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Looking Back @ 2015 – Part One

It’s been an interesting year. There’s been some amazing events, some good (and bad) feelings, some amazing moments. I’m honestly not sure where I would rank 2015, but personally I’d put it near the top of the heap.

Certainly in terms of PN2, it’s been a great 365 days. We experimented with a few little bits and pieces, most notably our first booth at a convention (Oz Comic Con, for those of you interested. And yes, we will be back there this year), to push ourselves and see what we’re capable of. With that in mind, 2016 should be a year of growth. Speaking of which…

Before we do the traditional media article that looks back at our favourite moments of the year that was 2015,  we want to introduce you to someone. Please join us in welcoming Michael Vane to the PN2/KP writing family. Michael has been previously published in Game Informer Magazine Australia as a Next Big Critic, so you can be sure to see a lot of him in the coming months writing about all sorts of strange, cool and surprising subjects.

With that in mind, I’ll let Michael take the lead on his look back on the year that was.

THE NEW(CASTLE) LIFE

2015 was a huge year on all fronts. Here in Australia we celebrated along with Michelle Payne as she won the 155th Melbourne cup, the first female jockey to do so. We also debated the quality of our nation’s politicians anewcastles leadership changed hands for the fifth time since 2007.

On a personal level, I managed to kick some serious life goals right before my 30th birthday. I finally graduated from university after studying communications part time for five years. I also scored my first writing position here at Kartanym Productions (and hopefully not the last either – Ed).

I moved to Newcastle from the suburbs and made the most of the cities’ bars, beaches and live music. I became the proud owner of a surfboard, although it’s an activity I am still failing at. Most of all, I enjoyed enough unhealthy food and boutique beer to be granted expert level status by whatever governing body oversees food and alcohol. – Mike

OZ COMIC CON

As I mentioned above, this year brought with the realisation of a personal life goal, hosting a booth at Oz Comic Con. Though it didn’t quite go off without a hitch (we still don’t know what happened to the Portal 2 disc, but such is life), Adele, Melody and I had a blast bringing our energy and excitement for the local pop culture scene to the masses.

Not only did we raise much needed funds for charity, we also learnt a thing or two. For example, how to place seats to avoid tripping over them within a tight space whilst also remembering not to get in the way of all the power leads that are EVERYWHERE. Stupid Xbox.ozcomiccon

In the end, it was a mix of mind blowing reality and giddy excitement. I got to see things from an entirely new point of view, something I’d been dying to try all these years, and I’m glad I did it. My only hope was for it to be a success for what it was, a tiny little space amongst a giant number of well known names, and it clearly hit a chord with those that came back to buy from our booth or donate and play our gaming setup.

Believe me when I say we’re al looking forward to doing it all again this year, and perhaps more than once! It’ll be bigger, better and hopefully not too much more expensive. Look out for details on that and future PN2 events going forward. – Mark

ELEKTRA (NO, NOT THAT MOVIE)

I don’t recall the first time I heard Refused. I was in high school and the song was New Noise, I know that much. It was brutal. It made the punk rock I was listening to look weak, yet not so different that I couldn’t immediately add it to my favourite songs of all-time list.

REFUSEDAfter releasing their seminal album The Shape of Punk to Come in 1997, Refused disbanded and went on to other projects. Eighteen years later they unexpectedly dropped the track Elektra.

I awoke one morning in April and browsed my Facebook news feed to discover it, a song that elicited the music style of the band members’ other project The International Noise Conspiracy whilst retaining Dennis Lyxzen’s signature screaming vocal style.New music from Refused was something I had craved since I was a teenager, although I never believed it would actually happen.

As Refused are touring Australia in early 2016, it is quite possible that their live show will make my top moments of 2016 list. – Mike

GROWING UP WITH ROOSTER TEETH

These days, internet based companies are a dime a dozen. Everyone wants to be the next meme, the next break out YouTube sensation, etc, etc. We kinda consider ourselves within that same group, though to be honest we like to think we have more realistic goals in mind. Our biggest influence, a group we look up to, is Austin based studio Rooster Teeth.

roosterteethSo it makes sense to have them on this list, though not entirely for the reason you might expect. See, RT aren’t just an entertainment studio. If nothing else, they’re like family. Over the past year they’ve been through a number of big changes, from producing their first feature film, adding a number of new cast and crew members, and unfortunately losing a few too.

Through-out all of that, as a fan, I felt like I was one of them. Blogs and videos are produced at a high quality, sure, but it always felt like I was just watching a group of friends playing, chatting and laughing at the very same things I would. I’m sure many of you who are fans of Achievement Hunter, RWBY or Red vs Blue can attest to that feeling that we’re watching our good mates grow up into something of a powerhouse of modern entertainment. It’s a great thing organisation to be a part of, perhaps even aspire to be. One day. – Mark

THE END OF HANNIBAL (SPOILER WARNING!)

For three consecutive years, Hannibal has been my favourite TV program. It did the impossible, living up to my expectations set by Thomas Harris’ novels and the Anthony Hopkins Hannibal Lecter films.

Hannibal succeeded through its shocking gore, original take on the iconic characters and unique visual style. So it was devastating to learn that the show had been cancelled and would finish with its third season. As this announcement came part way through the season, I had expected a cliff hanger ending that would never be resolved. I was wrong.Hannibal

In the final moments following their victory over The Red Dragon, a bloodied and likely dying Will Graham embraces a wounded Hannibal Lecter as the two realise Will cannot escape his violent nature or Hannibal’s influence. Will makes the ultimate sacrifice hurling himself along with Hannibal off the cliff, seemingly to their deaths. Nothing says closure like the two protagonists dying together. I found this final scene completely satisfying and wrapped up the series in a perfect way, an opportunity that cancelled TV programs rarely have. It was a perfect ending to my favourite television series. – Mike

THAT FALLOUT THING

I don’t think I’ve ever played as many games as I have this year. Whether it was at preview events, beta testing online games, a whole bucket load of fantastic Indie titles and all those post Christmas releases … it’s been an amazing year to be a gamer.

But no game has captivated me as much as Fallout 4. From the pre-E3 launch trailer, to the E3 event itself and right through to the first few days of launch week, Fallout has been at the forefront of my eager gaming mind. Rightly so too, it’s a fantastic experience that pushes the franchise forward (though, I must admit, it does take a few steps back here and there). Finally, after all the talking, I got it. I understood what it meant to be a Fallout fan.

FalloutOf course there were plenty of other games I dabbled in across the year that I enjoyed, including (but not limited to) Assault Android Cactus, Party Golf, the Jackbox Party Pack, Destiny: TTK, Undertale, Pac-Man 256, Minecraft Story Mode … the list is long and sometimes daunting (even longer, the list of games I’ve yet to play). But nothing really got to me like Fallout, and I think it comes down to the fact that it doesn’t take itself seriously. Sure, it’s a dark and sometimes disturbing place, but its presentation is so tongue in cheek and enjoyable that there’s clearly nothing else like it on the market … except Fallout 3, but that’s another conversation for another article. – Mark

//

We’ve got plenty more to talk about, but we don’t want you sitting there all day reading, there’s games to play! Be sure to check back tomorrow when we continue our walk down memory lane, before we delve into our thoughts on the year ahead. And be sure to let us know in the comments below what you enjoyed the most in 2015, we’d love to hear from you.

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