Wow, it’s my first ever Game of the Year list on Giant Bomb dot com! I’m equal parts honored and intimidated* to write one of these, partly because I don’t really like to be perceived and partly because 2022 has been an absolutely cracking year for games, and it was very hard to choose a top ten.
This year has been a whirlwind, simultaneously going by in the blink of an eye (it feels like yesterday Tam, Jan, and I were shooting Summer Game Fest vlogs on the mean streets of LA) and dragging its feet (I’m specifically calling out the slug days between December 19 and 22). Time may not have any meaning any more, but if there’s one thing I’m proud of this year, it’s that I can finally call myself a member of Giant Bomb (instead of a brandmate), and I can’t wait for all the fun and weirdness that 2023 will undoubtedly bring.
Here’s my list!
I have a cat. I spend a lot of time talking to my cat, taking cute pictures of my cat, and taking my cat to the vet (it’s not her fault, she has hot girl tummy problems). So yes, the cat game has squeaked onto my top ten. I thought it was adorable, and also gave me this very funny video of Peanut.
The Peanut review of Stray is in, @A_i pic.twitter.com/DXHQmDn3df— Lucy James (@lucyjamesgames) July 19, 2022
All the streamers and YouTube commenters will look up and shout “But Overwatch 2 isn’t a true sequel!” and I’ll look down and whisper “I don’t care.” While I don’t dig the grind in Overwatch 2, I get lost just thinking about the lore, and have complicated feelings about playing a Blizzard game (another discussion for another time), I fell in love with Overwatch in 2016, and have continued to play on various platforms and with different groups ever since.
At the end of the day, it’s my comfort game, and Overwatch 2 is doing what it needs to to keep me interested: New heroes are arriving thick (Junker Queen) and fast (Kiriko), the move to 5v5 has given the gameplay a much-needed shot in the arm, and most importantly, DVa is still viable.
I don’t think I experience ASMR, but I bloody love watching power washing videos. They’re so straightforward: something is dirty and it will be cleaned. Yet, every time there’s a strange element of suspense to the experience. Will they miss a spot? If they do, will they go back to the spot they missed? Will they work in lines, or take a haphazard approach? With Power Wash Simulator, I can take matters into my own hands, and hose down everything to my heart’s content.
Dig beneath the dome for resources, upgrade the dome with the resources, protect the dome from waves of aliens. Dome Keeper has a very satisfying gameplay loop in a wonderful roguelike survival game that got me through a number of flights this year.
If I’m ever asked “which fictional character are you most like?” my answer would be that one guy played by Will Ferrell in Austin Powers who hates being asked the same question more than once. I hate repeating myself and being repeated to, so imagine my surprise when I found myself unable to peel away from Neon White, a game that’s all about repetition. The story didn’t grab me, but I don’t think there’s been a better “just one more go” game this year.
I’m a millennial (cringe), and so what do I want more than a stable housing market, abolishing student loans, and my cup of coffee in the morning? To regress to the 90s, when things were just easier. Tinykin managed to do that for me with a frictionless puzzle adventure game set in a 90s home, where the household items looked familiar but just off-brand enough to make me think it was a real place I’d somehow forgotten. Gliding around on a bar of soap won our award for Best Running Around, and honestly, it was bloody well-deserved, but not something to replicate in real life.
I used to have interests as a kid.
I loved learning languages, I went outside, and I was a right little nerd for history until the British education system beat it out of me**. I’ve not been the same since my friend Claire pointed out that, as adults, our hobby is “phone” (I argued that my interests also include “game,” and she conceded). Anyway, I wish I could go back and tell that small nerd (me, not Claire) that in 2022, Obsidian would make a fantastic little game that would really speak to my old interests, and actually encourage me to pick up a history book*** again.
They did it, the mad lads bloody did it. I was so happy with that ending, and the game made me cry multiple times.
I spontaneously bought a Steam Deck because I was envious of the fun everyone else was having, and now that I have one, I don’t know how I lived and traveled without one. Well, I do, Steam Decks didn’t exist until February, but forgive the exaggeration. The game I’ve easily played the most on it is Vampire Survivors, and the Steam Deck has become synonymous with pixelly figures wandering around auto-attacking monsters in my head. I play it before bed, I play it when I travel, I play it when I’m watching TV on the couch, and I’m still not fed up with it. Vampire Survivors is the best $3 I’ve ever spent, and one time I bought a deep fried Curly Wurly in Scotland.
There’s nothing I can say about Elden Ring that hasn’t been said already, so I won’t. GOTY 2022, gg FromSoftware.
*I’ve also been intimidated into writing in American English. Every dropped “u” hurts my soul.
**There were no beatings, but relentlessly learning about nothing but World War I and II for five years in a row will make you harbor some resentment at the education system.