The Geeky Ups and Downs of 2016

If you’re reading this, congratulations! You survived 2016! Didn’t think you’d make it, did you?

To a lot of people, 2016 has been a rather interesting year, to say the least. Looking at final tally of votes, I’m guessing a lot of you are still stunned by the United States Presidential elections results. The United Kingdom decided to be a little less “united” and broke away from European Union for some reason. The impossible happened with the Chicago Cubs finally winning a World Series championship in what seemed like forever. Those are just a small sample of the things that happened in 2016. But there’s a lot more, especially for the geek community. Who cares about politics and who won the presidency? Prince died!

2016 definitely seemed to suck a whole lot and these awful moments overshadow the good things and events that happened last year. Oh yes. There are actually a bunch of good stuff that happened in 2016. So, let’s go look at some of the good and bad geeky things that happened last year.

Movies in 2016

The Good:

Two words: Captain… Deadpool!

2016 might have been seen as a disappointing year for movies; we’ll get to that. But that doesn’t mean the year was a total bust. Last year not only saw the wise-cracking, fourth wall breaking, ultra violent Deadpool hit cinemas to box office success, there was also the phenomenal Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange. There were also some really good films like 10 Cloverfield Lane, Zootopia, Finding Dory, Your Name, Arrival, The Magnificent Seven and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Oh, and I do have to mention that it was great to see the The King of Monsters back in true form with Godzilla Resurgence!

The Bad:

Last year did see a lot of huge misfires as well, with films that were designed to capitalize on our love for familiar stuff and franchises we loved. And boy did we run the gamut of geeky themed films in 2016! We got bad movies based on video games like Ratchet and Clank and the hugely disappointing Assassin’s Creed. We also saw terrible franchise starters like Gods of Egypt, The 5th Wave and Max Steel. We also got revivals like Independence Day: Resurgence, Jason Bourne, Ben Hur and The Huntsman: Winter’s War. It was also a stellar year for DC when it came to disappointing fans with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad.

But probably 2016 will be remembered for a movie that wasn’t as terrible as many people thought: the Ghostbusters reboot. Oh, it was bad in so many ways. And the decision to focus the marketing to just focus that it has an all-female cast and alienate the original “nerd” fanbase was in poor taste. Ghostbusters wasn’t as awful as some of the other movies that was released in 2016. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a huge turd, though.

Who you gonna call? The original Ghostbusters! At least they’ll never take that away from us!

Television in 2016

The Good:

The television landscape didn’t really change all that much in 2016. All the hit shows are still going strong. Shows like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead still garnered really high ratings. Veep, Orange is the New Black, Silicon Valley, Mr. Robot and Better Call Saul are still hitting it out of the park. It was also a very big year for the CW and superheroes as the network cornered the market with DC comic book franchises like Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow. I will have to mention that Lucifer has really picked up the pace from Season 2, with more focus on developing the characters further.

2016’s new offerings were nothing to sneeze at. Probably the biggest show to come out of this year was Netflix’s Stranger Things, a show that built a strong following in a short amount of time. Netflix’s interpretation of Marvel superheroes continued to satisfy thanks to Luke Cage and Season 2 of Daredevil. There were also a bunch of really good sitcoms like The Good Place and Speechless that were released last year. And I dare not forget about Westworld, which has been critically acclaimed but it’s definitely something of an acquired taste.

The Bad:

2016 was also an odd year for TV, too. Oddly enough, some of them tried to also capitalize on our love of nostalgia… or the producers just ran of ideas and looked at what they had in the DVD library. We got another season of Fuller House, a reboot of MacGyver as well as the pseudo sequel to The Omen, Damien. There were also small screen adaptions like Lethal Weapon, The Exorcist and Rush Hour.

2016 also saw the cancellation and ending of some really good shows. Person of Interest’s stellar five season run ended last year. Gravity Falls also came to a close in 2016. Castle concluded, albeit without controversy as well. Agent Carter got cancelled right after its second season ended. But the show that stung the most for me was the cancellation of the self-aware sitcom, The Grinder. I actually wrote a farewell piece to this very underappreciated show. The Grinder deserved so much better!

Video Games in 2016

The Good:

Well, it’s certainly been an experience for gamers in 2016, with a lot of highs and low moments. Thankfully, the highs are really worth mention! Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End closed out Nathan Drake’s story nicely, giving fans a satisfying ending. The Doom reboot was a great tongue-in-cheek, over the top violent shooter that’s just an adrenaline rush. Final Fantasy XV was worth the wait (and huge delays). The ultra punishing Dark Souls III helped scratch that masochistic itch. Both Pokemon Go and Pokemon Sun and Mood sated the hunger for quality potable gamers.

But 2016 will be remembered as the year Blizzard Entertainment launched their newest franchise, Overwatch. You can say that 2016 was the year of the first person shooter but Overwatch was something special. Blizzard infused the game with so much personality and charm that it’s hard to ignore this arena shooter. I personally haven’t played it yet since my Internet sucked so I wouldn’t get much satisfaction with it. But I can totally appreciate Overwatch for what it is. And it doesn’t hurt that the animated shorts are fantastic!

The Bad:

Bad video games are doubly disappointing than anything else because there’s generally more anticipation for them and you’re expected to pay a premium price for them. Movies take only a couple of hours and you can quit watching a TV show after the first couple of episodes. With video games, you’re almost obliged to finish them once you purchase them! Unfortunately, 2016 had a lot of these disappointments. And I’m not even going to touch on the huge number of unfinished abominations that flooded the Steam store that year!

Games like Mighty No. 9 was a poor facsimile of the incredible Mega Man series. Homefront: The Revolution got released but was an unfinished mess. Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 was graphically beautiful but actually took away some stuff you could do in earlier entries. Mafia III had a lot of promise but was really repetitive. Star Fox Zero was decent… if you actually control the darned thing! And I can’t forget about No Man’s Sky, which promised an entire universe to explore but left you with nothing to do in that vast emptiness of space. Everyone had such high hopes for you, No Man’s Sky! In retrospect, there was no way the game could satisfy everyone but it sure is sad how it didn’t satisfy the majority of gamers that expected to have their mind blown.

For me, the biggest disappointment of 2016 was, oddly enough, a game that I like a whole lot: Street Fighter V. Despite having solid controls and great visuals and sounds, Capcom forgot to give the game enough content to satisfy most people. Lacking any real significant single player experience out of the box, Street Fighter V had to rely on DLC content but, even up to now, is still missing an Arcade mode. What the hell, Capcom!

So, that’s 2016 from the geeky point of view. I know I didn’t talk about a lot of the deaths that happened like Carrie Fisher, Prince, George Michael, David Bowie, Gene Wilder, Kenny Baker (the guy inside R2-D2), Anton Yelchin from the Star Trek reboot, Muhammad Ali, Alan Rickman and Rhonda Rousey’s career as a fighter. Those things were important, yes. But it’s the new year. Let’s try to look at 2017 with optimism.

I mean, it can’t be as bad as last year, right?

What were some of the other highs and lows of 2016? Let me know in the comments section below!

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