2023 is coming to a close. May as well talk about the year in some capacity. Current events are only moderately horrible, so let’s focus on the games. What do we have up first?

Disappointment of the Year: Disney Illusion Island

Going quackersIt’s still a good game! But it has an amazingly slow start, and never really gets anywhere too interesting. I love the art style, the general gameplay, and the overall format of 4 player simultaneous 2-D action. And Donald Duck! But in a year where we also saw all of that from Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog, Disney Illusion Island was the least interesting out of the whole gang. And, considering the pedigree of previous Mickey/Illusion titles (or even just the Capcom ones), “disappointed” is definitely the right word here. Not bad, Mickey! But I guess I have loftier expectations for a hero that has been around long enough to define copyright law

Compilation of the Year: Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster

Sorry, cactusIt was on Steam already, but it is new to my excessively portable Nintendo Switch! I am loving it, because all I ever wanted was the ability to instantly boot up damn near every Final Fantasy on the same system. And then jam on it all. Speaking of which, the new PR music is pretty good, too. I am not a great fan of some of the graphical/font changes, but now I can play Final Fantasy 3 in its 8-bit glory without having to find an English patch, so I will let it slide. And, yes, this is definitely what prompted three weeks of Final Fantasy 6 earlier this year. Any excuse to play the classics.

And, in that vein, honorable mention goes to the Megaman Battle Network Legacy Collection. I would love to tell you that was my compilation of the year on principle alone, but my poor brain cannot allow that game back into my Switch right now. My OCD lights up like a Christmas tree at the mere mention of six different games with collectible Mega Man-based “cards”.

Game I was most waiting for to arrive on consoles: Vampire Survivors

A good trip to the libraryI am not a PC-gamer. There is a distinct reason for this: if I played videogames on my computer, I would no longer have any facet of my life that is not dominated by gaming. I can’t even go for a walk in the sun without playing Pokémon Go! So I laid down the edict long ago that I would not cultivate a Steam library, or play any games on the PC. And this leads to a number of times in my life when everyone is talking about some great PC game, and I have to just sit back and wonder what it must be like in the happy place of my peers. But now the sun shines on my side of the street, as Vampire Survivors made its way to the Xbox, and then the Nintendo Switch shortly thereafter. And now I too can survive vampires! Portably, even! I haven’t quite glued myself to this one like Hades yet, but I know a good time when I see it. And that good time involves shooting projectiles in every direction, obviously.

Title of the Year: Yeah! You want “Those Games,” Right? So Here You Go! Now Let’s See You Clear Them!

Pull it!You know what? I did want those games, and I did clear them. My hat is off to the most appropriate long title we have had in ages. Those “cell phone game ads” did always look like fun, and this game proves it with stick figures and fun puzzles. And it made for a fun stream that involved everyone yelling at me, too. So I’ll be remembering YYWTGRSHYGNLSYCT for a while.

Remake of the Year: Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp

Advance Wars is back! And it only got delayed by one war this time! I am really not holding out hope we are going to see this franchise ever again, so enjoy playing with these tanks one last time. Now please excuse me as I salute the alternate universe where this franchise was more popular than Fire Emblem.

DLC of the Year: Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Future Redeemed

Consider itXenoblade Chronicles 3 had a crop of lackluster DLC (oh boy, a robot lady and a woman who makes jewelry? Be still my heart), and then its final bit of DLC dropped right around my birthday this past Spring. And holy cow was it good. It was so good that I want MonolithSoft to stop making sprawling, 80-hour RPGs, and just make more tight, 15-hour adventures. I would miss the usual gigantic worlds, but so much care went into the packed experience of Future Redeemed that I was more than a little impressed. Oh, and it went out of its way to tie literally all the Xeno franchises together into one unified whole. I am an incredible mark for that kind of nonsense, so I am down.

Game with the absolute worst release date of the Year: Final Fantasy 16

This is so generic!I’m not going to keep you in suspense any longer: my game of the year is The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. And Final Fantasy 16 was released a little over a month after TLOZ:TotK. And I am going to claim that is the reason I made barely any progress in Final Fantasy 16. Tears was such a perfect dopamine rush of always doing something or accomplishing a major goal (or at least finding a decent horse), while Final Fantasy 16 has much more traditional combat stages followed by Game of Thrones-esque cutscenes and creeping around a big “RPG town” for sidequests. And there is nothing wrong with that! It just felt like grabbing McDonalds after eating nothing by steak for a month. I could recognize this was good and AAA and all those qualifiers that mean I am playing something objectively “good”… but I just couldn’t get into it after my adventures with Link. And by the time that feeling wore off, there were already other games to play. So, sorry, Final Fantasy 16. You might have been my game of the year if you came out in, like, February.

Game of the Year: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

I even have GIFs leftoverHere it is! There was no way in hell the championship belt was going to go to anything else for 2023. I hesitate to call any game perfect (particularly any game that could have distinctly included Tingle, but chose not to), but Tears of the Kingdom is probably as close to perfect as possible. I can confidently say that every complaint about Breath of the Wild has been addressed, and while some of the solutions may not be to everyone’s taste, all of the compromises involved enhance the gameplay in one way or another (except getting Sidon a girlfriend. That was just mean). And, as previously mentioned in this article, you are never not doing something while exploring Hyrule, so every accomplishment leads to an infinite, “hey, do you think I could make my way over there” query. And the plot ain’t bad either. I am a sucker for time traveling hijinks.

So, in short, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is my game of the year because I literally cannot think of what more I would want from a videogame. I can save the world and make a laser golem? Sold.

Games I’m sure are great, but I haven’t played: Starfield, Diablo IV, Resident Evil 4 (2023), Pikmin 4, Lies of P

In general, I feel like I have played the majority of games I wanted to play this year, and the remainder are games that I can say are “not my cup of tea”. Like Lies of P looks interesting, but not necessarily interesting enough to be my highest priority. And I take my gaming seriously! Only the cream of the crop may enter my playlist. Like that one anime game with the booby lady.

Gogglebob.com Introspection 2023

Hey! I finally ended the FGC this year! Please look forward to its inevitable return in March or so.

What? I am bad at putting projects in the ground. I have been updating the Kingdom Hearts FAQ since godforsaken 2015…

To new horizonsBeen trying for a little active upheaval on Gogglebob.com this year. After coasting on just updating the Wild Arms 3 Let’s Play (now complete!) and Even Worse Streams for a few months, I brought back the FGC to finish it and then start the Smash Bros. Challenge. Which, as we all know, is basically the same thing, except I get to play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate once a week. Do what you love, you know? For the record, I want to state plainly that many of the SBC articles were written during my “down time”, and I was excited about the new(ish) format and emphasis… But I couldn’t figure out an appropriate finale for the FGC. So thanks again to Final Fantasy 6 Pixel Remaster, because that gave me an excellent excuse to write a few articles that were out of the ordinary. And that I enjoyed writing! That always helps!

Oh! And the site got a whole redesign this year, too! Do you like the new layout? I do. It seems to be easier to read, and is definitely one of those changes where you look back on the old layout, and wonder why you kept the whole thing around as long as you did. You know the last time I changed the site was in October of 2015? I am mad at my own lethargy.

Anywho, any other changes I will likely talk about in a later article, so please look forward to what 2024 has in store for Gogglebob.com.

Favorite random articles of the year that have not already been linked:

FGC #651 Goat Simulator 3
SBC #03 Donkey Kong & Donkey Kong Land
SBC #09 Pichu & Pokémon Violet/Scarlet
SBC #10 Young Link & The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Gameboy)
Xenogears 20: Robot Roll Call

And that’s that for 2023. Let’s get back to playing some random videogames!

What’s next? The Smash Bros. Challenge continues with Mii Fighter gaining a sweet ponytail. Please look forward to it!

2 thoughts on “Year in Review: 2023”
  1. Personally Starfield was my biggest disappointment of the year. You’d think making a cool space game would be easy, but between Starfield deemphasizing the exploration in favor of fast travel and its boner for capitalism I just went back to No Man’s Sky instead.

    Anyway, I’m undecided on an overall GOTY, but things what came out in 2023 that I did play and enjoy include TotK, Resident Evil 4 (Remake), Armored Core VI, World of Horror, The Invincible, and the EGG CONSOLE rereleases of Xanadu and Hydlide.

    Planning to get Baldur’s Gate 3 next week, and I’ll eventually get around to getting Star Ocean: The Second Story R, Super Mario Bros. Wonder, Sonic Superstars, and Super Mario RPG. Maybe Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince too, once the price is right.

    1. I’ve been gradually going over old articles as part of the site redesign, and I just want to note that I always enjoyed your comments on the old stuff (when it was new). Just saying!

      Also: completely forgot to add Armored Core VI to the “looks neat, will play it in 2028” list.

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