GOTY 2022 - Rich "The year Of The Ring" AKA "100+ Hours In and I'm Still Sh*t!" πŸ’ #GOTY

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2022 was a year dominated by me wandering around a desolate abandoned landscape with a Steam Deck in my hand.

Elden Ring was the game that took up over 140 hours of my 2022 and I would be lying if I said that I loved every minute of it as the early parts of being a Tarnished are completely terrifying and incredibly difficult. There are many moments when you think  'is this game really worth the effort?!" 

I can now conclude that yes it is worth the effort and yes I am still sh1t at the game.

2022 was a monumental year in video games with one of the greatest video games of all time being released and also one of my favourite pieces of video game hardware being released in the form of the amazing Steam Deck.

The Steam Deck has opened up my Steam Library like never before as now I can sit on my sofa half watching something that my wife watches on Netflix while I go deep on a Vampire Survivors session or go all in on trying to inch my way across the Elden Ring map. Over the years I have accumulated hundreds of Steam games that lay dormant on my PC but now the Steam Deck has given my game library a whole new lease of life as every game now seems like a great game to play on Steam Deck (portable Portal anyone?). With this release of hardware Nintendo now have a true handheld competitor that could really change the game for millions of people. The only downside to Valve's behemoth handheld is that the decks took an age to get out to gamers and are still trickling out as we speak which has made it a bit of an exclusive item but I'm sure that will change as we get into 2023.

So what about the rest of the year's games? What were my personal favourites from 2022?

Here's my personal list with a few words on each game:

  1. Elden Ring - A game so vast in size that if they had shown you the map from the beginning you would put the controller down and walk away forever! This video game is the nearest thing to just walking the earth with nothing but your thoughts as it doesn't give you a checklist of things to do and it barely gives you a story. You just exit a building and point your character in a direction and walk (slowly and carefully so as not to draw aggro from anyone otherwise you'll die immediately). In one sense I couldn't get my head around this style of play as my sense of achievement is usually driven by that tick box of items to do being whittled down but now I get it. Elden Ring gives you that sense of achievement just by surviving and collecting runes and discovering locations and opening secret treasure chests. It's a masterclass of world-building and somehow manages to create something that continually gives you a sense of wonder as you discover a new dungeon or a new area to plunder or just a really tough boss battle that stretches your skills to their limits again and again (and again). This is the game that defined my 2022 and will also take me into 2023 as I think I've only really discovered about a quarter of it so far.
  2. Vampire Survivors - This game came from nowhere and became a hit with anyone who had £2 to spend on the video game version of crack cocaine. The devs have created a game so addictive and so well made that it's as though it's from another planet. To look at this game without playing it would have you think that it's just a pixel asset drop that's been put together hastily to create something cheap that people might buy. Let me tell you now that this book cannot be judged by its cover. There is something in this game that makes it infinitely playable as you become a weapon to take on the hordes of the undead. If you broke this game down you would say that the only mechanic in this game that you are actively in control of is the walking around along with choosing your next upgrade but again that surface-level analysis doesn't do the game the justice it deserves as it is a deeper game than just that. The things that made the game a perfect recipe were the simplicity of the gameplay, the price on Steam and the relentless support and updates from the devs. If you haven't tried Vampire Survivors yet then I suggest that you download it for a fiver on Steam or even just download it for free on mobile as I guarantee that you won't regret it (garlic and guns are the way forward).
  3. The Pinball Wizard - This little game popped up on our to-review list a few months back and it knocked me off my feet when I played it. I was hooked from minute one and completed it in about 3 sittings as I couldn't tear myself away from it. It's a fairly simple game that has really fun pinball mechanics with light rogue elements. The only downside is that it's a bit short but it does give you daily challenges to get stuck into. If you like video game pinball-style games that are cute and fun to play then look no further than this little hidden gem from 2022.
  4. Teardown - Do you like smashing stuff up? Teardown is like demolition porn. It's an absolute blast and is well supported by its community that will ensure that you'll be smashing stuff up for many years to come in a voxel world that oozes character. This basic gameplay mechanic of smashing things up is also supported by a cool story mode that will keep you coming back. 
  5. Arcade Paradise - Play this now. Ever dreamt of building your very own video game arcade business whilst running a launderette? If you answered yes then this is truly the game for you. I've been playing this on my steam deck and it's a dream to play. Undertake your daily chores in the launderette and then once that is done it's time to upgrade the Arcade in the backroom until the arcade overtakes the launderette. Whilst you're at work it's also a good time to invest in a jukebox for your arcade and listen to some Recluse tunes from our very own Britt! This game has great arcade cabinets that you can play and rack up achievements on, a killer soundtrack and a gameplay loop that is both addictive and deep. Bravo to the devs for creating a game that should be on everyone's GOTY list for 2022.
  6. STEAM DECK - Technically not a video game (as it's not a video game) but it has opened up about 500 video games from my steam account that might not have gotten to see the light of day if they had remained trapped on my PC. All praise the deck!
  7. South Of The Circle - A lovely interactive novel / walking sim style video game that has an elegant art style and an intriguing story that uses flashbacks to convey the main protagonists backstory. I was intrigued from minute one and finished the game in a single sitting. Definitely one of those games that keeps you thinking even after the credits have rolled.
  8. Dorf Romantik - The most chilled out game of 2022 that grabs you from minute with its simple gameplay mechanics and open ended method of completing a session. There's no wrong way of playing the game and it just lets everyone get involved by laying that first tile and chilling to the Dorf vibes.
  9. ATARI 50 - An interactive museum piece that conveys the story of Atari through video footage and the ability to play heaps of ATARI games from down the ages. It's made with love and care not seen before in this genre of video game as usually the devs from previous compilation titles will put the rooms into the game and put some original artwork in the package but not go to the trouble of piecing together a compelling interactive timeline for players to interact with. ATARI 50 is a masterpiece of epic proportions that now sets the standard and the template for any future compilations of an individual developers or companies works. Bravo to Digital Eclipse.
  10. Immortality - After hearing many words of praise for this game I knew it was a game that I wanted to eventually experience for myself and it had been on my to play list for a while before I realised that NETFLIX had included the game as one their games to play on mobile if you have a NETFLIX subscription. Once I downloaded it I was transported into the world of being a digital detective and trying to work out what happened to Marissa Marcel through the use of Marissa's found footage. Play this game and if you have a NETFLIX subscription you have no excuse to at least try this game out for yourself. 
Hopefully thatt's given you a glimpse into my year of gaming in 2022 and also maybe a nudge in the right direction of what to play next.

Happy 2023 my friends!

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