This is the year when the number of games I played fell dramatically - I usually finish 40 or so, and this year I managed 14. But I put the same, or more, gaming time in, so really it means that I have shifted my focus to the big, simm-y, endless games this year.
Game of the year Released:
I should really be giving this to Microsoft Flight Simulator - yesterday was the first day since it released that I didn’t play it. However, as mentioned before, I’m not really doing much with the flight side of things, but rather treating it as a massive 3D Atlas, and bemoaning that there’s not a forum somewhere where I can ask, "what is this geographical feature in the south of France? It seems to be segregated fields that have been turned into ponds linked by canals that maybe come from the sea? What the hell could that be? ". So probably a bit niche really
However, I have no qualms about actually awarding it to Snowrunner, which was pretty much a triumph and delivered everything one could want in a sequel. So good.
Game of the year Discovered:
This means from a previous year, right? I guess the two biggies, which I loved in their cantankerous, ornery ways, were Age of Wonders: Planetfall, and Outward (‘the Soulslike RPG’). Both came out in 2019; both games required a fair amount of investment to learn their systems; I didn’t ‘finish’ either, or even come close, but thorougly enjoyed the experience. I also kinda bought them both on two systems (Gamepass & PC, PS4 and PC) which was a common theme for me early in the year (Snowrunner, Death Stranding, Slay the Spire as well ), no idea what I was doing really. I’m going to give this to Outward as I think I had a smidgin more enjoyment out of that one.
Runners Up: Generation Zero (discovered), Eliza (new). Both really good.
Book of the year:
Well, I’ve mostly been consuming the modern penny dreaduls (Amazon Kindle daily 99p sales) so I don’t have much that offers a consistently quality read (most of these books do one thing well and lots terribly lol. I read one series where every plot crisis was resolved by a deus ex machina, every single one ). I will offer up Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel, which is set in a post-pandemic -apocalypse Michigan. It wasn’t perfect by any means, had some big flaws, but it was the best I read this year.
For Pseud’s Corner I’ll mention Dividing the Spoils by Robin Waterfield, which was a breezy run through the aftermath of Alexander the Great’s death, and which I got into after playing Field of Glory: Empires last year.
Runners Up: Hated Children of Time; enjoyed The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (kind of despite myself, as it’s a book without a narrative of any kind). Greatly, greatly enjoyed the Revenant series by Yoon Ha Lee.
I didn’t really consume any other media this year so movies and TV are out.
App of the year: Microsoft Flight Simulator
Most owned of the Year: I now have Slay the Spire on PC, PS4 and iOS.
Enjoyed It Despite Itself of the Year: Death Stranding.