2010 was an incredibly busy year for me on every front, and there hasn't been nearly enough time to do even a tenth of what I wanted to do. Family life and work, of course, took precedence over everything else, leaving precious few opportunities to explore personal projects and to simply kick back and play games, watch movies, read and reflect.
The following 'Best of 2010' list, therefore, is full of gaping holes but represents what I did have time for -- and enjoyed -- in the year that passed. Hopefully it'll inspire some of you to seek out Cool Shit that you otherwise might have missed. That, after all, is why we make lists like this, and I hope some of you will add your own favourites in the comments below.
Happy New Year, and see you all in 2011!
My favourite game of 2010 was actually released in October 2009.
I didn't start playing Uncharted 2: Among Thieves until well into the new year, but it kept me glued to the sofa until the end credits had rolled. Aside from being great fun to play -- a perfect mix of adventuring and action -- the game was impeccably written, acted and directed, and deserving of praise on every level. I'm eagerly anticipating next year's sequel. The movie? From the little I've heard, not so much, no.
My favourite proper 2010 release was Halo: Reach. Despite (also because of) working in the games industry, I don't often complete games, and it's extremely rare that I complete games in a week, or even two. Reach had me on the edge of my seat for two weeks, and though I've yet to dip (much) into multiplayer, the campaign alone was worth the price of admission.
I'm a long way away from watching every movie I wanted to watch in 2010, let alone every worthy candidate for a proper best-of list, but the three movies that engaged me the most in the past twelve months were Inception, Kick-Ass and The Social Network -- closely followed by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Easy A. It's a very studio centric list; perhaps reflective of my viewing habits this year more than anything else. If this was a top fifteen or twenty list, I'd include movies like The Disappearance of Alice Creed (with a fantastic score by Marc Canham, composer on The Secret World), Buried, How to Train Your Dragon...but it isn't, so I won't.
I haven't watched Toy Story 3 yet -- the Blu-Ray is sitting on the shelf, waiting -- but I expect that one would have made the list.
While strictly (again) a 2009 release, Melissa Horn's Säg ingenting til mig ("say nothing to me") is my favourite -- certainly most listened to -- album of 2010. Of actual 2010 releases, I loved The Way Out by The Books for being inventive, surprising, and just plain awesome, and the orchestral soundtrack to Inception for being the best film score of the year.
I read a lot, but I don't necessarily stay current with the publishing scene. Since getting my (first) Kindle sixteen months ago, I've read four to five times as many books as I did in the previous decade; a lot of it is simply catching up on books that have slipped through.
Of the novels that were published in 2010, I had a ton of fun with Kraken by China Mieville (though my favourite read in 2010 was actually 2009's The City & The City, also by Mieville) -- and not just for taking place in a darkly magical present day London littered with secret cabals and squid-worshipping cults. Although that certainly didn't hurt.
So far, about midway through, Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King has me on the edge of my seat.
And yes, I am going to read Jonathan Franzen's Freedom. I promise.
I arrived late to Scott Pilgrim, but I read through all six volumes (on the iPad) in about five weeks, and was blown away. Nothing else came close in 2010.
It was the year of gadgets, but at the end of the day it came down to two choices: the iPad or the third generation Kindle. Since I got the former, I've used it every single day, but it's probably my Kindle that gives me the greatest joy. Being able to focus completely on reading, and to carry around my whole digital library, is priceless. True, the iPad has the Kindle app, but it's also got way too many distractions, including my music collection and comic books...
Come to think of it, perhaps the iPad is my gadget of the year.
Or the Kindle.
For gaming news, reviews, commentary and general bloggery, it's a three-way tie between PC centric Rock, Paper, Shotgun, console focused Joystiq (and, by proxy, MMO blog Massively) and all-rounder Eurogamer. This triumvirate is where I got my '10 gaming fix.
If we count linkage, Boing Boing was, by far, the site I spent the most time reading in 2010, followed closely by Kottke. For tech news, it was Engadget all the way, every day, and for movies, I stop by /film as often as possible.
And for general time wastering and meme tracking, nothing beats The Daily What. They have stolen from me too many hours to count.
It's a three-way tie between Hipstamatic, Twitter and the Kindle app -- all of them brilliant in their own ways.
It could have been The New York Times app, if it weren't for the fact that it crashes. All. The. Effing. Time.
For pure digital joy: Comics by Comixology reader -- I churned through the entire Scott Pilgrim saga in August and September, and purchase all my comics through this app now. For productivity and helping keep The Secret World rolling, no matter where I was or what I was doing: Evernote, LogMeIn and Dropbox. Together they make the iPad into a perfectly capable production tool.
Of course, Mad Men was stunningly good, every episode a beautifully written and acted work of art; The Walking Dead (and the odd episode of True Blood) was cheesy fun; Dexter was darkly engaging and always entertaining; The Office kept me laughing, and Parks and Recreation moved from third favourite comedy to the number one slot...
...but the final season of Lost was, well, the final season of Lost, a show that has been in my top three list for the past six years, and it was going to be impossible for anything -- even Mad Men -- to beat it. It was a rigged game, and despite a few ups and downs in those final ten hours, the journey came to a satisfying and emotional conclusion.
Don't get me started on Fringe, though. Just...don't.