I can’t believe that 2014 already passed. I also can’t believe how many things from 2014 I still have to catch up on. Even still I feel like I still managed to play and view the highlights of the year, and I guess you can read about them here and probably disagree with them, or maybe you’ll think they’re good.
Best TV Show of the Year: Game of Thrones
I was a little late to hop on the GoT bandwagon. Lack of HBO kept me from watching for the first three seasons, but when I finally got a subscription I ran through them all in about a week. What’s this have to do with 2014, you ask? This year’s season was particularly compelling. I feel like The Mountain versus The Viper showdown summed the season up. It was exciting. It was violent. It had a twist. It was an event. If you’re resistant to watching the show, or don’t have HBO, try to check it out sometime. It’s good watching.
Best Film of the Year: I don’t know… Probably The Lego Movie
(But I’m holding out for Inherent Vice)
So I was looking over the list of films that came out this year and realized that I was disappointed by what Hollywood had to offer this season, to the point of feeling like I’m completely missing something. I eventually settled on The Lego Movie. The Lego Movie was smart, it was funny, and featured Chris Pratt. You can’t really lose. Also I found the movie good because it managed to take some of The Matrix’s philosophical points and address them to kids in a way that didn’t water them down. As a parent who doesn’t get to watch anything except PBS and Nickelodeon all day, I found this to be a welcomed change.
Why Inherent Vice? I’m a huge Paul Thomas Anderson fan and I’m adamant that he’s the best filmmaker going, right now. But since movie goers either don’t feel the same or don’t like more artistic ventures, his movies are hard to see in theaters, apparently. This happened to me with The Master and now I can’t find a theater that is featuring Vice yet, despite its December 12th release date. I heard that it will be released further sometime in January, and when I see it, it’s likely to knock out The Lego Movie for top pick of the year.
Most Immersive Videogame experience: Alien Isolation
I love games that make you feel like you’re inside a movie. I feel that few actually do it better than Alien Isolation – props to The Creative Assembly for the retro-futuristic design and authentic feel and faithfulness to the original Alien film. I feel like that wasn’t the easy route with the built-in AVP fanbase and kids that don’t understand why computers from 1979 look so dull and boxy, but it was still the right route. Besides the look, the game’s pacing is perfect – also the strong point in Scott’s film – which properly builds anticipation and tension and allows you to digest previous action, so the game isn’t a mishmash of scary scifi action. Great pick up.
Most Unexpected Surprise of the Year: FIFA 14: World Cup Mode
So I go back and forth between hating EA Sports and enjoying their product, even though I still hate them – it’s complicated. But when the World Cup was on I was pleasantly surprised when I received an update featuring World Cup mode. Why? Because EA usually packages this month and a half tournament into its own installment with moderately high price tag – considering it’s the same game as everyone has been playing for months, just with new kits and a new stadium. I just wanted to give credit to a company that usually doesn’t do this, and let them know they probably should.
Game of the Year: Wolfenstein: The New Order
Sure I liked the NES Mario games and Sonic, but Wolfenstein 3D was my first videogaming obsession. I knew everything about that game and devoted a ridiculous amount of time to it. Because of this I’m both excited and skeptical of any new installment to the franchise. But I’m happy to report The New Order got everything right. In a generation where games are trying to be more “realistic”, The New Order throws that model out the window and lets you mow down giant robot Nazis. The New Order had a lot of nods to Wolf 3D, which was appreciated and welcomed, but didn’t rely on them. It also allowed you to feel like an 80’s action movie icon and stand in the middle of a room and clear it out double barrel style – something that you don’t get with COD. The replay value of The New Order is high, and ultimately that’s what won it over for me, as I feel like I got more than my money’s worth of a quality game. That and good ol’ nostalgia.
Looking towards 2015
The New Year seems promising. I’m eagerly awaiting Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and Uncharted 4. The two are my favorite game franchises and the latter was the reason I went with PlayStation 4 – that and whenever Last of Us 2 comes out – needless to say I’m anticipating it. With Metal Gear, there was complaints about Ground Zeroes’ length, but I liked what I saw, though it was a little on the short side, and I’m excited to pick up where I left off.
On the film front, I’m looking forward Spectre, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Hateful Eight, Hail Caesar!, and St. James Place. I’m a massive Bond fan, so any instalment is an event in my house, and with Christoph Waltz staring as Blofeld, Spectre will be no exception. The Hateful Eight, Casear, and St. James Park, because I’m a fan of Tarantino and the Coens. Although it’s no sure thing, 2015 seems like it’s going to be a good year for film.