Yeah, okay, I probably should have written this up last week. Oops!
With 2020 well and truly dead, I wanted to look at some of the media from the year and highlight some of my favorites. I’m not claiming these are, definitively, the greatest things that came out in 2020–these are just the ones I like the most. My personal bests, if you will. Also, I’m going to play pretty fast and loose with the rules here–several of these entries are cheating.
Best Movie: Bill & Ted Face the Music
It came down to this or Knives Out for me, but somehow, Bill and Ted did the impossible: they beat out a Rian Johnson movie for the top spot of the year. Before 2020 I’d never seen a Bill & Ted movie, but my wife and I binged the entire trilogy in a day and it was a fantastic decision. In a year as hopeless as 2020 often felt, Bill & Ted Face the Music was exactly the jolt of humor and optimism that I needed.
Best TV Show: The Mandalorian
No surprise here, right? Season two of The Mandalorian blew everyone away with fascinating plot developments, stellar action sequences, and a ton of beloved characters from throughout the franchise. I don’t think anything got me as excited throughout the year as waiting for each new episode of The Mandalorian to drop did.
Best Book: Shadow Fall
I actually didn’t read a lot of books this year. Shame on me! The one new release I did make sure to grab was Alexander Freed’s Shadow Fall, the sequel to Alphabet Squadron. I loved the first book, and the second was a worthy follow-up, taking the characters in interesting new directions and setting up a truly wild third novel. I can’t wait to see where the story goes from here, especially for protagonist Yrica Quell!
Best Comic: Dawn of X
Alright, so I mentioned earlier that several of these entries were cheating. This is one of them. I haven’t read a lot of recent comics this year. What I have done, however, is tried to catch up (at least a little bit) on the big Dawn of X relaunch that happened last year for the X-Men line of comics. Yes, it technically started before 2020, and yes, there are several titles involved, but… they’re all so good! I can’t pick just one! Overall, I think the X-books are in really good hands and this new era is exactly the refresh the characters needed.
Best Video Game: Final Fantasy VII Remake
There are a lot of good picks for 2020 game of the year. Hades and Immortals: Fenyx Rising are heavy contenders, and I suspect that Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla would be high on my list if I’d played it, too. But I can’t help myself; the pure nostalgia of the FFVIIR got to me. I loved it so much that it re-sparked my interest in the entire Final Fantasy franchise, in fact. I love the combat system, how different each character plays, and the various updates and tweaks (big and small) made to the plot.
Best Board/Card Game: Marvel Champions
This is kind of cheating, too, since the base game actually came out in late 2019. However, the bulk of content for Marvel Champions–including the first big Campaign Box, Rise of Red Skull–released in 2020, so I’m counting it. I love this game! I like cooperative card games a lot, and this one does an excellent job of representing different Marvel superheroes with custom decks. It was also a game that I was able to play remotely with friends, which really helped me feel connected during quarantine.
Best Tabletop Game: Pathfinder 2E
Okay, I know–this didn’t launch in 2020. However, 2020 is when I learned the rules and started playing, so it’s still my favorite tabletop game of the year! I mean, what is there to say about PF2E? There’s highly customizable character creation, solid crafting rules, a wonderfully revamped action economy–it’s fantastic! Give it a try if you haven’t yet.
So, there you have it! Just a few of my favorite things from the Dark Year. What were some of your personal bests in 2020?