Ring in the Year

Clearly 2020 sucked. Some good bits in there, but overall still something I’m happy is in the rear-view mirror. 2021 at least has some measure of hope.

The year reinforced the idea that my kids have won the ovarian lottery. The only other possible advantage they could have had is being male (I write this conscious of its implications), and even then in my country the gap is a whole lot smaller than others. They have 2 well-to-do, bilingual, caring, educated parents, who have had no financial impacts from this pandemic. They were provided with equipment to continue learning at a distance. Full health care. If 2020 did something right, it was making me more aware of that situation and thankful for it.

2020 did bring us Hades, which is just a simple testament to all that is good in gaming. A developer that respects its clients, its staff, and has a clear vision in development. Ghost of Tsushima is in a similar boat, though a larger organization with a tad more resources. The less said about others, the better. Gaming was a major outlet for most of the global population, if sales are any indication.

WoW launched an expansion, which is an improvement on BfA. Admittedly, it would seem to be more effort to be worse than BfA, so that is a somewhat backhanded compliment. The game has certainly not solved the borrowed power problem, in fact it’s pretty much doubled down on it here. People are cool with it because the power is only in one direction, compared to BfA’s continual power loss. My single largest gripe here is the horrible travel mechanics. The removal of the Flight Master’s whistle is shades of dumb on par with the initial removal of flying. Bastion has next to no flight points, and Revendreth is a vertical nightmare. And the Maw is just… for a game pillar, it’s still suffering from broken hunts (which are how you improve movement).

Kids are still kicking it with Minecraft. To a rather crazy degree working together. They don’t do any chat-based online games, for sanity reasons mostly. So no Fortnite in this house, while Rocket League is a-ok.

The wife and I watched the 2 seasons of The Mandalorian over the holiday break. Having Dave Filoni involved is evident in the quality and consistency of the storylines. The rotating directors make for varied storytelling approaches as well. I won’t lie, I geeked out fierce in the Krait dragon battle. No deep spoilers here, but the ending of season 2 pretty much closed the loop on nearly every thread that mattered to me. I can see how it will be used as a launching pad for a half dozen other Star Wars stories.

Wonder Woman ’84 was also on deck as my wife is a major fan. I really liked the first one (minus the last battle), and this one is ok I guess. There’s a lot of logic leaps in to follow here, even for a superhero movie. And it’s hard to ignore the fact that Wonder Woman rapes a stranger, when the film goes to great efforts to paint the opposite picture for Cheetah. It looks cool, and it’s better than nearly every other DC movie out there.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel that my hockey will start again in the fall. Most of the country should have their shots by then. I am missing it something fierce. The backyard rink is up and running, though the very mild weather is making is a tad tougher than normal to manage. Snowshoeing is likely the main activity for the foreseeable future.

Even the summer is looking somewhat promising. The cottage is great as a getaway, but even better when we’re able to share it with people. The whole remote work efforts are making me strongly consider getting high speed internet for a few months, which is going to be costly but likely practical. I could always get a cell boost up, which is going to be a similar cost but only 1 time.

2021 has some interesting games on line. Horizon 2, God of War 2, Monster Hunter Rise (where I will be super tempted to get a Switch), maybe a clean Baldur’s Gate 3, Deathloop, Gotham Knights, and a slew of more indies all look promising. And without hockey, my gaming budget is a LOT higher. If ever video cards start to actually be launched, maybe I’ll build a new rig. Upgrading bits is fine, but a full rig today makes little sense.

As for the blog, 2020 was one of my more active years. I needed it for a multitude of reasons, and don’t see that going away in 2021. I’ll add a bit more to my reading list, as there are some really neat voices out there that provide some great perspectives.

Next post will follow the annual predictions that most blogs put out. Take care and happy new year!

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