2017, it’s been one of those years. I’ve moved house twice, helped my Dad move, took a break from Out of Lives to sort things out, struggled with some other stuff, done some serious job hunting that’s led only to disappointment thus far and all of that has taken place against a backdrop of some truly awful world events and generally depressing news in the wider world. Is it any wonder then that we look for solace in the fictional worlds we love? I’ve had a funny old year, in terms of Games it’s not been great as most of the games I’ve been excited about were pushed back into 2018 and the ones I have played haven’t really grabbed me in the way that I hoped. Fortunately, Movies & TV really stepped up this year instead. Before we get to a hopefully better 2018, here are my picks of 2017.
Logan was far and away my favourite film of the year. The culmination of more than a decade of an actor playing a character to perfection despite not always being in the best films or given the best things to do in those films. Logan works because it takes that connection we’ve built with Hugh Jackman, as Wolverine, over the years and uses it to perfection; expertly pulling on the emotional heartstrings.
The history of the films gone before, good & bad, add real weight to the characters struggle. The torment, the self-loathing, the tiredness. We understand it because we’ve experienced many of the events that he feels tormented by; with him. It makes it all the more real. Add to that the sublime acting of the cast, young & old, with the excellent work in the writing to craft a truly powerful story.
So while there are some other strong contenders for my favourite film this year, I have to give it to James Mangold’s Logan.
We return to the X-Men franchise for my favourite TV Show, Legion. Examining the mental state of people and how their brains work and cope with things is something I’ve been increasingly fascinated by. Big discussions need to happen in society around Mental Health and how things need to change for everyone’s benefit. My increasing awareness around that being the source of my curiosity. Legion taps into that curiosity really well.
A story about a character that has been diagnosed with Schizophrenia. Who is treated in a mental hospital and is trying to get to grips with his own mind. So the story follows his battles, within his own mind and outwith it. While there is a little bit of “supernatural” stuff involved in the series (It being connected to the X-Men franchise being a hint). Thinking about it as an examination of the human mind and how it tries to cope with tragedy and illness is much more intriguing.
It also helps that it is brilliantly made; the story is nice and compact, told over about 10 episodes if my memory serves me. The characters are well written and fleshed out, the actors are great and all in all it makes for a fabulous watch.
Legion is definitely a show you should check out if you missed it first time around.
- Crash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy
3 PlayStation classics of the 90’s remastered, rebuilt and released on the PlayStation 4. Crash Bandicoot’s long anticipated return has been a source of joy and immense frustration for me this year.
Originally made by Naughty Dog and updated with great care and love by Vicarious Visions this trilogy is outstanding fun. The visuals, sounds and gameplay being exactly what I wanted. My only complaint is that I’m not better at it despite the extra Decade and a half of gaming experience I’ve amassed since I first played the Original way back when.
If you like Platformers, loved the originals, or just want to let a new generation bask in your magnificence as you declare “see, games were hard back in my day.” this title is well worth your time.
A surprising pick for my game of the year, perhaps, but I’ve had an unusual year in terms of gaming. None of the big releases seem to have grabbed me and really absorbed me into its world. Mainly because all the games I was really excited for disappeared into 2018 release dates, so hopefully a few of them actually come out and I have a much harder time picking a favourite in a years time.