Games of 2023

Jan 01, 2024

Micro-retrospectives on all the games I played in 2023. This year went impossibly fast, RIP writing any other blog posts this year, haha.

  • The Case of the Golden Idol
    Satisfying logical deduction puzzles. More of what the Obra Dinn gave us. Go play it.

    Yearning and yearning and yearning (but for what!). I appreciate what it's doing, but also, it's definitely a game more fun to think about than play. Haven't picked it up in almost a year now. It should be about time to finish it.

  • Pizza Tower
    It has been a while since a game has inspired me to perfect the craft of playing it. I've fought my impulse for needlessly 100%ing games, as I now recognize it is oft a path towards pointless misery and hardship. Despite that, I have felt true joy and triumph striving to P-rank each and every stage. I haven't yet finished this task, but I will eventually, of that I am certain.

  • TLOZ: Tears of the Kingdom
    The game I played most this year, but not one I've thought about much since finishing it. Zelda should've stayed a dragon.

  • Purrgatory
    I spent a lot of this year feeling stuck. But at least in purrgatory, there are cats.

  • Pikmin 4
    This strange planet was not hostile. It was something much worse: suburban. Gone is the feeling of being alone on a mysterious, post-apocalpytic future Earth, struggling to survive. Instead, you're in an extremely clean, modern home, with a ton of bugs in it for no reason. And all of your friends are here. The aesthetics don't work.

    No grit, no grime, no hardship. I have many complaints: Bloated mechanics and items. You can't properly delegate b/c you and oatchi have different abilities and you don't know in advance which will be needed. Auto-locking and auto-limiting the number of pikmin you throw is a constant annoyance. I never even got to see the waterwraith, I played too well.

    It wasn't all bad. Optimizing my play in dandori challenges to recieve the highest score was great fun. Oatchi was cute, Olimar's side story was fun, the return of caves was a delight. I had fun and it's a franchise I've invested a lot of love into; it's exciting that there's more of it! I should like this game, right? These issues, they're just nitpicks, right?

    Well, in any case, I doubt I'll ever have an objective opinion on this game, because I went through a breakup while playing through it and that's all I can associate with it.

  • The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles
    Herlock Sholmes

  • Oxenfree II: Lost Signals
    Starring some curmudgeonly 20-somethings dealing with annoying teens, Oxenfree II holds a mirror to my life, to the past game, to how I've matured and ended up not quite where I wanted to be. Obviously, I wish I was being haunted by ghosts and triangles, like in the game. That sounds fun.

  • TMNT: Shredder's Revenge
    Played w/ Lintys and Brain. It took me a while to get used to Lintys/Brian voice chats, they're the kind where you have to interrupt 'em, because Lintys and Brian will just not shut up (affectionate). The fairly frequent VCs have been a nice comfort. Supper used to be every night, but now everyone's dispersed. But now I've made my way into one of the pockets of dispersion. Nonstop fast-based comedy bullshit is honestly the most relaxing and easy kind of convo for me. Got to laugh with my friends, admire the sprite art, and mindlessly play through this game for a night or two.

  • Raging Loop
    I played 14 hours of this in 3 days. (and on weekdays late into the night!) This specific genre of game sinks its teeth into me and doesn't let me go. I have to know what happens next. It's a mystery. Hyperfixation; dissociation as a coping mechanism. The moment I stop playing, I have to confront the fact that I have work tomorrow morning and it's already 4am.

    I didn't finish this game. I didn't break out of the story's loop, but... I broke out of my own loop of binge-playing it. Maybe I can break out of others.

  • Gnosia
    Playing social deduction games all by myself for 18 hours was surprisingly compelling. Maybe the last 5 hours was a grind. But overall: lots of fun. Worked shockingly well for its premise.

  • Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
    The gameplay was conceptually charming, but a bit annoying in execution. Story was fun, with a fantastic twist.

  • Baba is You
    An expansion that makes the game twice as large was released years ago and I only found out about it this year. I went to a mocktail party and at one point, I was helping out a friend with some Baba puzzles in the corner, and we got so engrossed in a puzzle, we failed to notice that everyone else had linked hands and began to hum.

  • Rhythm Doctor
    My roommate showed me this game. I cannot overstate how incredible the boss fights are in this game. The first one, experiencing it with my roommate, fully becoming one with the timing was an exemplar what we all hope to get out of playing a rhythm game. The second boss went even further, playing with the medium in a way I've never seen done before by a game. It's really nice, having roommates now. Being able to walk out of my room, strike up a convo, play a game, but then head back to my own space when I want to be alone.

  • Super Mario Wonder
    I refused to play this game alone as much as possible. I played w/ Brian the day it game out (during work hours, lol). With Holly. Played it while my dad watched for a few hours. Played with my roommates a few times. When all else fails, the whole world is there via the internet. Not as personal, but a bit less alone. Score friendship points for saving people; a measure of your amicability. Finally, a number that tells me how good of a person I am. What I've been missing since college.

    This game is wonderful, by the way. Mario and his friends are beautiful; just watch them move. You know this. It's obvious immediately.

  • In Stars and Time
    Easily the best game I've played this year. Siffrin, you dumbass, I love you.

Best games: Pizza Tower, In Stars and Time, Baba is You and Gnosia. I need to play more tiny indie games.