Retro 2010

First of all, let’s get the customary “Happy 2011 to you all!” out of the way.

Good. Moving on.

So, another year, here we go. A whole new year of geekiness waiting for us, and there’s already plenty of things to start getting excited about, but I feel somewhat obligated – nay, compelled by forces primordial and arcane – to do some manner of review of my favourite things from last year… can’t fight it… losing… fight for… quality… aaaaaagh

 2010, You Were Awesome; Tzaph’s Top 5 Geeky Things from Last Year

In no particular order…

 5 – Loads of awesome films

 Inception. Kickass. Tron Legacy. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Monsters. Toy Story 3. Skyline. Iron Man 2. Alice in Wonderland. The Other Guys. Prince of Persia. The A-Team. How to Train Your Dragon. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

I’m sure there were more great films that hit the screens in 2010, but these are the ones that stick in my mind, mainly because they were mind-explodifyingingly great. Even 2010’s “meh” films like Knight and Day, Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Shrek 4 were pretty decent.  

I know that some of those films I mentioned flopped or got slammed in reviews, but who cares? Chances are that if you wanted to see Michael Cera shoryuken a lesbian goth, you were going to go and see it regardless of critics or box office ratings.

4 – Black Library

As I said in an earlier post, Warhammer is The Shit. Part of what makes Warhammer The Shit is the rich, dripping background, and in terms of background, you don’t get more iconic than The Goddamn Horus Heresy. The Heresy series offerings were slim last year, but what we got was gold; A Thousand Sons and The First Heretic (I haven’t read Nemesis, but I hear good things).

Other great Black Library offerings last year were The Sabbat Worlds Anthology, Soul Hunter, Flesh and Iron and anthologies for Gaunt’s Ghost The Lost arc, and Matt Farrer’s Enforcer trilogy (unknown to me, but again I hear good things)

Henry Zhou and Aaron Dembski-Bowden are fairly new to the Black Library’s stable of writers, and I’m hoping to see them pump out more great stuff this year; Dembski-Bowden in particular, owing to the stunning job he did on The First Heretic. In the same vein, I’m hoping Ben Counter doesn’t release something this year. Or the next. Or the next. Or the next.  

3 – Magic; the Gathering keeps getting better

I haven’t yet blown my e-load on my favourite card game yet, so I’ll summarise; if Warhammer is The Shit, then M;tG is, like, The Shit of Jehovah and Bahamut and Optimus Prime combined, i.e. fan-tucking-fastic. It’s by far and away my favourite non-video game, and I evangelise heavily of its virtues. Like Warhammer, I have played it for a long time. Unlike Warhammer, I still care about Magic, if only because Wizards of the Coast seem to care about the quality of their own product (Games Workshop, take note).

So what new flashy cardboard was added to our armouries / shoeboxes last year? Well, we got Worldwake and super-Jace (apparently there were other cards as well), Rise of the Eldrazi and giant unstoppable Cthulhu monsters (memo; turn 3 Hand of Emrakul does not make for a fun game), Magic 2011 continuing the annual tradition of being the best summer Core set EVAH, and Scars of Mirrodin making everyone whinge about poisonous hell-machines being too powerful (and there’s more coming in Besieged…).

2010 was also the year for Archenemy (Best. Multiplayer Format. Ever.) and two more of the fantastic Duel Decks, Phyrexia vs. the Coalition and Elspeth vs. Tezzeret (though the former suffered a little by being generally underwhelming).

All in all, a great year for the best CCG in the world, which, ipso facto, means a great year for me!      

 2 – Epic year of Xbox

This’ll read a lot like number 5;

Bayonetta. Mass Effect 2. Toy Soldiers. Transformers; War for Cybertron. Alan Wake. Dead Rising 2. Bioshock 2. Plants vs Zombies. Army of Two; The 40th Day. Megaman 10. Dragon Age Awakening. Costume Quest. Prince of Persia; The Forgotten Sands. Limbo. Vanquish.

All these Xbox 360 games (as well as Pokemon SoulSilver) kept me happy last year. I’m not really one of the Halo / Modern Warfare crowd, so I can’t really comment on those (other than I suck at them). Likewise I can’t really talk about the big games like Red Dead Redemption or Fallout New Vegas or Fable 3.

Hmm, tell you what; maybe you should go see what my buddy Joe thinks about those games at www.thinklikeashark.wordpress.com . Maybe then he’ll stop throwing office supplies at me (he won’t).   

Oh, and Kinect totally curb-stomps the living crap out of the Wii.

1 – All the rest   

Matt Smith as the eleventh Doctor in a new series was cool. I’ll admit I’m a big Tennant fanboy, but the new guy’s doing a good  job (but Karen Gillan is no Freema Agyeman… yum). Season 5 had some ups and downs – for every “Time of Angels”, it seemed there was a “Vincent and the Doctor” –  but was generally fairly awesome.

Although they’re not 2010 releases, I finally got round to dabbling with Fantasy Flight Games’ Warhammer 40,000 Dark Heresy and White Wolf’s World of Darkness (and as I always do, proceeded to spent redonkulous money on splatbooks I never use). Those two games haven’t scored well with my gaming group, but we are mental for Tannhauser (also from Fantasy Flight),  a strategic boardgame set in a bizarro-WW2 where the Germans were warlocks, the Russians were cyborgs built by Slavic gods, and the Allies had laser guns. Needless to say, it is brilliant.

I ranted about D&D Essentials last month, and I think I’m about ready to take my group through a series of delves. Good times. Although I hear the siren call of Gamma World, and I just know that my group will jump at the chance to be radioactive yetis, steam-powered sentient oozes, or whatever else those random character charts produce.

A group of friends and I all flexed our creative muscles; you should totally check out our awesomeness at http://youdonottalkaboutwriteclub.wordpress.com/. I swear to Christ we’ll add new stuff this year.

Oh, and I also started this blog, so, you know, w00t.

  – Tzaph

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