2022 Community Game of the Year

Excellent write ups Spikeout. You have a very clear critical eye.

I may have to try Ollie Ollie World. I’ve considered buying it a few times but I didn’t get very far at all in the previous game, which gives me pause. I have heard this one is a lot more accessible. Might have to try Islets as well. I’m a sucker for a game with a Studio Ghibli inspired art style.

It is incredible that we got to 38th on the leaderboard for Orcs Must Die 3’s scramble mode. It felt like a herculean effort (combined with a heaping dollop of luck) to get to a score of five million and now we’re blazing past that and we both feel like we can still improve.

Now that the podcast is up, I can post my list! I was on the road a lot, so my gaming time was a bit limited.

1. Elden Ring
2. Immortality
3. Norco
4. Expeditions: Rome
5. Dome Keeper
6. Citizen Sleeper
7. Midnight Suns

Honorable mention/shout out to the Steam Deck & GeForce Now for keeping me going in my travels!

I really love this annual tradition, and reading everyone's picks.

Wow, just made it in time. This will be a lot of rambling since it's so close to the deadline but I'll do my best to group it with Spoiler tags.

I feel like I spend even more time on video games in 2022 than I did in the years before and my playtime already bumped up during the pandemic. One of the reasons is that I'm still working mostly from home office which resulted in more flexibility and less time commuting thus leaving more time to game. Another reason might be that I did stick with most games I played and even finished most of the ones I started.

Sifting through my Achievements/Trophies and Game Libraries on PC I played 40 games that are eligible for my top ten since I played them for the first time in 2022.

I sorted 13 of these games out since I feel I haven't spent enough time with them. I'm still stuck in the first half and I'm not sure I love them just yet. Examples include games like The Callisto Protocoll that had on my most wanted list for quite some time but effectively I only spend about an evening with it. Another game that came out the same week just completely absorbed me that made the top ten. Same goes for Return to Monkey Island, Scorn and Somerville. Can't judge them without finishing them since the final judgement will very much depend on what I think about how they wrap up their narration. So, I might sneak them in my 2023 list, who knows.

Another 9 of the games just didn't make the cut. These include mostly Game Pass games that were enjoyable but just not outstanding. This also includes games like Diablo 2 Resurrection and Borderlands 3 both of which were pure multiplayer experiences for me that were okay, but I wouldn't have stuck with if not for the chance to spend time with friends playing them.

Leaves 18 games to choose from for the top ten. Seven of which are honorable mentions that almost made the top ten. Let's start with those:


The Ninja Saviors Return of the Warriors

Impulse buy that was sitting in my wishlist on PlayStation for a while. I love the game. The moves are simple enough to be elegant but complex enough to feel modern compared to the style of game it imitates from the 80s and 90s. I can definitely recommend this one if you liked games like Shinobi in the arcade.


I'm not a cat person, so that this game the top ten might be because it did not get the cat bonus. Playing through games like God of War I often wish they would just make up their mind if they want the game to be about the combat or about the cinematic storytelling. So, I really enjoy games like this that manage to stick with the latter and keep you entertained throughout the journey they provide. And it's really good looking. However, it does nothing other games haven't done before so it didn't quite make the top 10.

Rainbow Six Extraction

This could also have been in the category of games I didn't spend enough time with to make a final call but the little time I got to play this with friends was incredible! I love these PvE style coop games and while I enjoy playing Rainbow Six, I don't enjoy playing Rainbow Six online against a bunch of sweaty tryhards. Unfortunately, my friends didn't enjoy the game as much as I did so I had to start playing games like Borderlands 3 instead which isn't bad but just not the game I like to play in a group of four as it feels like half the time you are waiting for others and half the time others are waiting for you.

TMNT: The Cowabunga Collection

I played all of these back in the day and it was fun to relive all those memories. I even still managed to beat the first level on the original Turtles game on the NES on the first try which might tell you how much time I spend with the game when it came out. I know the emulation has some input lag, but the games play well enough and they did a decent job with all the extras they added. But altogether this is mostly nostalgia and the games haven't aged too well.

Neon White

The first-person platforming is excellent, so is the level design. Unfortunately, there is this weird visual novel build around it that I never got into. After a while I just pretended it was 1993 and I had imported a Japanese SNES game and had to skip through all of the text boxes.

The Looker

It The Witness but this time it's fun and doesn't feel like a game made by aliens to test humanity. Also, it's very short. I really like short games. Everybody slightly interested in puzzle games should give this one a shot!

Andro Dunos 2

I really wanted to have a "real" Shmup on the list and give a nod to this great little game that turned out to be much more fun than Platinum's Sol Cresta. It's really good and my second most played game on the Steam Deck. It's just not as great as the Cave games I keep coming back to on my Swith, so it didn't make the top ten.

On to my Top Ten Games of 2022 then (short list with only titles at the bottom)


10: Phoenix 2, iOS

I have a tough time waking up in the morning and it usually helps staring at a screen after the alarm goes off. When I have a game that is really short session so I can make some progress in the first 10 minutes of waking up that's perfect and this fits perfectly as I already have my phone in hand to shut of the alarm. Phoenix 2 fits this perfectly and helped jump start my brain for most of the year.

It's a bullet hell Shmup that controls really well, the ships feel really unique and the three daily missions are generated from a selection of patterns that is large enough to keep the levels fresh but repetitive enough so you have a chance to learn some of the patterns and find favorite ships for different types of enemies and their bullet patterns. Since I played this mostly half asleep, I reached my skill ceiling rather quickly and never made it to the higher ranks.

The monetization is quite fair for a f2p game although it has most of the dark patterns. You can buy credits to speed up your progress, but the prices are so steep that it rather makes the progress you make without spending any money feel more valuable.

If you happen to love shmups and are looking for a short session mobile game give this one a shot!

09: TMNT: Shredder's Revenge, Game Pass

This was sitting at the top of my most wanted list for 2022 and it did deliver everything I wanted it to deliver. It just didn't do some things as well as another beat 'em up higher on the list.

It also really sucked that switching between playing on Xbox and PC often resulted in a complete loss of all my progress. This is why I never leveled all characters to the max and didn't play this as long as I might have if that bug didn't intervene. I also feel some of the levels aren't really fun to replay or at least become quite repetitive after you've seen through them 2 or 3 times.

08: Marvel Snap, iOS/Steam

Boy, do I love this game and man, do I hate its monetization especially how they decided to design the acquisition of new cards! The game itself feels fresh and is so much fun but the whole economy they build around it feels humiliating and predatory. It's basically Skinner Box Game Design 101.

This replaced Phoenix 2 in my morning routine and I've been playing daily since its release in October. This could be much higher on the list if it had less f2p bullsh*t and dark design patterns that interfere with what is usually fun for me in card games: getting new cards and trying different decks. I'm inclined to stop playing it because it pisses me of when I get stomped by meta decks in the upper part of the latter in the second half of the month and you can't even put a number on the cost of a card you want to build a new deck.

But if you can ignore the f2p bullsh*t there is a great game underneath that's really fun until you reach higher ranks. I just hope more people playing this feel exactly like me and don't spend a cent on any of the overpriced bundles, so the developers have to take a U-turn in a couple of weeks (not likely though, let's be realistic here). My biggest (realistic) hope for the game right now is, that they add a non-ranked mode.

07: Vermintide 2, PC/Steam

A friend of mine played this almost exclusively and there was a Humble Bundle, so I decided to give it a go and I have to admit: This is a great game if you have the chance to play with 2 or 3 friends!

The combat mechanics are simple to learn and hard to master and the learning curve can be really off-putting so playing with friends is a must for me, but if you're willing to do the deep dive it's really rewarding to beat the higher levels.

We moved on to Darktide, but I haven't played that more than two or three session which is not enough to decide if Darktide beats this one on the long run.

06: Vampire Survivors iOS/Steam

This is my most played game on Steam Deck and most of the time I spend playing it I was recovering from Covid. Since I was quarantined and didn't have anything else to spend my time with, I allowed the addiction to happen. Fortunately, I ran out of things to do and never got back into the game with newer updates. Once it has you hooked it has you hooked. Handle with care!

If Marvel Snap demonstrates everything wrong with the game industry right now this is the silver lining on the horizon. They even give away the game for free on mobile and keep providing new content without additional cost.

05: Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin, PS5

I didn't expect to like this, but I played the demo and got hooked instantly. I haven't really played any of the recent Final Fantasy games or any JRPG with similar combat systems so maybe I'm overrating this blend of action and stat based combat, but it worked really well for me.

I also liked that there's no world to run around in and the game just lets you hop from dungeon to dungeon. I had a ton of fun unlocking and leveling all the jobs and toying around with possible combinations. So much I actually did stick around for the end game after the story.

Plus, I did like the storytelling. I feel most games are too talkative and dialogue heavy and this one has a main character that mostly grunts and growls and reminds everyone that the game is about beating stuff up.

04: Elden Ring, PC/Steam

This is everybody's game of the year, right? Everybody loves Elden Ring to bits, right? It's just perfect, isn't it? Well, it's not my game of the year although it's the first From Software game I played from start to finish. I really loved the first half of the game. I was surprised how well the blend of Dark Souls and Breath of the Wild worked out. I had fun exploring the world, leveling my character, trying different weapons and setting for a build to beat the rest of the game with.

Then there's the second half of the game where I was hoping that this would be the last area and the game just dragged on and on. It didn't help that From Software decided to "balance" the build I had settled on and eventually I finished the game on a machine that didn't have the patch even if it meant losing a couple of hours of progress.

So, if the game had ended at the first visit to the Royal Capital it probably would have been GotY for me, too. This way it's just a great game that felt too long for me.

03: God of War Ragnarök, PS5

It's absurd that this isn't my number one game. It's such a great game and I enjoyed playing it so much that I can't believe there are two games I enjoyed even more!

I think in retrospect I liked the predecessor more. The whole Kratos as a dad thing worked a lot better there. Teenage Atreus just had me roll my eyes a couple of times. Then there's the whole open-world-style-go-to-all-the-icons-on-the-map content that I absolutely didn't care about and made me with this was just old school God of War Action and less Assassins Creed.

02: Final Vendetta, Switch, Steam, PS5

I'm a sucker for old school arcade games. I just don't like the commitment many games require to finish them. It took me close to 100 hours to finish Elden Ring which I feel is just obscene. I wouldn't mind if I could have a game like God of War in bite sized Episodes that I can manage to finish over a weekend. I know that if I drop a game like Elden Ring or God of War for two or three weeks, I'll never get back into it because I have a hard time to remember what all the buttons on the controllers do, what weapon to use on which enemy and where I have to go next.

Enter Final Vendetta. It might be the best belt scrolling beat'em up ever made. It basically takes Final Fight and improves every aspect of it. The characters are all viable, there are no downtimes and you can speed up your progress through the level mostly as you see fit and they really nailed the mechanics.

I love that they don't let you credit feed through the game and you really have to earn beating it by learning the levels. It's so rewarding to make it a little further each try and you can beat the game in under an hour.

I enjoy the game so much that I bought it on Steam, PlayStation and Switch and just keep getting back to it again and again. I hope there will be a sequel some day.

01: Marvel Midnight Suns, PC/Steam

I just finished the game yesterday. It's an odd pick for game of the year because if you try to be objective there's a lot to pick apart here. The story is fine for a game or comic book but not outstanding in any way. Some of the dialogue is actually terrible. The faces are straight out of the uncanny valley. The balancing is a little off so when you try and keep up with all upgrades in the first half there's not much to do in the second half and the higher difficulties require you to abuse certain mechanics so there is not much of a discussion what is the best build for any of the characters.

BUT if you have a soft spot for everything Marvel, deck building, turn based strategy and can see past the cheesy friendship sim dialogues the game offers such a great combination of combat and doing stuff in the hub level. And both loops integrate really well with another.

It also plays well in shorter sessions. Where games like God of War make me feel that I either have to stick with them if I ever want to make it to the credits, I had no issue pausing to play this over the holidays.

Lastly this is the first game I played on my GeForce 4090 with everything including Raytracing turned up to 11 and the lighting, the effects and environments just look amazing. In that regard it's the first game that visually felt truly next gen for me.

I hope my rambling made sense to anyone making it through the whole wall of text

Here's the only titles list for Eleima:


01: Marvel Midnight Suns
02: Final Vendetta
03: God of War Ragnarök
04: Elden Ring
05: Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin
06: Vampire Survivors
07: Vermintide 2
08: Marvel Snap
09: TMNT: Shredder's Revenge
10: Phoenix 2

Certis wrote:

4. Expeditions: Rome

One of us!

Sadly, I read a few days ago that the studio behind has closed down
Or rather, to make it worse, was merged into some other company, to make NFT mobile games...

MEATER wrote:

Final Vendetta

Thanks for making me aware of this game, since I've been loving Streets of Rage 4 and TMNT Shredder's Revenge (among others) these past 2 years.

Watching the trailer, the characters seem like reskins of Axel, Blaze, and Max from Streets of Rage 2, based on their move sets on display.

Shadout wrote:
Certis wrote:

4. Expeditions: Rome

One of us!

Sadly, I read a few days ago that the studio behind has closed down
Or rather, to make it worse, was merged into some other company, to make NFT mobile games...

This sucks.

And looks to be accurate.

Higgledy wrote:

Excellent write ups Spikeout. You have a very clear critical eye.

I may have to try Ollie Ollie World. I’ve considered buying it a few times but I didn’t get very far at all in the previous game, which gives me pause. I have heard this one is a lot more accessible. Might have to try Islets as well. I’m a sucker for a game with a Studio Ghibli inspired art style.

It is incredible that we got to 38th on the leaderboard for Orcs Must Die 3’s scramble mode. It felt like a herculean effort (combined with a heaping dollop of luck) to get to a score of five million and now we’re blazing past that and we both feel like we can still improve.

Cheers Higgledy!

I'm actually so excited to try to break into the top 20 & I think we've a decent amount of experimenting with traps still to try out.

Olli Olli World is very easy to get into. It's a very pick up & play game, then you can go as deep as you want with the mechanics. I'll have to share play it with you one of the days we're on together.

Oh yeah bravo to staygold, the write up for Neon White that was bloody amazing. That & Final Vendetta are now both on my radar.

Here we go

1. Citizen Sleeper
2. Immortality
3. Dome Keeper
4. PowerWash Simulator
5. Vampire Survivors
6. Bear & Breakfast
7. V Rising
8. Norco
9. As Dusk Falls
10. Rollerdrome

Honorable Mentions:
Tactics Ogre: Reborn
Dome Keeper
Tiny Tina Wonderlands
Elden Ring
Patrick's Parabox

Love reading everyone's lists as always! Managed a pretty good year of gaming personally and was happy to get to a number of games I'd been meaning to try for years now.

  1. Stars in Shadow - What a fantastic fast-paced 4X that's still filled with crunchy decisions. Hit an absolutely perfect sweet spot for me.
  2. Crusader Kings III - After playing Paradox games regularly since EU2, I finally got around to trying CK this year and enjoyed it quite a bit. The Middle Ages still aren't quite my thing compared to the eras of their other games, but there's a reason this series is so popular.
  3. Titan Quest: Ragnarock - Clocking in as my most played game of the year on Steam. Always enjoy more Titan Quest and thought the new expansion was well done.
  4. Master of Magic: Caster of Magic - Caster of Magic originally started as a mod for OG MoM, but it was recently packaged into an official expansion release sold on Steam. It has a huge number of well thought out balance fixes and most importantly makes the AI actually quite capable.
  5. Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes - Another fantasy 4X that has been on my Steam pile for almost a decade now. Glad to see that Elemental ended up in a pretty good place with this one.
  6. Regiments - Streamlined real-time wargame that won me over with its fun campaign and good mission design.
  7. Warhammer 40k: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters - Space Marine X-COM, what more could you ask for?
  8. Interstellar Space: Genesis - I never really played MOO2, so it was interesting to try this one that is directly inspired by it. Didn't reach the heights of Stars in Shadow for me, but definitely enjoyed and would like to come back to.
  9. Half-Life: Alyx - Best VR game for me by far that was worth the price of an Oculus on its own.
  10. Distant Worlds 2 - Bit of a disappointment considering that the original Distant Worlds is my favorite space 4X, but my experience was impacted by a ton of technical issues. Looking forward to coming back to it in a year or two when things are in better shape and they've had a chance to release an expansion.

Honorable Mentions
Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes - I still play this dumb/amazing game more than anything else, with no real signs of slowing down.
Farthest Frontier - nice potential in Early Access and looking forward to it improving.
Battlefield 1 - actually played a multiplayer shooter for the first time in years! Fun, but was just stopping by as a tourist.

After a string of new releases to start the year, it turned out to be kind of a weird year in games for me.

1. Elden Ring - I was hooked from the start, and spent nearly half of the year doing everything I cared to do in one glorious wandery playthrough.
2. Tunic - Only saved from being ignored for Elden Ring by the fact that I'd been anticipating this release for years, and so glad I didn't miss it. Loved solving the puzzles enough that I'm still wondering if this should be my #1.
3. Ghost of a Tale - Just a lovely game in all aspects. Wish I thought we'd see a sequel.
4. Infernax - Totally unexpected joy from a game that I expected to spend an hour with and move on.
5. Kings Quest VI - Dangling participle. Enough said.
6. Realms of the Haunting - I can't even describe what I saw in this game, beyond a lot of very cheesy 90s FMV goodness. Such a weird experience.
7. The Darkside Detective - A delightful game to unwind with.
8. Under a Killing Moon - Sooo many rough spots, but it hit the FMV spot I was looking for.
9. Kings Quest V - Overshadowed by VI to be sure, but still enjoyable.
10. The Pedestrian

benign1 wrote:

10. The Pedestrian

So glad to see this pop up. I downloaded it on a whim last night as it was in my psplus catalogue and it’s just delightful. I suspect it might make my list in 2023

benign1 wrote:

5. Kings Quest VI - Dangling participle. Enough said.

It's been a bit of a week, so I'm super glad to be here, and finally catch up. That's it the POLLS ARE CLOSED!
Big thank you to Feeank, Blackice, merphle, deftly, Redherring (remember to choose your tag!), staygold, Stele, Spikeout, Certis, MEATER, Amoebic, Gunner and Benign1 for your lists!! That gives us a total of 456 games and 108 gamers! Pretty awesome, thank you all!!!

And I have to say I appreciate us closing with King's Quest. The Dangling Participle may very well be my favorite critter in KQ6. <3

Alright, time to get cracking, I'll try and get this out as soon as I possibly can.

AUs_TBirD wrote:
MEATER wrote:

Final Vendetta

Thanks for making me aware of this game, since I've been loving Streets of Rage 4 and TMNT Shredder's Revenge (among others) these past 2 years.

Watching the trailer, the characters seem like reskins of Axel, Blaze, and Max from Streets of Rage 2, based on their move sets on display.

You're welcome Really can't recommend Final Vendetta enough! Also works great with a friend via the Steam remote play together feature btw.

If you like these old school style games in general, check out the developer Bitmap Bureau's other game Xeno Crisis. It's not a beat em up though but a single screen 360 degree shooter like Super Smash TV.
The interesting thing about their games is that they are designed to run on original 16-bit hardware. In case of Xeno Crisis it's the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive in case of Final Vendetta it's the Neo Geo. So they deliver a lot of the old school vibe and none of the little cheats that many contemporary retro style games come with like rotating pixels.

And you're probably right. I haven't really played any Streets of Rage games besides 1 and 4 and I guess Final Vendetta reminded me of Final Fight first and foremost because of the setting especially the subway stage. It plays different from SoR 4 since you can sprint though which is what puts it above SoR 4 in my book because it allows you to speed through the earlier stages that you already know well enough.

Eleima wrote:

Alright, time to get cracking, I'll try and get this out as soon as I possibly can.

Thanks for all your hard work on this! I really enjoy going through this thread every year!

MEATER, great list. A lot of overlap in interests. If it's not abusing the thread, any quick tips for Midnight Suns? I'm about four hours in.

Final Vendetta...intrigued!

chooka1 wrote:

MEATER, great list. A lot of overlap in interests. If it's not abusing the thread, any quick tips for Midnight Suns? I'm about four hours in.

I took my time in the first act and grinded some of the generic missions in order to get the forge upgraded. This went a long way as they do not add that much to research in act 2 and 3. So if you're not too bored fighting the same enemies for a while I can recommend this especially if you're struggeling with figuring out the strength of each hero.

The upgrade I used most is the card crafting with blueprints (that you can grind from generic missions) to upgrade the hero decks I liked to use most more quickly and the combat therapy that let's you heal injured heroes faster. Most of the other upgrades were pretty redundand. Even the item bench that let's you craft combat item cards I only used for one item: Draw two cards (in the item bench on the common tier, so the item bench itself is worth building but iirc it's part of the tutorial but I might mix that up with something else). The other one I found usefull was the the heal hero for 50% item (which is a potion to brew in the cauldron in the library and is unlocked by overal progress in the abbey).

Other than that I did switch heroes fairly often to get the hang of each of them as the mission and injuries often force you to go with certain heroes.

If you have specific questions just send me a pm

benign1 wrote:

4. Infernax - Totally unexpected joy from a game that I expected to spend an hour with and move on.

Thanks for reminding me, completely forgot about this game! Only played for an hour or so but it was right up my alley, being a big fan of these retro style games and this plays like an original NES game! I hope it's still on game pass!

I'll have to start digging through the thread now, bet there's a ton of other games worth checking out!

Finally, the writeup to my list several pages back. No rankings were changed.

2022 was a year I took care of unfinished business - major titles I've worked on for years, if not decades, were finally beaten. Others I made some progress on. Additionally, I played some amazing recent titles (in part thanks to building a new PC), somewhat relived "the glory days" with Quake 1 Threewave CTF, spent some memorable time in VR, experienced several 25+ year old titles for the first time, and had some amazing new retro co-op fun with my kids. It was also a year with returns to beloved game worlds that haven't had sequels for many a year (see picks 1, 4, 5, 6). All in all, a very good year in gaming for me.
This year I finished 52 games (including individual episodes in Minecraft Story Mode) and generally had fun doing it. On to the rankings!

Short list of the top 10 games that were new, or mostly new to me (meaning I played a bit in the past, bounced off, but truly "discovered" the game now) in 2022 (bold denotes beaten):
1. Psychonauts 2 (2021)
2. Control (2019)
3. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (2019)
4. Metroid: Dread (2021)
5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge (2022)
6. Return to Monkey Island (2022)
7. Wordle (2022)
8. Astro Bot Rescue Mission (2018)
9. NORCO (2022)
10.Bowser's Fury (2021)

All other "new" games ranked:


11. Road 96 (2021)
12. Papo & Yo (2012)
13. The Darkside Detective (2017)
14. Alan Wake (Remastered) (2010)
15. Battlefield 1 (2016)
16. Paper Beast (2020)
17. DUSK (2018)
18. Attentat 1942 (2017)
19. Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) (2014)
20. Minecraft: Story Mode season 2 (2017)
21. Close to the Sun (2019)
22. A Short Hike (2019)
23. Battlefield 4 (2013)
24. Comix Zone (1995)
25. Panzer Dragoon Remake (2020)
26. Castle of Illusion (1990)
27. TMNT III: The Manhattan Project (1991)
28. 3 out of 10 (season 1 and 2) (2020 & 2021)
29. Dragon's Crown Pro (2013)
30. Samorost 3 (2016)
31. King’s Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow (1992)
32. Delores: A Thimbleweed Park Mini-Adventure (2020)
33. Tembo the Badass Elephant (2015)
34. World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck (1992)
35. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992)
36. King's Quest V: Absence makes the Heart go Yonder! (1990)
37. Deathspank (2010)
38. AER: Memories of Old (2017)
39. In My Shadow (2021)
40. Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion (2020)
99. We Met in May (2019)

"Old" games I played a significant amount of in 2021:


Assassin's Creed Odyssey (2018, PS4) - would've been ranked in the top 5 if it were eligible. Took my savegame (from 2018-end of 2021) from 43 to nearly 200 hours this year, and I still have several hours to go in the Atlantis DLC (only on episode 1).

The Witcher: Enhanced Edition (2007, PC) - would've been ranked around number 10 if it were eligible. Played this intensely in 2007/08, but stalled out in chapter 3. Restarted this year and plowed through. Planning to start and finish The Witcher 2 in 2023.

Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams (2001, XBox) - would've been ranked between 15 and 20 if it were eligible. I've been declaring this at least once a year for around a decade in the pile threads. Finally stuck with it at the end of this year. Still an ambitious game by todays standards; I just always chose something shinier to play instead. Finished it just in time ...for the remaster, it seems.

Quake Champions (2017, PC) - another 120+ hours this year. Got the last of all the achievements I'm likely to ever get (the final two seem nigh-impossible to me). It's still lacking (nearly) any sense of community for me, but I can't deny that the gameplay is very good, especially since I've gotten pretty decent at it. Can't believe they still haven't fixed the long standing issue of bots getting stuck in several maps, though.

Quake Remastered (1996/2021, PC) - they officially released a (limited) version of Threewave CTF for it this year, which was a great deal of fun for a few evenings before the servers disappeared again. Unfortunately, it didn't include my favorite map, ctf4 "The Forgotten Mines".

Fire Emblem (2003, GBA) - Worked on this game on three different continents since early 2004. I completed 3 more missions this year, but am stuck on chapter 25, as most battles past chapter 20 or so have been extremely challenging. Not sure I'll ever finish, but I remain hopeful.

Shining Force (1995, Genesis) - I had made it almost all the way to the end back in high school, when I borrowed the cartridge from a classmate. As it's part of the included games on the Mega Drive mini, I restarted this easy-mode Fire Emblem and enjoyed the few hours I played of it. Maybe I'll finally see the credits in 2023.

Minecraft (2011, PC) - Got back into this for a while thanks to my oldest discovering it. First time I played since 2013 or so, and...a lot has changed. Shout out to the amazing builds on the GWJ server!

Detailed Top 10:


1. Psychonauts 2

What an astounding sequel to a 16 year old game (ignoring the VR-only Rhombus of Ruin, which is also very much worth playing). Raz is now officially a Psychonauts intern, but once again saves everyone's bacon through a dozen incredibly imaginitive worlds minds. An absolute joy to play, Psychonauts 2 was also an absolutely gorgeous emotional rollercoaster ride, tackling tough topics in not only humorous, but incredibly sincere ways. There's almost nothing I can complain about, and the fact that I got very close to doing everything possible in the game over the course of 29 hours is proof of that.
Also, it has not one, but TWO lighthouses in the game, so you know it has to be good.

2. Control

I waited to play Control until I had a new PC capable of running it at max settings, and in many ways I'm very glad I did. On the other hand I'm annoyed that I waited so long, as Control is just shockingly good. Combat using Jesse's various powers is just nigh-perfect, the Oldest House may be one of the best settings in gaming, the use of 60's/70's technology contrasting with the supernatural is fantastic, and Ahti....oh, Ahti. You are my new favorite video game character.
Little touches, like the main characters faces (which are apparently modeled on real people) almost always looking just slightly...off..., and having the hiss controlled humans all chanting in German (an unintentional effect of Steam setting the game language based on my IP, I guess) while everything else was in English, really drove the strangeness of the setting home.
Combat simply leaves areas devastated, and Jesse's powers really mix things up. It doesn't get much better than throwing chunks of building at enemies, and the associated sounds are just perfect. As great as the standard encounters tend to be, some special encounters and sections take it to yet another level - see: Ashtray Maze and capturing the Projector (DLC).
This game...was...AWESOME!

3. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

It's a Symphony of the Night style Castlevania in every way except for the name and the whip, and the first one like it I've played through in nearly 10 years (not counting Order of Ecclesia, which has so far been too difficult to get far in). Bloodstained was my favorite game of the year until Control came around in May. The atmosphere and feel were great, progression satisfying, and the little retro-section a joy to play. Near the end, when you're fully powered up, you're just zooming all across the map and it's incredible. The music - one of the most important parts of a Castlevania game - is also spot on, since they hired the same composer to do it. I can't wait for the sequel!

4. Metroid: Dread

It's really annoying that there are so few 2D Metroid games, but if I have to wait several years between releases to maintain this level of quality, then that's a price I'm willing to pay. Dread really delivers on its name during the EMMI sections, and it's very satisfying when you finally take one out, opening up more of the huge world to (relatively) safe traversal. It's a beautiful game, with great action, tight controls (except for the instant-shinespark move...I never figured that one out), and a near perfect challenge. Only the final boss presents a dramatic difficulty spike, but I managed to overcome even him....after sleeping on it. My only real complaint are the one-way doors, which mean huge detours even late in the game when it doesn't really make sense anymore to force Samus through specific sections.
Looking forward to Samus' next 2D adventure in 5 or so years.

5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge

My GOTY 2021 was Streets of Rage 4, an amazing continuation of one of my favorite side scrolling brawler series. Shredder's Revenge is an amazing continuation of my favorite side scrolling brawler series. So much fun was had in the past decades with The Arcade Game and Turtles in Time, and Shredder's Revenge is more of that with a great layer of 2022 polish on top. It was the game that got my kids into the Turtles, and was awesome to beat up foot soldiers together with them in numerous sessions of couch co-op. Too bad for Shredder's Revenge that the competition was so strong this year.

6. Return to Monkey Island

Who knew this was coming? Not me, and suddenly, it was here - and by Ron Gilbert, no less! Wonderful "Return to (the world of) Monkey Island", featuring (almost) all the important characters, though a few seem a bit underutilized. The art style was initially a turnoff, but grew on me quickly once all the nostalgia had seeped into every pore. RtMI lets us relive memories at every turn, features great humor, and has fun puzzles with a built-in hint system should you need it (I did a few times). It was also a fairly melancholy experience, as the passage of time is clearly visible in every character's face and in every location. It's a great (apparent) sendoff for the series

7. Wordle
(Warning: strong language)

Such a simple yet fascinating little puzzle game that has occupied me once a day for most of the year. Some puzzles are annoying when you have most letters of a word, 5 potential correct answers left, but only 4 chances. That's the luck of the draw, I guess. My main annoyance is that you can't skip a day and keep your win streak, so I've lost two streaks of over 60 wins (and one of 41 just a few days ago) simply by forgetting to play for a day. That doesn't stop me from coming right back to try to reach 100 yet again.

8. Astro Bot Rescue Mission

This must be what pure joy feels like. Astro Bot is the super-cute not-mascot-that-should-be-mascot for Sony. A PSVR-only experience, you guide Astro through dozens of short platforming levels, trying to rescue his friends and help them rebuild their spaceship. Rescue Mission makes excellent use of the VR hardware, as you have to look in every direction, or even adjust your position to be able to see paths, collectibles and bots in need. Everything is just so adorable, happy, and fun. Often the only reason I stopped playing was because I began feeling queasy, but I left every game session with a smile.


I'm still not entirely sure what parts of this game were about, but the surreal vision of a not-so-distant future New Orleans, commentary on rampant capitalism, letting technology dictate our lives, and a search for meaning provides some good food for thought. At times the themes are taken to seemingly absurd extremes, but recent history has shown that what is unthinkable one day can become reality the next.
Norco, as grotesque as its simple art style tends to be, manages to evoke a sense of place stronger than many AAA games manage, and it was a treat to see a reasonable facsimile of a place I've been to (Kenner Mall) recreated in a game. A feeling of misery pervades, broken up by moments of dark humor. All in all, an experience that should not be missed.

10. Bowser's Fury

Unlike Mario 3D World, which it is packaged with, Bowser's Fury is not a great co-op game. It is, however, a fairly short Mario experience that is lots of fun alone, and more cats in Mario is always a good thing. Bowser's Fury looks great, plays great, and has some really fun worlds. I enjoyed the new gameplay tricks - especially Bowser interrupting whatever you're doing, often at really inopportune moments. As he blows his top with increasing frequency, the tension mounts until the big fight is unavoidable (like, it's nearly impossible to get many more than half of the 100 shines before the final fight). A great way to spend an afternoon or three.

Numbers 11-20:


11. Road 96

You're a random teenager trying to escape your oppressive, oil-rich desert country (reminiscent of the American Southwest), by any means necessary. You might succeed, or you might fail. And then you're another random teenager, starting from a different place, attempting the same feat, meeting some of the same characters as the first teen as well as encountering new ones. And then you're another teen. And another, and another, and another, and while your individual stories remain somewhat insignificant, the overarching one becomes more and more fleshed out.
Road 96 really manages to recreate the feel of a road trip, with moments of joy and wonder, tension and fear. And then there is an insane limo ride that I will never forget. All of it presented in a wonderful art style and accompanied by a banging soundtrack. Highly recommended.

12. Papo & Yo
Potential trigger warning for the trailer regarding an alcoholic and abusive parent.

Papo & Yo is stunning parable about a boy's struggle with his alcoholic and abusive father, and how he overcame that trauma. Based on the creator's real experiences and set in favelas of South America, it's a very different and heartfelt experience. Some simple puzzles create impressive results (one moment near the end made my jaw drop) and a killer soundtrack round out the package. Unfortunately, it still has some technical flaws 10 years after release, but those were minor annoyances overall.

13. The Darkside Detective

I love the witty and sweet writing of this light adventure game. The bite-size ("fun size"?) cases are great, puzzles logical, callbacks to classic adventure games plentiful, puns on various pop culture elements well done, and the seemingly lo-fi graphics work incredibly well. I also appreciated the various one-off puzzles that were completely different from everything else in the game; they were a great way to keep things fresh.

14. Alan Wake (Remastered)

The thing that got me to finally play Alan Wake after a decade on the pile was wanting to be prepared for Control's AWE dlc. I'm glad I had that little push, because Alan Wake is a pretty great experience. The combat is sub-par, let's not beat around the bush. You do the exact same few things throughout pretty much the entire game (though the DLC "The Signal" mixes things up a little bit). The intentionally hammy story provides a good framework for all of the action to take place, but the star of the show is the atmosphere AW creates; more than a decade after its release, it's one of the most intense I've experienced in gaming.

15. Battlefield 1

Speaking of intense, how about Battlefield 1's opening mission? Wow! Much of BF1 really drives home the horror of war, albeit still in a no-risk, sanitized video game form. Impressive set pieces, decent mini-stories, and lots of historical factoids I knew nothing about (like the Black-Tom explosion in New York, 1916), make for the best historical arcade-style war fps I've played in a long time.

16. Paper Beast

Origami animals on desolate, shape-changing worlds in VR. Utterly bizarre and totally fascinating. It's a short but slow experience and I'm not sure what exactly it was trying to say, but I really dug it.

17. DUSK

It took me until halfway through episode 2 of DUSK to really warm up to it, and that's not entirely the fault of the art style. Enemy and level design up until then just wasn't very interesting to me, and I got stuck on the environment multiple times.
And then, it felt like a brand new set of level designers took the reigns and pumped out one jaw-dropping stage after another, with new weapons, abilities and unique puzzles. The barely extant story suddenly takes form in episode 3, and manages to provide a few surprises as well.
If you like this type of FPS, stick with DUSK until it gets good, or, even better, skip episode 1 entirely. The second half is a really good game.

18. Attentat 1942

An important game about trying to piece together what happened to your father during the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi appointed governor of the occupied Czech lands. You interview real actors playing actual survivors of the time (based on real testimonies), and play mini-games that teach the player more about the time. For example, you have to get rid of various potentially problematic items that could get you in trouble before the apartment is searched, and learn after each choice if you guessed correctly. The sequel, Svoboda 1945, is in my lineup for January.

19. Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna)

This one's a charmer! I knew nothing about Never Alone going in, other than you're in the snow, with a fox, it has "weird words" in the title, and it's short.
Think of a narrated LIMBO, but you're in frozen Alaska, playing through a real story of the Iñupiat - a first nations people. For most of the game you can switch between two characters (Nuna, the little girl, and her companion, a snow fox) to use their unique skills to overcome challenges and progress the story. In the process, you unlock "cultural insights" - absolutely fascinating videos about the life, culture and history of Iñupiat people. I learned much about about a world I knew next to nothing about.
I'm finding I really like games that teach me about real life things (see also Battlefield 1 and Attentat 1942).

20. Minecraft: Story Mode season 2

I liked season 1's story-based take on Minecraft, with its relatable characters, interesting world and the battle against the Witherstorm. Season 2 picks up an indefinite amount of time later, when season 1's characters are heroes that have mostly settled down into semi-mundane lives. That is, until one day, Jesse (player character voiced by Patton Oswalt) and Petra go off on an adventure, find a mysterious gauntlet, and all heck breaks loose. Now, Jesse must assemble a (mostly) new cast of heroes, including his assistant Radar, who bears quite a few similarities to his M.A.S.H. counterpart.
You know the drill. It's a Telltale game not long before they went bust, but when they were putting out some quality stuff at the cost non-stop crunch. It's solidly in the upper-middle of their catalog, and you'll have a good time for the 9 or so hours it takes.

Numbers 21-30:


21. Close to the Sun

This is not Bioshock without the combat! Honest!
Nikolai Tesla's gigantic ship, the Helios, is architecturally absolutely stunning, and I got to explore it in this horror walking-simulator with puzzles and chase sequences. Early on my character's (Rose's) reactions to what is happening around her seem pretty unbelievable, but that corrects itself as the game goes on. The jump scares get a little old - especially light bulbs that blow out right next to you - but they also become fewer in number as the story begins to take off. At times, Close to the Sun really manages to turn the creep factor up, and at other times, the believability of the world is slightly marred (food that's been lying around for days still looks pristine, a shocking amount of wood flooring/wall paneling/etc used in sections where it seems like a majorly bad idea to do so, why can't Ada step over ankle-high obstacles?).
Overall, it was a tense, intriguing, and visually jaw-dropping experience that seems heavily influenced not only by Bioshock, but also Outlast. Little niggles hold it back, but I can definitely recommend spending 7ish hours with it.

22. A Short Hike

A sweet, no-stress way to end a day. It's a wonderfully charming exploration game with a good sense of progression during its 90 minute run, including an ending I did not see coming. The extremely low-fi art style in some way manages to be quite beautiful. Contrary to my completionist tendencies in other games, my Short Hike did not include every possible activity on the island, and that's somehow fine.

23. Battlefield 4

I was very torn about starting BF4 this summer - is it in bad taste to play a modern military FPS considering current events? At the same time I wanted an outlet for my frustrations regarding that situation. Moments after starting the campaign, I'm fighting soldiers with Russian flags on their arms, since Russia has somehow managed to take over large parts of the world in this game. It didn't take long for my brain to shut off and catharsis to win out over feelings of unease regarding the content.
Shutting off my brain was definitely a good thing anyway, since the campaigns story is absolutely braindead, full of overused cliche's, painfully awkward dialog at times, and "emotional" scenes completely failing at stirring any emotion. Also, nearly a decade after release, I still encountered an inexcusable number of major and minor bugs. Still a pretty good time in the expected "dumb action movie" sense.

24. Comix Zone

An ambitious and unique late 16-bit game about a comic book artist being sucked into his creation and becoming the hero while fighting panel to panel with branching paths and (quite a few) puzzles with multiple solutions. Your character has a good variety of regular attack moves, though I mostly just mashed buttons. He can use his electrical rat to distract enemies and solve puzzles, throw knives and grenades, and even tear a piece of the page off to make a paper airplane special attack.
It looks great and the fighting feels pretty good, but commits two major sins. The lesser is that the good ending depends on you completing the final boss fight quickly and flipping a switch before the timer runs out. If I had finally made it through the game in the late 90's without save states only to run out of time at the end, I would have been FURIOUS.
The big sin, however, is that you lose small amounts of energy every time one of your attacks connects. Not special attacks; regular ones! This means that even if you are playing very well, your energy is constantly going down, making the game much harder than it needs to be! This artificially stretches a game that takes about 40 minutes on a no-death run. Still worth a look in 2022, but only with the option of save states.

25. Panzer Dragoon Remake

The only Panzer Dragoon game I've ever played was Orta on the XBox almost 20 years ago. I don't remember being very good at it, so it was a bit of a surprise when I breezed through this on my first try in under an hour, dying only once. Maybe the modern analog controls make it easier.
At any rate, I really enjoyed my brief and beautiful journey. I can't say I really understand what's going on, but it was a fun experience. Watching a side by side comparison with the Saturn original drives home what an impressive feat the original version was back in the day, and how close the prettied-up remake is. A great little diversion if you can pick it up cheap.

26. Castle of Illusion

After playing the 2013 remake of this a few years ago with my oldest, it was a treat to go back to the original version and see how all the old stages were modernized in the remake. Given its perceived target audience, Castle of Illusion (1990) is surprisingly tough. The remake was far easier. Still, I had a fun time checking out this early 16-bit platformer that's also considered to be one of the system's best.

27. TMNT III: The Manhattan Project

The Cowabunga Collection finally allowed me to check out this TMNT game which I wanted very badly as a young teen. 30 years on, The Manhattan Project is still a great Turtles game, but it does have some flaws - mainly the controls are a bit stiff, and the "flip enemies" move is very overpowered, but at the same time necessary, as the challenge level would be too high without it. Basically, it's the fantastic TMNT II: The Arcade Game with new stages, which is fine, but a bit of a missed opportunity as well.

28. 3 out of 10 (season 1 and 2)

I never would have tried this if it hadn't been an Epic Games freebie. 3 out of 10 (so far) comprises 10 episodes that last just under an hour each, it bills itself as an interactive sitcom and mostly succeeds at that. As with most sitcoms, it takes a few episodes for the "show" to really grow into something worth your time, and by episode 3 I was looking forward to each new one. Things especially pick up in season 2. Taking place at Shovelworks Studios, it tells the story of its kooky cast of characters as they try to put out a game that isn't abysmal. Much of the experience is spent listening to characters talk, but the dialog is broken up by exploration sections with optional content and event specific minigames that can be played, mastered or simply skipped. The latter would usually be a mistake, since this is the meat of the gameplay. Not only are the minigames very diverse, spanning many gameplay styles, but they also occasionally successfully imitate well known titles.
3 out of 10 is a fun way to unwind for an hour an evening. No more, no less. Supposedly a season 3 is on the way, but it's been a few years already.

29. Dragon's Crown Pro

A side-scrolling brawler similar to Golden Axe but with RPG elements and loot, Dragon's Crown kept me busy until I'd seen the dwarf's ending (1 of 6 possible characters), and I'm done with it. It's fun while it lasts, the art is gorgeous (though problematic if you don't buy into the hyper-exaggerated vision of genre tropes...and at times even if you do), and it features lots of nods to other games and media in the genre.
The main problem with Dragon's Crown is that anytime the screen gets a bit busy, it becomes very difficult to tell what's even going on anymore. Also, the rune-magic system is terrible on the PS4, but thankfully it's optional most of the time.

30. Samorost 3

Continuing the charm of the previous two Samorost games, but at roughly 3 hours of length, it's twice as long as both of its predecessors combined. The environments continue to be beautifully imaginative, full of hidden collectibles and a fun musical interlude which have nearly become trademarks of the developers other games (such as Botanicula). On average, the puzzles in 3 are much more difficult than before - at least until you realize the build in hint book is probably an intended part of the gameplay rather than a last resort.

Numbers 31-99:


31. King’s Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow

Better than KQ5 in every way except perhaps the CG - that hasn't aged well, though it was no doubt impressive for its time. I mostly enjoyed my time with KQ6 in spite of having to reload earlier games due to hitting dead-ends. Luckily, KQ5 taught me to keep rolling saves.
This time around, you no longer play as Graham, but rather his son, Alexander, who is a total sap when it comes to his love interest. The game LOVES to kill him, and I can somewhat understand that sentiment. In fact, my favorite character is actually the court jester, who is ridiculous on purpose, but noble in his own way.
As for the puzzles...let's just say that I'm glad the internet exists. I probably would have dropped this like a hot potato had I played it in the early 90's. It was fun pulling out graph paper for a game once again though.

32. Delores: A Thimbleweed Park Mini-Adventure

More or less a mini "where are they now" to Thimbleweed Park, Delores goes on a photo-scavenger hunt through town. Each of the five Groundhog-Day-like sessions, she gets assignments to find 6 unique photos - of which 1-2 always proved tricky. Not having played Thimbleweed Park yet probably meant I missed several of the jokes, but being familiar with Maniac Mansion and the like meant I still got many of them. Definitely stick around through the credits of this 2 hour retro point-and-click experience.

33. Tembo the Badass Elephant

Tembo is a pretty competent Sonic-like 2D platformer (complete with a Casino-zone homage) with a side order of wackiness, made by Game Freak (yes, the Pokémon people) for Sega, that I only knew about because Allen Cook talked about it on the Conference Call.
Your character is a peanut-fueled Rambo in elephant form, complete with elephant charge, spin attack, butt stomp, and hammer uppercut attacks, as well as the ability to spray water. He can also run in the air to float a bit. With all these abilities, he is tasked with repelling an invasion of....some purple guys with tanks, helicopters, and...technodromes. Yeah, it's pretty bonkers.
Tembo generally controls well and smashing through the levels is enjoyable. Few areas presented much of a challenge, which was just right for what I wanted out of the game, and the art style is very cartoonish and fun. It was a nice diversion for a few sessions, but I don't see myself returning to it.

34. World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck

It's the much easier sequel to Castle of Illusion, that I got to play thanks to my Genesis-mini. World of Illusion is an imaginative, though simple platformer that lets you play as either Mickey or Donald...or apparently both in co-op. The difficulty level is aimed at a younger crowd, but I had a good time playing it for two afternoons - my youngest loved watching, and always asks for the "Mickey" game when he sees it in the mini-consoles' game selection screen. Graphics are colorful and environments varied, characters and well animated and there are even a few voice samples. It's cute, charming, and worth playing even today. I can see it being a good co-op game with the kids someday soon.

35. Sonic the Hedgehog 2

A decade after finishing Sonic 1, I tried to like 16-bit Sonics again. I failed. My issue is simply that you don't get to use Sonic's speed enough, as you keep running into walls, enemies and obstacles that either bring you to a full stop or prevent you from ever getting up to speed in the first place.
That's not to say I don't like 2D Sonic games - I remember thinking very highly of Sonic Rush (DS), a Sonic game that actually let you use your speed, and Sonic Pocket Adventure (NGPC), which, ironically, is mostly based on Sonic 2.
I know how important this game was in the early 90's, and I remember always wanting to like the 16-bit series back then, but, oddly, I played more Bubsy than Sonic games, so obviously the problem is me. It is fun when it lets you run without punishing you for it, I'm sure 2-player co-op would be great as well (didn't try it), and some of the ways Sonic interacts with the world are cool (bolt-and-nut elevators, pinball-like sections, etc...) - I just wish Sonic could do more of what all the marketing promised.

36. King's Quest V: Absence makes the Heart go Yonder!

The first King's Quest game I've ever played, and let's just say I'm glad I was a Lucasarts player rather than Sierra, because KQ 5 is PUNISHING. Insanely obscure puzzles, numerous dead-ends, just so many utterly illogical things you have to do, and lots of deaths. In fact, parts of this game actually require trial and error solutions via death - such as figuring out where to sail, or how to cross the desert. At one point I finally realized I had reached a dead-end because I hadn't done one specific action during the single moment in time it was available to me (but I wasn't even aware that an action was possible), and had to reload a save from an hour before. I very nearly quit the game for good at that point.
An interesting, at times enjoyable, but also absolutely maddening experience on PC; but at least I was smart enough to not try to play through on the NES.

37. Deathspank

Quite funny, simple Diablo-like with a unique art style, but really overstays its welcome due to being so one-note. Enjoyed the few references to other games. There is some depth available (weapon combos enable special attacks, various potions), which I rarely if ever used, since the game is so easy.

38. AER: Memories of Old

An evocative, beautiful exploration adventure with some impressive flight mechanics. You travel among floating islands, trying to figure out what happened to the world. It is at times fascinating, but also a very slow burn to the point of boredom. Pushing through those slow parts was rewarded, but a bit of fine-tuning could have seen AER place significantly higher in this list.

39. In My Shadow

Interesting puzzle mechanic hindered by fiddly controls. The story attempts to tug at your heartstrings, but somehow doesn't succeed, and the entire game feels very cheaply made (which it no doubt was). Could have been notably better with just a bit more effort.

40. Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion

A cutesy top-down-Zelda-like, Turnip Boy sounds like it will be really funny. It tries and sometimes succeeds at that, but there's also a sadder story underneath the facade as you learn how Turnip Boy's world came to be.
Unfortunately, it's undermined by absolutely zero challenge for the first 1/3 of the game (so the first hour). It was so bad, that I was bored to the point of actually considering quitting. This did change eventually, but my Switch version got progressively choppier in direct proportion to how interesting the game became. At first I wondered if this was some meta glitch, but I finally realized that there is no way it could be this intentionally bad. A quick search showed that severe performance issues are a known problem on the Switch.
A shame really - there's potential here, and some aspects of the game really succeed, but it just needed....more.

41.-98. nothing

99. We Met in May - 2019, PC

I don't know what I was thinking I was going to get when I (apparently) spent money on this, but I know this is not it. Think of the level of interaction of a typical Warioware microgame. Now take that 5 second interaction and extend/repeat it over several minutes with the thinnest veneer of a love story. Do this four times for a total playtime of 15 minutes. Combine with graphics made in MS Paint over a single lunch break, a teensy tiny bit of humor, and plenty of anger at the amount of your life you just wasted, and you get We Met in May.
This prototype should have never left the developer's hard drive.


Awards time!

Greatest moment:
Psychonauts 2 - the concert. Not going to spoil it - you just need to experience it yourself.
Runner-up 1: Assassin's Creed Odyssey - sneaking through a heavily guarded fortress, stalking my prey, dropping down from high above to assassinate a regional leader directly in front of the eyes of his bodyguards, followed by an intense escape for the next 5 minutes.
Runner-up 2: Papo & Yo - late in the game, pulling a lever, watching the ENTIRE STAGE morph, and feeling my jaw drop.

Best visuals:
Psychonauts 2 - Incredible art style, incredible imagination, inredible polish. Just incredible.
Runner-up 1: Control - My first experience with ray-tracing.
Runner-up 2: Close to the Sun - polished, beautiful, and gruesome.

Best stage:
Control - Ashtray Maze. That...was...AWESOME!
Runner-up: Astro Bot: Rescue Mission - Most of them - they almost always left me with a smile on my face.

Best callback:
TMNT: Shredder's Revenge - "Big Apple, 3...."
Runner-up: Deathspank - "I know the secret of ...."

Best soundtrack:
Psychonauts 2 - Jack Black in concert is just the cherry on top.
Runner-up 1: Papo & Yo - the South American instrumental music is an incredible accompaniment to this gem of a game. Purchased the OST.
Runner-up 2: Control - Poets of the Fall may be the highlight, but the rest is pretty great too.

Biggest Surprise:
Return to Monkey Island - Didn't know it was coming, then it was here, and it was really good to boot!
Runner-up: Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) - it looked like a cute platformer for play with the kids. Instead I'm living a traditional Iñupiaq tale and learning about these First Nations people.

Most unexpected sequel:
Return to Monkey Island - after Tales from Monkey Island, I never expected to see Guybrush again!
Runner-up: Psychonauts 2 - we seriously waited 16 years for the sequel to a critical darling, but a (at least initially) commercial failure, and it wasn't in vain?

Most unique:
Papo & Yo - Challenging, real story told via the eyes of a traumatized child in a rarely seen location with unique mechanics. Absolutely takes this award.
Runner-up 1: Paper Beast - Origami creatures in an alien world in VR. A lock for runner-up.
Runner-up 2: Attentat 1942 - Unearth the true story of what happened under Nazi occupation via dialogue with real actors and mini-games.

Best time with kids:
TMNT: Shredder's Revenge - whether co-op with my kids, just them, or them with their friends, Shredder's Revenge has been a huge hit since its release.

Most intense experience:
Metroid: Dread - Sneaking by the EMMIs certainly got the heart rate up.
Runner-up 1: Battlefield 1 - Several very intense sections, but the opening in which your life expectancy is sometimes measured in seconds is nuts.
Runner-up 1: Alan Wake - had me on edge many a time throughout its campaign.

Biggest time sink:
Assassin's Creed Odyssey - My save game went from about 40 hours played 2018-2021 to just shy of 200 hours as of today, and I'm still not done with the Atlantis DLC.
Runner-up: Quake Champions - still playing an average of 25 minutes almost every day.

Oldest New-to-me Game:
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse - (1990, Sega Genesis) - The Mega Drive mini got a fair bit of play this summer.
Runner-up: TMNT III: The Manhattan Project - (1991, NES) - thanks to the Cowabunga Collection on Switch

Longest time in my backlog before being beaten in 2022:
Comix Zone - probably 21-22 years via the Sega Smash Pack on PC
Runner-up: Silent Hill 2 - 21 years
Runner-up: The Witcher 1 - 15 years

Most difficult:
Roblox - am I just old, or are the controls and camera utterly terrible on a tablet? I cringed every time my kid asked me to help him make some jumps, because I knew I would quickly be setting a bad example for him and teaching him words he shouldn't know yet.
Runner-up: Silent Hill 2 - not difficult gameplay-wise, just difficult to stick with.

Most nostalgia:
TMNT: Shredder's Revenge
Runner-up: Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

The "It's not you, it's me" award
Inscryption - Admittedly, I've only put just over 2 hours into it, but I'm soooooo not feeling it. Perhaps I will discover the magic everyone else sees in it next year.

The "Can't You Stay Longer" award:
Panzer Dragoon Remake - I really wouldn't have minded spending more time in this beautiful world.

The "small mercies" award:
We Met in May - for thankfully being almost as short as its trailer.

Most confusing game title (to me):
DNF Duel - I knew nothing about this game, so when I started seeing it mentioned all over the place, I wondered if Duke Nukem Forever was experiencing some sort of 1v1 multiplayer renaissance. My brain still automatically fills in Duke's game every time I see "DNF", except in racing games....sometimes.

Thanks for all of your hard work Eleima! Looking forward to the gaming wonders that await us in 2023!

Previous lists:

Nice write up on both King's Quest games.

Eleima, thanks once again for all your hard work, patience, and professionalism.



Here's a list of Mass Effect characters ranked according to their favorite ska song, ska being the musical form that will absolutely survive to the 22nd century, and unite all the many species of the galaxy as one, stand together, evolution gotta come:

#1- Garrus - Someday I Suppose by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
#2- Liara - A Message to You Rudy by The Specials
#3- Jack - All My Best Friends Are Metalheads by Less than Jake
#4- Mordin - Sound System by Operation Ivy
#5- Kasumi - Gangsters by The Specials
#6- Miranda - Three Minute Hero by The Selecter
#7- Kaiden - Out All Night by The Pietasters
#8- Wrex - Roots Radical by Rancid
#9- Samara - 007 (Shanty Town) by Desmond Dekker
#10- Thane - Al’s War by Less Than Jake
#11- James - Baile de Los Locos by Voodoo Glow Skulls
#12- Jacob - Santeria by Sublime
#13- Grunt - Break the Glass by The Suicide Machines
#14- Legion - Paradise Has No Border by The Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra
#15- Zaeed - Infested by Choking Victim
#16- EDI - One Step Beyond by Prince Buster
#17- Javik - Captain Hampton and the Midget Pirates! by The Aquabats
#18- Tali - Just a Girl by No Doubt
#19- Ash - Sell Out by Reel Big Fish

staygold wrote:

6. Elden Ring

If Elden Ring was a 40 hour game, it'd probably be my number 2. It's just too damn long and too damn big and at the end of the day exhausting. Finding your own fun for 140+ hours (especially once you get out to having multiple zones with multiple paths) there came a point where I found myself dreading turning on the PS5 and that's where I called my Elden Ring experience.

absolutely to the point! I'm 40-ish hours in, playing with my son, and it's fun and all, just made it through Stormveil but!
I already know I'm not gonna finish this game. Not because of teeth-shattering difficulty but because it's huge. It's kind of a bummer though.

I know that probably nobody cares, and I don't really know why I've bothered, but I've added some more words to my original post with my ineligible games from last year, either through a combination of them being Early Access and therefore (in my personal opinion) don't count, or are old games I've played before.

No obligation to read.

I care and will read your original post.


Re-read. Nice write-up.

Sorbicol wrote:

I know that probably nobody cares, and I don't really know why I've bothered, but I've added some more words to my original post with my ineligible games from last year...

Well, I think I may have skipped over your post initially, but your touchup caused me to read it. I can definitely remember a lot of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, which I enjoyed the heck out of; I wrung pretty much everything you can out of it, including one of my favorite easter eggs, discovered in a hidden basement:



If you've got access to it, one of the DLCs, where you're undercover in a prison, is practically a whole game in itself. According to my PS5's stats, I spent 109 hours playing Mankind Divided, but I expect that doesn't include the frequent save-scumming I did to check out every possibility; I likely spent more like twice that playing the game, and unlike certain bloated open-world games of late (*cough* Assassin's Creed, Horizon Forbidden West *cough*) I enjoyed every moment.

jdzappa wrote:

2. Northgard
3. Guild Wars (End of Dragons expansion)
4. Warhammer 40k: Mechanicus

Hoo-boy, these three I've dipped into, but I see I need to give them a lot more time. Guild Wars and Mechanicus I liked but really need to get to grips with, and I was a bit nonplussed with Northgard being so different than any RTS I had played. Thanks for your list!

SpacePProtean wrote:

Here's a list of Mass Effect characters ranked according to their favorite ska song, ska being the musical form that will absolutely survive to the 22nd century, and unite all the many species of the galaxy as one, stand together, evolution gotta come

Okay, so first off, I love this more than I can say, please check this list out, folks. <3

Reports of my demise have been greatly exagerated, folks! I'm plugging away at the GOTY and Staygold is amazing and massively contributing. It's all just taking a little bit longer than we'd like because we have so many balls up in the air at the same time.

But GOTY got posted on February 8th last year, so I guess I'm not technically late yet. Thanks a bunch for patience and your kind words, folks, I super duper appreciate it.

Just thought about this the other day and was wondering if I missed it. Maybe not?

Hope nothing bad happened to Eleima and at worst this just got forgotten / dropped to prioritize real life things.

Yeah I don't hit the front page much so counting on a link to the article in this thread

Based on Eleima's posts in the 12-month-pile thread, I infer that her computer is in open rebellion at this point, leaving her no choice but to compile the results on clay tablets.

While it's true that I have bullied my rig repeatedly, I'm now back up and running and streaming. And as I might've said in the past, I compile the results as I go, so I typically know the top ten as early as Jan 1st or whenever the polls close. It's all the rest that's a little trickier to wrangle together. BUT. Keep an eye on the Front Page. I promise it shouldn't be much longer now. And yes, I will post a link here as well (and in the OP too) once it's up.

Thank you for doing this laborious task. I know your findings is something everyone--I think it is fair to say---look forward to the reveal.