Fleeting Thoughts, vol. 1 (Game of the Year, Aerith’s duality, & passivity’s plight)

Hi. It’s been a minute.

What even is this?

Just read past this if you want the actual content! Otherwise…

You may (or more likely, may not) have noticed that I haven’t posted in quite a while, and my reasons for the absence are vast. However, not one of them was a lack of wanting to post. In fact, I’ve written countless thousands of words worth of articles that I either never completed or threw away in the editing process. This new format I’m trying is an attempt to curb the wastefulness and publish more consistently.

The two obstacles I most often allow to stand in my way are “will anyone read this?” and “am I saying anything that isn’t already obvious to everyone?” The former is of course a fallacy as nobody can read what does not yet exist. And if nobody is able to read my words, who’s to know if what I opined over was “obvious”? And more practically, if nobody reads or if those who do gleam nothing of worth, so what? Allowing rhetoric to stand in the way of writing is to let unknowns and an irrational fears of failure win. But in this new format I have found what I hope will be my remedy.

“Fleeting Thoughts” is a low-stakes format where I simply riff on whatever ideas come to mind. There’s no pressure to write some groundbreaking essay; instead, I’ll keep a document open to build upon in real time until there’s enough material to let it loose (sometimes making edits in post like you’ll see here to tie relevant pieces together). I want to publish with some form of regularity though what “regularity” means is to be determined through process. The posts aren’t meant to be fleeting!

One last bit: by the nature of this format, “thoughts” will very in polish and completeness. The goal is to put forth ideas rather than write my next great essay. These don’t replace essays either.

Anyway, let’s give this a try.


Aerith in 1997: Good *AND* Bad Game Design?

The translation wasn’t great…

My deep love of Aerith’s character in Final Fantasy VII Remake recently got me thinking about her distinctively different role in the original Final Fantasy VII.

Aerith is beyond fantastic in Remake. The writers thankfully shed the maidenly image she’d come to inhabit in Advent Children, instead imbuing her with the originally intended spunky personality (and then some). For all her playful teasing and jabbing, her confidence never resolves to hubris thanks to her most important quality: emotional honesty. Aerith leaves such an immeasurably positive impact on everyone around her that she single-handedly cracks Cloud’s self-serious veneer wide open. And while she’s certainly a tragic character even within the confines of Remake’s scope, she never folds to pressure even under the most harrowing conditions (that Hojo scene still gives me shivers). Also, she’s pretty.

Many of these traits were lost in translation or just not as prevalent in the original game which resulted in a character that was charming but comparatively vanilla. It was hard to shake that Aerith felt like a humanized plot device given how most of her major plot beats revolve around being a love interest for one character or another. I simply couldn’t–and perhaps knowing how her story would end, wouldn’t– connect. Sure, she was my date of choice at the Gold Saucer (Tifa’s more vanilla), but most of the affection I felt toward her was purely mechanical. Whereas most other characters are designed to be jack-of-all-trades shaped by the Materia system, Aerith is classifiably the best healer and magic user and meant to be nothing else. She became the crux of my team due to this, allowing for a comfy gamefeel akin to the archetypal JRPG party. When Sephiroth finally impaled her, my strongest emotional response was that combat had officially downgraded, and indeed her absence was felt as such for the remainder of my playthrough. Probably not what the creative team was going for.

Ultimately I’m left to ponder if the role Aerith plays in Final Fantasy VII’s broader combat system is an example of good or bad game design. It can be argued for the latter that by breaking from the design philosophy of the Materia system, she stifles the integrity of choice. Most party members are palettes upon which the user creates classes (in lieu of the franchise’s traditional class system) but Aerith is a set class from the outset. No patchwork Materia peddler can live up to the real thing. Players can still succeed with a team of their own preference but it’ll be nominally more difficult. Plus, given how JRPGs attract personality types who favor optimization, playing non-optimally is a hard pill to swallow. It’s like how skill trees in MMOs become irrelevant when only one path makes a class viable for end-game content. Opting for personal choice means you won’t have the same ceiling of potential as someone who’s willing to play the optimized role for their raid group. Social pressures of multiplayer games aside, Final Fantasy VII similarly loses a smidge of its mechanical identity when there is a clear-cut best choice.

But the reasons why Aerith could be considered bad design are also the same reasons why she’s great design. Intended or not, the developers nudged me toward using her for all the aforementioned reasons. Battling together was a powerful form of bonding as she saved a party on the ropes with clutch limit break healing. The areas where she lacked in character (again, often rooted in poor translation) was balanced out by how she felt integral to my finishing the game, even with the knowledge that she’d eventually depart. If Aerith was sitting on the bench until the moment she died, that turning point in the story would have had far less impact. Instead, every battle after was a reminder of something missing. What I’ve coined “bad game design” actually future-proofed Final Fantasy VII from gaming’s most famous spoiler by creating this second avenue through which Aerith’s presence (and lack thereof) is internalized.

Meanwhile, the action-based nature of Remake works so well because it inherently creates individual gameplay footprints for all four characters. Cloud and Tifa hold down the front lines while Barret and Aerith shoot and sling from afar. Each’s baked-in abilities make them specifically efficient at their distinct roles. Their identities become complemented by Materia rather than dictated by it, opening up the ability-slotting system to provide wider choice. Materia builds can be optimized for any area or boss but outside of hard mode that’s rarely necessitated since encounter designs built to complement the strengths and limitations of your pre-determined party do most of the heavy lifting. If Cloud and Tifa are teamed up, you’re not going to be flooded with brawling-inaccessible turrets, and similarly the one boss where Aerith and Barret are paired is entirely a test of the player’s proficiency in ranged combat. You can take virtually no damage during the fight if you play it correctly; the Materia you take with you is simply the chosen flavor with which you nuke the boss after nailing down the shuffle of repositioning.

Anyway, the point of all this is that Remake Aerith is true perfection and will not die or else I will cry (very literally). Though given the new direction they’re taking the story, who knows what’s in store. If she doesn’t make it, the emotional impact her loss will have on me will be entirely based on attachment to character. This type of distinction is why I not only prefer Remake to the original but also think that it’s… well, we’ll get there in due time.

(If Aerith must be killed off again, I’m in favor of swapping her out for Tifa.)

(Q: Who did the Masamune better: FF7 or Chrono Trigger? A: Chrono Trigger. Gotta love those two good boys Masa and Mune. Sorry Sephy, but turns out size doesn’t always matter.)


A year without movies and anime: the plight of passivity

Me in quarantine, minus the Bezos branding

An unexpected phenomenon happened to me in quarantine: I didn’t watch a single film or anime. In fact, the memory of how it feels to do so has become ethereal. I’ve watched plenty of video content online for news and entertainment but when I hit the couch, I’m always grabbing for a controller. This subconscious gravitation to gaming has largely been due to a need for agency in a time when having any in real life seems hard to come by. In turn, the inherent lack of agency in passive media has unconsciously triggered my brain to push back against engaging with it. When the fleeting thought of watching anything that isn’t on YouTube or Twitch does cross my mind, it’s just as fleetingly rejected.

The way my brain compartmentalizes online content like YouTube or Twitch is that it’s “easy passivity.” Not having to go through the intentional motion of settling into my couch to hyper-focus on watching a thing dramatically lowers the mental barrier for entry. In the midst of whatever I happen to be doing, I can skirt away for a quick hit of this available-on-command content. The stakes are extremely low so that even with the most intellectually demanding of content, the same part of the brain that craves comfort food is sated. It’s the non-committal relationship to an anime series’ requirement of going steady. Sometimes you don’t have the energy for or aren’t in the right place in life to enter a relationship, leaving a string of hookups to fulfill latent needs. (Editors note: this analogy is not reflective of the writer).

Perhaps most importantly, these mediums offer something you can’t get in the sphere of committal passive media: an interpersonal touch. Or at least the potent veneer of the interpersonal. While it’s an entirely one-sided relationship when you watch a YouTube video by a person(s) you’ve followed for years, there’s still a sense of human connection that happens in the process. Without it, you likely wouldn’t be returning for more. In quarantine this became particularly relevant as when you can’t see other people or have no other people to see, this substitute becomes an effective fix. One that can easily become unhealthy, mind you, but with merit when kept in check.

This sense of interpersonal connection is amplified to infinity on Twitch. Not only are you watching the streamer live but you’re also interacting with them and the rest of their community, a more classically interpersonal experience. One can watch a Twitch stream for hours upon hours, as I did with multiple streamers who played through Final Fantasy VII Remake (detailed in the upcoming Game of the Year segment). In fact, I even scheduled out time to be available for their live streams whenever possible, a commitment arguably greater than starting an anime series. The human element of Twitch fulfilled multiple needs that a director’s hand couldn’t, though: that of dampening quarantine loneliness, that of engaging with a mutually shared passion, and that of letting someone else take the wheel for a while. Of course, if I’m letting someone else take the wheel, isn’t that giving away the agency I’ve espoused to be critical? Well, yes, and I don’t have the best explanation for it (Fleeting Thoughts isn’t necessarily about coming to those). What I’d posit is that giving my agency temporarily to a streamer is a choice, whereas feeling a lack of agency to help a country of destructive politics isn’t. And at any moment I have the ability to take that agency back.

So really, it’s not only the passive but also “impersonal” nature of film and anime that didn’t vibe with my quarantine needs. And you know what? It wasn’t so bad. I got to know a lot about Twitch, cleared out most of my gaming backlog (which is suddenly full again, because of course), and when I return to the mediums I left behind it’ll be with refreshed vigor. In fact…


Update: I watched anime!

The best anime

Turns out that passivity might be back on the menu because Non Non Biyori Nonstop is finally here and there was no way I was about to miss out on my dose of Renge-isms. The series is the exact escapism I need at this moment, its animated Japanese countryside being my happy place away from car horns and concrete walls. I don’t have a ton to say on the first episode… the bit with the tape dolls was equal parts hilarious and charming, and the new girl seems like she may bring a new dynamic to the cast though I’m scared of the season focusing too heavily on her. But what mattered was that it felt refreshing to return to anime after so much time spent disillusioned with it.

Now I’m the mood to watch more! Feel free to recommend what’s good right now or in the past few years. I’ll be circling back to my adventures in watching anime again as the volumes of Fleeting Thoughts progress.

(Oh, and it didn’t hurt that watching anime on my new 65’’ OLED TV + soundbar was by itself an experience. Never has the green hills and plains of Non Non Biyori looked so good.)


Game of the Year 2020

This game of the year list comes to you fresh off of multiple attempts at writing a stand-alone post. Many thousands of words have been discarded partially in the decision to post it here instead. Note that this is an unusually long segment for Fleeting Thoughts, but one I felt worthwhile to include. Year after year I meticulously note every game I play, expecting to write a year-end list. This year it’s finally happening through sheer grit; there was no way I was going to let it slip by me again. So, let’s jump in.

Where else to start but with the happenstance common theme of many games on this list: the gates of hell. Hades (#7) is an addictive substance with its endless randomized permutations on at-button-click-satisfying hacking and slashing. However, what sets it apart from other quality action roguelikes is its narrative design. Every death advances an ongoing free-flowing narrative that seamlessly molds itself around your travails, tumbles, and triumphs. I’ll never forget seeing Megaera sulking at the bar after besting her for the first time, the moment that I realized the game was truly something special. Even though its magic did eventually bounce off me as such moments grew thinner, Supergiant did groundbreaking work in expanding what a roguelike can be. There’s nothing quite like it on the market, something that can also be said for Monster Train (#6), another roguelike that weaves together deck building and tower defense. Learning to exploit the interplay of building a deck of minions and spells that synergize to fend off waves of onboarding angels is rewarding in and of itself, and the many class pairings means the experimentation never ends. Further, the developers have released consistent content updates since launch, effectively doubling its longevity. While Monster Train isn’t as flashy as Hades, I found myself wanting to regularly return to it more often as its methodical nature fits my pace better.

It’s like a train simulator except you’re killing evil angels with a deck of cards

Sadly, one game I have no desire to return to at all is Doom Eternal. The “give no hecks, go hog-wild” attitude I loved in Doom 2016 is lost in Eternal’s limiting mechanics. Using whatever artillery, I had on hand to blast away demons gave 2016 its euphoric arcade feels, something lost when Eternal’s slew of awesome new tools is made less awesome by their varying effectiveness on different species. For some this change may deepen the gameplay but for me it made the pacing a slog. This isn’t to mention the downtime between levels and a few egregious momentum-stopping enemies that have no place within Doom game design. I know for some these elements were positives but Doom Eternal more looks like Doom than plays like Doom.

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 is somewhat like Doom Eternal in that it complicates its predecessor’s meat-and-potatoes formula, leaving it lacking that touch of authenticity. Level design is notably weaker to force character gimmicks and the new bosses are unmemorable. I’d say I like the mecha corgi but frankly he’s possibly the greatest offender of gimmickry. Necrobarista has all the makings of a great kinetic visual novel but feels unfinished. The core story is compelling in spite of unwieldy pacing that causes critical moments to not hit right, and a whole slate of characters prominently featured in its opening play minor blink-and-you-miss-it roles that were clearly meant to be more. Plus, the obtuse method of unlocking the well written text-based side stories is unnecessarily frustrating. All this said, it’s still a unique experience that  I’d recommend to visual novel fans, or those who like the visual stylings of SHAFT (an overwhelmingly clear influence). Finally, while it stretches the theming of this section, Bugsnax’s turn to “hell” in its final chapter retroactively upends any charm the game had. The Kero Kero Bonito song isn’t quite so fun anymore after playing. Not every cute aesthetic necessitates subversion! That said, we stan Bunger here.

Speaking of cute aesthetics, Animal Crossing (#2) has defined quarantine life for me. I was excited to tears for this game (I literally cried when it was announced in 2019 after years of waiting) yet in a pre-world-ending scenario I would’ve likely been amongst the many who slowly fizzled out. But given the world-ending scenario we find ourselves in, I’ve played the game every day since launch as a means of keeping a daily routine. I talk about its role in quarantine life further in an article I wrote for Switch Player Magazine which I recommend reading as I do the game far better justice there than I possibly could here. There’s otherwise not much I could say about New Horizons that you haven’t already heard other than Stitches is best boy. Also best boy: Astro Bot of Astro’s Playroom (#9). The PlayStation 5’s pack-in is for my money (“free”) the greatest console pack-in of all time. The game is so many things… A platformer on par with Nintendo’s best, a meticulous tribute to the lineage of PlayStation, and a technical showcase that defines what next gen is. Its use of the DualSense’s haptics and adaptive triggers to their fullest extent screams the potential for new levels of immersion that you have to feel to believe. If you’ve heard anyone say the DualSense is the greatest controller of all time, this game is why. The only downside is its short length, but the huge reception Astro’s Playroom has received makes me hopeful that there’ll be more to come.

God of d’aww

Next gen was also ushered in by Spider-Man: Miles Morales (#10), which I played alongside the PS5 remaster of the 2018 original. While I did prefer the story of Peter Parker’s work-life-Spidey balance vs. his rogues gallery, Miles Morales brought a refreshing smaller-scale flavor that focused on family, friends and heritage. While his suite of new abilities does make combat markedly easier, they’re damn satisfying and give Miles his own unique identity. You’re otherwise getting more of the same but when it’s playing off what’s already a rock-solid foundation, there was no need to change it up for a midquel. Also, as a note on both Spider-Man games (they use the same map), they bastardized my home turf of Hell’s Kitchen, though I can forgive the crime since the approximations of most other parts of Manhattan are enjoyably more faithful. I find byproducts of downscaling like the Guggenheim and the Met being directly across from each other to be quite funny, but I digress.

In the vein of midquels, 2020 was a fantastic year for expansions. Whereas Fire Emblem: Three Houses was all about the new school, its fourth house campaign Cindered Shadows kicks it old-school with a strict linear story and predetermined class/systems progression. This allows for maps deliberately designed to play to the strengths and weaknesses of a handful of characters the designer knowns you’ll have. It also helps that the new crew sport some of the most interesting classes in the game. It’s precisely the Fire Emblem experience I like most, though it’s over before it begins. Meanwhile, Pokémon Sword & Shield: The Isle of Armor + The Crown Tundra (#8) gave trainers a glimpse into what Pokémon’s future on console could be. Both open areas are arguably the best content available in Gen. 8 with charming quests and legendaries that you form bonds with and have to put in actual effort for rather than lackadaisically catching them as box fodder. Given Game Freak’s reluctance to change their formula, feats like integrating story beats and legendary encounters into an “open world” as well as creating spaces that feel exploratory show that they’re plenty capable of evolving the series. There’s no going back now. (Also, Sephiroth in Smash is everything that is good. Or in his case, evil).

One could also consider Persona 5 Royal (#3) an expansion, though the transformative nature of this second version goes beyond what FES or Golden achieved. The two new characters it introduces are amongst the franchise’s best, and the new final arc is the most nuanced that Persona has ever been. It’s difficult to talk about it without massive spoilers but I continue to think about the moral quandaries it poses, and only the best games manage that, let alone Persona arcs. I’m also partial to the Thieves Den where you can create a museum based around your heart-thieving adventures. The unique character interactions are irresistible fanservice, and its “Tycoon” card game is a far superior version of Clubhouse Games’ “President.” Otherwise, Persona 5 is just a masterpiece that Royal improves in just about every way. Each Persona game since 3 has replaced its predecessor on my top 10 games of all-time list and Royal is no exception. While Animal Crossing takes my #2 slot because of its impact tied specifically to 2020, Persona 5 Royal is my second favorite.

One could also consider Persona 5 Royal (#3) an expansion, though the transformative nature of this second version goes beyond what FES or Golden achieved. The two new characters it introduces are amongst the franchise’s best, and the new final arc is the most nuanced that Persona has ever been. It’s difficult to talk about it without massive spoilers but I continue to think about the moral quandaries it poses, and only the best games manage that, let alone Persona arcs. I’m also partial to the Thieves Den where you can create a museum based around your heart-thieving adventures. The unique character interactions are irresistible fanservice, and its “Tycoon” card game is a far superior version of Clubhouse Games’ “President.” Otherwise, Persona 5 is just a masterpiece that Royal improves in just about every way. Each Persona game since 3 has replaced its predecessor on my top 10 games of all-time list and Royal is no exception. While Animal Crossing takes my #2 slot because of its impact tied specifically to 2020, Persona 5 Royal is my second favorite.

It’s even more beautiful in motion… seriously, best art direction of any game in a long time.

Speaking of anime-adjacent games, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim (#4) is a masterwork of storytelling techniques only possible through games. The ways in which the thirteen protagonists’ stories intersect and carefully reveal information is perfectly paced no matter what order you view them in, and the orders are infinite. One player’s experience will be different than another’s, even though they ultimately see all the same scenes. There are a lot of ways in which the game achieves this, such as how the same strand of information is revealed in different ways across different arcs. When you receive info a second or third time it serves to reinforce (this makes sure the most players see the important plot points by certain intervals) while also showing another perspective taking place in a different scene and context. Reinforcement is key as the number of plot threads thrown at you with expedience is so immense that multiple forms of exhaustive encyclopedias are available to keep track of it all. It’s frankly miraculous that the game ends up paying them all off and coming a conclusion that’s at all satisfying. On the “gameplay” side, combat is a novel way of portraying mecha battles, utilizing a combination of real-time and turn-based systems. It loses its luster when you figure out a strategy that’ll win you nearly every map (there’s very little variety), but it doesn’t overstay its welcome too long and is a small portion of the experience compared to the main entrée. And I haven’t even mentioned its striking art style yet! If you overlooked 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, trust me and rectify that.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (#5) is very much 13 Sentinel’s opposite. People often scoff at musou games for being button-mashers, but the secret truth is that they’re traditionally actually strategy games, such as the original Hyrule Warriors. The “mashing” only happens after commanding units across a battlefield and swapping between them in a tense bout to gain and/or maintain a foothold on the map. But Age of Calamity is a different beast, instead opting for set pieces with linear objectives. This is a fitting shakeup for a game striving to be cinematic, garnishing each bespoke map with staged battles and mid-level cutscenes. Character movesets are on the aggregate more refined than those in the original Hyrule Warriors, a worthy tradeoff for a smaller roster. I’m mixed on the story in that I didn’t feel I got quite the fulfilling backstory I was hoping for, but it’s plenty enjoyable for what it is once you accept what it is. I got similar vibes off of Moon, a 1997 hidden gem released overseas for the first time in 2020. Billed as an “anti-JRPG,” I expected a world or gameplay inspired by my favorite genre, but the JRPG nature slips away pretty fast as you head out to idiosyncratic locales to bring the souls of strange creatures back to their slain bodies. And it’s a fun journey! After stretching out the Majora’s Mask-esque timer long enough that you can venture to the edges of the map without fear, the game gets weird as heck (“heck” used intentionally as Tim Rogers’ fingerprints are all over his localization). It likely would’ve made my top 10 if not for the massively frustrating way in which my time with the game ended, a product of outdated game design.

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (#5) is very much 13 Sentinel’s opposite. People often scoff at musou games for being button-mashers, but the secret truth is that they’re traditionally actually strategy games, such as the original Hyrule Warriors. The “mashing” only happens after commanding units across a battlefield and swapping between them in a tense bout to gain and/or maintain a foothold on the map. But Age of Calamity is a different beast, instead opting for set pieces with linear objectives. This is a fitting shakeup for a game striving to be cinematic, garnishing each bespoke map with staged battles and mid-level cutscenes. Character movesets are on the aggregate more refined than those in the original Hyrule Warriors, a worthy tradeoff for a smaller roster. I’m mixed on the story in that I didn’t feel I got quite the fulfilling backstory I was hoping for, but it’s plenty enjoyable for what it is once you accept what it is. I got similar vibes off of Moon, a 1997 hidden gem released overseas for the first time in 2020. Billed as an “anti-JRPG,” I expected a world or gameplay inspired by my favorite genre, but the JRPG nature slips away pretty fast as you head out to idiosyncratic locales to bring the souls of strange creatures back to their slain bodies. And it’s a fun journey! After stretching out the Majora’s Mask-esque timer long enough that you can venture to the edges of the map without fear, the game gets weird as heck (“heck” used intentionally as Tim Rogers’ fingerprints are all over his localization). It likely would’ve made my top 10 if not for the massively frustrating way in which my time with the game ended, a product of outdated game design.

Though far less flashy than other games on this list, Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics and Good Sudoku provided experiences sometimes better than the real thing. Good Sudoku is what it claims to be: a sudoku game with a perfect user interface and a boatload of tricks to teach that’ll have you conquering even the hardest puzzles. This was my “idle” game for some months and Zach Gage’s best flip yet. Clubhouse Games is hit-and-miss, but what it crucially gets right is Riichi Mahjong. Playing the game in the Yakuza series has had me yearning for an accessible stand-alone version and I finally found that here. Not only is it feature complete (whereas the poker games in the collection are very much not) but it also goes a step further by lending a guiding hand toward what groups of tiles to try and complete. If you own Clubhouse Games but have avoided this admittedly daunting-looking, I highly recommend giving it a shot as the tutorials do a bang-up job of explaining the rules.

My game of the year for 2020 is something particularly special to me, and one I’ve already written to earlier. So let’s just get it out of the way: Final Fantasy VII Remake (#1) is better than Final Fantasy VII. Final Fantasy VII Remake is the best Final Fantasy game. The world is richer, realized faithfully in the spirit of what the PlayStation abstractly portrayed while also bringing tons of new ideas to the table that seamlessly weave into its slummy fabric. The soundtrack pulls at your every emotion and is carefully crafted to heighten each gameplay or story beat, making it responsible for some of the most memorable moments in Remake. The combat is the perfect marriage of the menu-based traditionalism that I love, and literal interpretation via action that I learned to love. And most importantly, the characters have been overhauled to be greater than ever (though the jury’s out on Sephiroth). The Remake iteration of Aerith in particular has become one of my favorite characters of all time and her voice actress Briana White’s streamed playthrough of the game as well as Maximilian Dood’s helped me through bouts of loneliness while quarantined alone in a studio apartment. I bonded with Briana and Max over a shared passion at a time when I needed that interpersonal touch most, bringing my earlier points on Twitch full circle. I’m limiting myself to a paragraph tops for each game and I have too much to say about Remake so let me leave it at this: the impact that Final Fantasy VII Remake has on me is in many ways something I feel more than think. I can verbalize my thoughts about it but there’s a deeper feeling that’s not so easily expressed. The pursuit of conveying that is what sometimes gets me so hung up during the creative process, but also makes it extra pleasing when the right words come together. A topic to ruminate on in a later volume of Fleeting Thoughts, perhaps.

The Unknown Journey Will Continue… in half a decade

Honorable Mentions:

  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses – Cindered Shadows (Switch)
  • Moon (Switch)
  • Good Sudoku (iOS)
  • Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics’ Riichi Mahjong (Switch)

The Top 10:

#10: Spider-Man: Miles Morales (PS5)

#9: Astro’s Playroom (PS5)

#8: Pokémon Sword & Shield: The Isle of Armor + The Crown Tundra (Switch)

#7: Hades (Switch)

#6: Monster Train (PC)

#5: Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Switch)

#4: 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim (PS4 on PS5) 

#3: Persona 5 Royal (PS4)

#2: Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)

#1: Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4)


In closing…

Thanks for taking the time to read this. It truly does mean the world to me. This entry is longer than I anticipate Fleeting Thoughts posts to be due to my game of the year roundup, but in reality, length will just be dictated by what I have to say.

I hope to see you again soon in my next entry. And again, thank you for reading.

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