Sunday, December 22, 2013

Best O' 2013

Another year over, another collection of media to judge…

Top 5 Games of 2013 

1. Super Mario 3D World 

Maybe not as revelatory as Super Mario Galaxy, but still, nothing can touch this franchise at its best.

2. Bioshock Infinite 

Disappointingly centrist politics aside, Bioshock Infinite takes the mechanics and philosophy of the original and blows them out in crazy, fascinating directions.

3. The Stanley Parable 

 With so many meaningless “choice” systems in games these days, here’s a game that finally shows us just how meaningless they are, all while being fun and hilarious.

 4. Injustice: Gods Among Us 

While it may not be a deconstructive masterpiece like Divekick, Injustice: Gods Among Us delivers an excellent fighting experience with a great comic book cast and inventive, interactive environments.

5. Fire Emblem: Awakening 

There’s nothing I hate more in games than permanent death, which is why I’ve always respected Fire Emblem but typically opted for its less stressful cousin Advance Wars. However, Awakening’s new casual mode finally made the series playable for me and I don’t care who thinks that’s “playing it wrong.” Plus, pairing characters up and getting access to their future children was one of the best side mechanics in a game this year.

Top 5 Movies of 2013 

1. Spring Breakers 

 A reflection of my generation’s culture that’s cold, techno, drug-fueled, sex-filled, and utterly perfect.

2. Only God Forgives 

Did you like Drive but thought it was too warm, fast-paced, and talkative? Well here’s the weird yet sublime pseudo-sequel for you.

3. Gravity 

Although not as avant-garde as I may have liked, Gravity was still the most enjoyably tense experience I had at the movies this year and almost made me reverse my staunch anti-3D stance, almost.

4. 12 Years A Slave 

As film-loving black guy, what I appreciate most about black writer/director Steve McQueen is his ability to make great movies about race, like 12 Years a Slave, while also making great movies about whatever else he feels like doing, like Shame. His race doesn’t limit his work, it just enhances it.

5. Anchorman 2 

The first Anchorman is straight-up my favorite movie. It’s possibly what inspired my career in journalism. Did it need a sequel that had no chance of being as good? No. But, I’m glad it got one as surreal and good enough as this.

Top 5 Albums I Listened to This Year and therefore are the Best. 

1. Random Access Memories- Daft Punk 

My favorite band reconnects with their disco roots to bring life back to the dead electronic music landscape they helped create. They’re Oppenheimer but time-traveling French robot musicians.

2. Yeezus- Kanye West 

Nothing could be better produced than My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy so Kanye doesn’t even try. Instead, we got an album that’s sloppy, intense, stripped-down, and further proof of why West is at his best when his id is unleashed unfiltered.

3. The Wack Album- The Lonely Island 

What I enjoy most about the Lonely Island is that they not only make music with jokes, but that the music itself is usually a joke about music. Plus, “I Run New York” is a great thing to listen to while young, lost, and confused in New York.

4. Misanthrope- Brian Altano 

Blending hip hop beats with retro sci-fi sound effects, techno tones, and misplaced saxophones, this free instrumental album from games writer Brian Altano was an awesome late surprise.

5. Beyoncé- Beyoncé 

I really just like that one part where she tells everyone to bow down. It’s very supervillain-esque. Of course, including samples from cool Nigerian feminist authors is a plus too.

Top Book of 2013 

The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell 

It turns out reading the secret history behind the making of the amazingly terribly movie The Room just makes it even more hilarious and confusing.

Top Show I Watched Every Episode of in Two Months 

Breaking Bad 

Everyone was right. It’s pretty good.

Top Person I’ve Always Hated but Now Everyone Else Hates Too. 

Actual Plagiarist Shia Labeouf 

It was bad enough when he kept picking fights with Bane-sized Tom Hardy, talking about women he slept with while they were still with the fathers of their children, and getting cast in inexplicably high profile movies like Indiana Jones 4 and Wall Street 2 only to ruin them. But now he’s actually just a bad person.

Top 5 Things Written by Me 

1. Chicago: Home of a New Indie Gaming Renaissance 

2. McDonald’s Mighty Wings Review 

3. Articles for PC Mag 

4. I Have No Console, and I Must Buy One 

5. Best O’ 2013

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