TheSixthAxis Alternative Game of the Year Awards 2022

Trombone Champ Liz Truss Header

Welcome to the annual TheSixthAxis Alternative Game of the Year Awards, in which we recognise some of the more obscure achievements of gaming in 2022. Join us as we look back at a year that was, with all the dumbness of people trying to make NFTs happen, some of the biggest companies in the world arguing over a fish, and our hunt for the most ridiculous video game title of the year.

Most Inevitable Game Service Shut Down

If you’d told me at the start of 2022 that Google was going to shut down Stadia, I’d have shrugged and said, “Sounds about right.” The writing was on the wall from day one when Stadia was announced by a company with Google’s track record. On average, Google’s products have a lifespan of just four years, and Google decided to shut down their internal game studio after less than two years, twiddled their thumbs for another 18 months, and then decided to pull the plug on the whole thing. Google Stadia will join the Google Cemetery in January 2023, after just 3 years and 2 months.

You won’t be doing this much longer, Stadia fans.

A close runner up was Babylon’s Fall by PlatinumGames. Despite the studio’s pedigree, the game launched to bad reviews earlier this year, came with objectionable monetisation by Square Enix, and will be shutting down in less than a year after basically nobody played it.

Most Pro-Competitive Game Company Acquisition

Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard has been like one of those annoying ‘will they, won’t they’ romances that’s dragged out for a few too many seasons of a sitcom. They were a power couple back in the late 2000s when Xbox had the COD DLC timed-exclusivity deal, then along came PlayStation to break them up and lure those COD and Destiny DLC deals over to the PS4, but now Microsoft wants to get married, and Sony’s complaining to the priest and saying that it’s not fair, even though Microsoft’s said they’ll sign a pre-nup with an open relationship. In fact, they’ve already signed one with Nintendo!

Look, this analogy’s got a little weird, but the endless back and forth over this has been nothing but tedious. Sony says they don’t like it and that it’s anti-competitive because PlayStation will crumble into dust without Call of Duty games. So Microsoft says that actually Xbox as a brand is basically complete trash because all the mean kids in the playground were totally right and Xbox has no games! And now that the FTC has said they think they agree with Sony and that this deal should be blocked, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard are totally pissed off, and say that this is totally unconstitutional and that they want to speak to the manager!

I’m getting some ladies shouting at cat vibes at this point, and just want it to be over.

Game Franchise Most in Need of Fewer Game Releases so the Games Aren’t Awfully Optimised on Switch


Best Use of Trombone Champ

There were about two weeks earlier this year when literally everything was Trombone Champ. People loved playing this daft Mii-styled Trombone simulator music game when it came out in September, and then they figured out how to put other tracks in the game.

While all of this was going on, we had the absolute dumpster fire of Liz Truss’ Premiership in the UK. First she met the Queen (who clearly saw how utterly useless Truss was going to be and decided she’d rather pop her clogs), then she tanked the economy, then she tried to save her own skin by dumping her Chancellor, then she resigned herself.

All of which led to this perfect rebuttal to anyone who says video games shouldn’t be political.

Most Revered Swamp Designer

Since Demon’s Souls, Hidetaka Miyazaki has been on an absolute tear, creating the Dark Souls series, the epic Bloodborne, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and now Elden Ring. Playing all of these games, you might have already noticed his habit of featuring poisonous swamps in his games, but you might not have understood the compulsive joy he finds in doing so.

Speaking to Game Informer earlier this year, Miyazaki said, “When making the game I rediscovered my love for making poison swamps. I know how people feel about them, but you know, suddenly I realize I’m in the middle of making one and I just can’t help myself. It just happens.”

Despite this, Hidetaka Miyazaki might just be one of the most respected video game creators of the last decade.

Stealthiest Game Release

Did you know that a new Need for Speed is out? I’m almost as shocked as you!

EA tried a new and innovative way of promoting the latest entry in their premier arcade racer by… not really promoting it for very long at all. They didn’t announce Need for Speed Unbound until October, and less than two months later, it was out with very little fanfare.

A shame really, because it’s actually pretty good!

Most Ridiculous Video Game Title

One of the most annoying things when reporting on video games is when they have ludicrously long titles. As if Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters wasn’t unwieldy enough, there’s now the Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters – Duty Eternal expansion pack!

While a strong effort from Western developer Complex Games, we still have to bow to Japanese developers’ mastery of the form. Somehow Neos Corporation has found a way to mash-up two franchises in a way that’s both completely self explanatory and somehow barely comprehensible.

This year’s winner has to be Shin-chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation -The Endless Seven-Day Journey-.

Shin-chan: Me and the Professor on Summer Vacation -The Endless Seven-Day Journey-

Best Video Game Delay

As always, there’s a lot of contenders for best video game delay, and developers and publishers have been outdoing themselves this year with all manner of creative postponements. You had your plentiful regular game delays, like Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, EA Sports PGA Tour, or Homeworld 3, but then you had some games like Hogwarts Legacy, which wasn’t just pushed back to 2023, but then had the last gen & Switch versions delayed a little bit more, or Football Manager 2023, which delayed just the PS5 version because of some approvals snafu.

The best video game delay, though? Well that has to go to Dead Island 2. For one thing, it was only re-announced at Gamescom, returning from the grave and eight years of development hell, and getting an early February 2023 release date. Well, what’s one more delay amongst friends, eh? Just a little while later Dead Island 2 was delayed by almost three months to April 2023.

Dead Island 2 2022 Thug

Least Successful Attempt To Host a Video Game Trade Show

2022 was going to be the one for the ESA, the year that they made a big comeback with E3 2022. After 2020’s pandemic shutdown and 2021’s digital only show, 2022 was going to be both digital and in-person (and wouldn’t dox the entire games industry in the process).

Yeah, that… didn’t exactly go to plan. First they cancelled the in-person show, then they gave up on the digital show as well.

Don’t worry, they’re totally going to have E3 2023 next year.

Best Presenter (Still)

Absolute carnage in this category with many big names fighting for the win. Would it be Geoff Keighley for The Game Awards 2022? Perhaps it would be Geoff Keighley for Gamescom Opening Night Live 2022? Outsiders were betting on Geoff Keighley for Summer Game Fest 2022, but the award has been awarded to OH FOR PETE’S SAKE PLEASE LET SOMEONE ELSE PRESENT A SODDING SHOW!

Enter the Geofftrix

Look, Geoff is lovely, he’s done great things for video games, but he does have a monopoly on presenting, and more importantly, producing the biggest gaming shows on the planet. That’s not a good thing. With hundreds of millions of viewers each year across numerous shows, Geoff gets to tell the mainstream audience which games to be hyped about, and indeed those which can be ignored. That is a lot of power for one person, so it’s no wonder every developer under the sun wants to be his best friend.

Fastest NFT Announcement U-turn

Some game companies are trying really hard to make NFTs happen – we’re looking at you Square Enix – even though everyone with an ounce of sense thinks that forcing them into video games is bloody stupid and pointless. 2022 saw a new record set for the time between announcing NFTs and completely cancelling those plans, with Team17 taking just 24 hours to go from announcement to cancellation, receiving a ton of backlash and even losing a business partner in the process.

Also, the NFT “art” they came up with was bloody awful.


Those are our picks for these categories. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below!

Written by
I'm probably wearing toe shoes, and there's nothing you can do to stop me!