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Looking back at 2023

By 15th January 2024Uncategorised
Daniel playing Meeple Circus

Woah, it is 2024 already! I almost broke my tradition of looking back at the last year to reflect on the things that happened and make some super clickbait-y top 10 lists. While AI is slowly taking over the world and software like Spotify can tell me perfectly fine which artists I listened to the most last year, I still think there’s value in making my own year overview. Because while I might have listened the most to certain albums according to Spotify, that does not make those albums the best ones in my opinion (some just took a dozen of listens to get into). So here am I, a real human being, describing in real human words the things that I found fascinating about 2023. And while there are also some terrible things that happened last year and wars are still going on in the world, I do my best to only look at the good stuff here.

On a personal level, I developed myself a lot and finally obtained my driver’s license! At Guerrilla, we released the Burning Shores DLC for Horizon Forbidden West, which was an exciting milestone. Additionally, I bought another plethora of board games (and played them all with my lovely housemates and amazing girlfriend). I traveled to some nice and warm places and went to one of the biggest music and cultural festivals in Europe. Oh and I submitted a talk for the Game Developer’s Conference, which got accepted, so I’ll be giving it in San Fransisco in March; exciting times ahead! Now onto those top 10 lists…

Favorite Board Games of 2023

When it comes to new board game releases, I think it’s a close call between Heat: Pedal to the Metal and RUN for me. Heat is an excellent racing game that truly feels fast and exciting, while RUN is a very well crafted two player cat-and-mouse hidden movement game.

If I look older games that made it into my collection this year, I should definitely highlight the hilarious dexterity party game Meeple Circus (see first picture in this post). But also the brilliant two-player puzzle Lost Cities and the somewhat heavy, but oh-so tactile sci-fi engine builder Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition.

Heat Pedal to the Metal

Favorite Video Games of 2023

Chants of Sennaar

My video game of the year is Chants of Sennaar. This stylized indie adventure is all about understanding glyph-based languages that can truly make you feel lost in translation. But when the translating clicks, it makes you solve the biggest puzzle of all: understanding other cultures and figuring out how we can all live together in harmony.

The Talos Principle II is another brilliant game that got released this year and I think it should deserve way more attention than it got. A philosophical puzzle game that looks gorgeous and is almost out there with other puzzle masterpieces like portal, even though it can be a tad repetitive at points.

I also heard good things about a game expansion called Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores, but didn’t got around to playing it yet… 😛

Favorite Music Albums of 2023

Oh there were a lot of albums this year. Hard to make a top 20 out of the 125+ new releases that I listened to, but here goes nothing…

  1. Bombay Bicycle Club – My Big Day
  2. Teleman – Good Time Hard Time
  3. Slowdive – Everything Is Alive
  4. Mando Diao – Boblikov’s Magical World
  5. Paramore – This Is Why
  6. The National – First Two Pages Of Frankenstein
  7. Russkaja – Turbo Polka Party
  8. Daughter – Stereo Mind Game
  9. John Butler – Live from Paris
  10. Nothing But Thieves – Dead Club City
  11. Metric – Formentera II
  12. Belle and Sebastian – Late Developers
  13. Spinvis – Be-bob-a-Lula
  14. M83 – Fantasy
  15. Gruff Rhys – The Almond and the Seashore OST
  16. Jape – Endless Thread
  17. dEUS – How to Replace It
  18. Slow Readers Club – Knowledge Freedom Power
  19. Pitou – Big Tear
  20. Half Moon Run – Salt
Bombay Bicycle Club - My Big Day

Favorite Concerts of 2023

2023 was also the year of getting to see some of my bucket-list bands. I finally got to see Red Hot Chili Peppers live (didn’t make the top 5 however) and my girlfriend surprised me with tickets for My Morning Jacket, who finally came back to Europe. Please come again, boys. I miss your fantastic live energy already!

My Morning Jacket live at TivoliVredenburg 2023
  1. My Morning Jacket @ TivoliVredenburg (June ’23)
  2. John Butler @ Amsterdamse Bostheater (July ’23)
  3. M83 @ Sziget 23 (August ’23)
  4. Billie / Foals @ Sziget 23 (August ’23)
  5. Tash Sultana @ Pinkpop 23 (June ’23)

Favorite Movies of 2023?

Well, there was Oppenheimer and Barbie. Did anything else come out? Oh yeah: Wes Anderson came out with two masterpieces: Asteroid City and his short The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (that last one is available on Netflix, go watch it!)

Wes Anderson's Asteroid City

And that’s it, my 2023 in review! Now onto more beautiful things and developments for this new year and hopefully a slightly better state of the world. Cheers!