What I’ll be playing in 2023

(To start with, anyway…)

These are my current favourite toys…

Xbox Series S

The newest addition to the set – which I got on Black Friday 2022. It’s a leap forward in graphics from what I’d gotten used to, and the novelty of that still hasn’t worn off.

The more surprising thing is Game Pass (Microsoft’s flat monthly all-you-can-eat subscription). I’m loving it. And I’ve already seen it starting to change the way I experience games. I’d previously been a completionist … replaying challenges to get full marks, doing the random side-quests, finding all the collectibles, and playing through until the end of the story. Subconsciously I think there was an element of wanting to get my money’s worth – I bought games infrequently, so I wanted to see all of it. But with Game Pass, that same instinct means wanting to try as many games as I can – when I feel like I’ve got the gist of a game, it’s time to try a new one.

If you’re on Xbox, you can find me on Xbox Live as dalelane.


The other 2022 addition is my smallest toy. A tiny yellow console with a black-and-white screen that you control with a fold-out crank. It’s quirky, silly, weird, and fun. And that seems to have inspired game developers who have made weird, quirky and creative games for it. I love it.

The thing that first drew my attention was the approach to delivering games. Instead of an app store, they focused on the idea of Seasons – a curated series of weekly games that are delivered.

I grew to look forward to “unwrapping” the surprise delivery each Monday morning.

(And as someone who gets paralysed by the amount of choice on Xbox Game Pass, there is definitely something to be said for a curated model, where someone chooses something interesting for you to play next.)

That doesn’t mean I don’t still choose games for it too – I’ve side-loaded dozens of games from itch as well.

Chase Jarvis’ oft-quoted The Best Camera is the one that’s with you sums up the Playdate’s biggest strength. This thing lives in my pocket. It’s always with me. I play with it while I wait for the kettle to boil… and while I wait for my coffee to brew. Turning it on and starting a game is pretty much instant. I can play for a minute then put it back in my pocket. And the battery lasts forever so I don’t worry about having to charge it every day.


The 2021 addition to the set is the Anbernic RG351P: a retro-gaming handheld that I use to relive my gaming childhood. I run AmberELEC on it. You can see the full list of emulators it runs at amberelec.org/systems but basically I have an emulator for every console I played as a kid on there.

It has given me a second-chance to complete all the games I couldn’t beat as a child. I’d love to pretend it’s because I’m a better gamer now, but I think shameless save scumming has more to do with it. How did we ever complete games before save-states were a thing?!

It’s small enough that it can just live in my bag (whereas I plan ahead when I bring the Switch on a journey with me).

If you are also into emulators and retro-gaming, you can find me on retroachievements as dalelane.


The 2020 addition was the Oculus Quest. The VR headset is the only one in the set that I don’t play that much any more. Months can go past while it gathers dust. Every now and then, something reminds me of it and I’ll revive it again. When I do, I normally play Beat Saber or Pistol Whip – or occasionally Blaston or Robo Recall: Unplugged.

I did love it when I first got it, and it was ideal for lockdown. But that was two-and-a-half-years ago and I don’t find it as much fun any more – certainly not enough to consider upgrading to a newer version.


The grand-daddy of the set – I got the Switch for Christmas 2017. I’ve built a collection of 150 games and sunk hundreds (okay, thousands) of hours into this thing. I shared a few on twitter but even that didn’t do justice to the range of games I’ve enjoyed over the last five years.

It was my only console for several years, so it has spent a lot of time docked with the TV, using the Pro Controller to play it as a traditional console. The Xbox has started to replace it for that a bit. But the Switch has other things going for it which means it hasn’t gone the way the Quest did. I play it on the sofa, I play it in bed, and it’s an ideal travel companion – the Switch has made flights and train journeys a joy, and I’ve spent hours over the years playing it in the car while waiting to pick the kids up from various clubs and band rehearsals.

If you’re on the Switch as well, you can find me as “dalelane” with the friend code (ugh) SW-0590-0664-6713.

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