The Top 8 Everything of 2012 For Better and Worse

I get that video games will eventually replace my favored art forms like movies and TV shows and fine literature and lovemaking. I haven't purchased a console for close to a decade now, but it's not out of skepticism. It's more laziness. I'm waiting for the graphics and gameplay to catch up to the dazzling, idiot proof forms of entertainment that I prefer. Journey is the first game that's made me feel like I'm missing something, and that I might have been missing the point all along by focusing on how lifelike the graphics were.

If you're not familiar with the game and you think you might end up playing it, go ahead and skip down to another entry. It's got a twist that's worth preserving if you're ever going to play it at all. But if you're not sold on the possibility of video games as art, I'd like to explain the game to you as it was explained to me on the podcast "Get Up on This." I've always known that games could be art, but Journey gave me a concept to pin that belief to.

The game is a two to three hour single player quest to get to the top of a mountain. Information is doled out sparingly, and so are your abilities. You have buttons that let you run and jump, and there's one button that allows you to make a little sound. And that's it.

As you make your way toward the top of the mountain, you begin collecting various things and learn that singing allows you to open various doors. It appears to be an abandoned wasteland until, at a certain point, another character who looks and seems to act just like you arrives. This character sings and runs around and jumps and, unlike every escort mission ever, is occasionally pretty helpful. And they start showing me things and I start helping them and we start going on the adventure together. And then at a certain point, I start hitting my little talk button and I start doing a little rhythm with it, and the guy does it back to me. And then I change it up, and he does it back to me and I realize . that's a real person. That's another player Portland Trail Blazers jerseys playing the game."

"Why does their dress glow? I'LL MURDER THEM!"

They don't tell you definitively that you're playing with another person until the end, once you've beaten the game (again, it only takes a couple hours), and then they give you the gamer tag of every single person you were playing with during the game. It's a new type of plot twist that makes every movie plot twist you've ever experienced feel two dimensional. Although to focus too much on the twist would seem to do a disservice to the game. Game reviewers who went into Journey knowing that they would be playing with a stranger along the way have still called it "the most beautiful game of its time" and a "non denominational religious experience." I may have known all along that video games would surpass movies, but there's a difference between knowing that something is a statistical necessity and believing in it. Hearing Journey described on a podcast has gotten me across that gap.

If you can't afford to travel soon, here's this!

CNN arbitrarily reading insightless tweets while reporting major news stories; every car wash and laundromat asking me to friend them on Facebook. In one single poorly spelled note (poem?), this digitized refrigerator magnet captures everything that is ridiculous about the old guard's frenzied attempts to integrate new media bells and whistles.

But it also illustrates one of my favorite technological developments. The omnipresence of high resolution cameras has made the world way funnier. For every widely celebrated comedian in LA and New York, there are dozens of secretly brilliant geniuses of the everyday moment. Digital photography has made it possible to preserve their fleeting, anonymous brilliance.

Sounding the words out phonetically, I discovered that I'd just been forwarded the link to "Gangnam Style" in the mail. That letter was dated 9/25/12. As I write this nearly two months later, "Gangnam Style" is the most viewed video clip in the history of YouTube and therefore the (non pornographic) Internet. My mother in law had scooped us all by two months with a pen and paper.

This is the other side of the Internet coin that hit us square between the eyes this year and left its imprint: The Internet is bringing us together around giant, shared global events. Entering this year, Asian men's role in mainstream popular culture consisted of a guy in a commercial who couldn't believe how stupid we all were .

This guy. Yes, there was basically only one.martial artists, those kids who took down a Vegas casino and Chinese Manute Bol. Today, they have one of the most popular NBA point guards in the league, and the most popular rapper in the world. And they're both cool. Psy might look like a goofy one hit wonder, like an Urkel rap song, but the optimist in me wants to believe that there's more here than that. The song and accompanying video are intended to be a mockery of the label obsessed style of the K pop landscape, and it seems like the brazenly uncool vibe he gives off is just as effective at cutting the American hip hop scene down to size. You don't have to follow the rules of your culture or your genre if you're confident enough about what you're doing and the music kicks ass. We're not laughing at Psy, and he's not laughing at us. We like him because we get the joke. We might pronounce the name of the neighborhood he's mocking (Gangnam is the Korean Beverly Hills) like we're saying "condom," but we're picking up the meaning loud and clear.

There's a certain type of TV show that we now give the sort of analysis and cultural weight that our parents and grandparents gave to novels and art house cinema. The conversation usually starts with The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men and Breaking Bad, and then it usually moves on to whether shows like Game of Thrones and Friday Night Lights belong in the mix, or wistful reminiscing about the days when we thought Homeland might be that good, too. Comedies almost never come up in this conversation, probably for the same reason that comedies never win Best Picture Oscars. But I will always argue that Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant's The Office belongs in that conversation. wholesale nba jerseys paypal The first season of Girls made a pretty strong argument for being the first American comedy to be included in the canon of great Western televised literature.

It's basically wholesale nba jerseys usa Anna Karenina in tights.

The one thing all four of those bona fide TV shows as literature above had in common was that they were created and driven by highly serious showrunners who stood in for the novelist. They ignored or actively upset our expectations, they had big, serious artistic aspirations, and they even had big, serious, biblical sounding names like David and Matthew and . Vince. By that standard, Louie would seem to be the American comedy with the best claim to the throne. Some people might still claim it. But Season 3 seemed to make it clearer than ever that Louie isn't really a comedy TV show so much as a series of mostly brilliant, occasionally comedic short films made by a great comedian.

While the asshole showrunner was probably a prerequisite in the early days, when the literary TV shows were first trying to make a place in a typically audience driven medium, it's probably not as important now that every cable network is trying to create the next Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Instead, I'd argue that the thing that truly sets the four great apart is that they deliver definitive portraits of big, weighty issues that get entire sections of history books about 20th and early 21st century devoted to them the mob and Freud, urban decay and drug dealing, the rise of advertising and marketing. Girls took mountains of shit for being only about privileged white women, which seems strange, since The Wire is the only show that seems to reach outside of a very specific demographic of people.

In Thomas Robinson jerseys a year when the foremost expert on feminist comedy claimed that women weren't funny, Girls offered one of the smartest, most brilliant comedic takes we've ever seen on big, meaty, chapter worthy issues like AIDS, unemployment and sexual politics in the workplace and relationships. It did it in a way that feels more definitive, authentic and hilarious than anything else that TV has given us. The fact that it's told from a specific, admittedly privileged point of view rather than an omniscient third person narrator separates it from the rest of the pack, but a personal point of view is probably necessary if you're going to let a comedy into the club. And if you are, Girls deserves your consideration.

   
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