It would be too easy to begin this annual review with a snarky comment about the poopshow that was 2020, so I’ll save it for the end. This is where I announce my favorite new albums, books, video games, etc. from the previous year. Because you care, right? Let’s go.
For all the bad stuff that happened in 2020, we did get a bunch of awesome video games. It was the end of the generation in the PlayStation and Xbox worlds, and it went out with a bang.
The first big game for me (and millions of other people) this year was Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It’s been said a million times before, but it really did launch at the perfect time. It was supposed to come out a few months earlier, so it’s interesting to think what would have happened if it did come out in late 2019 instead. Hm.
We got The Last of Us Part II. I loved that game. Story-wise, I was totally into it, but it did start to feel a little long towards the end. I didn’t utilize any of them, but I appreciated the available accessibility features. It’s cool to think that pretty much anyone could be able to enjoy playing through that game.
Spider-Man: Miles Morales was a fun little romp. It was marketed as a smaller title, but I think it could have been a little shorter. Other than some animation hitches that might now be fixed from patch, I had no real mentionable complaints. Good stuff.
I almost forgot about Final Fantasy VII Remake somehow. I’d say I’m an average fan of the original game. I intentionally saw very little footage from this remake before its release, but I heard good things. It slogs here and there, and it closing you off from areas as you progress through the game bothered me a bit. But other than that, I loved it. I can’t wait for the next part in 2025 or whenever we get it.
Picross S5! These games comes to Switch every so often, and I can’t help but eat them up immediately. I don’t think this one is actually easier than the previous ones, so I feel like I’m just getting better at the game. I’m closing in on clearing all the main puzzles, and I’ve rarely used any of the features that help you “cheat.”
I’ll end this video game section with a shoutout to Hades. I got it at launch on Switch, but didn’t play much of it. I’ll get back to it someday.
I can only think of two big releases for me this year. Wait. I mean, Somniphobia was a big release for me, but…you know.
Static-X’s Project Regeneration. It could have been so bad, but I turned out awesomely. I can’t wait for Part 2 to come out. I have a feeling it (as well as many other albums from other bands) will remain unreleased until they are able to tour to support it. I reviewed the album here if you want to read my in-depth thoughts on it.
Not long after that we got Marilyn Manson’s WE ARE CHAOS. Months removed from its release now, I can’t say I keep it in heavy rotation, but it’s still a piece of art. I don’t know if I mentioned it in my review, but my one-liner about it is that it’s a little disappointing because the acoustic/country-ish style was pretty much expected. It’s good for what it is, but I want something surprising from Marilyn Manson again.
I read a ton in 2020. I think the first book I purchased last year was Liz Phair’s Horror Stories. It’s a short-ish memoir of sorts. To be honest, it’s not top of mind, but it was a good read.
Another book I read was Michael Ian Black’s A Better Man: A (Mostly Serious) Letter to My Son. I can’t help but scarf up everything that Michael Ian Black puts out. It got delayed for one reason or another, and I feel like 2020 hurt this book’s performance. It has some great thoughts, but I’m not sure masculinity is what too many people wanted to think about in September. I don’t know.
I also picked up Steve-O’s Professional Idiot: A Memoir. It came out way back in 2012, but after his incessant pleas for people to buy it on his YouTube channel, I broke down and bought it, autographed. Almost everything in there has been disclosed elsewhere at this point, but I enjoyed my time with it.
Most recently, I accidentally bought the Kindle edition of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, so I’ve been reading that. If I ever read it before, I had forgotten it. Maybe I started reading it but didn’t finish it. I don’t know. Either way, it outshines the 1989 movie adaptation and destroys the 2019 film. Morbid stuff is awesome.
I believe I only got to see two movies in theaters in 2020, so I guess I’ll mention them: Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn and Sonic the Hedgehog. Thinking about them in tandem now, both were surprisingly decent. I had low hopes for both of them, but each were certainly watchable.
Traditionally, I think I reserve this section of my year-in-review for movies I saw in theaters, but since 2020 was a weird year, let me shout out a few random other older films that I saw at home since I watched my fair share. These are the ones that I remember liking that I watched for the first time. In no particular order…
Summer of 84
Malevolence 2: Bereavement
All the Stalked by My Doctor movies
All the I Spit on Your Grave movies
In other news, I did put out a new album in October. It had a little bit of shine on release, but it seemed to fizzle out pretty quickly. That might be my fault. I don’t know. If you’ve read this far, I’ll say I’m working on a follow-up video to “Ooh La La.” I need to wait for some equipment to arrive so I can complete it. If nothing else, it should be better than that video. I won’t say what song it’s for yet because surprises are awesome.
2020 marked the first year since, what, 1998 that I hadn’t attended any concerts. That sucked. It still sucks. The chances that 2021 will be any different in that regard sucks even more.
So yeah, bring on 2021. If it’s more of the same, fine. Maybe that will get me to put out another album this year. It probably would be good anyway, but it beats hunting for toilet paper, maybe.
P.S. Happy birthday, Marilyn Manson!