Best of 2010: Part 1

I’ve been busy with a lot of other things lately and haven’t had a whole lot of time to write on my own, but maybe that’s a good new year’s resolution for 2011.  In the meantime, I didn’t want to skip on making my annual “Best Of” list.  I’ll be doing my favorite movies tomorrow, and have a list of just about everything else for today.

As in the past few years, I do have a few qualifiers about all of this.  All of these properties and IP’s didn’t necessarily release this year, but I got into them this year.  Also, my favorites are at the top of each list, but the rest are in no particular order.

Video Games

Mass Effect 2 – Absolutely my favorite game of the year, and probably of the past few years.  It’s an improvement in every way over the first game, which I already listed as one of my favorites of the last decade.
I’ve told my wife that it’s kind of a toned down Grand Theft Auto or Fable set in space, but in reality it’s like playing through a Ridley Scott movie.  I love this stuff and can’t wait for the third one.
Rock Band 3 – I think everyone, including Harmonix, knows that the music game fade is dying out pretty quickly.  However, for those guys like me who are still really into it, they made some wonderful improvements this time around that more or less rebooted the franchise.  The keyboard makes it a whole new game, and the party mini-games in the career mode give the game a whole new life.
Mario and Luigi 3 – I was replacing my Nintendo DS back this Summer with a Nintendo DSi, and this game came with it as part of the package.  I probably wouldn’t have bought this separately, but I’m really glad I happened upon it.  It has insane and fun mechanics that make it a perfect handheld RPG.

Fable 2 –
While it’s become a little forgettable after the fact, the first playthrough Fable 2 is one of those experiences that really sticks with you as you play it.  I’m not in a rush to pick up the third one just yet, but I certainly will eventually.

TV Shows

Mad Men – I picked up on this late, but I’m glad I did.  This is one of those kinds of things where a bunch of guys sat down in a room and decided to make a TV show for me. Aside from the hard living and womanizing, everything that happens at Sterling Cooper eerily reminds me of the sort of thing I do at my job.

The Walking Dead –
I’m surprised that no one has taken a popular sub-genre and turned it into an episodic series before.  Just like shiny vampires last year, zombies are hot this year and The Walking Dead really capitalized on it.  It has movie quality production design, and doesn’t keep itself strictly restricted to the source material.  Even if you’ve read the comic, you have no idea where it’s headed.

Friday Night Lights –
I think that in terms of writing, this is probably the best show on TV right now.  It’s easy to write it off as a cheap adaptation or cheesy teen drama if you haven’t seen it before, but I think everyone who ever lived in a small southern town owes it to themselves to try this show out.

The X Files – I started watching the “canon” episodes in chronological order on Netflix, and I’m so glad I have.  This show is aging really, really well.

Comic Books

Walking Dead – I started reading old episodes because of the TV show, and like I alluded to above, it’s a completely different experience than the show.  I’m glad I picked up on this five years too late, because I was able to speed through every issue that came out in that time.

Amazing Spiderman –
Spidey purists are probably still ticked off over the post Civil War reboot, but I think the team at Marvel is doing some of their best writing with this series.  Peter Parker is more identifiable than he’s ever been lately.

Kick Ass –
What an awesome post-modern comic.  If someone in the real world decided to be a superhero, this is exactly how it would go down.  Violence, obscenity and all.

Scott Pilgrim – Also something that I picked up due to a movie.  Hilarious and relatable stuff, but in a hyperrealized kind of way.

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