Continuation of part 1 here, our best and worst of 2012 in RPG stuff. Enjoy and a have a happy New Year!
Best RPG Computer Game: The Walking Dead
Here we have IP done right. Using Telltale as a studio was a risk for the franchise in and of itself, and then they took several risks with the game (episodic releases, point and click, storytelling over-all-else) but managed to pull off a wonderful, poignant and emotional experience that shines brightly over all the other first person shooting crud that seems to dominate the market.
Worst RPG Computer Game: The Game of Thrones RPG
Fantasy is finally cool again, but Martin’s books, and the terrific HBO series, deserve better than this mediocre effort. Shoddy gameplay, unpolished presentation, and meh graphics at best.
Biggest RPG Game Disappointment: Diablo III
On the one hand, Diablo III was a decent, fun to play action-RPG, but DRM and over-design drained the joy out of it, and even with a decade of polish it’s half the game Torchlight 2 is.
Honorable Mention: Knights of Pen&Paper
An indie turn-based retro style pixel-art RPG where you control the playing characters and the dungeon master in a simulation of a traditional pen and paper RPG.
Science Fiction and Fantasy
Best Fantasy Book: Throne of the Crescent Moon (Saladin Ahmed)
Detail, humor, and one thousand and one nights inspired – the book is simply great storytelling in that classic swashbuckling sense as you follow a charismatic thief that leads a revolt in a magical and political city.
Best Sci-fi Book: Pirate Cinema (Cory Doctorow)
Still not tired of brilliant, passionate kids taking on the oppressive system in a dystopian near future. Keep these coming, Doctorow.
Best debut: vN (Madeline Ashby)
Some love and hate from critics but this is a great first novel and a wonderfully dark story about a rogue artificial woman becoming dangerous.
Biggest Sci-Fi Loss: Ray Bradbury
We lost some great storytellers (Harry Harrison) and story makers (Neil Armstrong) but the passing of Ray Bradbury (Dandelion Wine, Something Wicked this Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451) is one of the year’s biggest blows. A muse for Steven Spielberg, Neil Gaiman, and Steven King, Ray’s storytelling gift has expanded minds for nearly a century now, and although he resisted the label of science fiction writer he is credited as the one most responsible for bringing sci-fi into the literary mainstream.
Stupidest Comic Book Death: Spider man #700.
In an obviously not-permanent brain mind meld switch the body of Spider Man is now housing Dr. Octopus, Peter Parker has died in Dr. Octopi’s body and fans everywhere sigh their collective sighs.
Best Sci-Fiction Becomes Reality: NASA’s Faster-Than-Light Warp Drive
What can be cooler than FTL made possible by donuts?
Most Amazing Robot Monster: DARPA’s Running Cheetah
DARPA’s Maximum Mobility Program revved up their Cheetah Robot this year. The previous iteration ran at a speed of 18 mph, but the new version clocked upwards of 28.8 mph. Finally, what we’ve always needed – robots that can outrun humans.
Biggest Movie Winner: Decent Geek Movies
Great geek movies are everywhere nowadays. Go Avengers! Go Hobbit! Go Batman!
Biggest Movie Loser: Nostalgic Franchise Reboots
Promethius (Ugh), Dark Shadows (Huh?), Men in Black III (Really?) and Total Recall (Yawn)
Best CGI Character: The Hulk
Puny God. ‘Nuff said.
Most disappointing CGI Character: The Hobbit’s Goblin King
The very definition of CGI overacting.
Best CGI actor in a CGI Scene: The Hobbit’s Golum
The Riddle Me This interchange was perhaps the best CGI scene ever produced in film (don’t see it in 48p though)
Movie Weapon of the Year: Bows
Let’s get Hawkeye, Katniss and Merida together in a hunting super hero party. Really. With these guys.
Finally, Monster of the Year goes to: Giant Spiders
Not only have spiders been effective hunters for over 100 million years but new, undiscovered species keep propping up (like this one that builds web dopplegangers). This year giant spiders were sighted both in Germany and in Seattle under the Space Needle – hats off and a happy new year to our giant, hairy, eight legged brethren.