Nath’s Top 5s for 2016

Nath sometimes writes for the site. This is one of those times.

So 2016 was a pretty shit year. We had Trump winning the US election, the UK voting to leave the EU (I voted remain) and we lost a huge amount of celebrities like David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Anton Yelchin, Prince and Muhammad Ali to name a few. I will look back on this year and think to myself “what the hell happened?”. I just hope it isn’t a sign of things to come. That being said, we still managed to see a load of great releases this year, including games, films and TV shows. Here are my top 5’s of this year. You know the rules, has to be something new I’ve discovered this year and no repeats from last year.

 

Apps

I have downloaded and used a fair few apps this year, whether it is on my Xbox One or my phone. I recently transitioned from a Sony Xperia Z3 Compact to a Samsung S7 Edge (was nearly sold the Note 7) so my app experiences on this device have been a lot better than they have been previously. Here is my top 5:

5. Marvel Contest of Champions
A very enjoyable fighting game based on the Marvel universe. As you progress through levels, you get the chance to unlock other Marvel characters and level them up. I think I ended up with Deadpool as my main fighting character which was very pleasing as the film had also been released recently too. All in all a very decent game, but it was short lived.

4. Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes
Again very similar to the above, however you get to choose a party of 5 and progress through levels, very similar to a turn based RPG. You get the chance to level up your characters and make stronger parties depending on the missions you face ahead. Again very enjoyable but short-lived.

3. Bleach Brave Souls
I had a bit of a Bleach resurgence this year mainly due to this app. This was bit more action-packed then the ones above, more like Bleach meets Dynasty Warriors. You play as characters from the Bleach world and play the main Hollow/Arrancar storyline and each character specialises in a certain area. I believe my top character here was Zaraki Kenpachi and he decimated everyone. I was straight up addicted to this game for a few months.

2. ePSXe
This is a Playstation emulator for PC and smartphone. I got this as I wanted to play games offline when I had no signal for data-based games. It also allowed me to replay Final Fantasy 7, Final Fantasy 9 and Crash Bandicoot this year. Soon I will play Final Fantasy 8 and Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver too. The controls are a bit clunky but it is truly a fantastic app.

1. Pokémon Go
Is anyone surprised by this? The most downloaded app of the year makes number 1 on my list of top 5 apps. I admit I was completely hooked by the game when I started because I wanted to be the very best like no one ever was. I had a strong team of hilariously named Pokemon and basically sought to try and be the best at the game. I even managed to get a copy before the UK release. However, it feels like the game was completely destroyed by it’s own popularity which is such a shame. I got as far as I could but then as soon as the hype wore off, I stopped playing it. I imagine I may take it up again if Gen 2 gets released, but that may be a way off yet. I just think they needed to do more with the game.

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Songs

I won’t lie, this was the hardest to break down as I have been using Spotify for a year now and it would be interesting to see how much I have listened to now compared to last year. I would do albums but I mainly just listen to playlists and start listening to albums if the song piques my interest. Commiserations to many songs but mainly Bad Religion – 21st Century Boy and Hardcore Superstar – Touch the Sky. Here is my top 5:

5. Avatar – Let it Burn
Yay, Swedish Death Metal makes an appearance again for the 2nd year in a row. This is a fantastic song, a very interesting opening rift, with quite monotone gothic lyrics followed by a dark screaming chorus and a brilliant solo. I thoroughly enjoy listening to this song as I find it calming and exhilarating all at the same time.

4. Disturbed – The Sound of Silence
Yes I am a fan of my covers however this can’t really be regarded as a cover, this is a re-imagining. It is a truly haunting version of the original, one I have tried to learn how to play myself and attempt at singing but let’s face it, David Draiman has pretty unique voice and I can’t sing at all.

3. Parkway Drive – Wild Eyes
Now Parkway Drive sounds like an Indie Acoustic band that play light-hearted love songs. But they’re not, they are a metalcore band from Australia. This song opened up the world of Parkway Drive to me, I started listening to all the albums and started looking at tours as well. I picked this song because of it’s very unique opening riff and hard lyrics. “We built our dreams from the ashes of your nightmares” is a particular favourite.

2. Open Minded – Wazer Wifle
This is a song entirely about the famous Laser Rifle from the Fallout series. I was actually playing Fallout 4 when I first heard this song and I genuinely wanted it to be number 1 on this list but I just couldn’t. It is a song about a Fallout player obtaining a Wazer Wifle and the power that it wields. It is a fantastic song that I recommend every Fallout fan should listen to.

1. Ghost B.C. – Square Hammer
I know Ghost B.C. were number 1 last year but I heard this song at the end of October and it has been on repeat ever since. It is a bit more fast-paced than their other songs with a unique combination of an organ and a guitar playing in the introduction. Again satanic lyrics ensue, the song is asking if you want to swear before the devil that you’re on the same page. Again yes fairly satanic but don’t read too much into it. The song is a masterpiece from start to finish and the video that accompanies it is a wonderful work of art.

 

TV Shows

We currently live in a golden age of television. There are so many great TV shows available to watch at the moment and I do believe that there have been more great TV shows released this year than films. I am actually struggling to find the time to watch everything at the moment. I still haven’t been able to finish Luke Cage yet and it probably would make the top 5 if I had finished it. I’m also re-watching The Walking Dead with my girlfriend so she can get up to speed and we can watch the latest seasons together. Currently on the fantastic 3rd season, I know what’s going to happen but it is still great to watch. So here is my top 5 of TV shows this year, honourable mention to ” And Then There Were None”, a short drama based on Agatha Christie’s novel.

5. Sword Art Online
The only anime mention this year, this was a recommendation from Kii as I had finished my Bleach phase and needed something else to watch. This is a story of a newly released virtual reality MMORPG (VRMMORPG) where players are fully immersed in an RPG game. However, the creator of the game stopped the users from logging out and if they suffered in-game deaths or their VR gear was removed in real life, they would die. It is a brilliant show, one I would recommend to anyone, a mixture of thrills, action and love.

4. Narcos Season 2
The 2nd season only makes number 4 this year after last year’s triumph, not because it was a bad series though. It picks up where the last season ended with the Colombian police force trying to capture Pablo with the help of the US DEA. This season shows the decline of Pablo and the lengths that the police and his rivals were willing to go capture him. If you enjoyed the first season, then watch the second one, it is excellent and well worth watching.

3. Rick and Morty Seasons 1 and 2
I know this is a year old but thankfully Netflix has both seasons online at the moment. Season 3 will begin next year, hopefully in March, but I do wish I could watch it right this second. It follows the adventures of Rick and Morty, Rick who is a mad alcoholic scientist and Morty, his grandson who is shy and timid individual. The best way to describe this show is a mixture between Back to the Future, Futurama and South Park. I thoroughly enjoy Rick’s views on life as well his hilarious rants that shoot everyone down. Also the hilariousness of the crazy adventures they get themselves into are a massive highlight too. My particular favourite is “Get Schwifty” where an alien head is looking for a catchy song to enter the planet into an intergalactic music competition. If you haven’t seen this show then I’d recommend it heavily, probably one of the funniest animated cartoons I’ve seen in a long time.

2. Game of Thrones Season 6
Pretty much the season where George R. R. Martin got bored of some his characters and decided to kill a load of them off. It was a bit more fast-paced than last season, the wildfire explosion was a particular highlight, and so early on as well. We also got to see the end of Ramsey Bolton as well, probably more hated than Joffrey at this point. It is also fantastic to see Daenerys leave Mereen and head towards Westeros with the vast army and dragons in tow. Seems like we are in for a massive Season 7 with twists and turns along the way. It’s a shame though as season 7 may be the shortest season so far, but hopefully it will be crammed with more action-packed episodes.

1. Stranger Things
Wow, what a series this was. A Netflix original makes number 1 on the list for the 2nd year in a row and we are getting a 2nd season. Set in the 1980’s, the series starts with the mysterious disappearance of Will Byers and the sudden emergence of Eleven. This series had me gripped from the very start. I could’ve binged the whole series in a day, but I wanted to make the good times last. This trumps anything and everything I’ve watched this year. Truly gripping from the very start right up to the very end. I was on the edge of my seat trying to piece everything together as it transpired. I also tried looking for a Christmas Jumper with the letters below the fairy lights but couldn’t get my hands on a decent one. Season 2 is currently in production and I cannot wait to see it.

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Films

A pretty mixed year for films. Some absolutely brilliant titles and some big let downs as well. Let downs in the form of Batman Vs Superman and Suicide Squad. I think the DC Cinematic Universe needs to up their game a bit if they’re to compete with Marvel. There were some great movies released this year and some others that I watched that were released in the last few years. Interstellar and Straight Outta Compton were particular highlights. However here is my top 5 films for this year.

5. The Nice Guys
The comedic duo of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling (who would’ve thought that) team up to find a pornstar who may or may not be dead. Ryan Gosling plays a drunk private eye and Russell Crowe plays an unethical hitman. They are basically the worst team imaginable but somehow end up working together pretty well. The film is smart and funny, a good film to put on a lazy Sunday afternoon if it’s raining outside. Maybe even if it’s sunny. I don’t like going outside.

4. Star Trek – Beyond
The 3rd installment of the invigorated Star Trek franchise. This film shows the destruction of the Enterprise and the lengths the crew were willing to go through in order to escape the planet they were marooned on. I admit it did take me a while to get into this one and it was a shame that there were none of the old enemies from the series in it, but then again you can’t keep recycling the old, you have to come up with something new every now and again and I though it was executed very well. I particularly enjoyed the “Sabotage” scene, even though it was a bit ridiculous. Not the best Star Trek film, but still very enjoyable.

3. Captain America Civil War
An all-out brawl between Marvel characters. Team Iron Man vs Team Cap. Just for the record I’m on the Captain’s side in this, it has caused some problems among my friends. It was also nice to see Black Panther introduced into the cinematic universe as I believe he is a fantastic superhero. Also nice to see Ant-Man, I hadn’t seen the film before I saw this and I watched it immediately afterwards. It was great to see the Avengers torn apart using manipulation instead of another super hero. I know the team has split up but the build up to the Infinity War series of films will be fantastic.

2. Doctor Strange
I have been describing this film as Inception mixed with The Matrix thrown in a large bucket of LSD. It is a brilliant film. Very beautiful to watch with great storyline that follows and a reluctant super hero to take up the responsibility of saving the world. I did like the way he makes the bargain at the end in order to save the world. A truly great addition to the Marvel Cinematic universe and hopefully will be of great use in the Infinity War that is coming up. It seems like Dr. Strange will make an appearance in the latest Thor installment too.

1. Deadpool
Is anyone surprised by this? The highest grossing R rated film of all time, and my number 1 film for the year as it came out in February and I’m still watching it and enjoying every second of it to this day. In fact I am actually watching it now whilst I write the article. Ryan Reynolds reprises the role from the X-Men Origins: Wolverine film, a film that has taken over 10 years to start production and what a character he is. Deadly, sick and hilarious. It had me in stitches throughout with Wade Wilson’s wit, the constant breaking of the 4th wall and the hilarious insults spurned out. The countdown of the bullets at the start were particularly great as well. I am thoroughly looking forward to the sequel. Thank goodness this was put into production, the only downside is that it won’t be part of the cinematic universe.

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Video Games

The most important part of my review. The top 5 games of the year. This was a particularly hard list to compile as Games with Gold has been adding games to my collection each month, I played Dead Space again even though I had fully completed it before, I just couldn’t help myself. That being said there were a few games that I didn’t get round to playing still. I missed out on Overwatch, mainly because my TV isn’t any good for playing online. Also Final Fantasy XV has come out too late to place in the list and I’ve been told I may get it for Christmas. I would’ve included the Bioshock collection but I have played them before. Here is my top 5 games of the year.

5. The Wolf Among Us – Telltale Games
I know this game is 2 years old but this was the first time I played it, thanks to Games with Gold. You play Bigby Wolf also known as the Big Bad Wolf, the town sheriff who is trying to keep all the Fables in check when suddenly a murder tips everything on it’s head. This game is all choice based, where certain actions determine your fate during and at the end of the game. There are a lot of characters from Fables too, whether they are from Grimm’s fairy tale, nursery rhymes or other short stories. The story line throughout the game is fantastic, really gripping stuff, where I had to be certain I thought I was making the right choices and luckily for me I was.

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4. Far Cry Primal – Ubisoft
I said at the end of the review for that game that it would make my top 5 this year and I was right. It is a breathe of fresh air in the FPS genre, set in the primal era of man when we were establishing ourselves as a race. Lots of interesting side quests and a pretty decent main storyline consisting of two tribes that will do everything in their power to take you out and be the more dominant tribe. One tribe specialises in brute strength and the other uses fire to it’s fullest advantage. Also you can capture and kill many types of animal and have them as your companions. The real treat was having a pet Honey Badger, those things are hard to kill, the one I had took down a mammoth on it’s own. My particular favourite side quests were tracking the powerful beasts, especially the Blood Wolf, as he kept running away and I had to keep tracking him. Definitely worth playing through if you haven’t before.

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3. Fallout 4 and DLC – Bethesda

I know this was released at the latter of last year but I only started playing it after Christmas and I still have it a year later. Bethesda seemed to have pulled out all the stops with this installment after Fallout 3 and I didn’t seem to get any bugs in it like everyone else had, maybe I just got lucky with the version I had. You start off being frozen during a nuclear war along with your wife/husband and your baby. Then some asshole named after a brand of corn flakes steals your baby and you wake up later and attempt to try and find him. The main storyline is pretty good along with four different endings to the game, however I felt some of the side quests were a lot better, but it was hard to pick a particular favourite. From the top of my head, The Secret of Cabot House and the Museum of Witchcraft were the most memorable.

Halfway through the year, some DLC became available for the game, Far Harbor and The Machinist. Far Harbor brings you a new massive area to discover along with three new factions: Far Harbor, The Synth Refuge and The Children of Atom, as well as a whole host of new enemies. This place is not for the faint-hearted, I waited a fair while before heading out there, my strongest character really struggled, even armed with the most super of super sledgehammers and lots of strength. Far Harbor is definitely worth downloading for Fallout 4.

The Machinist allows you to make and create robots from scratch or alter existing companions you already have. So altering Codsworth was aim number one with this add on, he is pretty handy as he is, but giving him a cannon on his arm and some tank legs just gives him an extra edge. The storyline for this DLC is pretty good and is set on the main Fallout 4 map, you are attempting to find out why robots have started killing humans on their own terms (I, Robot rip off). The story is not as good as the Far Harbor campaign, but the ability to create your own robots was what sold the DLC for me.

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2. Gears of War 4 – The Coalition
The latest in the Gears of War series, jam packed with action from the get-go. It was nice to play a prequel into all the wars that took place throughout the Gears series, and being to see Dom again (prequel, he’s definitely dead). The gameplay is still the same but the ability to pick people up from behind the covers and vaulting over cover is great addition. I couldn’t care less for the DB enemies, but the new Locust that are in it are an interesting addition. We have lost the Boomers and the Wretches but I think we can live without them, and the addition of Pouncers and Snatchers are brilliant. Old man Marcus is brilliant to have back, still as battle hardened as he was in the original series.

Horde has somehow become more difficult though, as old horde you could place items where they were, however with this one, you need the money to buy them from the Fabricator and then you can place them where you want. I’ve only made it to level 30 on horde, mainly because playing online with some people sucks, not like the good old days with our team. Have to say though, playing online as zombie Dom is a bit unsettling.

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1. Doom – id Software
Is anyone surprised this made number 1? Probably the biggest Doom fanboy ever sitting right here (I downloaded original Doom and Doom 2 during the Black Friday sales) so it comes as no surprise that this makes number 1. I played it through a couple of times, attempting to get all the secrets and unlock all the hidden maps. I even tried Nightmare mode but I didn’t last very long. I think the term was got completely schooled comes to mind. It is a fantastic remake of the original (technically Doom 3 was but this is Doom revamped I think) and I think everyone needs to play it at some stage. The upgrades to certain monsters are brilliant, Pinkys are now super difficult to take down, especially if there are more than 1. Weapon modification has also been added, with each weapon offering 2 different types of mod, but you are only allowed to have one active. For example, the rocket launcher can either fire remotely (don’t see the point in that) or have homing rockets (much more effective). My favourite still to this day is the super shotgun, used throughout the older Doom games and will continue to use it in this one.

The multiplayer isn’t too bad either, team deathmatch being the favourite for me. If you are doing well during the match, you have the ability to morph into a demon. Sadly you can’t morph into the Cyberdemon, but the Baron of Hell isn’t too bad to morph into, apparently you can now choose the Cacodemon too and fly about the levels (only available in DLC). The only downside is that there is no news on whether there will be any continuation from this game and I think it deserves a sequel. Seeings as original Doom was set on Mars and Doom 2 is titled Hell on Earth, it would make sense to have New Doom 2 or Doom 5 (confusing I know) set on earth. Here’s hoping something is announced soon.

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I hope you enjoyed my top 5 of 2016, there is plenty to look forward to next year, new Guardians of the Galaxy, Final Fantasy XV (I will get round to playing it) as well as all the sequels to the fantastic series we’ve had this year (hoping for Rick and Morty season 3).

Nath

Adam’s Most Anticipated of 2016

Here is what Adam is most looking forward to in 2016, in no particular order (I don’t know why I picked that featured photo either).

Captain America: Civil War

Civil War

I’ve not exactly made it a secret that I’m a big fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or that I think Chris Evans makes a great Steve Rogers. As more details and the cast has been revealed for third Captain America film, a lot of people have labelled it as ‘Avengers 2.5’ as it seems 80% of the MCU is going to be in it. But from the first trailer that hit, the film’s focus definitely still seems to be on Cap and how he is seeing events. Also Iron Man is there. I don’t find hero Vs hero to be the most interesting plotline, but things don’t look quite as simple as that. Oh, and Black Panther looks really cool.

 

Finishing my PhD

For better or worse, this year I’ll be free of this terrible curse. Horrible life decision.

 

Rogue One

Rogue One

Ah genuine excitement for new Star Wars. How I’ve missed you. I loved The Force Awakens, and while I’m not overly enthused by some of the ideas floating around for the upcoming anthology films, more Star Wars while we wait for the numbered films should be a good thing (and means those films won’t be rushed). The first film set to be released in December is ‘Rogue One’, centered on the group of rebels who stole the plans for the first Death Star. And it has an excellent cast.

 

New Thrice Album

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Thrice are one of my favourite bands, with their 2005 album ‘Vheissu’ being one of my desert island discs. Remembering picking it up at lunch time at school 10 years ago makes me feel incredibly old. From their emo punk roots Thrice developed into a brilliant progressive band that is full of intelligent and inventive musical ideas. They announced they were going on a hiatus back in 2012, but unlike many bands who make the same decision they always said they weren’t breaking up, and they were just “taking a break from being a full-time band”. In 2015 they held up that promise, playing a smattering of festivals internationally, one of which was Hevy Fest in the UK which I was lucky enough to catch. Near the end of November they announced that there would be a new album in 2016, and I can’t wait.

 

New Every Time I Die Album

ETID

I have two ETID tattoos. I’m a reasonably big fan of theirs. Something that always inexplicably surprises me is that especially with heavy bands, I expect that eventually the formula will get repetitive or stale, and I’m always delighted when it doesn’t. With every album Every Time I Die have managed to surprise with how interesting and genre pushing their music is, while still retaining their core sound that drew me to them in the first place. Their last album ‘From Parts Unknown’ was a fast, vicious affair that managed to outdo it’s predecessors in terms of raw heaviness. Their awesome riffs and punishing drums are only equaled for me in the bestial vocals from Keith Buckley and his insightful, intelligent lyrics. Look up what ‘Moor‘ is about. Intense.

Anyway, in a recent podcast guitarist Jordan Buckley said that they were going into the studio early on this year, and I can’t wait. They were halfway through a tour of the UK in November before having to postpone the London shows, and they’ve been rescheduled to May/June next year. I have tickets to 3 shows in a row. If I die, know I died doing what I loved – being bludgeoned to death by a large bald man with face tattoos.

 

Daredevil Season 2

Daredevil

Netflix’s Daredevil series was great. A lot of people seemed to agree, which is why we’re getting a second series, probably in the first half of 2016. Joining the cast from season one are Élodie Yung as Electra and Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle AKA The Punisher. I don’t know how they’ll both figure in to the series, but I’m sure it will be good.

 

Luke Cage

Luke cage

I really enjoyed Mike Colter as Luke Cage in 2015’s Jessica Jones (a show I made my favourite TV show of the year), so I’m not particularly worried about the quality of the Luke Cage solo series. Netflix are doing a great job with these shows, and I can’t see Cage being any different. I imagine it will all debut at a similar sort of time of year that Jessica Jones did this year.

 

Writing More

This year I started playing around with writing some fiction, mostly in the form of short stories. I don’t pretend to be good at it, but I find it extremely cathartic and it’s great to get swept up in. Unfortunately my current hectic and stressful work life has meant this has had to go on the back burner, largely relegated to jotting down plot details and story ideas when they come to me, so I don’t forget them when I finish my PhD and I can dedicate the time and energy I’d like to to them. I’ll probably figure some way of sharing this stuff in due time, so watch this space. Maybe.

 

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange

Last week we were treated to our first look at Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme from the upcoming film, due out in early November of 2016. I think he looks fantastic, continuing the grand tradition in the MCU of nailing a “real world” representation of a classic comic costume. Doctor Strange will be bringing the magical elements of the Marvel Universe more into focus as Phase 3 of the MCU continues (I know Scarlet Witch counts too, but they were fairly vague about her power set in Age of Ultron), making everything feel more full and complex. Little is known of the plot so far (good!) but with the always brilliant Cumberbatch being joined by Chiwetel Eijofor, Tilda Swindon, Mads Mikkelsen and Rachel McAdams it’s sure to be pretty good!

 

Uncharted 4

Uncharted 4

I’m looking forward to generally having a lot more time for gaming in 2016, even if that point is still a few months away. One game that has been pretty highly anticipated is the Playstation exclusive Uncharted 4, due out in mid-March. Naughty Dog make beautiful, cinematic games and the last installment Uncharted 3 on the PS3 was no exception. Neither was The Last of Us. So with a new console generation to take advantage of, the new Uncharted, with the subtitle ‘A Thief’s End’, already looks stunning from what has been shown so far. It seems to be being billed as Nathan Drake’s last adventure. We’ll see if that actually happens, but Nolan North returning as Drake is a welcome one, even if the now older Drake will be less quippy and more world-weary. I just hope there are fewer ‘oh no! the ledge is crumbling, press X to grab the one below, phew!’ moments. I also couldn’t care less about the multiplayer mode.

 

What are you looking forward to in 2016? Let us know!

Adam’s Top 5 Albums of 2015

Over the next couple of weeks we’re going to be sharing our top 5s of 2015, from everyone who writes here at The Lost Lighthouse. This time Adam goes through his favourite 5 albums of the year.

I’m taking a quick break from the depths of writing my PhD thesis to write about some of the things I actually cared about this year. This time it’s my favourite albums released in 2015. I spend a lot of time listening to music while I work (more soundtracks this year than normal, I’ll get to that later) so it was fairly difficult to narrow this list down!

5. If I Should Go Before You – City and Colour

city and colour

I’ve been a Dallas Green fan for a long time now. I have an Alexisonfire tattoo, that band being one of my very favourites (despite the whole ‘we’re back but not really’ thing this year) and Green’s voice is a large part of that. I think his vocals are one of the most unique in modern music, and he’s certainly one of if not my actual favourite singers. Green’s solo project has in it’s own right always been a love of mine too, its gut-wrenching and sombre songs cutting right to the core of the howling abyss where my emotions should probably be. His sophomore album Bring Me Your Love is one of my desert island discs, which I was very kindly given this year on vinyl for Christmas.

This year he and his band released their fifth studio album If I Should Go Before You (marvelously depressing album title), and it’s pretty good! I’d say it’s their best since Little Hell. It opens with the slow burning (if a little self indulgent) ‘Woman’, and threads through a series of blues tinged country-folk songs about love and death, without a skippable track on the record. The tracks that hit me the most are the confusingly titled ‘Mizzy C’ which has mind-blowingly good bluesy vocal work in the last chorus, the incredibly depressing titular track ‘If I Should Go Before You’ and the stripped down and ethereal closer ‘Blood’. The latter to me is the strongest track on the album, as it harkens back to the first couple of City and Colour albums. The last two or three haven’t hit me as hard as his earlier records, which is why this latest one only makes it to fifth on my list.

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4. Shedding Skin – Ghostpoet

ghostpoet

I was first introduced to Ghostpoet a few years ago by a good friend of mine, whom I only share a slightly overlapping music taste with (the above being one of them) but he has an uncanny knack of recommending artists to be that I may not ordinarily come across but end up loving. I fell in love with ‘Survive This’, and when I saw Shedding Skin pop up on Spotify I gave it a listen straight away.

It’s a haunting, almost lackadaisical trip of an album that leans and sways and feels like it’s telling a story I haven’t quite figured out yet, relayed over late night drinks. Obaro Ejimiwe’s soft vocals laid over the thick, dense music makes for a really atmospheric experience. The track I enjoy the most is probably ‘The Pleasure in Pleather’, which just builds and builds while dripping with mood, but really the whole album is excellent.

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3. Mad Max: Fury Road Soundtrack – Junkie XL

Fury Road soundtrack

I mentioned that I’ve listened to a lot of soundtracks this year, largely because music with vocals is distracting when I’m trying to work. This album is actually not a good example of music I can listen to while working, I tend to get more done listening to MCU soundtracks like Age of Ultron or Ant-Man (or more recently the excellent John Williams score for The Force Awakens). So while I may have ended up listening to those albums the most, Junkie XL’s score for the incredible Mad Max: Fury Road is probably the best and most enjoyable of the year for me.

Part of the enjoyment is obviously that it evokes the film it scores, which I think for many is one of the best genre films of the year (more on that in a couple of days with my top 5 films. Spoiler: Fury Road is one of them). But on the flip side, a big part of what made the film so good was the excellent score. Junkie XL’s soundtrack is thumping, claustrophobic and brooding, setting the mood for relentless action. For me the stand out track is ‘Storm is Coming’, again probably because it lays in the background of one of the best scenes of the movie, but it’s just a storming (forgive me), hugely atmospheric piece of music.

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2. The Color Before the Sun – Coheed and Cambria

Coheed

 

Coheed are one of my favourite bands, certainly out of the ones who are actually still actively making music. Claudio Sanchez and company make hugely ambitious, progressive rock music that is inventive and fist-pumping in it’s intensity at the same time. For me, that’s enough. But on top of that, all of their albums up until now have formed part of a high-concept sci-fi story that I’m still trying to piece together. It helps that I finally understand the right order to follow in terms of the plot (not at all in order of release). This year’s The Color Before the Sun was the first album that Coheed have done that wasn’t part of this sprawling sci-fi concept work, eschewing it for a slightly poppier album lyrically dealing with various changes in Sanchez’s life.

The result of this shake up (which I enjoyed, but am glad that the moody and proggy sci-fi concept will return) is a more light-hearted affair that is admittedly more connected to reality and ultimately feels more personal. The album is more hopeful, despite lyrics like “nobody gives a fuck who you are” in ‘You’ve Got Spirit Kid’. The opener ‘Island’ is insanely uplifting, even if lyrically it sounds overwhelmed and panicked, and the closer ‘Peace to the Mountain’ is more pondering and accepting. ‘Atlas’ is definitely the strongest track on the album, a massively energetic and brutally honest song about Sanchez’s worries regarding missing his son when he’s away on tour. Great stuff.

spotify:track:4lzH2DViHTFroAL52ladbN

 

1. Grievances – Rolo Tomassi

Grievances

My favourite album of this year is also the heaviest by quite a long stretch. Rolo Tomassi are an insanely inventive mathcore band with jazz sensibilities. Fronted by Eva Spence and her brother James, the visceral vocals from the pair are combined with intricate timings and aggressive moody music. I usually manage to catch them on tour once or twice a year, and they are superb live.

This year’s Grievances is their most cohesive album to date, but that doesn’t make it any less experimental than their previous efforts. ‘Estranged’ opens up the album like someone grabbed you by the back of the head and just kept punching you for two and a half minutes, and others like ‘Stage Knives’ are face-melters too (and me and my buddy Chris instinctively air drum the immensely satisfying splash near the end of the song), while calm interludes or more reserved songs like ‘Opalescent’ serve as calms before the next storm. As good as the closing ‘All That Has Gone Before’ is (and Rolo Tomassi are excellent at huge atmospheric album closers), my favourite track on the album and favourite song of the year is the penultimate ‘Funereal’. It’s just a brilliant layered track with so many moving parts rammed into its five minutes that never feel crowded or like a different song entirely, building to a beautifully discordant climax.

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Nathan’s Top 5s of the Year

Over the next couple of weeks we’re going to be sharing our top 5s of 2015, from everyone who writes here at The Lost Lighthouse. Here is Nathan’s Top 5 of everything he consumed this year.

So here it is my 5 top 5’s of the year. I have gone for Games, Apps, Songs, Films and TV Shows. I would’ve included comics but I haven’t read that many and I would’ve liked to have included albums too, but the app category will clarify why I haven’t. There will be a few honourable mentions too. I will note that some of the choices may not have been from this year, however they are films, songs or TV shows I have been introduced to this year. I have also split the games between apps and consoles as well.

 

App’s

5. Candy Crush – Soda Saga
I know a lot of you find this annoying because everyone plays it, but it is brilliantly addictive and keeps the mind going. Also has the added advantage of being offline which makes things useful when you’re in the middle of nowhere and want to play some games.

4. 9gag
If you haven’t been introduced to 9gag yet, I suggest you get on the website and you’ll never leave. The app version is a quick and handy way to see all the hilarious posts of the day. You will be forever entertained with 9gag.

3. Spotify
I have always shunned away from Spotify as I wasn’t a fan of paying monthly for music, however I got it for free with my phone contract and I have to say it is possibly the most used app on my phone. Mainly because I am driving everywhere but the new Discover feature is brilliant. Every week I get 30 tracks I may or may not have heard before. It actually turns out that all my top 5 songs are from Spotify Discover. I haven’t tried the Running feature yet though, because that involves running.

2. Monument Valley
The only paid app in this list, but my god is it worth it. This game (also available offline) is a puzzle based adventure game, where you have to traverse levels and move the environment around you in order to open up new paths and doors. It is absolutely brilliant and worth the price.

1.Fallout Shelter

fallout-shelter4
I think everyone played this game. I couldn’t put this game down for ages. My girlfriend had to pretty much give me her iPad so I could play it. What a way to keep you interested in Fallout 4 by giving you this little gem. Many of my friends have shown me their shelters and some of them are extremely impressive. Definitely my app of the year.

 

Songs
Honourable mention to August Turns Red – Wrecking Ball, love a hilarious metal cover of a pop song.

5. The Hunter – Slaves
Not my normal genre of music but there’s something very likeable about this song. It is Royal Blood meets Sex Pistols, with a bit of 90’s britpop thrown in. Truly brilliant if you’re angry and want something to sing a long to to get the anger out.

4. Rasputin – Turisas
I will say that I am a massive fan of a metal cover of a pop song. This is one of the many songs that appeared on my Spotify list this year. Turisas are a Finnish folk metal band (I never knew such a thing existed) and the cover of Boney M’s ‘Rasputin’ is brilliant. They’ve even thrown in an extra verse to be safe. Fantastic cover that everyone should listen to.

3. Drink – Alestorm
If you like Pirates and if you like drinking, this is the track for you. The song reminds me of a famous night out I had and every time it comes on I am reminded of that night. Guaranteed you will singing this loud and clearly when you have a few beers and rums down you and surrounded by good friends.

2. Sail – Devildriver
Another metal cover yes, but I feel that this song is the song that the original should’ve been. Sail originally by Awolnation is brilliant in itself, mixes a chilled out dance vibe with screaming lyrics. Devildriver took it and added guitars and heavier lyrics. You can’t hate the track, it is fantastic.

1.Cirice – Ghost


Now if you have heard of Ghost, you may be thinking good lord how can you listen to this. Ghost are a controversial band, with many songs about the devil and including satanic lyrics, however it seems like this is all an act (hopefully). Cirice is the song that first introduced me to Ghost and I have to say Meliora (the album) has managed to make its way into my desert island discs. I absolutely love this song and the album. Everyone should give it a listen, if you’re into that sort of thing.

 

TV Shows
Honourable mention to Kill La Kill, very good series and I’m sure it would’ve made the top 5 if I’d finished it.

5. Peep Show
I know the show just finished but I love Peep Show, nothing makes laugh out loud so hard than Peep Show. Odd-couple meets Britain. Mark and Jeremy would not be friends in real life yet they have struck this hilarious friendship together and their thoughts throughout the series are absolutely brilliant. The series ended quite weakly but it still didn’t stop it making my top 5.

4. Attack on Titan
The only anime in this list, but what a fantastic anime. Storyline is epic and it tugs your heart strings throughout and what an ending, literally cannot wait until the next series comes out. I did feel that the story jumped around a little too much but still, what a watch.

3. Sherlock
What? This is show is old. Yes I know it is but I’ve just started watching it this year and I really wish I hadn’t waited. What a brilliant series. Still trying to figure out my favourite episode from the whole saga. The Hounds of the Baskervilles? Maybe the one with Moriarty and the bombs? It’s a tough choice.

2. Game of Thrones
I’ll admit that this season of Game of Thrones has been a bit slow to start off with but still it doesn’t matter as it finished so strong with an incredible ending. Cannot wait for next year’s season to start *************************** (edit – Nathan said a bunch of spoilers) *********** Plus we’ll get to see what Bran has been up to, lazy bastard made no effort last season.

1.Narcos

Narcos
A Netflix original, but wow what a series. It follows the dealings of Pablo Escobar, the infamous Colombian drug dealer and the DEA agents trying to capture him. It is all based on true events which makes it brilliant and terrifying all at the same time. I enjoyed this show so much that I didn’t want to binge watch it, I wanted to make it last. Honestly stop any TV show you are watching and put this on instead.

 

Films

5. Blackfish
A documentary? Really? Yes, this does make the top 5. I  went to SeaWorld when I was younger, as well as Discovery Cove and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. However since watching this film, I actually now feel ashamed that I went there. It is a very in-depth insight to the cruel world that the Killer Whales endure whilst performing and what can happen when things go wrong and let’s face it, they’re called Killer Whales for a reason. Also a film with such a huge message to cause a $15 million loss to such a large enterprise.

4. Big Hero 6
I adore this film. Pixar kind of meets anime in a way, but obviously the film isn’t as successful as Inside Out, but I believe it is better. It is a film about a boy and a robot that tries to help and heal people. It should be noted that the robot is shaped like a large marshmallow. A classic Pixar film, definitely worth a watch.

3. Avengers: Age of Ultron
Of course this was in my top 5 and the only Marvel film to make the list. I’m sure Ant-Man would be in here but I haven’t seen it yet. It was nice to see the Avengers really struggle to being with and then completely overcome everything against all odds. Also I thought the introduction of Vision was a nice touch. Can’t wait for phase 3 to be in full swing, looking forward to the next Captain America film especially.

2. The Lego Movie
Yes I know this film was released last year, but I only saw it in January and I have been watching it all year. Everything about this film is awesome. Love the voice acting, Will Arnett as Batman is brilliant, as well as Morgan Freeman, but I have to say that Liam Neeson’s character was absolutely hilarious. A chair as a weapon of choice is brilliant.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road

Fury Road
This is it, the number 1 film of the year and I bet I’m not alone with this choice. Star Wars probably would’ve been number 1, but again haven’t seen it yet and I do plan to, but this film is absolutely brilliant. Not too dialogue heavy but filled with a huge amount of action, hilariously modded cars and a brilliant man who only plays the guitar on top of a huge lorry cab. I did think this film would be rubbish as it was a remake of sorts, however I was wrong, so very wrong.

 

Games
Honourable mention to The Witcher 3, game of the year, I imagine it is fantastic, just not my cup of tea

5. Sunset Overdrive
Probably not the best release this year, but I really enjoyed this game. It was colourful and fun throughout the entire thing. Also grinding on rails to travel is brilliant, and the weapons you had were hilarious. What a great game, but maybe not worth the full price when it first came out.

4. Evolve
One of my games on my top 5 to look forward to at the start of the year and I was 100% right. Running around trying to capture a truly terrifying beast or even better, be the beast and destroy all who try to stop you. It is tons of fun and really worth playing.

3. Dragon Age: Inquisition
I really enjoyed this game. Didn’t enjoy it at first as I was just stuck doing sidequests but then the storyline really opened up. The sidequests were fantastic too, I really did try my best to take down every dragon I could get my dirty hands on, just a shame my tactic is going in head first and hoping that I would deal enough damage to take it out quickly. I was right once, the rest I was dragonmeat.

2. Batmam: Arkham Knight
This was my number 1 game I was looking forward to this year, but only made number 2 on the list? Yes that’s right but don’t get me wrong, this is probably the best Batman game created, probably easily one of the best games ever created. The storyline is brilliant, keeps you going throughout the entire game but the sidequests were just as good. Chasing Firefly around the city, to uncovering a serial killer’s lair and taking him down. Also you have the Batmobile, or Bat Tank, enough said really.

1. Metal Gear Solid V:The Phantom Pain

MGSV
This was a shock to me, bought this on a whim because I enjoy Metal Gear Solid games. I’m still playing this game now, wanting to conquer all the sidequests, collect all the weapons and invade everyone’s base. Also there’s something gratifying taking down tanks with bazookas whilst listening to “The Final Countdown”. However it may be the last proper Metal Gear Solid ever made. Hideo Kojima is no longer working with Konami. He has said he will continue to create games elsewhere, but that may be a while yet. However, congratulations to Metal Gear Solid V:The Phantom Pain, you are my game of the year.

 

Nath

Shouting At An Abyss That Just Stares Back – A Shower of Bastards

Adam yells about people on the internet, knowing full well the futility of it.

It’s been a while since my last meandering, unfocussed rant hasn’t it? I had the idea for one vaguely themed on what I’ll release the vitriol tap onto a couple of months ago, but when I found the the opportunity to write it didn’t seem timely enough, and more elegant and intelligent things had already been said on the subject. That absolutely is not to say that what I’m about to embark upon will be elegant or intelligent, far from it in fact. It does not mean it isn’t something worth discussing. I’m going to be talking about The Walking Dead TV show, and will make reference to the comic series too, but nothing will be serious spoiler territory.

Two weeks ago The Walking Dead ended with the introduction of Aaron, a representative from a community known as Alexandria, who approached Maggie and Sasha and asked to talk to their leader Rick. In the following episode, Aaron leads Rick and his crazy gang of survivors to the Alexandria stronghold. There are trust issues. as per usual in TWD, and somehow the group gets split up. Team Daryl hook up with Eric, Aaron’s partner in the field and also actual partner, who has been injured. When Team Rick meet back up with them, Aaron is overjoyed to see Eric alive, rushing over to embrace and kiss him. As people who are fond of each other tend to do.

Cue pointless controversy.

The reactions I’ve seen from people across the internet, in particular knee jerk reactions on Twitter, have been egregious to say the least. I would hope that all those that had a problem with Aaron and Eric sharing a kiss are in the minority, but over 13 million viewers of the episode in the US alone, those that took to their keyboards and phones to voice their disgust must represent a minority of a size that I’m not particularly comfortable with. That size being more than zero. Fucking hell people, it is 2015. If we feel the need to complain about two adults showing that they love each other in a basic way, in a story set in a US state where same-sex marriage is actually legal, then there is a serious problem here. Not to mention the fact that this story is set during the fucking zombie apocalypse, civilisation has crumbled around everyone as they struggle to survive, avoid the shuffling dead and rebuild the world. But dudes kissing dudes? Nah bro. Not cool. Why the hell should anyone be allowed to glimpse a single moment of happiness in such a terrible world, regardless of their sexual orientation?

I’ll quote a few of the responses I’ve seen, and address them with the fury with which they deserve. I was slightly heartened to see that some of these people have received a summary dressing down by ‘non-arseholes’, and some have either deleted the original message or their accounts all together. Defences used by those that haven’t revolve around it only being an opinion, or a right to free speech. “Get this faggot ass shit off the walking dead” doesn’t sound like much of an opinion to me, it sounds like hate speech. Blatant and painful discrimination in my book doesn’t really factor in as an opinion, and with how indelible and permanent the internet is it baffles me that people don’t keep this shit to themselves. As for freedom of speech, everyone absolutely should have the freedom to express themselves and opinions, as long as they are happy to have whatever shit they’ve said heavily scrutinised by others exercising their right to free speech by calling them out for being a cunt. I don’t believe that the internet should be censored or heavily policed, and I think people should only be prosecuted for what they say on the internet if they are genuine threats of whatever form they may be, like rape or death threats, doxxing or terrorism. Saying awful shit merely identifies you as part of the dregs of society that hopefully one day will just fuck off, but will probably stick around inexplicably like cancer or the concept of inequality.

Lets start with an oldie but a goodie. “I’m not a homophobic but that gay couple just ruined The Walking Dead“. If you have to start any sentence with ‘I’m not a (blank) but…’, news flash – you are that thing. In the same way that someone will always preface something vaguely insulting or offensive with “no offense, but…”. So putting aside that the start of the statement is basically the same as admitting that the person is a “homophobic”, the rest of the message isn’t exactly brimming with reason or perspective. No single thing can ruin The Walking Dead. Season 2 nearly ruined The Walking Dead. The weird peaks and troughs of quality sometimes threaten The Walking Dead, until they pull some ridiculously good episode out of the bag like the recent ‘What Happened and What’s Going On’. Two men kissing each other can not and will not ruin a whole TV show. The show was staying true to the source material, but even if it wasn’t and had just introduced two brand new gay characters, who the fuck cares? They weren’t forced on the viewer, it wasn’t forwarding some imagined pro-gay liberal agenda, there were just two characters who cared for each other, were happy to see each other and expressed that as any loving couple would. It wasn’t over the top or graphic. It just was. If that is all it takes to ruin a show for you, I feel very sorry for you. But I still want you to fuck off.

With the insane popularity of The Walking Dead, the viewership it pulls in is huge and way more than I would have ever expected. I’m always glad when something inherently nerdy, part of the culture I love, does well and more people are exposed to whatever it is. I like our nerd culture to be inclusive, accepting of everyone’s interest whether they just watch a show about a comic book, or use that show as a diving board into a larger world of comics, games, sci-fi and fantasy. But I have no interest in anyone that discriminates or spouts hateful shit like this.

Next up is “I don’t like that the walking dead got faggot shit on here now. Is Nothing Sacred !???” I get that someone was upset by seeing something they don’t like. If it bothers you so much, stop watching. But don’t throw stuff like “faggot shit” on the internet. It is so fucking unnecessary. Also, what is supposed to be “Sacred” in a TV show that is set during a zombie apocalypse? Everyone is completely godless, barely surviving day to day and certainly not giving a single shit about anyone else’s sexual orientation. Even the preacher struggles with his faith.  But even the shambling corpses, the bad guys who try to kill our heroes, or even when the good guys flat out murder people that may or may not be a threat, they still all manage to display more basic fucking humanity and tolerance than the dicks that watch the show.

Possibly my favourite two messages cover basically the same line of idiocy, so I’ll finish up with them. “I have been watching the walking dead for years with my kids, then with no warning u throw gays in there, I’m disappointed” and “I don’t discriminate against gay people. Plenty of my co-workers are gay. I just rather not have young children exposed to that BS on TV“. The Walking Dead is an 18-rated show in the UK. In America it is rated TV-MA, meaning not suitable for anyone under 17 years old. Watching the show with your kids seems insane to me, but I’d probably end up doing the same. So if you decide to allow your kids to watch an intensely violent and graphic TV show, disregarding age-rating advice (which I feel is your choice) and exposing them to more adult themes at an earlier age, you have no fucking right to complain about whatever kids are “exposed to”. And what is that? The 21st century? Is it such a bad thing that kids see this as a totally normal thing, so they don’t perpetuate your backward-ass thinking into the next generation? Take some responsibility and keep your prejudices away from your kids, maybe they’ll be lucky and turn out nothing like you. And what sort of warning were you expecting? WARNING! SOMETHING THAT ACTUALLY OCCURS IN THE REAL WORLD IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN.

Needless to say, The Walking Dead didn’t end. This week’s episode continued without the show being ruined, the world didn’t end (any more than it already has) and the viewers didn’t drop off like they said they would. I don’t really know why I continue to be shocked by how some people react to anything even slightly outside of their world view. All I know is that there are so many better reasons to hate people than their sexual orientation, their race, their gender or religious leanings. Like the fact that they have a terrible personality. Or they are a homophobe. But I’ll bring this incredibly unfocused rant to a close. A rant that can basically be summed up by ‘thing happens, people over react, man can’t understand over reaction and swears about people’.

Rick beard

And anyway, the biggest controversy in The Walking Dead this season should be the fact that Rick shaved off his beard this week. A travesty. AMC, you just ruined The Walking Dead. You have just lost millions of viewers.

 

What I’m playing – Rogue Legacy (PS4), Transistor (PS4)

What I’m reading (Books) – The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

What I’m reading (Comics) – Gotham Central: Book One by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka & Michael Lark

What I’m listening to – Transgender Dysmorphia Blues by Against Me!, Time and Trauma by 36 Crazyfists

What I’m watching – Tokyo Ghoul & Better Call Saul

Shouting At An Abyss That Just Stares Back – Infighting and Nerd Elitism

Adam yells about people on the internet, knowing full well the futility of it.

Not censoring this time, so for those of an offended disposition avoid accordingly as there are some hurtful words I guess.

When I did the first of these Abyss articles, I thought they would be more regular. You may think this reflects a reduction in the things that make me angry. You would be wrong. The case is really that I have simply not had enough time of late to keep up with things, and most of the things that have made me angry have been work-related (or living-broke-in-London-related) so aren’t really relevant to the sort of things we cover on the site. I did end up writing one about how much I hate kids, but turned out to be pointless and I came off sounding like even more of a dick than I usually do.

So this rant is really directed at nerd infighting and elitism, something that has frankly pissed me off for years. This takes many forms. On the simplest level you get fanboy-ism. We saw this all over the internet at an increased level following the release of PS4 and Xbox One (and a little bit after last week’s E3). General comments threads about Xbox of Playstation tend to go “unlucky butthurt Xbox/Playstation gamers, your console is shit and ours is better” “too bad your resolution/exclusives are worse and your console is therefore totally useless” “some random insult against Nintendo who had nothing to do with the story”, and then finally from a PC gamer saying something along the lines of “console gaming is trash, we have been able to do that for years with PC, everyone should only play PC because consoles are shit and dying”. No one is going to take your console away if you don’t defend it with terminal ferocity at every opportunity and non-opportunity. If someone you have never and will never meet prefers something to what you love, you don’t need to tell them how wrong they are or how stupid you think they are. Don’t be a prick.

It is a sort of behaviour that is rife across a lot of different nerdy interests, and I don’t really get it because for a group that has historically tended to be fringe and can be mocked and ridiculed for their interests, there sure are a lot of shits within that who like to ostracise other folk because they don’t like the exact same thing or aren’t a ‘hardcore enough nerd’, whatever that means. When I was an undergraduate, eons ago, I decided to join the anime society. Two things drove this decision really, first being that I really like anime and the second being that given half a chance I will always choose a lazy option. Sport? Pfft! Sit and watch anime then go to the pub? Much better. Whenever I went off to soc I would be met with brief derision from other friends (to the point where I told one of them to fuck off for being such a smug arsehole once when very irritable from coursework and sleep deprivation. He knows who he is). But at that soc I met some of my best friends from uni, and Ian, so I don’t regret it. A new experience that stemmed from this was attending a few anime conventions with some cosplayers, and even trying it myself a few times (more derision, and yes if you carry a prop of Nicholas D. Wolfwood’s Punisher weapon through Bristol town centre on a Thursday night people will drunkenly yell at you asking if you are Jesus).

nicholas

The thing that bothered me at these cons, something I soon found out is pervasive in general nerd culture (plenty of stories on the internet from folk being treated like shit for daring to walk into a comic book shop for the first time not knowing everything about everything, mercifully I never experienced this) was the realisation that there were some who held a sort of insipid elitism against perceived fair weather fans or people who like more popular series. Calling people ‘Narutards’ because they like the ninja series Naruto is fucking ridiculous. Just because someone hasn’t heard of your favourite obscure 90’s OVA that was only available to the very coolest of nerds does not give them any less of a right to attend and hang out with like minded people for a bit of fun. So the fuck what if they bought their Ichigo Kurosaki costume from eBay and you sewed yours together out of your own blood and hair using frozen tears as needles? People will be more impressed when you say you did that. That’s enough, you won (disclaimer – I once unthinkingly mocked a friend because someone else made his Cyclops visor. Because I am a fucking terrible hypocrite. I am sorry).

Obviously anime cons are just a small scale example of something I have found to be much more widespread (and these people are definitely a minority at cons, most of the people there are fucking lovely) both on and offline about everything from comics and video games to TV and movies. I think some of this perceived superiority comes from those who think that our “little” out group is under threat of becoming mainstream and too popular. I once heard someone at one of these cons say that he did not like how busy it was that year, or that they were becoming more popular. I do not get this at all. It reminds me of when I was a kid and I was told about a band, who I later started to like. When I met up with the same person again, eager to chat abut the band that person had gone off them because they were ‘too popular’. My child brain couldn’t understand it. My adult brain still doesn’t understand it (though maybe that is because it is pickling in whisky). I think it is great that more people are interested in comics recently. I love that not only are we getting so many Marvel films, but they are really decent. Plus for once I get to appear a (relative) expert on something when people turn to me after a post credits scene to ask what the hell is going on. I’m not even sick of explaining to people why Batman or Superman won’t be in the Avengers movies, though I am sick of explaining why Wolverine and Spider-man won’t be. Because the reason is boring.

Maybe instead of getting upset that so many people are wearing Green Lantern or Star Wars t-shirts when they are so very clearly a ‘fake nerd’ guy or girl (probably a separate rant about what a fucking stupid thing that is), try being happy that we are getting a Guardians of the Galaxy film and we had a fucking Winter Soldier film adaptation this year which was great. Don’t like The Big Bang Theory? Don’t watch it then, and definitely don’t start saying that everyone who does watch it must be stupid, because that makes you a cunt. And definitely don’t start throwing around terms like ‘nerd blackface‘ (look it up, probably another rant coming later too) because that makes you a remarkably narrow minded, culturally insensitive cunt.

I definitely ended on a different topic than I started at. Rant ends.

 

What I’m playing – Replaying Bioshock Infinite Burial at Sea Chapters 1 & 2

What I’m reading (Books) – Perdido Street Station – China Miéville (actually just finished. Fucking brilliant, read it)

What I’m reading (Comics) – Judge Dredd The Complete Case Files 02 – Various writers and artists (2000AD)

What I’m listening to – Möngöl Hörde – Möngöl Hörde, Till Midnight – Chuck Ragan, From Parts Unknown – Every Time I Die

What I’m watching – Orange is the New Black Season 2 (Netflix)

Spoilers: How Not to be a Dick

Kit had some things spoiled for him. Now he’s annoyed.

So this article has been inspired by a Facebook post by somebody I know, who shall of course remain anonymous in this article as this is just an angry rant about it.

I like many other people watch the rather fantastic show Game of Thrones and as many of you will likely know Game of Thrones has a reputation for pulling off plot twists and the fact it’s one of the few shows where virtually no character is safe. There is death and killing everywhere, sometimes you see it coming but usually you don’t. The downside to this, as with any show with a plot twist, is it opens up the potential for spoilers, which leads me to the focus of this article.

In my experience there are a couple of general rules about spoilers:

– If something is brand new, check if everyone who may hear or see what you say has seen it.

– If they haven’t, either give them the option to leave, or save your thoughts for a point where they won’t see it or hear it.

– Basically don’t be a dick.

There are excusable circumstances where genuine mistakes are made. For example, not realising someone hasn’t seen Star Wars or anything else that’s been out or a long time. One of the upsides to the growth in popularity of fantasy, comics, Sci-Fi and all things geeky is when things are put into a new, more accessible format be it superhero films or comics and books being turned into TV series. This does however, lead to those who are familiar with the original format knowing all of what is going to happen. For most people this is actually a lot of fun, you get to see your friends get to know something you already love and see their excitement grow. You get to see their shock when a favourite character dies or their excitement when a battle is fought and won and when the new format, be it movie, game or TV show doesn’t quite hold up to the original you can recommend the book, comic, original show or whatever it is and see your friends enjoy that instead.

river-spoiler-journal

Unfortunately, there’s another kind of person. The spiteful sort that enjoys ruining everyone’s fun and holding their apparent superior fan status above everyone else. This was the sort of message I saw. To paraphrase “Stop complaining about Game of Thrones spoilers, go and read the books” before proceeding to post spoiler after spoiler.

Now, saying the original is better is fine. But ruining it for everyone after?

No, dick move pal. Fuck you.

Personally, I’d love to read the books, I’d love to read many books, but there are so many out there and day to day life working and having at least some kind of social life (sitting in a room with my friends pretending to be elves or super heroes like the geeks we are…) means I only have time for so many books! Now it just so happens that HBO decided to take George R.R. Martin’s work and break it down into a very convenient hour-long weekly episodes. Now that suits me perfectly! I get to sit down and watch it with my (much) better half every week and it’s great! And saying people shouldn’t care about spoilers and then providing them? That really is having your cake and eating it. For everyone who saw this post who wanted to read the books, they’re still spoiled!

GoT-Spoilers

What it comes down to is basic etiquette, don’t be a dick and ruin things for people just discovering something that you care about. This sort of thing will happen more and more with the rise in geek culture, with Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Arrow and many other shows succeeding on TV. I’m sure we’ll see much more of this, and when it does, be the sort of person who enjoys sharing their favourite things, not the sort of asshole who will ruin them for others.

Kit