Backlog Club: Nintendo Life’s Games Of Not-This-Year 2022 Awards

Feature: Nintendo Life's "Best Non Switch Game 2022 We've Played Loads Of" Awards
Image: Nintendo Life

The problem with Game of the Year awards is that it presupposes that we’re all adults with plenty of free time to keep up with the ever-increasing number of game releases. You’d think gaming journalists, of all adult types, would know more about this than most…and you’d be wrong! Like everyone else, we get hijacked, hijacked, postponed and stuck, spending hours playing this hot new thing called Skyrim instead of checking Ring of Elden.

If you know our semi-regular Arrears Club series, you’ll know that we’ve spent a good portion of this year playing games other than 2022. So, in honor of the games that dominated our 2022, but weren’t eligible for this year’s GOTY, we present to you the horribly titled “Best non 2022 Switch game we’ve played a whole bunch” This year 2022 step game rewards. Let’s go!

Jim Norman, personal editor

Feature: Nintendo Life's "Best Non Switch Game 2022 We've Played Loads Of" Awards
It’s the titular terror, we presume

Winner: Metroid Dread

Realistically, my answer to this one would be Metroid Dread – a little indie game that I’m sure you haven’t heard of. Unless, of course, you’ve heard of it. Everybody has. I was way late to the party on this one and only picked up Dread in November of this year, so I kind of feel like I’m saying “oh, have you ever played breath of the wild? It’s really good!“So I’m going to quickly wrap up before talking about something else: great game, one of the best on Switch, best Metroid of all time?, lived it loved it etc, etc.

If I were to disqualify Dread based on the fact that of course it’s really goodthen i should go get owl instead. How the hell I hadn’t played this before, it’s completely beyond me! It had absolutely everything I look for in a video game. Stunning art style, interesting combat system, green hat guy. If I could have made it last longer, I would have done it in an instant, but the few evenings I spent playing this title were some of my best gaming memories of the year. It might not match Metroid Dread in terms of the best games on Switchbut I know which one made me cry a lot more…

Kate Gray, Editor

Feature: Nintendo Life's "Best Non Switch Game 2022 We've Played Loads Of" Awards
It’s so wild that a game can be so brilliant and also include shots like this

Winner: kill the arrow

My GOTY this year is Metal Gear Solid V, a game I stubbornly ignored when it first came out because of the legitimately atrocious way it treats women (or, “woman,” since there really is only one). But my God, it’s still a beautiful little thing – a masterpiece of “I wonder if that would work” systems design. Shame about sexism.

If we’re talking about Switch games, however, my GOTY no 2022 is easily Slay the Spire. I played it on Steam when it first came out, and I played a plot at the time, but having it on Switch tripled my hours of gameplay, easily. It’s such a perfect pick-up and play game, and I think those kinds of games get overlooked in GOTY lists because they’re so small. It’s so good, and I love being able to rediscover a game like that.

Gavin Lane, editor

Feature: Nintendo Life's "Best Non Switch Game 2022 We've Played Loads Of" Awards
Speleologist? More like spe-ooky

Winner: Potholing

Earlier this year, I was browsing through my Switch menu determined to tick something off the backlog to feel better. Something short, something sweet, something fast that I could finish in a few hours just to activate that dopamine rush when something is checked off a list.

Foolishly, I saw Spelunky sitting there and tapped on it. After enjoying a few roguelites, I felt it was time to return to the one that started indie developers’ love affair with the genre – at least on consoles – a decade ago. Its good. It’s really good. You already know this, but if you’ve somehow overlooked it for the past ten years like me, I can confirm that Derek Yu’s Spelunky video game is a good video game. I haven’t finished it yet, and when I do, I will have Spelunky 2 wait for me. By the time I’m done this I could have checked off a dozen other games in the backlog… but none of them would be Spelunky.

So first of all, right? Maybe Yu will have finished development on UFO 50 as I cross them!

Alana Hagues, Writer

Feature: Nintendo Life's "Best Non Switch Game 2022 We've Played Loads Of" Awards
Put the thing next to the other thing

Winner: Unpacking

I feel like it’s cheating to put a game here that was released in the last few months of 2021, but I wish I had played Unpacking when it first came out.

Real unboxing is stressful. One moment you’re wrapping your life up in perishable cardboard boxes, then the next you’re trying to find new places for it in a whole new shell. Unboxing (the game) removes the stress but still keeps the thinking inside – it’s a game that managed to tell a story without words. For ten hours, I carefully unpacked several times, filling shelves and examination rooms, while paying attention to changes in house type and objects – what was missing and what was left – and the atmosphere. It’s a beautiful game and it gives me a little more hope and positivity for my next life-changing move.

What’s your GOTY-that-was-not-actually-TY? Give us your catch-up candidates in the comments!

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