Best Game - Yoshi's Woolly World
1st Runner Up - Papetura
2nd Runner Up - Ben There, Dan That
We have a winner for best new game by proxy here, since I only played three new games this year. Everything else was replays, mostly of Wario games (there were a few games I replayed but didn't do proper quickies of. I'll talk about those in a bit). If we count replays, Wario Land 4 goes into #2. Honestly, this year's roundup is going to be pretty damn short because most of the year was spent on art and my job.
Game I Put a Decent Amount of Effort Into, But Decided Could Go Fuck Itself of the Year - Later Alligator
I almost forgot about this but one night I was walking the dog and realized "Oh yeah, I was going to throw this into my 'Fuck This Game' slot!"
Later Alligator is a minigame collection framed around gathering information for a young alligator who thinks his family is planning to whack him, but it looks more like they're just throwing him a birthday party. As you've guessed, I didn't finish it. What grated me about the game is you have a time limit, with certain actions (taking the metro, entering a door, etc.) consuming certain amounts of time. And if you fail a minigame you have to use up some of that time to retry it, and I'd frequently have to burn time trying to figure out what the game wanted from me. If you're going do this time limit shit, could you let me play a practice version to see if I understand the rules before you throw me into it for real? And I did not hesitate to look up the answer to that stupid magazine clipping game, because if you're going to tell me to balance three subjects and not let me see what I chose before, fuck you. It was during some minigame where I had to chase ghosts away from a sleeping baby through a baby monitor while trying to remember what deterrents work on what ghosts that I just threw my hands up and said "Fuck this, I'm done."
Best Movie - Megamind
1st Runner Up - The Pirates! Band of Mistfits
2nd Runner Up - Treasure Planet
Movies had more going on than video games. At least I did more than rewatch the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy.
Best Book/Comic - Berserk
1st Runner Up - The Last Hero
2nd Runner Up - Animal Man
Two comics and a picture book. Not my best year for book readin'.
Despite my hesitation with it all those years ago, Berserk turned out to be a delightful thing to finally have under my belt, but might have been annoying to keep up with as it was coming out (it's mind boggling to me that you can read the journey to Elfhelm in a weekend, but the group spent seven fucking years on that boat), but now I get to wait with everyone else as the rest of the story trickles out without the original author behind it. And The Last Hero was good for a short, snacky Discworld.
I've grown to appreciate Animal Man the more I've had to look into it for an upcoming project for the site, but god does the preachy animal rights shit drag it down. And don't get me wrong, I'm a strong believer in animal rights (I mean, not to the level of "squirrels should be allowed to vote"), but the dolphin issue made me want to seek out a brand of canned tuna that specifically advertised having dolphin in it.
Worst Book - Douglas Adams's Starship Titanic
I've been meaning to grab the game from GoG to see if it's any better, but I have a feeling it's one of those retro adventure games full of moon logic where you can't even solve the first puzzle without a walkthrough.
Biggest Non-Game Disappointment - The Immortal Hulk
I don't know what the hell happened here. Yeah, Covid I'm sure, but specifically how did Covid turn this book into a slog? Distribution problems killing sales? Lack of communication? Somebody getting sick? This comic started out so promising, then, just... ended in a wet fart.
Stuff I Didn't Do Quickies About For One Reason or Another:
Because of Winn-Dixie - Call me a cynical poo-poo pants who expects too much from kid's books, but nothing happens and there's no conflict. New girl moves into a new town, is sad that her mother left, takes in a dog, makes friends, her dog runs away, they find him, she gets over her mother. And it's full of things a child would go with but irked me as an adult, like how a "smiling" dog is threatening you with their teeth, or how those cough drops would be completely rancid after a few years in an area as humid as Florida.
Journey to Silius, Mappy-Land, and Psychosis - I didn't give these proper quickies because I played them on Nintendo Switch Online and my PC Engine Mini, where I used the rewind and savestate features. Give me a break, I've beaten the original versions of all these before. I had forgotten how cheap the level design in Journey to Silius gets by stage 4, Mappy-Land's a cute little diversion, and I sleepwalked through most of Psychosis until it finally sprouted some teeth at the the final level.
While the quickies were a bit of a wash, this year had a handful of firsts for the site. This year saw the first hand-drawn comic published to the site with The Greatest Deal of All. Looking back the artwork is kinda funky, Ralsei tends to looks a bit off and it took me longer than it should have to figure out how to do perspective, I mean, the fuck is going on with the floor in the first panel here? Nice colors, though. But just a few months prior I never thought I'd be able to do something even at that level. There was something magical about the journey, all the things I had to learn to get to even that level, and actually finishing something I set out to do for once. And my art got steadily got cleaner as time went on, I actually figured out a toolset to do brickwork for the next part of the series, Escape Plan, even if I didn't quite get the hang of it until Still Here as the horizon line tends to be a bit low in Escape Plan.
And then my part time job was upgraded to full time, bringing my art to a grinding halt.
Late in the year, I picked up a couple sizes and styles of cast iron pans and discovered cast iron cooking is the shiznit. Walking around for hours at my job and doing more cooking at home, and not eating at McDonald's ever since I got a chicken sandwich with a bug in it means I've finally managed to lose some of that weight I put on last year. I've got more to go but I'm down about 35 pounds from November 2021. While I never got to the levels of a walking beanbag chair, I was still being squished by my own fat rolls while sitting at a desk trying to draw or read, or sitting at the couch trying to game. Hell, even sleeping was uncomfortable.
Oh, and what of World of Warcraft? I bought two months when Zereth Mortis released just to check it out, redeemed a couple tokens I cashed out my gold for, and checked in during a couple free weekends, but otherwise have given up on it. I never bought Dragonflight. I think one of those tokens I redeemed mostly went to waste because I could only get on once or twice a week thanks to my job's hours often being in the afternoon to the evening, leaving me with no time to do anything before or after I went in. I finally said to myself "I don't have time for this anymore." I have one more token I'll redeem when the next expansion comes around and everyone gets Dragonflight for free, and then I'm done, fingers crossed for good.