Here is the definitive Top 10 list for 2014, unless you have a different one, which is probably the actual definitive list.
Ryan’s Top 5 Other Things of 2014
Honorable Mention: JRPG Historia Future Perfect
Technically this Youtube series has been in production since 2013. When Evan approached me to be his co-host I was quick to say yes without knowing what I was getting in to. All I knew was it was going to be a daily show in which we play different JRPGs. If you go back and listen to the very first episode I you can tell I was slightly caught off guard by the narrative that Evan introduces. Now a little more than a year later we have a crazy narrative, too many injokes, and too much fun. Season 1 was fun, Season 2 is in full swing, and I can’t wait to see what Season 8 brings us.
5. Velvet Sundown
I’ve only played two games of Velvet Sundown. One of these was ruined because of a player not playing, so it would be unfair of me to judge Velvet Sundown as a complete game and put it on my Top 10. It would also be crazy to try to do that because Velvet Sundown isn’t a video game. It is an experience. I was Boyle. I took breaks from my bartending job on the titular yacht to go stand at the front of the ship imaging what it would be like to own one of those islands on the horizon. To be the one ordering the drinks for once. Then Malik showed up and forced a blessing on me. It was weird. I loved it.
Originally this slot was going to go the Snowpiercer, an excellent film. Then Evan reminded me about a show that came out this year. A show with an episode that I consider to be perfect. Andy Daly is master of many characters and Forrest MacNeil is his most well rounded of the bunch. A reviewer of life taking suggestions from a detached audience of internet users spells disaster for this man and his humble life, which spells the funniest show to debut this year.
3. Lindsey Stirling Concert
Lindsey Stirling is so great. If you have been around the internet enough you have most likely seen or heard some of her music, even if you aren’t aware of who she is. I had the great opportunity to see her live in concert this year in a small venue. While there I met people who I can only describe as my kind of people. I made multiple friends that night, and that was before the concert even started. Once it did, oh boy, it was amazing. The combination of great music, solid choreography, and amazing lights made it something that I want to go back to as soon as she comes around again.
2. The Babadook
Hands down my favorite movie of the year and also the best horror movie I have seen, period. The Babadook is terrifying, and I don’t mean the monster. Fantastic writing, directing, and acting all pile on top of each other to provide what can only be described as Persona 4 in horror movie form. And if you know how much I love Persona 4, you know how much that means I love this movie.
1. The Book of Mormon
No, not the religious text. The Book of Mormon is the best musical I have seen bar none. I listen to the soundtrack at least two times a week. The book, or story between the songs, is the most well written I have seen in any musical. It is hilarious, heartwarming, and genuine. The moral of the story is one that everyone can take away from, and I mean everyone. It is the most enjoyably experience I have had this year, and it will be extremely hard to top.
Top 10 Games of 2014
10. South Park: The Stick of Truth
Surprise, surprise. What was supposed to be near the top of my list this year has slowly worked its way to this spot. I still really enjoyed my time in the town of South Park. Matt and Trey made the most faithful version of their quiet little mountain town that has existed outside of the show. The story starts simple and escalates in ways that only South Park can, but Mr. Stone and Mr. Parker took advantage of having 12 hours to work with and have brought some of the craziest moments to South Park since the war sparked by to men and their film of flaming butts.
9. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Let’s cut to the chase: the Nemesis system is astounding. It has not only elevated Shadow of Mordor to more than it ever should have been, but it changes what open world games should be going forward. Solid combat and simple traversal polishes off great gameplay for a game that might as well have had no story. Hopefully the inevitable sequel will improve upon the faults of the game while amplifying what brought it to this spot on my Top 10.
I can’t say much about Threes, because there isn’t much to say. Threes is brilliant because of its simplicity. Instead of trying to describe why you should be interested in it. Go play it for yourself. Then thank me. You’re welcome.
7. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
What more is there to say about the newest Smash Bros. game? Not much. It is a solid entry in a great series. It is insanely fun to play, and I will probably be playing it with friends until the next one comes out.
I wish Bravely Default was shorter, not because I thought it was too long, but because so many people never saw what made Bravely Default interesting due to its length. About halfway through the game Tiz and Co. complete their mission. That’s when things get crazy. 20 hours later the game completes what is the craziest twist on classic JRPG formula that have ever heard of. I would play it again but I do have a life I need to get back to some time.
5. Dark Souls 2
Congratulations! You, Dark Souls 2, have cracked my Top 5. Excellent design all around has resulted in a game better than the original. We can argue all about which Souls game is the best, but the changes made to Dark Souls 2 to make it more welcoming to newcomers is the best thing From Software has done since King’s Field.
4. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
I won’t lie. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is not a very good game. It has an interesting story and about two interesting characters, but other than that there isn’t much going for it. For its sequel to improve on it so dramatically in every aspect is crazy. The majority of characters this time around are at the very least good, the cases are all clever, and the twist is CRAZY. I love it. I can’t wait to talk about it with even more people.
3. Bayonetta 2
Oh my god you guys. Bayonetta 2 is so good. Like SO good. The gameplay is the tightest for a character action game I have ever played, maybe any game ever. The moments go so over the top, the music is so good, and the story actually gives Bayonetta an unexpected aspect of humanity to her personality that I really enjoyed. Top to bottom excellent design leads this game to the slot number three on this list.
2. The Last of Us: Left Behind
This is ironic. Last year I gave The Last of Us my personal GOTY because, even though I thought Gone Home was a better game, I had a more personal enjoyment with The Last of Us. Now, by the same reasoning, Left Behind gets the number two spot even though I think it is kind of perfect. By focusing on Ellie instead of Joel, Naughty Dog makes the most emotionally effective piece of content in their long years as developers, and the performances by Ashley Johnson and Yaani King are two of the strongest I have ever seen.
1. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
I could talk about Persona Q for far longer than any other game this year. I won’t, but I could. What I will say instead, is that Persona Q has been one of the most personally touching games I have ever played. It hit me on many levels, a few of which I would be uncomfortable discussing on such an open forum, but that is a testament to how deep this game gets. Much like Bravely Default, Persona Q buries its true story into the late game. The impact is all the more effective because of it. It is beautiful, heartbreaking, uplifting, and I don’t want to leave these characters. I feel like I should, I have grown up, and so have they. I just don’t know if I can.
And there you have it folks, until next time.