Disappointment of the Year: Pocky and Rocky Reshrined
It wasn’t bad! And it was even a pretty good Pocky and Rocky game! But, after decades without a Pocky or Rocky, it really felt like there could have been more done with the franchise. Or maybe the issue was simply that it was released right around the same time as Cuphead’s Delicious Last Course DLC, so Pocky and/or Rocky had to try to shine in the shadow of an amazing take on the shoot cute giant creatures genre. Whatever the case, this game felt like the sequel to a game from the 90’s that completely ignored the fact that there has been a whole heck of a lot of great games released since said 90’s. And that doesn’t make a bad game, just a disappointing one…
Compilation of the Year: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection
This was an amazing year for compilations and/or remakes. We got Capcom Arcade and Neo Geo Pocket compilations! A whole pile of Capcom fighting games! Klonoa! Artisanal Atari! Death Smiles for some unknown reason (also, that technically was released in 2021, but it was December, so I’m going to count it)! But the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles take the cake, because their compilation runs through such an unusual gamut of choices. You have beat ‘em ups! Fighting games! Action games! A Gameboy Metroidvania! All on one cartridge/disc/download, and all united by including games that feature Renaissance artists with Japanese weapons. And all the games included are at least passable! Except Genesis Tournament Fighters! Whatever! I can’t stop shouting! Cowabunga!
Remake of the Year: Radical Dreamers
I have spoken of this at length already, but the fact that we now have a playable, English Radical Dreamers is amazing to me. This slot was going to go to Live-a-Live, which seemed like an equally unlikely SNES English rerelease that by all accounts has the objectively better graphical upgrade… but screw it. I gotta go with my gut on this one. I had been waiting for Radical Dreamers since before I ever saw a Nintendo 64, so finally playing it on my Nintendo Switch was a surprisingly significant experience. And it included an unexpectedly friendly goblin, too. Can Live-a-Live say that?
Title of the Year: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid: Burst Forth!! Choro-gon Breath
This award is traditionally granted to a game that is playing it straight and just incidentally thinking it was a good idea to include the word (?) “UnderBirth” in its title. However, this year we have a comedy game based on a comedy series featuring comedic characters, so it is entirely likely this title is intentionally funny, too. That said “choro-gon breath” is complete nonsense, and there is no universe where that joke lands in any way. I did a google search! The only result for “choro-gon” is this game! What does it all mean!? Can someone help me with this shouting problem!?!
Game Most Recklessly Encouraging Obesity: Kirby’s Dream Buffet
In a weird way, it is a shame that Kirby’s Dream Buffet is just a silly little racing game. I love it! But it is bite-sized, and even my Kirby-loving heart was only able to wring a few hours out of the experience of gradually earning Kirby more and more hats through gluttony. Regardless, it is likely my favorite surprise experience of the year, one of two remarkable Kirby games, and is worthy of Master Hand and Crazy Hand clapping for the Kirb blobs.
Game with the absolute worst release date of the Year: Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to see any “retro” game released on modern consoles, particularly a fighting game that is reliant on online matchmaking. Ain’t nobody suplexing robots back on the Playstation 3 anymore. That said, March 2022 was a weird ass time to see this game resurface. There were rumblings (now coming to fruition) of “back” Persona titles being released on the Nintendo Switch, which is practically the best system in history to host a Persona game (chat with buddies on the big screen, go to portable mode when you must stalk through 50 floors of a dungeon). We had just seen at least two releases of Persona 5 on other systems, and we even had that dancing game or the beat ‘em up to keep us company as vaguely new content. And then we have the Persona 4 fighting game. Not Persona 5, currently featured in Smash Bros, but Persona 4. And the majority of this playable cast was already available in Cross Tag Battle, a game currently continually on sale for two bucks. And… what was the point of all this again?
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, you were always a great fighting game, but your release date in 2022 was a rainy day.
DLC of the Year: Guilty Gear -Strive-
I’m not sure if you are aware of this, but mankind knew they could not change society, so instead of reflecting on themselves, they blamed the beasts. And, sometimes, that beast is DLC. The current state of gaming is one where DLC is often promoted longer and harder than its parent game. Every announcement has to be an event, and every new stage, character, or mode has to be the greatest thing to happen to the genre since the last time someone asked you to get excited about the same guy you’ve been seeing since 1994. That said, the DLC for Guilty Gear -Strive- has done something no other fighting game has done with its DLC: it made Bridget a girl. And good for her! Sora in Smash Bros. is important or whatever, but I’m pretty sure this is the first time DLC has made a person come out. Testament being nonbinary is also a nice bonus. They like potatoes. They just think they’re neat.
System of the Year: Xbox X|S
Xbox quietly took this title for 2022. I now have all the current generation systems (thank you Stranger of Paradise for inspiring that Playstation 5), and, while the only unique game for the Xbox X|S that has struck my fancy has been a pretty standard flight simulator, it is also the only system that currently goes back four generations with its game library. So I can play some crazy ray-tracing adventure with a fox that looks like Link, or I can go back into the archives and easily play the likes of Final Fantasy 13, Jade Empire, or even just Xbox Midway Arcade Classics. The other systems play some oldies, but, as someone who has been accumulating a terrible collection of games that go back to the Atari, the ability to instantly boot up titles I purchased opposite the Playstation 2 or Gamecube is amazing. I now actually regret buying many games on something other than the Microsoft console du jour, as (miraculously) it seems like it is only the Xbox that genuinely cares about backwards compatibility, and not just reselling the same game over again. And it can play all sorts of Toejams & Earls. Worth the price of admission right there.
Game of the Year: Xenoblade Chronicles 3
I have a lot to say about Xenoblade Chronicles 3, and you will read that meandering essay on this site eventually. But in the meanwhile, just be aware that this game managed to soak up approximately 90 hours of my life, engage my imagination, and be a fun-to-play game all the while. My general enjoyment of Xeno-titles has been extensively documented on this site, but I need to make one thing abundantly clear: this is the first Xeno-game I can recommend without hesitation. After decades, they finally got it right! And the characters, plotting, and general tone are only, like, 5% embarrassing. Max. I cannot even say that about Elden Ring and its silly little horse man! Oh, and this is also a game I never expected to be anything better than general “good, but not amazing” Xeno quality, so that probably gave it a rank up, too. Look, it’s just a good game that came out of nowhere (“nowhere” being “literally years of experience and anticipation”), so it wins. It just plain wins.
Oh, and best soundtrack of the year, too.
Games I’m sure are great, but I haven’t played: Gotham Knights, God of War Ragnarok, Bayonetta 3, Sonic Frontiers, Stray
Look, it seems like a lot of games came out in the October-November window. I know that happens a lot, but it still hit like a ton of bricks this year. I know I will at least get to the Sonic game. God of War is a firm maybe… After I play the last one… that came out four years ago…
Also, I looked back at previous years’ “games I will play eventually” lists, and I just got to a 2017 game this year…
Gogglebob.com Introspection 2022
This was a weird year for a lot of reasons, but the “arc” of the site was particularly surprising. I tried to dial it back a little and exclusively focus on the Wild Arms 3 Let’s Play for the Summer, but then I wrote FGC articles while I was on the break, started publishing them in the Fall, and had enough of a “backlog” that I could produce new content easily for the rest of the year. And then I started writing about the Even Worse Streams videos (thanks to having a lot to say about Chrono Cross), which has become a consistently weekly thing in an effort to finally post those Xenogears videos from 2021. So now the site is consistently updating three times a week for the first time since Spring of 2018, and it is during a time I was trying to “cut back”. Guess time makes fools of us all… or… something…
Regardless! Here are some favorite FGC articles of the year:
FGC #618 Body Harvest
FGC #625 Double Dragon 3: The Rosetta Stone
FGC #628 Popeye
FGC #630 Record of Lodoss War: Deedlit in Wonder Labyrinth
FGC #634 Martial Champion
And that’s ignoring everything from this year I already linked.
Here’s to 2023! The year I end the FGC!
What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… E.V.O.: Search for Eden! Speaking of games featured on Even Worse Streams, it is time to look at the tale of a fish becoming a human despite the fact that monkeys still exist. Please look forward to it!