Game On Stage 6 sees Rey Tiempo’s 2022 through screenshots, in-game and in real life

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The previous year, 2022, was a big year for gaming. With massive console releases, much-anticipated game announcements, and other community news, gamers all over the world were gifted with exciting content all around. With this, our resident video game connoisseur Rey Tiempo‘s first piece for the new year looks back on 2022 through screenshots capturing key moments in-game and in real life. From personal favorites to industry stages, Rey wraps up the past year with a trip down memory lane, courtesy of the hundreds of shots stored in his devices.  

Some of the earliest, fondest memories I have related to video games are saved forever in the hard drive of my brain, like screenshots, readily accessible and organized in neat folders. I remember distinctly the smells of crowded arcades, the taste of hard-fought victories, the feel of new plastic cartridges, the rustle of pages filled with cheat codes and strategies. 

Somewhere along the way – as gaming technology advanced, as pixels multiplied exponentially, as graphics inched closer to reality, and most importantly as gaming culture evolved into the new social media – it became possible for video game screen moments to be stored in systems’ hard drive memories, and even shared for all the world to see (no smell or taste-capturing tech yet though, I’m looking at you game developers!)


Taking screenshots, captures, or screen recording has become such an integral part of gaming activity that systems have inevitably built the feature into controllers. With a touch of a dedicated Capture button, players can “screengrab” their proudest gaming moments, to be instantly shared on their social feeds. Each platform does it differently. But so far, Playstation and Xbox systems have the most seamless approach, with captures going straight to mobile devices; with the Switch, it takes a few steps; while with PC… well PC always does everything “master race”-fully.

In this year-ender feature, I will be accessing my systems’ neatly-organized screenshot/capture folders and will be reliving the memories and moments of what made 2022 another groundbreaking year for gaming!



From “Stray,” my personal game of the year. 2022 ended with the much anticipated Game of The Year Awards, and the viewership numbers (vastly bigger than the Oscars, Grammys, Emmys and Tony Awards COMBINED) only confirmed what the industry experts have been saying – WE really are the mainstream now.

Back to the awards show: out of all the big game studio nominees, this little (which definitely didn’t feel little at all) indie game was the one that stood out for me, and was my personal winner (the award eventually went to the ambitious “Elden Ring.”) Not the most obvious, to the general gaming public, but to me, Stray simply was the only one that oozed with personality and had a unique charm. A game with a big heart, and above all, just immersively fun (developers these days get TOO caught up in all the technical marvels of frame rates and light reflections on surfaces.) Stray had a deeply involving and intriguing story, excellent music and audio, sublime pacing, engaging puzzle solving, and to date, the best use of the Playstation 5 Dualsense controllers’ haptic feedback. I won’t spoil it for those who have not played this gem yet, but in it, you play as a cat. A cat! You can actually feel the controller purring! And that, for most, should be enough.



From my other Game of the Year, “Ghostwire: Tokyo.” The controls might take getting used to, especially those not familiar with first person POV games. But once you get the hang of it, you’re in for one of the most unique experiences ever. I wouldn’t even call it a game – it’s a cultural love letter to Tokyo, and the many delightful contrasts the city has to offer. Expertly melding traditional Japan with its modern pop sensibilities (using phone booths to free spirits, as well as missions delving on folklore vis-a-vis the current influencer culture) with beautifully unsettling art style and a perfect mix of humor, drama, and the macabre, I expected no less from one of the original creators of Resident Evil. The game actually reminds me of the Tourism Authority of Thailand work “Home Sweet Home” which won numerous industry awards last year – both used forms of immersive entertainment that deeply promotes culture to generate tourism.


From “Returnal”. The original game came out in 2021, but in 2022 they released an expansion, and that’s when I finally beat the game. This actually won Best Game at the 2022 BAFTA Games Awards, and rightfully so. Everything about this game screams technical achievement. The addictive gameplay, the jaw dropping graphics, and oh my goodness, the story! The mind bending story! The difficulty level is certainly not for everyone. But the road to conquering this behemoth makes a great case for video games being the best life teachers: 1) No challenge is without a solution, there is always a way 2) Recognize the patterns and react 3) Sleep does wonders if stuck in a puzzle (or a seemingly impossible boss fight) 4) Commit and persist and finally 5) Keep calm, keep emotions in check, be in the moment. But celebrate and party hard after the triumph!



Just some of the many screenshots I took of video game worlds with McDonald’s food-alikes: these are from Rumbleverse, Ghostwire: Tokyo and Judgment. I am immensely proud to be part of the team behind McDonald’s foray into gamingxmarketing, called “The Unbranded Menu.” Made up of equally-obssessive gamers, the team mined the already rich gamer behavior of screenshotting unique and fun in-game finds. Hunting for and capturing McDonald’s food-alikes in gaming worlds is actually not that difficult – video games have been parodying McDonald’s in video games for years. The brand just helped remind gamers, and the response was phenomenal! With the biggest game influencers leading the hunt, the team was able to lay claim, and in effect, able to “brand”  a multiverse of McDonald’s “unbranded” menu items hiding in plain sight all these years – and gamers got their real world food counterparts as rewards! Gaming worlds branded; gamers fed; mission accomplished!



Ok, more Rumbleverse! Majority of my late 2022 gaming had been devoted to this free-to-play title from developer Iron Galaxy and publisher Epic Gamest. Unlike other battle royales (eg Fortnite, also developed by Epic Games) where the player takes out other online players through weapons, this game is pro-wrestling themed: that means you deal damage to other players through wacky, over-the-top wrestling moves! It’s a royal rumble with 40 other players, and it’s as chaotic, unpredictable, and ultra action-packed as it sounds, and above all super fun! “Live” service games like these get updated constantly: new updates means new moves, new rules to exploit. Just like any multiplayer online game, you are up against real people, who learn and adapt, keeping everyone on their toes! There are talks of this game being shutdown, and I really hope it’s just a rumor. This game has so much potential to become bigger than it already is. 



Not from a game, but a screenshot from real life! I’ve had the privilege to cover the judging of the first-ever Creativity in the Metaverse category at the London International Awards. This jury was composed of industry leaders, with expertise in gaming, experience, production and platforms (I spy a Joey Tiempo, one of three Pinoy judges in LIA!) The consensus? Nobody knows what the metaverse is, as even the jury struggled to find a definition! There isn’t one definite answer, as everyone is still shaping it, together. The best way to know is to experience it for yourself – and one of the easiest ways to fully immerse yourself is through gaming. As gaming had been incorporating metaverse disciplines (shared worlds, immersiveness, commerce) even before the proliferation of those clunky VR headsets (I am excited for PSVR2 though! More on that later.)

And now, a screenshot from Part 1 of my interview with Jia Zheng, VP Creative Strategy at Activision Blizzard. We just geeked out and connected on all things gaming, as captured in a series of videos, also released through Game On. Watch out for Parts 2 and 3 soon!



Another screenshot from real life: as Rev Major, the country’s premier fighting game convention, returned onsite after three years! I was lucky enough to meet and get one of my arcade sticks signed by the legend, Daigo Umehara, one of the most recognizable fighting game players in the world, Guinness book record holder and a well-loved icon in Street Fighter history.



From “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge.” Bringing back the aesthetics and  beat-em-up coop action we loved during the 90s. Played this one to completion with my daughter and is our choice for co-op game of the year!



Late 2022, the Steam Deck finally reached local stores. These are some of the very first screenshots I took: from The Evil Within 1 and Arkham Knight. And they illustrate why this impressive device is, what I consider, the perfect backlog machine. I am now able to play previous generation (and even some current) big releases wherever I want, with smoother frame rates compared to their console counterparts. It has superior controller options (able to grant motion and gyro to all games!) and an already vast Steam library. It is still a PC through and through, so it’s subject to all PC pros and cons (there’s a LOT of tweaking involved to actually get the most out of the experience.) Let’s see what the future holds for the Steam Deck, and for handheld PCs this 2023.



Late last year, we got our taste of the sequel to 2018’s God of War. These are from Ragnarok and immediately, I am impressed with its robust accessibility options, probably the most I have seen in a mainstream game, ever. And yes, I am delaying the ending and savoring every second of this masterpiece. Review coming (maybe) in 2024. 

And that’s it for my 2022 screenshots! My 2023 folders have already started filling up, with much-anticipated titles and some surprise releases already underway.

This year, I am most looking forward to: the PSVR2 headset launch, the successor to the PSVR, the headset that brought VR to the mainstream. Not just because of its better specs, but more importantly, PSVR2 does not set out to be anything more than a fun VR gaming machine; no pretense of making you wear it in, gasp, virtual boardroom meetings. I am also looking forward to Street Fighter 6. Based on what we saw on teasers and gameplay during its beta, this promises to host metaverse elements, the first of its scale in a mainstream fighting game.

2023, let’s-a-go!



Rey Tiempo is Head of Experience and Innovation at Digitas Philippines. He has served as President of the Creative Guild of the Philippines, and has spent the last twenty-plus years leading teams to award-winning creative and effective work in Publicis Groupe, VMLY&R, Dentsu, BBDO, and Leo Burnett. Gamer, musician, comic book enthusiast, and relentless collector, Rey keeps himself immersed in platforms by creating music and gaming content. Currently playing: Hi-Fi Rush, Dead Space Remake, Forspoken, and his backlog on Steam Deck.

Artwork by Dennis Nierra, Creative Director at Publicis Jimenez Basic. 

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