Ashley Bardhan’s 5 Best Games of 2022

Hugo sits on Amicia's shoulders in A Plague Tale: Requiem.

Image: Studio Asobo / Kotaku

I only consider myself a “gamer” in the literal sense: I play video games every year, but only a modest handful of the ones I’m already familiar with, like my darling. transmitted by blood or Super Smash Bros.. I started working at Kotaku this year, however, and on demand, 2022 has become my most ‘gamer’ year ever, with plenty of new games lighting up my boyfriend’s gaming PC despite his grumbling about ‘CPU storage’ .

He will be fine. But we’re different – truth be told, I’m only interested in video games because I’m interested in art. I’ve listened to more albums, watched more movies, read more poems than I’ve played new games this year, and spent probably equivalent hours looking at Vivienne Westwood corsets on eBay. These things might make me a less stereotypical “gamer”, which scares me a bit as a girl (if you haven’t heard, the video game industry don’t really like girls), but they make my life and perspective more complete, and the gratification I get from playing games blossoms in turn.

I wanted to give you an honest year-end list. I picked five games that stood out to me this year and paired them with the other art I was in around the same time I was playing (I tried to avoid the biggest titles in this year, but know that I loved Ring of Elden and The Callisto Protocol). Call me gamer Julie Andrews – here are some of my favorite things.

A wave of rats floods a field.

Image: Asobo studio

A Plague Tale: Requiem

When I played Requiemthe anxious 2018 medieval survival horror sequel A Plague Tale: Innocence, I was most moved by the rats, which squirm in dense clumps across your screen like something alive stuck in an ugly draining sink. These rats fear the light as you solve puzzles with the Hugo and Amicia brothers, sneaking among bloodthirsty French soldiers or slashing them with alchemy and a crossbow.

Perhaps because I’m a badass New Yorker terrified of rats, their image has stuck with me more than Hugo and Amicia’s complex and tragic relationship, more than the game’s awe-inspiring landscapes, and more than its ill-fated score. comfortable and painful, even if these things are there, and I recognize them. But I loved this game for rats. It’s exciting to watch your enemy without him being able to touch you.

Best paired with: Werner Herzog’s film Nosferatu the Vampire (1979), which I watched for the first time this Halloween. It’s a perfect film for me – lavish, remorseless, with an anxious sense of humor – and the white rats squealing around it are nauseous.

Brenda Song points a flashlight in The Quarry.

Screenshot: Supermassive Games / Kotaku

The career

Like his big brother Until dawninteractive werewolf drama The career gives you a chance to keep a group of horny youngsters alive. I failed, but I was okay with it. I liked the scary atmosphere of the summer camp and watching attractive actors, like Detective Pikachu (lol) lead judge smith and Scream Former student David Arquette gets smashed by bald werewolves.

Best paired with: TV On The Radio’s 2006 album Back to Cookie Mountain. Especially the song “wolf like mewhich I like to interpret as a sexy young werewolf. “I recognize / You’re a hideous thing inside / If ever there was a lucky guy, it’s / You, you, you, you,” sings Tunde Adebimpe. I doubt I’d enjoy horror so much if there wasn’t a recursive evil inside every beautiful person, like The careerThe thesis statement goes. A vampire diary episode i watched this year, which has a teenage werewolf play basketball on “Wolf Like Me”, support me on this.

Enemies invade a character in Vampire Survivors.

Screenshot: pumice

vampire survivors

Speaking of vampires, I was a huge roguelite fan. vampire survivorsthat looks like gothic Minecraft. I’m not very good at it – it requires you to protect yourself from a ghoul onslaught using just a few automated weapons and magic spells, and my timing is generally off. But once you start playing, it’s easy to get carried away or carried away by the game’s crowd of black bats.

Best paired with: Lana Del Rey’s 2012 album Born to die. I played vampire survivors especially listening to this album, which is sleepy and gooey like cough syrup. It helped me stay calm and move on (I can get precious about messing up roguelites), and allowed me to romanticize endlessly killing my character.

A character shoots a heart at another in Dead Pets Unleashed.

Screenshot: Triple trim

Unleashed Dead Animals

Technically, this neon pink narrative adventure hasn’t been released yet, but its demo was released for free this year, and I’m thrilled. It’s about a 30-something demoness who hopes to make her punk band famous, something she struggles to accomplish amid waitressing gigs and cursory swipes in dating apps. The game looks delightfully gross (there’s a mini-game where you wash off Gordy’s foam-covered dildo), funny, and the music is decent and buzzy too.

Best paired with: grannythe emotional and fashionable anime that ran from 2006 to 2007 that I started watching this year and can’t stop thinking about. granny is a slice of life about two best friends, one of whom tries to make it in a punk band. As Unleashed Dead Animalsit’s a simple goal that takes a complicated combination of love, tears, and discomfort to achieve, and I’m always grateful for stories that take women and their spiritual inner lives seriously.

A Tamagotchi flies through a glittering screen.

Sorry, Thomas.
Photo: Kotaku

My Tamagotchi Gen 1, Tomasz

This year I learned jeweled Tamagotchi digital pets, but they’re all overpriced second-hand, and I’m not even sure they light up. So I’ll buy myself a Sandy Liang necklace Instead.

Nonetheless, my boyfriend decided to gift me a Tamagotchi Gen 1, first released in 1996, and now I wear the magenta-colored egg everywhere throughout my day. Although the first Tamagotchi alien I hatched died within a week, I gave him a name (Tomasz) and checked he was snoring every night before turning off my light to really fall asleep . It made me feel like a mother to a cyber, but still mortal child, so I wanted to honor her memory. RIP Tomasz.

Getting attached to Tomasz is also what I love about games. It’s an art form that forces you to take action, and once you do, it’s hard not to care.

Best paired with: All the love in your heart.

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