Saturday, December 30, 2023

2023 Review - Best Viewed and Read

 2023 is at an end and it is time to look back at the year that has been and summarize - what was good and what was bad? Any New Years resolutions to break?

I try to keep track of the games I play, but I am very bad at it. Because of this I unfortunately can't make a good list of my favorite games this year. I also don't really play enough of them to make a list of best ones, I guess. I recall replaying FFVII and that was just as great as I remembered, which I was relieved to experience as I had worried my rose-tinted goggles might've been at work. No, that game still holds up 100% and I had an absolute blast playing through it again. Other than that it has mostly been World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic and me trying to squeeze in other games, and some blogging, in-between. 

My personal year has been good, other than my washing machine breaking down and me having to wash our clothes at my work for the two weeks we waited for a new one to arrive. But it is here now and it is doing what it should, so that problem is solved.

Best Books of 2023

These are by no means new books or released anywhere near 2023, but simply books I've read during the year. I read about 50 books, if you count the Judge Dredd Collection of series, which I do. Here were some of my favorites;

1. Judge Dredd - The Complete Case Files

A collection of every Judge Dredd series released in the 2000AD magazine and they are all amazing. I love reading them and I am happy there are many more for me to get. I am at the 7th book when writing this and I think they've released 42 or so. I tried thinking of some favorites, but I actually really enjoy them all - big stories and small ones alike. I'd love to explain the concept, but it needs to be experienced to be fully understood. In essence, Judge Dredd is a supercop in the future, handling all kinds of extremely crazy future problems. The tone is satirical, dark and far-out imaginative. I'm endlessly impressed by the writers abilities to come up with more and more crazy stories.

2. The City of the Chasch by Jack Vance

Not an amazing book by any means, and maybe I just liked it because I was so positively surprised that it wasn't as bad as I expected. Some time ago I acquired a haul of old sci-fi "classics" released in Sweden, in bad Swedish translations, under the Delta Science Fiction name. Most of these books have been a chore to get through. Out of the 30 or so I've read so far, maybe two or three have been worth reading. The City of the Chasch was one of them. The main character Adam Reith is sent out from Earth to investigate a distress signal on a planet called Tschai. After a crash landing he find that the planet is inhabited by loads of sentient species, many of which keep what seems to be humans as slaves. The humans themselves don't remember being from anywhere else, neither seems anyone else. Are these humans actually from Earth? The book has good world building and an interesting mystery at its core, it kept me entertained throughout but is part of a series so I haven't read the conclusion yet.

3. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

The Count of Monte Cristo is my favorite book ever. Of course I had to see if Alexandre Dumas could pull it off again. And he does. The Three Musketeers is also an amazing, fun and exhilarating read and none of the movies I have seen do it any justice (which is also true for The Count of Monte Cristo). The story of how the young adventurer d'Artagnan befriends the musketeers Athos, Porthos and Aramis (not their real names by the way) has everything you want in a good book.

4. Anything from Bitmap Books

This year I read Game Boy: The Art Collection and The Secret History of Mac Gaming. I already own two or three other books from these publishers. If you're into video games, nostalgia, well written facts and pretty pictures, these books provide and then some. The quality and design is superb and the books themselves are almost works of art. It helps that the content is great too. Definitely check them out, they're worth every penny.

Best Watched in 2023

I don't watch many tv-series, but I've seen a fair few movies. Here were some standouts;

1. TMNT: Mutant Mayhem

I enjoyed Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, without having watched any of the TV-series. So I decided to give Mutant Mayhem a chance too. I loved the quirky animation style, I loved the characters. The humour was spot on TMNT. Very entertaining and worth checking out if you're into TMNT.

2. Violent Night

A friend of mine recommended Violent Night, probably knowing what kind of action I am into. And this movie delivers. It's such a whacky concept that it takes all the way, and it even works better than Tommy Wirkola's previous movie Dead Snow, which was also fun. I love John Leguizamo in anything, yes even Mario Bros and Spawn, and he is great here (so is Beverly D'Angelo is a badass matron). But of course the real hero is David Harbour as Santa, and the writing.

3. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

I don't care what anyone says, I think this movie was absolutely great. I watched it with my kid in the cinema and had good old matinee fun! Because this was the first Indy movie he saw, we of course had to go back and watch all the other ones too. It was fun to see him recognize characters from the earlier movies and Dial of Destiny is a worthy successor. I like it better than Temple of Doom and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

4. Lightyear

I hadn't watched this yet and because I have been disappointed with most Disney outings since Toy Story 4 my expectations were low for this movie. It wasn't improved by the fact that reception was bad as well. I was very pleasantly surprised then to find a really neat sci-fi movie in Lightyear, and probably one of Disney's best movies in years (I also quite liked Onward). It gave me some hope for Disney, but watching "Wish" later this year squashed a lot of that...

What were your standout experiences in entertainment this year? I am always up for good tips in the reading, watching and gaming department.

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