Best of 2011

It seems that everyone and their mom are doing sort of lists this week. I was initially planning not to do one, but holidays tend to sneak up on you sometimes, and eat up your precious blogging time. I figured that this would be better than no blog post at all. Not to mention that I already set the precedent by doing a post just like this last year. So let’s get on with it, shall we?

Best Video Game of 2011

This is a bit of a tough call – I don’t think I can name just one game that was the absolute best. There were at least three games that I feel earned this distinction:

  1. Portal 2 was more or less a perfect game. It had excellent writing, awesome game play, memes and a barrel load of fun. Personally I didn’t really care much for the multiplayer segments, and would have preferred if that work went into the single player campaign instead, but I was still very impressed with it. While short, it delivered a concentrated does of solid entertainment that was worth every penny.

  2. Deux Ex: Human Revolution was a very solid, linear RPG. I have never played the original game so the fact that it did not live up to the original did not mar my enjoyment. The things that did mar it were the stupid outsourced boss fights (I wish that all “boss encounters” in Deus Ex HR were like the Hugh Darrow conversation in Panchea) and the contrived push-button ending. Was it flawed?

    Yes, of course. But this is definitely the kind of game I want to see more off on the market. Not an endless parade of Modern Warfare clones, but thoughtful, interesting, decently written PPG’s. Bonus points for it not being a fantasy RPG which we have plenty of.

  3. You have probably surmised that Skyrim will be on this list, by the sheer amount of posts I devoted to it in the last month or so. I have a soft spot for Elder Scrolls games, and while Bethesda writing has always been a bit week, their expansive worlds, and the degree of freedom they give you to create your own stories more than makes up for that. It is not as large or as complex as it’s predecessors, but I loved it nonetheless.

If I had to summarize 2011 in one sentence, I would say it was a year of good, but flawed games. Portal 2 was a bit short, and had a lot of content that did not interest me (hats, multi-player, etc..). Deus Ex had outsourced boss fights and cop out ending. Skyrim was small, limited and dumbed down compared to Oblivion or Morrowind. I think that the “consolization” of the gaming industry is progressing almost exponentially now, and the fact that PC is no longer even remotely relevant as a release platform for the big hitters in the industry has been especially relevant this year. I no longer dare to hope this trend can be reversed. Now I simply hope that in the next decade or so, the erudite PC gaming connoisseurs who will be forced to migrate to consoles, will create a critical mass of demanding consumers who are not easily pleased by shitty shovelware like Modern Warfare. That console market will no longer be a domain of bros, and that publishers will make more games like the ones I mentioned above. In the meantime I will keep clinging to my gaming PC for as long as I can.

Best Book of 2011

Choosing the best book is much easier, because majority of the things I have read in 2011 was older than a year. In fact, I think that Embassytown by China Miéville was the only new book I have purchased this year. And you know what? I think it deserves the nomination. It is easily one of the best books I have read this year and I highly recommend picking it up.

Perhaps I should make it a point to read a few more “current” releases this coming year. But then again, there are so many older books I need to catch up on.

Best TV Show of 2011

In the TV land, the year was essentially 0wned by Game of Thrones. This show came completely out of the left field, and blinded me with it’s awesomeness. A solid medieval fantasy with excellent character driven plot, great acting and hell of a cliffhanger. I am impatiently anticipating second season in the summer.

I ought to also mention the second season of The Walking Dead which kept the form, and the spirit of the first one. I enjoyed it toughly – much more for example than the latest season of Dexter which I found a bit lacking.

Best Movie of 2011

I had a long list of good movies I wanted to put here, but I realized none of them was made in 2011. Inception would without a doubt be on this list, if it wasn’t for the small detail that it was made in 2010. Same goes for the excellent Social Network, dark and amusing Super, charmingly awesome Scott Pilgrim or the ass kicking Kick-Ass. All of these were 2010 movies.

In comparison, 2011 absolutely sucked. While I enjoyed Captain America or X-Men First Class they are not even close to being in the same class as the 2010 films listed above. To be honest I can’t think of a single good 2011 movie right now. I’m sure there had to be something worth while released in the last 12 months but clearly I must have missed it.

What was the best movie of 2011 for you? How about books and video games or TV shows? Do you agree with my picks? If not, let me know what would you pick instead.

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9 Responses to Best of 2011

  1. Liudvikas LITHUANIA Google Chrome Windows Terminalist says:

    Games: Portal 2 is definitely the best game this year. Deus ex HR while nice lacked the feel of power to change the world, the ending killed it. As for skyrim, well I love elder scrolls, but I could never vote for a game which lacks strong story.

    Books: Haven’t read many books released this year. But the final book in the WWW trilogy was released in 2011 and I loved the trilogy.

    TV Shows: Game of thrones – this needs no comments.

    Movies: I can’t remember any movie that warranted something more than “meh” from me.

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  2. s1n UNITED STATES Google Chrome Linux says:

    My wife and I really enjoyed the Muppets movie.

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  3. Jed AUSTRALIA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    10 Highest-grossing films of 2011:
    1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
    2 Transformers: Dark of the Moon
    3 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
    4 Kung Fu Panda 2
    5 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1
    6 Fast Five
    7 The Hangover Part II
    8 The Smurfs
    9 Cars 2
    10 Rio

    Of the movies I saw on that list there’s none I can honestly say really wowed me or stuck with me enough to even remember having seen them until reading it.

    Looking at the rotten tomatoes top 100 of 2011…
    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/top/bestofrt/?year=2011
    Don’t even recognise more than half of the list.

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  4. Adrian BELGIUM Opera Windows says:

    Drive was, for me, movie of the year. There hasn’t been any other movie that blindsided me as much as that one.

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  5. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @ s1n:

    I have not seen it. Supposedly it is actually quite decent so yeah – that might be the one ok movie of the year.

    @ Jed:

    Isn’t it sad that 8 out of the 10 top grossing movies are sequels (five of which have numbers higher than 2), the ninth is a childhood nostalgia cash-in adaptation. :(

    @ Adrian:

    Have not seen it. I think I might have glimpsed the trailer and it did not make a big impression on me. What’s good about it?

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  6. StDoodle UNITED STATES Google Chrome Windows says:

    Of those top movies, I’ve seen:

    Harry Potter; ok I guess, liked the books better and still felt they were “so-so,” but still better than most of the junk out there

    Transformers; rented and watched at home ’cause I was really bored. Shoulda done some coding. ;)

    Pirates; meh. The first one was fun, but since then… wished I’d saved this for rental, but the wife has a thing for JD.

    Rio; double-date w/ the bro & his wife, this was the only movie out at the time we were all up for. While nothing spectacular, it’s ok as a kiddie movie or a date movie. Sadly, it’s probably my top pick from that list.

    Luckily, I’ve fared better for other entertainment. I have a new favorite blog to follow and a couple new authors said blog has pointed me to. :)

    Maybe next year, when the congress-critters “fix” all the internet problems plaguing the poor, downtrodden entertainment industry, things will get better. Yeah.

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  7. icebrain PORTUGAL Google Chrome Windows Terminalist says:

    Well, I went to see Drive yesterday and it was a decent movie (although somewhat overrated IMO). I don’t think I’ve watched any other 2011 film, though.

    Portal 2 was a great game, though. Best I’ve played in a while.

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  8. Steve CANADA Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Sorry, couldn’t stand this season of The Walking Dead. More like “All My Zombies”…soap operish bullshit with the occassional zombie thrown in for good measure. The show better pick up in the second half of this season, or I’m done. As for Dexter – ever since the whole coincidence, deus ex machina that was Rita’s death, I haven’t watched a second of it. Let’s see…she was going on a trip, via plane. Went to airport. Forgot something at the house. Went back to house. However, at the same time she got to the house to grab something (what, that would take 30 seconds), the bad guy just happened to be there at precisely the same time. Bullshit. Worst “twist” ever.

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  9. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Google Chrome Linux Terminalist says:

    @ StDoodle:

    I was surprised that Johnny Depp even agreed to do the 2011 Pirates move – especially seeing how Legolas and Kiera Knightley didn’t. I guess he really likes being Jack Sparrow… Or he really liked the money. Either way, I decided against seeing that one.

    Did not see Transformers because I really, really did not want to encourage Michael Bay to make more of these movies. Or any movies really…

    @ Steve:

    Yeah, I agree – this season was rather focused on the human drama and relationships. But I maintain that focus on character development usually not a bad thing. I’m hoping they will get off the damn farm in the second part of the season. I’m not writing it off just yet.

    I liked Rita’s death – it was a gut wrenching moment, because at that point my disbelief was still suspended. Plus I kinda liked her so it totally blew me away. Plus I did not think it was such a huge coincidence. You knew Trinity was stalking Dexter’s house at that point – he might have been out there for a few hours during which Rita just happened by.

    It was much less of a stretch than this seasons big “twist” in which Dexter stupidly performs a kill at a crime scene and while on duty so that Deb can conveniently walk onto it.

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