Friday, 8 February 2013

2012 Blacklist

Before I announce my Fave Things of 2012 list, here now are several things that would have been my favourite of the year, if they didn't fuck up spectacularly in some way. Here are the things that I have disqualified.

Here is this year's Blacklist:


This would have been my pick for the best film of the year. But those 27 animal deaths were completely pointless and preventable. Very sad to see Jackson and Weta fall so low.


Not the game. The game is unremarkable at best, and needlessly convoluted at worst. Halo: Reach is one of the worst games of the last decade, and somehow Halo 4 takes a step backwards from that.

The soundtrack was up for nomination, I will admit. But 343 Industries' and Microsoft's unbelievable fumbling of their pre-order bonuses is the stuff of legends. It's the worst attempt I've seen by a company trying to sell a game since Acclaim tried to put advertisements on tombstones. Or since Sony cheated at a reality show they invented, just to kick internet-darling Egoraptor out from a game tester position.


Damn it, this should have been the Game of the Year. I've been waiting for this game for years. A story as angry at the jingoistic, war-glorifying Call of Duty games(and the mouth-breathers who support them) as I am. I can't remember a game this furious, this brave.

But I believe that was not the intended purpose. It is such a howling disaster to play, I'm convinced they just gave it a compelling story and themes to make up for that. "We can't program a game worth a damn. Let's tell a story to distract people from that!".

If this were merely a mediocre experience, this wouldn't matter. But this game wants you to hear it's tale be told, and then actively obstructs the player's progress in any way it can. Either through sloppy game mechanics, poor communication with the audience as to what it wants you to do, or simply giving you the wrong advice as to how you should proceed.

It doesn't have to play wonderfully to make a good point. A game can provide enemies to the player, but it can't BE the enemy. Some very important moments in this medium are locked behind a wall of developer incompetence. Shame.


This one cuts me like a knife. The Walking Dead video game by Telltale Games is presented in 5 episodes. Four of those episodes have their ups and down, but all felt like they were building towards something. In spite of its' flaws, it made me genuinely care about its' characters, and the choices I was making that would affect them. There is no reason why this should be here.

Episode 5, which should have been the most important part of this saga, takes a big, runny dump all over everything the last four episodes accomplished. At that point, either due to a deadline or sheer laziness, all meaningful player choice is eliminated, characters are unceremoniously taken out of the equation to provide contrived drama, and it ends on a baffling cliffhanger. The game takes a scorched-earth policy with its' characters, and then leaves it open for a sequel with... who, exactly? All of those people who don't exist anymore?

Like Spec-Ops, this should have been a Game of the Year contender. It very nearly was. I don't understand why Telltale Games decided to ruin everything they'd accomplished up to this point.



I adored this show. It was on my list of my favourite things of 2011. The last few years have not been kind to me, and every day it feels like I lose a little more. My comforts have been few and far between. As silly as it is to admit, a show about multicoloured talking horsies brought some unexpected warmth to cold times. It was fun to draw fan-art, and to engage with other fans of the show. I felt like it treated sticky subjects, and its' audience, with a modicum of respect.

And then they edited a handicapped character from the show, BECAUSE she was handicapped. They did it to make her "normal", because a disability is an awful thing that has to be corrected before you can rejoin society, rite? Great lesson to hear from a kids' show, guys. Bang-up job.

Basically, a couple of soccer-moms sent threatening e-mails to the production staff. This is in contrast to hundreds of letters of support these people get every day. They weren't angry that it was a poor portrayal of a handicap. They just didn't like having a show that told their kids that the disabled are people too. They want people with lazy eyes or a lame leg or a speech impediment to disappear. They just don't want to be burdened by anything besides their Aryan ideals of a human being.

And instead of taking a stand with their supportive fans who knew better, My Little Pony's production staff sided with prejudice. No one asked the fans what they thought about this. No one stopped to consider if they were actually making things worse by going along with the demands of hateful lunatics. A show about loving and tolerating everybody singled out and eliminated the one who was different.

I have been over this and over this. But for those of you still in the dark, here's a summary:

SQUARE-ENIX DEV: "Boy, people really like our positive portrayal of a black character in Final Fantasy XIII."

RACIST: "I don't like black people! Make him white so that I don't have to grow up!"

"Nailed it."



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