What video games did you play in 2022
I’ve never struggled to comprehend the speed at which a year has passed in the way I have with 2022.
As I’ve gotten older, each year has felt a bit shorter than the last, but this one accelerated that feeling to an alarming degree.
And I think a large part of that is due to me experiencing a pretty huge transition in life, going from a guy who talks about video games on the internet to a guy who talks about video games on the internet that also has a kid.
2022 was the most important and most challenging year of my life, and as always, in order to process and cope with stresses in my life, I played a lot of video games.
Some were new, some were old, but all of them undoubtedly helped me throughout the year in various ways, and I wanna spend some time talking about them.
These are the games that got me through 2022, and as is tradition the only place to start is with the first game I played last year: Webbed
Every January, I typically look for a comfy game to play.
Something that doesn’t take too much thought and is largely designed to make players feel good, and Webbed filled that role well.
What really makes the game tick is its use of movement which centers around one of the most satisfying swinging mechanics I’ve seen in a game.
It takes actual thought and some skill to get moving efficiently, but is still forgiving enough that it never gets frustrating.
Webbed was a cute and calm way to kick off the year—the sort of low-stakes game that recentered me a bit, one where I didn’t have to invest all that much time or energy into but still got a great sense of satisfaction for experiencing, and at the time, I expected to seek out more titles like it throughout the year, as I figured with the quickly approaching life change, they would be easy games to fit into a new schedule and also help manage stress levels on especially tough days, but that didn’t really end up being the case.
Despite Webbed being a delightful time and me thinking I wanted more of that, I quickly dove in the opposite direction and instead sought out games that challenged me in one way or another—ones where the enjoyment comes from the struggle, which led me to what ended up being my favorite game I played last year, FromSoft’s greatest masterpiece: Sekiro.
I am not proud to admit this, but I actually bought Sekiro the day it came out and refunded it after an hour as I just wasn’t mentally in a place where I was willing to deal with excessive amounts of failure, but last January, I finally was.
I still found it to be wildly difficult, but instead of feeling demoralized by it, this time, I felt encouraged.
In a way, and I’m sure I’m not the first or last person to say this, it reminded me of the first time I played a Souls game—when I originally tried out Demon’s Souls over a decade ago, I had never played anything like it.
I was used to combat where you typically could get by with button mashing and the occasional well-timed dodge, but it asked so much more from me, and I had to shed habits I had developed from other games in order to master it.
However, after playing through the Dark Souls series and Bloodborne, I had started to figure out what to expect from FromSoft combat, And what had once been fresh and unique became ordinary, but Sekiro doesn’t adhere to the typical Soulsborne formula.
While the influence of those games can clearly be felt, it challenges all players, from newcomers to diehard FromSoft fans to master new mechanics and strategies that are far different from almost anything they’ve seen before.
Sekiro managed to recreate the feeling that got me to fall in love with the series in the first place by being so different from those titles in terms of gameplay.
It surprised me in a way that few games ever had, while still feeling familiar and comfortable by including many of the trappings I’ve come to expect to see in a FromSoft title.
Most importantly, it reminded me of how much I love the feeling of becoming good at a game—learning its systems and innerworkings, and engaging with as many mechanics as possible in order to overcome its challenges.
ISince starting this channel, I often fall into a pattern of just playing through games to play through them—to have something to talk about for these videos, but Sekiro pushed me to do more than that.
It wasn’t something I could get through on autopilot, and it reinvigorated my love of hard games, so I kept playing them.
After beating Sekrio, Sifu conveniently came out which felt a lot like Sekiro, but that was exactly what I wanted—something that kicked my ass until I actually took the time to figure it out, and then not long after Elden Ring released, and boy did I play a lot of it.
For a 2 week period I lived in the lands between.
With my wife’s due date quickly approaching, I wanted to beat the game completely before my daughter was born as I didn’t know what things would be like after, and I have left enough games half finished to know that Elden Ring would suffer the same fate if I took a substantial break from it.
And, I think this was the wrong way to play it.
Elden Ring not only has the grandest scope I’ve ever seen in a game, but also an attention to detail that few titles ever achieve, and in my desire to check it off the list, I think I under-appreciated a lot of what the world has to offer.
I did get all the achievements, so it isn’t like I skipped past major content, but I never took time to really soak things in, and now that some time has passed, it feels like something I consumed instead of truly engaged with.
Its a once in a generation game, and I feel like I kind of wasted it.
Also, due to the sheer number of hours I put in each day, certain aspects of it became a bit grating and frustrating because it is easier to spot and be annoyed by a title’s flaws when you play it non-stop.
That isn’t to excuse the many real problems with Elden Ring, but I don’t think they would have defined my experience as much had my play sessions been shorter and more spread out.
To be honest, even if I hadn’t had the time constraint of an oncoming child, I probably would have played it in a similar way.
Especially in the gaming content creator field, there is this pressure to be up-to-date with every major release, which I think drives a ton of people, myself included, to play games in sub-optimal ways.
I typically don’t put out videos on brand new games as I am too slow of a video maker for that, so there isn’t really a reason for me to rush through things so much, but I often find it hard not to do.
To be clear, I did still love Elden Ring—it was an experience unlike any other, I just wish I hadn’t been so determined on putting it behind me.
With that said, I do think it provided a much needed distraction to keep me from spiraling about all the things that get people to spiral during the final weeks of a pregnancy.
It kept me occupied, and while the way I played it may have hurt my enjoyment of the game longterm, it did get me through that time.
A few days after getting my last achievement in Elden Ring, my daughter was born…and I didn’t play anything for 3 weeks straight.
Now, for some of you that might not sound like much time at all, but for me it is the longest stretch of time I’ve gone without playing a game for, I don’t know, ever? Games have always been a big part of my life and especially since starting this channel and then it turning into a job, they’ve sort of become part of my identity.
I do do other things in life and have interests that aren’t video games, but obviously they are important to me, so not playing anything for nearly a month felt weird and a little scary.
During the first few weeks of parenthood, life changes completely, which is something every first time parent knows will happen, but chances are they don’t know what it will look like or how it will affect them.
The combination of sleep deprivation and dedicating every waking moment to worrying about someone who can’t take care of themselves is a hell of a thing.
I knew my life would change, but for a time, I barely felt like a person at all as my single function was to take care of someone else; the idea of ever feeling some sense of regularity, of getting back to something that even partially resembled the life I had lived before seemed impossible.
I didn’t know how to be myself.
And then one day while my daughter took a nap in her portable bassinet, I set her next to my desk and booted up Tunic.
Tunic is a game that clearly loves other games; its most obvious inspiration being the NES Zelda titles, and it manages to capture a lot of the same energy of them without nearly as much of the frustration.
There is a sense of mystery to the world, and in a lot of ways, it is the game I wanted the original Legend of Zelda to be when I first played it as a kid.
I won’t talk about specifics as it is the kind of game that is better to know very little about before playing, but it is filled with clever puzzles and secrets that many players will never even realize are there, and the rewards for uncovering these things actually matter.
A big part of what made Tunic the perfect game to play during that period was that even when I wasn’t playing, I found myself thinking about the various mysteries, most notably the one surrounding the mountain door, and trying to solve them, which helped break up some of the monotony of changing diapers, washing bottles, and doing laps around the house while holding her in the hopes of getting her to sleep.
It’s a rare title where ruminating on it between play sessions is part of the process, making it so I could still be playing it even when I wasn’t actually playing it, which had a lot of value for me.
Whether it was because of the game itself or just that enough time had passed that I had grown a bit more used to my new responsibilities, playing through Tunic helped a bit of normalcy return to my life.
It was proof that I could still engage with my hobbies even if it looked a little different than it had before.
I had been so stuck in the cloud of uncertainty that doing something as simple as playing and thinking about a video game, brought me a surprising amount of relief.
And after that I got on a bit of a roll.
I understood my daughter better and was figuring out how to attend to her needs.
Maybe most importantly, she also started sleeping more; making it through an entire night from around the time she turned 3 months old, which every parent I’ve talked to has said pretty much never happens and that my wife and I are the luckiest parents in the history of parents.
All of this gave me more time and less exhaustion, so I busted through a ton of games.
Ratchet and Clank: A Rift Apart provided a fun adventure to get lost in with an intuitive weapon progression system that I hope more games use; Neon White got me to spend far too much time replaying the same levels over and over again in order to do them faster than my friends only for them to then break my records with times I could never hope to get; Card Shark made me use my brain in a way I hadn’t since having a kid, memorizing different tricks and recognizing patterns in order to cheat the french countryside out of as much money as possible; A Link To The Past reminded me of just how good A Link To The Past is—Like, seriously, the fact that a game with this good of design came out in 1991 still kind of baffles me; and The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe proved that the best way to get a new perspective on things is by carrying a bucket.
Regardless of the game, it was just nice to be playing things again.
Being able to engage in something that had seemed impossible not long before felt both reassuring and liberating.
When my daughter was born, I went into 100% Dad mode, leaving little room for anything else, but as time went on I learned how to better fuse being a dad with the person I was before.
This stretch of playing a bunch of different titles did slow down considerably, but not because I wasn’t spending as much time playing games, it was just that I spent most of my time playing one thing: that being The Witcher 3.
For those of you who watch a lot of my stuff, you’ve almost certainly picked up on the fact that I have a lot of problems with The Witcher 3.
I’ve always respected its scope and story, but never really vibed with its approach to the open-world, so when I finished it a few years back, I never planned to play it again.
However, I needed to capture footage and do some research for a video I was working on, so I started a new adventure.
Inspired by my enjoyment of the challenge of Sekiro, I decided to give Death March a try, which actually eased a handful of issues I had with The Witcher 3 when I first played on Sword and Story.
As enemies hit a lot harder and have far more health, I needed to find any advantage I could to not die immediately, so I engaged with more mechanics and side content than I did originally in order to be able to get through the challenges of the game.
Also, for the majority of the time, I played with the mini-map turned off, which the game is not designed for in the slightest and creates a host of other issues, but I did find myself having a better time when not relying on the corner of my screen to tell me exactly where to go.
And ya know what, after all that I kind of like The Witcher 3.
I still have a lot of the same issues that I’ve always had, but with this different approach, I found a whole lot more to appreciate.
I also finally played Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine which in my opinion are both way better than the base game, and I will be talking about both more in a future video.
All things considered, The Witcher 3 is still not my kind of game, but it did feel nice to be pulled in by its charm in a way I hadn’t when I first played it.
On this go, I took my time with it and did what I could to appreciate all of the small details that make the world of The Witcher 3 feel so alive.
I learned from my mistakes with Elden Ring, and got a lot out of it.
For most of the summer, it was the main game I played, and it was nice to have a constant like that in my life as during that period it felt like I had a different baby every other day.
I also found that the story of The Witcher 3 hit different now that I am a dad.
Geralt’s father daughter relationship with Ciri resonated with me a fair bit, and although I am certainly at a much different stage of parenthood I couldn’t help but connect with Geralt in a way I hadn’t before.
A similar thing happened with God of War 2018.
I replayed it in preparation for Ragnarok, and was surprised to see how much my perception of the game had shifted.
It didn’t revolutionize my understanding of the story or anything that drastic, but where on my first playthrough, I saw a lot of myself in Atreus’s coming of age story, in this one, I mainly spent my time empathizing with Kratos’s struggle of finding the right way to raise and connect with his kid.
In both cases, it was interesting to relive these video game dad stories now with a little fatherhood experience under my belt, and I have a lot more to say on this topic, but that will be for a different, much bigger video.
In regards to the year though, my time with The Witcher 3 and God of War 2018 made it abundantly clear that the lens I use to look at games through has changed forever.
While that lens is ever shifting, it typically comes gradually, so having the way I view things change so rapidly has felt a bit jarring, but I’m also excited to see where it leads me moving forward.
After getting through my replays of The Witcher 3 and God of War 2018, I jumped back into a steady stream of enjoyable and much shorter games.
I played Immortality, which has haunted me since finishing it but like in a good way.
I played Yooka Laylee and The Impossible Lair, which might be the most slept-on game I can think of in recent memory.
And I played Symphony of the Night for the first time ever which really made me want to play Super Metroid, so I did that too.
And before I knew it, the end of the year was in sight, which I could barely comprehend.
My tiny little baby wasn’t so tiny or little anymore and she was starting to engage with the world around her more and more, a development I found to be equal parts incredible and horrifying.
And I think being at that place in life, of watching my daughter start the very early steps of growing up, made me highly susceptible to being moved by God of War Ragnarök.
Ragnarök expands the scope set by its predecessor in pretty much every conceivable way.
The world is larger and more diverse, the combat has greater depth and variation, and the story branches out into something far bigger than a tale of a father and son learning how to connect with one another; it explores fate, family, friendship, forgiveness, purpose, loss, vengeance, and yeah also still fatherhood, and for the most part, it succeeds on all fronts.
I know its story and tone are somewhat divisive but I found both to be entertaining and engaging.
The different ways each of the story’s themes apply to all of the major characters creates a complex and wide examination of those core ideas.
There are so many powerful aspects to connect with, but of course as a recent dad, the thing I related to most was Kratos grappling with the idea of Atreus not needing him in the same way he once did.
A large part of the story is him trying to figure out what role he should play as Atreus becomes the god he was destined to be, which I get.
Obviously, my daughter isn’t even talking yet aside from some bababas and if I’m lucky dadadas, so I have no idea what it is like to raise a teenager, but I have come to understand that my role as a dad will constantly change, and one of the hardest things is determining when she is ready for the next big thing.
There have been a handful of times already where my wife and I thought she wasn’t old enough or strong enough to try something, so we avoided putting her in certain situations, but pretty much everytime we did that, we learned that she in fact was ready for those thing, and we just needed to give her a chance to do them.
And at this point it is all pretty low stakes stuff, like feeding herself or taking naps on her own, but as time goes on, those stakes will only get higher, and I am going to need to learn how to not hold my daughter back while still protecting her.
Watching Kratos tackle this part of parenthood felt cathartic, and I don’t mean to keep bringing stuff up and then saying I’ll talk about more deeply in a different video, but uh I’ll talk about more deeply in a different video.
Ragnarok got me to see myself in a character I never expected to see myself in, and a huge reason it has stuck with me so much is because of that.
The final game I beat last year was Vampire Survivors.
I don’t really know what to say about this title aside from it made my brain go brrrt.
In a similar way to Hades, it was a game I heard tons of praise towards, but when I saw footage of it, I struggled to believe it was as good as people said it was, but after actually playing it, I completely understood.
It takes just enough thought to keep you engaged, while not requiring so much focus that you ever get stressed out.
After a busy few months of running this channel, playing games, getting sick every other week, and being a dad, it was the perfect way to end off 2022.
Normally when I look back at a year, I remember things that happened within it thematically.
The time itself all sort of blends together; it doesn’t matter if I experienced something in March or November, I almost always end up viewing things in regards to how they impacted me opposed to the order they actually happened.
I’ve never had much of a reason to reflect on how a year went in a linear fashion.
Last year though was different.
I watched my daughter grow from a newborn into a terrifyingly mobile infant, and the progression of the transformation will always be burnt into my brain.
So much so that when I think about the games I played last year, it’s hard to categorize them by how they made me feel like I usually do, instead I remember them in relation to my daughter.
Elden Ring was when I hadn’t met who would soon become one of the two most important people in my life.
Tunic was when she was so small and new that all she could do was sleep, cry, and occasionally track things with her eyes.
Rift Apart was when she started smiling.
Neon White was when she first slept through the night.
The Witcher 3 was when she started to laugh and also when she learned how to roll over and also when she got her first tooth and also when she got her second—god that’s a long game.
Yooka Laylee And The Impossible Lair was when she started sitting.
Symphony of the Night was when she ate her first solid food.
God of War Ragnarok was when she got strong enough to grab the slates of her crib and pull herself up to stand.
Vampire Survivors was when she crawled for the first time.
I don’t know if this will always be how I perceive time, the things I play, and her life, but this past year it was.
More than ever before, I have a lot going on in life; thankfully, the vast majority of it is good, but even good stuff requires a lot of thought, energy and maintenance.
I’ve always used games as a way to help ground me, and 2022 was no different.
I have not by any means mastered all of this.
I still have a lot to learn about how to balance my various roles in life, and with both work and fatherhood, I have no clue what tomorrow will bring; what I do know though is that this past year games were a constant during a time of wild and continuous change; they gave me hope and relief when I needed it, and I know for a fact that the year would have been harder without them.
There are far more important things in life than games and hobbies in general, but I do think it is easy to get consumed by those more important things.
To lose yourself in them, and that’s why it is important to have something to turn to every once in a while that feels like your own.
And for me, that will always be games.
So here’s to the new year and hoping Silksong actually comes out.
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For those still here, hey.
I’d like to thank my patrons who make this channel possible, and give a special shout out to WilliamGlenn8 and Adamo for being honorary bagbutens.
I appreciate you.
With that, I wish you the best in this new year and hope you have a great day and/or night.
I will see you in the next one.