Wednesday, December 21, 2016

best of 2016: miscellaneous edition

And finally, here's my list of random favorite things from 2016.  A few notes before I begin:

  • Not all of these things first made their debut in 2016, but that's when I first experienced them.
  • In years past, I used to include a picture of/from each item, but that became a colossal hassle due to continued issues with Blogger/Photobucket.  My apologies.
  • These aren't in any particular order.
  • Those of you familiar with my intense love of the Dead Rising series might be surprised to see Dead Rising 4 missing from this list, but that's because I haven't played it yet!  That will definitely change this weekend, though.  (Watch for it here at the end of 2017.)
  • And, as ever, your mileage may vary.

1. School-Live!:   This anime is about a group of girls who belong to the School Living Club, and honestly, that's all I want to say about it because the less you know about this show going in, the better.  You might be tempted to give up about halfway through the first episode, but I promise your patience will be rewarded.  (Available for streaming on Crunchyroll)

2. Tales from the Borderlands:  Telltale Games does it again with this incredibly funny take on the Borderlands series.  Although I imagine some familiarity with the original games would enhance your enjoyment, they do such a great job that it's not even necessary.  (Available on most major consoles)

3. The Uncharted series:  I watched a clip from Uncharted 4 and was so enchanted that I decided I wanted to play it, even though I hadn't played the first three games.  G-Vo would have none of that, so I went ahead and plowed through the first three games over the course of two months.  I still haven't played Uncharted 4, as we're waiting for the game of the year edition, but I'm looking forward to spending more time with cheeky treasure hunter Nathan Drake and his crew.  (Playstation exclusive)

4. Stranger Things:  In this pitch perfect homage to the 80s, a group of friends become embroiled in a sinister government plot after meeting a strange girl named Eleven.  It's really fun, and I for one welcome the return of Winona Ryder to pop culture.  (Netflix streaming)

5. Daredevil:  Blind lawyer Matt Murdock has a secret: he's also Daredevil, crime fighter extraordinaire.  Lots of really fun action and JFC, Daredevil's ass gives me a thirst not even a gallon of Gatorade could quench.  (Netflix streaming)

6. Ash vs. Evil Dead:  If you enjoyed the original Evil Dead movies and you love Bruce Campbell (I didn't say "or" there because who the hell doesn't love Bruce Campbell?!?) AND you haven't seen this yet, what are you waiting for?  It's gooey, gory, hysterical fun.  (Season 1 available on DVD; season 2 just wrapped up.  It's on Starz, so if you get that channel, you might be able to catch reruns or stream it.  I'm living the basic cable life, so my broke ass doesn't know for sure.)

7. Life Is Strange:  Max is a teenage girl who's just discovered she has the ability to rewind time, which of course is both a good and a bad thing.  Realistic characters, fun gameplay, agonizing moral choices, excellent voice acting, and super sharp writing made this, by far, my favorite video game of 2016.  (Available on most major consoles)

8. Hidden City:  THIS GODDAMN GAME.  I love it because it's so much fun, but I hate it because it's so fucking addictive that it's taken over most of my free time.  It's a hidden object game that starts off easy and steadily gets harder and harder.  The artwork is absolutely stunning, and the dopamine rush I get when I manage to find something in the last couple of seconds cannot be denied.  I'm actually grateful when my energy runs out because it forces me to put the game away and do something else for a while.  Recommended only if you have a lot of free time and/or the willpower to put it aside when real life demands your attention.  (Free download, though I'm not sure of everything you can get it on; G-Vo plays it on the iPad and I play it on the Kindle Fire.  Of course, like most mobile games, you can pay for boosters and whatnot, so be careful!)

9. Compartes Cereal Bowl candy bar:  White chocolate studded with Lucky Charms pieces?  Oh yes please.  I'm actually grateful this is so expensive ($12/bar, not even kidding) or else I'd be plowing through one or two of these a week.  They have lots of other flavors too if white chocolate isn't your jam.  Gorgeous packaging.  I get it from a gourmet candy store at my local mall, but you can also buy it online.

10. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X:  Everybody's favorite virtual idol returns in another addictive rhythm game!  (Playstation exclusive)

11. Game of Thrones (video game):  Telltale Games knocks yet another one out of the park with their take on the GoT universe.  It's seriously like playing a side story from the books, and has all the hallmarks of a Telltale game: great writing, great voice acting (speaking of which, I tweeted something pervy about a character in this game and the voice actor favorited it; awkward!), great everything.  I would really like the second season now, please.  (Available on most major consoles)

12. Glory by Britney Spears:  What, you think my iTunes is all 80s songs and obscure Japanese noise bands?  Nope; I have a soft spot for Britney Spears, and albums like this one are the reason why.  Her previous album, Britney Jean, was terrible, but she more than makes up for it with Glory.  It's got everything: slow sexjams ("Just Luv Me", "Slumber Party", "Make Me..."), songs that will make you (okay, me) jump around your living room like a maniac ("If I'm Dancing", "Do You Wanna Come Over?"), and an achingly pretty ballad called "Man on the Moon".  There's one turd tossed into the mix ("Private Show", which is so terrible it makes me want to trepan myself in the few seconds I hear before my finger can reach the skip button on my iTunes), but carping about it is petty when everything else is so damn good.