Mega Man X (SNES) – The annual tradition continues.
The Night of the Scissors (PC) – A very short -and surprisingly easy- hide-and-seek style indie horror. There are like three items to find, one puzzle, and a killer who just doesn’t seem to be around all that often. Needs some more meat on its bones.
Nightmare of Decay (PC) – Indie survival horror FPS that wears its inspirations on its sleeve. I really liked it, though it could be a bit frustrating at times. See here!
I did some poking around, and I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned on this website that I have been actively participating in a local charity fundraiser, the Cerebral Palsy Stationary Bike Race, for the last four years. I bring it up because I just signed up for the 2023 race this week. And also because I would like to share this image from last year’s website:
If it’s not immediately clear why I wanted to share this image, squint a bit harder at that tiny guy on the far right. That’s me! I was selected to be on the friggin’ banner image! What an honor!
Now, I understand that whoever did this banner just grabbed a bunch of photos that the event photographers took and slapped ’em together. There was certainly no “I think we really need to make sure that Ryan is included in our promotional material” discussion, but it was heartening to see myself representing this great cause. Makes me feel like I’ve done something genuinely good with my life.
And, as mentioned above, I’m riding again this year. Donations aren’t being taken quite yet, but I hear they’re intending to start around January 25th or so. So here’s the link anyway. Just keep checking back until that big ol’ “Donate Now” button in the upper-right corner works. And then donate. You don’t even have to do it in my name. Just give a little something to help make someone else’s life a little better.
Here is a big ol’ list of all the video games that I spent a significant amount of time playing in 2022. It’s not a comprehensive list, as I left off a few little indie games that were more “experiences”, games that I gave up on after a single session, and games that aren’t really games (like Rocksmith and Fitness Boxing). If you’d like to know how I felt about any of them, I included the month in which I started playing each one, so you can conveniently look up the appropriate Month End Round-Up post.
Of note is that of the 75 games listed below, 53 were eligible for my “Top X of 2022” list. I’ve narrowed it down to the ones I liked best, and I was left with fifteen finalists. Now I have the unenviable task of deciding if I want my GOTY list to just be 15 games, or if I want to try to figure out which five to cut to make it a nice, round Top Ten. Or, should I add seven more games to make it the Top 22 of ’22? Find out in… I don’t know, like a week or two, maybe? I’m going to try to get it done before February, anyway.
Pokémon Scarlet (Switch) – Paldean Pokédex complete!
Mars Moose: Cosmic Quest: City Sights (PS1) – More of a curio than anything. It’s a 10-minute game for wee bairns, but still, I played it.
Trombone Champ (PC) – A wacky game that I don’t think really lived up to its potential. It’s not exactly the rhythm game it first appears to be, but nor does it go nearly as off the deep end as similar games like Frog Fractions or Inscryption.
I’ve grown to really enjoy how Nintendo compiles your play history and presents it in statistical data for the year. And apparently Steam did it this year, too!
Alas, Nintendo’s offering for 2022 was weak, with much less data than the last couple of years. What I got was a list of the 21 Switch games I played the most this year, and how many hours of each. No graphs, no in-depth breakdowns, nothing else. So, here are the top three…
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 takes the cake for sure, and I still have a ton of game left to play there. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s definitely going to rank high on my 2022 GOTY list. Monster Hunter Rise got second billing because the Sunbreak expansion came out this year and I spent a lot of time grinding away at that with my brother. Lastly, and just squeaking in there at the end of the year, is Pokémon Scarlet, which is even a few hours richer than what it says above, because I’ve played it a bunch since these stats were delivered. Also, the assertion that I only played Pokémon on 10 separate days cannot be right. It just can’t!
It’s been a very no-blogging December, and my paper-thin excuse is that I’ve been doing video “content” instead. Here’s the one that’s not video games! (Though it does contain many references to video games, and even some video game footage.)
Remember back in April when I was all like “Holy crap people watched my YouTube garbage for eight whole hours last month!”? Yeah, Spooktober 2022 was good to me, and thanks mostly to that Pokémon video I posted last month, the momentum hasn’t dropped off quite yet.
My official stance is still that I don’t actually give a damn if anybody watches the videos that I post, but man… it feels kinda nice to see those numbers go up.
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (GBA) – What? Halloween season is over? Sure, but Castlevania is appropriate at any time of the year. Plus, this is my favourite ‘Vania, so there’s that. Is it still good almost 20 years later? Yeah! A little creaky in some ways, but still solid. Got the good ending and 100% map completion, but I had no interest in grinding for 100% soul completion.
ElecHead (Switch) – A very fun retro-style puzzle-platformer. Charge up platforms with your body and see what happens! Throw your head to charge up far away platforms! Fall and die on spikes many times! You know the type.
The Turing Test (PC) – Sweet first-person-puzzler that is highly reminiscent of Portal and The Talos Principle. Sadly, it’s rather short, and maybe even a wee bit too easy. I suppose it’s a good thing, though, when a game leaves you wanting more.
The Wii’s Virtual Console was a pretty incredible thing, and one of the reasons why: it introduced me to a fair number of classic games that I never would have experienced otherwise. ActRaiser for SNES being one of them, if you hadn’t already sussed that out from the post title. I can vaguely remember reading about ActRaiser (or perhaps its sequel?) in Nintendo Power, very specifically while with my family at the drive-in theatre, waiting for a movie to start. But I never actually played it until many, many years later when it was released on the VC. And you know what? It’s a pretty cool game! Part action-platformer, part SimCity Lite, it’s got surprisingly few imitators to this day despite how well-received it was and how fondly remembered it seems to be.
Square-Enix surprised the world last year by releasing a remake of the game, called ActRaiser Renaissance. I feel a little bad about waiting over a year to play it, but there are simply too many games, you know? But I have played it now, and I thought that it was very good! It’s a very faithful remake, as it brings back literally everything I remember about the original and polishes up the presentation with fancy new graphics and a rearranged soundtrack by the composer of the original, Yuzo Koshiro. And that’s all great! There are also a ton of new features, like being able to level up your character and get power-ups in the action stages, and a new tower-defense mode for the simulation stages. There’s also an absolute buttload of extra dialogue, which, having read it all, is pretty safe to skip entirely.
Where things go wrong, however, are in the trophies (or achievements, if you prefer). While most of the trophies are awarded for beating bosses, at least half of them are awarded for what amounts to grinding levels and farming monsters.