As part of GamesHub’s Game of the Year 2022 festivities, we invited game developers to share their favourite games of the year with us. Pete Foley and Scott Ford from studio Fuzzy Ghost answered the call, with some profound picks.
Fuzzy Ghost has had a great year, releasing their game Queer Man Peering into a Rock Pool.jpg, which subsequently went on to win a 2022 Australian Game Developer Award for Best Emerging Game. The game will also be exhibited at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney as part of Absolutely Queer, an exhibition celebrating contemporary queer creativity, for Sydney WorldPride 2023.
I was so relieved to find that FromSoftware had made a Souls-like that could accommodate a sloppy-fingered roll-smasher like myself. Mostly, anyway (thinking of you, Maliketh, The Black Blade). My poorly-equipped wizard cowered their way through the Lands Between so that I could sink deep into the richness of its storytelling.
Not rich in terms of dense – although it does have that, Elden Ring is overflowing with ideas – but rich in terms of its mystery.
Long after putting the game down I would continue dipping into the latest speculation on the lore of the Lands Between. People from all over the world are still working to try and solve the mysteries of Marika and the Erdtree. Rather than memorise a set lore for the universe, Elden Ring is a game that inspires people to dream, both individually and together.
To me, that is a rare and wonderful thing. – Scott Ford, Fuzzy Ghost
Citizen Sleeper had me spellbound. The game progresses in a cycle of investment and reward that feels so finely tuned for addiction that it reminds me of certain time-sink mobile games, but it has purpose.
It offers enough periods of calm to enjoy the world and the stories within. It is generous enough to allow the player to make mistakes without being punished. Every time the cycle of days started to wear thin, every time I thought I’d gotten the rhythm of grinding tasks punctuated by story beats, Citizen Sleeper came along and surprised me, delighted me, and intrigued me just enough to keep me going for another hour. And then another hour.
It’s the way that each narrative unfolds that keeps me interested. Characters are clumsy, they’re busy or they make mistakes. Things unrelated to your quest get in the way, stuff just happens. The game feels alive in a way I haven’t experienced in quite the same way.
I am not a big replayer of games but I’m already thinking of how I’ll play it differently next time, to experience every story and every outcome on offer. – Scott Ford, Fuzzy Ghost
Games are often a pretty skin for a spreadsheet application. What is Final Fantasy XIV but a pretty calculator with particle effects? What is Diablo but a laser-precise lookup table with the sprite of a sword on it? And what is Strange Horticulture but an absolute mess of my own making because I cannot remember what a Gilded Dendra looks like even though I know I just sold one to that creepy lady, oh dear god, why didn’t I write it down?!
Strange Horticulture completely obscures its spreadsheet. Identifying a plant isn’t just unlocking the entry by using an Identify Scroll, it insists I do the hard work, scouring through the encyclopaedia to identify it for myself.
On its own, a very satisfying detective-y mechanic, but it also insists that I catalogue that discovery myself, literally writing a label on the plant and placing it somewhere to (hopefully) find again later. I. Loved. This.
Is this a Virgo thing? In a game that is presented more like a visual novel than a world-simulacrum, this felt so human and so real. – Pete Foley, Fuzzy Ghost
For more on the best games of 2022, explore the rest of our game of the year coverage:
- Cult of the Lamb wins GamesHub’s Game of the Year 2022
- The Best Nintendo games of 2022
- The Best PlayStation games of 2022
- The Best Xbox games of 2022
- The Best PC games of 2022
- The Best mobile games of 2022
- The 5 best indie games of 2022 you definitely didn’t play
- Meredith Hall on 2022 with God of War, Card Shark, and RMIT Games
- Umurangi Generation developer on the impactful moments of 2022
- Tempopo developer Sanatana Mishra’s favourite games of 2022
- Kelsey Gamble’s Top 4 Games of 2022
- David Wildgoose on his Game of the Year for 2022: Elden Ring
Stay tuned for more curated lists from GamesHub staff and special games industry guests.