2022 has been an interesting year for video games. Many would call it a slow release year, considering major studio titles trickled out far less frequently than usual. The AAA arms race also came to a halt for a large portion of spring and summer, an inevitable result of the production interruption that massive projects saw in 2020 and 2021.
Indie games saw a very different trend. Small teams and solo developers turned out a truly impressive number of high-quality games. Indie spaces have been the most interesting place for video games for quite some time now, but in 2022, they truly stole the spotlight.
Unfortunately, the end of the year calls for the Game of the Year, which means I am faced with the unenviable task of whittling all those excellent titles down to one. Before I do that, though, I’d like to offer up a couple of honorable mentions.
You don’t need to hear me sing the praises of “Elden Ring,” “Splatoon 3,” or “Xenoblade Chronicles 3.” They’re good games, and everyone has said it by now. You probably also don’t need me to shout out “Neon White” or “Norco,” both of which I’ve written about in the past.
In terms of other 2022 games, “Vampire Survivors,” a deckbuilder with no deck and a bullet hell where you control the bullets, tore the video game down to its barest components and consumed me during my brief stint with COVID-19. “Immortality,” a live-action game inspired by the history of American cinema, told one of the most gripping stories in both video games and movies this year, and it’s free on mobile for Netflix subscribers, so you really have no excuse. “Metal Hellsinger” was a rhythm game that looked like 2016’s "DOOM," so, of course I loved it. “Live A Live” was a very compelling JRPG anthology game that actually came out in 1994, but I digress. “Dwarf Fortress,” a famously inscrutable game that’s been in development for two decades, finally hit full release in a slightly less inscrutable package.
There are so many other games that deserve write-ups: “Signalis,” “Backpack Hero” and “Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- Reunion.” I might write them up for this exact column in the future. For now, though, there can only be one Game of the Year. And that game is …
“Card Shark.” Nerial, the studio behind the hit mobile series “Reigns,” delivered this breathtaking story set in pre-revolutionary France. I’m always a sucker for stories about down-on-their-luck swindlers conning rich idiots out of their well-earned cash, and “Card Shark” is a great one. The politically fraught country, realized with its painterly art style, makes for a fine backdrop to the story of a young man who learns to cheat wealthy Frenchmen at the card table. All the tricks featured in “Card Shark” are real techniques used by real cheaters. Many of them are borrowed from "The Expert at the Card Table,“ a book on sleight-of-hand written by S.W. Erdnase, who also appears in “Card Shark.”
It’s a truly engaging story, and Nerial’s efforts to adapt real card tricks into game mechanics pay off incredibly well. All told, it was far and away my favorite game this year, and the one that I’ve been the most desperate to return to since finishing it.
Sorrel Kerr-Jung is a sophomore studying virtual reality game development at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Sorrel by tweeting her at @sorrelkj.