In our two-part review of the year, we ask ourselves: Which games gave us a little love and some special moments in this darn year 2020? After gritty blockbusters, PS-boosted multiplayer hits, and futuristic retro moments in Part 1, today we turn our attention to a true flash of brilliance, mobile beauty, and a return to a familiar land.
New consoles are on the rise and there have been some really big blockbusters, but what has Martin wasted his time on? With Song of Bloom and I Love Hue Too for iOS and Picross on the Switch. But all three of them they were great games that got me through a very difficult time. The reason for this, is easy to name, because they were calming and inspiring games. Immersing myself in the stories, colours and puzzles was almost meditative. Some people do exercise, some binge on Netflix, others numb themselves in other ways – I discovered new facets of slow-gaming.
I needed something short to be alone with myself and my thoughts to sort them out.
Curiously, this is the first time I’ve skipped the new Animal Crossing, although that game can be very relaxing too. I guess that form of gaming with social interaction as a key element just wouldn’t have satisfied me. I needed something short to be alone with myself and my thoughts to sort them out. And in fact, this very idea put a smile on my face. After all, video games are a great thing, and like books, films and music, they have the power to heal all kinds of wounds.
I am looking forward to starting the new year with new strengths and inner peace. And for sure there will be room for great adventures again.
It seems strange that the Wall Jump bosses want me to write down my personal gaming moment in 2020. After all, this site is dedicated to capturing special moments, and so I’ve already artfully described the biggest blasts: The touching ending of A Short Hike and the equally touching ending of Sayonara Wild Hearts.
It’s been a year full of short indie games for me – I’ve finished 40. So instead of picking out another single moment, here’s a lightening storm:
I produce clones of myself, running through them in rapid succession to land softly on the floor of an abandoned space station. After me, five lifeless figures land far less gently, their bones shattering on impact. I leave them there carelessly, feeling like Hugh Jackmann in “The Prestige.” It’s macabre and a bit grand. I sit on the edge of my couch with sweaty palms, trying to spot nearly invisible enemies in the infrequent flickering light, and I don’t have time to marvel that a 17-year-old game can trigger such feelings in me. I stare for minutes at a puzzle of colors, lasers and blocks, solving the problem solely with my mind. In real life, I lie in the far too cramped alcove of my rented camping bus and virtually roam the islands of a completely different vacation, wondering which one is better. I jump on a spaceship to rescue my herd of cows kidnapped by aliens and roll up entire worlds to please the king of the cosmos.
As I write this, it’s been a pretty good video game year.
I accidentally kill innocent people, but because I’m only let into a house if I kill more, from then on I kill innocent people on purpose. I bring joy back to an entire forest and create a world by splashing all over it. I discover the first Roguelite, which I really like, not in spite of the genre, but because of it. Many times I experience the satisfying feeling of taking down an overpowered enemy with a single perfect shot and burn down a church where a fake saint is worshipped – it’s my brother. I’m flooded with adrenaline as I blast my way through hordes of enemies in ever-changing stages, and likewise as I infiltrate one computer system after another and escape each trap. I enjoy the fresh sounds of a talented new composer duo in a game that drips with nostalgia. Last but not least, I keep returning to the same places to follow a new lead, test a theory, and solve a gigantic mystery. I am a true detective.
As I write this, it’s been a pretty good video game year. Full of moments worth noting. Maybe here on Wall Jump.
Like Martin, I could hardly resist the fascination of wanting to explore every nook and cranny of Hyrule in Breath of the Wild. The perfectly staged moment when I, as Link, first looked from the great plateau across the vast plains of the land to the castle, Death Mountain and the mountain peaks on the horizon is something I’ll probably never forget. Nevertheless, I’m still skeptical as to whether the announced sequel to Breath of the Wild, which according to the first teaser is supposed to take place in the same landscape, can create this feeling of discovery and exploration as impressively a second time.
What it will be like to possibly travel back to Hyrule again at the end of this year?
The fact that Nintendo then barely gave me a chance to get to grips with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity in advance this fall was all the better. After all, the game was premiered just a few weeks before release, just when my anticipation was all about the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. But despite all the nice technology, my time at the controller in the last few weeks of the year was almost exclusively devoted to Hyrule Warriors. It’s not so much the gameplay that keeps me glued to the console. Despite all the plot flaws, I can’t get enough of seeing Hyrule again, admiring villages in their glory before they were destroyed by Ganon, climbing the stairs to the old citadel, and witnessing Zelda finally step out of Link’s shadow, summon up her courage, and confront Ganon’s devastation.
What it will be like to possibly travel back to Hyrule again at the end of this year? I’m still a bit skeptical. But I also can’t wait.
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