End of the Year Video Game Wrap Up!

22 Dec

This year, 2021, has been an interesting year in gaming, albeit a seemingly quieter one than in years past. Nevertheless, as one of the resident gamers on staff, I had plenty to look forward to and be excited about this year. A few of my favorite franchises had major releases, and others made announcements for releases in upcoming years (looking at you next year, Splatoon 3). If you’re looking for a last-minute holiday gift or you’re curious as to what your local libraries might have in stock for you to check out and play over winter break, look no further – I’ve got you covered!

The most obvious family-friendly holiday release is the remakes of the fourth generation of Pokemon games, Diamond and Pearl. Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl have been out since late November now, and they’re fairly faithful remakes of the originals, with some quality of life adjustments. The games are fun, if a bit clunky in the controls department, but fans of the originals will enjoy their return to the Sinnoh region, based on Hokkaido, and new players will have fun exploring, as well. There are a number of glitches due to a somewhat rushed holiday release that are currently being patched, and future content has not yet been added to the games, but the overall experience is fun, and the team behind the games is aware of the issues and is working to patch them regularly. As a Nintendo release, these games are only available on the Switch.

(For a more unique Pokemon experience, the prequel game Pokemon Legends: Arceus, with open-world gameplay more akin to a game like Breath of the Wild, will be releasing for the Switch in January. If that’s more your thing, this is a great time to preorder the game if you want to own it!)
If your family is more into a multiplayer experience, there are plenty of options, as well. The Game Awards’ Game of the Year winner for 2021 was the split-screen multiplayer game It Takes Two, a cooperative experience in which each player controls one half of a married couple on the verge of divorce as they inhabit the bodies of their daughter’s dolls and solve puzzles to rekindle their marriage for the sake of themselves and their child. The game is currently available on PC (Windows), Playstation (4 and 5), and Xbox (One and Series X/S).

Super Mario Party, a compilation of the series’s best minigames and boards, released on the Switch back in October. The annual Just Dance title is another game the entire family can enjoy together (and doubles as exercise, if you’re looking for a more fun way to work out).
For people who prefer single-player titles, a lot of notables dropped within the past calendar year. The most prominent of these is likely Halo Infinite, the sixth mainline game in the Halo series and a direct sequel to 2015’s Halo 5: Guardians. 2021 was a year of sequels, in fact, with the long-awaited follow-up to 2005 cult favorite Psychonauts finally releasing after being announced six years ago, a new entry in the Ratchet & Clank franchise, and, after many years, a return to its roots for the Metroid franchise with Metroid: Dread.

Lastly, I’d be remiss to forget to inform you that the second chapter of Toby Fox’s follow-up to the indie hit Undertale, Deltarune, released a few months ago. If you’re the parent of a teenager who loves gaming, the odds are good you’ve heard about Undertale or Deltarune at some point over the past few years, and for good reason – the games are phenomenal, with creator Toby Fox in particular being one of the best composers of video game music in the industry right now. With a lovable cast of characters and compelling mysteries hinted at one chapter at a time, Deltarune is a must-play, as far as I’m concerned.
Overall, there’s plenty of games to play out there! Whether you’re a console gamer, PC gamer, or mobile gamer (you probably know someone who plays Genshin Impact), your options are vast and varied, and your public library is an excellent place to find the ones you’re looking for or discover some new favorites! We hope to see you in the media room sometime soon!

Written by:
Steph Diorio
HPL History Librarian/Archivist

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