A Quick Look Back at 2010 (also…December Summary)

No big year end posts for me.  No choices for best-ofs, I’ve enjoyed too much over the course of year to make some sort of arbitrary decision about which was best.  Some interesting stats…

In 2010 the blog had  aprox. 41,000  hits.  An increase over 2009’s 29,159 hits.  A fairly substantial increase.  I have no way to determine how that increase came about, but there it is (I suspect robots).  I made 127 new posts in 2010.  Not a bad number, but I have nothing to really compare it to so it is something of a meaningless stat.   I also had sort-of a semi-anniversary this year.  Technically speaking, on the basest of levels, I started this blog 2005.  Of course in 2005 it really wasn’t “this blog” and a was a much sadder, sorrier, thing than what you see now.  So while, technically it has been 5 years, in reality it has been closer to 3 (I moved the blog to wordpress in May of 2007).  However I didn’t really start posting reviews, or even posting regularly until October 2007 (there was a one paragraph semi-review of The Lies of Locke Lamora in August 2006).  As you can see determining when to celebrate my this thing’s inception is a bit difficult.

In terms of reading 2010 was pretty similar to 2009 with 73 books (more or less) read and reviewed over 2009’s 70.  I’m hoping in 2011 I can inch that number a bit higher.  What will 2011 bring?  Even I don’t know.  But I’m pretty excited to find out.

A quick take on December:

The Last Colony by John Scalzi

An Autumn War by Daniel Abraham

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin

At the Queen’s Command by Michael A Stackpole

SW: Fate of the Jedi: Vortex by Troy Denning

The Emerald Storm by Michael A Sullivan

Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding

Gaming in 2010

2009 was a bad year for me and game.  A year measured by inability to commit and finish just about every game I’ve started.  I’m still working on Dragon’s Age, dabbling into Torchlight, and cautiously exploring the jungles of Crysis: Warhead. Regardless, there is still a bevy of titles I’m looking forward to in 2010.

In January we have Bioware’s Mass Effect 2.  I’m also slowly picking away at a second run through on the first game, this time on PC, but I likely won’t finish before the sequel hits.  In all likelihood I’ll be picking up the 360 version anyway so I can take advantage of my original saves.  The feature of Mass Effect 2 that I’m most look forward are the dynamic events that pop-up during conversation as described over at Actiontrip:

“The bigger functional difference is that we’ve added a new kind of dialogue response, which we call interrupts. It’s basically a way to seize physical control during a conversation depending on what’s going on. You’ll either have Paragon interrupts or Renegade interrupts at certain times and you can let them pass…”

This kind of stuff hasn’t really appeared in a Bioware game, other then the old Intimidate/Persuade dynamic.  Though to be fair, if I remember correctly, the old premium module Witch’s Wake for Neverwinter Nights had a similar kind of interupt system.

In February there is the reboot of Aliens vs. Predator.  Once again being developed by the folks at Rebellion I’m looking forward to returning to one of my favorite video game franchises of all time.  The original Aliens vs. Predator was a game I could never complete; it was just way too tense.  Not in a bad way but in a way that really managed to capture the fear and tension that first ping on a motion detector incites.  AvP2 I did manage to play through on all three campaigns and, while not as scary as its predecessor, was still a blast to play…particularly as the Alien.  From the few game play trailers I’ve seen from the new game it looks like the Marine sections will be trending more closely towards the original game.

Expected sometime around March is Eidos’ Just Cause 2.  I missed out on the first game, which apparently wasn’t that great, but everything I’ve seen and read about Just Cause 2 makes me think it’ll be over-the-top batshit insane fun.  Case in point, the trailer below:

Honestly, I don’t feel I need to explain my excitement beyond the ridiculously awesome shenanigans in that trailer.

From there things slow up a bit.  I always cautiously keep an eye on western games.  They always seem like they might be pretty cool but I’ve never actually played one.  That being said I’m keeping an eye on the late April release of Red Dead Redemption.  An open world Western from the folks at Rockstar sounds more interesting then much they’ve done as of late.  Also in April is the space combat MMO Jumpgate: Evolution.  While certainly not a new X-Wing game it has still been far far too long since I’ve jumped into the cockpit of a space fighter.  Don’t know how I feel about a monthly fee though so I’m going to be waiting on reviews and impressions for this one.

THE game I’ll be keeping my eye on throughout 2010 is going to be Fallout: New Vegas.  Feargus Urquhart helming the studio behind a new Fallout certainly has me excited at what that might entail.  Of course there has been literally no news on the title since it’s being announced in April of last year.  Other honorable mentions include Star Wars: The Old Republic and Star Trek Online.  I’ve studiously been avoiding promotional information about the Bioware developed Star Wars MMO, but I find it odd that all the impressions I have seen never mention any actual multiplayer.

Of course my chances of finding the time to actually play everything I want is close to none; but a man can dream can’t he.  There are also a ton of games I didn’t mention and it seems that Q3 and Q4 2010 are curiously empty/mysterious; unless I’m missing something.

Slight Change of Plans

Don’t worry I still plan on my look at hardboiled detective fiction (in I read The Simple Art of Murder this weekend) but I think I’m going to take it slower then my other “projects.”  In the meantime I’m going to work through a backlog of fiction that has slipped through the cracks of my themed reading of late.  I have at least three books I really want to read but just haven’t had a chance to open up yet.  So in January look for reviews of:

Nyphron Rising:  the third book in the excellent Riyria Revelations series by Michael J Sullivan.

PUPPET IS CROWNED. THE TRUE HEIR REMAINS HIDDEN. A ROGUE’S SECRET COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING.

War has come to Melengar. To save her kingdom, Princess Arista runs a desperate gamble when she defies her brother and hires Royce and Hadrian for a dangerous mission. As the power of the Nyphron Empire grows, so does Royce’s suspicion that the wizard Esrahaddon is using the thieves as pawns in his own game. To find the truth, he must unravel the secret of Hadrian’s past–what he discovers could change the future for all of Elan.

The Rookie: Scott Sigler’s Blood Bowl-esque space football novel.  I gave it as a gift to my cousin’s husband for Christmas despite having not had a chance to read my copy.

Set in a lethal pro football league 700 years in the future, THE ROOKIE is a story that combines the intense gridiron action of “Any Given Sunday” with the space opera style of “Star Wars” and the criminal underworld of “The Godfather.”

Aliens and humans alike play positions based on physiology, creating receivers that jump 25 feet into the air, linemen that bench-press 1,200 pounds, and linebackers that literally want to eat you. Organized crime runs every franchise, games are fixed and rival players are assassinated.

Follow the story of Quentin Barnes, a 19-year-old quarterback prodigy that has been raised all his life to hate, and kill, those aliens. Quentin must deal with his racism and learn to lead, or he’ll wind up just another stat in the column marked “killed on the field.”

Arms-Commander:  I haven’t read many Recluse books.  Only one in fact when in youth I was lured by a Darrel K. Sweet cover thanks to my infatuation with a certain other series.  I remember liking it, but little beyond that.  The blurb makes it sound like it’ll be new reader friendly.  We’ll see about that!

Arms-Commander takes place ten years after the end of The Chaos Balance and tells the story of the legendary Saryn. The keep of Westwind, in the cold mountainous heights called the Roof of the World, is facing attack by the adjoining land of Gallos. Arthanos, son and heir to the ailing Prefect of Gallos, wishes to destroy Westwind because the idea of a land where women rule is total anathema to him.

Saryn, Arms-Commander of Westwind, is dispatched to a neighboring land, Lornth, to seek support against the Gallosians. In the background, the trading council of Suthya is secretly and informally allied with Gallos against Westwind and begins to bribe lord-holders in Lornth to foment rebellion and civil war. They hope to create such turmoil in Lornth that the weakened land will fall to Suthya. But Zeldyan, regent of Lornth, has problems in her family. To secure Zeldyan’s aid, Saryn must pledge her personal support—and any Westwind guard forces she can raise—to the defense of Zeldyan and her son. The fate of four lands, including Westwind, rests on Saryn’s actions.

I’m also just about done with First Lord’s Fury by Jim Butcher. As before keep an eye out for my final reviews in my Space Opera selections. Of course I’ll start working my way through hardboiled detective fiction starting with Chandler’s The Long Goodbye and Spillane’s I, the Jury, I might sit on the reviews until February however but we’ll see.