GOTY OF THE YOTY
my favorite media of 2022
I woke up on January 1st with a clear head, thinking “What better way to kick off this newsletter than with a BuzzFeed style listicle?”
It took a while to write, but without further ado, here’s my favorite media of 2022:
🐐 GOTY OF THE YOTY 🐐
Tunic, to be super specific, its secret language (TUNIC team)
Tunic is an action adventure that beautifully captures the childhood memories of playing games in a language you can’t understand. About half of my playtime was spent exploring the world, fighting cute enemies and collecting pages of the mysterious manual. The other half of my playtime was spent even better, scribbling in a notebook next to me on the couch, solving puzzles and deciphering the in-game language. Translating Tunic is completely optional, but I had an absolute blast with it, and I’d recommend anyone to dive in as spoiler-free as they can. For me such furious note-taking has not happened since FEZ, and the language has a few really fun obfuscations up its sleeve. So that bit specifically is my game of the year.
Into The Breach: Advanced Edition (Subset Games)
I’ve praised turn-based kaiju buster Into The Breach before (“amazing design innovations on every zoom level of gameplay - not many games nail structure this well”), and the Advanced Edition gave me a great reason to just play the whole thing all over again (now on mobile and with more content).
Producer 2021 (Stuffed Wombat, ThorHighHeels)
Producer 2021 released in 2022 I SWEAR. A delightfully weird “graphic adventure novella” with a banger vaporwave soundtrack. The art looks like it came from Grim Fandango’s land of the living, and the game pulls off some of the coolest fourth (and fifth? sixth?) wall breaking I’ve seen in games. Bonus points: you could probably finish this on your lunch break. Your boss also takes 2 hour lunch breaks, it’s fine.
Shotgun King, Chess (literally chess, you know, the ancient board game), Stacklands, Springblades, Vampire Survivors, Poinpy, We Are OFK, Infernax, Wordle
BONUS GAMES THAT I WANTED TO PLAY BUT LIFE ALWAYS GETS IN THE WAY:
McPixel 3, ElecHead, Patrick’s Parabox, Sylvie Lime, Slice & Dice, Super Lone Survivor, Hyper Demon, The Stanley Parable: Ultra Deluxe
Congratulations, now please gather on stage for the group photo.
🎥 FOTY 🎥
Food of the year? No, I ate too many good things. Here are my favorite FILMS I watched in 2022.
Fire of Love (Sara Dosa)
What is more powerful than love? VOLCANOES! Just kidding, I learnt a lot about volcanoes from this and also that more documentaries need to be love stories.
Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky)
What is more powerful than hate? I’ll tell you: Metallica hating each other, going to therapy, and then having to kick out their therapist who tries to set himself up with a nice cushy lifetime job. What an INCREDIBLE documentary, it’s a blessing and a miracle that this exists.
RRR (S. S. Rajamouli)
What is more powerful than Asterix and Obelix? Obviously, Asterix and Obelix from 1920s India. My favorite shot is when they show the British war-room and it has a giant world map with the UK flag splashed all over their disgusting empire.
Nomadland, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight, Who Killed Captain Alex, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, 300 Days Alone on an Island, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
📚 BOTY 📚
I’ve never been a big fan of fantasy but 2022 was the year I decided to finally overcome my fear of horses and bards (because what are bards if not clown progenitors) and give the genre a shot. So about a third of the books I read had complicated magic systems and sad princes and war. My conclusion is that there are some decent mostly horseless fantasy novels like Seth Dickinson’s Masquerade series (especially the first book) and Ursula Le Guinn’s incredible Wizard of Earthsea. None of them got into the top 3 though! Yep, it’s still the horses.
The Book of Strange New Things (Michel Faber)
This book hit me hard. It’s about a missionary who goes to space to turn freaky little aliens into Good Christians, but it’s also about mental health and a reminder of the fact that everybody is only a thin line away from insanity.
George Saunders’ short stories did a lot for me this year. They’re beautifully honest, horrible slices of life about broken people and the broken systems they come from.
Lena is a short story about Miguel, the earliest executable image of a human brain. You can read it right here.
Piranesi (Susanna Clarke), The Traitor Baru Cormorant (Seth Dickinson), A Wizard of Earthsea (Ursula Le Guinn), My Year Abroad (Chang-Rae Lee), The Things You Can Only See When You Slow Down (Haemin Sunim), A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Becky Chambers), A Memory Called Empire (Arkady Martine), War is a Racket (Smedley Darlington Butler, who has won the AUTHOR NAME OF THE YEAR award!)
🎵 MOTY 🎵
Music taste is highly subjective, the medium where it’s hardest to find common ground. Conversations about music always go like: “I listen to all kinds of music, everything really, and by everything I mean only SlowTrance and Gospel, do you know DJ Tungsten?” So here’s my spin on that:
Found out about this because A.K. Paul co-produced it, it’s been a while since I’ve heard a bass like that!
I really love Flume’s new album Palaces. It has some really original sound design, every sample handcrafted and fresh-sounding, and the music is both energetic and emotional. Another great track on there is Say Nothing.
I’ve got a lot of love for my buddy Doseone who as half of A7pha released their album II, including this beautiful song about grief that hit me on a personal level.
Camoufly’s Glittertape mixtapes have been on regular rotation this year too, bonus shoutout to this remix:
What about 2023?
In 2023 I’ve got a lot of cool stuff coming up work-wise:
I’m helping out with design on an unannounced game that should be coming out early-ish this year!
A new main project with Kitty Calis and a lovely team is in the works!
Also, Kitty and I have like 4 or 5 good prototypes we want to look into… Too many ideas, help! (don’t actually send help, we’ve got this)
I can’t wait to share some more soon! Stay tuned.
If you want entertainment and good company in the meantime, you’re very welcome in the jwaaaap discord.
Wishing you a lovely year,
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