What was the video gaming ‘theme’ of 2022?

Now that we’re at the end of 2022, I’m taking the time to look back on the year and find out what the theme was – and how we’ll remember this year in sports when it’s long gone.

If you look at many sites’ GOTY lists, you’ll see them all dominated by Elden Ring and God of War Ragnarok, but here at Nintendo Life, we have a very different year. Two Pokémon games, a new 3D Kirby, Splatoon 3, Bayonetta 3, and Mario + Rabbids’ Sparks of Hope kept the exclusive and first-party fire burning on ol’ Switch, and even though we didn’t get a full Mario or Zelda. release this year, we got Many News about the tears of the state and super mario bros movie to impress us.

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Image: Nintendo

Personally, I’m an indies girl when it comes down to it, and this year didn’t disappoint, even though many of the best indies on Switch were ports from years past. I think 2022 will be remembered as a year of weird-but-beautiful narrative-angled games that defined the genre, like Neon White, Cult of the Lamb, Citizen Sleeper, and Card Sharks, and even We could not find any other games in this category — immortality, pentimentAnd golden idol case Comes to mind – I still think Switch had a pretty great year for the Indies.

Still, if I had to guess what 2022 will be remembered for, I think I’ve already answered the question: Two Pokémon games, which effectively bookended the year, along with Legends. : Aresus in the beginning and Scarlet and Violet at the end. Both were varying degrees of junkie, but both lifted the series to new heights at the same time, and in a year that was bereft of Mario and Zelda, it makes sense that one of the big dogs would take the spotlight.

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Image: The Pokémon Company

These two games were, for me at least, a real coming-home moment — the first time in a long time that I really wanted to play a Pokémon game to completion. For so long, the series has been about the same thing with different flavours; Arceus and ScarVi finally dared to take big steps into the great unknown, and despite plenty of technical flaws, the series is better for it.

And setting aside the themes of these two behemoth Pokémon games, I think I could argue that 2022, five years after Breath of the Wild, was all freedom, The freedom to roam in Scarves and Elden rings, the freedom to explore in Xenoblade Chronicles 3, and even the non-linearity of Sonic Frontiers – I think we’ll be seeing game design ripples coming from Breath of the Wild’s huge splash. are continuing. Was made in 2017, and I don’t mind it. Lots of games, AAA in particular, benefited from open worlds this year, and if studios can continue to get it right, the games will be better for it.

But there may be a bigger, grander theme that I’m just not seeing, and so I turn to you, my dear readers. What do you think will be the “theme” of 2022? Is it different on Switch than on other platforms? And what do you think will happen next year besides Zelda? Tell me in the comments!

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