Game of the Year 2023 is Piczle Lines 2!
Welcome to The Gaming Slush Pile’s first real editorial. I haven’t done this up until now because I tend to editorialize in the reviews themselves, Gone Home and realMyst being the two best examples. But the topic of why I think—if the year ended on Tuesday (the last day of February)—Piczle Lines 2 should be Game of the Year is a lot to unpack. Therefore, I think a long-form essay is best here. So let us begin.
We’re nearing the end of February 2023, and we already have a ton of bangers: Hogwarts Legacy, Dead Space, and Metroid Prime Remastered among them. But what if there was another game, a game far fewer will play, that ranks among them: Piczle Lines 2. Now, if you’re coming here blind off a search engine, I’ll give you a few moments to stop laughing before we continue… ok? Good. Let’s continue.
What is a Game of the Year?
What is a Game of the Year? Is it the best game? Is it the most impactful one? How do we quantify what game stands above? This is not objective measure. What is GOTY is purely subjective. It’s a matter of opinion. For game journalists in 2020, The Last of Us: Part 2 was GOTY, when many people thought it was garbage. To unpack that fiasco would take a whole other editorial itself, but I mention it to point out the subjective nature of Game of the Year. One man’s GOTY is another man’s trash.
So if Game of the Year is subjective, then I declare Piczle Lines 2 GOTY and we’re done. But you’re still laughing. “Piczle Lines 2 is not the best game of the year!” you say. Again, how do you define it? Dead Space is a great game, sure, but does it deserve the title? What about Dead Space makes it GOTY material? The graphics? The gameplay? The sound design? The overall package? I’m going to posit that Game of the Year is the game with the best overall package. In a GOTY, everything must be stellar. Therefore, If we’re going by overall package, then yes, Dead Space could be a GOTY. But, if we’re going by total package, then PL 2 also qualifies as well. Why?
Why Piczle Lines 2 is GOTY!
Piczle Lines 2 is a casual puzzle game. Casual puzzle games rarely, if ever, get Game of the Year. That’s a shame. Its graphics aren’t stellar, but it doesn’t need flashy graphics. There is no sound design beyond the music and UI sounds, but it doesn’t need it. What PL2 has in spades is game play and longevity. Scroll up to the first screenshot. Dead Space is what, 8-10 hours? That set of puzzles will also take 8-10 hours minimum. DS is fun and engrossing, but so is PL2. Yes, DS tells an epic, impactful story, and PL2 does not. PL2 does not need an impactful story. The story in PL2 is merely the wrapper for the various sets of puzzle themes.
Based on what Dead Space is, it is a total package. Based on what Piczle Lines 2, it is also a total package. But how do you decide which is Game of the Year? That is where the subjectivity comes in. You can’t say PL2 is really any less of a GOTY than DS. And that’s really my point in all this—what is a Game of the Year? There’s no real measure, so there’s no reason my GOTY, PL2, can’t be Game of the Year 2023. No reason that it can’t, and you won’t convince me otherwise. I hope then, that this little piece will spark a larger conversation on the real worth of games and what truly stands on top. The games left standing may not be the games you think. Not everything has to a be a big flashy title to be great.