• Nate Hermanson

ANNOUNCING: The Video Games are Good 2022 GOTY Nominees

During the 24-hour VGG Chaos Campout 2nd anniversary celebration stream, we debuted our second Game of the Year nominee class with a special announcement video.


We worked around the clock to properly honor our favorite games from 2022, to spotlight just a handful of reasons each game landed in our GOTY nomination pool, and to further showcase what our video content might look like moving forward.

We'd love for folks to share this far and wide, we're working hard on establishing a video presence here at VGG, and of course to check out all of our nominees. They're pretty damn good.


The video is embedded above, and below you can find the full text transcript.


We hope you enjoy!


The Video Games are Good 2022 Game of the Year Nominees


We are truly living in the best era for gaming. There's nothing else to be said about it. You don't even have time to bask in it, because it's only gonna get better, your expectations are only gonna get higher, your dreams are only gonna grow bigger, and even with that in mind, you’ll probably still see them fulfilled.


How do I know that? Well this year proved it to me.


2022 was another rough year for gaming. Budgets tightened, studios closed, and on the whole, the paradigm shift since the pandemic started has continued to have ripple effects that we still won’t see the full impact of for years to come.


At one point not too long ago, I wasn't even sure what our game of the year list was gonna look like. I wondered if my interest had been waning or if the industry had been stepping back amidst all the issues it was facing. But when I finally really took the time to play the best of the best this year, I found that, actually, the creativity and ingenuity of developers and designers in this industry was as impressive as ever. And in fact, that the games in this year’s class could stand the test of time as some of the best ever.


Picking a winner from the 9 nominees in VGG’s second Game of the Year class is gonna be impossible. But we're not here to pick a winner… Not yet. We're here to celebrate the industry, the talent, and to share some of the most outstanding games of the year with our community.


So, without further ado, we’re proud to present the 2022 Video Games are Good Game of the Year nominees.

 

Neon White - Developed by Angel Matrix

The key art for VGG Game of the Year 2022 nominee, Neon White. It depicts the main characters standing above a pool of water. They're dressed mainly in white and each hold a weapon. A statue hand can be seen reaching from the water below.

“Gotta go fast” has a new mascot… and you may or may not be surprised to find out… it’s God. With ’90s anime-inspired vibes, Neon White has gamers racing through Heaven, clearing out demons, and finding perfection through optimization. This first-person speed-focused masterpiece is not only stylish, addictive, and surprisingly touching, but weirdly accessible too. Speedrunning can feel like a wholly inaccessible space for us mere mortals, but Neon White makes it feel like the kind of thing anybody can do. That’s one of a handful of amazing things I can say about this adrenaline-pumping indie release. And it’s the only game on our list with a funny cartoon cat, which kind of makes it an immediate nomination in our books.


A Plague Tale Requiem - Developed by Asobo Studio

The key art for VGG Game of the Year 2022 nominee, A Plague Tale Requiem. It depicts the main characters, Hugo and Amicia, staring back at the reader. There is blood splattered on Amicia's face.

There’s something incredibly powerful about watching someone face insurmountable odds, and pain that any normal person would crumble over, only to get up and keep moving. And after sharing more than a lifetime’s worth of despair in their first adventure, brother-sister duo Hugo and Amicia are pulled into even more hardship in A Plague Tale Requiem. It’s dour, it’s stressful, but it’s beautiful too. The adventure shared between Amicia, Hugo, and the chosen family they create for themselves, is one of the most touching and emotionally engaging stories we played in 2022. And that’s nothing to say about the incredible stealth gameplay and stunning visuals. Don’t miss this stellar sequel.

The Case of the Golden Idol - Developed by Color Gray Games

The key art for VGG Game of the Year 2022 nominee, The Case of the Golden Idol. It depicts a lineup of characters you'll meet in the game, with a magnifying glass over one of them showing a scary masked being underneath.

A lot of games claim to put you in a detective’s shoes. They claim to allow you to truly decipher a mystery but end up holding your hand from beginning to end. Well, as one of 2022’s best, The Case of the Golden Idol has one of the truest claims to the mystery throne that I’ve seen in gaming. Set against a family’s rise to power and fall from grace with the help of the mystical Golden Idol, this mystery has you gathering clues from frozen vignettes, and asks you to take in every little detail to understand how someone has died, who was involved, and even why. It’s one of the most unique games I played all year and I’m on the edge of my seat to see what Color Gray Games comes up with next.

God of War Ragnarok - Developed by Sony Santa Monica

The key art for VGG Game of the Year 2022 nominee, God of War Ragnarok. It depicts the main characters, Kratos and Atreus, standing on a frozen lake. In the background, you can see a sled with two wolves waiting just behind them. Lightning strikes ominously in the far background.

While much fuss has been made about how much this sequel plays it safe, I want to talk about the risks it takes. Ragnarok takes big swings on lore and story, making it a truly epic adventure, while staying true to the last game's emotional vulnerability. It takes big swings on setpieces and boss fights reminiscent of the series origins on the PS2 that work better than ever here nearly 20 years later. And it dares to continue maturing with its audiences in ways that awed us. When I played God of War in 2018, I was certain I was playing a masterpiece. A true great of all greats. And all I wanted was more. I didn't dare dream that more would be better. And yet, here we are.


I Was A Teenage Exocolonist - Developed by Northway Games

The key art for VGG Game of the Year 2022 nominee, I Was a Teenage Exocolonist. It depicts the player avatar holding out their hand with the game's card floating just above that. In the background, faded into the background are a bundle of the characters you can meet in your journey.

It’s hard enough growing up and finding your place on planet Earth. Imagine doing a chunk of it on a spaceship and then the rest on an alien planet that clearly wants nothing to do with you. In this part visual novel, part poker-inspired deckbuilder, you progress through a full decade of day-to-day life and struggle to survive in an alien landscape alongside friends and family alike. With a stunning watercolor style, surprisingly detailed and poignant character relationships, and a diverse cast bursting with powerful and meaningful representation, I Was a Teenage Exocolonist was one of the biggest surprises of the year. Great games connect us to our own humanity, and nothing does that quite like an extraterrestrial adventure full of love, resilience, grief and discovery. Elden Ring - Developed by FromSoftware

The key art for VGG Game of the Year 2022 nominee, Elden Ring. It depicts a warrior kneeling in front of a sword underneath a burning sigil in the sky. Corpses and fog surround the scene.

I never understood the pull of FromSoftware games. I never really grappled with Souls games and the dozens of Souls-like games of the last decade plus. I couldn’t comprehend the masochism needed to subject yourself to one of these games, the strength needed to persevere through the painful bosses. I thought I’d never understand. Then Elden Ring came out. It’s everything you’ve heard. It’s the most accessible a Miyazaki-led project has ever been, its George R. R. Martin-developed world is chock-full of fascinating characters and story beats to uncover, and the shift to a truly open world design changed everything. Elden Ring helped me finally understand an entire genre, and that alone earns it a spot.

Immortality - Developed by Half Mermaid

The key art for VGG Game of the Year 2022 nominee, Immortality. It depicts three burning movie posters, all featuring the actress Marissa Marcel..

Sam Barlow and Half Mermaid haunt my dreams. Their full motion video mystery games linger somewhere in my consciousness long after I’ve stopped playing them, none more so than their latest release, Immortality. Immortality is all about long-lost actress Marissa Marcel and the three films she left unfinished across decades, leaving one question in the public conscience: What happened to Marissa Marcel? To answer that question, you’ll comb through clips of her three films and use a unique visual match-cut system to find your way to more clips and more answers. you’ll end up on a thrilling journey through several actors’ lives, brilliantly brought to life by a cast anchored by the effortless charm of Manon Gage and the captivating power of Charlotta Mohlin. And when it’s all said and done, you’ll likely find that Immortality will take residence within you too. Return to Monkey Island - Developed by Terrible Toybox

The key art for VGG Game of the Year 2022 nominee, Return to Monkey Island. It depicts main character opening a treasure chest in the foreground. Just behind him, Ghost Pirate LeChuck and a group of magic-using pirates reach out to stop him. Elaine Marley, former governor and Guybrush's wife swings past. And a skull is launched from a passing pirate ship.

Guybrush Threepwood took a long vacation from the pirate life but found his way back into the games industry with one hell of a revival in Return to Monkey Island. 13 years removed from the last Monkey Island game, Terrible Toybox was able to not only revive the series but bring back Ron Gilbert’s original vision in the process. What resulted was a hilarious adventure game, streamlined for the modern age, that is packed with all the heart and introspection you’d expect from a reunion like this. I mean. A game with a main character whose name is GUY BRUSH THREEP WOOD and that features things like an apology frog and a burping puzzle made me cry at the end. It doesn’t get much better than that. Card Shark - Developed by Nerial

The key art for VGG Game of the Year 2022 nominee, Card Shark. It depicts a 18th-century party where a game of cards is being played just off center. The art style is reminiscent of a classical painting and characters on card art.

There’s nothing like pulling a little scam. Nothing like using your wits and a little flick of the wrist to get one by on some unwitting rube. At least that’s what Nerial’s latest release Card Shark taught me. This game is one-of-a-kind, you need only watch some gameplay footage to understand that. You’ll legitimately learn a handful of card tricks, manifesting here as a series of memory and reflex-based minigames, and use them to lie, cheat, and steal your way across 18th century France. The world is beautifully realized with an art style inspired by playing cards and historical painting styles, there is some stunning orchestral work, and the lessons you’ll learn about scamming can last long after you roll credits. It may very well be one of the most unique games you’ll play this year.


 

There it is! 2022’s game of the year nominees. The nine games we think stand in a tier above all the rest as the best that 2022 had on offer. This year is packed with quality and variety and we highly encourage you to check all of these games out, either by reading more at videogamesgood.com or by buying all of them and playing them ASAP!


Video games are good and these nine games stand as a testament to our site’s simple mantra. Check back in next month when we try to sort out which of these games ultimately stands as our game of the year.


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