So 2012 has come and gone and so it’s time for that yearly tradition of the Award Ceremony.
It must be said that the overall standard of new media, whether it’s film, games or TV has been fairly uninspiring.
I used my Cineworld Unlimited Card a grand total of 14 times last year, which is down from 28 the year before. So I literally got half the value from the same product.
When I criticise TV, I don’t mean to say that there haven’t been any good TV shows, because there have. The problem has been that there haven’t been many good new shows that debuted in 2012.
And as for games? Well these days it’s all just sequels isn’t it? And it doesn’t show much sign of stopping either, with a list of ’25 Games To Look Out For in 2013′ containing as few as 4 original titles.
So that leaves me with less to work with when I do the awards, but I’ll give it my best shot, starting with films.
So by my reckoning, I saw 14 films last year. The Artist, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, War Horse, Chronicle, The Muppets, Marvel’s Avengers: Assemble, American Reunion, The Raid, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Dark Knight Rises, Ted, Looper, Skyfall and Argo.
None of them were awful, and on the same score I doubt there will be many that I’ll want to watch again, although plenty of them were good enough.
Best Film: Argo
Once I’d seen Argo, I knew instantly that it was the best film I’d seen in 2012, and since I didn’t go to anything after it, that didn’t change.
What was good about Argo was the authenticity, the genuinely dramatic story and the standard of acting.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.
You can read my review of Argo here
Runner Up: The Artist – Highly enjoyable and a daring departure from the norm.
Worst Film: Looper
Looper wasn’t a terrible film, but it was pretty rubbish.
The storyline was all over the place, and it seemed to think that they could get away with that by saying ‘Ach it’s time travel; it isn’t meant to make sense’. And that, dear readers, is bollocks.
Looper Review here
Runner Up: The Raid – It wasn’t so much a film than a martial arts exhibition, and not a particularly believable one at that.
I watch a lot of television, and 2012 was no exception. I saw a load of great ‘new’ TV, but discovering shows like Castle, Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads, The Walking Dead, Entourage, Friday Night Lights or Sherlock doesn’t really apply to these awards because they weren’t new last year.
Usually the new US Television Season brings at least a few new shows worth watching, but in terms shows that started around September, I haven’t been swayed by a single one, hence my disappointment.
Best New TV Show: The Newsroom
By default then, the winner of this award is The Newsroom. I can’t honestly think of any other new show I saw, unless you count Revenge (even though it technically started in 2011 it was still new in 2012). Oh actually, there was Adam
Richman’s ‘America’s Greatest Sandwich’. Awesome…
But that’s not to say that The Newsroom is not a worthy winner, because I really enjoyed it.
Well acted, dramatic and engrossing, and very well-directed into the bargain (the episode that ends with the video montage with Fix You by Coldplay playing over it was just fantastic).
My only problem with it remains that by basing it on news events that actually happened in reality means that the show’s dramatic content entirely depends on there being something bad happening in real life. If nothing does, we’re out of luck.
Runner Up: Revenge: Well, it has to be, doesn’t it. I’ve yet to make my mind up as to whether it’s amazing or shit, but whatever it is, it remains a guilty pleasure.
Most Consistent TV Show of 2012
There are a few options here, with shows like Breaking Bad, Dexter, Happy Endings all being of a consistent quality.
I’ve read it said that the newest season of the Walking Dead has been amazing, but so far I actually prefer the second one. That might not be a popular opinion, but it is mine.
For me, the most consistent of them all has been The Big Bang Theory.
It’s a show that seems to be loved and hated in equal measures, and I’m not sure why that is. Is it that some people automatically dislike a show on the basis of there being a laughter track? Is it because these people think that the show is making fun of them? Who knows, but I love it and so do all of my family (and it’s not often that can be said).
Yes, there have been better shows in terms of thrilling content, but every week, The Big Bang Theory is funny. The cast are all fantastic and the writers have yet to run out of ideas.
Let’s hope the quality keeps up in 2012.
Runner Up: Dexter – the series has progressed at last, and I honestly can’t remember being as pumped about an episode as I was the season finale. Great stuff.
The ‘Oh For Christ Sake, Give It Up’ Award
This could be given to a fair few shows.
You know my thoughts on How I Met Your Mother, because I wrote an entire article on its decline here
But there are actually quite a few shows that have gone into a decline over the last year.
You’ve got shows that looks like they might be on a shallow decline, but a decline nevertheless. I’d say those shows include Homeland (running out of believable plot), Parks & Recreation (the characters are turning into caricatures) and Grey’s Anatomy (it just feels empty now that they’ve killed off yet more of the cast).
Misfits declined the year before to the point where I just didn’t bother with it in 2012.
A more serious decline in 2012 was Peepshow, which still had its moment but was pretty poor. Again, they are doing that thing of making a character act stupidly for comedy effect, like the scenes with Mark releasing his book with the charlatan
publisher. That just wouldn’t have happened in the past.
I think it’s on a terminal decline.
I even stopped watching Neighbours last year despite being a viewer since 1987. It just turned into rubbish.
But for me the hands down winner for this award goes to Outnumbered.
It only had a 45 minute episode on Christmas Eve, but it was that bad. The kids that made the show funny with their off-the-cuff childish innocence have grown up and turned into the sort of obnoxious teenagers you’d cross the street to avoid.
And the attempts of the writers to compensate with a ‘funny’ script would have missed the mark if that mark was the Moon.
Runner Up: How I Met Your Mother – You know why.
Biggest Television Disappointment of 2012: Asylum of the Daleks
“We’re going to include every Dalek ever in this episode”, trumpeted Steven Moffat and the Doctor Who PR Machine.
What a load of rubbish.
Let’s hope they don’t screw up the 50th Anniversary.
Most Overrated Game: Spelunky (Xbox 360)
10/10 on Eurogamer, 9 on IGN, 8.5 on GameSpot and Five Stars on Escapist Magazine to name but four of the reviews this game got.
Basically it’s an old-fashioned 2d game about a miner who explores caves.
And I played it for about two hours before giving up.
There’s no way this game deserves the hype it gets as far as I’m concerned. I don’t care if it has old school charm and is a throwback to the halcyon days where games weren’t able to be saved. It doesn’t offer that much that you would want to repeat the same levels (even if they do randomise) over and over again without being able to progress, and it doesn’t have the pick up and play value of games like Super Tank Run, Pac Man, Pinball FX or Geometry Wars.
So sorry, Gaming Establishment, this wins the most Overrated award because of how you’ve rated it.
Runner Up: Rayman Origins (Xbox 360): I’m not sure why this unchallenging, by-the-numbers side scrolling platformer is as highly regarded as it is. It’s the epitome of ‘meh’ as far as I’m concerned. Oh but doesn’t it look lovely…
Best Handheld Game: Kingdom Rush HD (iPad)
I had never really ‘got’ Tower Defence strategy games until giving this a try.
Easy to pick up, challenging and addictive…you just won’t know where the hours have gone after giving this a chance.
Runner Up: New Star Soccer (iPad) – You’ll play it non stop for about a week and then never want to play it again, but based on the cost, it’ll be worth it.
Biggest Waste of Money: Guild Wars 2 (PC)
This year I’ve spunked a load of money down the drain on ‘taking a punt’ style game purchases in the Steam Sale. Games like the Kings Ransom series or Space Pirates & Zombies that were available for pennies, I bought, I played and I disposed of because they were just not my cup of tea.
Similarly there are games from that Steam Sale that I haven’t even played yet, like Payday: The Heist, Galactic Civilisations and Torchlight II.
It’s alright though, because these purchases have been relatively inexpensive, even if they have added up.
But the one game I bought at full price and instantly regretted buying was Guild Wars 2. My friends kept telling me that it was going to be an amazing experience, but with its terrible controls and uninspiring quest system, I just couldn’t be arsed. £40 down the drain.
Runner Up: Total War: Shogun 2 – Got it on the Steam Sale but it still cost about £15. I tried to get into it but just couldn’t
Best Offline Multiplayer: Hidden in Plain Sight (Xbox 360)
A simple and effective game. It wouldn’t work as well online, as disappointing as that might be.
But when I have friends round and we want to play a game all at the same time, this is the one. Read my review here
Best Xbox Live Arcade Game: Quarrel Deluxe
This gets the Xbox Live Award rather than the Handheld one because it has online multiplayer on it.
Quarrel is a fantastic game to play on your own, which means the iOS version is still a worthy purchase, but it’s great fun to play with friends too. Read my review here
Best Game: Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Sorry if I’m being too commercial for your tastes, but there’s nothing better than playing an online game of Call of Duty with your mates.
While I played Modern Warfare 3 a hell of a lot in the summer of 2012, and it probably has a better and wider selection of maps, Black Ops 2 wins because you can add in bots to play with your party to make up the numbers.
Soif there are only 3 or 4 of our group playing at one time, we can add the AI controlled characters in to pad things out and ensure we don’t have to go into an annoying public game with campers and sniper spammers.
A superb game if you’ve got mates to play it with.
Honourable Mentions: I can’t think of a specific runner-up, so honourable mentions go to Borderlands 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, FIFA 13, Saints Row: The Third and of course Football Manager 2013.
Agree of Disagree? Let me know what you think.