AOW 2011 Awards

December 31, 2011 at 7:03 PM | Posted in (All Posts) | Leave a comment
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As I begin typing this, it’s 2:22 AM on December 31st, 2011. In less than 24 hours, the ball will begin to drop and people will count down for the coming of 2012. People say this every year — but this year has flown by. And I say — without a shadow of a doubt — that 2011 has been the greatest year of my entire life. I mean that with all my heart. Not only was I fortunate enough to study in South Korea and travel the world, but I learned so much about myself and what I want to do.

That all being said, this year has brought a lot of great things. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight my favorite things from 2011 — music/games/movies/comics — all that and more. So without further adieu:

(^^ Me at the Great Wall of China ^^)

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My favorite songs from 2011:

10. I Need A Doctor from Dr. Dre (featuring Eminem & Skylar Grey)

9. 0330 from U-Kiss

8. Iron from WOODKID

7. Like A Love Song from Selena Gomez

6. So Cool from SISTAR

5. Tonight from Big Bang

4. Tonight from Enrique Iglesias

3. Keep Your Head Down from TVXQ

2. Danger (Pinocchio) from f(x)

CLICK for Music Video

1. Hot Summer from f(x)

CLICK for Music Video

Who says f(x) is not allowed to claim the top two spots? I picked up both the Pinocchio and Hot Summer albums when I was in Korea, and it was such a special purchase. f(x) is one of my favorite groups, and both title tracks are just awesome. I listened to them far too many times. Even my ringtone on my phone was “Hot Summer” for months. And did I mention I even got to see f(x) perform “Hot Summer” live at a taping of M!Net Countdown? It was awesome.

Even though I know I will likely go back to Korea someday and travel the world even more, music sums up time periods so well, and both of those top two tracks really sum up so many thoughts of my travels. The cities. The sites. The food. The setting. The people. And the friends I have around the world. I listened to those two tracks so much, and everywhere I went having all these new experiences, my iPod was always with me.

Honorable Mentions:
* Hello Bus from April Kiss
* Step from KARA
* Moves Like Jagger from Maroon 5
* Itaewon Freedom from UV (featuring Park J.Y. Park)

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My favorite games of 2011:

I played a lot of games in 2011. But not all of them were released this year. The 6 months I spent overseas had me playing a lot of games on my PSP (like Crisis Core and Final Fantasy VII from the PSN). When I finally got back to the US, I picked up what I felt like was the biggest release I missed out on — LA Noire — which I was quite disappointed with. But it’s not like the rest of the year fell through.

Two games really stood out in 2011 for me — The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and Batman: Arkham City. They were both AAA titles that are GOTY contenders on almost every major gaming site. For me? As much as I much I loved them both, my 2011 Game-of-the-Year goes to —

Batman: Arkham City.

Arkham City was just incredible. Batman is a character that is fortunate enough to be represented in many forms with good production value, but video games and comics often don’t mesh. Arkham Asylum proved that superhero games could be near perfect video game experiences, and Arkham City not only built on that, but expanded it by leaps and bounds. I put in countless hours in Arkham City and I keep returning to it. The story itself is a little dry towards the end of the campaign, but the gameplay really makes you feel like you are playing as Batman. It’s still hard to believe that was ever achieved.

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My favorite movies of 2011:

I had the unique chance of seeing some films while in Korea — like Green Lantern and Thor, and it really added to the experience. There are still a lot of movies that came out this year that I missed out on. I really wanted to see the Hangover II and the new Muppets film, but I missed out on those. But I did see a lot of good films. Even though I was quite happy with the way Green Lantern turned out, I still felt like it could have been so much better with a different direction (and different suit). Thor was amazing — but not enough to really make me want to watch it again and again. Captain America was impressive. I really didn’t know what to expect from it, but Chris Evans did such a fantastic job in that role. But the film that probably meant the most to be this year was yet another one I saw in Korea, although this one wasn’t anything superhero related.

The Lincoln Lawyer.

I think Matthew McConaughey has more than just a shred of talent — but if anyone had any doubts about his ability to act, this movie can definitely prove them wrong. The plot was interesting and the movie had a great visual setting. A lot of the imagery the movie showed was just really interesting. But above all else — it was just a well made movie. It might seem like a puzzling choice for “best” film of the year, but I’m not saying it was the best. It’s simply my favorite film that I saw this year.

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My favorite comics of 2011:

2011 was a big year for comics. The most notable event taking place was DC Comics and their relaunch. I could even go as far as to rank all 52 in my preferred order if I had the patience and felt like someone would care, but there’s no use in that. I do certainly have some favorite series, and they are not just pertained to DC. But there was such a big list I could come up with, I decided to minimize it to my absolute four favorite series.

4. Godzilla: Gangsters & Goliaths (John Layman/Alberto Ponticelli)

3. Animal Man (Jeff Lemire/Travel Foreman)

2. Aquaman (Geoff Johns/Ivan Reis)

1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Kevin Eastman/Tom Waltz/Dan Duncan)

Aquaman is awesome — you know I think this. But the new Ninja Turtle series from original co-creator Kevin Eastman has floored me. It’s too good to be true. I was slightly upset at first when the first four issues had all of the turtles wearing red masks. I realize this was their original coloring, but the distinct colors and weapons gave them as much of their personality as their actual personality did! Yet Kevin Eastman didn’t let me down. He gave reason for why they would all wear red — because Raphael was at first missing after the mutation, and his brothers wore his color as a symbol of their mission to find him. Genius.

And he even found a way to incorporate the Hamato Yoshi storyline in with the turltes and Splinter actually being mutated. A new twist was added to their origin where Master Splinter recalls the story of a warrior named Hamato Yoshi who had four young sons. Each of them were garbed in different colors, and after Yoshi’s wife was murdered by Oroku Saki and the Foot Clan, Yoshi trained his sons in the art of the ninja. This story of course mirrors the turtles that we know and love. When I read all this in issue #5, I was stunned. How clever Kevin Eastman is. And on top of that — what a fantastic story. This first arc has proved to be one of the best Ninja Turtle comic runs I’ve ever read. I really look forward to 2012 to see where the story goes next.

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As I said — this year has been the best year of my life. It’s going to take a lot to top all the experiences I’ve had this year. But what about the entertainment for next year? What will it bring? Will the WiiU be released before next holiday season? Will the success of the “New 52” help DC stay on top? More importantly is how will comic sales do all together? Will we here anymore on upcoming Godzilla film from Legendary Pictures? And what will life be like for me after graduation?

It’s impossible to know. But I’ll welcome 2012 all the same.

I hope everyone has the happiest of happy New Years!

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