Hello everyone, you join us here for another year in the bag. 2018 somehow went by in a flash and also seemed to take forever to get to the stunning conclusion of the Brexit saga (we definitely aren’t going to hear anything about Brexit in 2019 right?). Whilst the news of the year has been mostly grim as the world’s leaders still deny climate change and it seems we are on the brink of our own extinction, the entertainment industry has had a truly fabulous year to help us forget our somewhat saddening existence.
So join me for my personal “favourite things” of the year (I will spell favourite the way we do in England, sorry Americans). Then join us from Wednesday 26th December for the beginning of the “UDS Sharkies 2018”. What a year it has been.
Favourite UDS Member of 2018
Obviously taking myself out of the equation. I’d like to shout out professional Tom Baker. What a swanky looking guy.
Favourite Meal of 2018
Chicken Burrito with a side of delicious nachos that is impossible to replicate from Conchitas, Folkestone.
If you like Mexican food and are in Folkestone area go to Conchitas. It is the best Mexican Restaurant I have ever been too.
Favourite Anime Character of 2018
Vegeta. Yeah sure Goku is fun, but he’s also a bit of an idiot that wants to fight everyone for no real reason. Vegeta knows what’s up.
Favourite Fruit of 2018
Pineapple. So versatile, so sweet. Did you guys know that put that stuff on pizza these days? Amazing.
Favourite Drink of 2018
Pepsi Max. It’s the best tasting cola on the market. Fight me.
Favourite Wrestler of 2018
I have not watched any wrestling this year, but I hear Daniel Bryan has been cleared to wrestle again, he’s turned heel and now he’s the champion of Smackdown.
Favourite Console of 2018
Sure this category is reductive to what has the best exclusives is. With Spider-Man, God of War and Tetris Effect I believe the PlayStation 4 is the best console of the year. Xbox had Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2 & Forza Horizon 4 and the Nintendo Switch had Mario Party & Super Smash Bros. Ultimate which when stacked up just are not as impressive.
Favourite Video Game of 2018
At the beginning of the year I finally finished Assassin’s Creed: Origins, a strange experience as I did not reveal the whole map and had some open world fatigue (perhaps why I found Far Cry 5 meddling) which has lead to me not being interested in Oddysey at all. In February I went to Amsterdam with my Nintendo Switch in my bag and Celeste loaded onto it and instantly fell in love with the retro 2D art style and gorgeous soundtrack. Amsterdam was ok of course but the revelation of Celeste being such a well polished treat was a brilliant win for the travelling. It’s quick restart always made me want to push myself a little further knowing I can make it to the next level.
Racing games of this year were a mixed bag for me. Forza Horizon 4 never really clicked for me and I have always been playing Burnout Paradise so the Remaster did not really do anything for me as I know the game inside and out anyway. I did happen to put a lot of time into Onrush which is a delight to play, It’s like an arcade racing game version of Overwatch. You feel like you can do a little better with each race and before you know it you’re two hours in when you just wanted a quick ten minutes. Burnout Revenge being backwards compatible on the Xbox One made me rekindle my love for that game and the nostalgia for that soundtrack.
Virtual Reality related I have enjoyed Rick & Morty Virtual Rick-Ality, dabbled in Resident Evil 7 but couldn’t bring myself to play the whole game in VR and finally finished SUPERHOT VR which is still my favourite thing to do in VR and would highly recommend it. I have Astro Bot waiting to launch on my PS4 for the holiday season and can not wait after all the good things I have heard.
My personal game of the year was God of War. I have never really played a God of War (aside from one of the PSP games) in the past so I never really had any attachment to the character of Kratos and was not a fan of the Greek stuff. By switching to Norse mythology my interest increased ten fold, the setting, the world and the story have refreshed the one note character that once was generic angry bald guy. The way it plays, the soundtrack and the “one camera” shot throughout the whole game lead to a total unique character action game that has had such a strong effect on me I’ve started reading Norse mythology books and have fallen deep into a Norse hole (it is one of the best holes I’ve ever been in).
Favourite Superhero of 2018
Batman (closely followed by Red Hood) will be my favourite superhero forever and always. This year has undeniably been the year of the spider. It’s been quite a year for Spider-Man in many forms. For myself the animated film, the video game and the portrayal in Avengers: Infinity War.
We’ve endured the terrible Spider-Man 3 and Andrew Garfield with his weird flirt acting with Emma Stone in the Amazing Spider-Man 1 & 2, but now creators are now “getting” what makes Spider-Man great.
Tom Holland is nailing the feel of both Peter Parker and a still not matured yet Spider-Man in a way that live action films before them failed to do. Yuri Lowenthal in Marvel’s Spider-Man for the PlayStation 4, although he looks a lot like James Franco he does a fine job in his portrayal in what is one of the best superhero video games ever created. Also out this year was the best Spider-Man film ever (no hyperbole) with Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse. The film which sees multiple Spider-Men/Gwen/Ham/Technically a robot I guess? All come together in a film that merges different styles, awesome soundtrack, great story and additionally shines a light on Miles Morales which is underrated and under appreciated in the eyes of the general public, in my opinion.
Favourite Photo I Took of 2018
Favourite Podcast of 2018
Whilst next week we reach a crescendo of content with UDS Radio next week with our 2018 Award show titled “The Sharkies” which is obviously the premier pop culture podcast. My personal favourite podcast this year is Hello From The Magic Tavern.
This is a completely off the cuff improv podcast which follows a man named Arnie after falling through a magical portal behind a Burger King and befriending a talking badger called Chunt and a wizard’s whose full name is Usidore, Wizard of the 12th Realm of Ephysiyies, Master of Light and Shadow, Manipulator of Magical Delights, Devourer of Chaos, Champion of the Great Halls of Terr'akkas. The elves know him as Fi’ang Yalok. The dwarfs know him as Zoenen Hoogstandjes. And he is also known in the Northeast as Gaismunēnas Meistar.
Yes it is as ridiculous as it sounds. The reason it works so well is that the three main characters have been doing improv together for years and their friendship really shines through in the audio magic they create.
Honourable mentions to the Giant Bombcast, Kinda Funny Games Daily, Comedy Bang Bang, My Black Friend (which has now unfortunately run it’s course) and finally Craig & Co. That Producer Stead character is hilarious, I wonder if he is that annoyed at everything in real life?
Favourite Local News Article Proving Journalism isn’t Dead of 2018
Favourite Gig of 2018
I have been to many a music concert this year, starting off strong with Bowling for Soup at Brixton which introduced me to my now beloved Aquabats and saw one of my favourite bands Rolo Tomassi play The Garage in London to a thunderous applause. On the other end of the spectrum I saw Electric Six plagued with audio issues in a venue that no longer exists and You Me At Six at Brixton which whilst enjoyable, you can’t help but feel out of place when people nine years younger then you are wondering why you are there.
My favourite performance of 2018 goes to Queens of the Stone Age at Finsbury Park. Yes the organisers borked the way the event was handled and yes the queues for the drink tent was so long that it actually ran into the other drink tent. But it was this shoddiness that made Q.O.T.S.A even more impressive when they actually hit the stage. Josh Homme and the lads pulled it out of the bag in a most successful way.
There you have it folks, my favourite things of 2018.