My Favorite Things in 2016!

2016. The Year of the Reaper.

What a wild ride. We lost our heroes, we lost our favorite bars. Goodbye Eagle. Goodbye Black Crown. Some parts of the world were turned inside out and upside down, while other parts put an egomaniac in the highest office of power. Oh? And Pebble? The greatest smart watch there ever was? Gone.

Sigh.

Despite 2016 going down in the books as a Very Terrible Year, it’s actually been a pretty great one for me. Which is wild – I’ve been dreading this year my whole life. The year I turn 30.

But I made it a year of transition, and managed to shift my life in a different direction for this next chapter. I left my stifling, corporate dominated job of 11 years and started new. A new job, in a new home, as I gradually inch closer and closer to city life. I fell in crazy, stupid, mushy love, and was lucky enough to travel. International, for the first time. Iceland, Australia – you were wonderful. But I still like Seattle the best.

It’s been a pretty great year for nerds too. Especially gamers! I’m dizzy from the amount of great games that came out in the last three months alone. Some of these I’ve been looking forward to… since… well, the last time I did one of these posts.

I didn’t get to see, read, or play everything. But here are some of my favorite things I did have time for this year.

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is proof that you don’t need cutting edge graphics and non-stop action to make a great game. I’ve put more hours into this than anything else I played this year.

Made by a single developer during his spare time, it’s everything a Harvest Moon sequel should have been but never was. The pixel art is gorgeous. Why can’t we go back to pixel art for everything?

Additional kudos for including gay marriage and no one batting an eye about it.

Star Wars: Rogue One

The last hour of this film is some of the best Star Wars I’ve seen in my life. Rogue One is a lesson on how to do prequels correctly. Not only was it a fantastic film on its own, but it enhanced A New Hope. Knowing the full weight of went into getting those plans, and how the rebellion came to this moment really adds gravity to that moment when Luke isn’t sure he can even make the shot.

Up until now, there wasn’t a whole lot of war in Star Wars. It was mostly four people running for their lives all the time. This was a welcome glimpse into what life under the Empire was like, and why everyone is so fucking terrified of Darth Vader.

Westworld

Holy shit balls, this was nothing like I expected it to be. I’m a fan of the original, and was down for some televised wild west-themed Jurassic Park, but I wasn’t expecting an epic mindfuck.

While some overachievers on Reddit called everything before the first episode was even over, it can’t be denied that this is a show that sparks discussion. You want to watch it with your friends so you have someone to brainstorm with when it’s over. I haven’t been this excited for a show since LOST’s heyday.

Best new series, for me.

Stranger Things

Nostalgiaaaaaaaaaaaa.

It’s The Goonies meets Silent Hill and there’s literally nothing else I need to say.

10 Cloverfield Lane

If you’ve already managed to forget about this movie: shame on you.

This one came out of left field. A trailer dropped out of nowhere, and it came out only months later. John Goodman fucking kills it, the tension is insane, and I had no idea what I was even watching. Was this really a sequel to Cloverfield? What if it’s not?

Oh god.

What if it’s not?

Biggest Disappointment: Final Fantasy XV

It’s strange for me to put this here, because I’m playing and enjoying it. The open-world is gorgeous, and it’s a blast to play.

But for a game that’s been in development ten years, shouldn’t it feel… like a complete game?

As a Final Fantasy, XV is a failure. It put the biggest thing the series is known for on the back-burner: Story.

To have a film and anime series as required viewing to have any idea of what’s going on is simply unacceptable for a main entry in the series. Once you move beyond the film’s events in the game, good fucking luck to ya. I found myself looking for pivotal shit I had no idea we had lost. A character raving about something awesome he did, that I never saw. I literally have no fucking clue what’s going on, so I’m just gonna warp around and kill shit I guess.

And I’m annoyed that I played this instead of The Last Guardian. I will get to it.

What I’m Looking Forward to Having No Time For in 2017!

Assassin’s Fate

Will this be the end to Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings saga? It sure feels like it is.

Fitz is venturing farther south than we’ve ever been, as the world of the Rain Wilds and Six Duchies promise to meet in the conclusion to her stunning Fitz and the Fool trilogy.

Their mission for revenge will become a voyage of discovery, as well as of reunions, transformations and heartrending shocks. Startling answers to old mysteries are revealed. What became of the liveships Paragon and Vivacia and their crews? What is the origin of the Others and their eerie beach? How are liveships and dragons connected?

Yes, please.

You can devour all 800 Hardcover pages of this bad boy in May. If you’re behind on, or haven’t started the series, there hasn’t been a better time to start!

Yooka-Laylee

The core of Rare are back as Playtonic, and serving us the Kickstarted Yooka-Laylee. It’s a callback to the 3D platforming golden age of Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie. A majority of the team behind Donkey Kong Country are behind this, including David Wise as composer.

If you aren’t sold, I’m sorry your childhood sucked.

Yooka-Laylee is releasing on pretty much every platform ever in March.

Nintendo Switch

When that dude whipped this out on the motherfucking airplane and started playing Zelda on the tray table, I lost my god damn mind.

Everything about this appeals to me. I enjoy console gaming, but I’m never at home enough to get into the games any more. I don’t know how many times I’ve wished I could just take the games with me when I have to leave. I’ll take this sooner rather than later, please. But I guess I’ll wait until March. Sigh.

Alien: Covenant

A crew discovers an uncharted planet, inhabited by David – the synthetic survivor of the Prometheus expedition.

I’m probably the only person in the world that’s sad Damon Lindelof isn’t back to write this film. I loved the layered mystery of Prometheus, and I hope that isn’t lost in Covenant.

It opens in May. Watch the trailer here!

American Gods

The old gods are has-beens. Without believers, gods like Easter, Thoth, and Odin go about their daily lives passing as regular people. As people have shifted their attention from religion to social media, the internet, and entertainment, new gods have risen. The American Gods.

It’s a pilgrimage across America, as an unsuspecting ex-convict finds himself gathering the old gods for a confrontation with the new.

The novel was fabulous, and I’m excited to see the TV show’s updated take on some of the new gods – like Technical Boy chasing those vape clouds.

It premieres on Showtime in April.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Let’s hope all our heroes make it this time.

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