upheaval, one thing is certain: gaming, arguably one of the youngest hobbies, is here to stay. And it’s never more obvious than in the GWJ Community GOTY thread where 114 goodjers came forward to celebrate the 468 games that were truly special to them in 2021 (versus 131 goodjers and 487 games in 2020). As always, it’s your posts that make this event special and I heartily encourage you all to check out the thread with everyone’s lists.

Quick note before we kick off the top ten: it’s another close call this year, with a 3-point gap between the first two (not unlike 2019 and 2018). Nothing like last year’s landslide win for Hades and 2017’s Breath of the Wild win. This is me, once again, asking you folks to believe me when I say every list matters.

The top 10 of the Gamers With Jobs Community for 2021

#10… Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart (68 pts)

Release date: June 2021
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PlayStation 5

The sixteenth installment in the series, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart builds upon previous iterations, retaining gameplay elements such as strafing, gunplay, bolts, health upgrades and assorted upgrades. A few things are new, however, and not just female Lombax Rivet. Portals allow real-time near instantaneous travel between different planets and areas, using a “Rift Tether” and enhancing mobility and traversal throughout the game. The developers also incorporated some much-appreciated accessibility options. It’s no wonder this new game in this much-beloved series garnished favorable reviews, and several nods for its art direction, visual design, and original score.

“My first R&C game. I wanted to play something exclusive to my new PS5. A fun time. The gameplay is not really anything new but the visuals and tech feel “next-gen.” Kind of like playing through an animated movie.”

- steinkrug

“It's Ratchet & Clank! Has the comedy, has the graphics (understatement), has the guns (might have been some of the weakest in the series but I think they were more concerned with showing off the controller), has some of the best enemy animations, and has some of the best platforming still. Best of all, the game does what it needs to do while respecting your time. (…) R&C is just packed with action from start to finish and looks great while doing it.”

- KozmoOchez

#10… Monster Hunter Rise (68 pts)

Release date: March 2021
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Platforms: Switch, Windows

No, that’s not a mistake, it’s not a typo. There’s a tie for 10th place this year! As in previous Monster Hunter titles, this sixth installment sticks to the tried-and-true formula of… well… monster hunting! Different weapons and tools were added, survival mode Rampage was introduced, and players now also get to ride dog-like companions, the Palamutes. Taking on powerful monsters with your friends has never been this fun!

“So the vibe has changed a lot with Rise, but once I got to high rank I fell in love. Some of the old feelings I have for these games are lost in the past now, but I finally came around to the new style. Truthfully, we all just like fighting the big monsters, and Rise lets us do that without any barriers. This is a game that knows what's fun and gives that to you constantly. This is a game that finally made online accessible, and this is a series that keeps introducing more and more mechanics to play with yet somehow manages to retain the core essence of what makes Monster Hunter so special.”

- A_Unicycle

“It amazes me how they are able to take the simple concept and continually refresh it. I was worried they would take all the easy stuff from World and cram it onto the console, but they really hit that balance between quality of life enhancements and maintaining the challenge of the grind. Super happy with this.”

- Kyekye

#9… Loop Hero (75 pts)

Release date: March 2021
Developer: Four Quarters
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Switch

Once again, Devolver Digital has found an absolute gem of a game. The world has ended, and it’s up to the hero to rebuild a world obliterated by an evil lich. In this endless roguelike, each run starts with the hero following a pre-generated path in the empty landscape, slimes and survivors spawning as it unfolds. Different terrains result in different effects, and the end result is a surprisingly addictive game.

“ Another incredible rogue-esque, run-based game with a mix of temporary and permanent character improvements, and wonderful story-telling told over time. Hold on, I'll be right back after a few more loops.”

- Mixolyde

“This game offered layer-upon-layer of discovery. I felt like I was playing Sim City and Temple of Apshai at the same time. The Reese's Peanut Butter Cup of gaming this year. Yum.”

- chooka1

#8… Hades (86 pts)

Release date: September 2020
Developer: Supergiant Games
Publisher: Supergiant Games
Platforms: macOS, Windows, Switch

After its smashing success in last year’s edition, it’s no surprise to see Hades make a return appearance this year. Zagreus is (still) trying to leave the Underworld to reach Mount Olympus. Regardless of which weapon you choose, the hack and slash mechanics are dialed in. The characters and story are well crafted, in proud Supergiant tradition. With many accolades and rave reviews, the game keeps on shining in many respects, art direction, narrative, audio design. Undoubtedly, it’ll keep on being popular in the months and years to come.

“What hasn't already been said about practically everyone else's GOTY from 2020? Oh, the addition of the accessibility-friendly "Godmode" which makes the game a little bit easier every time you play making it a lot easier for us old people to get into, but still enjoy a thoroughly amazing and beautiful game. Supergiant knocked it out of the park. I might actually beat this at least once before putting it down, and that really is a testament to how good it is.”

- Mixolyde

“I didn't think it would immediately go all the way to the top and stay there. Hades was the first game I finished way back in the beginning of the year, and even now I'm just so impressed with how generous a title it is. Everything about this game shines. Graphics. Gameplay. Sound. Music. Voiceover. Story. Dialogue. RPG design. Character development. But what makes this the GoTY for me is how all of it worked together in a Roguelike format, where dying wasn't a failure state, it was the whole point of the game. I am simply in awe of how this game used each death as an iteration on character progression, NPC development, storyline advancement, introduction of new items to improve your character, home, room, weapons, relationships, and so on. Gameplay-wise, Hades fell into a repeating pattern of ’I'll just do one more room...ok I'll just do the level...well I'm so close I might as well finish the run...DAMN IT! Ok, I'm back home. Might as well check in with everyone...update my abilities...well let me just pick a new weapon...ok look if I just do the starting rooms for my next run that should be enough...(repeat)’ One thing I'd also like to point out is the differences in weapons language. Not styles, languages. Each weapon felt like it was speaking to you, shaping how you approached each run with your weapon of choice. It made you feel like a bad-ass but you had to be smart about it, because each weapon had an inherent weakness that demanded you pay attention to curating your fighting style.”

- Budo

#7… Valheim (106 pts)

Release date: February 2021
Developer: Iron Gate Studio
Publisher: Coffee Stain Publishing
Platforms: Windows, Linux

This Swedish open-world survival game took the gaming zeitgeist by storm earlier in the year. Players embody slain Vikings seeking to prove themselves worthy of Valhalla by defeating the evils inhabiting the procedurally generated world. Offering co-operative gameplay with up to ten people and optional PvP, the game cleverly meshes a skill-level system with foraging and crafting. Brandishing a spear from a Viking longship to go into battle against bosses has never been this fun.

“The Viking survival game that caught everyone by storm. It refined the experience. Where other similar games relied on tech trees to guide folks, Valheim had you rely on discovery. You didn't know what you could build until you discovered the items to make them. With bosses scattered along the way that required different ways to kill them that unlocked the secrets to the next tier, and the longer you lived and each tier you unlocked in the world increased the difficulty for you or anyone else that may be sharing the world with you. It evokes the old school feeling of old MMOs like Everquest or Asheron's call. Exploration is key. Imagine the biggest game world you've experienced and multiply it by 100 and it's still probably smaller than the world that was randomly generated for you to explore multiple unique biomes. Music is first class and mesmerizing and their unique art style with the character and environment are intentionally old school and blocky looking, but they use state of the art lighting techniques that lends a unique beauty to the world. This has truly been one of the best early access games I've ever experienced and their latest update with Hearth and Home brings a bunch of QoL changes as well as new building materials. With so many hours into this game and there's going to be so much more to experience as they keep updating.”

- ranalin

“For a few months we had a couple dozen people playing it non-stop. Even though I hardly did any building, the game's robust building physics allowed people to make some pretty creative stuff. For me, the combat and exploration was extremely fun. For the 1st time in years, a new survival game REALLY brought an air of mystery through exploration. The fact I could do it with a group of people when we were all online was even better! Some of my favorite gaming moments from the last few years for sure. No one will forget the first time they saw a troll, got killed by a troll or finally was able to kill a troll! Or that first time your buddy accidently killed you by cutting down a tree! Not bad for a game that was effectively labeled an alpha build at the time (earlier in the year).”

- karmajay

#6… Psychonauts 2 (117 pts)

Release date: August 2021
Developer: Double Fine
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Platform: Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Linux, macOS

It’s been 84 years… okay, maybe not that long since the first game of its name. 2005 isn’t far off, after all. Sadly, the sequel had been much delayed, with Psychonauts considered a commercial failure for many years after its release. Picking up immediately after the first game, Psychonauts 2 has the player control young acrobat Raz who must use his psychic abilities to put a stop to those who would use theirs to nefarious ends. The much-anticipated sequel has been very well received, receiving the “Xbox Game of the Year” at the 2021 Golden Joystick Awards.

“Honestly, I came in to this one with low expectations. The original Psychonauts is one of my favorite games but it had been so long with so many delays that I couldn't bring myself to get excited pre-release. I shouldn't have doubted it though since it was just as good if not better. It felt like no time had passed between this and the VR game which is no small feat as it picks up where they left off. 3D platformers of yore are my jam and this was just that. I had hours of fun just running around the various hub areas and collecting psi cards in-between the meticulously crafted mindscapes.”

- Forlorn Hope

“I actually finished finished Psychonauts 2, completing all the achievements. While the platforming and combat gameplay is ... serviceable, I just wanted to experience as much of the Psychonauts universe as possible. Because this game is pure genius. To my non-gaming friends I compare it to the best Pixar movies: at its core, it's a simple story about how compassion and love trumps our human flaws and mistakes. But while telling the story, Psychonauts takes you through a meticulously (and bafflingly internally consistent) world. Like a great Pixar flick the characters are flawed yet kind, and Double Fine flawlessly balances levity and profoundness, with Barthesian layers of meaning. And the innocent, colorful exterior ninjas the deeper emotional levels past my cynical middle-aged emotional defense system. This game is not just my GOTY, it's in my top-5 GOAT.”

- dejanzie

#5… Deathloop (119 pts)

Release date: September 2021
Developer: Arkane Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platform: Windows, Playstation 5

With Arkane’s track record, folks won’t be surprised to hear that Deathloop, their latest game, has been praised for its clever combination of stealth, parkour, attack skills, gadgets and guns. Assassin Colt is stuck in a time loop (yes, one of those again, but don’t knock it, it can be a useful mechanic!) and doomed to repeat that time loop until he takes out the eight targets assigned to him. Alternatively, the multiplayer component of the game allows the gamer to play as Juliana, an agent whose responsibility it is to protect the time loop and prevent Colt from reaching his targets... A Colt controlled by another player!

“The minds behind Dishonored, I was always in on day one with this one. Taking that level design & infusing it into a time loop based adventure in Deathloop was surely going to create something special & for the most part it did. I'm a big fan of game design that lets you tackle objectives in a number of different ways or methods. In the original Deus Ex it was masterfully done for its time & the two Dishonored games have the same ethos. You can find multiple entrances to buildings, find short cuts underground, through high windows or over rooftops. You can go in all guns blazing or sneak past guards, destroy cameras, use abilities that cater to different play styles. Deathloop takes this aspect & brings in a handful of different locations that have multiple times of day. The key point to note is when you revisit a location like Updaam at night (vs afternoon) it totally changes things. Streets that were teaming with guards are now relatively empty, enemies who used to be up on the rooftops are gone, buildings that couldn't be accessed open up, different events like the party are available to infiltrate. It’s very impressive.”

- Spikeout

“Looping and repeating games - not really my cup of tea, until suddenly it was. If Arkane’s next release is a golf game or a farming sim or some other genre I have no interest in… I’ll probably still be there day one.”

- Redherring

#4… Forza Horizon 5 (134 pts)

Release date: November 2021
Developer: Playground Games
Publisher: Xbox Games Studios
Platforms: Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

With a series this popular, Playground Games has naturally put much effort into this open world environment based in Mexico. With the largest map in the series, Forza Horizon 5 allows the player to race from city to volcano, beach to jungle, ruins to villages. There’s also an incredible range in car customization, and the weather effects are lovingly detailed. With several multiplayer modes, FH5 will keeping racing fans zooming around for hundreds of hours.

“A big part of it is how approachable the game is for people of all skill levels and the attention they put on accessibility features. I also cannot believe they made a battle royale with cars and it’s actually fun. The choice of Mexico as a stage is brilliant and I love the fact that they made a game based in Latin America that does not revolve around drug trafficking and/or failed democracies. I also very much enjoy going back to traffic driving on the right side of the road after being in Australia and the UK.”

- Pink Stripes

“Just fun to get in and go after some leaderboard times. I could spend an hour just trying to shave a second off my time. I don't care for some of the event types, and I'm not one to just drive around to take in the sights. The game is gorgeous and sucked me in for many hours before I just suddenly got tired of it and put it down.”

- robc

#3… Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (136 pts)

Release date: October 2021
Developer: Eidos-Montréal
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: Windows, Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Considering the popularity of the comics and films, a video game based on the Marvel superhero team Guardians of the Galaxy was bound to happen sooner or later, though it might’ve surprised some to see it take shape in the form of an action-adventure game. Praised for its goofy adventure and heartfelt story beats, the game nevertheless seems to have disappointed some with what they felt was lackluster combat. Not enough to deter our community, though! Eighteen goodjers put Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy on their list, three of them even made it their number one.

“I usually complain that videogame characters talk too much, but I loved the chatter from this group of misfits. Great VA and writing, great graphics and art, a nice old fashioned linear action adventure.”

- AcidCat

“This is my favourite Marvel thing in a long time. It’s so f*cking well written - it manages to make the personal the apocalyptic in a way that honestly puts the vast majority of the MCU to shame, It brings in the wider weirder comics influences so it can go buck-wild visually. The gameplay’s nothing revolutionary, but when everything else is so good, it really doesn’t matter.”

- Alien Love Gardener

“I loved the 2008 comics that saw Peter Quill creating his version of the Guardians, the 2014 movie reinvented the characters and brought them to a larger audience, and this years video game borrowed best of both to try to create a dazzling new interpretation. And did they frakin' nailed it! The writing is exceptional, with constant, humorous chatter among the cast that help to fully develop the characters and their relationships. The seemingly focused cast quickly grows over the course of the game to encompass many of the comic members of the Guardians both in major roles and in cameos. The various modifications that dialog choices can cause, from skipping puzzles to making fights easier, help make your decisions feel like they have some weight to them.”

- Mantid

#2… Metroid Dread (173 pts)

Release date: October 2021
Developer: MercurySteam, Nintendo EPD
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Switch

Once again, the player controls bounty hunter Samus Aran in this side-scrolling action adventure game. In addition to the free aim and melee attacks, Metroid Dread adds stealth elements to the mix, allowing Samus to hide, move quietly or camouflage with the Phantom Cloak. If caught, Samus has two chances to counter and escape, or be killed. Items, weapons and upgrades will help Samus on her journey. With the skillful meshing of returning mechanics and newer additions, the game was naturally well-received, with critics and players alike praise the exploration, progression, combat and excellent boss fights.

“After nearly 20 years, we finally got a new 2D Metroid sequel. And it does so many things right! Gameplay that deeply respects prior games in the series, yet smartly blazes new territory. Beautiful and finely-detailed graphics. Good map/level design. Tough but fair boss battles. It's probably impossible for the greatness of Super Metroid (SNES) to ever be matched again, but Dread is an excellent modern take on the formula.”

- WolverineJon

“Played through 2 times and would be playing again if I wasn’t pushing to get through a couple more games before the end of the year. This is the only game on this list I can say that about. It’s that good. Smooth, streamlined, and polished like only Nintendo (Mecurysteam with Nintendo’s support in this case) does.”

- mrtomaytohead

“It did not disappoint. Great intro, great controls, solid story without trying to do too much, or force anything. Just enough sequence breaking. Alternate boss strategies akin to grapple beam Dragyon from Super Metroid, for several bosses, and multiple sequence breaks. It's like some people who really loved Super Metroid made this game and improved on it in almost every way. And the quick saves before bosses and EMMI sections is a real time saver. Also it lets the devs tweak the difficulty up to 11 on this one because you don't frustratingly get thrown back to your last save station like the previous games (except Samus Returns). So yeah it's hard, but fair. (…) Is it better than Super? Maybe. Have to give it time before it can dethrone one of my all-time favorites. It's definitely worth playing though. Go forth and morph ball.”

- Stele

#1… Inscryption (176 pts)

Release date: October 2021
Developer: Daniel Mullins Games
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platforms: Windows

Deck-building games have been very popular in the past few years. As you might recall, Slay the Spire placed third in 2018 and Monster Train placed 17th last year. Inscryption, however, has been winning hearts and minds because it does things a little differently. Some might even say it’s almost irreverent, after a fashion. It’s very hard to speak of it in any fashion without spoiling the effect, but what it does, it does brilliantly. Although it was a narrow 3-point win, the game also secured the greatest number of votes (23), and the most “number one” spots (8). It is undeniable it will keep fascinating gamers for months to come.

“I’m a sucker for games that transform and unfold and reveal themselves as you play them. Inscryption is teeming with tricks and twists but it wouldn't work if the core card game wasn't pretty dang solid too. It nails its presentation and atmosphere, and it all works together to make something special.”

- 4dSwissCheese

“Whoa. I have been playing games since the late 70s and this game is perhaps the most creative and surprise filled game I ever played. The first third ranks high in the pantheon of my gaming experiences. Amazing. Rarely do games surprise me but this one did...again and again. Beyond the surprises I found the deckbuilding to be Goldilocks' perfect.”

- chooka1

“Okay, at this point everyone knows why this game is great, right? It’s like THE hipster darling of the year, and there’s no need for me to just say what everyone else is saying. And if somehow you don’t know anything about the game yeah, that’s actually better anyway. All you need to know is that it’s a card game, but you don’t really need to care about (or even like) card games to enjoy it. Just play it and see for yourself.”

- zeroKFE

Special categories

Best survival game – Subnautica: Sub Zero

Release date: May 2021
Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
Publisher: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
Platforms: macOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Subnautica placed 11th in 2018 and 30th in 2019. Had Subnautica and Subnautica: Below Zero been grouped together, they would’ve cracked the top ten, and that seemed a good reason to give this sequel a nod. This gorgeous open-world survival action-adventure game takes place on another alien planet where a research team has vanished. It’s up to the player to not only plumb the ocean depths but also explore the frozen lands to the north. With a day-night cycle, dynamic weather and new survival mechanics, Subnautica: Below Zero has been as popular as its predecessor.

“I LOOOOOVED Subnautica, and while this version is not quite as (heh) deep as the original (figuratively and literally) it still has plenty going for it. For one thing, the protagonist feels like an actual character this time around (and a lady to boot so - bonus points there) and her connection and growing relationship with ***SPOILER*** and where that takes the two of them in the end feels really earned and makes me hopeful that we’ll get to continue the story of these two characters in a future game. I’m a bit less enthused about the surface arctic-exploration stuff just because these games have always felt a bit cumbersome and clumsy for their “above water” stuff but the underwater side of things is still as much fun as it was in the first game. I've since played it through twice. It's a GREAT game to relax to and just do some base building in safe, shallow waters.”

- pyxistyx

Best adventure game – Life Is Strange: True Colors

Release date: September 2021
Developer: Deck Nine
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Stadia

This is the fifth game in the Life Is Strange series, a well-established adventure games series which has shown time and again that your choices really do matter. In True Colors, protagonist Alex Chen can experience the emotions of others, a useful ability as she investigates her brother’s death. It has been favorably received, with some reviewers arguing it surpasses any Life Is Strange games to date. High praise indeed.

“I am a sucker for narrative adventure games in general and the Life is Strange series in particular. This series is always just bold enough to shock me. Alex Chen's story of reuniting with her estranged brother, making her place in a new town, and solving a mystery was thoroughly engaging and fun, while also full of emotionally affecting moments.”

- mrlogical

Best coop game – It Takes Two

Release date: March 2021
Developer: Hazelight Studios
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Per the game’s title, there is no single-player option. The game must be played either locally or online by two players. Featuring several game mechanics from different genres, it all directly ties into the story and theme of each level. And only through cooperation will players progress, whatever the resolution may be.

“There are many astonishing sequences as you progress through It Takes Two and they yield equal amounts of delight and amazement. We regularly marveled at how often the developers switched mechanics and even genres and how well it all worked. I’d enjoy describing many of those sections of the game to you but, again, part of the joy of those moments is discovering them for yourself.”

- Higgledy

Best horror game with an unusually tall vampiric aristocrat – Resident Evil: Village

Release date: May 2021
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Stadia, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Set in a gorgeously snowy Eastern European village, Resident Evil: Village is much larger and more immersive than its predecessor Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. Players can now hunt, climb structures, use a photo mode, and skip cutscenes. A multiplayer mode is also available, allowing up to six gamers to play together. While critics and fans alike praised the more action-centered gameplay, eerie ambiance and intense fun, one of the more lasting elements that stood out were some very memorable characters.

“I mean, let’s be honest. I am not shy about my…er… opinion of large powerfully dominant women and I think we ALL know who I’m referring to in this case. BUT… that aside, this is a damned good Resi game. I loved the reinvention of the series that 7 brought and 8 just ramps that up to ridiculous levels. It’s definitely lost some of the actual “horror” of 7, but the bombast and spectacle of this “sequel” is just as endearing. It’s a little…randomly disjointed and as usual the more it leans into the conspiracy / mad science stuff the weaker it gets but it is still really frickin’ fun even when the story takes a nosedive near the end. But I mean where else can you play a game where you go from getting hunted through a gothic castle by Mommy Dracula to fighting discount Bloodborne Magneto with a home-made tank?
Favourite thing: large vampire mommy Doms…
...oh wait you meant in the game? In that case….
....No…wait…nope it’s the same answer. *shrug*”

- pyxistyx

Best remastered trilogy – Mass Effect: Legendary Edition

Release date: May 2021
Developer: BioWare
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

A remastered compilation of three games, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition promised to introduce new fans to the games but also allow old fans to experience beloved games anew. And though it wasn’t eligible for many people’s lists, it was still a huge hit, both within the GWJ community, but also without. The week of its release, there were over fifty-nine thousand people concurrent players on Steam. Clearly, some of the more outdated systems (like that inventory in ME1, eh?) weren’t enough to deter players from the griping space saga that is Commander Shepard’s fight to save the galaxy from the Reapers. And whether they choose Paragon or Renegade, Adept or Engineer, Spacer or Earthborn, folks will keep getting attached to their Shepard, their crew, their stories.

Lists, graphs and stats

TL;DR version

In a photo finish, Inscryption snatched the gold from Metroid Dread and Hades made a repeat appearance.

Assorted stats

It’s rare, but every once in a while, some games will place on someone’s list only to be left on the cutting room floor after an edit or two. The poor unfortunate game that got left behind this year was Rogue Company.

Single voter games: 309 (out of 468 games total)

Most votes: Inscryption (23 votes), runner up Metroid Dread (22 votes)

Most #1 votes: Inscryption (8 #1 votes), runner up Metroid Dread (6 #1 votes)

A history of gaps…

The Top 30

  1. Inscryption (176pts)
  2. Metroid Dread (173pts)
  3. Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (136pts)
  4. Forza Horizon 5 (134pts)
  5. Deathloop (119pts)
  6. Psychonauts 2 (117pts)
  7. Valheim (106pts)
  8. Hades (86pts)
  9. Loop Hero (75pts)
  10. Monster Hunter Rise (68pts)
  11. Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart (68pts)
  12. Old World (66pts)
  13. Resident Evil 8: Village (66pts)
  14. Disco Elysium (64pts)
  15. Halo Infinite (63pts)
  16. Final Fantasy XIV (61pts)
  17. Subnautica: Below Zero (58pts)
  18. Death's Door (55pts)
  19. Wildermyth (52pts)
  20. Control (49pts)
  21. Dyson Sphere Program (49pts)
  22. Forgotten City (48pts)
  23. Persona 5 Royal (46pts)
  24. Life is Strange: True Colours (45pts)
  25. Dragon Quest XI (41pts)
  26. Hitman 3 (39pts)
  27. Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous (39pts)
  28. It Takes Two (38pts)
  29. Returnal (37pts)
  30. The Last of Us 2 (36pts)

Charts and graphs galore

As is most often the case, people are mostly voting for the new hotness (with a few notable exceptions).

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:


Finally, an absolutely amazing last minute addition, this nail-biting race for the top ten brought to life with commentary by staygold!!


Sinatar… For being at the very start of this tradition. He will be sorely missed.
ClockworkHouse… There aren’t enough words to express my deep gratitude for their enduring support. This piece would not have seen the light of day without them.
Staygold… For the very nifty gifs! They’re beyond me and they bring extra life to this piece. I was absolutely blown awy by your commentary the second I heard it. Thank you ever so much.
Amoebic… For keeping the trains running on time and making GWJ a truly wonderful place to be.


Woot! Thank you so much Eleima! As always this is a wonderful summary.

Inscryption was the game I was most looking forward to playing after I finished my list, and I thoroughly enjoyed it in January. I'm already thinking about my 2022 list!

An unsurprising yet well deserved coronation for Inscryption! I wouldn't be surprised if it shows up on next year's list just like Hades showed up on this one. I'm also very happy that my GOTY made the top 5! A wonderful top 10 (or 11?) overall!

Enormous thanks for all your hard work Eleima and thanks to everyone who contributed. It’s always a delight to see what others are playing and to be reminded both of the astonishing quality, quantity and variety of games we enjoy and the wonderful diversity of our tastes.

I raise a glass (actually a cup of tea) to Sinatar.

Hey my #1 game and one of my dearest franchises gets a quote!

Thanks Eleima! This is so fun to read. Definitely knew it was close from reading the thread but amazing how close.

Edit: watched the gifs. Hades was winning for a bit? That's awesome. Still a wonderful game and anyone who hasn't tried it yet, please do.

Wow! That was a close one this year!

Thanks for putting this all together Elemia! This is something I really look forward to every year.

As always, thanks for your hard work, Eleima!

I voted for the original Subnautica this year - one day I’ll finish it and move on to Beyond Zero.

Great work, Eleima! Thanks for doing this!

Thanks Eleima for all the work you put into this. I know it's no small task to take on every year.

That being said, while I'm not surprised at the #1 being Inscryption, I'm more impressed that the voting seemed to be so close between all of the games this year. Loved seeing the time lapse for the voting, too!

To be honest I kind of forgot that Metroid Dread came out this year . Nevertheless it's good to see it so high up on everyone's list. I unfortunately wasn't able to get my vote in on time, but the top 10 (outside of It Takes Two) were basically the same. Maybe not in the exact order, but definitely all of them were on my list.

Thanks so much for sharing! It was well worth the wait!

I was very pleased to see Monster Hunter make the Top 10. In the interest of every vote counting, if I hadn't played Super Mario Odyssey for the first time last year, MHR would've been #10 all by itself by virtue of being my #1 instead of #2. Like a butterfly flapping its wings...

My 2022 list is shaping up to be a GWJ best of list. January was Metroid Dread. I, quite appropriately, started Hades on groundhog day. I also picked up Slay The Spire and Subnautica on sale over the holidays, so they're waiting in the wings (assuming I stop playing Hades - the hooks are in deep already).

Wildermyth and Deaths Door were two in the top 30 that got added to my wishlist for this year.

What a race to the finish!

Thanks for all the hard work writing this up!

Well done Mass Effect!

Damn. Hades is the only game I played of the top 11. That is not how it usually goes.
Very much looking forward to playing Inscryption. Soon'ish. But currently playing Wildermyth.

Three of my favorites made the list, two of which placed quite highly. I'm happy.

Thanks for the write-up!

Fantastic job as usual Eleima! Thank you!

Thanks Eleima!

Nice work! Love the race commentary staygold!

Well done Eleima and thank you for all your hard work! Of course this comes out on a morning where I'm already way behind on a project, but well worth the procrastination!

This is the only GOTY list that I pay attention to. Thanks, Eleima!

Great work Eleima, now go play more Mass Effect!

Awesome work Eleima and staygold! Thanks for all the blood, sweat and tears you put into it!

Once again, the list proves how out of touch I am.
Shoulda played Metroid Dread in December...

Edit: I'm actually surprised Age of Empires IV didn't make the top 30. Seems like it's really good and many of us remember the RTS era fondly. Then again, I haven't gotten around to playing my copy yet either.

Oh my, these statistics are HOT! Merci beaucoup, Eleima! Tu rouche et/ou roule (rock and/or roll ;-))

The fact that Chicory: A Colorful Tale is nowhere to be seen has me astounded.


trueheart78 wrote:

The fact that Chicory: A Colorful Tale is nowhere to be seen has me astounded.

Snub of the year for sure.

AUs_TBirD wrote:

Awesome work Eleima and staygold! Thanks for all the blood, sweat and tears you put into it!

Once again, the list proves how out of touch I am.
Shoulda played Metroid Dread in December...

You mean you were the reason Dread lost out!?

Pink Stripes wrote:
trueheart78 wrote:

The fact that Chicory: A Colorful Tale is nowhere to be seen has me astounded.

Snub of the year for sure.

Then do a better job promoting it. Unless it's that game you color what looks like coloring book scenes but the trailers make the coloring look like you will be turning out ugly atrocities left and right, I don't know what the game is. And if it is that game, I was very put off by the trailers.

mrtomaytohead wrote:
Pink Stripes wrote:
trueheart78 wrote:

The fact that Chicory: A Colorful Tale is nowhere to be seen has me astounded.

Snub of the year for sure.

Then do a better job promoting it.

Sure thing. Just let me retroactively join their marketing department and become part of the roll out. I just need to finish my time machine and I’ll get to that.


Nice work Eleima! I'll say it again but it's hard to find new spins on games that a lot of us have read about or seen others post about on this very forum. You do a stellar job at each games introduction, you come at things from a unique perspective. Cheers for the time dedicated in putting this all together.

A somewhat weaker year overall for me personally (bar my top 2 games blowing me away) the Goodjers have really pushed my interest onto Inscryption (as soon as it comes to console).

I think we're in for one of the best years ever in gaming in 2022 if every big game hits it's release window, I look forward to reading Goodjers impressions & takes on the new releases in the months ahead

I just love how Mass Effect found a way to sneak into the awards AGAIN.

This is just lovely Eleima. This is more work than what I do at my job!

AUs_TBirD wrote:

Edit: I'm actually surprised Age of Empires IV didn't make the top 30. Seems like it's really good and many of us remember the RTS era fondly. Then again, I haven't gotten around to playing my copy yet either.

Yeah, it is. It might show up next year. Personally waiting for a sale, and others I know are too.

Spikeout wrote:

A somewhat weaker year overall for me personally

Same here, though it seems the reason was that many of the good games of the year were easy to miss smaller titles.
At least that is fixable.

Spikeout wrote:

I think we're in for one of the best years ever in gaming in 2022 if every big game hits it's release window, I look forward to reading Goodjers impressions & takes on the new releases in the months ahead :)

Well yeah the PS5 should really blow us away this year. And if BotW2 really makes it in November for Switch, oh boy.

Happy to see two of my quotes used! Wish I had spent more time editing them. Thanks to Eleima and everyone else that helped. You can have my upvote!