2014 – Games, TV, Books and Music

2014 was a pretty good year. Oh, all games, movies, albums and books I’ve discovered… This post is about the best ones. Not all of them came out in 2014. This post is about things I’ve found this year.

Let’s start with games.

Games

Super Smash Bros. [3DS] (2014)

When Super Smash Bros. was announced for 3DS, I was very excited just as almost everyone who had 3DS. And what did we get? An amazing game which just nailed Smash Bros. feel and was filled with awesome content! The controls are very responsive, graphics are beautiful (and it runs in 60 fps!), music is amazing, online is good what more to ask? This game is awesome.

I didn’t play Super Smash Bros. for Wii U yet because I don’t have a Wii U.

Super Smash Bros. Melee [GameCube] (2001)


When I was waiting for Super Smash Bros. for 3DS I’ve decided to play other games of the series as I’ve never played them before. Melee was a great choice. It’s different from latest revision of Smash Bros. and I must say I like Melee a lot more (considering Smash 4 is a great game!).
I also enjoy watching pros fighting with each other in Melee. It’s just so addicting. Check out tournament recordings. They’re fun.

Shovel Knight [PC, 3DS, Wii U] (2014)


Shovel Knight is an indie game which is greatly inspired by old-school NES platformers like Mega Man and Duck Tales. I didn’t hear a lot about this game before it was released. But when it was released, lots of people started to give Shovel Knight very high scores and praise it. I decided to wait for EU version for 3DS before I played it. And when I did, I was totally amazed. If you love platformers, you should definitely check it out. Everything in it is just amazing. Graphics are pretty and look just like the  best NES games did. Gameplay is brilliant. Controls are tight and very responsive. Soundtrack is catchy and awesome as well.

Binding of Isaac: Rebirth [PC, PS Vita] (2014)


When I started to play this game, I didn’t know much about it. I knew that it’s made by Edmund McMillen and Nicalis (who make awesome stuff all the time). I knew its weird atmosphere and aesthetics. I knew that it’s a procedurally generated dungeon crawler. Roguelike (Roguelite?) as some people call it.
After some runs I just couldn’t stop playing it. (Even to this day). Aesthetics can be off-putting for some, but this isn’t a case for me. This game is just awesome. Every play through is unique and interesting which makes you return to this game again and again. It’s pretty hardcore which I like very much. Totally worth buying as it’s guaranteed to be a thing which is interesting after lots of hours you play in it.
I’ve also discovered Northenlion‘s youtube channel which is very interesting to watch.

Cave Story [3DS eShop, Wii U, PC] (2014)


This year, Cave Story came out in 3DS eShop in EU. I’ve played Cave Story+ on PC before but I’ve decided to complete it on my 3DS.
This version is just like Cave Story+ but with original music and graphics. This isn’t a bad because I love original music a lot more than other versions. As for original graphics… well, they’re not as good as upgraded graphics in Cave Story+, but Cave Story looks pretty great because of 1:1 pixel translation and widescreen. A lot has been said about Cave Story, so I suggest to read some reviews and this post which I wrote about Cave Story importance and influence on indie game scene.

Kirby Super Star [SNES] (1996)


This is one of the best old-school games I’ve discovered this year. Had lots of fun playing it in co-op with my SO. It’s just very fun and awesome. Play it, if you like platformers! (There’s a Kirby Super Star Ultra for DS, so you can play it on DS or 3DS too.)
This game consists of several other games each one of them has the same main character and gameplay, but their pace, style and goals change which give a unique feel to each game. Graphics still look great, music if very fun and catchy, gameplay is just brilliant!

Books

“Flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
This book may change your life. This isn’t a self-help book. This is a book written by a well-respected professor who has studied a state called “flow” for a long time. Almost everyone experienced this. You start working and don’t notice how fast the time goes. You’re doing you work and you feel confident and great. This state greatly increases productivity and makes life a lot more satisfying for some people. This book shows how important concentration is. It’s important to focus on your work to get things done more efficiently and better. This book provides a lot of examples of how flow improves different people’s lives.

“The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus” by Richard Preston
Ebola hit hard this year and I’ve decided to read a book about it. This book shows how truly terrifying Ebola is. It tells a story of how Ebola got in US and how it was prevented from spreading. It tells a story about brave scientists who research it putting their lives in danger. It’s well written and very interesting.

“Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams” by Tom DeMarco
This is a classic book which is very important for everyone who works or plans to work in IT, especially in programming. This book is about things which software companies do right or wrong. It has lots of important things everyone must know. For example: it tells how lots of workplaces prevent workers from focusing on their tasks which leads to job being done a lot slower and worse that it could have been done in better conditions. It tells how some workplaces lead people to frustration or even burn out. A definite must read.

“The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark” by Carl Sagan
I’ve read this book when I was 16 but I’ve decided to re-read it this year. This book changed the way I think a lot. It shows how important critical thinking is. How important it is to approach things with rational thought and not feeling. It shows how media can twist stories and misrepresent facts. This book is very relevant today and I think it will be still relevant for a long time.
Critical thinking is, unfortunately, not a very popular in our society. It’s not practiced by many and it’s not encouraged as it should have been. This is a very bad thing which would make humanity a lot better. This book will show you why.

TV

Rick and Morty


Rick and Morty is a huge win. It just has everything which I love. Sci-fi, absurd humor, lots of improvisation, mind blowing themes and very interesting themes for each episode. It’s very unique in every way. Trust me, you’ve never seen anything like this. Just check it out and thank me later.
You can watch it for free here.
My favourite episodes: M. Night Shaym-aliens!, Rick Potion #9, Rixty Minutes.

True Detective


This show is just pure genius. Amazing and complex story with lots of darkness in it. Actors are just perfect. Soundtrack and atmosphere are top-notch. This show is melancholic, even depressing at times. It’s can be slow, it can be very dark. And that’s what I love about it. It shows the cruelty and injustice of our world and turns it into amazing detective story. I highly recommend it to everyone.

South Park (Season 18)


South Park is back again! Full of amazing commentary on modern society and first world problems. This season is just great. Trey Parker and Matt Stone do it again and again: making fun of society because it’s a great source of funny and stupid things.
You can watch it for free here.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood


This anime came out in 2009 and I’ve only recently started to watch it. I’ve watched only 9 episodes but I can tell now that it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen. Give it a try. The story is very interesting, characters are complex and well written. It makes you feel almost everything that’s possible to feel. It also has the greatest humor I’ve ever seen.

Game of Thrones and Sherlock had pretty solid seasons too, but I can’t say too much about them.

Music

Cave Story OST
This is the thing I’ve listened a lot this year. It’s very catchy and diverse. Worth listening even if you haven’t played a game!

Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (2008)


I fell in love with Fleet Foxes when I first heard this album. I’m a big fan of folk rock so it was a thing which really amazed me. Amazing melodies, beautiful lyrics, great vocal harmonies (which reminded me a lot about Crosby, Stills and Nash, which is a great thing). One of my favourite albums ever.

Belle and Sebastian – The Boy With The Arab Strap (1998)


A great album filled with amazing songs. Carried me through hard times and made me feel a lot better. And I still love to listen to it when everything is fine. Hard to explain why it’s so great. Just listen.

Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City (2013) 


This album was praised by many people in 2013. Many called it an album of the year. I can see why they think about it this way. This is definitely a great album.

The Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs (1999)


I’ve seen it album mentioned a lot but was hesitant to listen to it at first because of it length. Yes, it has 69 songs. But each of the m are unique and even done in different genres! My favourites are: I Don’t Believe in the Sun, I Think I Need a New Heart, The Book of Love, Acoustic Guitar, I’m Sorry I Love You.

Aivi & Surasshu – The Black Box


Jazzy piano + catchy chiptune – what could be better? Lonely Rolling Star cover is what made me interested in this album and other songs turned out to be awesome as well!

CarboHydroM (Christophe Blondel) – everything by him.
If you’re a video game lover like me, you’ll definitely appreciate these awesome covers he makes.
Check out this epic A Link to the Past medley!

And that’s the most awesome things I’ve found this year! Hope someone will find this list useful! :D

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