Controllers & Coffee BizarreBrunette Gaming Update #3

2022 so far has been a strong gaming year. I have set gaming goals for myself to achieve this year as I want to tackle my video game backlog. Additionally, there are a few games I’d like to see myself re-play such as Life is Strange as there have been two new games released in the franchise I haven’t played yet. I wanted to share my latest gaming update starting off 2022.

Consoles

I have been mainly playing Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy on my PS4. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this game has been such a blast to play. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is made by SQUARE ENIX who produced Marvel’s Avengers which was such a mediocre game to play. I only bought Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy because the game was highly rated. This would be the perfect game to play next year before the next Guardians of the Galaxy film is released.

I have also gotten back into Animal Crossing New Horizons. I played for two months straight last year and then I took a hiatus. Animal Crossing can get extremely repetitive especially because I still owe 400,000 bells on my house. I ended up missing the game, so I have been playing regularly throughout the month of January. I named my island MaplePeaks as I love fall. I want to make a spooky/autumn-themed island. I still have a lot of work to do to make my island what I want.

PC

I have been currently playing through Nancy Drew Warnings at Waverly Academy. Whenever I play a Nancy Drew PC game, I like to play it in one sitting. I haven’t had a chance to finish the game, but I hope to in the next week. Besides Nancy Drew, I did try playing Parkasaurus which is a simulation game in which the player builds a zoo with Dinosaurs. Unfortunately, the game lagged quite a bit on my PC, so I ended up uninstalling this from my laptop. If I upgrade to a gaming computer, I may give this game another shot.

Board Games

With the current spikes of Covid-19, I haven’t been out with friends playing board games. I hope to have a board game night soon. This is the one section of my gaming updates that I haven’t been able to share anything new which makes me sad. I love board games as it’s a huge part of my gaming identity.

Roleplaying

I shared briefly in my last gaming update, but I’m in an ongoing D&D campaign. My group is playing through Curse of Strahd which is a campaign centering on a cursed prince who is revealed to be a vampire. My character is named Levenia Monterfo and she’s a half-elf blood hunter. She is a blood mage meaning she uses her own blood to cast spells. I love playing her character. I selected Eldritch Blast as a cantrip and I have been wreaking havoc in battle. I haven’t been in an ongoing D&D campaign since 2019.

I do want to get back into Adventurer’s League as well with my other character, Zehiri, a level #3 Tiefling paladin.

Miscellaneous

My husband for Christmas bought me a handheld Dig Dug electronic game. Dig Dug is my favorite arcade game and I played it a lot when I was a kid. I tend to play Dig Dug a few nights a week before I go to bed.

I love sharing these gaming updates. Gaming has been one hobby that I have found decreased over the past few years, and I feel that sharing these updates has helped get me back into gaming regularly.

Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

Why did I wait so long to watch Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings? Am I the only one who felt that out of all the Marvel movies, Shang Chi was the one that was least advertised? I have started to fall behind in watching Marvel content as I still haven’t seen Black Widow or Hawkeye on Disney+. I’m hoping to get caught up shortly before I’m accidentally spoiled. I watched Shang Chi and this film rocked.

Shaun aka. Shang Chi (played by Simu Lee) is a valet in San Francisco alongside his friend, Katy (played by Awkwafina). During the bus ride to work, Shaun is attacked and fights in expert hand-to-hand combat shocking Katy. Shaun reveals to Katy his real name, Shang Chi, and how his dad is evil, and his sister is someone he needs to protect. Throughout the film, Shang Chi finds out more about his family and discovers a plane he knew nothing about.

One of my favorite action sequences is at the beginning where Shang Chi is fighting on the San Francisco bus. The bus served as a perfect backdrop as Katy is driving through hilly intersections. Speaking of Katy, Awkwafina plays her perfectly. Katy is the getaway driver and provides the one-liners throughout the film. The best one-liner is after she hears about Shang Chi’s identity, she says “You changed your name from Shang to Shaun? No wonder your father found you”. Besides both Simu Lee and Awkwafina, this film features a ton of talent including Michelle Yeoh, Tony Leung, and Meng’er Zhang. According to Wikipedia, Shang Chi was Meng’er Zhang’s first film role. I wouldn’t have thought that seeing her on-screen as Shang’s sister who her father mostly ignored. I have been a big fan of Michelle Yeoh ever since Tomorrow Never Dies Yeoh abolishing the Bond girl stereotype. I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen films featuring Tony Leung, but I wouldn’t be opposed.

One thing that surprised me about Shang Chi was the odes to past Marvel films. I can’t say anything more without spoiling the film, but there was one tie-in to a previous Marvel film that completely changes that Marvel film for me. While Shang Chi has been out for months, I refuse to be the one to accidentally spoil a film for someone.

I’m glad I finally got around to watching Shang Chi and I wished I was able to see it in theaters. I hope to see Shang Chi, Katy, and Xu Xialing (Meng’er Zhang) in future Marvel films. I did check the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness cast list and I didn’t see Simu Lee listed, so I hope I’m wrong. Shang Chi can be streamed on Disney+

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner was the first book I read in 2022. I had this originally on my Spooky TBR last year because of the fantasy elements and the alchemy involved in making poisons. The Lost Apothecary has a fascinating premise centered around this apothecary offering poisons to women wronged by men. I did enjoy this book, although there were a few instances that stuck out to me about the story. The story wraps up quite conveniently which I feel was a bit implausible.

A woman is scorned and seeks help from an apothecary. Poisons are easily dispensed and women stay silenced. Nella Clavinger, the woman running the apothecary, keeps track of everything she’s prescribed and preserves the women who wanted more. Eliza Fanning, a young girl who was sent to Nella by her employer seeking a poison for her rotten husband. In the twenty first century, Caroline Parcewell discovers her husband’s affair and finds a vial with a bear on it leading her to look for this hidden apothecary. The three women are connected at various parts of history by a secret and enchanting place.

Out of all the stories, I found myself gravitating towards Nella and Eliza. I enjoyed reading Nella’s back story as it relates to why Nella started adding poisons to her shop. Eliza’s story is relatable as she’s a young girl who leaves her rural town and is set to explore a brand new place. Caroline’s story was more realistic, yet the most implausible as she seems to put together the existence of the apothecary despite not being a trained historian. I’m sure Caroline is incredibly smart, I just found that she may not have been able to do it on her own. I would have loved a partnership between Caroline and Gaynor, a librarian that Caroline meets. I think this would have been great to see two women using their strengths to lead this investigation.

Another annoying part of the book to me was that no one wanted to tell Eliza about her period. There’s a scene where Eliza gets her period for the first time and leaves a chair with a blood stain. For whatever reason NO ONE thought to sit down with Eliza and explain her period until the latter half of the book. Eliza thought her period was from a spirit which understandably she’s 12. I thought that was so odd. I wouldn’t say this ruined the story by any means, but I found it rather questionable especially because this book is built on women supporting women.

Overall I’m glad I read The Lost Apothecary as I thought it was a solid book to start the year off with. I’d recommend this for anyone remotely interested in history, London, and fantasy. I rated The Lost Apothecary four stars on Goodreads.

Seeing NADDPOD Live!

Late last year, I was scrolling through Instagram when I saw that NADDPOD had listed tickets for their live show for Minneapolis. I was ecstatic! Minneapolis can sometimes get skipped over as Chicago is the bigger Midwestern city. After confirming that NADDPOD would be in Minneapolis, I immediately purchased tickets. Originally, I was going by myself because I didn’t know anyone else who listened to the podcast. My husband offered to come with me even though he hasn’t listened to NADDPOD, so I didn’t have to attend by myself. He’s so sweet. I will say as a disclaimer that I think we should normalize going to events or doing activities by ourselves. I’m so happy I was able to see NADDPOD live.

Insta story picture (b/c I’m the worst at taking pictures)

To start off, NADDPOD is a D&D podcast. There have been two campaigns so far with a third on the way. Their most memorable campaign was Bahumia, DMed by Brian Murphy. The campaign centers on three characters: Moonshine Cybin (played by Emily Axford), Hardwon Surefoot (played by Jake Hurwitz), and Beverly Toegold V (played by Caldwell Tanner). I credit NADDPOD as an influence in getting into D&D.

Each NADDPOD live show is a one-shot centered around their characters in Bahumia. In this show, the characters were competing on a Bahumia version of the reality TV show, Survivor. The show featured several funny moments where the characters and the NPCs were gossiping about who to vote off the show. Additionally, the characters participate in Survivor-like challenges involving dice rolling. While this is meant to be a light-hearted show, there were some dice rolls that put me on edge. One example is when Hardwon was the one of two left in a challenge. The crowd was rooting for Hardwon to get immunity in the challenge, which he did.

The show started at 7 PM, and the show ended close to 9 PM. I thought that was perfect because sometimes D&D podcast episodes can get long. It’s rare that I listen to one NADDPOD episode in one sitting, so I’m glad that their show wasn’t longer than two hours.

I’m so glad I went to the NADDPOD live show! I’d definitely go again if they ever visit Minneapolis, otherwise, I’m open to traveling to another state to see their show too as I’m a big fan.

Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock

I started playing through the Nancy Drew games by Her Interactive during the height of the pandemic in 2020. My husband gets a kick out of watching me play because either there’s a jump scare or I’m stuck on a puzzle for a long time. While playing through Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock, my husband peered over my shoulder and started offering suggestions for a word puzzle. He & I sat there for a bit until finally, we were able to solve it together. He asked me why I liked these types of games and that’s exactly it. The Nancy Drew games are some of the most challenging PC games I have played, yet once I finish a game, I feel a sense of accomplishment. Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock wasn’t my favorite Nancy Drew outing, however, I feel this is the perfect game for beginners to the Nancy Drew PC games.

Nancy Drew is summoned to Lilac Inn by a mutual friend named Emily Crandall. Emily alerts Nancy to strange happenings at Lilac Inn and fear of running the inn by herself. Emily’s mother passed away and Emily was banking on the fact of receiving money from Emily’s mom’s friend, Josiah Crowley. However, in Josiah’s will, he leaves his money to Richard Topham instead. Nancy decides to investigate not only the occurrences at Lilac Inn but also the whereabouts of Josiah’s real will if there is one.

The mystery in Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock was okay. There were only two suspects who could be responsible, so it left little to the imagination of who could be causing all of this. Although the suspect reveal wasn’t all that, I did like the finale. In each Nancy Drew game, there’s what I call a finale where Nancy has to chase after the suspect in some way. In this game, Nancy has to hop in her car and chase the suspect to ensure they don’t escape. I can’t help but enjoy a little car chase every now and then.

One of the most enjoyable parts of playing through Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock is the mini-games. There’s a Shakespeare-themed mini-game requiring Nancy to slide various wooden blocks into their proper place. I found this mini-game to be fun. Another mini-game was found in an old clock where Nancy has to slide a bird through the clock along with pushing blocks out of the way. It was basically a version of Rush Hour except with a bird and various obstacles. Finally, the last mini-game was a miniature golf course where Nancy had to hit par on each course. This mini-game took me a bit because the last few courses were incredibly difficult. I think I played through this mini-game at least seven times before finally hitting par.

Another important aspect of the Nancy Drew games is the setting. In this outing, most of the in-game story takes place at Lilac Inn, however, Nancy is often needing to drive around town to progress through the game. Another Nancy Drew game similar to this was Nancy Drew: Alibi in Ashes which took place in Nancy’s hometown of River Heights. I liked this aspect of the game because it shakes up the story and it shows how each location in this town serves a purpose to Nancy at some point in the game.

Out of all the Nancy Drew games I played, I would recommend Nancy Drew Secret of the Old Clock as a great game to start with. It’s one of the less convoluted games in the franchise. Some of the Nancy Drew games have mazes which I can’t stand because I found myself getting lost. Nancy Drew Secret of the Old Clock features none of that and it’s very much a straightforward game.

Holiday Steam Winter Sale Haul

I’m all for a Steam sale! Steam had a Holiday sale from December 22nd through January 5th. This worked out perfectly for me because I’m planning my year which includes determining what games I’m going to play in 2022. In addition to purchasing new games, I also organized my Steam wishlist to ensure it was filled with games I still was anxiously awaiting to play. I wanted to share everything I purchased during the sale.

An Abundance of Nancy Drew Games

I purchased so many Nancy Drew PC games to play. The first one I played and finished this year was Nancy Drew Secret of the Old Clock. I’m writing my review for this game to be posted sometime next week. I also purchased Nancy Drew: The Final Scene, Nancy Drew: Last Train to Blue Moon, Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Tower, and Nancy Drew: Warnings at Waverly Academy.

Blacksad

Blacksad is a video game adaptation of a best-selling comic series that I didn’t know about prior to purchasing this game. Blacksad follows John Blacksad (pictured above) a private detective who gets involved in some nefarious investigations. I have high hopes for this game as it seems like something I would like.

Calico

Calico is a simulation game where the player helps re-build the town’s cat cafe. How cute does this game look?? As a cat lady, I was immediately intrigued.

Coffee Talk

Coffee Talk follows a barista who works at a coffee shop in a fantasy world where this shop is frequented by elves, orcs, and other fantasy creatures. This seems like a D&D-inspired coffee shop video game and I’m here for it.

Pumpkin Jack

This was a game that I saw and purchased because I thought this was a cool concept. If you have followed BizarreBrunette for a while, you would know that I’m a big fan of anything spooky and Halloween. I’m excited to play this!

Vampire the Masquerade – Coteries of New York

Buy Vampire: The Masquerade - Coteries of New York Steam

The final game I purchased was Vampire the Masquerade – Coteries of New York. Last year, I played Vampire the Masquerade Shadows of New York and I liked it a lot. Coteries of New York was released before Shadows of New York, so I’m not sure if this serves as more of a prequel. Regardless, I’m looking forward to getting back into the darkness of a vampire populated NYC.

Through the Steam sale, I ended up with ten new games to play in 2022. I’m looking forward to seeing what I can play throughout the year. As mentioned, I already played through Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock, so I intend on writing my review in the next week or so. Did you pick up anything in the Steam sale? Let me know in the comments below.

Pop Culture New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s almost been two years since the Covid pandemic. It feels like we have accomplished so much and so little at the same time. I’m looking forward to 2022 and all the adventures waiting to be had. As each new year feels like a new beginning, I wanted to write out my New Year’s Resolutions.

Watch at least 3 different Anime Series (by EOY)

A few months ago, I purchased an ongoing Funimation subscription that I have barely used. Anime is something I want to dive more into. For this goal, I want to watch at least three different Anime series. I will probably start with a more popular series such as My Hero Academia or Demon Slayer to at least get an idea of what I like before diving into other anime.

Start Watching Mighty Nein Critical Role’s Second Campaign

I’m on Critical Role’s first campaign, Vox Machina. I’m almost halfway through. I hope to finish Vox Machina this year and move into their second campaign, Mighty Nein. My husband bought me Critical Role merch for Christmas this past year, and this included a comfy Mighty Nein sweater. I want to wear it with pride of having at least seen one episode versus wearing it and not being familiar with the setting.

Attend an Out of State Convention I Have Never Been to Before (excluding: Gen Con, C2E2, and Planet Comic Con)

I love traveling for a convention. It’s a perfect trip because I can explore a new city and go to a convention. I have a few ideas of which cons I would like to attend depending on if the dates work out for me to go.

  • Emerald City Comic Con (Seattle, WA) August 18th through the 22nd
  • Rose Comic Con (Portland, OR) September 9th through the 12th
  • Baltimore Comic Con (Baltimore, MD) October 28th through the 30th
  • New York Comic Con (New York, NY) October 6th through the 9th
  • Phoenix Fan Fusion (Phoenix, AZ) May 27th through the 29th

I’m hoping to attend Emerald City for sure, and with Phoenix Fan Fusion being Memorial Day Weekend, that could be another convention I could potentially make it to.

Play and Complete 4 Different PS4 or Console Games (includes: Nintendo Switch, Xbox etc).

I have a few games lined up to play this year. I’m currently playing through Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy which so far is pretty fun. Additionally, I have Far Cry 4 waiting to be played. I’m also behind in Life is Strange too, so I’m hoping to play through that series sometime this year as well.

Play through Marvel’s Spider-Man on a Tougher Difficulty

Spiderman selfie *Image by Insomniac Games*

My final resolution for this year is to re-play Marvel’s Spider-Man on a tougher difficulty. The sequel comes out in 2023, so I want to have a fresh play-through in my head before the sequel is released.

I’m ambitious for 2022. I have been trying to be better about my time management, so I think I can fit everything in for this year. Let me know what your pop culture New Year’s Resolutions are in the comments section below.

Dopesick (2021)

I remember a former friend in high school would sell her mom’s OxyContin pills at my high school. That was probably the first time I ever heard Oxy referenced. OxyContin has a turbulent history especially seen in John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight episode on Opioids. I discovered Dopesick while browsing through Hulu and while the series is harrowing, it’s well worth the watch.

Dopesick is based on a non-fiction book written by Beth Macy titled Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America. Dr. Samuel Finnix (played by Michael Keaton) is a doctor in the rural areas of Virginia. Finnix is targeted by Purdue Pharma sales rep, Billy Cutler (played by Will Poulter) who tells Finnix that OxyContin can help his patients who suffer injuries while working in the mines. Finnix is persuaded based on the fact that “less than 1% of users on OxyContin get addicted” even though OxyContin is an opioid. This is further from the truth as both Finnix and another patient, Betsy Mallum (played by Kaitlyn Dever) are addicted to Oxy. Besides following Finnix and his rural town, there’s the DEA investigating Purdue Pharma along with the lawsuit of how Purdue Pharma blatantly lied about what Oxy to make money.

I hope Kaitlyn Dever wins an award because her story was the most heartbreaking. She’s in the closet and she tells her parents she’s a lesbian and her father tells her to leave. It’s sad because it’s clear Betsy is trying to get off Oxy, however, Oxy and opioid use alter brain chemistry, so Betsy heavily struggles to remain clean. Michael Keaton also did a great job along with Will Poulter who’s a sales rep who wants to succeed under the shadow of his successful parents. The acting in this was heavy.

Dopesick also highlights Purdue Pharma and how evil they are. Most pharmaceutical companies are iffy at best, but Purdue Pharma sucks. It’s clear that the Sackler family knew about their drug, but they didn’t care. If that didn’t piss me off, what’s worse is Purdue Pharma blaming addicts for getting addicted and not the drug itself. Purdue Pharma are the worst and it sounds like the Sackler’s won’t be penalized for what damage they have done.

One thing Dopesick doesn’t touch on is where Oxy is at now. While OxyContin caused a majority of overdose deaths, it’s now cheaper Opioids like Heroin or Fentanyl that are keeping the Opioid crisis alive today. Heroin and Fentanyl are cheaper than Oxy is, so it’s often at the heart of overdose deaths. I felt Dopesick should have touched on this more.

I highly recommend watching Dopesick, but it’s a dark show. I hope Dopesick wins an award or two because it highlights the reality of living in rural America and how one company destroyed and keeps destroying small communities.

2021 End of Book Year Survey

I always look forward to writing my end-of-year posts. I typically write two posts: one summarizes the year as a whole and the other is focused on reflecting what I read. I always use Perpetual Page Turner’s End of Year Survey. It always provides a great summary of what I read. Let’s dive into my reading year in 2021.

**2021 Reading Stats**

The Number of Books Read: 35 (counting only books + graphic novels and not single-issue comics

The Number of Re-Reads: 3 which was slightly better than last year. I re-read two books last year.

Genre You Read the Most From: I would say thriller or mysteries would be the genre I read the most.

1. Best Book in 2021

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood was such a lighthearted read. I’m not usually big into reading romance, but this book was so good. I liked the science and Olive’s tenacity for researching pancreatic cancer and I thought the relationship between Olive and Adam was genuine. Ali Hazelwood is a new favorite author of mine.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going to Love More But Didn’t ?

I read The Maidens while waiting for a delayed flight at an airport. I remember finishing this book and being more disappointed in the book than the fact my flight was delayed. This was such a disappointing read. There was a big twist that didn’t work for me and in my opinion, destroyed Mariana’s main arc. Additionally, I felt that parts of this book were a bit unrealistic. For example, several young women were following around an older college professor. Everyone would find this super creepy, yet Mariana had to convince everyone that this professor was trash.

3. Most Surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

I selected Lock Every Door by Riley Sager for this because of what Jules had to go through. I genuinely thought nothing bad would happen to Jules until Sager pulled the rug out from under me and I realized that anything could happen. It was a nice surprise and it made me root for Jules to survive.

4. Best Sequel

A Beautiful Corpse by Christi Daugherty is book #2 in the Harper McClain series. Harper is a crime reporter in Savannah, GA. In this sequel, Harper is investigating the death of a young law student. Throughout the series, Harper is trying to find out who murdered her mom when she was young. Towards the end of this book, Harper finds a tip that may help her solve her mom’s murder. I like the setting of Savannah and I like Harper as a character.

5. Best Book from a Genre You Don’t Typically Read?

I read A League of Denial by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru which chronicles CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and how CTE was discovered. Once CTE is discovered, it’s clear the NFL doesn’t want this to come out and tries to bury the evidence. Several football players including Mike Webster and Junior Seau are diagnosed with CTE after their deaths. I’m not big into non-fiction, but this book grabbed my attention and I was engrossed in this story. Is it because I’m getting old that I’m starting to like non-fiction? I have a few non-fiction books on my TBR and re-read pile that I hope to read in 2022.

6. Favorite Cover of A Book You Read in 2021?

I read They Never Learn recently and I have to say this cover is amazing. The first word I think of when I see this cover is gothic. The book takes place on a college campus and I think this cover summarizes the book and the setting.

7. Most Beautifully Written Book Read in 2021?

The House in the Cerulean Sea is such a lovely and beautifully written book about love and acceptance.

8. Most Thought Provoking Book of 2021?

Devil’s Knot The True Story of the West Memphis Three is a tragic story for many reasons. Three boys were wrongly convicted of murdering three younger boys. Part of this conviction was based on rumors that the three boys were into worshipping Satan which was unfounded. Adding on to the tragedy, we probably won’t find out who killed those three little boys because of this town convicting innocent teens. It’s a dark book, but well worth reading.

9. OTP (one true pairing)

Olive and Adam in The Love Hypothesis are couple goals. I love them together.

Everyone was raving about A Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix. My local bookstore had this on display, another booktuber I follow was discussing Grady Hendrix as an author. I felt compelled to read this myself. I’m glad I did! I loved this book. I’m excited to read more Grady Hendrix next year.

1. Favorite Post I Wrote in 2021?

My favorite post I wrote this year was Fangirl Revisited – 6 Years Later. I remember loving Fangirl, however, when I re-read it, it felt like I was reading a completely different book.

2. Best Bookish Event in 2021?

At C2E2 this year, I met Jason Muhr and Kami Garcia who illustrate and write some of my favorite comics I have read. It was exciting being able to talk with them about their series.

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To in 2020 But Will Be Your Number #1 Priority in 2021?

I plan to go back to my Spooky TBR. I want to start with either The Guest List by Lucy Foley or The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner.

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading / Blogging Life in 2021?

I want to read more non-fiction. I think it’s a nice break from reading the same genres all the time.

As always, I linked the Perpetual Page-Turner End of Year Survey above. Happy Reading!

2021 Pop Culture Year in Review

2021 is almost over! It’s hard to believe that 2022 will mark two years since the dreaded 2020 lockdown. While we have a vaccine and a booster, it still feels like the pandemic is far from over. 2021 was a fairly decent year especially because there was a lot more going on since I was able to get vaccinated in May.

Movies I Saw In Theaters

  • The Suicide Squad
  • No Time to Die
  • SpiderMan: Far From Home

It’s fitting that the last movie I saw in theaters before the pandemic was Birds of Prey and the first movie I saw in theaters after I was vaccinated was The Suicide Squad. Out of the above three, I would say Spider-Man: Far From Home and The Suicide Squad would be tied at number one.

Besides the above movies, I also watched WW84, From Russia With Love, Rocketman, Just Mercy, Free Brittany, Justice League Snyder Cut, Heroin(e), Charlie’s Angels 2019 film, Untouchable, I, Tonya and Pray Away. The worst movie I watched in 2021 was WW84. All the joy from the first Wonder Woman movie was sucked out of the sequel.

TV Shows I Watched:

  • Wandavision
  • Harley Quinn – animated series
  • Falcon & the Winter Soldier
  • Loki
  • Bar Rescue
  • Dopesick

I didn’t watch as much TV this year partly because I got into Critical Role while still quarantined earlier in the year. My favorite TV show I watched this year was easily Wandavision. It was such a heartbreaking show and Elizabeth Olson did such an amazing job portraying Scarlet Witch and someone suffering from the weight of grief. I did finish watching Dopesick recently which is a documentary series about the rise of Purdue Pharma and Oxycontin. It was intriguing and appalling.

Video Games I Played

  • Vampire the Masquerade Shadows of New York
  • Miles Morales
  • Night Call
  • Doki Doki Literature Club
  • Nancy Drew & The Haunted Carousel
  • Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill
  • Animal Crossing New Horizons
  • Nancy Drew Alibi in Ashes
  • Nancy Drew Message in a Haunted Mansion
  • Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 & 5-7

My favorite game I played this year was Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Despite the game being shorter and having no DLC, it was still my favorite this year. I’m normally not a video game soundtrack person, however, I ended up listening to the Miles Morales soundtrack on and off throughout 2021.

The most disturbing game I played was Doki Doki Literature Club. I wanted to play it to see what the game was all about. I will never touch it again. Besides playing through Doki Doki Literature Club, I played through quite a few of the Nancy Drew PC games since becoming more invested into Steam last year.

In 2022, I look forward to starting the Guardians of the Galaxy game since I finally unlocked all the PS4 trophies for Lego Harry Potter.

Gaming in 2021

  • Watching Critical Role (for the first half of the year, I couldn’t play D&D in person)
  • City of Remnants
  • Vampire the Masquerade one shot in July
  • Mysterium
  • Adventurer’s League

My highlight of 2021 was being able to play D&D in person. Beginning in 2022, I will be playing in a longer semi-weekly campaign and I’m thrilled. Watching Critical Role helped keep my love of roleplaying active while waiting to be vaccinated. This year, I didn’t play very many board games although I finally opened Mysterium for the first time and I loved it. I can’t wait to play again.

Graphic Novels / Comics I Read This Year

Single Issue Comics

  • King in Black: #1 – #5
  • King in Black: Black Cat #1 – #3
  • King in Black: Gwenom vs. Carnage #1 – #3
  • Jinny Hex #1
  • King in Black: Return of the Valkyries #1 – #3
  • Batman/ Catwoman #1
  • Future State Kara Zor-El Superwoman #1
  • Future State Green Lantern #1
  • Future State Wonder Woman #1 – #2
  • Future State Catwoman #1
  • Home Sick Pilots #1 – #5
  • Future State Robin Eternal #1
  • Hollywood Trash #1
  • King in Black: Planet of the Symbiotes #1
  • Dark Nights: Death Metal The Last Stories of the DC Universe #1
  • Luna #1
  • Future State Suicide Squad #1 – #2
  • King in Black: Black Knight
  • King in Black: Miles Morales #23
  • Future State Wonder Woman #1
  • Teen Titans Academy #1
  • King in Black: Captain America #1
  • King in Black Scream #1
  • King in Black: The Amazing Spider-Man #1
  • James Bond Agents of Spectre #1 – #4
  • Witchblood #1 – #5
  • DC Suicide Squad #1
  • Destiny NY #1 – #5
  • Miskatonic University #1
  • Vox Machina Critical Role Origins III #1 – #4
  • Life is Strange #2.1 – 2.4
  • Bettie Page Curse of the Banshee #1
  • Alice in Leatherland #1 – #4
  • DC Deathstroke #1
  • MOM #1

I read so many single issue comics partly due to the fact that I have a pull list at a comic book store. I try and stop in at least once every other week. As I review the above list, I would say there were two series that would be tied for being my favorite comic series in 2021. The first would be the King in Black main series along with King in Black: Black Cat. Another notable standout was Witchblood. I love how the series takes place in the Wild West and it’s a vampires vs. witches standoff series. Other memorable series include Destiny NY, Alice in Leatherland, and Vox Machina.

Graphic Novels

  • Glitter Vipers
  • The Vision
  • Black Mage
  • Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi Captain Phasma
  • Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren
  • Star Wars Adventures Vol #1
  • Aquicorn Cove
  • Wolverine Season One
  • Blackbird
  • Mooncakes

This is the first year where I have read more single issues than graphic novels. My favorite graphic novel I read this year was The Vision as I read it right when I started watching Wandavision. A runner up would be Glitter Vipers. I backed the Kickstarter for it as I liked the idea of a group of drag queens getting into vigilante work. I have a huge stack of graphic novels to read in 2022, so I’m assuming this number will be higher next year.

2021 Pop Culture Moments

  • Trump Protestors invading the capital (it’s only the seventh day of the new year!!!)
  • Afghanistan’s government collapsing to the Taliban
  • Free Britany

Podcasts I Couldn’t Stop Listening To

  • Fantastic Geeks
  • This Podcast Will Kill You
  • Not Another DnD Podcast
  • Ain’t Slayed Nobody

I didn’t discover any new podcasts in 2021. Listening to podcasts has been a hit or a miss. I usually listen to music while driving around the area and save podcasts for longer trips.

Catchiest Song in 2021

According to Spotify, my top song was “Head & Heart” by Joel Corry x MNEK.

Conventions I Attended in 2021

I attended two conventions in 2021: Planet Comic Con in August and C2E2 in December. I hope to attend Emerald City Comic Con in August next year along with Gen Con and Convergence. I might add one more out of state convention on my list for next year.

Personal Memories

Top Three Memories of 2021

Getting Married

Going on our Mini Moon

Getting Vaccinated