December 31, 2005

The Rest of the 2005 Favorites

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at December 31, 2005 11:23 AM

I listened to a lot of music (by my standards) this year, but mostly neglected other media categories. So the rest of the end-of-year list is drawing from a smaller set of works. I'm sure I overlooked lots of worthy books, movies, and games this year, so please point them out in the comments.

Favorite movie: Sin City
This was definitely the most visually interesting film of the year, a film that really looked like its graphic novel source material. This was coupled with a series of storylines running at top speed, each depicting some act of heroism rising up from the dark heart of the city. The movie was grotesquely violent, but I think this was an important part of the experience (I addressed this point in more detail in my longer-than-usual review back in April).

Honorable mention: The 40-Year Old Virgin surpassed expectations by being completely hilarious while being sympathetic to the shyness afflicting the title character. The dialogue and characters were very authentic, even when the situations got a bit ridiculous.

Favorite book: Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
Murakami manages to find pockets of magic and portals to alternate worlds hidden around Japan, and then teases us with short glimpses of the wonder he's found. This was my favorite of his since The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and was more accessible as well. The basic story sounds pretty straightforward: a 15-year-old runaway goes on a journey, falls in love, faces his inner demons. However, as with everything Murakami, there's a lot more beneath the surface.

Favorite video game: Well, Xenosaga II was probably the best game I played this year, but that list is very short. I can't really close this category until I've played Dragon Quest VIII, for one thing... What else should I be playing, as long as this category is open?

Tags: Books, Games, Lists, Movies

My short, short version:

Movie: Serenity, Jesus is Magic (stand-up/documentary category)

Game: Zelda: Minish Cap

Book: second book in Deathgate Cycle (though it came out around 15 years ago, this is the first time I read it)

The much longer versions are posted on my blog.

Posted by: Mason | December 31, 2005 11:43 AM

Movie: Serenity
Book: Thud (Terry Pratchett)
Game: By continued interest, World of Warcraft. By peak entertainment, F.E.A.R.

Recommended games:
Halflife 2 - I know you have it, now play :)
F.E.A.R - best FPS after Halflife 2.
Civ 4 - Sid Meier
Weird Worlds - Reminiscent of Moo 2.

Burnout Revenge

GTA: Liberty City Stories

Kirby - Canvas Curse
Animal Crossing

Prolly there's more, but those come to mind as good games i've played this year. :)

Posted by: Zifnab | January 1, 2006 7:29 PM

Weird Worlds is worth a buy. Take two parts MoO2 and one part Nethack, then boil down into a 20-30 minute replayable game. As the batter cools, roll it into little balls and polish them into gleaming pearls.
Serves one.

Atelier Iris was also a huge surprise. The battle system was a little odd at first, due to the fact that timing is done a little strange--it's actually most like D&D3, with partial/full actions and initiative. It's really fun though, with a fine story and incredible dialoge.
"Klein, will you sleep in my bed tonight? I'm scared!"
"I can't do that, the ESRB would go nuts!"
If you do get a chance to play, my only tip is that you do the crafting sidequest stuff. As you do, it progresses the side plots with each of the shopkeepers, some of which (the magic shop zomg!) kept my attention far better than the main plot of the game. Cause, like, it was interesting

Half Life 2 was a big win. There are places that are hard and/or annoying like any other FPS, but, hrm, how should I say... There are parts of the game that are clearly designed to challenge you. There are also parts that are clearly just designed to be enjoyed. There are parts that make you feel afraid. There are even, thank goodness, parts that make you feel badass.

If you've got a PSP, Lumines is a great game.

WoW has finally snared me within its vile clutches. It's the first MMORPG I've played that genuinely feels like a finished product. Sure, I'm only playing after it's been out for a year, but in general it's just smooth. Every single thing I can think of that WoW does well, there's another game I can think of that does it better. As a single game, on the other hand, it blows the pants off of everything else in the genre. (Well, at least to the extent of what I've played.)

Posted by: Lemming | January 2, 2006 10:53 AM

Movie: king kong (though 40 year old virgin was funny)

Book: Harry Potter HBP (much better then prior book)

Game: Wizardry 8 - a crowning acheivement in a good long running seires (yes i realize its been out a while however i only just played it)
Runner up: Kingdom of loathing (what can i say its funny)

Posted by: shellock | January 3, 2006 8:09 AM
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