Backtracking: Myst (1993)

Backtracking is a blogging project that I’m embarking on in 2024 in which I will play one game from each year since I was born. My goal is to engage with games I’ve never played and divert some of my attention away from new releases and towards older titles. I hope to cross off some…


Backtracking: A Link to the Past (1992)

Backtracking is a blogging project that I’m embarking on in 2024 in which I will play one game from each year since I was born. My goal is to engage with games I’ve never played and divert some of my attention away from new releases and towards older titles. I hope to cross off some…


Game of the Year 2023

It’s finally time for a one-pager(-ish) game-of-the-year list. As usual, this simple annual critical writing exercise has ballooned into a whole operation that sucks up half my holiday break. As taxing as it’s been, it feels good to make it to the end. I’m fairly happy with the breadth of games I played this year;…


GOTY 2023 — #1 Lies of P

Lies of P is a soulslike action game from Korean developer Round8, a subsidiary of Neowiz. It’s a blatantly ridiculous Pinocchio retelling in the moody, gothic style of Bloodborne. Drawing heavily from the entire breadth of From Software’s “Souls” lineage, it unites a variety of ideas while carving out its own iterations and building a…


GOTY 2023 — #2 Venba

Venba is a narrative cooking game from the small team of developers at Visai Games. Its lead developer, Abhi, describes it as an exploration of the relationship between first-generation immigrant parents and their assimilated children. The core mechanical idea of Venba is a series of cooking minigames that are interleaved with the story and dialogue…


GOTY 2023 — #3 Wildfrost

Wildfrost is a roguelike deckbuilder developed by Deadpan Games with character design and art by Gaziter. It joins a genre that’s now well-established, but not yet exhausted. The niche is so popular that any new contender must establish a strong identity and unique gameplay variations to hold its own. Wildfrost may not have the sheer…


GOTY 2023 — #4 Hi-Fi Rush

Hi-Fi Rush is a new IP from Tango Gameworks, the Bethesda subsidiary behind Ghostwire: Tokyo and the Evil Within series. It’s a surprising departure in style for the studio, and it arrived fully formed with no prior promotion whatsoever. Thanks to its launch on Xbox Game Pass — a service that has somehow not yet…


GOTY 2023 — #5 Alan Wake 2

Alan Wake 2 is the sequel to 2010’s Alan Wake, a cult hit from Finnish studio Remedy Entertainment. It solidifies the connections in the so-called “Remedyverse” that were introduced in the DLC to 2019’s Control, and continues the story of Alan Wake more than a decade after it left off. The story follows two parallel…


GOTY 2023 — #6 Chants of Sennaar

Chants of Sennaar is a language-deciphering puzzle game from French indie studio Rundisc. It takes place on the many levels of an enormous tower, where the silent protagonist must meet different cultures, work out their languages, and solve puzzles using that understanding. Its concept is inspired by the Tower of Babel story, in which the…


GOTY 2023 — #7 Infinite Guitars

Infinite Guitars is a rhythm action RPG set in a world of floating sky islands and guitar-wielding scavengers who eke out their existence in the aftermath of a desperate rebellion. Its hero, J.J., is a disaffected kid traveling with their grandfather. When rogue elements of the old empire confront them, J.J. is separated from their…