2010: Year of the List

Or list of the year, I forget which. Here we go again - another completely subjective list of the things I found and liked this year.

--Of the movies I saw:

Christopher Nolan made me very happy with this decidedly literal take on the psychological thriller.

The Sky Crawlers
Evocative, imaginative and unsettling animation from Mamoru Oshii.

I'm Here
Spike Jonze's thirty minute short is weird, bittersweet and extremely memorable. You can watch it online here.

--Of the books I read:

Winged Victory - V.M. Yeates
An unflinchingly honest portrayal of young men ruined physically and psychologically by wartime flying in the newly founded R.A.F.

Boneshaker - Cherie Priest
A wonderfully atmospheric story of poison gas, zombies and steampunk.

---Comics and manga:

20th Century Boys - Naoki Urasawa
If you haven't already seen me raving about this fantastic series, you can't have been paying attention. A sprawling, genre-defying epic told at a personal scale.

Biomega - Tsutomu Nihei
All your transhuman zombie bio/cyberpunk needs in one gothic, M.C. Escher-esque setting. With added talking grizzly bear.

The Umbrella Academy: Dallas - Gerard Way, Gabriel Bá et al.
The continuation of the most imaginative superhero comic you'll ever read, which still never loses its human touch.

---Of the TV shows I watched:

Essentially the animated, prohibition-era, supernatural, ultraviolent The Wire.

Downton Abbey
You mean a period drama can be about progress instead of pining nostalgically for eras when everyone knew their place? And the whole thing is gorgeous and brilliantly written? More please.

Avatar: The Legend of Aang
I finally saw the first season of the acclaimed cartoon this year. It's not perfect, but the setting and characters are wonderfully realised.

---Of the games I played:

Mass Effect 2
Delivering on the promise of modern, mainstream, big-budget games, Mass Effect 2 places you in a sci-fi epic overflowing with cinematic action and life-or-death decisions. Also: Tali.

Digital: A Love Story
Simple. Minimalist. Heartbreaking.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
You may not experience the same visceral emotional response that this game gave me, but even without it, this demonstrates an important other way in interactive storytelling - rather than letting the player decide what happens, this game tries to get in your head and tell you the story it thinks suits you best.

--Of the New Years I had:

I wish you a very happy one. May 2011 be a year where good things happen for you.


Five Thoughts on Tron Legacy

  1. Bruce Boxleitner is old now, but no less awesome.
  2. I didn't find the CG Jeff Bridges that creepy.
  3. Michael Sheen steals every scene he's in.
  4. I fell head-over-heels in love with Daft Punk's awesome soundtrack.
  5. Also, to a lesser extent, with Olivia Wilde's Quorra.


Christmas Present

Already retrieved from behind the sofa countless times.


Christmas a la Cassini

Since it's Saturnalia, or thereabouts, let's take a look at some of the Cassini images I missed over the past few months:

The familiar icon of a crescent moon is rendered alien in this view of Enceladus bisecting a slender crescent of Saturnian daylight.

Another snap from the same flyby shows Enceladus' characteristic geysers.

Cassini caught a good portrait here of one of Saturn's many smaller, potato-shaped moons: Helene.

Saturn's second largest moon, Rhea, eclipses Titan in a grab for the limelight. Rhea is about a million kilometres away in this image, and Titan 2 million.

Saturn has many cratered, icy moons, but Tethys here shows off one of its most remarkable features: Ithaca Chasma, a massive canyon dwarfed only by Valles Marineris on Mars.

Happy Christmas everyone - whatever planet, moon or ring-system you may call home.

(All images credit NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.)


Monday Movie: A Town Called Panic

Somewhere in the serene papier mache countryside, a toy cowboy and Indian live with a horse, forever getting up to mischief. When their latest hijinks see horse's house completely obliterated, the trio knuckle down to rebuild it, only for each set of walls they build to be stolen by unseen criminals.

Chasing after the thieves, Cowboy, Indian and Horse blunder to the centre of the Earth, the bottom of the sea and the bowels of a terrible, terrible war machine. Will they recover their home, clear the name of their impossibly macho neighbour and get horse to his piano lessons on time? Well, if anyone can do it... it's probably not these three idiots.

A Town Called Panic (a.k.a. Panique au Village) blends rock-bottom crude animation with an epic, child-sized imagination to create an infectious, anarchic and bizarrely charming film where pretty much anything can happen.


The Weather Forecast was Accurate


In the space of an hour this afternoon, everything was covered in snow.

At least now I have some sensible icy weather shoes.


Friday Lego Blogging

Everyone knows the cardboard box is the ultimate infiltration tool.


It only took me forever...

Finally posted a slightly fixed up version of my last game on the other blog.


Sarif Industries

Sarif Industries.

Just a small cog in a large hype machine, that's me.


Coughing Fit

Heroic effort made to avoid corpsing.


Friday Video Game Tragedy Blogging

The cryo-trays are under attack. Defend them.