Monday, January 01, 2018

These are a few of my favorite things

Sorry, one day delay on the hockey story. This is a top ten list, but it's a top ten of everything from 2017.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch, Wii U)
As close to perfect as any open world game I've ever played, bursting with personality and color. I didn't even finish it (I was around the 70 hour mark), and it didn't matter. It was all wondderful.

2. Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)
A very, very bold design, combined with a staggering amount of whimsy. Wildly funny, even silly, but in all the right ways.

3. Golf Story (Switch)
An indie game with a small team and smaller budget, and it was fantastic. A golf RPG? Yes, and jammed full of personality. I only wish there was DLC with more courses.

4. For The King (PC, Early Access on Steam)
Here's a description from the Steam page: "For The King is a strategic RPG that blends tabletop and roguelike elements in a challenging adventure that spans the realms." I can add to that the following: incredibly charming, a genuinely fun battle system, bards, lutes, and a lore system that unlocks characters and items to discover in your next playthrough. 

This is still in Early Access, but it was unquestionably the best PC game I played last year. 

5. The First Half of Baby Driver
The most perfect half a movie that I've ever seen, it was absolutely exhilarating. The second half was so much weaker, and very disappointing, but I can spare you all that. When you see pizza, that's when the movie should end, and up to that point, it's almost perfect.

6. Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Video)
A brilliantly funny series starring a housewife who becomes a foul-mouthed comedian, written by Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls). It's razor sharp, unbearably witty, and full of top-level character actors who are clearly enjoying their roles.

7. Below
This was my favorite book of the year, and it was written by DQ reader Lee Gaiteri. Here's a description: "Everyone knows the late wizard Visak left his fortune hidden in the vast underground ruins of the Elder Kingdom, safer than any bank. Brenish, a mediocre highwayman but a brilliant liar, always dreamed of finding riches in the deeps himself. Since his fascination has earned him a reputation as a lore master, he's the perfect man to sell a forger's masterpiece: the wizard's lost treasure map."

The writing is taut and disciplined, the world is vivid, and the characters are so well-drawn. This is a terrific, fun read.

8. The Deuce
A new HBO series set in 1970s New York City about the rise of the p*rn industry. Graphic and unapologetic, it features mesmerizing performances from both Maggie Gyllenhaall and James Franco. 1970s style and music also co-star, and it's an irresistible combination. I don't think this is a great show--not yet--but it's incredibly entertaining.

9. Golf Club 2
This is, unquestionably, the best golf game I've ever played, and I've played them all. Superb mouse swing, an enormous variety of beautiful, user-created courses, and an excellent simulation of golf overall. Putting is difficult (but not unfair), and I'd like to see a wider variety of elevations on the courses, but this is a fantastic golf experience.

10. Snowshoes
A bit of a surprise, but as it turns out, I really enjoy snowshoeing.

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