Friday, 9 January 2015

2014 in General [Review]

 The year of 2014 was a big one for me. Nothing too fancy, but quite a bit of stuff. 2014 was also a year in which I continued trends which I'd set in 2013. For instance - going to ComicCon. In 2013, it was my first ever ComicCon, up at Telford. Went with a few friends, and ultimately ended up doing little. In 2014, at Birmingham, I went with one of the friends I'd gone with last time. And this time did a lot more. In fact, I met Brian Murphy, star of George and Mildred and Last of the Summer Wine. Though I didn't talk all that much with him [nerves, can't really blame me], I did get a photo with him, as did my friend. And there was also a Star Wars parade. Who can't love a parade?
One of the other trends continuing into this year was buying more Pokemon Trading Cards. I'd started in 2013 by inheriting a friend's collection of old cards, and ended up buying a new deck from the recently released X and Y collection. This year, while I didn't buy any new decks, I did buy a ton of packs. In the second half of 2014 I had stopped, but I think I'll be continuing this year as well.
2014 was the year in which I also continued collecting digital albums from iTunes. 2013 was Pokemon XY Super Music Collection. 2014 was Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire Super Music Collection. 2013 was Sonic Lost World - Original Soundtrack. 2014 was Sonic Heroes 20th Anniversary Soundtrack, Passion and Pride - Anthems with Attitude, and the It Doesn't Matter 2014 Remix. Also in 2014 I'd bought The Magic Roundabout soundtrack, due to it having some pretty cool vocal songs. I'd bought the Star Wars: The Clone Wars Original Soundtrack - after starting collecting all the film soundtracks in 2013. And a recent purchase being Electric Light Orchestra - Flashback. A collection album, it features over 50 tracks for more than three hours worth of music.
In 2014 I finished my first year at university, having made two animated short videos. Admittedly they didn't feel smooth, and there were errors, but it was my first step. Upon finishing the first year, a Foundation Art year, it was time to begin my first proper year of an animation degree. Halfway through the first year of it, and I've already got the principles down, as well as another animated short completed - and for the first time using Toon Boom Studio, a program I'd bought back in 2013 at a massive discount and hardly used. University itself has been a lot of fun, and I'm definitely improving in skills.
In 2014, I was also definitely using Amazon Prime Instant Video a lot more as well. It's been able to give me the chace to watch films I'd forgotten about - or snubbed, as the case was with one of them - as well as use it as a morning program watcher. As such, I've watched Lilo and Stitch, The Wild, and Meet the Robinsons for the first time, as well as the LEGO Batman Movie, which - as I'd guessed - was all the cutscenes from the second game remade with a few extra parts added in place of levels. As for TV shows, I relived watching Jetix programs by watching the Super Mario Bros Super Show. And I watched the more recently released Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness.
The LEGO Movie was released in 2014 on Blu-Ray and DVD in time for the holiday season, with the film having been released in cinemas at the beginning of the year. While I am a big fan of LEGO, I'm not a big fan of cinemas. As such, I waited for the DVD release. I knew what I was getting, sort of, and the film came through as being a great one.
Now, before we get to the last part of this review, it is with regret that 2014 heralded bad news for two of the UK's biggest gaming magazines. The Official Nintendo Magazine was under pressure of closure for a long time, and even fans of the magazine itself were questioning whether its time was up. And on 7th October, the news was finally received. Within a month, Official Nintendo Magazine closed for good. Then, a month later in December, it was announced that Computer and Video Games would finally close up its doors as well. Having been a long time reader of both, not having them around in the future will defintely be something bad. But I'll still be able to get news, having swapped to Nintendo Life's website and a substitute for CVG being IGN.
And now the last part of the review, and this is all Star Wars. In 2013, it was announced that The Clone Wars would stop its TV run. One last season would somehow be released, and a new project was announced. That being Rebels. In 2014, we received that last season of The Clone Wars on Netflix [US only, and German TV]. The DVD and Blu-Ray release has so far only reached those two countries as well. Rebels had its season opener in October, and if you've read my review on it, you'll know that I loved it and have high hopes for the series as a whole. And I haven't been disappointed. As for other material in The Clone Wars, The Clone Wars Legacy covered that. A comic starring Darth Maul showed what happened after Season 5, with an animatic version of another arc released to the Star Wars website showing Obi-Wan and Anakin track down arms dealers and come across something much larger than they were expecting. Having read the comic and watched the animatic arc, I can say that I loved both. They were crafted well, and I can really see how darker the series would have got as we edged closer the Revenge of the Sith. Then there is also a new novel coming as part of this Clone Wars Legacy, showing Asajj Ventress team up with Quinlan Vos on some sort of adventure. Not much more has been said about it, but with an upcoming Star Wars Celebration, you can be guaranteed more info there.
As well as the Clone Wars Legacy, the Star Wars canon also got an official reboot. And as the first novel would be A New Dawn, written by John Jackson Miller, I decided to buy one of his previous books in the Star Wars universe - the 2013 novel Kenobi. Having enjoyed Kenobi, I was looking forward to reading A New Dawn. That novel impressed me as well. The second book in the new canon would be Tarkin, written by James Luceno. I'd already read some Luceno books, and so this one read like I expected it to. And the story itself was quite good too. It reminded me quite a bit of Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, what with Murkhana and the events of Dark Lord being brought into Tarkin through backing talk.
Back into older canon, the 2013 Dark Horse comic simply entitled Star Wars has been released over the course of 2013-2014. I first started investing in the comic in 2014, having been on a trip to Manchester and walked into a comic book store. But I probably wouldn't have even bought it had it not been for the first two comics I had bought. One was a Sonic Universe comic. Having known about the separate canons of the Sonic universe, but only having invested in one [the games], I thought it might be good to consider the comics. And as such, I wanted another comic to compare against as the series I would invest in. So I bought Darth Maul: Death Sentence. As such, Star Wars won. It's not that I didn't like the Sonic comic, but I prefered the Star Wars comic more. And as such, when I walked into that comic store and had the choice of Sonic or Star Wars, I went with Star Wars. Since that time, I've bought a Kindle, and most of my purchases have ben digital. As such, the other three parts to Star Wars 2013 are on my Kindle, as well as those three books I mentioned above.
Another comic I bought was The Star Wars. This comic adapted the original script for the first Star Wars film and gave it life. What we got was a very different read compared to normal Star Wars. It wasn't so much the writing, but the fact that everything was so very different to the universe that is loved. And I liked that. The entire comic gave a bigger what-if feel than any of the other comics that do the same thing.
And last of all, due to Official Nintendo Magazine closing, I wanted to find another magazine to fill that gap. But this time, I didn't want a gaming magazine. And the only other area I could think of was Star Wars. Buying into Star Wars Insider for the first time, I didn't know what to expect. What I found was a magazine filled with facts and interviews and inside looks at the full range of Star Wars. And the next issue I bought as soon as I could. Using Zinio for the purchases, I found reading digitally on my computer to be easy enough to do.
Overall, 2014 has been a great year, and I probably haven't covered half of it. But what you've read is what I consider the most important of my year. And so, across the two reviews, I have really enoyed 2014, and can tell 2015 is going to be a bigger and better year in at least two areas already.

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