Last year I made a thread to talk about talking about talking about “Favorite Games of the Year” and all that, in the face of the whole first-past-the-post-voting thing we do.
So this year I’m doing it again, both to give me some space to talk about my feelings about the year, and also to talk about how we talk about “Favourite Games” for a community.
The Waypoint podcast had some interesting thoughts about this - not picking a single “Waypoint GotY” but allowing everyone to talk about their favourite games in their order. (And it’s worth noting that there isn’t a unanimous “game of 2022” from across all 4 of the current podcast team.)
Before the results for this forum are announced, there’s an interesting statistic from just looking at the numbers of respondants on each of the topics:
Of the 6 categories, “Game of the Year” has the most respondents, with 45 responses at the time of writing (and I suspect it will change very little in the next day). There’s a big drop to the least-popular-category, “Favorite Ongoing or Multiplayer Game”, which has only 28 respondents.
If we assume that everyone who was going to respond to any category responded to “GotY”, we can arguably say around 1/3 of the community… just doesn’t care about the Ongoing or Multiplayer Game category. In fact, if the winner of that category has less than 18 votes, it will be more correct to say that Waypoint’s “winner” is “none of the above”.
(This isn’t just a “number of options” problem: only two categories have more than 4 options in them, and Favorite Presentation has 42 votes and only 4 options, so it seems genuinely likely that “multiplayer game” isn’t actually a very representative category for the Waypoint community in general).
Next post I’ll have a bit of a talk over my own thoughts about the year, but people should feel free to use this thread to talk about their feelings about the year outside of any constraints. (For example: if you liked a game not published in 2022 best, that’s super relevant!)
It seems to me that the Waypoint community has kind of self-sorted over the years. The multiplayer-focused Waypointers have gravitated toward the Discord as it makes more sense for them to find likeminded players to coordinate gaming sessions. That leaves the forum community to be more focused on folks who prefer solitary gaming. I think what you are saying is essentially correct, but perhaps it really only applies to this corner of our community.
I agree with this pretty wholly, tbh. I don’t look to forums to organize multiplayer sessions past maybe DMing someone else on the forums a username I use in a particular game. I’m not in the Waypoint Discord itself, but I use Discord to organize stuff for my Free Company in FFXIV, or to arrange games of Hunt: Showdown, Sea of Thieves, Barotrauma, TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge, etc.
Regarding games in 2022, I’ll admit that I’ve only actually played four: Elden Ring, TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge, Potionomics, and Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator–I’m excluding Slime Rancher 2, as it’s in Early Access. Of the two, I got both potion-making games in the last two weeks of December as gifts, which isn’t enough time to really dig into them, and I still haven’t finished Elden Ring because I hit my tolerance level for the game and honestly got kind of bored with it. Luckily, I watched a few other friends finish it a handful of times, and I can honestly say that the final boss of the game would have been better if they let you ride your horse.
For me 2022 was, in terms of video games, mostly about going back and taking a second stab at ones I had picked up and then never really managed to get through. I finished Hyper Light Drifter and Jotun, as well as A Short Hike and Void Bastards. I think I finished Alan Wake and Control this year, but honestly it’s been such a blur since the first lockdown that I couldn’t tell you the difference between the last three in terms of when I’ve done what.
Y’all I didn’t realize until I saw the poll that no one had nominated Vampire Survivors for anything and now I feel like I have done that game a grave disservice. Vampire Survivors I need you to know you are goty in my heart.
I think I definitely played less multiplayer games over the last few years. I attribute that largely to shifting perspective of what I want out of video games. I do enjoy multiplayer games but the people I mostly used to play with I no longer talk to. I now play a lot more board games in person and get out and do things regularly either as a group or one on one so having video games be a solitary thing is what I mostly look for. Which is funny because my go to game right now is Fortnite. I would personally probably prefer Apex but Respawn/EA does not seem to want to put in a true solo mode so Fortnite it is.
Yeah, I’m in the same boat as a lot of people here. The extent of multiplayer/ongoing games I play are games that only nominally fit the category (like Fromsoft games and Pokemon, which 95% of the time I’m playing by myself), and World Flipper, which wouldn’t be a thing to talk about here. I don’t think I’ve picked up a new dedicated multiplayer game, i.e. one that I could nominate or vote for here… probably since PUBG in 2017? Like, I could have said something about Elden Ring, because I did have a lot of fun co-oping with a friend who’d never played a Fromsoft game before. But that felt like a technicality, and also I didn’t want to spend more time writing about a game that everyone probably already feels talked to death about (both by me and in general).
Anyway, this is at least partially because I mostly play games late at night (like, so late that many people would call it early in the morning), which is just not a time that’s conducive to people who don’t have the weird freedoms of an academic schedule and/or functioning circadian rhythms. That kinda throws sustained co-op stuff out the window. The only multiplayer games I’ve ever really gotten deep into were PvP ones that made it easy to jump in and out with randos — mainly TF2 pre-matchmaking update and Overwatch after that. Both of those are basically gone now — at least, the versions of them that fit into my life.
In general, I’m really just reading all these threads as lists of games I missed in the weird fugue I spent half the year in. I’m sad that this is the first year I don’t have a thing to vote for in the Favorite Narrative category, even though like 3/4 of those games are installed on one of my consoles. I graduate in June and I’m planning on just taking the summer to figure out what comes next, so maybe I’ll just spend a few weeks binging on the stuff I missed this year. For that, it’s nice to have it all in one place.
On the point re-self-sorting: sure, I suspect that’s true. On the other hand, the Waypoint community forum is the one having a vote here, so all I can do is look at the data available. (If the Discord-only folks want to vote there’s nothing stopping them!)
But I also detected a general trend - which seems to be borne out in comments here - that people are just kinda drifting away from multiplayer a bit, possibly as a result of the community itself aging or just wanting different things out of games.
(Personally, that definitely happened to me, for a whole bunch of reasons, over the last 4-5 years or so especially strongly.)
That said, I think the second point of this thread - that actually focusing only on “games released in 2022” as candidates for a game of 2022 is not necessarily the best thing - is the more important one to me. (Just looking at the Waypoint “Games of the Year” podcast discussion, see how many games from before 2022 Rob and Renata have on their “actually games which I really liked but weren’t eligible for my top 10 list” lists. This isn’t just me being difficult for no reason!). Sure, the games industry wants player communities to only hype their latest things - but the big hit of 2020 was Among Us, a game released in 2018, for example. Artificially limiting votes to “just things released in this year” is, well, just not reflecting how people play games…
With regards to the multiplayer thing, I can’t speak for anyone else here, but I don’t really come to the forum to discuss multiplayer. The self-sorting thing makes sense (even though I don’t make as much use of the Waypoint discord as I should), but really it’s that other than occasionally shouting out a particular new game or whatever, I’m not likely to come to the ‘what are you playing’ thread and explain in detail a multiplayer round that was fun for me at the time but is probably very abstract to anyone else. Whereas discussing the story beats or basic mechanics of a single player game is something I feel more people can chew on.
I don’t think it helps that multiplayer is so much more fragmented into different communities, so several of the poll options feel like the widest possible appeals – in the poll, I picked Fortnite because… it’s the only one of the options I even play? I would have preferred to pick Hunt Showdown, or Warzone 2.0 DMZ, or even Destiny, which I’m surprised didn’t make the cut (I fell off it earlier this year, but I know it has a big Waypoint following still).
As far as limiting ourselves to games from this year goes during GOTY discussions, for me it depends what the point of the discussion is. My list of best games I played this year would absolutely be dominated by games from years earlier. Of the 30+ games I finished (not even counting ones I sank significant time into without finishing), about two thirds are older games. But if you asked me what I think the best games of 2022 are, I’d be picking 2022 releases for sure. The exception is for stuff like Among Us as suggested: games that found new popularity after their original release. But, and this is obviously just my personal take, it has to be something that found widespread popularity. Just because I decided to go back and play Eliza or Hades this year doesn’t make them 2022 GOTY contenders. But if a critical mass of people - and this is why it’s usually multiplayer and/or early access titles - find a game after release and suddenly everyone is talking about it? Sure. It’s why I also think a few singleplayer games like Citizen Sleeper and Pentiment (maybe bad examples, but stick with me) could end up dominating conversations next year as people actually get around to playing them following their appearance on so many end of year lists.
I mean, I’m also skeptical of the concept of there being a “GotY 2022” or any other year, other than on an personal level. If there was such a thing, I’d expect it to be a compromise arrived at via discussion between everyone involved in making a decision to produce some kind of consensus. (But! Our own dear Waypoint staff didn’t come to such a unified conclusion themselves - in fact, they each had a radically different Top 10 and a different number 1 (and each person’s #1 was missing from at least one other Waypointer’s top 10 entirely). )
So, on that level, I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t have, say, Hades as your number #1 game this year. (For me, Heaven Will Be Mine is definitely in my top 10, for example, although probably not #1, and Into The Breach: Advanced Edition is there and sort of a technicality since it’s mostly there on the features of the unexpanded original…).
Every year, the world’s best Amiga games magazine (Amiga Power of course) did a “Top 100”, explicitly of all time games, not just recent ones, on this very basis, for example.
I agree it’s always going to be personal, so I understand your reasoning behind including something like Hades or Heaven Will Be Mine. As I mentioned above, if I was going to put together a list of the best things I played in 2022 agonistic of release year it would include a number of older games - I think The Secret of Monkey Island would be the oldest on my list, though whether you wanted to call it 1990 or 2009 for the Special Edition is a good question!
I think it’s just that I’m picking at a nuance of, essentially, wanting to hear about new games in this context, particularly when hearing from folks like the Waypoint hosts. Older games (even if it was only last year, like Rob mentioning Guardians of the Galaxy not getting its due at the time due to releasing so late) that are worthwhile tend to bubble to the surface over time as they get some of the recognition they deserved so it’s usually possible to pick up on them by sheer cultural osmosis. What I like about year-specific year end lists though is the opportunity to hear about things “early”, as if you’re among the first to learn about little oddities or future classics - sort of like reading up on festival circuit film reviews and thinking ahead to when they’ll get a general release or if you’ll have to hunt them down. I thought Ren’s list was especially good at calling out smaller games that probably don’t get a lot of airtime or words written about them in mainstream games media. Like, I personally loved God of War: Ragnarok, but I don’t need anyone to tell me it’s a well-made game! I was not surprised to hear Patrick’s reasoning of basically “it’s more of the same so I don’t need to include it on my list” in favour of other titles.
Coming back to this thread in particular though, I think it’s definitely worthwhile having space to discuss games whether or not they’re the latest releases, and even for stuff like the Waypoint end of year roundup, I’m not going to quibble over the few ‘rule-bending’ inclusions of older games like Patrick’s Minecraft or… well, I’m forgetting a couple of others that snuck through! I just also find value in more restrictive list-making.
I feel like that tends to be more a thing in film (e.g. the Sight and Sound poll and similar constructions) than games, but it would be cool to see that taken up more. Does Kotaku still do its regularly updated “10 Best PlayStation/Xbox/etc Games”? Not the same scope by any means, but closer to the release date agnostic way of looking at games rather than only focusing on the very latest.
Dishonored 2 is on my GOTY list this year. I finally finished it after 6 years and, what do you know, it’s incredible. But I haven’t talked about it on the forum because who else is gonna go deep into Dishonored 2 in 2022? I chose to discuss more recent games in the GOTY threads because people would be more interested in those, whether they played them and are excited to talk about them, or maybe they’re curious to find out what cool things they missed this year. If I want to check out the discussion about Dishonored 2, I can go find podcasts and forum posts from 2016, or I can just talk about it in the regular “What game are you playing” thread. That doesn’t change the fact that the game is on my personal 2022 list (which I’d love to share on the forum, if there’s a space for that).
(As for multiplayer, I haven’t played any multiplayer game in years beside some rounds of TF2 here and there. But the Solium Infernum remake is out soon…)
I will be real I’ve soured hardcore on VS because 1) the creator apparently has ties to the gambling industry and tried to design the game like a slot machine to keep people playing, but more importantly 2) a moot of mine received harassment from droves of Asm0nG0ld fans because she criticized it in small video essay
My overall game of the year was Splatoon 3, which is a primarily multiplayer affair (though don’t overlook that great single player campaign!!). I don’t participate in the forums so much, so I didn’t take the time to nominate it in various places. Honestly it took multiple categories for me, to the point that my backloggd game of the year page was merely two games. I guess it actually did become a small part of why I didn’t post on the forums about it. Either I posted it in multiple categories and I felt that would be spammy, or I just didn’t post it at all because I couldn’t choose which category to put it in.
Here’s my backlogg’d games of the year 2022. Congratulations to Pentiment for breaking through the cutthroat battle of being the only other game represented amongst the categories!
I’m someone who plays a ton of multiplayer games to the detriment of my progress in any single player game (Elden Ring, Xenoblade 3, even Pentiment, remain unfinished, though I feel I’ve played enough of each to make a solid judgement of my feelings on each. I’ll continue to play them through 2023). So Splatoon 3 had a lot of competition for me this year (Overwatch 2, Marvel Snap, Warzone 2, various older titles like Apex Legends, Age of Empires 4, Fall Guys, Star Wars Squadrons, etc), and yet it’s the one game I knew was guaranteed to be my number 1 game of 2022, given my relationship with the 2nd game in the franchise, and the series as a whole. No game has changed the trajectory of my life as much, having gotten deeply involved in the community and competitive scene in the past half a decade. Splatoon 3 will continue to be my game of forever until Splatoon 4 comes out.
It’s been a very weird year for me for many reasons, a lot of personal stuff, covid, etc all combined in a year where I feel like I’ve played fewer games than in general and fewer new games overall. Looking over a list of games I beat/put serious time into this year and only four of them were 2022 games.
All this adds up to me just feeling like I have nothing of note to add to these conversations. I mentioned Evil Dead in ongoing game because it’s basically the only one I played outside of some duos with my son in Fortnite, and I said my piece on what Fortnite has become. In the GOTY podcast piece I mentioned my disappointment with Signalis which felt like a better place for it because I don’t want to tear down other’s picks in the nomination thread.
Other than that, what of interest am I going to have to say about Elden Ring that hasn’t been said a million times over and far better by someone else? Elden Ring is probably my GOTY by default, and that’s taking into account the fact that by the end I was desperate to see credits. Every time yet another hidden area of map revealed itself I wanted to throw my controller into the sun because I felt like From was mocking me specifically. Clearly, unequivocally, this must be the end of the game… *unlocks a new continent.
I really enjoy reading what everyone else has to say though, and these threads are always a fun way to cap off the year even if I have less relevant to add than usual.
I mean, it doesn’t feel like Elden Ring is really your GoTY here Maybe we should allow a “nothing qualified except by default” option!
But, honestly, everything you just said is something of note: it’s just as important to be able to argue against as for something, otherwise we just end up in group-think, which is just as bad. (If you’re incapable of accepting that other people might not like your favourite game as much as you, then you’re the problem here not the other people, as long as they’re being polite about it.)
It’s my game of the year 2022 because I really loved the first 80% and even while the last 20% was a slog I still liked it better overall than Evil Dead, Signalis, and Splatoon 3. At no point did I dislike Elden Ring, it’s just that the final parts of that game come after dozens of hours and they’re just not as good as the rest of the game. If the game were 20 hours shorter or had the ending not funneled you straight into less interesting areas, it would have been better, but it just kept on going and not reaching the highs the rest of the game delivered.
Other years I felt like there was a game that even if I knew it wasn’t perfect, it was still perfect for me, or I felt like I had something to add to the conversation, but this year I just didn’t have something. The best games I played this year were Bloodborne, Yakuza Kiwami 2, and Inscryption.
Frankly, arguing against people’s favorites is the exact thing we’ve tried to work against with the End of Year threads. Part of the thing about a favorite is that it’s yours, and I don’t see the point in trying to refute it. None of this is supposed to be a very rigorous scheme. The polls are fun because they get lots of people involved, but it’s not really about trying to find “the best” or anything. We want people to come together and talk about what they loved. As a mod team, we’ve tried to foster an environment in these events where people are able to talk freely about games they are enthusiastic about. This is why we’ve tried to make threads that don’t have too much of an emphasis on polls, and instead try to encourage positive discussion rather than tearing down other people’s feelings.
I’m not sure I mean “you should be able to argue against something not being someone’s favourite”.
However: it’s important in any discussion within a mature community to allow disagreement, and that can include letting someone say “actually I know all you lot really liked Andor, but just as a note, it didn’t work for me”, for example. Otherwise you just get lost in groupthink because people are only allowed to be positive about things, and so the loudest shouts of positivity “win”.
In fact, the irony is that, if I pick a random sampling of the “favourite X” topics here, there isn’t a huge amount of discussion about favourite games - no back and forth, not a lot of actual replies to other posts - what there is (which is also fine) is a lot of people writing a mini-essay about what things they liked in this category.
(And, of course, if we were just discussing what people in the community felt in threads, it would matter even less, because we’re having a discussion just like the Waypoint podcast did, and not voting for anything. However, because we all know that there will be a poll, and that nominations will be taken from the discussion threads to vote between for categories, inherently there becomes a certain competitive element to it. And, inevitably, there’s the risk that people who really didn’t like the winner of such a poll will feel - however slightly - a bit alienated from the community, a bit out of touch, a tiny bit not included, especially when it gets held up in a laudatory post saying how the community loved it. I know I felt a bit this way when Inscryption won (with a small plurality) last year!)
The thing that Elden Ring taught me this year is that I shouldn’t let FOMO trick my husband into buying a game. I haven’t finished Elden Ring, and I honestly doubt I ever will for the reasons CrimsonBehelit gave here. If I do go back, it’s certainly not going to be to do side-content for any of the endings. I simply cannot bring myself to slog through a game that honestly becomes unpleasant after you’ve spent like 3 hours just trying to kill one boss. We could have saved $80 by just watching Pat play the game on his stream both faster and better than we could. Aside from the feeling of managing a win yourself, there’s fundamentally no difference to me between playing a Soulsborne, or watching someone else play it and watching lore videos and trawling the wiki for stuff they missed. If Elden Ring taught me anything this year, it’s that it’s okay to stop playing a game because you get bored of it. Pick it up again when you start to care. It’s a single-player experience. Literally who cares.
That said, I can understand the reasoning behind wanting to have a favorite for a certain year, because if I was asked to pick a favorite game of the year out of games I’ve generally played? It would be Hades or Moonlighter or some other old roguelight I keep putting hours into because that’s how the gameplay loop works. And the thing is, those aren’t really my favorite games for narrative, they’re just the ones that ask for my time in fractions, instead of chunks.
That said, I can’t say I have much of a horse in the GOTY race. I simply I don’t have the disposable income to be playing every big game that comes out, and so I don’t really have much to say when the end of the year rolls around. Next year, I will buy the new Zelda, and it will be The One Game I Play From That Year.
That’s probably why certain games winning certain polls just doesn’t really bother me, and I don’t really see the need to argue for my game of choice–aside from the fact that I’m lazy. Like, what am I going to say to someone who says ‘Actually, Hades didn’t really work for me’? I’m not gonna try and convince them of my point. That’s what the original post about why I liked Hades was for!
This is something I’ve come by during the pandemic, when I was worried I would get really into Posting and Tweeting. I would start to write up something or other on Twitter or Tumblr, and then I would think to myself ‘Am I going to have the energy/investment in the subject to get into a debate with someone who’s decided to pick a fight?’ and I honestly found myself so exhausted by the prospect of having to establish that I’m posting in good faith that usually I just went ‘Yeah, this doesn’t need to be a post on a social media platform, I can just talk about this with my friends’.
It’s been nice to post here more frequently though. I should go and dig up some of the other threads I might have missed this year. Maybe there’s one for a game I actually played.