It turns out 2022 was a great year for adventure games and interactive fiction. Typically, they’re genres where you can kinda sorta play all the big ones that come out that year but there was such an overwhelming amount of them that there’s many I’ll have to get to next year like Perfect Tides and Blood Nova. Instead of picking one Game of the Year to rule them all, I just selected four in no order that were my favorites this year. I’m also leaving off a ton of stuff I really liked such as Immortality just because I have to stop somewhere. All four of these games are also discussed on various episodes of the Adventure Game Club podcast, so consider checking that out if you want longer discussions on why I thought these games were so good.
Return to Monkey Island
I never expected it but we got a new Monkey Island this year and we didn’t have to wait too long for it after the surprise announcement on April Fool’s Day. I feel like people have varying opinions on parts of it like the art style and ending but I don’t care, I loved it all. I also thought that mechanically it was one of the best designed adventure games, meaning all the quality-of-life stuff like double click to run, an in-game hint book, item highlighting, and hovering over items to get text on what Guybrush was thinking. Adventure games have had some of these things before but it was still nice seeing all of it executed so well in this game.
I loved the writing in this game and will be thinking about it for a long time. The way this game talked about poverty, family members with illnesses, and living in a city that is slowly decaying resonated strongly with me and they’re all things we don’t see discussed enough in games. I thought the art was beautiful, loved the soundtrack enough to buy it on vinyl, and the game continues to improve by getting patches that add features like being able to skip the combat.
This was another game I had been waiting a long time for and it did not disappoint. I loved how it was strongly influenced by indie tabletop rpgs to handle how you take actions and I hope we see other video games look at indie ttrpgs for inspiration instead of getting so many games borrowing dated mechanics from D&D. The ending I got was beautiful and made me cry so I guess that means it’s Real Art. I’m also failing to mention everything else about the game that worked for me like the way it handles exploration to come across events, the art, and music, but I thought that was all incredible as well. I’m looking forward to revisiting the game once all of the DLC is out.
He Fucked the Girl Out of Me
If you follow me on social media you’ve probably seen me discuss this game a billion times, including a post I just made a few days ago, so I’ll just briefly say that it’s a fantastic game plus it’s short and free (but leave a tip anyway!) so if you’re ok with the things mentioned in the content warnings then it’s a must play.
Best Old Game – Riven: The Sequel to Myst
I replayed Riven earlier this year for Adventure Game Club and huge surprise, I still think it rules. It still looks great and the world building is incredible. If you’ve never played a Myst game before, please do not start with this one. The new Myst remake is a great place to start. I will never shut up about Myst.
Best New Trend – Indie Game Anthologies
So this isn’t actually new or a trend but it seemed like there were more of them this year than previous years and I’m ok with that. I previously wrote about them here.
Anyway, those are my GOTY awards no one asked for. It turns out video games are pretty neat!