OMN’s top video games of 2022: From Stray to Powerwasher Simulator

Illustration+depicts+several+types+of+controllers+used+to+play+video+games.

Cassidy Smith, OMN Illustrator

Illustration depicts several types of controllers used to play video games.

Josh Saunders, Beaver's Digest Contributor

Editor’s note: This article features perspectives from various teams across Orange Media Network, which Beaver’s Digest is a part of. Not every team or professional staff member was reached out to.

365 (and a quarter) days will bring about watershed waves of change in the landscape of media. Creating a video game that will not only represent the year, but represent the best of that year is a gargantuan feat. It is a huge struggle for video game developers to even get a copy of their game into the hands of a consumer. However, it is not impossible. Incredibly creative, talented individuals made some amazing video games last year, and we are here to celebrate them.

Over the course of a week, your author of this article curated a small window into the collective culture of Orange Media Network. Twenty-two people told me their favorite video games of 2022, which were also released in 2022.

This survey was done via a Google Form I sent to the various leaders of OMN to share with their teams: DAMchic, The Daily Barometer, Beaver’s Digest, KBVR-TV, KBVR-FM, Prism, Creative Team, Photo Team and Sports Team. I received 11 responses from the form, and I personally spoke to 11 folks in person on the fourth floor of the Student Experience Center on Oregon State University’s Corvallis campus.

Tied with three 3 votes each, Pokemon Scarlet & Violet (2022), and Overwatch 2 (2022) are OMN’s top video games of 2022.

Maxwell Romero

The Daily Barometer

Favorite Game: Pokemon Scarlet & Violet

“The story and music were amazing. A few performance issues at the beginning but they didn’t impact the overall experience of this amazing game.”

Ashton Bisner

Photo Team

Favorite Game: Overwatch 2

“I’m just an innocent tank that gets yelled at and messaged regularly for being bad. I am not a part of the toxic community.”

Between both Romero and Bisner, there is certainly a commonality between having an enjoyable experience with these games despite their flaws.

Bisner spoke at length about his personal disdain with both Overwatch 2’s community and developers. Especially when considering the acts of sexual harrasment reported by multiple women working at Overwatch 2’s development and publishing company Activision Blizzard.

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet had a notoriously buggy launch. Nintendo released Ver. 1.0.1 (Released November 10, 2022) and Ver. 1.1.0 (Released December 1, 2022) in attempts to fix many of the issues. But many players report the updates not completely fixing the issues. 

 

Out of the responses received in the survey, here are some of the top picks:

Garret Johnson

KBVR-FM

Favorite Game: Stray (2022)

“I like cats, I like video games, boom—what better of a combo can you get, ya know what I’m sayin.”

Casey Smith

The Daily Barometer

Favorite Game: NBA 2K23 (2022)

“Blacktop 5v5, anytime, anyplace”

Alex McIntire 

KBVR-FM

Favorite Game: Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (2022)

“After growing up with the original Lego games I was hesitant to get this one but it has ended up being one of my favorite game(s). An open world Star Wars game with all my favorite characters and endless side quests. It’s also really fun to play with my girlfriend or family.”

Vincent Ho

The Daily Barometer

Favorite Game: Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix+ (2022)

“Very fun rhythm game that also has Miku!” 

Ryan Harlan

Sports Team

Favorite Game: EA SPORTS FIFA 23 (2022)

Harlan spoke about how his top game potentially would have been Madden NFL 23 (2022) if EA had more communication about Madden’s Franchise league server issues. When EA last mentioned the issue (about two weeks ago) they wrote that an estimated 40% of players’ Connected Franchise Mode Leagues, Online Franchise and Face of the Franchise files will be recovered. 

Lars Rucker, DJ Socks and Sandals

KBVR-FM

Favorite Game: Neon White (2022)

“This game makes me feel like I accidentally took a double dose of my ADHD meds, and the Machine Girl-produced soundtrack has shortened my lifespan. I would not like things any other way.

Steven Sandberg

OMN Professional Staff

Favorite Game: Tunic (2022)

“You go into it thinking that it’s just a Zelda clone, but it becomes so much bigger. You literally have to think outside the box of the game to solve some of the puzzles.”

Sandberg compares his experience playing this game to how Dorothy comes into color in the Wizard of Oz (1939). There is a digital manual for the game in the actual game world: like a treasure map guiding a plucky adolescent in a classic adventure film. You can see yourself in the role of an adventuring anthropomorphized fox.

Other than a handful of other indie games like Cult of the Lamb (2022), and Downfall – A Slay the Spire Fan Expansion (2022), folks mostly saved their top spots for games produced and/or published by triple-A studios. 

Below is a comprehensive list of all of the 22 participants favorite games:

Cult of the Lamb

Downfall – A Slay the Spire Fan Expansion

Dwarf Fortress

EA SPORTS FIFA 23

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Mega Mix+

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

Madden NFL 23

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Booster Course Pass

NBA 2K23

Neon White

Overwatch 2

Pokemon Scarlet & Violet

Powerwasher Simulator

Stray

The Sims 4: High School Years

Tunic

*Excluding Keywe (2021) and Wordle (2021) as neither of these games were released in 2022. 

The beauty of these responses are their succinct captions of a handful of different communities in 2022’s landscape of gaming. Individual retrospective quick reviews are wonderful because they reveal the true gut feelings of the folks who participated, and often are an avenue to learning about great indie games that you’ve likely never heard of.