2016: wot we thought

So we reckoned that doing a review of what we've been up to during 2016 wasn't really going to be that interesting in reality, as a lot of it is things like "kept making an unannounced thing we can't really tell you about" - so instead, we asked the team for a bunch of one-liners about the stuff they liked in 2016. So here goes. It's an interesting insight into the minds who make these things anyway...

 

Games

Andrew: Inside by Playdead. Incredible storytelling without words or voices. Stunning compositions... Doom left me cold. Just wasn't Doom-y enough for me.

Cat: Inside, because it’s an amazing follow-up to Limbo

Dan: Doom. It’s got to be Doom. For the first moment when you’ve upgraded the chaingun with the mobile turret and you hit fire and then you just sit back and grin like an idiot for a while…

Gwen: Fallout 4

Jess: FIFA 17 for the pure, unadulterated joy it brings my lad. We've all loved the story mode (The Journey) in it too. 

Martin: Hitman, a stunning return to form from IO Interactive and the episodic format fits the franchise perfectly, with each level being like a giant, multi-layered puzzle to unpick – more please!

Rich: Uncharted 4: such a captivating world and well-crafted story + Doom because who doesn't like shooting demons from hell in the face with a shotgun...

Steve: Star Wars Battlefront, and the slow realisation that however pretty, it’s hollow

Stu: Inside, technically and aesthetically a near flawless game.

 

Films

Andrew: I only had vague, half-drunken recollections of seeing it years ago, but watching Terry Gilliam's Brazil properly was a highlight.

Cat: Night Fishing by Park Chan-wook, it came out in 2011 but I watched it this year and really enjoyed it.

Dan: I’m with Jess on Notes on Blindness. Just an incredible work of art. The VR experience is also amazing – possibly standout VR work of 2016 as well.

Gwen: The Witch

Jess: Notes on Blindness. Everyone should see this film- it's beautiful, poetic and it perfectly and movingly sums up what it means to be human. I loved seeing it with Dan - it was such a shared moment. 

Martin: Rogue One, because despite being set in a familiar time period, and with the ending a foregone conclusion, it still covered more original ground than The Force Awakens

Stu: Locke was pretty great

 

Music

Andrew: (Re)listened to a lot of Dead Kennedys this year. Their anti-fascist, anti-corpocracy message is ideal prep for 2017.

Cat: A Moon Shaped Pool, especially Daydreaming, but it’s an all-round great album

Dan: Because the boy is so into them, ended up getting back into Iron Maiden this year - boom! Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool or Mogwai’s Atomic otherwise split it for me.

Gwen: Patsy Cline

Jess: Bit of a cheat as it wasn't exactly written in 2016. (1865 actually!) It's A German Requiem by Brahms. I sang this piece with Brighton Festival chorus earlier this year and it was a joy. Just sublime music. 

Martin: Anything/everything from John Digweed, because I’m a retired clubber at heart and his are the only CDs I listen to in the car (and yes, I still buy CDs…)

Rich: The Slackers - Self-Titled. Always need a bit of ska to brighten your day

Steve: Dawn of Midi, Dynsomnia, just because its lovely

Stu: Christopher Tin stuff in prep for Civilisation VI

 

Books

Andrew: Re-read of High Rise by J G Ballard. Not his best novel, but his non sci-fi work is turning out to be worryingly accurate. On the non-fiction side, I haven't quite finished Creativity Inc by Ed Catmull but it's a great read so far.

Cat: My all year staple “Catherine’s Stolen Recipe Book” A custom made cookbook my twin gave me when we finally stopped living in the same flat

Dan: I inhale books at the rate of one a week, so this is a tricky one. It’s been a year of China Mieville mainly- especially The City and The City. Also loved Becky Chamber’s A Close and Common Orbit. And I loved Ben H Winters’ Last Policeman trilogy which everybody on the planet should read.

Jess: Maggie O'Farrells This Must Be The Place. She is a cracking writer and with this novel it felt like she honed all of her skills to make a truly stunning experience for the reader. She is ACE. 

Gwen: Imperial Bedrooms

Martin: I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t read a single book in 2016, but I got halfway through the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik last year and will be returning to finish the last few books in 2017

Steve: Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms by Gerard Russell, because it makes the world seem a more mythical interwoven place

Stu: The Last Policeman/ Not ready any other new books this year, been taking solace in old favourites so this wins by default. But it's still great!

 

Moments

Andrew: Best moment was the elevator failure in Trump Tower that trapped the President Elect and his cabinet and forced them to eat each other to avoid starvation (OK, so it hasn't happened yet, but there's still time). This year's BAFTAs was a pretty decent moment too ;)

Cat: Ticking adult boxes (mortgage), Passing my motorcycle test and starting at The Chinese Room. A very busy year!

Dan: Those million little moments that remind you that making games is cool, but it’s family that really counts.

Jess: Winning a BAFTA was up there but not as amazing as seeing our lad made Head Boy. He was incredibly shy when he started that school and it was wonderful to see him stand up on stage shaking the Head's hand. He is a really kind, honest and political chap and it was so moving to see his lovely personality recognised. Proud mama! 

Gwen: John Carpenter's amazing dad dancing on stage at Brighton Dome

Martin: Attending the BAFTAs, wearing a tuxedo for the first time, and not throwing up on it :)

Rich: Moving into a house with my girlfriend and our dog!

Steve: starting work at The Chinese Room!

Stu: Finally finishing the redecoration of our lounge / dining room

 

Stu's original contribution to this list deserves its own special mention. He wrote:

My best pics of the year
Game - INSIDE, technically and aesthetically a damn near flawless game
Film -
Book - The L
bugger
Accidental return press

 

Which just somehow feels like the most Chinese Room-y way to end the year. Have a great Christmas everyone and see ya in a couple of weeks!

 

Dan, Jess and the whole team here at TCR towers