2013 “Best of”

I wasn’t too sure if I had gone through enough movies, games, etc to be able to make a decent list this year so decided to take an alternative route and mash these all up together. They’re not in any order, just how they pop out of my head.

TV – Nice night for a… red wedding

I may never end up reading the novels, so like many others who were watching Game of Thrones in 2013 I had no idea of what to expect in the penultimate season episode. As is tradition in this series, some serious shit has to go down and in this case it not only blew people’s mind it almost put Twitter into a catatonic state.

Best part for me though was in waiting another couple of months for my wife to watch through all of the GoT episodes and then see how she reacted to that same episode. It was gold.

Another of my faves, The Walking Dead also finished the year with a very confronting episode that made it clear that no-one is safe. I suppose when you are making a series about people living in dangerous times there needs to be events taking place to remind you of that. But that also goes against the grain of what I suppose is considered “traditional” episodic television where characters tend to live on more often than not.

It makes for thrilling television though and the “Red Wedding” was certainly one of the most memorable for me in 2013.

Games – X marks the spot, again

A year with another console launch and I stuck with Xbox again despite the naysayers and foretellings of a digital apocalypse. It was also was the year where I became completely convinced that IGN have no clue about hardware comparisons whilst also running the worst moderated forums I have seen in ages.

Much like the jump to 360, my progress with Xbox One appears to be a gradual change as there is so much awesome content still on 360 that I doubt I will be completely walking away from it. Right now Grand Theft Auto V is keeping me there and it is such a technical marvel that you don’t feel like you’re missing out on fancier graphics. That plus the Games with Gold freebies are making me happy to keep the old console plugged into my TV.

It was also a year that I started to see some fruit from my Kickstarter investments. So far it has only been Leisure Suit Larry and Shadowrun Returns and though they have not hit the heights I was hoping for there is still so much on the horizon to look forward to that I am still glad to have been a part of the crowdfunding movement.

On my horizon I can see Wasteland 2, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Elite Dangerous, Double Fine’s adventure (Broken Age) and perhaps even the funding monster that is Star Citizen. If anything can bring back old gamers to PCs, it is the opportunity to invest in games like the ones you loved back in the day.

The beginning of Microhard… ummm soft

Microsoft have built hardware for years. From Xboxes to mice to joysticks but the biggest revelation for me this year has been seeing how much a difference Surface Pro has made to my work. The OS may not have been fully realised from the outset (Windows 8.1 helps a lot) but having a such a versatile mobile PC that fits in my bag continues to impress.

With their phones, tablets, desktops and consoles Microsoft have finally showed that the wide ranging ecosystem they had spoken of for years now is finally a reality. That they were able to do so much more comprehensively than competitors like Google and Apple is a credit to their vision.

I know I’ve been surprised with how well it all works; well enough that Outlook and SkyDrive are used constantly at the expense of GMail. Of course Google didn’t help by not supporting Windows Phone but that’s their problem now.

Anticipating 2014

Seeing what’s ahead and it’s all games and movies right now. With Titanfall and Halo 5 on the way I will finally have the Xbox One shooters I’ve been wanting from the outset. This year will be important for Microsoft to indicate the direction the console is taking is the right one and also for restoring some lost faith in the fans.

On the big screen its Marvel all the way starting with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Maybe even The Lego Movie for laughs… it’s for my son, honest! On the little screen it’s going to be about finding out of the Lannisters will finally get their comeuppance in Game of Thrones. If you’ve read the books, please don’t tell!

All in all, much more to see this year and I can’t wait for it to arrive.

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