This year when it comes to picking the best game of the year, I have one major thought running through my head. Why did I trade my PS4 in for a Wii U all those years ago? Another thought ran through my head? Can I include something that isn’t a video game? Why not, right? It’s my list. Writing these lists it has occurred to me how little media I consume compared with critics in these respective areas. However, I’m not a critic. I consume media just the same as anyone else and that perspective is still valid.
As with TV, I didn’t see too many movies this year. The nature of some movies is such that release dates can be tricky to track in Australia if the movie isn’t a blockbuster title. Hence, I saw mostly tent-pole movies this year and mostly Disney properties at that. Chances are I’ll rarely go to a movie unless the buzz is quite high or it’s a movie series that I’ve been following for a while. My understanding is that most tent-pole releases have been pretty bland this year. However, this year did contain some great gems.
I didn’t watch a lot of TV this year. Yes, I’ve heard about that show. Did you see how much YouTube I watched? I do have a couple of highlights but if you watched more than five TV shows, you’ve watched more than me this year.
2018 has been a hard year for me. I wasn’t initially going to write a retrospective for this year. I won’t get into all the details of why my year has been difficult but I’m sure everyone remembers the growing pains of leaving academia. There were bright spots. I might explain my feelings in a longer form piece when I feel I’m out of the woods. As usual, I enjoyed my fair share of media. I wrote a ton about media this year too. Usually I begin talking about my favourite song of 2018 but any songs I was drawn to this year were not released in 2018.
However, the sections of YouTube that I frequent had something of a renaissance this year. Picking the ‘best’ video was especially hard. Every channel below released some of their best work in 2018 and elevated the medium in their own way. So I’m going to explore a collection of what you might call honourable mentions but is more like a list of equal first place.
I’ve been playing a lot of Civilization VI recently. Civ VI just recently announced its second large expansion for the game. Since Civ IV, each entry in the series has had two major expansions. So, what did Civ VI’s two expansions bring to this entry in the series? The first expansion is known as Rise and Fall and added two major game systems to play with. City Loyalty, which means that cities who become unhappy will rebel and become free cities. After that, they can be reconquered or succumb to foreign influence. The second mechanic is ages. Depending on your achievements within a historical era will determine positive or negative effects on your nation’s growth. So Rise and Fall is all about the internal struggles of a civilisation, obliquely about those who live under the rule of an empire. The second big update, known as Gathering Storm Gathering Storm makes the world more alive with natural disasters affecting your civilization. So, first I want to look at what that could mean for the series and then look at who has been invited for the latest entry in the series.
So that new Robin Hood movie came out. The one that has been described as a second-rate Batman Begins. The one where knights carry riot shield and the Crusades play out like Zero Dark Thirty. That one. One thing that intrigued me about the new film was the use of Robin’s dual identity as Robin of Locksley to make the Batman parallels even clearer. I just have one question throughout this mess. Why are we expecting the rich to save us? Batman is a billionaire who plays dress up to beat up the poor and disenfranchised. Robin Hood robs from the rich and gives to the poor while remaining a feudal lord. Green Arrow … has a goatee? I’m sure we’ll get to Green Arrow. At least he jumped into politics, although looking at recent blondes millionaires in politics, maybe not so good. So, let’s talk about the myth of the benevolent billionaire.
With Red Dead Redemption 2 coming out recently and with me not having any of the consoles it released on, I decided to revisit its predecessor. Red Dead Redemption is a notable game for me. It’s the first Rockstar game I played to completion. My strongest memory in the game was travelling across the border and riding into Mexico for the first time. I distinctly remember riding my horse to reunite John with his family and as the mournful song played, I got mauled by a cougar and my horse died. So how does it feel returning to this game eight years later?