A Lovely Return
First Published: September 28, 2023

Some thoughts to share.

Janet Garcia

Up until this point, I've written reviews, previews, lists, and a small handful of features that have mostly been small impression pieces. I want to write more. To be unafraid of blog-style pieces. To let go of my own versions of perfection for the sake of getting more reps in. I've inadvertently been on hiatus since falling off of Best of Watch (which will definitely get the end-of-the-year treatment, if nothing else). My written output was off to a strong start this year but, this summer, it got away from me quickly and completely.

I haven't been able to return because carving out time for a review has felt impossible. But the longer I wait the more I feel the need to have something big to say. And after all this time, I don't. So let me say something small because the best way to return is by returning. Call this a column or a self-call-out post but here I am. Ready to share what's on my mind which is that video game delight is in the details.

"The best way to return is by returning."

I can talk about the stories that have moved me and the mechanics that have wowed me. I can delve into the ways the wheel has been invented or referenced or turned inside out. But lately, the things I keep latching onto are the smallest forms of amusement a game can give me.

2023 will go down as one of the best years in gaming. It's one we'll be unpacking for years. But all I want to do is dissect the silly stuff. I want to talk about the conversations I'm having in Baldur's Gate 3 with a group of suspicious oxen, a tired bird, and a rat who may be hiding some big rewards. How finding a random hat in a bag on the beach was just as exciting as turning into a giant spider midbattle.

I want to tell you that, Lies of P, a game known for its difficulty reached a new personal height when I realized I could play the piano at Hotel Krat while wearing my ragged donkey mask and sailor outfit. I want to rave about how there's a character you can unlock in Goobies called Dizzy Wizzy and an option in EA Sports FC 24 to completely customize the pitch all the way down to the shade of the grass.

So sure, I'm trying to keep up. I'm trying to stay current. I'm trying to go back to compare and contrast with today. But in the mix of the neverending grind I'm finding an endless well of comfort in all the little things there are to love in this year's biggest (and not so big) games. As for writing, nothing makes me feel more solid or seen than getting my words down. So here I am. Needing to return never feels good but coming back is an unmatched high.