2014! I had another baby and as such my Best Of The Year list is maybe not as exhaustive as Matt’s, but I could tell you anything you need to know about Go, Diego, Go!. And how 3am feels.
Here’s my best movies and games of the year.
Movies Of The Year:
The Lego Movie
What could have easily been a ninety minute commercial for what is now the world’s biggest toy line was instead lovingly put together with a genius director duo for the warmest, funniest and snappiest comedy I’ve seen in years. And it’s all made out of Lego. With a completely untelegraphed key twist and so much pure joy embedded in every single tiny stud, The Lego Movie is a genuine movie classic.
Under The Skin
The closest I’ve been to walking out of a movie in years. Superb, but just so uncomfortable, it’s a testament to the immense talent of Scarlett Johansson. Doubtlessly intensified by watching by yourself in an empty cinema.
Edge Of Tomorrow
Ignore the God-awful marketing, this is not just another Tom Cruise Saves The World film but his best role in years. The combination of him, Emily Blunt and a great central twist makes this a truly spectacular slice of sci-fi.
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
As a whole, this movie didn’t move out of completely predictable – and somewhat run-of-the-mill – territory, but the spinning shot on the tank turret was worth the entry price alone. Can’t wait for Late Morning Brunch Of The Planet Of The Apes.
Guardians Of The Galaxy
Brilliant. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Brilliant. The best Marvel film yet.
I seem to have enjoyed this way more than some of my friends, but for me it was a fantastic exploration of insurgency and media representation. The central leads were phenomenal and I was hooked from start to finish.
Winner: Guardians Of The Galactic Lego Movie.
Because I can’t decide. They both make me so happy for a million different reasons.
Disappointments: Anchorman 2 for being an inflated, unfunny messy rehash of my favourite comedy, Godzilla for being a dull Aaron Taylor-Johnson movie with some monster fighting at the end, Interstellar for being lifeless, emotionless, robotic and horribly, horribly miscast from top to bottom.
Games Of The Year:
It’s amazing how much movement and expression can be contained in a tiny, blocky single-colour swordfighter. The best Errol Flynn simulator ever, and even better in multiplayer.
I don’t play online, I’ve grown out of military shooters, and I have a four-year-old PC, so I obviously wasn’t expecting much when I picked this up for five dollars in the Origin sale. So you can understand my surprise that, not only does it run fine (albeit in Low), but it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable FPS experiences in ages. So much fun on every level.
Mario Kart 8
The best version of the best arcade racer ever in the best format. Glorious 60fps Nintendo goodness.
This was the only thing I played for a two week period earlier in the year. A great, unfussy arcade shooter that dripfeeds new weapons like a crack dealer maintaining clients. Great stuff.
I don’t find mobile games that fulfilling, but when one clicks, I seem to get obsessed by it (see Super Hexagon. Actually, can that be my Game Of The Year again? No? Fine). Just you, a constant shot counter, and the endless desert rolling out before you and suddenly it’s a metaphor for life and the Universe. Not bad for 99c.
Laughed out in its reveal, this mash-up of Zelda and Dynasty Warriors turned out to be great. Not without its problems, but great to go slicing as Link for the odd hour. Or three.
I’ve only recently started playing this but I’m blown away at its style, pacing and atmosphere. A fantastically terrifying mix of Dead Space and Chronicles Of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay with a wandering Alien who hunts you down through a crumbling mining station. Awesome.
An absolute perfect realisation of the action game genre by my favourite game developers, Platinum Games. The most next-gen game I’ve seen this year, completely at home on the WiiU. Mind-blowingly wonderful game.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2014
As someone who was a Pro Evo obsessive between 2 and 5, it’s fantastic to the series finally back at the top of its game. Every game feels real and dynamic. It’s football.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Again, capping the end of Nintendo’s wonderful 2014, Captain Toad swept in with his glorious puzzlebox dioramas to charm the pants off everyone. A beautifully designed and constructed experience, and one that I play with my whole family. Wonderful.
Winner: Bayonetta 2
Did I mention it’s perfect? What a game. Now, we could just convince Nintendo to finance a sequel to Platinum Games’ Vanquish. In 1080p 60fps. With the original on a second disk. Oh mama.
Probably the largest expectation-to-reality disappointment I’ve felt in ages. What was touted to be a sweeping science fiction epic by the makers of Halo turned out to be an empty, half-assed grindfest. The Bungie I knew and loved seem to have long gone.
That’s 2014 then. Lots to look forward to in 2015, so see you then.
Happy New Year!