Part 1 of the list can be found HERE. This will conclude the main list, and then after this is the Grand Jury Prize.
Brace yourself: the nerd levels get critical from here on out:
5. DARK SOULS II
2014 in gaming was... Sonic Boom. It was Rambo. It was the clueless, lazy design of Assassin's Creed Unity. The disgraceful sound-design of Thief. The unplayable, unplaytested Master Chief Collection. The hollowed-out husk of a game that Destiny was supposed to be. The embarrassment of the Elder Scrolls Online. The toxic cynicism and entitlement of Watch_Dogs. The contempt for the human race that was The Walking Dead: Season 2.
2014 was Duck Dynasty: The Game.
We're not just talking about games that didn't live up to their hype; This is the year where the entire industry stopped trying. We've reached an event horizon where we're lucky if a game is barely functioning after a year and six patches.
And how did gamers react to this? And to the clear corruption and ineptitude infecting game reviews and news coverage that gives rave reviews and coverage to garbage? They saw all of these problems, and their solution was to... send threats to women. An actual conclusion reached by a frightening number of people is that everything wrong with games can be traced back to vaginas.
This hobby has never been uglier, emptier and more insulting to the people who keep it alive. This is as low as video games have been since the industry crashed. Roger Ebert and Jack Thompson were wrong about video games, but by God did we ever try to prove them right last year.
Anyway, I just think there's an irony to the fact that a Dark Souls game didn't hate its' audience as much as everything else last year.
4. THE WIND RISES
I don't blame Hayao Miyazaki for leaving the animation industry when he did, or why. But I'll miss his works, and I'll miss Studio Ghibli. Watching The Wind Rises is to bid farewell to a giant.
You can read my review of the film here.
3. THE HOBBIT: BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES
I cannot even pretend to be objective about this movie. It is tied so closely to an important event in my life that it could have been The Room and I would still look back on it fondly. But even with that bias established, I still enjoyed it and the Hobbit trilogy in general. It was an exciting and bittersweet goodbye, to a film universe as valid to me as Star Wars or The Wizard of Oz.
The circle is complete.
2. LIFE ITSELF
I miss Roger Ebert. I know that contradicts something I said about him earlier, but I'm allowed to disagree with my heroes on some things. I feel like my drive and spirit to write died with him. Maybe that's why it took until June of 2015 for me to write this 2014 list.
I only ever tried to contact him on 3 occasions:
- -A long, angry, rambling rant about his stance on video games as art,
- -A question regarding some Ian McKellen movie. I think it was called "Swept by the Sea". His response was basically reminding that he called 'em as he saw 'em.
- -& a message of thanks on his last blog post that likely went up after he had already passed.
Needless to say, his stomach-punch of a documentary does a much better job at honouring his life than the silver medal in a stupid end-of-year list.
~1. STEVEN UNIVERSE~
This show is precious to me. Rebecca Sugar and Cartoon Network's project is as gorgeous as any cartoon I've seen. The cast is amazing, there's humour, there's depth, there's mystery and uncertainty. There's exciting action, high stakes, and even entire episodes devoted to exploring the character's feelings. It takes big risks for a kid's show, one which I'm sure people who despise a feminine point of view will pass up. Or perhaps out of fear that a show where people aren't needlessly cruel to each other will be "boring".
It's their loss. To miss this is to throw away one of the finest examples of televised animation. Steven Universe is a show that is not afraid to be absolutely head-over-heels in love with its' characters, warts and all. I want to be a part of this universe.
This is what a cartoon can be. It was my favourite thing of 2014.
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