Today's archive rec is Pokemon Conquest. Which actually isn't included anywhere else in this post.
Editorial: 1st Annual Fission Mailure Awards.
So, it has been one year and a day since this blog was set up, and I've done two-hundred-and-forty posts in that time. Which is a fair amount, I feel, so this is probably a good time for me to run over those and give out awards. They're like Oscars, only without any of the prestige.
Nominees must be things I've watched, read or played this year, and either reviewed or am intending to review at some point.
Okay, on with the show.
Weirdest Piece of Media.
Nominees: Nobunaga the Fool, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Doctor Who S34, Psycho-Pass 2.
These are all kind of weird in different ways. Nobunaga the Fool feels like it was made by History and Theology Joint Honours students on LSD; while Shin Megami Tensei IV felt at times like it was slowly suffocating beneath the tangled weight of its own mythology; Doctor Who S34 felt like one man's bizarre agenda spooled out over twelve episodes of barely concealed bile and whining; and Psycho-Pass 2 had one of the strangest plot twists of the year, and I'm still not sure how to feel about it.
This was a tough one, and it came down to two contenders in the end, with the winner eventually being:
I adore you, Nobunaga the Fool, but I'm still not entirely sure what on earth was going on there, except that some of your staff had clearly taken a cocktail of drugs and alcohol prior to beginning their work.
Worst Piece of Media.
Nominees: Doctor Who S34, Noah (2014), Romeo and Juliet (2013), The New Patrol by Andy McNab.
There were so many possible candidates for this. I hated so much this year that it was really difficult to narrow this one down, and even more difficult to pick out which one was the worst. Doctor Who crushed my hopes of it being improved under its heel and consistently produced some absolutely terrible work, while both Noah and The New Patrol were painful, meandering wastes of time, and Romeo and Juliet was an exercise in both blandness and utterly missing the point of the text. You know you've screwed up when your opening line is 'Mercutio, of the House of Montague.'
In the end, I had to go with the only one of these four that I literally couldn't make it to the end of, which is why the winner of this particularly prestigious award is ...
It really was dire. My god, it was terrible, you could use it as an instrument of torture.
Most Tearjerking Piece of Media.
Nominees: Sword Art Online II, Free: Eternal Summer, Telltale Games' The Walking Dead S2, How To Train Your Dragon 2.
I tear up very easily, so this was always going to be a difficult one to pick for. Sword Art Online II had one of the most tragic moments of the year, and it affected me pretty deeply; The Walking Dead S2, meanwhile, very quickly exhausted my emotions, but there were moments, especially early on, when it really bothered me (after having to kill a dog in-game I was almost inclined to just stop playing entirely). Free: Eternal Summer and How To Train Your Dragon 2 tended to produce more in the way of happy, oh-man-it's-so-touching tears.
In order to decide which should win, I had to find the mean number of times I teared up per piece of media, because that seemed like the only fair way to do it. There was a clear winner, but I'm still not sure whether it's the right one for this award. Nevertheless, the winner is ...
Stupid dorky fishboys.
Funniest Piece of Media.
Nominees: The Lego Movie, Psychonauts, Guardians of the Galaxy, Free: Eternal Summer.
Probably the least contested category, I actually kind of struggled to find four nominees for it. While I found a lot of stuff funny, not much was laugh-out-loud sides-splitting hilarious, and when I had the four nominees down, it was abundantly clear who the winner should be.
Just - just watch it, guys. It'll brighten your day, I promise.
Scariest Piece of Media.
Nominees: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, P.T., Bioshock Infinite: Burial At Sea, Condemned: Criminal Origins.
Possibly the easiest category to find nominees for, and one of the most difficult to actually decide a winner for.
They're all scary in very different ways: In Burial At Sea, the creepy atmosphere and roaming splicers are plenty scary, but much of the fear comes from not knowing what will happen (or what has already happened, and thus can't be avoided) to a character you know and care about already. P.T. and Condemned both place you in sinister perversions of normal settings where you could be attacked at any time (well, it feels that way) and where you increasingly start to doubt your perceptions. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, meanwhile, is a slow-burning fear: You're never really threatened, but there's something dark and unpleasant at large, and the isolation of it all is very unpleasant.
My choice in the end was a reluctant one, but I think it was the right choice. The winner is ...
If the game it's a trailer for is anything like it, it could be one of the scariest horror games around. Let's not hold out too much hope for that, though.
Prettiest Piece of Media:
Nominees: Saint Seiya: Legend of Sanctuary, Garo: Honoo no Kokuin, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Journey.
These are all absolutely gorgeous, but again, in entirely different ways. Legend of Sanctuary is shimmery and carefully crafted, and every frame of it is a work of art; The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is a masterclass in photorealistic game design and should be praised for that; Garo: Honoo no Kokuin is a wonderful example of traditional animation (with some CGI, let's not pretend it doesn't have any), and Journey's entire schtick revolves around beauty.
Which should probably make it clear who the winner is, to be honest.
Journey didn't just look pretty - everything about it was oriented towards it being beautiful, and that's some impressive dedication.
Nominees: Why Big Hero 6 Is Kinda Racist, Seven Ideas for Spin-off Video Games, The Trauma-Depression Theory of Okami, Five Things That Would Make Good Video Games (Reecey Version).
Three out of four of this editorials were either partially or entirely the work of my learned colleague Reecey at Nine Over Five. Let's not think too deeply about what that means about my editorial-ing skills. Still, I like these all for very different reasons.
Why Big Hero 6 Is Kinda Racist was an editorial I was passionate about, and it has since become far and away my most popular post ever, with people reading it every day, and is probably at least fifty percent responsible for this blog being as successful as it is. Meanwhile, I adore literally all of the video game ideas editorials, because they're gigantically fun to write and I think that they're quite fun to read. The Trauma-Depression Theory of Okami was one of Reecey's ideas, hammered out between us over several hours late at night, and I believe it's a fine, airtight theory that raises a lot of interesting questions about one of my favourite video games.
Out of the nominees, picking a winner for this one was actually not at all hard, and the winner is ...
Four for you, Reecey. You go, Reecey.
Nominees: The New Patrol by Andy McNab, Outlander, Supernatural Series 10 (First Half), Portal 2.
Apparently, I do my best work when I hate something, because two of these were things I absolutely despise, one of them was the game that prompted someone to remark 'Why would I ever trust you, Murphy,' after I murdered them several times, and one of them was Outlander.
It was between Supernatural and Portal 2. I was indecisive. Civilisations could have risen, become empires, and fell in the time it took for me to make a decision. So, the winners are ...
For entirely different reasons.