Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The 2012 Year in Review

2012. It saw a ratings record-setting NBA playoffs series between Boston and Miami, a huge Superbowl featuring Boston Vs. New York City, a seemingly-endless presidential election that featured candidates from Boston and Chicago, and a Wrestlemania main event between Boston's own John Cena and Miami's own The Rock.

My town, Boston, lost all of those.

What follows are just my opinions; your mileage may vary. If I haven't seen or played something, it probably won't be mentioned. Exceptions can be made if I have fairly extensive knowledge of a game or movie. Before you lose your mind because the latest Call of Duty wasn't included, I didn't play it and don't know very much about it. With that said, let's go.

The Top Three Movies of 2012
Honorable Mentions: Skyfall, The Hobbit, Prometheus, The Avengers, Beasts of the Southern Wild
3. Argo - A gripping look at the Iranian Hostage Crisis of 1979, Argo was Ben Affleck's attempt to solidify his status as a competent director, something he didn't quite achieve with the somewhat divisive The Town. Once again, he cast himself as the main character of the movie, thus eliminating any possibility of creative differences or personality clashes. The result is one of the best movies of the year.
2. Lincoln - Another movie based on real-world events, covering the final months of the Lincoln presidency and the brutality of the Civil War. Daniel Day-Lewis elevates the proceedings into greatness with his portrayal of the 16th president. Everything about this movie clicks just right. The pace is a bit on the slow side, but anyone with a real interest in American history should see this.
1. The Dark Knight Rises - Superhero movies sure have gotten good in the past few years, eh? This movie manages to surpass either of the previous Christopher Nolan directed Batmen, which is a pretty tough sell when considering that those were two of the best action movies of the last decade. While Bane isn't as great of a villain as The Joker, he is particularly intimidating as Batman's foil. Well, aside from the voice - but the voice actually adds to his character, in my view. While The Joker mainly attacked Batman psychologically, Bane manages to humble Batman physically. Batman's ascent back to prominence is the real story of this movie, and a damn good one.

The Top Three Songs I Liked in 2012
3. Purity Ring - "Ungirthed", Shrines - Having never heard of Purity Ring before this year, I was moderately blown away by their trippy, emotive album. While it is difficult to pick a "best song" from the album, I'd give the nod to Ungirthed.
2. Avicii - "Levels" (Single) - Proof that club music doesn't have to suck, this song really burst onto the scene over the past year. It was noticable to the point where such a (cough) luminary as Flo Rida sampled it for one of his songs. Levels exudes energy of the positive variety, and it has one of the best music videos I saw all year.
1. Gotye - "Somebody That I Used To Know", Making Mirrors - Another song with a great (and instantly recognizable) music video. Who doesn't know this song by now? It's a tremendous work, one that catapulted Gotye into superstardom. It won't win any awards for being the world's happiest song, but it's nice to hear a (now) mainstream artist actually sing about something that matters to people.

The Worst Songs of 2012
3. Big Sean - "Ass" - For all I know, Big Sean is a great rapper on his other tracks. All I know is that this - possibly his most well-known song - is, well, complete ass. That's basically what it is, repetition of the word "ass". I managed to avoid it for most of the year, but this very week I heard it at a club. I nearly keeled over right then. The worst part? Girls love it. 
2. Carly Ray Jepsen - "Call Me Maybe" - And speaking of girls loving things, they sure love this song. Do any men like this song? I don't know. It is, hands-down, the most abysmal single song I heard this year, barely edging out "Ass". At least she is merely condoning giving your number to someone you just met, rather than outright going home with them like most of the other female pop artists (I'm looking at you, Kesha) would tell you to do. Lots of people really like this song; myself, I find it to be an overplayed, poppy annoyance.
1. Pretty Much Everything By Nicki Minaj - I liked Nicki when I first heard her in 2011, but quickly realized that I wasn't sure why. While her songs often have infectious beats that would be at home in a fast-paced video game, Nicki Minaj herself has this weird ability to bring down seemingly every song she's a part of - as well as the I.Q. of her listeners.

The Three Most Overplayed Songs of 2012
3. Rihanna - "We Found Love" - I actually like this song. It has some sick production, and Rihanna's voice is always awesome. But there's no denying that it got overplayed to extreme levels, which can make even decent songs get stale fast.
2. Carly Ray Jepsen - "Call Me Maybe" - This again. The fact that it was ridiculously overplayed over the Summer just adds to the insane annoyance that is "Call Me Maybe". No wonder I had a semi-awful Summer, this one song got to be the soundtrack to it everywhere I went.
1. Psy - "Gangnam Style" - The most-listened-to song in history on Youtube, well on the way to being the first video on the site to break one billion views (if it hasn't reached that milestone already as of press time), this song plays EVERYWHERE. I went pub-crawling for Halloween and heard it no fewer than three times in one evening. I'm not saying that the song is bad; on the contrary, it is pretty catchy. But there's no denying that it is being overplayed into oblivion, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a wave of backlash begin to develop against the song.

The Top Three TV Shows I Watched in 2012
3. True Blood - About to enter its sixth season, True Blood is one of HBO's modern flag-bearers. It draws elements from shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, gives them a modern, R-rated spin, and adds a fair amount of Louisiana charm. This show is full of sex and violence, but it never stops being entertaining (aside from perhaps the unmemorable Season 4) and the characters never stop being compelling. Also, the sexy main character never wears pants. Ever.
2. Star Trek: The Next Generation - Alright, this show isn't from 2012 at all. But I spent a good deal of time this year watching Star Trek (various movies and shows) and I have to say that TNG is hands-down the best that Star Trek has to offer (aside from perhaps Deep Space 9 - jury's out, I have yet to watch it). It may have ended in 1995 or so, but TNG is a timeless show that has gained new life thanks to streaming show-collections like Netflix.
1. Game of Thrones - About to enter its third season, Game of Thrones is HBO's other flag-bearer. Much like True Blood, this show is full of sex, violence, and compelling characters; it also has a complex overarching plot. It is based on the Song of Ice and Fire series of books, which currently number five with an ultimate goal of seven. Even if you haven't read the books (I haven't yet) the show is an awesome thing to watch. I have to wonder why everyone in this world only has sex doggy-style, though. Doggy-style is all well and good, but it gets a little degrading in the context of this show. At least in True Blood - probably due to the fact that the main character is an empowered woman - they sometimes have sex with the woman on top.

The Top Four Games of 2012
Honorable Mentions - Diablo 3, Halo 4, FarCry 3
4. Persona 4 Golden (PS Vita) - A remake of sorts of 2008's classic Persona 4, this version adds all kinds of new features and depth. I haven't played through it firsthand, but I've seen enough of it to know that I'd be remiss if I didn't include it on this list. The only strike against it being higher on this list is that it's a remake.
3. Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii) - A rare success story of what fans can accomplish en masse. It took a lot of effort from fans to get this game brought to the United States, but they succeeded. The game itself has a lot more grinding than I'd like, but it's one of the more solid console RPGs to come along in a while. It has a number of things in common with Final Fantasy XII and XIII, but arguably improves on both of those games. The only reason this isn't higher is that I found it to be a bit too linear.
2. Mass Effect 3 (PS3) - The finale of Shepard's trilogy dropped, to massive hype, back in March. While it isn't the best game in the series (honestly, the first two have it beaten in every department except visuals), it was still a top-tier game. It got a huge amount of flack for the Deus Ex Machina ending, but those willing to look past that - and really, it's just a sub-par ending - will find a rewarding experience.
1. Journey (PS3) - An incredible game from the makers of Flower, Journey is what its title would indicate: a journey. It takes you through a majestic desert environment filled with ruins and magic, en route to a destination unknown. There is no dialogue, and whatever story the game has is told through the impressive visuals. Best of all, players with an internet connection can find themselves running into and playing through the game with other people as they progress. The only strike against this game is the short length; it can be completed in a mere two hours, which just isn't long enough.

The Top Five Games I Finished in 2012 That Aren't From 2012
5. Fallout 3 (PS3) (2008) - This was a pretty interesting experience. It took me years to get around to this game because I found it to be pretty depressing. Once I got immersed in it, though, I realized what a great game it is. If only it were less buggy and had a better combat system. It's structured a bit similarly to Xenoblade Chronicles when it comes to sidequests, fast travel, and game length, but it's far more open in terms of how you progress through the game.
4. God of War: Ghost of Sparta HD (PS3) (2011) - The God of War Origins Collection (and now, the Sagas Collection) on the PS3 is a great deal, mostly because of this game. I'd call this the best game in the five-part God of War series.
3. Valkyria Chronicles (PS3) (2008) - The evolution of strategy RPGs like Final Fantasy Tactics, with an infusion of evolved Advance Wars style gameplay = a somewhat revolutionary game. The only strike against it is that it isn't very long for a modern RPG. For me, that ends up being a plus, but many people would find themselves wanting a lot more. Still, this is a great game, and it's too bad we didn't get a good console sequel.
2. Batman: Arkham City (PS3) (2011) - This was an insanely great game to play. It surpasses the amazing Arkham Asylum, delivering the greatest Batman game experience of all time. I played this around when Dark Knight Rises landed in theaters, and it was just the right time. It's such a cool game that even your girlfriend will get into it. And she thinks most games are lame! My only complaint is that it seems to be set in the Animated Series and/or comic book world rather than the Nolan world. Characters like the Joker and Bane aren't what I'm used to or was hoping for. Then again, that's the complaint of a fairweather, bandwagon Batman fan.
1. Mass Effect 2 (PS3) (2010) - The best game in the Mass Effect series (though some would argue ME1 takes that title), this was more experience than game. Traveling through space, solving problems on different planets and interacting with various cultures and races... this game was a joy to play. And since it gives you almost Fallout 3 like levels of control over your character's persona, you're the one who gets to decide whether you're more Captain Kirk or Commander Kruge.

The Top Five Coronajumper Posts of 2012
5. True Lies - This was a particularly bad game, and taking it to task was a lot of fun.
4. Gun Nac - An NES shooter that was ahead of its time and that almost no one has heard of? Sounds like a good candidate for a post. The fact that the game was weird as hell made it even more fun to go after.
3. Love Hina Games - I'm no fan of Love Hina, and these look like some pretty atrocious games.
2. The Rest of Highlander: The Source - One of the worst movies I've ever seen, mocked for your amusement.
1. The Mario Retrospective - A collaborative effort that, in my view, ended up being the best post of the year.

The Top Four Things That Made My 2012 Better
4. Trying to figure out Prometheus - Is this movie a modern work of genius that takes much discussion to figure out, or just a bad movie that is hard to make sense of? YOU DECIDE. I'd lean towards the former.
3. Things with Batman in them - Arkham City and The Dark Knight Rises were both extremely enjoyable over the Summer months.
2. Gotye - This guy seemingly arrived out of nowhere with some of the best mainstream music I've heard in years.
1. Feisty Redheads - Admit it, you'd go to the special hell too.

The Top Three Most Memorable Events of 2012 in Entertainment
3. The Celtics/Heat NBA playoff series - This was memorable in a good way. The highest-rated series of basketball games in the past fifteen years, with what seemed like everyone tuned in to see who the victor would be. This represented interest in the NBA being the highest it has been since the mid-90's, and I was caught up in the wave. In the end, the Celtics gave the Heat their most difficult battle of the year before falling to Lebron and Co on their way to the championship.
2. The hysteria surrounding Mass Effect 3's ending - This was memorable in a not so good way. People sure overreacted on this one. The ending was a bit disappointing, but I feel like the hysterical portion of the playerbase caused a chain reaction of people blowing their own mild disappointment out of proportion until it became the "in" thing to do.
1. The announcement of Star Wars: Episode VII - I've been wanting to see more Star Wars movies for a long time. With new people at the helm, this could be either great or awful (or something in between). I'm hoping for the best. This announcement certainly rocked the nerd world.

The Top Three Most Memorable Events of 2012 in General
3. Hurricane Sandy - This was nearly apocalyptic in and of itself. The image above shows New York City in a partial state of blackout, something few people thought they'd ever see. The right side of the shot gives us a chilling look at what things would look like if our infrastructure were to collapse.
2. Barack Obama wins - The election was a seemingly-endless struggle that failed to generate the kind of fire and interest that the last several elections did, but the conclusion to it was memorable.
1. The World Doesn't End - Which means my Lennus 2 posts can continue without interruption! And in other news, all life on Earth can continue to live on unabated.


  1. You might be the only person to think DKR is better than TDK.

    1. I feel like The Dark Knight got a little side-tracked with the Two Face thing. Yeah, I understand that The Fall of Dent is a huge part of the story, but that movie is compelling because of The Joker.

      DKR didn't have any real side-tracking, the story followed a more interesting arc, and I actually thought Bane was a better villain than The Joker. Yeah, The Joker is more interesting, but he's kinda weak in battle compared to Bane. And that's a big deal.

      Both are great movies, but I give the edge to Rises. I'm sure there are other people who would go that way.

  2. Really good lists. My first chance to listen to "Ungirthed," too.

    The Heat-Spurs Finals will definitely make the 2013 list!