My last blog for 2022 is my annual wrap of the year. This has been very eventful in a number of different ways. I started it with a new job, lost it midway through it, and have been struggling to find another one. I’ve tried to keep this blog as weekly as possible, but that hasn’t always been the case. At the same time, I was hoping to expand my skills, but even that hasn’t gone according to plan. However, I did manage to game quite a bit, so I have a lot to share.
My absolute favorite thing this year: My Steam Deck
I can’t believe just how much fun owning a Steam Deck has been. Although most of my gaming was on Xbox this year, some of my best gaming experiences were playing on Valve’s handheld. While the Analogue Pocket I got last month was disappointing, the Steam Deck never let me down.
The biggest aspect of the Deck is my focus on trying to find the best deals on Steam games. I’m regularly updating my wishlist to see when a game I’m interested in is on sale. I’ve even started using sites like Green Man Gaming and Fanatical to find even better deals. Considering I’m not working at the moment, being able to pick up a game at a discount is always the way for me.
My biggest disappointment: The Analogue Pocket and me still waiting for a Playdate
I already shared my thoughts on the Analogue Pocket, but the Playdate was another handheld device I was looking forward to in 2022. Unfortunately for it, they further delayed my order, so I won’t be getting it until probably late January to mid-February. What’s really frustrating is that I think the “hype” around the Playdate has more or less died down.
Based on my order number, there are only probably about 24,000 units available worldwide. If their numbers are correct, there are probably another 26,000 units to still get into people’s hands. By the time a lot of us get our hands on the unit, it’s possible that any support for future Playdate games will stop. They are still only showing Season 1 content and while Season 2 was teased, I doubt that will ever happen.
Let’s talk about games
Now comes the time of the blog where I talk about my favorite games of 2022. A couple of days before this post went live, I tried to complete as many 2022 games as I could. At the very least, I tried to play as many notable games from this year that I thought I could consider part of my “favorites”.
For 2022, I finally completed a few older games. I managed to finish Pokémon Sword before Pokémon Scarlet/Violet launched (no, I didn’t get around to playing it though). I recently saw the credits roll in God of War, and I played through all of 2019’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. There are a few older games I wanted to see the credits roll but didn’t get around to it. Breath of the Wild is at the top of that list, with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Bayonetta 2 also ones I would like to finish soon.
I could have easily written a “Favorite 10” list. There were a dozen games on my list that I felt left a notable impact on me this year. Instead of 10, I narrowed it down to seven. Except for one and the rogue-like games on my list, the rest of the games on my list I saw the credits roll. For some of my honorable mentions, I didn’t see credits, but I got enough out of them that I can safely give my recommendation if someone asked for it. So, let’s start off by highlighting a few of those that just missed the cut.
Honorable Mentions of 2022
Kirby and the Forgotten Land
For most of the year, I was certain Kirby’s primary game of 2022 (there were a couple of Kirby games this year) would crack my Favorite list. Overall, I did quite enjoy Kirby except for some of its boss battles. But, the game didn’t hook me. This was a game I completed slowly over the course of the year and even when I got to the credits and learned there was more to explore, I wasn’t inclined to keep at it. In short bursts, this one is easy to recommend.
This is a late addition to the list. I’ve only spent a couple of hours playing this tile-land builder game, but it has its hooks in me. Yet another game that works really well on the Steam Deck. I plan on going back to this every once in a while, especially if I’m in the need of a stress-free game.
Rogue Legacy 2
Earlier in the year, when my Steam Deck still had that new, just “out of the box” smell, Rogue Legacy 2 was the game I was playing the most on it. I quite enjoyed this one except that I didn’t really progress too far. After a few weeks of playing, I just fell off and moved on to other games.
A Plague Tale: Requiem
I got up to the seventh chapter of this game before I decided to play through some other stuff for the end of the year. Having loved the first game, I was really looking forward to the sequel. But, a problem I’m noticing is that finishing a previous game, then trying to jump into its sequel right away isn’t always the best course of action. This is one of those games I will do my hardest to finish, I just need to give myself a bit more space before I do.
My Seven Favorite Games of 2022
7. Elden Ring
This one just squeaked into my list. If I didn’t play more than 15 hours in the last week or so, then Kirby would be here instead. I suck at Elden Ring, but I just can’t stop playing it. I am constantly finding new things and seeing what lies ahead. I’m dying then dying again before I can recover my runes.
Yes, it frustrates me, but I just keep wanting to play. I beat my first real boss, and it took a very long time to get over that hump. The hype around this game is completely warranted. Perhaps I should have played it earlier; it would certainly be higher up this list if I did. Just writing about the game makes me want to play more of it.
6. Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Like the last few years, I played a fair bit of Pokemon-related content. From finally finishing Pokémon Sword, to dabbling with a few different Game Boy Pokemon games I did a lot of catching. Arceus isn’t a masterpiece but the direction it took series is what I liked most about it
Yes, this wasn’t a truly open-world Pokémon game, but that didn’t really matter. The crafting was a lot of fun and the different ways of researching Pokémon were creative ways of doing things your way. Eventually, I will play Pokémon Scarlet/Violet. At the same time though, I’m fine with taking a further extended break. I’m also hoping that they take a break from the franchise.
5. As Dusk Falls
I’ll be perfectly honest, when I first saw As Dusk Falls, I thought it looked bad. I was certain this was just another poorly produced FMV game just masked with an animation filter. But, I was pleasantly surprised at the story and just how much of a branching narrative this was. As someone who has a soft spot for Quantic Dream games, I’m glad other studios are doing similar kinds of games, but with their own takes.
Most people probably skipped out on As Dusk Falls, but if you have Xbox Game Pass, this is a no-brainer. The game ends with a clear intention of a sequel and I hope we get one.
Having never really played a Pikmin game, I’m going to guess Tinykin borrows a lot of its charm from that series. This is a game where you play an “alien” who has landed in a strange world, which just so happens to look like a regular suburban home. You need to use the help of these tiny creatures, called Tinykin, to help collect the necessary items to fix a “spaceship” so you can get back home.
What I loved about Tinykin was just how much fun I had with it. This isn’t a difficult game. It must have only taken about 8-10 hours to complete, but I was trying to collect as much as I could. There are a lot of subtle but charming references to 80s and 90s pop culture. This is a game that I think anyone of any age range can pick up and enjoy. You can’t really mess up while playing, and we need more games like that.
3. Dome Keeper
Not enough people played Dome Keeper. This is another one of those games perfect for the Steam Deck. It’s also a game I’m certain would be more successful if it was available on the Nintendo Switch. I wrote plenty about the game in 2022. I’ve seen a few other notable gaming influencers talk about this lately. Hopefully, that leads to more people playing it in 2023.
2. Marvel Snap
I can’t tell if I spent more time playing Marvel Snap or Overwatch 2 this year. I spent so much time on this game, I don’t feel too bad admitting it. But even with my criticisms of the game, especially around matchmaking and unlocking content, I had a hard time putting it down. A single match might only take a few minutes to complete, but you could end up spending 20-30 minutes without realizing it. I’m hopeful things will improve in 2023, because I don’t want to stop playing.
1. Vampire Survivors
I was bouncing between this and Marvel Snap as my favorite game of the year. The reason why Vampire Survivors tops this list isn’t just because it’s another fantastic time sink, it’s because of the experiences it offered each time I played. This is a game I initially played on my Steam Deck, then proceeded to fall in love with again when it became available via Xbox Game Pass. There were evenings when I’d be watching or listening to something on my computer, and at the same time, playing Vampire Survivors.
The idea of constantly trying different weapon combinations, seeing what secrets or surprises would come up in a run, then doing it all over again never got boring. I just picked up the DLC for the game, and I’m eager to give it a go. This is such an easy recommendation and deserves all the praise it’s been getting this year.
What to expect in 2023
To be perfectly honest, I don’t know what 2023 holds for me. I’m looking for a job, I have a trip to Hong Kong to visit my in-laws in Feb/March, but that’s about it. It would be nice to do more on this blog and to help improve my craft. On top of that, I seriously need to complete some online courses to improve my skills, which might help me land a job.
I’d love to still work in the video game industry, but my opportunities are getting smaller and smaller. I just turned 40 and where I should be in a more mid-to-senior level role, those just don’t exist. Most companies promote internally for those roles and an outsider has a tougher chance of landing them. At this stage, I really need to find more areas where I can stand out from the rest. How exactly, is the question I’m struggling to answer right now?
The intention of this blog was for me to write to keep me creative. I’m incredibly thankful for the few publishers who have sent me codes to review games on the site. Hopefully, I can get more of those in 2023 to help create more content. I’ve always wanted to do more with this blog and with gaming but never pulled the trigger. I don’t want to make claims that I’m going to start streaming or doing video content. For now, I just want to put more effort into having fun, because that’s what video games should be.