December 26, 2021

The Games of 2021

I guess I only really blog at the end of the year!
That’s okay!
That’s called… synergy… check my blog once a year!
Anyway, 2021 was… better than 2020? But not by a lot, really? Like, barely? Here’s the games of 2021 that mattered to me, in no particular order, with just some random comments I wanted to say. Have a great rest of your year, and let’s hope things improve somewhat in the future.

Mario Golf: Super Rush – This was a pretty good Mario Golf! The story mode was very cute, and the speed golf and king of the hill golf are good ideas totally ruined by no actual online thing besides jumping into random people’s rooms. Which really ruined my focus on this, because it was really hard to play matches online regularly. Oh well. Someday, Nintendo will understand online.

Shin Megami Tensei V – Still working on this, but it’s very good. I appreciate the whole thing behind the Nahobino more than I thought. The story is just kind of… not there, but that SMT combat is excellent, so, you know.

Luck Be A Landlord – This game rules. A “slot machine roguelike,” Luck be A Landlord is a game I’ve played constantly because it’s great to play in between combat rounds while playing DnD. It’s cute and about murdering your shitty landlord so that’s always great! Plus it’s made by a single, nice dude who really cares about the game and the community playing it. Highly highly recommended.

Milk Inside A Bag of Milk Inside A Bag of Milk and Milk Outside A Bag of Milk Outside A Bag of Milk – Putting these two together. I play a lot fewer of these little artistic games these days, but these games are just incredible in showing exactly how mental illness feels. As I reviewed them on Steam, these are just real life. It’s powerful stuff. The first game is really cheap, you’ll know if you want to play the second, please try it.

Bloons Tower Defense 6 – Why did I play so much Bloons this year? Why do I continue to do the Daily Challenge most days? Why? I mean, you know, it’s a fine tower defense, but why?

Final Fantasy XIV – This was the year people finally dragged me in. Final Fantasy XIV is incredible. The story is a long very slow burn but I will give it this credit: if you invest, it returns that energy like 10 fold. It’s very pleasant to play on your own, it has fun daily goals to hit on, gosh, it’s so good. I’m excited to play Endwalker next year at some point.

WarioWare: Get It Together! – I cannot believe that the people who made the game cares about the fucking lore of WarioWare as much as I do. It’s incredible.

Yoku’s Island Express – I got really into pinball this year for no good reason, and I remembered I owned this, and HOLY SHIT, this game is so adorable, and so fun, and so creative? I played through it in two huge sessions and savored every moment of it. There’s lots of sidequests and things I didn’t finish, and I’m honestly tempted to go back, but even just mainlining the main quest, you cannot beat this thing. I’m sorry I waited so long to play it. Please play it.

Pokemon Pinball: Ruby/Sapphire – Speaking of Pinball, this is what got me into it. I got my tablet set up with emulators, which was a fun little project, and I found myself playing this a lot, because it was a low level of engagement and time and I could just play a run and be done. It’s honestly really good? If you’ve always wanted to learn pinball, this is a great place to start, because the “collect them all” mechanic meant that even when I played a really, really, really, really really shitty run, I caught a new Pokemon, so it was okay. Honestly, it’s just way better than it has any right to be, and it’s a lot of fun. I doubt I would have loved it back in the day, but now, as an adult, I keep playing a round every few days. It’s good stuff.

Pokemon White – Speaking of Emulators, I went back and played a Pokemon game I’d skipped originally in excitement for Brilliant Diamond (which, ironically, didn’t make this list, it was fine) and Pokemon White is… pretty legit. It was such a weird experience playing through it, and I honestly picked a pretty shit team to do it with with tons of weaknesses that made me have to grind a bit for the endgame. But it was super exciting, honestly. It has a pretty good little story there! I finally figured out who N was! Wow! I’m sure I’ll play White 2 in the same way at some point next year.

Can’t Stop! – I started playing board games on Board Game Arena this year. It’s very good. Probably join up and play with me. But the one I keep playing, over and over, both real time and turned based, constantly, is Can’t Stop!. This is an extremely simple push your luck game, but it’s extremely satisfying. I am very very unhappy that the only version you can buy in America is a 60 dollar giant plastic bullshit edition. This is the perfect 10 dollar game in a little bag with a cloth game board to throw in your purse to take to the bar and the fact that at some point I’m going to need to import the little portable German edition at some point to get that? It’s pretty silly. Anyway, Can’t Stop! fucking rules.

Golf, the physical sport – I’ve been playing Golf with my mother-in-law off and on rarely for a while now, because she wanted a friend to go with and it was an excuse to drink beer. But this year, I really got into the game in general because it’s such a great way to get outside, socialize, and have fun in a fairly Covid-safe outdoor environment. I also like how I did research this year and learned how easy it is to build a pretty solid bag of clubs just from buying used clubs from thrift stores. That was a fun distraction, and I really like my clubs now. Anyway, I agree that all golf courses should be repurposed into a public sex forest, but as long as they exist, I feel like I’m going to be grabbing cheap tee times a few times a month just to get outside for a while.

Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass – A lot of games get labelled as “like Earthbound” and for the most part I get why they do. But this game completely deserves that comparison without feeling derivative in the slightest. The story is fantastic, the combat is deep and interesting, and it has style for fucking years and years. It is a triumph, it really is, and anyone who likes RPGs in general should play it, and especially if you like games that are funny and heartwrenching in equal measure.

Grandia – After I played Jimmy I wanted more RPGs, so I got the Grandia collection. I’d played Grandia 2 on my Dreamcast years ago, but never the original, and holy shit, what an amazing game. It has so much style. It truly feels like an adventure anime, in a way that games pretend they do but never really sell the characters in that correct way. I mean, the main character’s name is JUSTIN. Just incredible. Anyway, this is totally still worth a play even years later. It’s so good.

Get In The Car, Loser! – I mean, I think it should be obvious that this game is awesome because it has awesome writing and style, but I must say it’s made me want to go back and try Valkyrie Profile, as I really fell in love with the battle system.

Beast Breaker – The gameplay is top-notch, a weird “strategic peggle” that feels very fresh. It would be worth it for that alone, but I love how queer it is, quietly. It’s not “we’re a gay game!” it just has queer characters mixed in that feel very natural and not special. And I really appreciate that, honestly. That’s very nice.

Buddy Simulator 1984 – I’ve been “speedrunning” silly things off and on, normally weird things that nobody has put up a time for. But for some reason I played this game and I needed to run it. I planned out a route and executed. It was an amazing feeling. Like, I was doing more than just speeding through as fast as I could, I was speedrunning for real. Damn. As such it really has a place in my heart as my first “real” speed game. Also it’s just a fun playthrough, even if you don’t 100% it and then play it again like 20 times like I did. It’s a nice little game that wears its influences on it’s sleeve and just has fun with it.

Happy Home Paradise – They actually did it. They gave me a sequel to Happy Home Designer. Incredible.

Vital Bracelet Digivice and Digimon Vital Lab – Is this actually a game? I mean, sort of. But wow I fell in love with this little fitness toy. I always liked the idea of virtual pets but they never fit into my lifestyle. I wasn’t going to stop things to feed my Tamagotchi, no matter how cute I thought the whole thing was. But the Ghost Game Vital Bracelet I got lets you just hit two buttons to pause, and you’re raising the monsters by doing things I’m doing anyway: working out and stuff. It’s just such a nice little experience to slowly raise a little monster and check in on it throughout the day. And then you upload it into the app and get to do all the things you were supposed to do with a normal Digimon vpet with your friends at recess that I was never going to do because I am a dang adult. So you get a full experience! Plus, if other players get some motivation to go on more walks and stuff because of this, all the better. I love this little thing.

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