During the delirious early morning hours of our second Kickstarter telethon, Stu Horvath, speaking to no one in particular, announced, “The funny thing about Wizards & Warriors II: Iron Sword is that Fabio is on the cover.” Everyone on the stream – Unwinnable editor-at-large Charles Moran, Unwinnable contributor Matt Duhamel and game designers Teddy Diefenbach and Nina Freeman – suddenly had a joke to make. One joke was particularly portentous: someone compared Fabio’s barbarian girdle to a wrestling belt. It was the birth of a Twine game. Teddy quickly created an open design doc and a rough plot followed suit. What
I just watched Ghostbusters again, for the umpteenth time. It’s just as funny as it ever was, but now there is a hint of sadness mixed in as well. Harold Ramis had an astounding career beside Ghostbusters, but that is the movie I will always go back to. I always identified with Egon. It is strange to see him on the screen, to hear his deadpan voice and to also know he’s passed on. It doesn’t seem right.
How do you compare Grand Theft Auto V with Papers, Please? Or Assassin’s Creed IV with Gone Home? These are the kinds of questions that have defined 2013. In the year after small studio games dominated the conversation, we’ve not entered the Indie Promised Land. Instead, we found ourselves in a strange landscape, of new consoles no one cares about, of endless debates, of thoughtful AAA games and ephemeral indies. We spent several annoying months hearing people ask, “Is this even a game?” This is all good news. The binaries – indie vs AAA, formalist vs zinester, LOL vs Dota
In 2013, the big screen of the darkened movie theater took a back seat to the decidedly smaller screen of the living room, as television shows asserted their dominance in the cultural conversation. Was there anything worth seeing this year? We dug deep, beneath the overblown action movies and mindless comedies, and found some gems.
Even as The Lone Ranger and Man of Steel shook our faith in popcorn movies to the very core, there was sanctuary on our living room couches in what’s turning into the golden age of television. As Walter White’s life imploded, or as Don Draper broke his daughter’s heart, or as the Stark lineage shrank before our very eyes, our favorite characters’ misery gave us unprecedented joy in 2013. But it wasn’t all darkness and heartache: there was the triumphant return of Arrested Development and Eastbound and Down and plenty of laughs with goofy new kid on the block, Brooklyn
If you think year-end music lists are about nailing down the best music of the year, you are doing it wrong. Music is intensely personal, so lists should be like fingerprints, not aggregations of taste. That’s why I’m particularly proud of Unwinnable’s Best Music of 2013. Sure, we put some hits up on the board, but I think our top ten reflects more than a little of our off-kilter sensibility. And if you really want to discover some new music keep reading (and listening to our Spotify playlist). Our nominees go deep, hard and weird.