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December 2021 Retrospective

It is amazing to think that there could be a worse year than 2020 and then 2021 happened. They say it is the hope that kills you and I really did hope that with each passing month things were somehow going to get better. Now the omicron variant running rampant I think I've finally realized that 2022 is not going to be some magical improvement and we are probably going to suffer through similar things for at least another year.

"If you expect disappointment, then you can never really be disappointed."

The Good

Published Games of the Year 2021 articles

It takes a lot of time but I am really glad that I put the effort into publishing my #GamesOfTheYear articles. It's fulfilling to look back and remember just how many games I played and how I actually felt about them at the time.

2021 was a really interesting year in that we didn't have any truly record setting games (at least in my opinion). We're almost two years into the pandemic and game developers are still coming to grips with working from home it seems. 2022 is shaping up to be a blockbuster year based on the releases scheduled but it will be interesting to see which AAA games get delayed again into 2023.

Read Leviathan Falls

Pretty crazy to think that I've been reading The Expanse since January 2016 and the final book in the series, Leviathan Falls, was actually released. There is essentially nothing I can say without spoiling the book (and especially the series) but Leviathan Falls was a very fitting finale. I can now say without reservation that The Expanse is a series definitely worth reading in its entirety.

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Everything I loved about Spider-Man: No Way Home would be considered a massive spoiler. All I want to say is that as a devoted Spider-man fan for the last 30 years, No Way Home was everything I wanted it to be.

Noclip documentary on the origins of DMA Design

Noclip ended the the year with an amazing documentary on DMA Design, the studio that makes the Grand Theft Auto games. I love documentaries on games built before the year 2000 because we get a look into the absolutely insane development toolchains of the past. Not too many people remember the days before Unity or Unreal Engine, where game developers had to build their own custom tooling for basically everything.

14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible

On the planet Earth there are 14 mountains referred to as eight-thousanders because their peaks are more than 8000 thousand meters above sea level. The first person to summit all 14 of these mountains was Reinhold Messner and it took him 16 years between 1970 and 1986.

Nirmal Purja attempted to climb all 14 in just seven months and it was captured for the Netflix documentary 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible which absolutely everyone should watch.

The Bad

The Matrix Resurrections

I was voted "Most likely to hold a Matrix convention" in High School so hopefully when I say The Matrix Resurrections is utter garbage you can understand the gravitas of that statement.

The Matrix Resurrections is not just a shitty Matrix movie, or a shitty action movie, or a shitty martial-arts movie, it's just a shitty movie period! No one is going to remember any scene from this in a year. There is nothing special or interesting about it. No breathtaking special effects. No cool gunfights. No long-take fight scenes. It is the most bland thing that they could have made. I guarantee there is better fan fiction that has been written over the last 20 years.

It is obvious that Lana Wachowski actively despises the Matrix nowadays so hopefully Warner Bros. uses this dumpster fire as an excuse to finally take control away from her and let someone else inject some fresh blood into this amazing franchise.

Formula 1

The 2021 Formula 1 Championship came down to the final race in Abu Dhabi. Both Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen had 369.5 points so whomever finished ahead would be the World Champion.

As expected at this track Lewis Hamilton was able to gain the lead and slowly increase it over Verstappen as the race progressed. By lap 53 Hamilton was 11 seconds ahead of Verstappen and virtually assured of his 8th World Drivers' Championship. Then Nicholas Latifi crashed into the barriers which brought out a safety car. Since Hamilton was in the lead, pitting behind a safety car would have allowed Verstappen to take the lead and win the race. So Hamilton stayed out and Verstappen pitted because why not? He was in second and had no hope in catching Hamilton without new tires. But we're only 5 laps away from the end of the race so it is impossible that we will clear the debris from the track, unlap all of the cars, get the safety car back into the pits, and prepare for a rolling restart. So Lewis Hamilton is going to win behind a safety car. Not ideal but not undeserved because Hamilton dominated the entire race.

Enter Michael Masi, the dunderheaded FIA Formula 1 race director. His smooth brain is incapable of thinking about two things at once so he focuses all his energy on not finishing under a safety car. His misfiring neurons lead him to make-up a safety car procedure that is completely illegal but fuck it he's the FIA race director right? After the debris is cleared from the track he allows only the cars between Verstappen and Hamilton to unlap themselves. Fuck the racer in 3rd, he's useless, who cares if he could potentially improve his position. Before those cars have actually completely unlapped themselves Masi orders the safety car into the pits so that we can have one final lap of green-flag racing. Excelsior! Alpha chad Michael Masi has succeeded in not finishing under a safety car. We'll have a single lap of "fair" racing to decide the championship. Unfortunately, Michael Masi has done anything but that and actually just selected Verstappen to win. Anyone with half a brain (unlike Michael Masi) knows that someone on fresh tires will undoubtedly beat someone on 30+ lap old tires. So shocking no one, Verstappen easily passes Hamilton on this final lap and wins his first World Drivers' Championship. Mercedes protested the results after the race but the stewards dismissed the protest under the rule that Michael Masi is the race director so get fucked he can do whatever he wants.

Three days after the race the FIA put out a statement saying "the related communications between the FIA Race Direction team and the Formula 1 teams, have notably generated significant misunderstanding and reactions from Formula 1 teams, drivers and fans, an argument that is currently tarnishing the image of the Championship". Yeah no fucking shit sherlock. Your self appointed race god goes AWOL and you act shocked that it is tarnishing the image of your sport?

At this point I have completely given up on Formula 1. I have absolutely no plans to watch any races in 2022 and I actually hope that Lewis comes back and destroys the competition and wins the championship with like seven races to go just to crater interest in the sport. I've seen some corrupt sports in my day but Formula 1 is now easily at the top of that list.

Halo Infinite

I wrote extensively about Halo Infinite in my Games of the Year 2021: The Bad article so go there if you want to see my unfettered ramblings.

The gist is that Halo Infinite is an unfinished game and does not look like it will be finished for at least a year. But the one thing they did finish was their microtransactions so if you wanna spend $20 on a helmet with cat ears then Microsoft has made the perfect "game" for you.

Season 2 of The Witcher

I do not know what the hell happened but season 2 of Netflix's The Witcher has completely gone off the rails for me. The writing feels like bad fan fiction. Andrzej Sapkowski created this amazingly detailed world and season 2 is starting to feel like generic fantasy. In the books we see extended periods of time where various characters study to hone their skills or conduct political machinations. But for this 8 episode season everything has to move at a break neck pace. We're jackknifing between characters across the Continent because the plot says so. There is very little rhyme or reason for so many things.

Also the writers are just throwing random characters in from the books without understanding why those characters are loved. One example is in the books Geralt speaks with two eccentric characters to get information. These characters endear themselves to you and while they are not immediately helpful towards Geralt you care about them. In the Netflix show some random other dude goes to these two characters simply so a massive exposition dump can occur because the writers are lazy.

I've watched six episodes of season 2 so far and have very little interest in finishing it. I'll probably force myself but I suspect that I won't be watching season 3.

Honourable Mentions

World Chess Championship 2021

The World Chess Championship 2021 ended in December and if you had no idea it was taking I highly recommend you watch this recap of the sixth game by GothamChess.

HeroQuest

HeroQuest is the most influential board game of my childhood. I easily spent days playing it during my teenage years at my best friend's house. It is the reason why I got into things like Dungeons & Dragons and high fantasy. I cannot imagine where I would be today without HeroQuest.

So when Hasbro announced a remaster in 2020 I immediately preordered a copy which finally arrived this month. It is an absolutely beautiful remaster of the game I remember and even if I never play it I am so happy to have a copy back on my shelves.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CXNAR-ilDAp

Review December Goals

January Goals

#MonthlyRetrospective

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