A quick end-of-year retrospective, with selected media I consumed (and enjoyed) throughout thee year. This is not limited to things that were published this year.
Started strong, but didn’t keep up in the second half of the year, I wasn’t in a reading mood. Roughly in order:
- Piranesi, Susanna Clarke. Certainly the book I enjoyed the most. Probably not as good as her first novel (a real masterpiece), but still excellent. Please write more!
- Il grande ritratto, Dino Buzzati.
- The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula Le Guin.
- Stations of the Tide, Michael Swanwick.
- The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson.
- A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan.
- In Cold Blood, Truman Capote.
- 1Q84, Haruki Murakami.
- Picnic at Hanging Rock, Joan Lindsay.
- Termination Shock, Neal Stephenson. Of course I devoured it, and at least I didn’t hate it as the previous one. But it’s still a no.
All in all, a bit of a disappointing year, no great discovery.
- Slam Dunk, Takehiko Inoue. I knew the anime, which is great, but - wow, the manga is perfect.
- Uzumaki, Junji Ito. So dark and disturbing it often verges on the ridiculous (not necessarily a flaw, it’s great!).
- Asterios Polyp, David Mazzucchelli.
- Cinzia, Leo Ortolani.
- Born to be a larva. Appunti di vita: 1, Boulet.
- Niente da perdere, Jeff Lemire.
- Sophia, Vanna Vinci.
- Fermo, Sualzo.
- Reverie, Golo Zhao.
- Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture, David Kushner. The extremely fun and nerdy history of the creators of Doom.
- Psychonauts 2 (PS4) The best game I played this year - a great sequel, loyal to the original game and full of craziness. Incredible level-design.
- Baba Is You (mobile) Sucked me in so badly. Great game if you like challenging puzzles where you need (very) lateral thinking. Only very rarely (end game) it feels a little unfair, but you can find spoiler-free hints (kudos to the author).
- Manifold Garden (PS4) Extremely elegant puzzle game. You move in an infinite Escher-like world where you decide which way is up, down, left and right. Plays like clockwork - very satisfying.
- SnowRunner (PS4) Yes, a truck simulator. A truck-trapped-in-the-mud simulator, to be precise. Oddly satisfying.
- Bad North (mobile) Delightfully minimalist strategic game by the author of Townscaper.
- GeoGuessr (web) Very pleasant and relaxing distraction, especially during COVID (semi-)lockdowns. Addictive.
- Loop Hero (PC) Roguelike with an interesting concept - you don’t control your hero, but you decide what enemies he will encounter on his path.
- Pirates Outlaws (mobile) A mobile clone of “Slay the spire” with a pirate theme.
- The Touryst (PS4) It’s OK - no real challenge, the voxel art is pretty and the whole thing is very relaxing. But not sure it’s really worth the time.
- Maquette (PS4) The concept sounds cool, but with this kind of puzzle game it’s all about the execution. Too often frustrating.
- There is no game (mobile) Funny mobile game all about meta. Once you understand the shtick (30 seconds in), the gameplay is rather monotonous - unlike Baba, where the game actually throws new mechanics at you all the time. Still, it’s entertaining till the end.
Movies and shows
I was back in a theater! But still watched very few new movies (Freaks Out, The green knight, È stata la mano di dio). Mare of Easttown was a great TV show. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell was a nice surprise. And a re-watch of The office happened. \