2012 was filled with many amazing games, movies, shows, and surprising announcements, though there were many, Teknosquid has compiled a list of what we believe to be the best of 2012. Here is our list starting with:
Microsoft dominating the market with their windows software has decided to change the game with introducing their newest operating system “Windows 8”. Windows 8 differs on a wide range of aspects in comparison to Windows 7 operating system, due to the fact that Windows 8 installs a new kind of software which enables users to configure a series of tiles on its front desktop. Far different than previous windows advancements such as upgrading from Windows Vista to 7, which is very similar in appearance and user navigation between the two, but as for Windows 8 this is a completely new approach and appearance in comparison to previous operating systems from Microsoft. All Microsoft is doing is integrating touch technology into their operating system, because honestly let’s face it guys, everything is going to be touch screen in the future and Microsoft is just preparing for the jump by pushing that sort of technology with their new software. With the release of Windows 8 there has been a huge increase in products with touch screen technology; Microsoft even came out with their own tablets the Surface RT, and Surface Pro. Many users of previous Windows OS are not too happy with this major change, but have no fear the desktop tile is here, this tile enables users to have a desktop view very similar to previous OS software, in which users can put icon shortcuts like web url’s or even word documents. The only main difference is that the start icon is not at the bottom left of the PC no more, but on the right side panel, and is easily accessible. Like I said previously, this is a huge change for Microsoft and for most PC users, but change is progress so let’s progress and see what the future has in store.
Although Minecraft has been out for some time on the PC and mobile devices, it was the Xbox Live Arcade version that exploded onto the Xbox Marketplace this past year. Game developers at 4J Studios (who previously worked on XBLA ports for Banjo-Kazooie and Perfect Dark) where tasked with porting the wildly popular PC game to the Xbox. This Xbox 360 version isn’t simply a carbon copy of the PC version; it contains a more simplified crafting system than its PC counterpart and also supports 8 player online multiplayer over Xbox Live. There are however, some omissions in the Xbox version; originally the game launched without the popular creative mode, (allowing players to build with unlimited resources) and the Xbox version released many updates behind the PC. Microsoft planned to combat this by allowing 4J Studios to release updates more frequently bypassing the infamously strict Xbox live certification process, and so far they have stayed true to their word. There have already been 8 major updates with the most recent update being released January 31, 2013. Some major inclusions in these updates are creative mode and expanded tutorials, with the latter keeping the game accessible to players who have been playing nonstop since its release to beginners just picking the game up. The support 4J studios and Microsoft have given has paid off as Minecraft XBLA became the fastest selling Xbox Live Arcade game of all time. Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition still remains one of the most popular XBLA games to date, whether you are building an epic castle in the sky that eclipses the pixelated sun or just spending hours scouring mines for that last piece of diamond to complete your set of diamond tools, Minecraft was defiantly one of entertaining games of 2012.
One of the best parts of 2012 is the beginning of a new generation of video game consoles. We’ve all had fun with our Wiis, PS3s, and Xbox 360s, but now in 2013 it’s time to move on. Nintendo already had a head start with the handheld generation with the 3DS with Sony shortly following suit with their PS Vita. Now with the Wii U, the first next generation console to hit stores and Nintendo’s first console to enable HD graphics similar to PS3 and Xbox 360. Wii U, not only having top of the line graphics has also introduced a new way of playing, with their new handheld controller called the “GamePad”, which is very similar to gaming tablets. The cool aspect behind the gamepad is that it lets you play games on your flat screen TV or even on the GamePad itself, which has a HD 6.2 inch touch screen. Also, with Nintendo’s Wii U, online gaming is far better and convenient then the Wii console, since the Wii U got rid of the horrible friend code that allowed friends to play online and happened to be a 25 digits cipher. Now the Wii U lets users find friends at will by typing in player tags. With Nintendo releasing their next generation console, the home console market has just opened up, giving way to Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s new console, codenamed Durango. Who will come out on top this time? Nintendo, Sony, or Microsoft? Only time will tell.
The HBO series Game of Thrones, based off of the popular fantasy books A Song of Fire and Ice by author George R.R. Martin, definitely deserves a place on this list of the best of 2012. The show has become a huge success as evidence by the increased viewership and also the increase of the sale of the novels that has helped in bringing the fantasy genre into mainstream culture. After the success of the first season, HBO increased the budget for the second season in order to better portray the large scale battles that take place, and their investment definitely paid off. In this season we follow Robb Stark as he leads an army to overthrow the Lannisters and bring them to justice for the death of his father Ned Stark, while Daenerys Targaryen continues her quest to cross the Narrow Sea and reclaim the throne she believes is rightfully hers, with the help of her recently hatched dragons. We also follow the story of Jon Snow, stationed at The Wall as part of the Night’s Watch protecting Westeros against Wildlings from the North, however it is two other characters that have become fan favorites during the season, and that is Tyrion Lannister and Arya Stark. They are both characters who must rely on intelligence to overcome their lack of physical prowess, making them sort of the underdogs we all love to root for. With the highly anticipated third season just around the corner, premiering March 31, 2013, it is absolutely worth checking out and catching up on if you already haven’t.
Originally based off the comic book series “The Walking Dead”, by Robert Kirkman has made its way to the top of pop culture charts. Being AMC’s most viewed television show of all time, The Walking Dead shows a side of horror in which humans are at the brink of extinction from a virus that brings humans back from the afterlife with only one motive… to feed on flesh. This year was a big year for the entire franchise, with new video game release titles, to its 100th edition comic book released at San Diego Comic Con and best of all the start of Season 3 on AMC. The Walking Dead is a great show and a must watch for any horror fan, with top of the line make up and costumes designs, that at times can make one’s stomach hurt due to the realism. Also, with a great story line very similar to the comic book, showing how humanity can be savage, cold, and brutal during a zombie apocalypse. It is as though Marshall Law has taken over, and everyone has to fend for themselves and trust is something very hard to come by. But is this not what would really happen during any apocalypse that ceases to end government law? With The Walking Dead reviving zombie horror fandom, there has been a great rise to zombie walks all over the nation, zombie movies, and even zombie video games such as DayZ (ARMA2 MOD) which installs the same lawlessness scenario for players, this game though only a mod has become quite popular on Steam. Furthermore, The Walking Dead is only on its third season, and currently on its 107th issue in the comic book series, with the great success trailed behind the franchise you can expect much more to come.
How can The Dark Knight Rises not be on the list of the best things of 2012? Once again we return to Gotham City, in director Christopher Nolan’s more realistic approach to the Caped Crusader. The Dark Knight Rises is the perfect bookend to the Batman trilogy that hardcore fans of the series have been clamoring for ever since the ultra-campy, neon colored Joel Schumacher films of the mid-nineties. In the film we see Batman (Christian Bale) face off against Bane (Tom Hardy), who not only has the physicality to go punch for punch with Batman, but possesses the intellect to match his as well. Bane became an instant classic villain, not only to the Batman series, but to all movies in general, as evidence from the numerous funny videos and memes that popped up online (admit it, who hasn’t cupped their hands over their mouth and attempted the Bane voice). Following a strong performance from Tom Hardy is an equally strong performance by Anne Hathaway whose portrayal as Catwoman gave fans the perfect representation of the character we had all hoped for. The story, just like the previous movies, loosely follows story lines from popular Batman comic books, in particular the Knightfall series and a bit of The Dark Knight Returns also. We see Batman pushed to the brink in the movie, as Bane takes apart not only Batman, but Bruce Wayne by destroying everything he holds dear including his beloved Gotham City. The movie offers one of the most satisfying endings to a Batman story since The Dark Knight Returns. The film gives the perfect closure to the series in a way that had never been attempted in a Batman movie previously. Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy shows that superhero movies can be much more than just cartoonish action movies, in doing so setting the bar very high for any comic book movies after.
Halo 4 tops our list in the video game category for one reason; it did not disappoint. Much attention was brought to the fact that it would be the first game in the Halo franchise not made by the original Halo creators at Bungie Studios. Appointed by Microsoft Gaming Studios, 343 Industries was behind the development of Halo 4 and a first time venture into the Halo universe for them as well. Fans at first were a bit skeptical that Microsoft’s biggest franchise would be in the hands of a studio that had only made map packs for Halo Reach, created Halo Waypoint, and remade Halo: Combat Evolved. All doubts were quickly casted away when we got our hands on the game at the midnight launch. Not only did 343 not disappoint Halo enthusiasts, but made arguably one of the best Halo stories of the series. Once again fans where able to play as the heroic Master Chief battling the covenant as well as new foes known as the Prometheans. The game takes place after the events of Halo 3, where master chief was stranded on a starship with advance artificial intelligence Cortana. Halo 4 shows a new side of the chief, displaying personality, sympathy and emotion to a previously one dimensional character with little if any personality. Not only is the story line epic, but the multiplayer is one of a kind, offering a new multiplayer mode that none of the previous Halo’s had “Spartan Ops”. Here, users can play different episodes with friends, the experiences are very similar to the story mode, but unlike the main quest players get a new episode every week! Also, 343 are constantly updating game types, and challenges making it convenient for players to level up faster when completing a challenge. Furthermore, Halo 4 though very similar to past titles such as gameplay and characters, 343 Industries has done very well to distinguish Halo 4 amongst the previous Halo titles created by Bungie. Microsoft confirming there will be four more Halo games that will add on the franchise.
The biggest surprise of 2012 nobody was expecting, George Lucas giving up his life’s work to Disney. Lucas selling his franchise for a little over $4 billion dollars to Disney, though sounds expensive Pixar was bought from apple at $7.4 billion, so for Disney this was a steal. The great aspect behind Lucas selling his franchise is that he will be giving a majority of the money to education. Immediately after the purchase of LucasFilms, Disney confirmed that they will be making another three episodes to conclude the Star Wars saga. This being a huge surprise to all star wars fans, since Lucas earlier confirmed that he was done with the series. Many Star Wars fans are happy to see that the saga will continue after Stars Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Many are speculating whether Disney will take an approach similar to the books written about the saga that take place after episode 6, or if Disney will take their own approach and throw all the books out the window. Not only has Disney confirmed another Star Wars trilogy, Disney is putting the word out that, more movies will be made that have nothing to do with the previous episodes, rumor has it that a Boba Fett movie, and a young Han Solo movie might be in the works. Also, Disney might be pushing out a live TV series that George Lucas was rumored to be working on. Overall, the expectations are high on Disney to make a very successful Star Wars trilogy that will succeed the previous episodes 4, 5 and 6. Many hoping that the new trilogy with not end up like Lucas’s most recent episodes, which most fans look down upon. As for Disney purchasing LucasFilms, they have much to risk to take from fans if Disney does not satisfy, since Star Wars has one of the biggest fan groups of all time.
Topping out as the grossest selling movie of 2012, The Avengers an all-out action packed movie with Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and The Hulk defending the planet from an elusive foe who is trying to conquer the very world they live in. Directed by Joss Whedon, who is best known for creating the Firefly series, does an amazing job portraying the first live action Avenger’s movie. Whedon displaying all major characters doing what their best known for: Lighting fast flying, thunder crashing battles, and skull smashing brutality. Whedon holding true to the comic book series, by showing Captain America as the formal leader of the pack, Iron Man as the cocky genius, Thor as the noble god, and Hulk as an angry child. Ending the movie with a cliffhanger and revealing the next villain to take on the worthy Avengers. Confirmed by sources on the web, Marvel will be making a total of 3 Avenger films, thus making this series into a trilogy.
The most anticipated movie of 2012 with Director Peter Jackson bringing back the world of Middle Earth. Epic, is the best word to describe The Hobbit, revealing a younger Bilbo exactly 60 years prior to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring motion picture. The main plot of the film shows Bilbo taking part on an unexpected journey with some rather clumsy, adventurous, and courageous dwarves who are trying to reclaim their once lost kingdom Erebor from Smaug a brutal fire drake from the north. Jackson, bringing the audience back to familiar lands such as Revendale, home of the elves and of course Hobbiton, a calm and peaceful land where adventures are rather unexpected. Not only does Jackson bring back familiar places, but also familiar faces, such as Gandalf and Lord Elron both characters make appearances in the film. In relation to the movie, the director takes a cinematic approach to the movie, and readers would say that there are some differences, but none to major in comparing to the book. For example, the “necromancer” is only mentioned slightly in the book, as the movie expands on the subject unlike the book. Furthermore, the movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is only part one of three, and yet an unfinished tale. Jackson confirming that the movie will be in a three part series, and concluding the epic journey in 2014. Besides the Heroic story line, the movies displays top of the line computer generated images that look extremely real. Not only does the movie display awesome graphics, this is the first major movie to use a high frame rate camera, a norm for movies is 30fps, with Jackson pushing the frame rate to 48fps sometimes makes you feel as if you the viewer are in the movie itself. Overall a great movie for adults, but for children as well showing childlike characters and personalities reminding us that power doesn’t come from big and powerful things but the small things as quoted by Gandalf.