What’s up my gamers? This year I invited my son to participate in the GOTY fun because there’s no one to tell me I can’t. That’s right folks! Nepotism, babyeeeeee!
In reality, his opinion is of increasing relevance, where mine is just… also here.
So let me get my list out of the way so that we can take a look at his, which was hand-written and scanned for your viewing pleasure.
Wow, a point-and-click game that had me engaged in the year 2022. What kind of ass-backwards bizarro world are we living in? NORCO had its hooks in me out of the gate, because that game gets down to business immediately and drops interesting exposition from the second you hit start.
Plus, I’m a sucker for retrofuturism and robots– mostly because I’m a shallow one-dimensional idiot and only one flavor of cyberpunk dystopia speaks to me anymore.
I hate cats but enjoyed Stray, go figure. I loved playing this with my kid watching every step of the way because it had him guessing its ending the entire time, and also forced him to face some entry-level existential questions.
For me, the gameplay didn’t really compel me, but instead the interesting world this game allowed us to exist in was worth seeing it all the way through.
From its killer art style to its Tony Hawk-meets-a-third-person-shooter controls, Rollerdrome was very much my shit. It’s not perfect though, those controls provided some occasionally frustrating moments and overall the game’s difficulty is a bit out of whack. But Game of The Year is all about titles that left a lasting impression on you and there’s nothing I respect more than a game that delivers on a singular vision.
What a supremely original game. I played this for the first time on a Steam Deck on a flight to Mexico not expecting much, but I wound up becoming immediately hooked. My only ding against it was the miles of story in between unlocking levels that just didn’t speak to me.
22 hours. That’s how much time I’ve spent playing SpiderHeck in 2022, the majority of it with my kid, as we screamed and laughed through countless level after level of PvP chaos. It’s just a simple game that is simultaneously extremely difficult to master. I hope it continues to evolve and receive support and adds something my kid is desperate for, an option to see replays.
I was fairly late to the Vampire Survivors party, but once I arrived, I fell straight down the rabbit hole. The thing I love about Vampire Survivors is that it makes you think you’re better at this game than anyone else in the world. And while that obviously can’t possibly be true, the game’s ultra-addictive upgrade loop delivers a drip feed of incremental progress all while peppering in some of the most satisfying moments of achievement I think I’ve ever had. What an absolute triumph of player reward.
Tinykin was an unexpected surprise in the best possible way. It took ingredients from games like Pikmin and even Katamari Damacy to deliver a truly compelling package that had my son and I glued. There’s a sense of comfort-gaming in Tinykin. You know exactly what you’re meant to do and sometimes that kind of linearity is a breath of fresh air.
Tunic might not be my number one game of the year, but it sure as shit feels like the most important to me. Important because of what it was able to cleverly sneak under the radar– wildly powerful gameplay elements hidden in plain sight. Not to mention the brilliance of the user manual, which took on an arc of its own. I realize it’s entirely possible to have a much less-than-satisfying experience in your playthrough of this one, but mine was brilliant. Also, big shout out to god-mode ability.
It’s a lot more of God of War 2018 and turns out that’s pretty fucking sick. I guess if you were expecting a truly meaningful evolution of the game since then you’re probably a bit let down, but Ragnorok never promised any of that. Playing through Ragnorok just felt good, and I love being spoiled by its over-the-top production value and super-compelling performances. What else is there to say? I love God of War, I love jaw-dropping games that make me pause it and scream out “how the fuck did they do this?”
I did a From game you guys! It took me forever but I finally drifted with one of these in a way that let me appreciate what I had been missing and scoffing at for like two decades. Sometimes it takes a while to realize what kind of a piece of shit you’ve been, but it takes a bigger person to admit the error of your ways. Thank you Elden Ring.
But before we close the books on another year of video games, I figured I’d offer my son– the most gamer-ass gamer in my family– the chance to craft his own GOTY list. We were originally gonna record a little podcast talking about the games he picked , but he got an Akedo arena for Hanukkah so instead all I could get out of him was a handwritten list.