- 2022 was an interesting year for video games. I found myself with less time and less drive to play games. But also found that Xbox Cloud Gaming works really well, so I played more than I expected. Here are the five games that ended up occupying my time and headspace the most in 2022.
- Elden Ring - An understandable game of the year. It really deserves all of the rewards it received. That said, I mostly ended up playing this for my daughter. If I were writing this from a 2023 perspective, I'd have pulled it from the running because I'm kinda exhausted with it. (Look forward to my forthcoming post on why I need to stop hatefucking Fromsoft games.) As it stands in 2022, I can't deny that this game started out fun and gave me something to do with my daughter.
- Conan Exiles - One of the themes of my gaming this year was finding world live in rather than conquer. Conan Exiles, for all of its hardcore tendencies, is also a game that you can just nest in. I made a nice little house, outgrew it and started a bigger house, made some "friends", and generally had a good time. I eventually drifted away, but there was a lot to just enjoy about being in a world that was only as savage as you wanted it to be.
- Arcade Paradise - I love a good "out of nowhere" game, the kind that blindsides you and reminds you that you don't need follow every marketing post for a year just to enjoy a game. Arcade Paradise's tale of a teenage parental disappointment who slowly transforms a laundromat into an '80s arcade is both sad and heartwarming. But under the story is just a fun collection of throwback arcade games and the compulsion to just put in one more quarter. Not every machine is a hit, much like at any arcade. But I was a lot of fun to play and work and see the arcade slowly grow.
- Disney Dreamlight Valley - Heh, this is like Disney's Anti-Conan. In many ways, this game scratched the same itch as Conan Exiles. There is the same exploration, playing dress up, and homemaking, but with a lot (A LOT) less bloodshed. If you have a fondness for Disney characters and just want to hang out with them, this is a fun way to do it.
- Cyberpunk 2077 - The launch of Patch 1.5 did a lot to revitalize interest in Cyberpunk, with many taking the opportunity to finally venture into Night City, myself included. The game, well, is still the game. Many of the roughest edges have been filed down, and there is great fun to be had. In many ways, it feels like a much prettier Borderlands to me. But I'm not sure if I'll ever finish the game. And that's okay. I had a good run with it.
One game that I wish I could have placed on this list is Tunic. Tunic's entire Zelda-like, meta-examination of the joys of discovering a new game hit me right in the nostalgia center of the brain. But then the all-to-frequent difficuly spikes pushed me further and further from that joy until I could not bring myself to even try to headbash my way through the next brick wall in front of me. /sigh
What's this? We're halfway through 2023 already? I can't wait to see what ends up on this year's list. (Or when I'll actually post it.)