This is what I liked this year. The most.
Every year (2010, 2011) I prepare a list of my favorite media, covering games, movies, TV shows, comics, and music — I skip books because I don’t feel like I read enough books in a year. Also, I am a bit loose in terms of when things were released — for the most part, these are things that did in fact come out in 2012, but I don’t mind highlighting things that came out the year before, but that I only got around to experiencing this year. And there’s of course a lot — especially in games and movies –that has come out in the latter part of the year that I have yet to experience. But who cares, in the end, you have to keep in mind that I’m not saying that this is the best that has come out this year, simply that these are some of my favorite things (what I could remember) in media that entertained me the most.
For each category I have a top 5 — listed alphabetically — followed by a few honorable mentions.
This year I started being patient in terms of major releases, opting to wait for them to go on sale, and so a lot of what I played came out late last year — and there’s of course a lot that has come out this fall (like Dishonored and Far Cry 3) that I have yet to play. I list the platform that I played the game on — some of these are multi-platform releases.
- Gravity Rush (PS Vita)
- Journey (PS3)
- Mass Effect 3 (Xbox 360)
- Sound Shapes (PS Vita)
- The Walking Dead (iPad)
Honorable Mentions: Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (Xbox 360), Asura’s Wrath (Xbox 360), Binary Domain (PS3), Dyad (PS3), Lumines: Electric Symphony (PS Vita), Max Payne 3 (Xbox 360), PixelJunk SideScroller (PS3), Rayman Origins (PS Vita).
FAVORITE iOS GAMES
Since I don’t think it’s fair to compare most iOS games to bigger budget consoles games, here’s a separate category for them — although I don’t include The Walking Dead, which I played on iPad (as I do all Telltale Games), since it’s a multi-platform release and it’s just one of the best games of the year, no matter the platform.
- Groove Coaster Zero
- Rayman Jungle Run
Honorable Mentions: Into the Dead, Law & Order: Legacies, Magic 2013, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Theatrerhythm Final Fantasy, The World Ends With You: Solo Remix.
FAVORITE TV SHOWS
Yes, we are indeed in the midst of a golden age of TV, and it was rather difficult to narrow things down to a top 5.
- Breaking Bad
- Downton Abbey
- Game of Thrones
- Mad Men
Honorable Mentions: Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, Girls, Glee, Justified, Life’s Too Short, Parks & Recreation, Shameless, Sherlock, Sons of Anarchy, Spartacus: Vengeance, The Bridge,The Walking Dead (3rd season), Wilfred.
This is one of the categories where there’s tons of great films not included because they came out in the last few months.
- Safety Not Guaranteed
Honorable Mentions: Dredd, Jeff Who Lives at Home, Magic Mike, Moonrise Kingdom, Ruby Sparks, The Dark Knight Rises, Total Recall, Your Sister’s Sister.
When it comes to comics, as I go through lists of recommended stuff from 2012, I always encounter tons of stuff I didn’t read and that I will need to get to as soon as possible. I include James Kochalka’s American Elf, a web comic, because it’s been one of my favorite reads for years, and I’m very saddened that he’s ending it on December 31.
- American Elf
- Conan the Barbarian
- The Massive
Honorable Mentions: Friends With Boys, Parker: The Score, Raising Rachel, Sweet Tooth, The Walking Dead, Thief of Thieves.
It’s always so difficult to narrow this down — as listeners of my Codex podcast will know, this could go on for longer. And how about that, two singles called “Default.” Stay tuned for upcoming episodes of the Codex in which I’ll highlight these tracks and the albums below.
- “Barely Standing (feat. Datsik & Sabi) (Diplo)
- “Comeback Kid” (Sleigh Bells)
- “Default” (Atoms for Peace)
- “Default” (Django Django)
- “Terrorist Threats (feat. Danny Brown & Jhene Aiko)” (Ab-Soul)
Honorable Mentions: “All of Me” (Tanlines), “Counter Charm (feat. Gaspar Claus)” (She Keeps Bees), “Honeycomb” (Animal Collective), “Hospitality” (Betty Wang), “I Want More (Viv Albertine), “Lens” (Mike Wexler), “Money Makin’” (A-Trak, Dillon Francis), “Nerve Damage!” (Unknown Mortal Orchestra), “No Love” (Hooray for Earth), “Sinful Nature” (Bear in Heaven).
When it comes to favorite albums, there are tracks off some of these that I could also include in my favorite tracks list, but I prefer not to do so — I feel like these albums go beyond singles, and are worthy of being enjoyed as a whole.
- Channel Orange (Frank Ocean)
- Cyrk (Cate le Bon)
- Love This Giant (David Byrne & St. Vincent)
- Sun (Cat Power)
- Visions (Grimes)
Honorable Mentions: Happy to You (Miike Snow), June 2009 (Toro y Moi), Love at the Bottom of the Sea (The Magnetic Fields), Something (Chairlift), Spooky Action at a Distance (Lotus Plaza), The Only Place (Best Coast), The Sparrow (Lawrence Arabia), Traps (Jaill).