“Games are for children”. No matter how wrong, or misguided we might find this claim, this single idea has shaped the past, present and future of games. In fact, I would argue it’s the most influential belief in their whole history. From the composition of the audience to the way violence is portrayed, it can all be drawn back to this bit of prejudice.
Back in the halcyon days of the Saturn, Sega attempted to bridge the demands of their console with the design principles of their flagship arcade titles. One of the results of this experimentation was Panzer Dragoon, a shooter set in a fantasy world in which we ride on the back of a powerful dragon. Now remade, it’s as fun as it must have been back in 1995, but also as lacking in substance.
Stefan Feld is known for his tight euro games which focus on precision and efficiency. One might think this would make his games impervious to issues of balance, but that hasn’t been the case. Over several editions, Castles of Burgundy had to be tweaked several times, strengthening some of its weaker pieces and toning down the strongest. But one small mistake gave way to the most broken tile in the game.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a builder. No matter the game, I’ve always preferred to focus on getting resources, expanding slowly and lashing out only as a last resort. But, as I’ve gotten older, my play has gotten more aggressive. I started defending my territory, often beforehand. I did little raids. Before I noticed it, I was attacking first. And I started having more fun than ever.
Last year was great for gaming. Despite not meeting as often as I used to, I may have actually played more titles than the year before. However, my plays in 2022 stood out, not just for their variety, but for their quality. Over the last twelve months, I’ve had some truly memorable experiences. From introducing video game fans to the world of tabletop gaming to the best of online play, these are my best game experiences of 2022.