Monthly Archives: December 2015

Medium Mashup’s Best Video Games of 2015

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It’s been a terrific year for video games. The current-gen consoles finally have enough of an install base to warrant dedicated AAA game development, so we’re starting to see some really impressive-looking titles like The Witcher 3, Star Wars Battlefront, and Bloodborne. Meanwhile, despite all the nay-saying that occurred about the PC’s coming obsolescence in  the early-2010s, the PC has proven to be the most enduring gaming platform of all, still capable of pumping out visuals that even the new consoles can’t handle.

Aside from visual improvements, 2015 continues the trend of huge, 40-hour plus titles. Playing everything worthwhile is hardly an option anymore, as enormous games like The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 are practically the norm now. Even annual games like Assassin’s Creed are completely packed with things to do, and games centered around multiplayer like Call of Duty are expected to be loaded with separate features and modes to justify their $60 price tags. The linear, 8-hour games that were all the rage 5 years ago are becoming more difficult to justify, and when games lack the content players hoped to get out of them (like, say, Star Wars: Battlefront), word is getting out and sales are being affected.

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Medium Mashup’s Best TV of 2015

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Now that 2015 is coming to an end, we can look back on a year of great programming and begin to put it all into perspective! 2015 was a remarkable year not only for the quality of a few stand-out shows, but for the sheer breadth of great television. Unlike the aughts, in which one or two shows tended to dominate the discussion, there are simply too many great shows to simply pick a winner or two.

So instead of choosing the absolute best shows on TV, I’ve split things up into “Network” and “Cable/Streaming” sections and added more categories. In addition to the mandatory comedy/drama, I’m also naming a best animated series, action series, and sci-fi/fantasy series. Finally, while I won’t be rewarding any specific performances or writers/directors, I will be giving a few nods to noteworthy individual episodes.

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Fargo Season 2 Review

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(This review contains mild spoilers. Few specifics are given, but events are alluded to)

After True Detective completely squandered all of its good will from year one, all eyes were on Fargo, the second of last year’s extremely successful one-off seasons. Instead of shifting locations like True Detective, Fargo took an arguably more drastic turn by setting its second season in a different time period altogether. By transplanting to 1979, the series was able to introduce a whole new cast, visual style, story, and soundtrack. And yet, the whole thing still felt like a Fargo story should.

But what, exactly, is a “Fargo” story? That such a description can exist at all is credit to the work of showrunner Noah Hawley. Despite the lack of any actual input from the Coen Brothers, Hawley has absorbed and internalized all things Coen and managed to create a series overflowing with the essence of their storytelling. At this point, Fargo is defined by happenstance, misunderstandings, and human error. It always involves well-meaning people who get in over their heads, but beyond these criteria, the rest is free to shift and change.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

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Before I get into this, let me say up front that I have no intentions of discussing The Force Awakens without some spoilers. If you haven’t seen it yet and you enjoyed the original films in any way, GO SEE THE FORCE AWAKENS NOW!!! It’s a terrific movie and a great piece of fan service. And if you somehow haven’t seen the original Star Wars trilogy, then that’s a huge cultural blind spot and you should really seek them out and see them anyway. THEN see The Force Awakens. And do what you can to not spoil anything for yourself! This film plays much better if you are discovering the characters and the story for the first time, so stop reading this review and come back when you’re done.

Still here? Seen The Force Awakens? Okay, let’s talk.

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