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pyromagnestir

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Honestly don't remember. Probably didn't celebrate it at all.

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pyromagnestir

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This should cover most of the stuff I read in December/January

Right now I'm listening to an audiobook called Beneath the Scarlet Sky that's about the story of a fella who was a member of the Italian resistance towards nazis in the latter years of the second world war. It's a fiction book based on the story told by the real life man to the author. The guy seems to have started out at 17 as a guide taking jews and other refugees over a mountain to Switzerland, then enlisted with the nazis and by sheer luck became the driver for a highest ranking general in Italy and helped the resistance as a spy. This is such a crazy story that it kinda seems like it could be some bogus story a guy came up with to help himself justify joining the nazis to avoid being drafted once he turned 18 then sent to the Eastern front to likely die which is what he is told happens to most of the Italian draftees when his parents beg him to enlist. But the author did research and claims to have verified it as much as he could soooooooo I mean, I guess this guy was just fucking bad ass.

Also I actually am actually reading an actual book with my eyeballs right now (that happens less often these days as listening to audiobooks has sorta become the more common book intake method for me) called Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea which surprise surprise is about the history of the number 0. Turns out it is kinda complicated and math is a lot more dangerous and volatile than the boring grade school math class leads you to believe, though nowadays you're not as likely to be executed for revealing a mathematical secret, like say the existence of irrational numbers, or imprisoned for being heretical. I've found the story of how 0 went from a placeholder mark in accounting ledgers to a number of great mathematical significance (along with its counterpart concept infinity) interesting.

Before this I took a look at the history of slavery in the US from a couple different perspectives. To get the personal perspective of people who lived as slaves I finished Twelve Years a Slave. I then watched the movie. And before that I also finished another book called Jubilee which I think I mentioned in here previously.

And also for a wider perspective on how significant slaver was to the US as a country I finished a book called The Half Has Never Been Told. This book goes from the early days of the US up to the start of the civil war and examines how closely the growth of the US is tied to slavery. It also takes a look at some of the beliefs about slavery, that it was an inefficient and failing system, that its decline was inevitable, and that it didn't really help the US economy, and argues that these ideas are completely bogus. Slavery was so efficient that for a time supply of cotton reached demand, something that was thought to be impossible at the time as the demand for cotton was so great, and the cotton bubble burst, though the cotton market rebounded eventually becoming stronger than before and was still growing leading up to the civil war. And as cotton was basically the most important commodity of the time (cotton was then pretty much what oil is today) dominating the cotton production market is what boosted the US's economic standing in the world and this fueled/funded the industrial revolution that went on in the north, and compelled US expansion so that more cotton could be produced by slaves. It also gives an honest look at what it was like for the slaves, and that's certainly terrible. I happen to think it was a book everyone from the US probably should read.

Why I have been going down this particular rabbit hole at this particular time I cannot say, except to say that it is a subject I feel I needed to learn more about, and still do.

I also finished The Proud Tower by Barbara Tuchman, a book that's a collection of long essays analyzing the state of Europe and the US prior to the outbreak of the first World War. Some chapters (like the one on the anarchy movement of the late 18 and early 1900s) were more interesting to me than others (like the one that mostly was an examination of German music at the time, particularly the career of Richard Strauss) but I enjoyed it on the whole.

And a book called Ramsey's Gold. Which, stop me if you've heard this before, is the story of a guy who is a treasure hunter named after Francis Drake going into the amazon to find a lost city and mythical treasure. It was an enjoyable enough book despite the extremely familiar premise.

Anyway look out for the book I write about an older guy and young girl surviving in the world after a spore outbreak turns people into pretty much zombies.

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pyromagnestir

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Did they have an ordered top 10 in 2008? I don't think they did, though my vote will go to Nuts and Bolts.

Sleeping Dogs is my second choice. And also the only other game on the list I have actually played. Of the ones I haven't played I think Witcher 3 is the only one that has a chance of becoming my personal favorite. Though I am sure I'd like them all.

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pyromagnestir

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I found the GOTY discussion, both the part where they narrowed down to a top 10 and where they ordered the ten, to be pretty darn enjoyable.

I enjoy listening to these folks talking about games, and I feel the freedom to unreservedly talk about spoilers and also the combative aspect of having to make an ordered list of ten (or a a winner and 2 runners up as is the case in the case of most categories) brings out a level of honesty that they just can't replicate in a bombcast, and even would struggle to reach on a postmortem spoilercast or on a theoretical "let's just all talk about our favorite games and have a happy good time" game of the year podcast I've seen proposed. Spoilercasts tend to gloss over flaws, and as most likely it's only the people who like a game a bunch who are able to finish it and thus take part in the discussion tend to lack much in the way of critique. The happy good time podcast would do basically the same thing.

One reason why I look forward to these podcasts every year is it's an honest discussion where they say they do or don't like something and try to the best of their ability to explain why that is. Often I'll end up playing something that gets discussed that I had little to no interest in playing before as a result of these podcasts. Sometimes that will be something that was praised lavishly, and sometimes it will be something that was criticized harshly. Those passionate reactions, positive and negative, are what tend to pique my interest.

But I'll grant you that during these discussions they do often seem to focus on the negative more than elaborate on the positives, though this makes sense to me as I think in all of human existence for whatever reason it's just easier to talk about negatives or flaws than positives. Hell this thread is an example of that tendency right now. If as a result of this you don't feel that the podcasts are informative or entertaining then that's okay. However, I beg to differ, and already look forward to the discussions next year.

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pyromagnestir

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My hope is that Mario or something other than PUBG takes the top spot (as I think that would mean the debate for the number one spot was more cutthroat and thus more fun) but if you put a gun to my head I would at this point guess the list looks something like:

  1. PUBG
  2. Mario/Zelda
  3. Zelda/Mario
  4. Cuphead
  5. Nier
  6. Nioh
  7. Wolfenstein 2
  8. Destiny 2
  9. Night in the Woods
  10. Assassin's Creed Origins or Horizon Zero Dawn

I think Assassin's Creed has the edge over Horizon at this point as Jeff is the only one who seemed to love Horizon and he seems to have cooled on it since he played it, while AC is fresh and a few of them seem to be digging it. Night in the Woods is the emotional indie darling of this year, a la Journey or Brothers. Destiny 2 gets a lot of snark and backhanded compliments but settles in the top 10 fairly easily. Wolfenstein's big moments propel it onto the list even as they all say the gameplay is not great. Nioh gets Jeff and Jason all hot and bothered. Nier gets Alex and Ben sobbing. Cuphead is Cuphead. Zelda and Mario are Zelda and Mario, Dan loves both but loves Zelda more, while I think everyone else prefers Mario but maybe they give Zelda the edge for being so different or maybe they stick with the one they like more. And PUBG was a phenomenon that took the site by storm for months, it's hard to top that.

I'd like to see something smaller like Pyre or Nidhogg 2 or maybe even Dream Daddy squeak on to the list, or perhaps something completely surprising that I wouldn't even be able to guess. But this year just had so many big games that happened to also be good that I think that's unlikely unless someone really wants to push for their particular favorite, and I don't know who that would be and what game they would push for.

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pyromagnestir

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I'm normally in the 15 to 20 range but this year I've managed to get through 28 thus far. It's theoretically possible I could finish another game or two before the year ends but it seems unlikely at the moment as I haven't been able to play anything consistently since finishing Wolfenstein 2 over a month ago.

  1. resident evil 7
  2. abzu
  3. the swapper
  4. sleeping dogs
  5. lara croft go
  6. the fall
  7. captain toad treasure tracker
  8. splatoon
  9. littlebigplanet 3
  10. syndicate
  11. zelda breath of the wild
  12. invisible inc
  13. flower
  14. catherine
  15. rise of the tomb raider
  16. banner saga 2
  17. oxenfree
  18. professor layton and the curious village
  19. shovel knight
  20. mario golf world tour
  21. horizon zero dawn
  22. uncharted lost legacy
  23. severed
  24. superhot
  25. destiny 2
  26. inside
  27. boxboxboy
  28. wolfenstein 2
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pyromagnestir

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Severed.

Played it on Wii U, I kinda grew to adore it after a while based on how unique a game it is compared to the sorts of things I usually play. Though it lost a bit of that shine in the middle where it felt like it was stretching its mechanics a bit thin (even though the game isn't that long the sidequests require a lot of backtracking and the tweaks they implemented in the combat about 3/5ths of the way in I found more tedious than interesting), it rebounded towards the end, and the highs were really really high.

Runner up would be Sleeping Dogs. I had almost as much fun finally playing this game myself as I did watching Vinny play it for quick looks, which is to say I had a lot of fun! But the novelty of Severed gives it a slight edge for me even though I found Sleeping Dogs more consistently fun throughout.

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@rewenge said:

@pyromagnestir: The logic seems sound but surely Nioh would be the Jason Game? Also, it seems to be a trend to say Jeff will hate a game he previously liked but I feel where he's at with Horizon. It's kind of forgettable. Even it's supposed brilliant story is a little trite. I mean it's paralleled by two games from this year alone, BOTW and Nier.

In my mind how it plays out is Jason backing Jeff on Nioh is what gets it in the top five but Jeff is the one going "fucking Nioh am I right?!" and Jason's kinda just somewhat quietly in the background going "yeah I like that idea!" and later also has his own game to sneak on the list too because he's smart and low key secretly super cutthroat. I would say Dead Cells would be that game but I don't know if that released officially either. Or maybe he is so cutthroat he gets Dead Cells on the top ten even though it hasn't officially released and therefor should be ineligible?!

Otherwise, I dunno, was there an anime fighting game that is technically super impressive but only 10 people played?

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#9  Edited By pyromagnestir

Well, here's my attempt at thinking things through.

Jeff explicitly said in a bombcast this summer in the middle of all the Murder Island hype that they wouldn't change the rules for PUBG if it didn't officially release by the time they did the deliberations so I'm gonna assume that's probably out. If they do change their mind then that's a surefire top 2 game.

Mario is in the top 3 and likely number one if PUBG is out.

Zelda is in the top 3 solely so that Dan doesn't finally snap and murder everyone.

Cuphead is in the top 5.

Nier is on the top ten, mostly because of Alex with mild support from Vinny and somewhat more warm support from Ben, but tops out at number 5 at the highest.

Destiny 2 squeaks its way into the back half of the top ten with a fair amount of snark and backhanded compliments thrown its way.

Jeff might support Horizon but he actually is the only one who seemed to really like that game and he said that he hasn't really thought of it since finishing it so he might end up supporting something out of left field. I'mma guess Nioh, which gets thrown into the top five somewhere because that just seems to be how it always goes.

Pyre seems like it'll be on there in the end and I could see it sliding up surprisingly high.

Night in the Woods, Wolfenstein 2, Splatoon 2 and maaaaaaaybe Nidhogg 2 are part of the final group being debated and one of them makes the top ten? Which one makes it depends on which game has the supporter who talks most and/or the most passionately. Splatoon could have Alex and Abby's support, for some reason I think Brad and Jeff might throw support behind Nidhogg if it's on there still, Dan might be on team Wolfenstein, Vinny on Night in the Woods? I dunno. I'll pick Nidhogg just because it's a surprise and surprises are fun. Local multiplayer games never seem to make the top ten even if they play a ton of them on streams so maybe this year one somehow ends up on there.

Abby and Jason are complete wildcards as far as I'm concerned, and they each have a pet game that they get on the list rounding out the top ten.

So assuming PUBG is out I'm gonna say it looks something like:

  1. Mario
  2. Zelda
  3. Cuphead
  4. Pyre
  5. Nioh
  6. Nier
  7. Destiny 2
  8. Jason Game
  9. Abby Game
  10. Nidhogg 2

If PUBG is included slide it into number 2 and shift everything down one and goodbye Nidhogg.

Also I feel like I should note I'm a month or so behind on the bombcast so my understanding of the west coast crew's opinions is out of date.

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pyromagnestir

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I spend way too much time thinking about the game of the year podcasts and here's a list of things I happen to have that I have noticed seem to happen with some frequency. I am not sure how many of them are on the already made bingo cards but there's no better place for me to post this list so here it is.

  • brad misremembering how they went about the process of pairing down the game of the year top ten list the previous year
  • brad trying to come up with a friendly way to make a top ten list but then they end up with a list of like 20 games and someone else says "we have to actually cut some games"
  • jeff saying "i don't care about most of the games on this list"
  • alex desperately wanting a game that will get cut to not get cut
  • brad saying "maaaaaaaybe" when he really means "no (and also perhaps go to hell)"
  • someone (probably brad) saying "but it's just another [insert franchise/genre here] game" as a dismissive statement
  • jeff saying "i think that could be number 10 on this list"
  • someone (probably brad) says something should be on the top ten list despite all arguments to the contrary because it plays/feels/shoots/controls "tight" or "the best" or something along those lines
  • brad doing anything he can to distract others from talking about the game he wants on the top ten list until there are fewer options left so it has a better chance to make the top ten (I'm on to your sneaky tactics brad!)
  • brad saying he's gonna play a game over the holiday break but you know he won't
  • brad arguing saying he loved a game but then saying that he didn't finish it
  • someone saying something would win "best graphics technical" or "most graphics"
  • vinny saying "remember these are all good games" as they tear all the games to shreds
  • dan saying something to the effect of he "hasn't felt this way about a game in years" for the nth year in a row, this might happen twice with both Zelda and Mario this year

So yeah clearly I'm a crazy person who needs to find better things to do with my time than to keep tabs on stuff like this but hey it is what it is.