Valve collects a ton of user data and it’s nice when they choose to share it with us. Here’s a link to my full set for 2022.
This year in gaming was a weird one for me. I walked away from a lucrative and promising livestreaming career on May 19th, and it completely revitalized my love for console and computer games. I also spent much more time playing games on console, specifically the Xbox Series X. It became both a matter of convenience and technical parity. My personal computer is still decent by today’s standards, but as the hardware in the Xbox is practically the same performance-wise I would rather relax in bed with a controller in my hand than sit at a desk. This is not to say that I’ve abandoned PC gaming—far from it. But with sales of console games now competitive with PC digital storefronts, coupled with the cornucopia of the Game Pass, I’ll choose a “console first” title over its PC counterpart any day of the week. A case in point: when Striking Distance Studios’ Callisto Protocol launched at the start of December I bought and played it on console and had zero issues with the title. I heard that PC players weren’t so lucky. I think this is something that’s going to become more common as we go forward. It’s always been an issue with simultaneous console/PC releases: developers must go to great lengths to make their games function across the panoply of hardware configurations on computers, while they only need target one or two fixed hardware sets on console. A console game is significantly more likely to work out of the box. Additionally, multiplayer gaming on console is an absolute breeze compared to some of the PC experiences. To quote Steve Jobs, “it just works”. My days of dealing with the headaches of getting PC games to connect and function properly are over. That’s really saying something since I’d been doing it since 1986.
I’ve never cared much for the sado-masochistic Skinner boxes of From Software’s Souls games. I bought Elden Ring at launch partly due to the hype but mostly I was curious about George R. R. Martin’s involvement. I wanted to see what he had contributed, and I didn’t want to find out secondhand from some livestreamer.
I can say unequivocally that Elden Ring is a masterpiece. A perfect 10. An A+ experience. There were some technical issues on PC that led to me fully resetting my machine—causing the loss of the last vestiges of both my video game development and livestreaming assets—but it was all worthwhile to experience the finest fantasy role playing adventure video game in existence. I don’t want to go into detail because I would hate to rob anyone of the splendor of this title, and certainly others have gone to great lengths in their own reviews and essays, so I’ll just say that Elden Ring is a landmark title and a must-play for gamers and game developers alike.
I have this terrible habit of convincing myself that I’m going to devote myself to these live service multiplayer shooters and then either never get involved or abandon them shortly after launch. I believe it’s a self-preservation mechanism, one that established itself after I spent over 800 hours in Destiny 2 from 2020 to 2021. There’s a subconscious understanding that these kinds of games are fundamentally endless in terms of progression but overwhelmingly repetitive in terms of content. They mimic the real-life tedium of work to such an accurate degree that once I realize what I’m doing it simply makes more sense to do other, more fulfilling—or at least completable—activities.
BF 2042 had a disastrous launch, one that horribly scarred the reputation of its developer DICE and reinforced a public hatred for its publisher Electronic Arts. I played it for a few hours when it first came out and it left me underwhelmed. It simply didn’t look or feel as good as the previous entries in the franchise. I went back to the game in June when they implemented their version of a “battle pass” alongside a host of improvements, and I developed a psychological need to complete the progression line. It wasn’t worth it, and after putting myself through almost 90 hours annoying grind I collected the final tier of rewards and promptly uninstalled the game. It's a very mediocre experience compared to most other modern shooters on the market today. That might be fine for some players, but I’m out here looking to spend my time a little more wisely.
Grand Theft Auto still delivers a fun time even some nine years after its initial release. It’s the only game that I’ve played consistently in that period, and while my time spent in-game is only a tenth of what I spent in the World of Warcraft, GTAO remains and will likely forever be the game I’m most invested in. I only play it now to maintain my massive criminal empire—having acquired all the various businesses and some 300 of the cars—and see whatever’s new when Rockstar decides to drop updated content into the game. It’s always fun and it’s always beautiful.
I’m a little worried about what will happen when GTA VI eventually appears and wonder if that will be the end of my interest or the start of a whole new era. It will all depend on whether Rockstar goes with integration to the old content or sunsets the current system for a completely fresh start.
I’d purchased and refunded Icarus once before my May-June stint. I have an unspoken and less enforced gaming axiom about not playing games that involve punching trees for wood. It’s sort of a sub rule of “no endless games”. But I the promotions suckered me, and I wanted to believe that any survival/crafting game from a Rust developer had to have some potential. And maybe it does, but the lack of respect for player time that was baked into the game system when I last played was awful. I don’t want to get into details as it’s possible that things have changed since then but I can say that Icarus has been the last survival crafting game that I’ve played to date.
ESO was the first game I ever livestreamed, back when it first launched, and Twitch had yet to shake off the Justin.tv moniker. I still log in daily—alongside the venerable but powerful Guild Wars 2—to collect the timed rewards. I have never leveled a character beyond 25, but I do enjoy the very occasional quest line. I think I keep these games going just to remind myself of the bad old days when my sole occupation in life was grinding events in WoW.