The Best Games I Played in 2022

i know the month technically isn’t over yet, but my time is gonna be pretty limited in the coming weeks so it’s probably fair to put a bow on 2022 for now. genuinely one of the strongest years in, well, years. the shooty shooty bang bang games won by a landslide, now i’m just curious as to what the next theme is gonna be that takes over my life. gonna make it a personal goal of mine to play more bad games in 2023 because this is ridiculous

on a serious note, thank you so so so much for any positive feedback you’ve given on my writing this year. what initially came as an excuse for me to log some games at the tail end of 2020 quickly turned into an vehicle for me to post bad reviews, and eventually blossomed into a wonderful platform for me to meet some cool ass people and grow as a writer over the span of two years. if you've ever left a comment on or interacted with any of my shit, thank you. seriously, it means the world to me. without this website i'd probably still be writing 240 character reviews to twitter, and nobody deserves that

don't @ me about goldeneye making the cut unless you've beaten the game with a nintendo 64 controller in each hand. one of the sexiest shooters i've played
not quite as exciting as it's younger brother - playing this right after spirits may have unfairly shifted my perception of this game as i played it - but it still speaks wonders that this is still one of the greatest games on the n64. if you make a joke that it only has 5 good games i might fight you even if i don't have a rebuttal
natsume peels back old established layers of beat-em-up conventions and shifts the focus towards visceral, heated moments of suffocation in combat that truly makes this genre shine
adding "make a thought provoking and mechanically substantive libble-rabble like" to my ever growing bucket list of games i want to make before i pass beyond this mortal realm
the discourse around beat-em-ups would be so, so different if this game were easily accessible
hideki kamiya does it again
let’s ignore the fact that i technically haven't finished this one yet, this is maybe the most me-core game in existence. i hope whoever greenlit two separate remakes to this game falls down two separate flights of stairs
every mechanic, every enemy placement, and every winding corner of the spenser mansion induce more meaningful fear and tension than any horror game released in the past few generations, and it does it all while dragging around one of the most off-kilter and immersion breaking dubs in the history of the medium
basically the polar opposite of r4 while standing just as tall in its own corner of artistic expression. can't help but love it just as much as its predecessor. kb was absolutely right though, ai fukami is the queen of the tracks around these parts and you can't change my mind
just so fucking cool man
easily the biggest and baddest of any of these yakuza games. the most stuff to do, the most soul bleeding from the hearts of the writers, and some of the greatest moments in the entire series. i'm willing to look past minor quibbles with the writing of certain characters and setups when rgg is willing to go out with such a bang. the game of my dreams


progear does basically everything right (the least of which being one of the finest scoring systems ever put to code) but i want to give a particular shoutout to the readability of this game. despite being a cave shmup, the art direction and bold color choices on every sprite make even the mightiest challenges it throws your way seem surmountable. genuinely makes me think anyone can get into this type of game if they put their mind to it.
a game exclusively composed of mechanics and a passion for play. feels like an empty canvas to freely dance across with a loaded brush of paint, only to dump the entire can as a means of creation for creation's sake. pure video games
just an excuse for toru iwatani to flex on the entire industry and add an elegant final brushstroke to one of the finest games of its era. the victory lap of video games
the undisputed champion of y2k optimism wrapped around a killer racing game, what's not to love here?
might be ueda's messiest, boldest, and most heartfelt work to date. i don't care that once in every 50 commands trico does something other than what you asked, this is an emotional standout in the medium and a game i still think about constantly
perfect version of a perfect game
video game escapism at its most sincere, relatable, and captivating. i wanna go far away
few games have established such a perfect tug-of-war between the player and their avatar's actions, such a brilliant set of simple mechanics working in harmony to here to craft one of the finest action games on the super nintendo. natsume rocks
pulling back and looking at the big picture of this list, its a miracle that a game like this made the cut, but what can i say? made me completely reevaluate the type of writing i value in games, hits close to the heart in ways i wasn't expecting, and its all wrapped in this delightfully twisted veneer of a cozy vacation gone horribly, horribly wrong. i would gladly check back into the flower, sun, and rain hotel
where it lacks in rhythm game polish and mechanical complexity, gitaroo man more than makes up for it in its pacing and personal impact. one of the few games that perfectly mirrors the structure of a musical album - fast peaks and valleys, unique twists and turns, and a perfect emotional climax to tie together all of its prior concepts and ideals. u-1 my beloved
to be honest, a lot of this list could have been sorted in a whole bunch of ways, but there was no doubt in my mind that battle garegga would be number one. mechanically it’s far and away one of the most engrossing arcade games i’ve ever played, where every small choice made has some bizarre and unpredictable effect of twelve other elements of a run. the skeleton of this game is so outlandish for a title made in 1996 that it’ll likely distract you from the fact that every one of the game’s 7 stages are crafted to perfection, every new setpiece always finds a fresh and creative way to fuck you over for the rest of your run. it’s exceedingly rare to find a game this dense with absolutely no fat you’d consider trimming. nothing short of a masterpiece. you can read my full thoughts on the game here


1 year ago

Awesome list! Definitely bumps Flower, Sun, and Rain and Battle Garegga up a few notches on my “must-play” queue for 2023. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go boot up a round of OutRun 2.

1 year ago

@CarbonCanine Glad to hear you interested in those! Definitely all timers for me. A note on Garegga: don’t be afraid to look up resources and guides on how the game works. It’s fun even without knowledge of how the scoring and rank affect the game, but having an understanding of how the pieces fit together is what really set this one over the edge for me. It’s also just really obtuse and there’s no shot you’ll find everything out on your own, people have been playing this game for 20 years and still pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in it.

@ThatMagicalMage I couldn’t help myself and I will not apologize

1 year ago

@LukeGirard Noted! After the many fighting games I've tried and attempted to improve at this year, that's become par for the course.

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