Ladies, gentlemen, and those who don’t ascribe to either label, the time has come. It’s awards season. And just as I promised with my last column, I’m proud to bring you a brand new awards show. The Hutchinson Collegian Celebration of Gaming.

I’m prepared to use my full authority as a junior college editorialist and Managing Editor for Design to award the games I like with whatever award I feel like, and you can do nothing to stop me.

Game of the Year. And of course, the award show must start with a doozy, and what better doozy than the greatest game to come out this year. This game must be quality on all fronts. Gameplay, Narrative, development path, post-release content, all the fronts.

And my game of the year should surprise absolutely no-one.

“Elden Ring”, From Software’s newest IP, had one of the best launches this year, and while many players complain that it was plagued with issues like framerate stutters, missing quality of life features that many games have, and sure, sometimes the framerate struggled in those opening days. But, for the most part framerate has never desperately affected my enjoyment of a game, and perhaps that stems from a childhood of gaming on a, admittedly, kinda crappy PC. But regardless, “Elden Ring” is an absolutely gorgeous game, and the only game on this list that I was able to dump 200 hours into within a month of its release.

I’m not entirely sure what else I can say. The story is easily the most upfront FromSoft has been with their storytelling, and their work with “Game of Thrones”’s George R. R. Martin is fantastic. Add onto that some of the best graphics that were seen this year and you have an absolutely fantastic game very much deserving of the Game of the Year award.

Best Multiplayer Game. This is arguably where the controversy of my list begins. Because in a year that saw a brand new (and from what I’ve seen widely beloved) “Call of Duty” game, my favorite multiplayer game is a game that, as of time of writing, is not even out.

However, by the time this is published it will have been released for two days, and therefore I think deserves to be in the running. The best multiplayer experience of 2022 can be found within Fatshark’s introductory game in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.

“Warhammer 40k: Darktide”.

Set in an absolutely stunning setting like a hive city, full of cathedrals the size of cities and towers extending into the upper atmosphere, “Darktide” is able to make its mark easily, sending you into the depths of the country-sized city where a plague-god worshiping cult has sabotaged numerous functions of the city, Water, ammunition, factories, etc. You and three friends (or random people) serve as Rejects, criminals pressed into service and expected to die sooner or later.

Perhaps my reasoning isn’t the most sound, as the multiplayer experience itself is fine, but the sheer quality of the game is astounding. With weapons like chainswords (Chainsaw. Sword.) and Bolters (A massive gun that shoots explosive slugs the size of soda cans), Fatshark has created an experience like no other, tearing through hoards of plague-ridden cultists with the weight and power behind those weapons is genuinely the most satisfying experience of the year. I had the joy of playing in two pre-release events, a private beta and the pre-order beta, where I was able to enjoy some of the missions and character classes that will be seen at release, and it was some of the most fun I’ve had all year.

Best Community Support. This award is reserved for the community support team of a game that has earned my utmost respect. (Mostly because they deal with a torrential amount of crap from their community and deserve at least some kind of recognition for that). With that being said, this award is obvious.

Bungie. The ex-halo developers, now the devs for one of the biggest MMORPG experiences around. (That being “Destiny 2”). And if there is one problem “Destiny” has, it’s the issue that it has a community massively composed of people who, if we’re being brutally honest, do not know how to take a break. Being a live service game, many players believe that it must mean that there is always something to play in it and a lot of people only play destiny. But obviously that isn’t true and the people who catch flak when that realization is made are always the community managers. Having to deal with a community of mainly man-children who think they’re entitled to everything is rough enough, but with the addition of content creators who egg on these crowds, it’s shocking that Bungie even has community managers left. Seriously. Earlier this year a community manager was drowned in death threats on twitter after confirming an old item from the first game was not planned to return. And Bungie’s community support is constantly working to keep fans updated and has to be one of the most underappreciated teams in the gaming world.

Best Indie. Now a lot of this awards show has been about AAA games, games with huge budgets, advertising, attention, support. But it’s important as always to recognize the little guys, small teams making their way in a pretty hostile world to make games that almost always radiate love and care where AAA releases stink of profit margins and crunch time. There’s a couple games that could earn this award in my mind, but when it comes down to it, my decision goes to the next entry in the Loathing series of games, “Shadow’s Over Loathing”. The “Loathing” games have always been fantastic, ever since their start as a browser game released in 2003.  “What makes these games so special?” you ask? Why, it’s the sheer quality and hilarity of their writing. “Shadows Over Loathing” is quite possibly the best written game of this year, with little meta jokes about video games, eldritch horror, and more, Shadow of Loathing is one of my favorite game experiences of this year from a writing point alone.

As far as years go in terms of gaming, I think this year has been a massive improvement over last year. 2021 saw tons of botched releases and broken games, but with time and lessons learned, almost every game to have released with any amount of fanfare this year released a full product, ready to be played.

And that brings this year’s inaugural edition of the Hutchinson Collegian Celebration of Gaming to a close. I have to give a huge thanks to all of the readers for putting up with the sheer level of inconsistency within my week to week writing, and I can’t wait to do even more random crap next semester.

Have a happy holiday season, and I’ll see you next year.

Braedon Martin is a Hutchinson sophomore studying journalism. He is the Collegian’s Opinion Page Editor and Managing Editor for Design.

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