I am at a loss for words. “That’s the best news I’ve ever heard!,” said everyone else.
They still make the ol’ video games sometimes, eh. They made the ol’ Dark Souls there in 2011, and then everyone said “welp, shut ‘er down.” So they shut er down. Then in 2019 somebody said “hey remember video games?” so they made the ol’ Outer Wilds there. Yep. And it was good. Then they said “uh oh, shit ain’t lookin’ too good. Better shut er down again.” And so they shut er down again. AND THEN IT WAS 2022, BABY, BEST YEAR OF TH- eh it was fine. It was fine.
2020 / 2021 – In memorium
I didn’t touch a whole lot of new stuff during the height of the ol’ pandemic there. I mostly kept playing Dead Cells and State of Decay 2 for the early parts of 2020. I wondered if there was a zombie-killing limit and if a secret message would appear saying ahh, hello there, you’ve killed enough zombies we think. Take a rest, there. But nope. It keeps letting me waste the ol’ zombos. According to Xbox’s stat tracking, I have killed 119, 513 zombies in State of Decay 2. I’m not kidding. I’ve apparently achieved 44 legacies. Yes that means I’ve “beat the game” 44 times. I have recruited 359 survivors into my various communities. 235 of them have perished. I like State of Decay 2.
And then it was Jackbox Party Pack time. For months and months. If you’ve never played them, it’s all about Party Pack 3. Third one is the GOAT. I think there’s ten of them now. They’ve never surpassed 3. Speaking of never surpassed, Gears of War has had a whole pile of sequels and offshoots, including Gears 5. None of them have justified their existence since the original game. And I keep playing them. Weird. Instead of playing Gears 5, play A Fold Apart! My friend’s adorable little puzzle game about how relationships are hard and how folding paper is fun.
I wanted to love Metro: Exodus, but didn’t. I wanted to like Afterparty, but didn’t really. I threw those games in the garbage and instead got around to finishing Jedi: Fallen Order. That game is pretty okay. It’s no Dark Forces II, but it’s pretty okay, yeah. As for Jedi: Survivor? No clue, haven’t played it. Video games cost a bunch of the ol’ money there. I don’t have any of that stuff. My dogs mostly ate the moneys.
Ahhh, Night in the Woods showed up on my Xbox. I don’t even know how old that game is but I declare it Enjoyable and Worth Playing. I finished up Life is Strange 2 from 2019, and oh gosh if you like feeling bad and shitty and sad like I do, try Life is Strange 2. It’s even sadder than you think it’ll be! I was right to include it on my 2019 list. Ah, and in the spring last year I played a classic adventure game that was missing from my past, Full Throttle! I’m glad it was remastered and put onto consoles. You should be too, because now you can play it and agree that it’s much more worth your time than Grim Fandango, which would work better as a 90-minute movie probably. Full Throttle, unlike Grim Fandango, is an actually-good adventure game. Oof!
Speaking of good adventure games, Backbone (uh, the name of this game has recently been changed to Tails Noir? lol weird..) is a good adventure game. It has talking animal people and uh, other things. We have been in it as far as the point-and-click renaissance is concerned. For a short while, Forza Horizon 5 was yummy cotton candy. However, if you want to drive a car and mostly just race other cars or crash into other cars, I recommend Wreckfest.
Rounding out the list of other neat-ish things I played, there was Aliens: Fireteam Elite, a not shit Aliens multiplayer game! There was The Artful Escape, a kinda-funny but a bit up-its-own-goofy-ass music-adjacent adventure thing. And The Gunk, which would have made for a great PS2/Xbox-era goop shooting game.
Hahaha, just kidding. Please, don’t worry. However much you hate me, I promise you that I hate me more!
Here’s the eight games I liked best from “The Year 2022.”
#8 – TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge
If you liked that Turtles in Time game from the ol’ Super Nintendo era and have been wanting to play that or something like it but you’re also lazy and don’t have a PSP that can play every game ever or some computer emulating thing that can play every thing ever or keep all your old consoles so you can play everything ever, just play this new Turtles game!
It’s like that old one. Rocket skateboards! Pylons! Cars running people over! Humanoid turtles walking around and people being like “sure whatever!”
#7 – The Forgotten City
Ohhhhh Steerpike! This is a Steerpike game! Ancient civilizations layered upon one another! Skyrim NPCs! Conversations! Golden statues! Rome! Et cetera!
This game started out as a Skyrim mod before becoming a standalone thing. I would rather play this game than Skyrim in the Year of the Lord Fella 2023. You can have a gun with six bullets! What will you do with those bullets?! No but seriously this game is cool as shit and you can feel satisfied if you put two or three hours into it, or a dozen.
And it has those Skyrim NPCs we all love! Play this instead of Starfield. This is probably like eight bucks. Or on Gamepass. Starfield is like a hundre– it’s on Gamepass too? Oh. Uh. Whatever play The Forgotten City instead it’s probably better than another boring Bethesda game. You already wasted your time with Starfield? Ahhh I’m sorry.
#6 – Tunic
I played this game with God mode on. I never would have finished it without that. I put a few hours in on Normal mode and got the gist of the thing. But this was a game of discovery and exploration, and the combat was ehhhhhhh okay I see what y’all are doing here, but I’m good. I’ve soloed Kalameet that King of Black Dragon Dudes. Ya know? I been there. I climbed that mountain.
Just play Tunic with God mode on. I’d like to take a second to say God bless God modes and accessibility options in general. They’ve been getting a lot better, and I appreciate that shit. Who gives a fuck about beating “hard” games. It’s games, dawg. Nobody gives a damn how hard it was. Be cooler, bud. Be cooler.
Oh um this game is uh.. you find stuff and do things ehhhhhhh just play it it’s really good and if you’re one of those dorks who’s always like “blah blah wah wah my childhood was the best time I miss SNES games blah blah…” first of all, me oh my get over your past sonny boy, take off your nicely tinted glasses. But you WILL like Tunic. You’ll be like “oh my gawd everybody it’s like those games I rem–” yeah yeah holy shit that’s boring are you done yet?
Tunic is pretty alright. I’d probably say it’s a four outta five. That’s pretty alright. It goes places. It does things! How many other games can say that? *sigh* Just leave me alone.
#5 – Umurangi Generation
Oh my. If there was a knock on my door and I opened my door and there was a person standing there and the person said “hi, I’m a physical manifestation/representation of the video game Umurangi Generation,” I would give that person/manifestation/whatever a long, friendly hug. Then I would probably pull back a bit to make some eye contact, crack a bit of a smile, and I would probably start to cry a bit, and then go back in for another warm embrace.
I would say “Thank you.”
Like another game on my list, Umurangi Generation feels like it was made by some lovely queer communists. That’s me! Those are my people!
There’s nothing particularly special about UG; it’s a photo-snapping game taking place in a world where the queer commies are fighting back and trying to survive in a oppressive world run by losers. It’s a theme that resonates strongly with me: trying to survive in an oppressive world run by losers. And I’m a WHITE MAN. Imagine that?
The real reason I love this game is that I played it over a two or three day period after suffering a catastrophic back injury, and my memories of it are closely tied to struggling through the most intense physical pain (and mental despair) that I’ve faced in my short, stupid life.
But I will say that it is a genuinely good and beautiful game. Please play Umurangi Generation if you, like me, think that we live in a world largely run by oppressive, lame losers, and you enjoy small victories and comforts.
Thank you to the red sky generation.
#4 – Norco
Norco fuckin’ rips. When you get the chance to make the guy put the clown paint on his face, do it. Do it for real. Please do it, for the Garretts.
God bless this era of weird adventure games.
#3 – Vampire Survivors
If you were thinking about smoking that marijuana cigarette I see that you’ve rolled there, hang on two seconds. You should first install Vampire Survivors, fire that shit up, get a hold of Antonio (aka Survivor #1) and his whip (the whip is underrated, TRUST ME) and let ‘er rip. Oh, you can spark that spliff now.
It’s going to be 150 of the best hours you’ve ever spent going holy shit where did three hours go???
Long live Cosmo Pavone!
#2 – Elden Ring
Elden Ring is my number two game of twenty twenty two. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to it, unlike the 25 times I’ve gone back to Dark Souls. It’s too much. It’s so much. It’s going to fade over time, but for now, if this is an honest representation of my experience of 2022, it has to be up here.
Elden Ring is a crazy game. An insane game. It’s fucking insane. That’s saying something for a FromSoftware game. I did not spoil myself on looking up the world map before fully uncovering it. The most brilliant trick of this game is how many times you think you understand the scope, and then it pulls back and it all “lolololololol nahhhhhhh there’s more.” If you never spoiled yourself on the map, that’s the way to do it. Stay in the dark!
And look, it’s like a lot of other Souls games in that the stuff in the back end is not always as strong as the early stuff, but God damn if it isn’t almost always awing and wowing you.
Of course I wish that FromSoftware would just for once make a scaled back version of whatever mind-boggling project they’re working on (they almost did it with Bloodborne), but the fantastic moments are still here. They’re just sprawling out of everything and everywhere and across way too many hours, but I went all the way to the end. I finished it. I did it for Ranni. As much as I’m saying oh blah blah it’s so big it’s so long it’s so blah blah I did it to my damn self and did the whole thing.
God it’s so much. But it’s pretty fucking great sometimes.
If you’ve struggled at all but wanted to find a way, just look up how to obtain the Meteorite staff and the spell Rock Sling. You can pretty much cheese the whole game with those things. And don’t be afraid of cheesing the whole game. We already talked about this, it’s fine. Who are you trying to impress? A bunch of dorks and nerds and losers? Ew.
#1 – Citizen Sleeper
This is it. Citizen Sleeper is the essential game of 2022 for human people like me.
What if your life could be a little bit better? What if you could work on something that you cared about? What if you could focus on the things that truly matter? Things like sitting down to eat a bowl of soup filled with delicious, aromatic mushrooms. Or feeding a stray cat. Or having a friendly conversation over a game of chess.
What if you belonged to a community? No, no, I mean a real one. A community of real people (in all the forms that people come in). Maybe it was your choice, or more likely it’s just where you ended up for reasons. But nonetheless a community that you were a part of and were responsible for participating in and taking care of and sustaining.
Citizen Sleeper offers a glimpse of a slice of such a world. A world in which surviving is hard. And then over time, after you find your community, it’s a little bit less hard. There’s tension, and there’s stress. There’s pain, and there’s struggle. But there’s also meaning. And hope.
It’s just a little reminder that maybe the world is shit, but people made it that way. It’s not predetermined to be shit. People can unmake it shit. We just have to be willing to imagine something better.
Reach through time and space, touch the essence of whoever might have been the author of this post at email@example.com.