2022 in review
A quick summary of 2022
Unlike past years' reviews, I ain't writin' shit about my "personal life." In part that's because I am more and more secretive online. In part it's because I've got a "diary" again. (The quotation marks are just to make me feel less awkward.) But also because the only thing worse than reading about my year is writing about it. It wasn't that bad -- just boring and pointless and unfulfilling, and full of choices (and inaction) that I now regret.
I'll say one thing, though. I stayed busy. Last year I was acutely aware that my "year in review" was still in draft mode in March or April. This year I hardly care.
Anyway, I'll use this post only to talk about the things I enjoyed or appreciated for the first time in 2022. That's something you hypothetical readers might benefit from.
Games I liked in 2022
Blank Frame: A super-stylish horror game set in a single apartment. The graphics and the writing remind me of a PSX game in the best possible way.
Depanneur Nocturne: Another game set in a single location, this time a strange convenience store. Short but deep.
Excavation of Hob's Barrow: Just a really solid, atmospheric point-and-click. Great writing and visuals.
Fears to Fathom - Episode 2 Norwood Hitchhike: Another "PSX horror" game, this one was really well done.
Gex Jr: Man, Gex Jr. is so cute.
Ghost Song: Ultra-stylish Metroidvania that I've been waiting on since 2013. Not the deepest game, but it's worth the money and could serve as a great introduction to the genre.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance: The spiritual successor to Darklands? I guess another comparison is "Witcher 3, but realistic, less exciting, and slightly janky." Now, that's not flattering, but consider this: I was playing this game 10-12 hours a day at times.
Lacuna: A beautiful cyberpunk detective adventure game. The graphics and control remind me of an SNES game (in a good way). Happily, the gameplay is deeper, with an open-ended, compelling story.
Life Is Strange: True Colors: It's another Life is Strange game. That's all you need to know.
Nightmare Frames: Like Excavation of Hob's Barrow above, this game uses the basic point-and-click formula. Like Excavation of Hob's Barrow, it's the writing, atmosphere, and story that make this special. By any standard -- but especially for a small indie title that seemed to come out of nowhere -- this is an impressive game.
Norco: With Perfect Tides, a co-contender for 2022 Game of the Year. A beautiful, mysterious adventure game set in some kind of alternate reality Louisiana.
Otteretto: A simple and addictive puzzle game that I'll be playing off and on for years to come.
Perfect Tides: In terms of mechanics and maybe even graphics, this game could've been made in 1992 or something. Gameplay-wise, no. This eschews puzzles for beautiful, brilliantly-told, and grounded story of growing up in the early 2000s. Can relate 100% to this game.
Playing with Gilbert Even though (or because) it's basically billed as baby's first platformer, I found this to be genuinely enjoyable. Don't you want to race a kitten through hyper-colorful, danger-free cityscapes? The Halloween-themed sequel is good, too.
Regiments: Accessible strategy game focusing on regiment-level battles (I guess, judging from the name). There's something very satisfying about hiding tanks in forests and having them unload on approaching forces. Thumbs up to any game where you find yourself shouting things like, "Strela, fuck them up!"
The Immaculate Drag: a short, inexpensive walking simulator. Everything about is fine and good, but this is what's great: everything's fucking neon lights and city at night.
Movies I liked in 2022
I had less patience and focus than ever. That made movies really hard to watch. For instance, I started a silent movie in October. It's been on pause for five months. But here are a few movies I managed to enjoy.
Nosferatu (Murnau version): I watched a version that had a soundtrack of Type O Negative songs. Sometimes, rarely, they fit; the rest of the time it was dumb. But the movie is great, with some impressive scenes. One in particular is as spooky as anything I've seen in a movie, old or new.
Hustle: Like Rocky, except there's no rape and it's about basketball.
My Life as a Dog: So I got this one solely because the title stood out to me when I was browsing the library's movie shelves. I'd never heard of it before. It's about a Swedish kid who spends his summer in the 1950s Swedish countryside. It's sweet and simple and relaxing and makes me feel bad that we have to grow up.
Paper Moon: I'm going to call this a fine road trip movie.
The Killing: Normally I avoid heist movies or movies with clowns (the cover shows a robber disguised as a clown). But this was top-notch.
TV I liked in 2022
Same with movies, although I can usually sit for TV longer.
- Dead to Me
- Into the Night, season 2
- Old Enough
- The Letdown
Books I liked in 2022
Fucking books, I barely read any of 'em! I finished two books in 2022. The rest I quit or am still working on. What the hell is wrong with me?
There's so little to say, I'm not going to bother with bullet points.
In the first half of the year I finished the fourth book in Ada Palmer's Terra Ignota series. It took me a year to finish this series. This is some of the most intricate worldbuilding I've come across. That worked against me Reading 2-3 pages a day, I would learn important, related details months apart.
After I finished that, I moved onto Joyce Carol Oates's Bellefleur. I read a few chapters of it in 2015.
Music I liked in 2022
I only got about 37 albums this year. On par with 2021 (41) but a little low compared to 2020 (52). Explanation: starting in September, I did not have much free time.
Starting in October, when I tried to come up with a list of Halloween albums, I really leaned hard into Inquisition. I mostly listened to them for the rest of 2022.
- Blue Öyster Cult - The Symbol Remains
- D Mills and the Thrills - On Your Mark
- Diana Ross and the Supremes - 20 Greatest Hits
- Enochian Crescent - Black Church
- Inquisition - Obscure Verses for the Multiverse
- Jane - Fire, Water, Earth and Air
- Kekal - 1000 Thoughts of Violence
- Lazarus Sin - Intracranial Mass
- Mitch Murder - The Real Deal
- The Lamp of Thoth - Portents, Omens and Dooms
- Waves Idle Symmetry - Thalassa
This list is lightly colored by the few weeks in May when I listened to an "oldies" station every night. They're off the air now. Must not be much demand for music from the 1950s-1970s. That stuff was "oldies" even 30 years ago. Now "oldies" means Green Day, for fuck's sake.
- Diana Ross and the Supremes - Come See About Me
- Diana Ross and the Supremes - Reflections
- Dolly Connolly - Waiting For the Robert E Lee
- New Order - Age of Consent
- Paul Revere and the Raiders - Kicks
- Ruth - Polaroid/Roman/Photo
- Ruth - PolaroidRomanPhoto
- The Beau Brummels - Laugh Laugh
- The Robins - Smokey Joe's Cafe
- Wayne Smith - Under Me Sleng Teng
Software I liked in 2022
Having used FLOSS software almost exclusively for the last 10 years, I've really settled into groove. Very little changed this year. I'm still happily using spectrwm, which I wrote about in the 2021 review. And I started to use asciidoc more, converting over a lot of markdown files (including my personal wiki).
But here are a few new things I found interesting:
asciidoctor-revealjs: a new and equally-tedious way to make slideshows. I like the results, though.
helix: Like kakoune. Kind of neat.