Humanity’s fascination with gaming is believed to date back 5,000 years. The first evidence of such recreational activity discovered thus far has come in the form of dice. A collection of carved and painted dice-like stones were discovered in a 5,000-year-old burial mound in southeast Turkey, making them the earliest gaming pieces ever found. Similar pieces have been found in Iraq and Syria, which points to a great likelihood of board games originating in the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East.

Jump forward a number of millennia to the 20th century and you’ll find the beginnings of electrically powered arcade games like pinball and simple at-home video games such as Pong. As the century progressed, so did the quality of games. 

In the 21st century, the options are seemingly endless and amazingly advanced. The time period has been described by many as a golden age for gaming of all types. 

Not surprisingly, the LGBTQ community is just as actively involved in gaming as everyone else. With the well-versed guidance of the Charlotte Gaymers Network, Qnotes is pleased to present the top 12 list of digital video games. We feel certain there’s something here for just about everyone to enjoy, whether you’re playing solo or with a group of friends.

1. Game: God Of War: Ragnarok (PS4/PS5)

Metacritic score: 94

Synopsis: After years of laying low to be an everyman in the icy Norse lands, escaping the realm he laid siege to in a conquest for revenge and redemption, Kratos was found and thrown into the agendas of a new set of gods. In the aftermath of the gods dying at the hands of both Kratos and his son, Atreus, the all-father Odin and his own son Thor have come to call, all while each seeks to avoid the end of the world event, Ragnarok.

Best match for: Fans of Mythology, Action-Adventure Titles, and those who want to see if the former God Of War still lives up to his name.

2. Game: Overwatch 2 

Metacritic score: 79

Synopsis: The second development of the critically-acclaimed Overwatch franchise picks right up where it left off, immediately giving users access to five new maps, three new playable heroes, and a shakeup to the traditional system, removing the option for a second tank and changing its identity from a 6v6 PVP experience to a 5v5 PVP experience. Along with the removal of Assault (known best in the community as 2CP) and the introduction of Push, its release in October 2022 gave the player base an entirely different dynamic to the gameplay we’d known for six whole years. The game itself is as smooth and exuberant as ever, with a brand new shop to introduce new player skins and a battle pass giving the player the control of customization across the board. With a new tank hero (Ramattra) arriving loud and proud on the scene and an upcoming PVE experience coming very soon into 2023, it’s safe to say that Overwatch 2 will leave us wanting more content for many more years to come.

Best match for: Previous fans of the series, and new players looking for competitive matches.

3. Game: Pokemon Scarlet/Violet (Switch)

Metacritic score: 72

Synopsis: In the next core generation of the Pokemon franchise, players move into the Paldea region where the academies of Naranja or Uva await, depending on which version (Scarlet or Violet) is being played. After the entrance ceremony, the world opens up like never before as instead of a linear adventure, the new titles continue the standard set by Legends: Arceus by allowing complete exploration over multiple quests. Fierce trainers, mysterious agendas, and new comrades are as plentiful as the new creatures roaming the land, so pack some potions and Pokeballs for the fresh horizons that await.

Best match for: Those looking for a fresh grind, something new out of the long-running Pokemon franchise, and open-world enthusiasts.

4. Game: Multiversus 

Metacritic score: 80

Synopsis: When Multiversus was first announced and released on early access, it seemed immediately that the gaming world would finally see an effective competitor to the esteemed Nintendo franchise, Super Smash Bros. Combining a stellar cast of characters throughout the Scooby-Doo, Steven Universe, DC, and other iconic WB franchises, this game gives you the chance to play with or against your friends in a fast-paced but easy to learn combat system with iconic voice lines from each character!

Best match for: Fans of couch party games such as Jackbox and also the fighting game genre.

5. Game: Marvel Snap (Mobile)

Metacritic score: 85

Synopsis: Its all-star action meets Magic The Gathering mechanics in the new mobile game, Marvel Snap! Players draw from a set of cards starring both heroes and villains from all around the Marvel’s multiverse, playing 6 rounds per match over locations like The Savage Lands or New York City. It’s a quick and addictive game that’s perfect for a coffee break or any long road trip.

Best match for: Marvel fans, mobile game lovers, and card game enthusiasts

6. Game: Stray

Metacritic score: 83

Synopsis: In a surprising turn of events, a beloved game developer, Annapurna Interactive, proceeded to release one of the best indie games of the entire decade, Stray. You play as a single cat, scrolling through a complex dystopian city as you journey to reach your lost family. It’s delicate, brilliantly told, vibrant, and beautiful, yet it is almost impossible to justify what exactly makes this game so great, in my eyes. The American developer also released one of my favorite games in 2021, titled The Artful Escape, so they must be doing something right!

Best match for: Fans of single-player RPG games and puzzle platformers!

7. Game: Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands

Metacritic score: N/A

Synopsis: The Borderlands franchise goes D&D when the fan-favorite demolitionist Tiny Tina gets her own fully fleshed-out game! Played over a session of “Bunkers and Badasses”, players customize one of four character classes before setting off in Tina’s fantasy campaign in pursuit of the Dragon Lord. Looting and shooting is still the name of the game, with millions of guns to try out over the 15-hour story.

Best match for: fans of first-person shooters, Dungeons & Dragons players

8. Game: Grounded 

Metacritic score: 82

Synopsis: Introduced to the world by Obsidian Entertainment and Xbox Games Studios, Grounded sees your entire world around you massively grow in size as you are shrunk to the size of an ant. The environment you once knew is vast, beautiful, and dangerous as you suddenly have to explore, build, and survive in an online cooperative survival-adventure game. As you freely explore, you must uncover clues in your own backyard that you may have never seen before. Grounded is a truly one-of-a-kind experience that you can only see to believe.

Best match for: Fans of survival adventure games and immersive animal life.

9. Game: Diablo 2

Metacritic score: 88

Synopsis: Diablo has returned and seeks to not only take over the world this time, but to also free his demonic family in the process. The classic 2000’s game, cited as one of the greatest of all time, is remastered for current generation systems, including the expansion “Lords of Destruction”. Players choose from seven character classes to hack-&-slash their way through the dark fantasy world with, fighting through new randomized dungeons with each load-up of the game. Ahead of Diablo 4 launching in June 2023, revisit history in the series title that took the world by storm.

Best match for: fans of dark fantasy, dungeon-crawling with friends, medieval lore. hack-&-slash games

10. Game: Disney Dreamlight Valley

Metacritic score: N/A

Synopsis: Disney Dreamlight Valley combines a lovable set of franchises made by the legendary Walt Disney Company with the efforts of calming and entertaining gameplay for an epic journey to free Dreamlight Valley from nefarious Night Thorns that caused an unnatural forgetting of our beloved characters. It’s your job to rid the Valley of these thorns and bring Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and several other famous Disney characters out of their homes to be shown off to the world!

Best match for: Fans of Disney & sandbox games such as Animal Crossing.

11. Game: As Dusk Falls

Metacritic score: 77

Synopsis: As Dusk Falls is a wonderfully intense game involving your control of three protagonists: Vince, Tyler, and Zoe. Starting in 1998 with a petty crime gone wrong, you are tasked with making decision after decision, quick-time event after quick-time event, to ensure the best possible fate for every character in the game. With feelings of infidelity, loss, and fear all at play, this game will play at your heartstrings and force you to pay attention as you play through chilling episode after chilling episode.

Best match for: Fans of “choose your own fate” games such as Until Dawn

12. Game: Elden Ring

Metacritic score: 96

Synopsis: Elden Ring is a brand new game in the Souls franchise that adopts the same gameplay strategy as the others: learn or die. Elden Ring shows you an excellent open world, then proceeds to punish you if you are too far from the next story point. In no ways is this a bad thing, as it gives you the gentle push of going through the story linearly without making it a forced decision. Including an exceptional graphic design with stellar combat mechanics, Elden Ring is without a doubt a 10/10 game and the best game of 2022.

Best match for: Fans of Dark Souls and truly gruesome combat and strategy

This review was created by The Charlotte Gaymers Network (CGN), which was founded by friends Jonny Saldana and Zach Smith on July 6, 2020. Saldana and Smith recognized a need in the LGBTQ+ community to stay connected to one another during the COVID-19 pandemic. CGN strives to create an inclusive environment of folks from all walks of life who are united in their passion and love for all things gaming. Group members are diverse, enthusiastic about meeting new friends, very welcoming and enjoy board games, tabletop games, video games, and social events that bring the community together. CGN events regularly take place in Charlotte and the surrounding metro area. For more details, visit their Facebook page or their website at https://www.charlottegaymersnetwork.com/.

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