The Best of 2013 in Movies, Video Games and Music — So Far

It’s hard to believe that 2013 is already halfway over. It has been a bit of a slow year for movies so far (as expected), but there have been huge breakthroughs in the gaming and music scenes. Here are my favorites so far:

MOVIES

This is the End [2013]
5) This Is the End
The funniest movie (and biggest surprise) of the year, hands down.

Stoker [2013]
4) Stoker
Business as usual for Chan-wook Park’s first English language film.

Mud [2013]
3) Mud
Jeff Nichols is 3-for-3 in my book. This is his most likable film yet.

The Place Beyond the Pines [2013]
2) The Place Beyond the Pines
This ambitious, sprawling epic is one film I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

Before Midnight [2013]
1) Before Midnight
Could it be anything else? It’s so great to see Celine and Jesse once again, warts and all.

VIDEO GAMES

Hotline Miami [PS Vita, 2013]
5) Hotline Miami [PS Vita/PS3]
Only listing this at #5 since it is a port of a 2012 title, but this ultra-violent game is even more addictive on the Vita.

Guacamelee! [PS Vita/PS3]
4) Guacamelee! [PS Vita/PS3]
A Metroidvania Lucha Libre-themed adventure from the makers of Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack — it’s as good as it sounds.

Tomb Raider [Xbox 360]
3) Tomb Raider [Xbox 360/PS3]
I was never excited about the Tomb Raider series before, but this reboot hit all the right notes.

Bioshock Infinite [Xbox 360, 2013]
2) Bioshock Infinite [Xbox 360/PS3/PC]
I got goosebumps the first time I stepped foot on the city in the clouds, Columbia, and the experience never let up from there.

The Last of Us [PS3]
1) The Last of Us [PS3]
Has there been a more immersive atmosphere in a video game? This will serve as a gaming benchmark for years to come.

MUSIC

5) Mikal Cronin “MCII”

4) Kanye West “Yeezus”

3) Boards of Canada “Tomorrow’s Harvest”

2) Daft Punk “Random Access Memories”

1) The National “Trouble Will Find Me”

What are your favorites so far this year?

Top 5 Video Games of 2012 — So Far

Yesterday I took at a look at the best movies to come out so far this year. Today, it’s video games. Now, there are a handful that I still need to play (Fez, Sleeping Dogs, The Witcher 2) but I am doing a better job this year at keeping up with the latest titles. Here are my top five video games so far for home consoles:

Journey [PS3]

5) Journey

More of an experience than a game, but it is one I will not soon forget.

The Walking Dead, Episode 1: A New Day [PS3]

4) The Walking Dead

This episodic series just keeps getting better and better. Blows away the TV show.

Trials Evolution [XBLA]

3) Trials Evolution

The perfect example of what a sequel should be: it improves upon the original in every way.

2) Max Payne 3

This Rockstar effort is better than most modern action flicks, with an unparalleled visual presentation, to boot.

Mass Effect 3

1) Mass Effect 3

This is the Dark Knight Rises of the Mass Effect trilogy. Not the best of the series, but still pretty damn good, and a satisfying conclusion to one of gaming’s best trilogies.

Thoughts? Am I missing anything that is an absolute must play so far?