It’s the end of another year and I think it would be a good time for me to recap my personal best of lists for 2009. In case you haven’t noticed, much of this site is devoted to keeping track of all the media I digest. I review and rate just about every movie, game or book I finish. I also keep track of the music I listen to, but I don’t really buy much music anymore, so that section doesn’t really give a good overview of the new music I have heard lately. So, anyhow, here it is. The Pages of Fun Best of 2009!
- Flying Colours by C. S. Forester – I’d ran out of Aubry/Maturin Napoleonic era novels so I guess Hornblower had to suffice for this year. This series has its highs and lows, and never quite matches O’Brian, but this book in particular was very good.
- Honorable Mention: Twisty Little Passages – An Approach to Interactive Fiction by Nick Montfort – This one is probably a bit too nerdy for the average reader, but I really enjoyed this academic analysis of text adventures.
I guess it was a pretty lame film year for me. I have a pretty big back list of films yet-to-see, so hopefully 2010 will fare better.
Best Video Games
- Braid was my highest ranked game this year. A wonderfully inventive platform game.
- I also have a couple of honorable mentions in this category as well: Fallout 3 and Mirror’s Edge were both incredible games.
All of these games were bought using Valve’s Steam download service, and all were very cheap! PC rules!
Mirror’s Edge is another free-running inspired game like Assassin’s Creed. But unlike Assassin’s Creed, the acrobatic roof running is actually an integral part of the game mechanics and fun. With its puzzle-based level design, this game has much more in common with Portal than anything else. The puzzles are a bit more straightforward than the mind-bending logic tests of Portal, but they offer just about the right amount of challenge for my impatient gaming skills. Once you get a knack for the controls, running and leaping across the scenery is very satisfying. The combat can be a little frustrating, but in most cases you can just run away from your opponents. There is also enough of a shallow story here to provide some motivation. Although ’spoiler alert’ when are you game writers going to come up with a plot twist more original than a standard betrayal by an ally? Add Mirror’s Edge to the list that includes Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, No One Lives Forever, Anachronox, Bioshock…
Paul Barker’s solo project is a slowed-down version of early ninties Ministry. Thankfully he avoids the metal-tinged side of that band. A bit repetitive, but isn’t that the point of industrial music?
More Jello plus Ministry. Although it started to sound dated even within a few years of its release, this is not a bad album. The usual lefty paranoia from Jello with lots of forced lyrics and such and yet another album-closing audio endurance test.
Here’s a brief movie I made for my Daughter using xtra normal’s text-to-movie web app. (xtranormal.com/watch/5839651) if you are having trouble seeing the video).
UPDATE: Xtranormal is no more. Links are dead.
Jello Biafra and Ministry. The first song is great but the rest of the record is an endurance test.
The series chugs along. Number three is still the best movie of the series, but this one performs as expected. The kids in secondary roles are all growing up to be weird looking young adults who have yet to master their craft.
I was disappointed when I came to the realization that this was more of a collection of short stories rather than a full novel. The tales aren’t bad, but I would have preferred a much more grandiose story arc to end of the Hornblower series.
Starts out nicely with Hornblower sent off to deal with a mutinous crew and keeps up the pace for about half of the book. Things begin to slow down near the end when the war with the end of the Napoleonic wars. Although, the return of some old friends from previous books is a welcome turn. So far, the initial trilogy of Hornblower novels are looking like the high point in the series.
A disappointing follow-up to the last Hornblower novel. This one has Hornblower in Russia helping out during the siege of Riga. Maybe a little too much politics for my taste.