2022 in Video Games and 2022 Video Game of the Year

2022 in Video Games title image

A video version of a large chunk of this blog post

1. Gwent (1 day, 5:50:44): Around May I found out that CD Projekt Red had changed the rules around the Gwent Journey, so that journeys were no longer time-bound. This meant I no longer felt pressured to play every day in order to progress. Freed from feeling forced to play, I once again caught the Gwent bug and, as you can see, it became my most-played game. The addiction was also facilitated by playing on my phone (although that time is not captured here). Eventually, around September, I had to stop when the heft of the phone was giving me RSI issues. I had moved on to other games on my PC, so I took a break from Gwent. The developers announced that the game only has one more update coming, so we’ll see if the community around the game remains. That will dictate how much I continue to play Gwent because, after all, a multiplayer game is no fun if there isn’t anyone to play with. I expect I’ll get readdicted some time in 2023. (Last year 23 minutes)

2. Monster Train (12:55:05): This is the deck-building Rogue-like game Dan recommended to me last year. I couldn’t remember the name and so I ended up accidentally buying and playing Dicey Dungeons and Slay the Spire instead.  I found Monster Train to be much more addictive than Slay the Spire because the use of a primary and secondary clan type meant the card diversity was much higher. It also meant there were many different combinations of primary and secondary clans, especially since switching which is primary and secondary changes your “hero” character. Having multiple platforms on the train to juggle also made things more exciting when compared to Slay the Spire.  While there was still the randomness of a deck-builder, it felt less random than Dicey Dungeons. But what made it work better for me as a Rogue-like compared to Slay the Spire is that after every battle there was some kind of store to shop at and some bonuses to get. It kept things a lot fresher than in Slay the Spire where you might go 3 or more encounters before hitting up the shops. (Did not play last year) 

3. Core Keeper (9:23:59): I honestly don’t remember playing this much Core Keeper because I never played on my own. I was only playing together with the kids to help them build up their base and get ready to attack the larger enemies. If the kids hadn’t abandoned Core Keeper for Minecraft, this game may have ended up at the number 2 spot. I *do* like that it’s kind of an inverse Stardew Valley. The mining and crafting take the lead spot, but there is still farming of crops and even some kinds of animals. I’ve always intended to go back to this game. Of all the Stardew Valley clones (and there are almost literally hundreds at this point), this one seems to give the genre the most unique spin. (Did not play last year)

4. Spelunky 2 (4:03:28): Spelunky 2 landed back on the list mostly due to the kids asking to play with me. We continued to have a blast, especially as the kids continue to get older and better at strategy.  I had a lot of fun on Extra Life day when some strangers saw the livestream and joined me in the game. The kids had a lot of fun destroying their uncle in arena mode. I think I feel like I’m mostly done with Spelunky 2, having beat the game once or twice with Dan in the previous year. Time will tell. (Last year 29 hours 19 minutes)

5. Civilization VI (4:03:13): It would definitely be a strange year if a game in the Civilization franchise doesn’t make an appearance.This year I only played the multi-player games I have on-going with my siblings. There was a chunk of time where I was really making a big effort to get to my turns, but then got sidetracked by other games. (Last year 27 hours 34 minutes)

6. Puzzle Agent 2 (3:54:48): As long-time readers of my blog or watchers of my videos know, I’m a big fan of dad jokes and puzzles. So this sequel to Puzzle Agent scratched both those itches. The game has the player return to the same city as the first game where folks seem to have a strange reaction to seeing the player’s character return. If you enjoyed the first game, I think you would definitely enjoy this one as well. (Did not play last year)   

7. Hitman: Absolution (3:01:57): I started off with my character almost acting as a parody of a hitman while playing the game. I had a lot of fun with it and enjoyed myself, but it was definitely a mockery of the idea that I was supposed to be a hitman. I did get a bit better as I spent more time with the game, but I still felt like I was making a few too many mistakes. The AI engine the developers have come up with (and the multiple win conditions) make the game a joy to play and I hope to find time to finish it in 2023. (Did not play last year)

8. Dicey Dungeons (1:52:26): A chunk of my time playing Dicey Dungeons was spent trying to catch up with my wife. She beat the whole game this year in a concentrated month of effort. Frustratingly, I was unable to match her. I definitely want to try and beat the game, so I should put a bit more time into the game in 2023. (Last year played 19 hours 56 minutes)

9. Rogue Mage (1:36:40): I gave this 1-player version of Gwent a look when it first came out. It’s almost as fun as Gwent. I think the biggest obstacle to having as much fun as Gwent is the fact that you’re just playing against the computer. Because I’m only mediocre at Gwent, whenever I beat another human, it feels like a triumph. Beating a computer opponent is about as much fun as beating the computer at chess. I will probably come back to the game in 2023, but it’s definitely not high on my priority list. (Did not play last year)

10. Slay the Spire (1:09:51): I returned to the game this year in hopes of beating it with the final character. I didn’t succeed, but I did rekindle my desire to play deck builders. Given the small amount of time I typically have to play video games, I’m not sure if I’ll play Slay instead of Monster Train, but I do have a desire to try and complete a run with each of the characters.(Last year played 11 hours 46 minutes)

11. Outer Wilds (1:01:00): After Dan, my brother, told me to reconsider the game, I gave it another chance. However, I was unable to figure out where to go next and gave up on the game. There were a few fun deaths for the viewers, though. (Last year played 1 hour 50 minutes)

12. Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed (0:56:25): Just as in the last couple years, I’ve played the Sonic racing games with the kids whenever they’ve asked. (Last year 2 hours 29 minutes)

13. The Witcher 2 (0:54:07): I fought through a cavern to help some dwarves and then learned that a troll needed help getting his wife back. I barely made any forward progress on the story, but perhaps 2023 will fare better. I usually enjoy the game when I’m playing it, but I have too many long, story-based games in my rotation. Once I finish these I think I’m going to stick to one at a time. (Last year 26 minutes)

14. Stardew Valley (0:50:26): I only played once, with the kids, on their very developed farm. At this point I don’t know if I’ll ever return to my farm instead of spending more time with story-based games or rogue-likes.  (Last year played 5 hours 44 minutes)

15. Jotun (0:43:08): This game was incredibly beautiful, but not quite what I was looking for in a game. (Did not play last year)

16. Armello (0:42:36): This tactics-style game had a pretty interesting backstory and ruleset. In the absence of a library of hundreds of games and other hobbies, I might have enjoyed the game. As it was, I decided to move on. (DId not play last year)

17. Team Fortress 2 (0:40:47): Once again I played TF2 during the Halloween event. At this point, it’s more or less the right amount of Team Fortress for me. This is because nowadays it’s mostly TF2 diehards playing and I don’t play enough to not constantly die. (Last year played 32 minutes)

18. Disco Elysium (0:39:42): I’ve been hearing lots about how awesome this game is while also (somehow) avoiding all the spoilers. The small amount I played was incredible. The game has a sarcastic tone to it that I love and I can’t wait to get to it in 2023. I plan to limit the number of games I’m cycling through so that I can get through these narrative games more quickly. (Did not play last year)

19. Rogue Legacy (0:37:26): The game came up on my rotation and I tried to get past one of the bosses for once. I’m not sure if I’m going to force myself to finish before I play the sequel, but I’m not in a rush to get the sequel since I have so many other games to play. (Did not play last year, but not a new game)

20. Moving Out (0:34:13): The kids asked me to play Moving Out with them. We made a pretty good effort, but I think we’re stuck with the furthest we can go at the moment based on our current skill levels. (Last year played 4 hours 33 minutes

21. Among Us (0:31:38): Another request from the kids. I really am not a fan of this game – at least I’m not a fan when there are just a few players. It *is* fun to have fun with the kids, though. (Last year played 33 minutes)

22. Spelunky (0:30:24):  Once again I tried to see if my Spelunky 2 skills would transfer back to Spelunky and allow me to progress further than I used to, but sadly Spelunky remains too hard. (Did not play last year, but not a new game)

23. Worms: WMD (0:28:59): When the kids were watching prior years’ wrap-ups they saw Worms: WMD and wanted to challenge me again. (Did not play last year, but not a new game)

24. Rocket League (0:21:08): Occasionally the kids would remember that Rocket League exists and ask me to play with them. I know I’ve said something like this for a few years now, but they do better and better each year as they get better at playing video games.  (Last year played 1 hour 49 minutes)

25. Worms: Clan Wars (0:17:10): Just as before, the kids wanted to play some Worms games and asked for this one this time around. (Last year played 49 minutes)

26. Vertical Drop Heroes HD (0:15:53): Because I have so many games, thanks to Humble Bundle and Steam sales, I have nested lists that guide what I should play next. Most of my Rogue-likes and Rogue-lites are in the second list that I run through when not playing newer games. Vertical Drop Heroes HD came up next on the list so I decided to run through it and see how far I got. I went pretty deep into the levels, but the best part was coming across a bunch of merchants that allowed me to purchase new traits for the next time I play. (Last year played 1 hour 49 minutes)

27. Dirt3 (0:09:16): I have wanted a racing wheel for YEARS now. But I could never justify the price tag given how little I play racing games. However, around Black Friday it was 30% off and so I went ahead and bought it. I had an absolute BLAST playing Dirt3 with a racing wheel. I definitely want to make more time to play it and other racing games in 2023. (Did not play last year, but not a new game)

Total Time for 2022: 3 days, 10:06:29 or 82  hours (Last year 152 hours)

2022 Game of the Year

I think if I’d spent more time playing it, Disco Elysium would have been my game of the year. It definitely has a lot of potential if the game can continue delivering as it does in the opening scenes. Once again, however, the title goes to a member of the rogue family: Monster Train. It’s really only the fact that I got to it later in the year that kept it from surpassing Gwent in hours played. It’s a top contender for the first game I want to play in 2023 once I’m done with all of my end of the year blog posts. As I said earlier, I love the depth of gameplay that comes from the multi-dimensional tactics and from the ability to mix and match primary and secondary clans. Once I beat it, I expect it to remain in my rotation for a long time.

Runners Up

Gwent definitely belongs on this list. It’s a game I find myself easily addicted to whenever I start playing again. The monthly and weekly alternative game modes keep things fresh. It’s always fun to find myself defeating someone at the last minute. 

Interestingly, Hitman: Absolution also goes on the runners up list. I originally was just playing to finish what I started, but as I started to get deeper into the Hitman game mechanics, I started having more and more fun trying to actually behave as a hitman instead of constantly getting caught and fighting my way out of situations. 

Surprise Loss

None this year. 

I looked back over the past few years of gameplay, knowing that 2020 (with the pandemic) was an outlier. My current lowest number of hours played since I started keeping track is 2017 with 42 hours. This year I did just under double that at 82 hours. For completion’s sake and so that you don’t have to look it up, here are the past 4 years: 

  • 2019 – 121 hours 51 minutes
  • 2020 – 370 hours 50 minutes
  • 2021 – 152 hours
  • 2022 – 82 hours

It was a year of breadth, not depth because I still managed to play 27 different games this year. I was glad to spread things out a bit in order to get through the many games I’ve acquired through Humble Bundles. That said, my current plan is to focus in during 2023 to finish up the 3 different story-based games I have going on right now. I don’t know if I’ll deviate from the plan, but as I finish up each game, I plan not to start new games until I’m done with all the story-based games. Then (assuming I actually finish in 2023), I’ll probably focus on 1 story-based game, 1 new non-story game, and then my game cycle (which contains rogues and city builders that I like to revisit).

Overall Gameplay Numbers

This year I’m going to include all the games, but in the future I’ll probably focus on the top 20 as I do with my end of the year music blog posts. While I put this together, I was surprised at the hours I’d spent on the games. Sometimes I was surprised I’d played that many hours and other times surprised it was so few (because the game had a big impact on me). As with the music, there’s a power law curve in operation here where the top 5 games have way more hours played than the next 5. And the top 10 has an even bigger cliff for the numbers to fall off of. In fact, looking at the numbers now, I think it would be interesting to look at the top 25 as I go forward and see which games climb into the top 25, especially if they come out of nowhere to push other games lower. As with my music listening, there are a lot of games in the top 25 that I haven’t played in years. I will be surprised to see any game ever overtake Civilization V, but if a game does, it’s a game I REALLY enjoy. Finally, I’m only slightly surprised that I have played so much less Civilization VI than Civilization V, but my gaming library is a LOT larger than it used to be. (A few more thoughts below this list)

(These stats start with 2011, the first year I actually started keeping good numbers)

  1. Civilization V (326 Hours 43 minutes)
  2. Civilization VI (180  hours 18 minutes)
  3. Team Fortress 2 (136 hours 7 minutes)
  4. Gwent (103 hours 53 minutes)
  5. Stardew Valley (96 hours 20 minutes)
  6. Spelunky 2 (67 hours 37 minutes)
  7. Final Fantasy X (57 hours)
  8. Saint’s Row: The Third (50 hours)
  9. The Witcher (47 hours)
  10. Darkest Dungeon (43 hours 23 minutes)
  11. Plants vs Zombies (35 hours 23 minutes)
  12. Cities: Skylines (34 hours 42 minutes)
  13. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (28 hours 30 minutes)
  14. Assassin’s Creed II (27 hours 30 minutes)
  15. Overcooked 2 (26 hours 30 minutes)
  16. The Baconing (26 hours 13 minutes)
  17. XCOM: Enemy Unknown (26 hours)
  18. Mass Effect 2 (26 hours)
  19. XCOM: Enemy Within (25 hours)
  20. Cities: XL (24 hours)
  21. Torchlight (23 hours)
  22. Super Mario 3D World (22 hours 05 minutes)
  23. Dicey Dungeons (21 hours 48 minutes)
  24. Spelunky! (21 Hours 12 minutes)
  25. Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (19 hours 47 minutes)
  26. Pokemon Red (17 hours 36 minutes)
  27. Worms: Reloaded (17 hour 35 minutes)
  28. Vertical Drop Heroes HD (16 hour 54 minutes)
  29. Mass Effect (16 hours)
  30. Greed Corp (16 hours)
  31. The Walking Dead (16 hours)
  32. Poker Night 2 (15 hours 30 minutes)
  33. Portal 2 (15 hours)
  34. Cook, Serve, Delicious! (12 hours 56 minutes)
  35. Slay the Spire (12 hours 55 minutes)
  36. Monster Train (12 hours 55 minutes)
  37. FTL (12 hour 45 minutes)
  38. The Witcher 2 (10 hour 53 minutes)
  39. Civilization: Beyond Earth (10 hours 45 minutes)
  40. Worms: WMD (10 hours 38 minutes)
  41. Stellaris (10 hours 35 minutes)
  42. Batman: Arkham City (10 hours)
  43. Costume Quest (10 hours) 
  44. Contraption Maker (9 hour 52 minutes)
  45. Core Keeper (9 hours 23 minutes)
  46. Tetris (PSN) (9 hours)
  47. Hate Plus (8 hours)
  48. Peggle Deluxe (7 hours)
  49. Monkey Island 2: Special Edition (6 hours 30 minutes)
  50. Bastion (6 hours 30 minutes)
  51. Puzzle Agent (6 hours)
  52. Rocket League (5 hour 58 minutes)
  53. Back to the Future: The Game (5 hours 30 minutes)
  54. Mario Kart 8 (5 hours 10 minutes)
  55. Moving Out (5 hours 7 minutes)
  56. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (5 hours)
  57. Go! Go! Nippon! ~My First Trip to Japan~ (5 hours)
  58. The Secret of Monkey Island (4 hours 30 min)
  59. Rogue Legacy (4 hour 12 minutes)
  60. To the Moon (4 hours)
  61. Thomas was Alone (4 hours)
  62. Analogue: A Hate Story 4 hours)
  63. Chrono Trigger (3 hours 54 minutes)
  64. Puzzle Agent 2 (3 hours 54 minutes)
  65. Scribblenauts: Unlimited (3 hours 45 minutes)
  66. Human Resource Machine (3 hours 37 minutes)
  67. LIMBO (3 hours 30 minutes)
  68. Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed (3 hours 23 minutes)
  69. Road Not Taken (3 hours 07 minute)
  70. XCOM2 (3 hours 5 minutes)
  71. Hitman: Absolution (3 hours 01 minute)
  72. Quantum Conundrum (3 hours)
  73. Poker Night at the Inventory (3 hour)
  74. Super Mario 64 (3 hours)
  75. Worms: Forts Under Siege (2 hours 54 minutes)
  76. Outer Wilds (2 hour 51 minutes)
  77. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (2 hours 45 minutes)
  78. Beckett (2 hour 39 minutes)
  79. Crypt of the Necrodancer (2 hours 36 minutes)
  80. Worms: Clan Wars (2 hour 36 minutes)
  81. Katamari Damacy (2 hours 30 minutes)
  82. Hades ( 2 hours 30 minutes)
  83. Civilization III (2 hours 15 minutes)
  84. Portal (2 hours 10 minutes)
  85. Puyo Puyo Tetris (2 hours 05 minutes)
  86. Mario Party 8 (2 hours)
  87. Solitaire (2 hours)
  88. Trine 2 Demo (2 hours)
  89. Little Inferno (2 hours)
  90. Artemis: Spaceship Bridge Simulator (2 hours)
  91. Super Mario World (2 hours)
  92. The Stanley Parable (2 hours)
  93. Tengami (2 hours)
  94. Dear Esther (2 hours)
  95. New Super Mario Bros Wii (2 hours)
  96. Super Smash Bros Ultimate (2 hours)
  97. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (2 hours)
  98. Rogue Mage (1 hour 36 minutes)
  99. Overcooked (1 hour 35 minutes)
  100. Grim Fandango (1 hour 34 minutes)
  101. Planet Coaster (1 hour 18 minutes)
  102. Mario Kart Wii (1 hour 15 minutes)
  103. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX (1 hour 8 minutes)
  104. Super Mario Strikers (1 hour 3 minutes)
  105. Among Us (1 hour 02 minutes)
  106. Mario Kart Wii (1 hour)
  107. Tetris HD (1 hour)
  108. Chess Titans (1 hour)
  109. Xenogears (1 hour)
  110. Beatles Rock Band (1 hour)
  111. BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger (1 hour)
  112. A Bird Story (1 hour)
  113. Super Mario Galaxy (1 hour)
  114. Always Sometimes Monsters (1 hour)
  115. Unholy Heights (1 hour)
  116. Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life (1 hour)
  117. LA Noire (1 hour 0 minutes)
  118. FF Tactics (52 min)
  119. Cities in Motion 2 (45 minutes)
  120. Pixel Piracy (45 minutes)
  121. Jotun (43 minutes)
  122. Armello (42 minutes)
  123. Disco Elysium ( 39 minutes)
  124. Chromagun (38 minutes)
  125. Sonic Generations (38 minutes)
  126. Dirt3 (37 minutes)
  127. Atom Zombie Smasher (33 minutes)
  128. Double Dragon Neon (33 minutes)
  129. Super Meat Boy (30 minutes)
  130. Guacamelee (30 minutes)
  131. Oil Rush (30 minutes)
  132. To the Moon Holiday DLC (30 minutes)
  133. Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (30 minutes)
  134. Dungeon Defenders Demo (30 minutes)
  135. Skull Girls (30 minutes)
  136. Bubble Bobble (30 minutes)
  137. Eurotruck Simulator 2 (30 minutes)
  138. Paragon (30 minutes)
  139. Botanicula (30 minutes)
  140. Cthulhu Saves the World (30 minutes)
  141. Yooka-Laylee (30 minutes)
  142. Half Minute Hero (28 minutes)
  143. Spiritfarer (28 minutes)
  144. Kickbeat (26 minutes)
  145. All you Can Eat (25 minutes)
  146. BloodRayne: Betrayal (23 minutes)
  147. Back to Bed (20 minutes)
  148. BEEP (17 minutes)
  149. Awesomenauts (16 minutes)
  150. Balloon Fight (15 Minutes)
  151. Long Live the Queen (15 minutes)
  152. Rhythm Heaven Fever (15 minutes)
  153. Pacman DX 2 (15 minutes)
  154. Air Forte (10 minutes)
  155. Battlepaths (6 minutes)
  156. English Country Tune (4 minutes)

Lots of games on there which I am done with or otherwise don’t intend to revisit. However, a few games that I could see making large movements in 2023, including into the top 25:

  • Both Dicey Dungeons and Spelunky 2 at 23 and 24 could definitely rise higher relative to the other games in the top 25 – many of those are games I’m no longer playing while I definitely plan to play more Dicey Dungeons and the kids may ask me to play Spelunky 2.
  • Worms: Reloaded, currently at 27 is another game that the kids often ask me to play
  • Monster Train, at 36, would need about 10 hours to get into the top 25 (plus more hours if I play any of the other games in between), but it probably has the absolute largest chance given how easily I got addicted to it before
  • If I actually make an effort to finish The Witcher 2 and it has as many hours to finish as the first game, it’ll jump up. However, that would require me to spend about half of all the hours I spent in 2022 on this game and I don’t see that likely with also Hitman: Absolution and Disco Elysium on the docket.
  • Speaking of Hitman: Absolution at 71 – it should definitely rocket up, but how much is going to depend on how much I play and how long the campaign is supposed to be with a competent player. It could probably easily end up somewhere in the 40s
  • Repeating for a third time (although it’s not a joke) Disco Elysium at 123 should end up somewhere high up as well, as it’s a story-based game that I really want to play in 2023. Again, how high up exactly it ends up will depend on how long the story is. 
  • I *plan* to make good use of my racing wheel, so Dirt3, at 126 should also jump up quite a bit in 2023.

Anything else is going to be a surprise, so we’ll have to see what happens 11 months from now.

Finally, the images from my Steam Replay (which will, naturally, not include games from GOG or emulators)