I haven't been on board with personifying 2016 and then blaming it for how bleak the world has seemed at certain points recently. Admittedly though a small part of me is hopeful that once this year ends things will start getting a little better. It seems unlikely given some of the things that have been set in motion this year, but hope is blind to probability.
Something that hasn't seemed to suffer this year is entertainment. Personally I've been more than happy with the quality of the music, TV, movies, and video games we've seen released in 2016, and I wanted to take the opportunity to list some of the highlights.
Royce da 5'9" - Layers
This man's story would make a fascinating book; his story combined with his master lyricism is what makes this truly exceptional.
David Bowie - Blackstar
The evident bravery in Bowie's confrontation with his death left me quite emotional. Artists can only hope to go out the way that David does with his album.
Charles Bradley - Changes
Charles Bradley actually has the soul in his soul music that I believe in. It's a damn shame he was discovered later in his life, but let's just enjoy these awesome projects whilst we have them.
ScHoolboy Q - Blank Face LP
The two albums that inspired to even write any of this was the aforementioned Layers, and this project here. I rarely so immediately fall in love with an album in the way that I did with this. This is where ScHoolboy Q cemented his status as one of the greatest doing it at the moment.
The Game - 1992
How is The Game managing this? One year ago he managed to drop 2 of the best albums of 2015, and he's already giving us one of the best albums of 2016?
Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition
This was the year that I recognised Danny Brown's genius. Upon revisiting his previous work I now truly appreciate the level he is operating on.
Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 3
Best album of the year / ever. These guys are unstoppable.
An early 2016 release, and this took the place as my favourite Marvel movie thus far.
My top three favourite movies are Toy Story 3, Toy Story 2, and Toy Story; I'm a Pixar fan. Bias aside, this was every bit as moving as it's predecessor, Finding Nemo, and might be my favourite film of the year.
The Nice Guys
The quirkiness of Nice Guys along with the oddly brilliant coupling of Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe made this hugely enjoyable for me.
The Jungle Book
A heart-warming interpretation of a movie I grew up with, and it felt like being snugged up in bed whilst it's snowing outside.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The evil 2016-Demon may have taken Carrie Fisher from us, but it didn't ruin Star Wars (again). More than a solid addition to the Universe, this film makes A New Hope even better. It's a dark film, but it's well executed.
Black Mirror Season 3
The best 6 short-movies about technology and human nature that a nerd could wish for, and all from the mind of one man. Charlie Brooker - I salute you.
Better Call Saul Season 2
I am still absolutely on this train and am loving it. No, it's not Breaking Bad, but it's bloody good.
Horace and Pete
This was the most difficult show I've ever sat through, but it was entirely worthwhile and if you only watch one thing programme that I mention I hope it's this.
Everybody has talked about this already - it's very good.
BoJack Horseman Season 3
This show experylu balances hilarity, and a deep darkness. Every season is stronger than the last.
Mr. Robot Season 2
What is even going on? I find plot twists to be slightly tiresome a lot of the time, but this show is doing it better than anything out there.
A company like Disney using the Marvel characters to make shows that are actually saying something about race, class, and corruption is worthy of respect. Separate from the importance of Luke Cage though, it's also just brilliant.
This was my favourite traditional, serialised, programme that I watched this year. The characters are well written and well acted, the plot is actually interesting, and Billy Bob Thornton is awesome.
I was surprised at how meaningful the character's progression felt. The world was well crafted, the chunky art style was appealing, and the various colour palettes employed through the progression of the story added to the vast beauty. As an experience I think this is absolutely worth your time.
The core conceit of this game leaves me wondering how it had not been done before. I've never felt so badass in a first person shooter.
I have absolutely no idea how they nailed this but they absolutely did. Making a good DOOM reboot is a task that I would have deemed too difficult to ever be worth trying, and yet here is this game, and it is in my top 3 of the year.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
They really couldn't have ended Nathan's story better. The journey to get to that sweet pay off is one of the best yet in the Uncharted series.
I really don't have a good grasp on what exactly was going on this game, but the atmosphere engaged me from the beginning. The various puzzles were genuinely clever, but even better they left me feeling clever. There was as artisanal feel to each section, and then that ending…
The Last Guardian
This game communicates scale unlike anything before it. It can lead to dodgey camera issues, and the controls feel a little bit Playstation 2, but what you see whilst playing this game is so unique to The Last Guardian I really don't think there is a gamer who shouldn't play it.
Watch Dogs 2
When not playing this game I wanted to be playing this game. The possible approaches to situations felt near extensive allowing for a true sense of freedom. Perhaps the most surprising part of this game though was how much I enjoyed the story, liked the protagnist, and wanted to hang out with the Deadsec team.