Lists. Who likes lists? Well, you’re in luck, because it’s the time of year when everyone thumbs through their entertainment collections and starts making lists of notable things released over the last twelve months. Naturally I had some ideas for things that I could talk about for my Disposable 2016, but simply listing the Top 10 Things in Categories would be kind of dull, so instead I’ve picked out a few personal lowlights and highlights from Film/TV, music, gaming and so on.
My Disposable 2016 – rushed combos and Grand Gear
Let’s not waste any more time. The award for the best fighting game of the year goes to Street Fighter V, whilst the award for the worst fighting game of the year goes to Street Fighter V. The new gameplay features such as crush counters and V-System abilities helped to reinvent the classic beat ‘em up once again, but it’s impossible to forget the connection lottery during the beta and launch period, or the numerous features that still needed to be patched into the game months after launch. I’ll admit that it wasn’t until Super SFIV that the fourth game really seemed like a complete package, but in setting such a strong standard it raised expectations for SFV, and during my Disposable 2016 it was a disappointing start for a promising new entry in the mainline series.
The award for the notable TV break-up of the year goes to Top Gear and The Grand Tour – the former providing a perfect example of why it’s not always better to simply change the presenters, keep the same format and hope for the best. The new TG was far from terrible, but you can’t help but wonder why it wasn’t seen as an opportunity for the show to reinvent itself again. The Grand Tour isn’t free from criticism either – with running jokes that are going to get old quickly, and main features that occasionally look more like they’re from a bad sketch show – but at least it’s trying something different. And yes, it has had its controversial moments, but sharing footage of said moments on social media to get people talking is probably exactly what the team wants, and most complaints I’ve heard have come from people who have never watched the show before, so you end up with people judging a series based on a few controversial minutes of isolated footage – in writing terms, that’s like me judging Street Fighter V based on R. Mika’s bottom slap.
My Disposable 2016 – second albums and TV gaming
The Surprise Musical Comeback award this year has to go to The Avalanches. More than a decade had passed since their debut album release when suddenly a teaser video named “Since They Left Us” appeared out of nowhere. Soon after this, the new album “Wildflower” was released, and even though it seems to go all over the place at times, there’s plenty of content on the album and so you’re likely to come away with one or two new favourites. Frankie Sinatra was the first thing I heard from the album and I’m still not hugely fond of it, but other tracks such as Because I’m Me and Subways more than make up for it.
The Promising Debut TV Series award goes to Dara Ó Briain’s videogame-themed quiz show Go 8-Bit. Whilst gaming snobs were quick to criticise the show for dumbing things down and making fun of the hobby, the celebrity guests are much more entertaining than random dudes duelling in Gamesmaster challenges, and the familiar retro games share airtime with the likes of Nidhogg, Gang Beasts and Big Buck Hunter, so there’s definitely potential for the series, even if it is buried away in an evening slot on Dave. (Whilst I was drafting the notes for my Disposable 2016, Ellie Gibson confirmed that the show would be coming back for two more series, so that’s great news.)
My Disposable 2016 – wrapping up
Writing lists and coming up with commendations is fun, but in all seriousness it’s been a great year for entertainment fans; musical comebacks, TV reinventions, gaming…er, sequels and more disc releases of ace films than you could ever hope for. The above highlights were just a few of the things I enjoyed, but there was plenty of other stuff that didn’t make the article. I’m certain that there will be even more to look forward to in 2017, and hope that you’ll join Disposable Media in going through it all next year.