Friday, 13 January 2012

Favourite Things Of 2011

Earthquakes. Tsunamis. Nuclear Meltdowns. Mega Man Legends cancelled. Terrorist attacks in Norway. Deus Ex: Human Revolution. My cat died. Failed two personal projects. Lost all contact with friends. The Occupy Movement. A month-long medical emergency at the end. 2011 was one soul-crushing disaster after another.




Because it was a non-stop parade of horseshit flying in from every direction, I'm going to be a bit more lenient with my unwritten "rules" for eligibility. Namely, it doesn't have to be something that was completed in 2011 to qualify for this list. It just has to be something that provided some brief respite from the biggest piece-of-shit span of 12 months I can remember.

(Otherwise I wouldn't really have enough to fill out a Top 10 list).

And remember: This isn't a BEST OF list. These are my Favourites. Things that I know aren't the best in the history of whatever. But for whatever reason, they helped me survive another year. If it's not on this list, either I haven't played it yet (Arkham City, Minecraft), or it's overrated bullshit (Deus Ex, Bastion).

10. Dr. Who

I'll just leave this here...


9. Coldplay UNSTAGED

So that's why people go to concerts. That was pretty cool.

It's too bad they released their weakest album last year. I don't know, was anyone really clamoring for a new Coldplay CD? It's not a total loss or anything, it just feels like it happened just to pump another one out for its own sake, or because of a contractual obligation.

(See also: Dream Theater, Pirates of the Caribbean)

8. Kirby's Return To Dreamland

I'll take this over Skyrim any day.

7. Batman: Arkham City

No disrespect to "Kung-Fu Panda 2", which used to occupy this spot. But I have only recently finished Batman: Arkham City, and I retain the right to change my mind about these lists.

Arkham City may have adopted a "Quantity over Quality" approach. It has too many secret collectibles. It is so determined to pack in as many side-quests and collectibles as possible that it lost some of the focus and polish of Arkham Asylum.

But the story in Arkham City, as convoluted as it can be, makes perfect sense once you see it from the perspective of the madness it came from.

Any good twist in a story should blindside the audience. It should shine a light on all of the little things they noticed beforehand that didn't seem to make sense. A proper twist should go back and make everything seem like it was meant to be that way all along. This is a game that I deliberately spoiled for myself upon release, and it STILL had a few genuine jaw-dropping moments.

Arkham City doesn't just have one great third-act revelation... it has two. Paul Dini knows that every deck of cards has two Jokers.

6. Ponies

Keeping up with and drawing these quadrupeds has been most therapeutic. That, and it'll be a while until something comes along that's half as funny as "Lesson Zero".

5. Rhys Ifans as "Hook"

Who would've thought the best performance of the year would come from a SyFy made-for-tv production?

4. A Fistful Of Arrows

Now no one can say Halo doesn't have a good story. Anyone who can take the most boring character from the most worthless video game of our generation, and make it compelling deserves a medal.

3. Egyptian Revolution

With all of the self-entitled, limp-wristed protests going on in the States, isn't it nice to see a frustrated country get what they want through peaceful means?

I mean, even though it only happened because their dictator is near-death anyway and just resigned... And now the military is refusing to relinquish power, thus starting all that bullshit over again.

Well, it was nice while it lasted.

2. Arby & The Chief

Say what you will. It's cheap. It's vulgar. It's silly. It's a guy making little movies out of video-game footage. That's all true. What's also true is that I am genuinely entertained. Excited even, to see how the next episode turns out. I am more invested in Jon Graham's latest season of his cynical video-game puppeteering, than in anything that's on television right now. He is the hardest-working man in Machinima.

No, it's not Breaking Bad. But it's the thing I anticipate every week and talk about with friends. In a year where the Red vs. Blue team has only disappointed me, Arby & The Chief stepped up to the task. It raises the bar for what people can do with an Xbox, a few controllers, a camera and an idea.


I feel like such an asshole for not catching this in theaters. In my defense though, it had no advertising, and I'd already seen it when it was streamed on Youtube. If there was ever a year that needed this movie, it was 2011.

My full review can be found HERE.



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