The best and worst of 2016

   Throughout the year, we’ve seen plenty of new movies, books, TV, games, and tech. Some have made a massive splash, some have resulted in a total flop. Most do fairly well, but it takes a certain product of writers, actors, and programmers to be the cream of the crop (or not).

MOVIES

BEST: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

WORST: Suicide Squad

   Recently, the expansion of the Harry Potter saga was a massive delight to fans and newcomers alike, taking the story almost 100 years in the past to 1920’s New York City, exploring the mostly unmentioned American wizarding society. The story followed Newt Scamander, a British wizard and zoologist of magical beasts, who accidentally lets the loose in the city and must hunt them down (nice job) while avoiding revealing the secret of their world to No-Majs (or, y’know, Muggles.)

   However, during the summer the widely-hyped reintroduction to the DC comics cinematic universe was supposed to be a fun, comical take on the villains of the series compared to the darker tones of their earlier movies. However, this hype train got derailed when the movie failed to stand up to the expectations with most of the second half was dull and drawn out. Don’t worry DC; even if your movie didn’t do well, at least you spawned one of the biggest (and also most basic) costumes this halloween.

TELEVISION

BEST: Stranger Things, Westworld

WORST: SNL’s 2016 Season (so far)

   Netflix worked their series magic again, creating even more screen junkies with their new Sci-Fi horror series Stranger Things. Its nostalgic feel and original story drew in viewers with its 9-part series that explored the supernatural disappearance of 11-year old Will Byers and his friend’s subsequent quest to find him.

   Westworld, also coming from cult classic creators of Game of Thrones, takes place in a futuristic theme park populated by AI-controlled humans. The show explores the morality of the AI as the park is constantly ravaged by crazed tourists who kill and destroy their way through the park, as well as mysterious conspiracies surrounding its creation. (It’s like Jurassic Park but with cowboys!)

   While Saturday Night Live has been known as a hilarious way to spend your Saturday night, the show’s most recent season hasn’t had much in store. While their constant bashing of the election and the newest President-Elect with intelligently written cold opens draws you in, what follows can sometimes be too dry or to confusing to understand or enjoy. Some celebrities like Kristen Wiig and Benedict Cumberbatch have had better luck with their appearances with genuinely funny episodes, but not everyone can pull it off once a week.

TECH
BEST: Virtual Reality, Pokemon GO

WORST: Samsung Note 7

   With a growing market for growing ways to view media, VR headsets and technology have made a new medium that brings the viewer into the world, creating lifelike movies that could place a viewer in a new realm, enveloping them in the setting.

   On mobile, Augmented Reality paved the way for the short-lived (but still fun and interactive) Pokemon Go. While the game did get everyone out of the house and getting fit, it also created a social experience where you could easily meet other players and hunt the virtual creatures together. While the game did cause multiple accidents involving players, we all just like to think of that being their fault (that’s why we have survival of the fittest, right?) Too bad no one will want to play it come winter.

   However, what really bombed this year was a real BOMB. Samsung’s newest smartphone, the Note 7, was constantly exploding in pockets, houses, while charging, on planes, and injured many. While the company tried to fix the issue, it barely did anything, and the company killed production lines indefinitely, because how else do you convince people to put that up to their head?

GAMES
BEST: Overwatch

WORST: No Man’s Sky

   While games are not always in the spotlight of major media, they still can make an impact in a big way. Overwatch’s introduction into the game world was a big deal; not only was it the first new franchise from Blizzard Entertainment, creators of games like the World of Warcraft series (famous for being able to trap your kids in your basement for years) Diablo, and Starcraft, it was a new take on the Multiplayer genre. With a vibrant color scheme, memorable characters, and a fun and easy-to-learn play style, it gained a massive following and a Game of the Year award.

   But the fame of Blizzard’s brainchild wasn’t enough to cover up the flop that was No Man’s Sky. Producers Hello Games overhyped their interstellar exploration sim (and probably derailed the company forever) by doing these simple things:

  • Delaying the game for 3 years straight
  • Overestimating about most of the game’s “big features”
  • Charge it at full price (60$) despite feeling unfinished
  • Go almost totally silent for months after release

   While the game’s first update has added new features like base-building and adding useable freighters may be enough to win back some, it will take a lot to gain back their pre-release following (if that is even possible).

John Boughey, Staff Reporter

PhotoCo: Public Domain Images

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