Here are my favorite things of 2015

BY Jason Hojnacki | January 08, 2016

The first time the title card for Mr. Robot came on my screen, I knew that I was going to love this show. I’m a sucker for slick camera angles and at times Mr. Robot looked more like a well made indie movie than a show I was watching on the same network that airs WWE Raw every week. But those slick shots would not have worked nearly as well had the been paired with the sick techno-synth heavy soundtrack Mac Quayle so masterfully put together. Outside of the fact that the show has a style that is unmatched on TV, Rami Malek crafted an amazing loner, robin hood of the facebook age character that was brilliant and totally broken in believable ways. Toss in a career re-inventing performance by Christian Slater, cliffhanger endings that made me wish the show was on Netflix and a couple of great twists, and you have one of my favorite TV Shows of 2015. If you haven’t watched this one yet, what are you waiting for?

While Amy and Tristan were super high onUntil Dawn pre-release, it was pretty low on my games I want to play list when it came out last August. Honestly, I don’t know if I would have enjoyed this game nearly as much had I played it alone. Playing this game with someone who really doesn’t play games, brought out all of the best parts of it. The consequences of my actions didn’t just change my story, it changed that of the person playing with me. The tension brought on when you know you can kill off one of the cast members, was ratcheted up as the emotional connections, whether it was hate or love for a character, grew over the course of the game. Do I intentionally kill of a person I don’t like, even though the person I am playing the game with likes them? Would that make me a bad person? Probably, so I didn’t, but let me tell you, I thought about it a lot.

Outside of the great multiplayer experience (via old school homemade multiplayer, known as the controller hand-off) the game started strong but kind of lost itself three quarters of the way through before ending all too abruptly. None that matters though because the experience I had with Until Dawn is much stronger than the game itself, and I am ok with that.

Anyone that follows the site knows that I love Back to the Future and that I have been a fan of this odd Adult Swim Back to the Future parody since day one. While Season One was great, Season Two of this show upped the insanity from the first episode, which picks off right where Season One ended, with space and time breaking up into multiple timelines and hundreds of different realities appearing onscreen at once. This visual nod is great, but it was the continuity, commitment to jokes and growth of the characters that really made Season Two amazing. Watching Rick breakdown after the loss of his girlfriend, with Chaos Chaos “Do you feel it?” playing in the background, was one of my favorite moments of television all year and showed just how special this show really is.

We don’t cover music much on the site but that doesn’t mean it isn’t affecting what we do on a daily basis. Late last year I went to a concert in Brooklyn expecting to drink my way through the stale opening act as I waited for the main band to hit the stage. Instead, I was treated to what could only be described as the greatest 40 minute comedy/musical set I have ever witnessed. Ridiculous guitar riffs ripped straight out of the late 90’s combined with catchy hooks, stupid banter and outrageous Kabuki Makeup made forget the band I was there to see and wish for these guys to keep playing.

However great that set was, it wasn’t until I left the show and started listening to their debut album in the comfort of my own home, did the power of what this duo (Ben and Liv) had created hit me. David Bowie blasted out sexuality in the 70’s, Kurt Cobain wore drag in plenty of shows, but I have never heard or seen a mainstream band more proudly wear their sexuality, like the greatest set of armor ever crafted, than these two. While I can’t directly relate to most of the lyrics these guys are spitting, I can get behind the messages, the music and the hope that everyone gives them a chance in the coming year. Seriously, if you don’t find yourself wanting to pick up your Rock Band guitars and pretend you are the one hitting the licks on Ugly Cherries, you don't like Rock n’ Roll.

I’ve been a fan of the Fallout series since the PC days so every time a new Fallout drops, I get excited to see what version of the wasteland I will lose myself this time. Having gone to Boston plenty of times, I was pretty stoked to see how the real life locations would translate. Not surprisingly, Bethesda didn’t disappoint and the Boston I was running around in on my TV was kind of what my mind had visualized the alternate reality version to resemble. Fenway Stadium was represented in all it’s green monster glory (albeit a bit smaller than I had hoped), Harvard Square, Trinity Church, they were all there and resembled what I remembered. It’s that attention to detail and the love that Bethesda throws at their games that has me putting this game so high on my list. Was it a bit janky in spots, of course, but that’s expected when you create a game that allows people to approach the world at their leisure. I lost more nights than I can count just running around the world, exploring new areas and talking to interesting characters. There were other open world games this year that did this exact same thing, but none of them transported my couch to another place quite as well as Fallout 4.

Listen, I could write 5000 words about why The Force Awakens is on my list but none of it will matter. The movie lived up to the hype. The new characters were awesome and anything that I needed to say about the movie was talked about in our special edition of Adapted. I can't wait for Episode VIII.

It wasn’t until I sat down and created my first level did the greatness that is Super Mario Maker sink in. Being able to grab the controller and build a level that somewhat resembled the thousands of levels I have played during the course of my life was kind of mind blowing. Many games have done the level creator thing, but none have done it in a more user friendly way that left me personally feeling like I had created something great.

On it’s own, in a vacum where I wouldn’t get to experience other people playing my levels, the game would fail. Lucky for us, Nintendo actually created a fairly decent online component to the game that allowed us to easily share levels and watch as our friends failed over and over again on our intricately created, dickhead levels. Watching Jeramy get killed by the Thwomp I placed at the start of a level, which you can relive here, only to regain his composure and easily cruise through the level a few lives later, is exactly why this was my favorite thing of the year. That level was in no way shape or form something Miyamoto would have crafted, the joy of failing, learning the level and then beating it however, is exactly what Mario has always been about. With a constant stream of updates and our promise to return to community driven Mario Monday’s in the near future, this is a game I can see myself playing well into 2016, if not beyond.