It’s not the first time I shamelessly steal inspiration from other people’s blogs. It won’t be the last. For a vaguely video game related blog, you might expect a “games of 2006” list. Others have done thing such as their favourite songs or albums, others TV shows and movies. In a vague attempt to be somewhat different, I’m pretty much including everything in one list. And there might not even be ten. Basically this is pretty much the things that have probably meant the most, or at least my favourite, stuff of 2006. In several categories. You may disagree. You may agree. You may mock. It’s just a list.

I also am back in Lincoln tomorrow, so I don’t really want to divide it up into categories and lose my train of thought. I may also be rather brief as well. So that’s the explanation done, lets start the thing…

Good show: Dexter

Seriously, a brilliant and genius show. Michael C Hall plays the titular character, who is a blood splatter expert for the Miami Police Department, but also happens to be a serial killer himself, although he’s more of a vigilante, taking out his passion upon those that have gotten away with their crimes in the past. The first series, which has just finished in the US, sees Dexter up against “The Ice Truck Killer” a killer who seems to have an equally -if not more- twisted mind then Dexter himself, leaving him a sick trail which makes for fantastic viewing.

It’s well produced, the writing is brilliant and the various characters are portrayed absolutely perfectly. When this comes to the UK, I implore you to watch what is quite possibly one of the most compelling dramas of 2006. It’s not just the fact Dexter is trying to hide behind his facadé, but also how everyone else is perceived by him, and how he can react to the rather outlandish situations. I cannot thank Tom Francis enough for the recommendation through his blog, it is simply a superb show well worth a look. (Warning, link to Tom’s blog contains spoilers…)

Another Excellent Show: Scrubs
JD in Bath

If you didn’t realise that I was a fan of this, then clearly you haven’t been reading my blog enough. But seriously, Season 5 (and the first few episodes of Season six, which I shall not go into too much detail about here for the benefit of my fellow Englishmen who have not yet discovered the ways of watching TV via the interweb thing) has managed to put Scrubs right back on top for one of the best sitcoms of the Post-Friends Era. Season 4, personally, I felt was a little weak, however – as the characters matured, and various events such as Carla’s pregnancy, the introduction of new characters such as Keith and a cracking episode entitled ‘My Lunch’ featuring the last appearance of our favourite manic/depressive Jill Tracy made Season 5 an absolutely top notch series. Heck, I have so many favourite moments in Season Five I can’t begin to describe them, but Turk’s ‘Kung Fu Fighting’ must be one of the funniest, and heck, seeing Dr Cox take a hit like he did in the aforementioned episode and his subsequent return in the following episodes, Scrubs did what it does best at marrying the drama with some damn fun slapstick and occasionally more subtle comedy. Sure, some moments are almost rot-your-teeth-sacchrine, but overall I cannot fault it on doing what every sitcom must do well at to succeed, and thats to make the audience feel good.

Good Album: Foo Fighters: Skin & Bones
Skin & Bones

Sure, not the best album of the year, but I really enjoyed it. These live versions of, amongst others, My Hero, and of course, Everlong I personally think are fantastic. If you like Nirvana’s Unplugged album, you’ll more than likely like this one. As I say, pretty damn good album. If you’re a fan of the Foo’s, buy it if you haven’t already. Otherwise, well – as I say, I’m not exactly the greatest person to talk to when it comes to music (my tastes are too broad for me to narrow stuff down half the time. Chances are if I like a song, I like that song, and it rarely has an impact on other songs)

Album You Should At Least Listen to Once:Radio 1’s Live Lounge
Radio 1's Live Lounge

Bear with me here. As much as this seems the choice of someone “selling out to the man”, well – even if it is, I couldn’t give a flying monkeys, it’s here because I like it. Anyway, seriously, it is actually quite a good listen, especially for the various versions of songs done by other artists, which for the most part are suprisngly good. Highlights would probably be Embrace’s version of D12’s ‘How Come’ (yes indeed, an indie band doing a rap song, and making it not rap. It’s possible!), Lemar’s version of The Darkness’ Glam Anthem ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ and The Kooks’ version of Gnarl’s Barkley’s hit ‘Crazy’. Which I actually personally prefer to the original. It’s also worth getting just for the has to be heard to be believed songs, Jamelia doing Linkin’ Park’s ‘Numb’, and the disturbingly hilarious ‘Love Machine’ by… well… the Arctic Monkeys. Really.

And it’s not just the covers which are pretty good, the live performances of bands doing their songs are top notch as well, including KT Tunstall’s ‘Other Side of The World’ (of whom I was not a fan before hearing this), the Foo’s with ‘DOA’, Editors doing ‘All Sparks’ and the Coral’s ‘Dreaming of You’ making up what is really, a great album. Heartily reccomended, as they say, and definately worth your aural delectation.

Good Game: DEFCONDEFCON Screenie 4

If you haven’t read my review yet, then I implore you do that now, as that says the workload of what I want to say about this game. But moreover than that, on a personal level, it’s so brilliant to see a company like Introversion kepp going from strength to strength. Call it a load of whiny baby underdog supporting crap if you must, but Introversion are pretty much the quintessential British games Development studios, just as they used to be in the good old days of the Amiga, when games were distributed through true popularity, and a marketing budget was the phone bill of calling their friends to tell them how good their latest game was. Or a stamp, if they did it through the postal service. They show that there is room in today’s industry for simplicity. And what it lacks in polyogns, it makes up for in sheer playability. It is, at it’s heart a game. And everything a game should be. I’d go so far as to say my Game of the Year, if I had such a title to give out. Absolutely fan-friggin’-tastic. Go on: Nuke A Buddy today!

Other Game You Really Should Play: The ShipThe Ship Screenie 2

Again, you probably might have guessed I’d mention this. But again, the review says the technicalities of it, while the personal views of myself coming into play once again must spout the praises of the developers. And I’ve had more contact with OuterLight than Introversion, so I’m happy to say that with personal experience these are great guys to support, and are fantastic developers. OK, I agree, you can’t judge the quality of the game on the personality of the developers, but if you could, this would seriously be the best game ever, as I can’t say I’ve met a friendlier, more open bunch of people.

Sure, the game isn’t to everyone’s taste but it must be tried at least once because it is so different. Deny yourself playing this, and you deny yourself a unique playing experience. It’s not been the crtic’s favourite, the player numbers would tell you it’s not the player’s favourite. But it’s one of my favourites. Try it, and it might be yours as well. And to add to the praise, IGN have now given The Ship the recognition it deserves, by naming it the “Most Innovative Game” of 2006. Beating, yes, Company of Heroes.

Best Thing To Happen To Me of 2006: University Life and LincolnLincoln University

Yeah, call it clichéd, and a lot of people might have a “told you so” attitude to this, but seriously; I couldn’t ask for a better experience than University. Independence, a little being scared, being adult, being childish and heck, it really is an awesome life experience.

I’ve said this before, but I still find it slightly ironic that it’s not the academic side that I’m the most proud of and enjoying (given my background) but it’s honestly the best thing I could have ever done, it’s made me stronger in so many ways, and as cheesy as this sounds, it really has let me grow as a person. I can’t thank it enough for what the experience has given me so far, and what it still has to give me. And I’ve met quite honestly some of the best people here. My “new” (well, four months old now) friends are so good, I couldn’t wish for anything better. And I mean that in the most sincerest way possible. Awesomeness maxified. If that is a term. If it isn’t, I’m claiming the trademark.

Other Things Awesome About 2006 I don’t want to/can’t be bothered to go into further detail about.

Torchwood was pretty good. David Tennant was proven not too bad in Doctor Who, My Name is Earl had a brilliant first season. I found out XBox 360’s are pretty good, especially Gears of War and Project 8. Psychonauts is just Jawesome, and Indie games had a great year with Toribash, Armadillo Run and Walaber’s Trampoline all being fantastic. I finally completed my complete Red Dwarf collection on DVD. I had an awesome offer from a popular gaming magazine (even if it is only for work experience) and saw a heck of a lot of movies.Oh, and got my BTEC National Diploma in Media as well.

So overall, it’s been a pretty good year. And for once I’m actually fairly looking forward to 2007. Awesomeness.

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One Response to B’s Top Everything of 2006

  1. […] back in Lincoln, with the internet. And as per last year I may do a round up of 2007 post at some […]

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