2022 was a wild year for gaming, and I had a blast with a ton of different stuff. From pink cars to paternal radishes, to stray cats to alien bugs, here are some of my favorite gaming bits of 2022.
Transcript of the Video
Hi, everyone. Kris from Stone Age Gamer here. And welcome back to Stone Age Gaming. So 2022 is officially behind us and I'm sure there are a lot of people that are very thankful for that for a number of reasons. But in terms of video games, I had a really good year and a really interesting year. But I also know that video games are a very personal experience. They're different from everybody, and everybody likes different things about gaming for different reasons. So I thought it would be fun to run down a list of my favorite gaming things that happened in 2022.
2022 was a really good year of games for me. A ton of great stuff came out, and I actually did a decent job of spending time with most of the things I wanted to. And probably the biggest release that fits that bill was Kirby and the Forgotten Land. I used to be a massive Kirby fan. From the original Game Boy release all the way up to Kirby’s Dream Land 3 on SNES, I couldn’t get enough of Kirby. But Dream Land 3 was the start of a trend that made me pretty sad, and that’s me not liking Kirby games. Dream Land 3 is a really neat game, but I’ve never found it to be all that much fun to play. Same thing happened with Kirby 64, and after that, I never felt quite the same about Kirby’s games. The weird stuff always got me excited, like Epic Yarn and Canvas Curse, but the mainline Kirby platformers never captured my attention the way they used to. After Star Allies left me wanting, I was nervous about Forgotten Land, but darn if that game didn’t just exude love and care. It was an actually ambitious Kirby game, which is something I felt was missing from his games for a long time. (I never played Robobot, but I guess maybe I should). Forgotten Land put Kirby back on track in my mind, and while I’m a little sketchy about the remake of Return to Dream Land, I’d like to think we haven’t seen the last of 3D Kirby, and that’s a very good thing.
Oh, and Kirby’s Dream Buffet is freaking outstanding. I have no idea why it isn’t 4 player local split screen, but other than that, what a great game, and what a great year for Kirby!
On the topic of things that had me nervous, holy cow the Mario movie doesn't look bad! Look, I’ll always be a fan of the original live action Super Mario Bros. movie. But really, that is not a good Super Mario Bros. movie. This thing is, well, so much better looking than I could have possibly hoped for. It doesn’t just look like a run of the mill kids movie with the Mario license slapped on it (I’m looking at you, Sonic) it actually looks like they made a movie of the games. The details aren’t just fun easter eggs, they’re woven into the fabric of the film itself, and while it’s still Illumination and I’m still very nervous that it’s going to stink, it looks very, VERY good so far, and as a lifelong Mario fan, I couldn’t be happier about it.
Speaking of being a lifelong Mario fan, several years ago I got my hands on a DS game called ArtStyle PictoBits. I found it on the 3DS eShop and I couldn’t believe how cool it was. It’s actually a DSiWare game that released back in 2009 and it’s bloody brilliant. You have to match these colored blocks to make black box NES game sprites. Well, technically Famicom sprites because Devil World is involved, but it’s all the super early stuff. As you play, the music gets more crazy and seriously, this game is absolutely brilliant.
It’s also pretty tough, and after playing it for a while ages ago, I resigned myself to the fact that I’d probably never be able to actually finish the game. But I decided to pick it up again in 2022 and I actually finished the whole dang thing. Not only that, but I unlocked the “Dark” mode which was 10 times harder and I beat that too! I’m so glad I rediscovered this game in 2022 because it’s just so gosh darn good. If this sounds even remotely up your alley, the eShop is closing down forever soon so grab it before it’s gone! This is a true hidden gem if there ever was one.
A similar story for me last year came in the form of another game called Dadish. My friend told me about the game back in 2020 when it released for Switch, and for whatever reason I didn’t listen to his wisdom and download it straight away. Well, in 2022 I noticed on his profile that he had been playing Dadish again, so I finally decided to look at it in the eShop and I fell immediately in love. So much so that I bought Dadish 2 and 3 shortly after playing the first one.
These games are completely uncomplicated fun platforming perfection. What struck me most about them was that there was no gameplay gimmick at all. It’s just move, jump, double jump, and that’s it. The music is great, the controls are incredibly tight, the level designs are clever, and it was just the most wonderful old school gaming bliss I had experienced in ages. It’s also freaking hilarious. For real, I laughed so hard at this game’s writing it’s crazy. I liked these games so much I even went and bought the other games Thomas K Young made on Switch, Super Fowlst 1 and 2, which are also a really good time. But Dadish is where it’s at, and I hope with all my heart that they keep coming out.
You probably noticed that this list is pretty Nintendo heavy, and that's because well, I’m a huge Nintendo fan. In terms of retro consoles, I have a healthy love for all of the players, but Nintendo has always been my primary fan focus dating back to the NES. I learned long ago though, that it’s good to be a well rounded gamer, and I made a really serious effort to put time into the rest of the gaming world in 2022. And I’m really glad I did, because I've had some excellent fun on non-Nintendo platforms lately. On my PS4, I put a decent amount of time into Stray. This game is absolutely enthralling, and while I didn’t get around to finishing it yet, it’s on my list of things to do in 2023. That was about it on PlayStation for me, but Xbox fared considerably better. Some friends of mine regularly play NHL 19 online and I got involved in that. I finally tried that new Battletoads game which was super cool. I finally tried the original Halo via the Master Chief Collection and while I didn’t finish it, I do think I’ve played enough to understand the series better. Being the Star Wars fanatic I am, I beat Jedi: Fallen Order which was… fine? I mean, it was cool and had some memorable moments, but it didn’t blow me away as much as I was told it would. I’m still really glad I played it though. But then, right at the end of the year, Vampire Survivors happened for me. Wow. For the first minute or so I thought, oh. This is clever. By the time I finished my first run though, I was hooked. What a completely brilliant game!
It’s with this mindset that I really have convinced myself that I eventually will want to get a PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. I would very much like to play Jedi Survivor, Street Fighter 6 looks fantastic, and Resident Evil 4 is one of my favorite games of all time so that remake holds some serious luster. But since Street Fighter 6 and RE4 are coming to PS4, the need to upgrade to new hardware isn’t quite there yet. And there’s still plenty of games on the previous generation I need to get to. I haven’t even played the first God of War reboot game yet, let alone Ragnarok, and I have a sealed copy of Doom Eternal staring at me as we speak.
But when it comes to non-Nintendo games in 2022, the biggest winner for me was without a doubt Atari. Atari is where video games started for me as a kid, and even after the NES changed my life forever, I never stopped loving my Atari 2600. Atari itself pretty much went away though. I never got a 5200 or 7800 as a kid, we didn't get a home computer in my house until well after the Atari computers were past their prime, and I didn’t see the appeal of the Lynx or Jaguar enough ot try and convince my parents to buy them for me when they were on the market. I loved my classic Atari, but the company wasn’t the same as it used to be, and their output largely reflected that. After the Jaguar died, the Atari name changed hands a bunch of times, and there was simply nothing left of the company that I used to love.
Recently though, that started to change. Now, the Atari of old is very much gone, but this current iteration of the company, while flawed, is so much better than it has been in a very, very long time. Atari is an entity in the current gaming landscape, which is such a cool thing to be able to say. It’s a very small one, but it’s a very real one nonetheless. Atari has actual hardware on the market right now in the form of the weird but pretty fun Atari VCS. But more importantly, Atari is making games again. Pong Quest is a weird Pong RPG. Atari Mania is a WarioWare style game that runs through all manner of the company’s greatest hits. Kombinera is a brand new puzzle game IP that is genuinely fun and challenging to play. The recharged series is a fantastic approach to breathing new life into some of Atari’s greatest hits, especially the utterly sublime Yars Recharged. Tempest 4000 is a game that I’m terrible at but is a heck of a cool game to play. The Atari VCS shop even has a bunch of great games that fit right in with the Atari pick up and play style like Jetboard Joust, a game that feels like a cross between Defender and Fantasy Zone, BPM Boy which is actually a VCS Exclusive, that has a sort of musical Marble Madness feel to it, and the incredibly amusing Donut Dodo which is an insane throwback to classic arcade games like Donkey Kong and Burgertime. And of course, there’s Atari 50. There aren’t enough words to express how much I loved this collection and its interactive timeline of Atari’s history. The new games included rule as well, especially VCTR SCTR. It’s truly brilliant and an absolute must for anyone who is interested in video game history.
Atari isn’t Microsoft or Sony. But the fact that on Saturday mornings I get to go down to my basement, boot up my Atari VCS and play a bunch of small games like this on genuine Atari hardware makes me probably way happier than it should. Considering they’re the company that got me into gaming in the first place, having them back in action, even to this degree, is a joy I never thought I’d get to experience. I wish they weren’t so heavily involved in crypto and NFTs and their silly speaker hats and lifestyle stuff, but the games themselves have been great. Welcome back, Atari!