CivWiki Monday Newsletter

A semi-weekly newsletter for Civ servers supported by the CivWiki

speclang's best of 2022

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If you got here and you wanted to look at the news, why are you here? Go read this week’s newsletter, unless you really want to know about my personal best stuff of 2022…





You sure you want to look at my crap?





I’m serious, last chance, you’re going to regret every choice I make…





Well, seeing as you won’t go away…

This is my way of self-indulging myself and looking back at the year for all the stupid things I like without really anybody caring too much or judging me. Besides, most of these nobody will actually care about.

I didn’t want to put this on the newsletter and really should have put this on like, my Instagram or something. But if you really care about me having a life outside of the newsletter, I’ve had quite a very fun time outside of Civ this year. If you’ve really noticed, I really haven’t been playing a lot of Civ and I have a good list of games, music, and shows that were highlights for me this year, and so I’m just going to ramble my thoughts about literally nothing.

Now, you’re going to notice that several, if not all of these things did not come out this year. I’m usually a couple years behind the times, and it’s also about what I enjoy, you know. I’m not a person who likes the rap scene all too much, I really dislike RomComs, and I certainly do not play Elden Ring or Paradox games casually. (ok, except maybe Cities: Skylines…)

Obviously, nobody will actually care except the Cosy Nosy crowd, but this is essentially what I do besides not writing the newsletter or having a life doing a job. I promise this is the only personal blog post that I will make this and probably next year. But don’t expect me to start a Twitch stream or a Patreon or whatever — ok, maybe a Twitch if I’m extremely bored…


Watch me be an absolute basic bitch and have extremely stupid music takes, ever


Woman World Wide, Justice (2019)

My Spotify Wrapped had all of them lined up in a row for the first 15 songs, so you know I have to talk about it first.

Obviously, only found Justice through hearsay over the internet, and while the original Cross was really good, this one is a great culmination of that and much more. Low key, their followups Audio, Video, Disco and Woman are actually bangers, but in a different way, and everything comes together this time in a way that it’s perfect and blends the best of both.

Maybe I should prestate that this is a compilation album, but if you’ve only heard Cross before, this is a completely new fresh air on old takes and exposes your ears to the amazing sounds that are their follow up albums. They still have a distinctive, metallic grungy style throughout this album but it’s important to note that the melodic makeup and their musical talent to blend seemingly different songs together are just incredible. These guys have taken the mantle from Daft Punk since 2009, and they’ve taken it fucking far even if people have completely forgot about them.

Of course, everything with DANCE is a great banger, but really everything here blends incredibly well, especially pretty much the last half hour of this album, and uses their vast array of instruments and knowledge to provide a set that’s unmatched anywhere else. I mean, it won the Grammy for best Techno album that year. What else do I have to say here.

Worlds, Porter Robinson and Good Faith, Madeon

I’ve grouped these two very similarly because even though these themes are very different, the musical composition of these are really similar.

Worlds is kind of a concept album in itself, where the songs are all geared towards a virtual world, just like Civ. It carefully works in vocals, chiptune, and vocaloids to really blur the line of who would really be singing. There’s no message really, but it’s a great amalgamation of what makes a virtual living world worth playing for.

As you may know, Porter Robinson and Madeon have both collaborated together before, but I personally didn’t like “Shelter” that much, so now it’s time to enter in Good Faith, the natural evolution of Worlds. While not a virtual world anymore, the same vibe is still there, and it’s a floating dreamscape through the spiritual world of craziness.

Both go together in my head and while stylistically similar, they’re two different albums of the same coin, both worth a listen.

Midnights, Taylor Swift

This is probably the most basic pick on this list, but I did start listening to it after several of my friends begged me to listen to it, and I will admit. This is pretty good.

I was really not raised as a Swiftie, like I would sing and notice “We are Never Getting Back Together”, but honestly it was not a big part of my identity, but something just clicked this time. Unlike very much of the things on my list this year, this is my one album I listen to just to chill. Plus, the lyrics and the songs’ messages are pretty good too.

I personally can’t pinpoint a certain song or two on this list that attracted me the most, but Midnights’ chill, slightly melancholy vibe was still a bop throughout the back half of this year. I don’t have many thoughts on it, but it was really my head empty, no thoughts album this year, and while it was a basic bitch of a pick, it’s something I still listened to over and over just because of the infectious music and the much chiller vibe that Taylor is taking with her music.

Wet Tennis, Sofi Tukker

Not surprising to anyone if I said “I found them when Apple were playing their song during the iPhone X trailer!” But then when Treehouse came out in 2019, I was actually kinda shocked and realized they actually made really good music. It was weird music, sure, but it kinda scratched the itch for more out there music at the time. I didn’t quite follow them during the pandemic while they were hosting a DJ livestream daily, but they definitely pushed all their creative passion into everything they do, and when I remembered them, it was only a couple days after Wet Tennis came out.

This entire album is just really fun, nothing much else to talk about there, it’s just a really fun album with the good vibes that they keep doing for it. There are a couple sob starts, but the melodic makeup of all of the songs are all so good that it’s all worth listening to. Kakee and Summer in New York are some of my favorites and both flex the creative talent that Sophie and Tuck have, they’re a great pair and can’t wait to see what they have coming up next.

Honourable Mentions

Unfortunately I don’t have enough music that I listened to that I absolutely hate, maybe except Lofi because I’ve learned the “Lofi beats to study/relax to” doesn’t have enough melodic movement to really satisfy my auditory taste buds as seen in the several winners up here. So I’ve put pretty much all the stuff I listened to that I really liked, but don’t have words to really say about it (or, unless I already talk about any of these much later!).

TV & Movies


Tick, Tick, Boom! (2021)

You probably don’t know me that well if you don’t provide me with a good musical. Sure, I put West Side Story up there, but that’s an old musical that people keep trying to ""innovate"" the musical and it’s literally Romeo and Juliet, so there’s only so much you can do. Sure, I’m a Wicked person, and I watched Hamilton once, but that’s just scratching the surface of the depth that the musical theater genre goes. If you’ve ever watched Something Rotten, then you’re a certified theater kid in my heart.

But this was a musical movie that kind of changed a little bit on the perspective of Broadway and musicals for me, because amid all the glitz and glam in New York, it’s the reach for success that hits different. There’s probably hundreds, thousands of musicals that have gone to the graveyard even though they’re incredibly good. Jonathan Larson was a lot of things, but he was an underrated and sadly well-deserved genius. This pays tribute to him, to Stephen Sondheim, and to the Broadway industry as a whole.

But even so, this is also just a very good musical regardless. The songs are catchy, the plot is extremely well writen (sure, it’s literally his life), but it all flows so well, and the combination of forces that Miranda put together is a great directoral debut for him. Andrew Garfield does an extremely amazing job as Jon and the message the movie tells, even if meaningless to some, shows that you must keep going and be reslient in the face of failure, something that I’ve taken away from this so much. It may not have been the best movie this year, but it is a damn good watch for any musical fan.

Seattle Mariners Baseball

So obviously, I’ve labelled it TV for a reason because I can’t just call this a show. It was a joy to watch this ridiculously weird baseball team absolutely crush it this season, and only because I got back on the baseball trend this year. You know I’m from New England, so you know I’m a Red Sox fan at heart. But something about the Seattle Mariners this season kinda kicked me back on it. Or maybe it’s because my boss was a Mariners fan.

Sure, baseball is an extremely boring game. Sure, most of you Civ crowd doesn’t care about baseball and only cares about football. But the thing that really convinced me this year was Dorktown’s History of the Seattle Mariners. Yes, I know it’s a 3-hour long documentary, but the point was that the Mariners are incredibly weird, but one of the most fun teams to watch.

The Mariners have not made the playoffs since 2001, and through some divine intervention Seattle actually made the playoffs, breaking a 22 year drought. Of course, they have some great pieces like Julio Rodriguez, Eugenio Suarez, Cal Raleigh, mid-season acquisition Luis Castillo, rookie George Kirby, and that’s just scratching the surface.

It was a wild team to watch this year and I’ve stayed up late on the East Coast for nearly all of them. From the victory dances to the out of nowhere 15-game winning streak to throw them headfirst into playoff contention, it was a delight to watch this team be a surprise contender out of nowhere. Sure, it was a shock to see them lose this year in an 18-inning rout at T-Mobile Park to the eventually-World Series winning-Astros, but they did better and played more against the Astros than the fucking Yankees. I’m really happy for this team and can’t wait to see them next year.

Wait, I was supposed to talk about TV?

Turning Red

Along with sports and musicals, one of my other interests is animated movies, and Pixar took the cake, with Monsters, Inc., Ratatouille, Up, and Wall-E being such integral parts of my childhood. While Pixar today hasn’t captured the same magic as before (but they were damn good back then), it’s seen at least a little of a resurgence lately with these more grounded stories that I believe Pixar are absolute masters at.

I will admit I’m of the Asian variety, so this did appeal to me more than most, but this captures the essence of being a young adult, rebelling against your parents and expressing yourself all at the same time. I spent years trying to be independent from my parents’ demands and only now do I appreciate the struggle as much as I believed. With the high expectations pretty much everyone expects for you, and the background obessions you have the background, it becomes a high-strung task to lie behind your parents backs to get everything you want as a kid. And I did for a while, until I (and Mei) learned my lesson. It’s a great movie about the Asian family experience.

And of course, since every animated movie now has to have a gimmick, I still find it kinda funny that the gimmick this time is a panda, and it’s actually played well to very funny effect. I’m not spoiling anything, but the climax is really fucking funny so I will leave it at that. Good humor, great animation style, and very entertaining, another great movie in the books for Pixar.

Everything, Everywhere, All at Once

What??? Another movie with Michelle Yeoh?!

Alright, yes, it’s another Asian family movie, but it’s very different this time. I’m not usually a fan of action movies, but joining in the middle of this the first time I watched while my friends were watching kinda hit different. Maybe I missed something in the first part, but being launched straight into this world, while a whiplash, was an incredibly crazy ride and I enjoyed it all.

It’s always very easy to fall into the multiverse, time travelling trope that many sci-fi movies or shows like this fall into, and I’m especially glad they kept the scope very small like they did here to focus on this family falling apart. While sometimes hard to follow, this is a story truly about understanding that while life may be cruel, it is always good to enjoy what you have and treat others with compassion and kindness.

Maybe I spoiled a little bit too much of this movie there, but this movie is everything from super action heavy, to philosophical and mind-numbingly absurdist in its writing, direction, and acting, that it’s just such a good product of a movie that could have gone horribly wrong. It doesn’t outlive its tropes too fast, it’s hilarious and provides a deep lesson that will keep you thinking about it for days. Plus, it’s an Asian family what’s not to like. Quite literally everything, everywhere, all at once.

If you haven’t watched it, what are you doing? It’s really fucking good. If Ke Huy Quan found this movie so good to return to acting, then something’s incredibly right about this movie.

In the Queue

I haven’t watched everything I wanted this year, but there’s quite a few I’m still looking to watch this break:

YouTube Mentions

All the other stuff I watched this year are YouTube documentaries, because that’s quite the only other thing I watched this year…


The Umbrella Academy

You’ll see in a few seconds that I’m definitely all superheroed-out but the first couple of seasons were way too strong to not pay attention to it. The intricate storylines and the crazy family were all too fun to not pay attention to it. It may not be the best show, or even an amazing one, but it was a good thing to pass the time away.

But oh boy, the third season this year was such a stinker. I know it’s based on the Hotel Oblivion comic, but geez they strung this one out extremely long and it just got so boring in the middle. Time travel is getting boring at this point and something just had to give. What broke the camel’s back for me was Five and Lila figuring out that the timeline has been split at the same time something incredibly uninteresting and pointless was happening with the actual reality-grounded people, and it just felt so disjointed this season and fucked with, that honestly I could not pay attention to it after the fourth episode. I was very excited for this season after the first two and I think the writing just ran out of steam.

The MCU in 2022

I made a pact with my friend back in 2014 when we went to go see Captain America: The Winter Soldier on a whim to go and see every Marvel movie that would ever exist. In 2019, we thought that it was the fucking best idea ever, and now that it’s 2022, we are absolutely regretting it.

Pretty much everything we went to willingly go see this year (and, by the way, we have stopped watching quite a lot of Marvel stuff this year because we just weren’t interested at all, and we now live several thousand kilometers apart) was absolute trash, and it was not becoming a very flat movie. Sure, it’s not like a terrible movie or anything, like it’s good, but not the quality I used to expect from something like Ragnarok or Civil War.

Of the things we did see this year…

At the time of writing we haven’t watched Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, but I hear it’s at least pretty decent and not a terrible watch.



Splatoon 3

Way before I discovered Civ, I was a veteran of the original Splatoon on the Wii U, and grinded the hell out of that game. Sure, it’s a game for children, but it actually had incredibly deep gameplay (despite the fact it was incredibly broken). Yes, it’s about painting turf and not about getting kills (but it does help) but the general map design and also the quirky style of the game was such a breath of fresh air at the time from every other video game at the time.

I picked up Splatoon 2 as well but didn’t really play that much, but I’ve gotten back on the train in Splatoon 3, and I’m currently hovering around 100 hours in the game this year. It released in September.

There’s so much amazing details in the game that really amplifies the general experience, from the weapon choices, to an in-game playable lobby system, to actually having Salmon Run (the PvE mode) being full time and having yet another addicting gameplay loop. The singleplayer experience is so much better and expansive than last time. It’s honestly just so exciting playing the game, and every death (except if you’re dying in Salmon Run) feels relatively fair and you’re just getting beaten by a player who has figured it out better than you. I’ve grinded up to S rank and trying to bust my way into S+ for once, so we’ll have to see.

And the vibe of the game, now reaching for a 90s/00s punk-esque theme just fits the game’s evolution perfectly, from the music to the (subtle) apocalyptic setting, it just makes for such a complete package of a game compared to anything else. If Smash and Call of Duty are too hardcore, this one is just dumb fun.


I actually got this game last year but only completed finished the main story (I will try no spoilers!) at the time. But only recently have I really found the reason why to keep playing (besides completing the full story): speedruns.

Alright, so first things first, this game’s vibe is incredible and pays great homage to Greek mythology. I’m playing on a Switch so it doesn’t quite look like the high-quality definition it’s supposed to be at, but every single frame is a masterpiece, no matter how much the frame drops. The artwork is honestly incredible, from the scenes to the portraits themselves. The music is, once again from Supergiant Games, par for the course which is to say, really fucking good. The prog-rock halloween Mediterranean style that Darren Korb has cooked up is one of the soundtracks I do keep listening to so there’s definitely a benefit there.

But the thing that keeps me going back into this game is the incredible depth that this game has. Sure, you could complete the game with just one weapon, one keepsake, and a certain number of boons that you’re looking for, but that’s not doing the game justice. The fact that starting over advances the story is a genius move since you can build a storyline over multiple runs, and with millions of different combinations of ways to make yourself die, every death, while frustrating, eggs you on to keep trying once again, just one more run.

Every single run makes you keep thinking despite you dying over and over again, and the want to go faster is just always there. Playing and experiencing the game again is so fun, and always pushes me to just do one more run!


This year was very stressful for many reasons, so this gave me several reasons to relax, unwind and still think incredibly critically. And it still is crazy how the fuck does this hexagon NOT FIT anywhere in my stupid town!?

The core of this game is matching hexagons to others, but there is a strategy to it. The incentive, unlike other city builders, is for the city to just look nice. And it still gets you thinking instead of an idle citybuilder. While it seems simple on the surface, the additions of rails, target tiles, and rivers are simple yet extremely complicated features that hinder your ability to make everything just the way you want it to be.

Of course, the idea is to make your town as big as possible, but you only have a limited amount of tiles. You need to keep satisfying targets to keep doing so, but also you want to also make sure you keep your town looking nice — there is an incentive to do that by giving you extra tiles for perfect adjacent tile placements. But that depth and the fact that these play sessions can be limited is a lot like Hades: you need to keep improvising and finding solutions for the city or else you’re stuck at the beginning. And plus, it looks nice whatever you do!

This game kept me sane during the spring and summer of this year and while I don’t personally play it as much as I do anymore, it’s a nice relaxing trip that gives both a nice logic and puzzle exercise plus some good eyecandy along the way.


Me and some friends (you know who you are!) played an OpenTTD game earlier this summer and kind of got addicted to this game. Of course, we all had to go all our own separate ways but I’ve still continued after discovering that Captain_Klutz(better known as amazing Civ player, RektTangle) is actually a legend in this game, and also discovering a treasure trove of NewGRFs (aka mods). Thanks to Valefisk’s video where he showed everybody suffering at this game, I finally got back into the game pretty recently, and trying to find a good game in Singleplayer game to go long term.

This game is already pretty good as it is, you can tell I have a slight obsession with transit and city builders if you know me from Civ, but the fact that the original game for this was made several years ago and scratches the same itch I wanted nearly 30 years later is kind of incredible. It is pixelated, and still a little old fashioned, but that’s part of the appeal of the game, and it’s always really fun watching your cities grow and your trains be productive and travel from Slontburg and Netborough to Gonnpool Bridge.

Discovering mods also gave this game a second source of life for me because now instead of the industries being pretty lame, there’s actually a sense of depth to it. Finding the new train, bus, ship, and plane sets also give life to an otherwise dull train roster, and finding the Captain’s maps have made games feel better and more expansive and natural feeling than ever compared to the RNG generator of the classic game. There’s a lot of depth to this game, and I’m sure going to be playing this for a long time to come.

The Witness

Ok, you wanted some more eyecandy you said? What about more puzzles? Well how about both, because this game is both, in extreme measure.

This game tells you nothing. Absolutely nothing. The premise is simple, there is a line, and you’re doing a line puzzle to get from point A to B. Simple, right? Well, how about doing that but now several hundred times. Like, 600 or so. And how about doing it with zero tutorials, and just thrusting you to say, “here you go, do some puzzles!”

This should not have been a game that I would have liked. There’s even a video that tells you not to play this game. And I’d agree with that. But the Computer Scientist in me is always extremely delighted when you finally find the answer to a puzzle on your own, without cheating or looking at the solution, and feel like you’re incredibly clever (you’re not). I get that most of this game is just looking at panels, but some of these incredibly intuitive moments where these things are all just hidden in the world, are kind of crazy, and just shows how much thought and depth the developers took to actually make this game like it was.

That being said, there are quite a few disgusting criticisms that I have with this game, especially just trying to get all the solutions yourself because this game frustrates you to all hell! But if you’re a person who just wants to take it all in, and are extremely tolerant of puzzles and learning through experience, and are patient enough, somehow this game will be worth it for you in the end.

But don’t go for solving all the puzzles, you probably won’t even find all of them.

In the Queue

There are a few games on my wishlist that I at least sort of looking to play, whether they’re not released yet or on Steam right now:


Overwatch 2

I fell in love with Overwatch 1 back in high school. Sure, I was a Mercy main because I couldn’t aim for shit with a mouse and keyboard, but still I was a pretty damn good Mercy main back in the day. But then eventually, I learned Lucio and Zen and it was such a fucking good time popping off. I did watch the Overwatch League for a good amount of time, especially the really competitive 2019 season, but I fell off the game. I then came back in 2020 and 2021 learning Baptiste and played with a “semi-professional” team at one point, and watched the best Overwatch League games this year in 2022. Sure, I was trash but I was having fun.

Then I played Overwatch 2 this year and as a Support player, it was so devastating to play anything at all. I’m sometimes fine with stand and heal the team but that’s literally all I was doing and the game became boring. Nothing exciting was happening, the gameplay loop, especially in Competitive was incredibly uninteresting, and there was no incentive to play at all.

That alongside the very convoluted and very free-to-play cosmetic system all combined into a big milquetoast for me this year. Splatoon 3 did a better job with the battle pass because it gave most of the actually funny things for free, so as I continue to drop Blizzard games, fuck ActiBlizz. Thank god this fucking game didn’t win “Best Multiplayer Game” at the Game Awards.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Now, I wasn’t expecting to get a DLC this year from Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, a game that’s a port of a now 8 year old game. But seeing as they have nowhere else to go but down anymore for Mario Kart, it was a welcome change to see the Battle Course Pass this year, because the only thing that could improve Mario Kart 8 is more tracks, of course! Until we actually saw the tracks.

Jesus, why are we getting the mobile ports of these tracks? They literally looked slightly better when they were the originals! The Mario Kart Tour design philosophy is to really suck the character out of a lot of these tracks and it really shows how bland these tracks are compared to the brand new ones.

They definitely improved the tracks by Wave 3 (Waluigi Pinball, what you’re seeing right now, opened in Wave 2), but the fact that these still feel washed out and not up to the original Mario Kart 8’s quality is absolutely disappointing to say the least. I’m personally not happy to put this in the losers section, but it’s enough of a gripe that I’m really disappointed with Nintendo dropping the ball on this one.

Other Winners

So that this post doesn’t end on a complete downer, I’m going to say other things that I really liked across the web this year. Mostly just news articles or essays that I thought were really good and want to highlight.

Thanks for reading this absolutely silly mess of a blog post, and the only personal look into my life you’ll get this year, and possibly even the next year.

You probably didn’t read most of this, but will I care? Probably not, and I’ll continue to remind you with whatever discord conversation I have.

Now go read the newsletter! It’s probably better written than this giant dump.