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Favorite Media of 2020

For the 11th consecutive time (previously: 20102011201220132014201520162017, 2018, and 2019), here’s my massive look-back at all my favorite things that I consumed over the past year. As always, this is limited to things that were released in 2020, and it’s of course HIGHLY subjective — this is not a round-up of the best media of 2020, but rather a look back at stuff I really enjoyed this past year, because I like the exercise of doing it. And that of course means there’s plenty that came out this year that I haven’t yet had the chance to check out, and I’m sure I’m also forgetting things I did enjoy. So be it. Each category is made up of an alphabetical top 5, followed by a few honorable mentions if warranted. I’ve added some new categories, with some disappearing, like board games (because I barely bought anything in 2020, for obvious reasons) and French comics (since I’ve been mostly limited to what’s available digitally from my local library).

Favorite Games
Despite the list below, I will say that the highlight of my gaming year has been getting access to Game Pass when I got my Xbox Series S upon release, and catching up on tons of games I missed out on in recent years. And my most happy game times have been playing Forza Horizon 3 and 4 — these were the games that I was really sad I missed out on since I didn’t have an Xbox One, and it’s been a joy to dig into both over the past couple of months.

  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (Xbox Series S)
  • Hades (Switch)
  • Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity (Switch)
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon (Xbox Series S)
  • Warframe (Xbox Series S)

Honorable Mentions: Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch), Destiny 2: Beyond Light (Xbox Series S), Genshin Impact (PS4), Ghosts of Tsushima (PS4), Watch Dogs Legion (Xbox Series S)

Favorite Mobile Games
This is a category that comes and goes over the years, as some years I end up playing a lot of mobile games (mostly on iPad), and some I don’t. Up until about a month ago, I wasn’t planning on including it, since the majority of iOS gaming I did was on Apple TV with a controller (mostly Apple Arcade games), but then I got the Backbone One controller to use with my iPhone, and since then I’ve absolutely loved playing games on my phone, as it really does feel like I’m playing with a true portable gaming system.

  • Alba
  • Creaks
  • Legends of Runeterra
  • Legend of the Skyfish 2
  • Little Orpheus

Honorable Mentions: Marble Knights, Slash Quest, South of the Circle, The Collage Atlas, The Last Campfire

Favorite Movies
It was obviously a strange year for movies, with a lot of big releases being pushed back. But I did find a lot to like, even though I do probably spend more time watching older movies (through all the movie marathons I do) than I do new releases.

  • Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm
  • Da 5 Bloods
  • Possessor
  • Weathering With You
  • Wolfwalkers

Honorable Mentions: Altered Carbon: Resleeved, Beastie Boys Story, Bill & Ted Face the Music, Color Out of Space, The Go-Go’s, The Invisible Man, You Cannot Kill David Arquette

Favorite Movies of 1990
As I’ve been doing in recent years, here’s a top 5 for one of the movie marathons I did in 2020, for movies from the year 1990 (and I’m not done yet).

  • Die Hard 2
  • Goodfellas
  • Miller’s Crossing
  • Misery
  • Total Recall

Favorite TV
Yet another strong year for TV series, which made it difficult to narrow down what would make it to my top 5. But what is there is truly what I enjoyed the most — and if it had released a day earlier (and not on January 1), I would have included Cobra Kai.

  • AEW Dynamite
  • Long Way Up
  • PEN15
  • Primal
  • The Mandalorian

Honorable Mentions: Altered Carbon, Better Call Saul, Devs, High Fidelity, High Score, Lovecraft Country, Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, Raised by Wolves, Star Trek Discovery, Star Trek Picard, Ted Lasso, The Boys, The Last Dance, The Queen’s Gambit, Tiger King, Westworld, What We Do in the Shadows

Favorite Anime
Even though I’ve gotten back into watching a lot of new anime series as of 1-2 years ago, this is the first time I include it as a category — I guess I finally feel like I’ve watched enough to be able to warrant making a list.

  • Great Pretender
  • Japan Sinks 2020
  • Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!
  • Sing “Yesterday” for Me
  • Wave, Listen to Me!

Honorable Mentions: Dragon’s Dogma, Kimetsu no Yaiba, The Millionaire Detective Balance: Unlimited, Woodpecker Detective’s Office

Favorite Web Series
I do still spend a lot of time watching a lot of stuff on YouTube, to a point where this year I finally started paying for YouTube Premium because I couldn’t stand the insane amount of ads anymore. As you can see in my top 5, it’s pretty much all wrestling-related, except for the Formula 1 channel, which I tune in to watch the race previews, as well as First Practice and Qualifier highlights.

Honorable Mentions: “James Bond Revisited,” KanaChanTV (channel), Tokyo Explorer (channel)

Favorite Music
When I look at the automated list that Apple Music creates at the end of the year, it’s pretty much all composed of hard bop, which continues to be what I listen to the most, but I did enjoy quite a few new albums this year, as listed below.

  • Always Tomorrow (Best Coast)
  • Coriky (Coriky)
  • Dry – Demos (PJ Harvey)
  • Earth (EOB)
  • Everything Else Has Gone Wrong (Bombay Bicycle Club)

Honorable Mentions: Causers of This – Instrumentals (Toro y Moi), Domingo (Chip Tanaka), Fake It Flowers (Beabadoobee), Future Past Life (STRFKR), Giant Steps – 60th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition (John Coltrane), Host (Cults), It Is What It Is (Thundercat), Ludi (Chassol), Mordechai (Khruangbin), Mr Experience (Donny Benet), Not From Where I’m Standing (Various Artists), Palo Alto – Live (Thelonious Monk), Seeking Thrills (Georgia), The King of Sudanese Jazz – Habibi Funk 013 (Sharhabil Ahmed), To Bring You My Love – Demos (PJ Harvey)

Favorite Podcasts
As with the web series category, my podcast listening is very wrestling heavy. My favorite new podcast though has been TokyoScope — I get a lot of enjoyment out of listening to Patrick and Matt talk otaku (and Tokyo in general) topics.

  • AEW Unrestricted
  • All Songs Considered
  • Talk Is Jericho
  • TokyoScope
  • Whatculture Wrestling

Honorable Mentions: Japan by River Cruise, Pop Culture Happy Hour, The Stack

Favorite Comics
As I mentioned in the intro up top, I’m not including picks for French comics this year, since I didn’t read enough 2020 releases (due to me not going to the library). As for American comics, again, I should probably seek out more original graphic novels (that I keep seeing in year-end “best of” lists), but I’m a weekly comic reader.

  • Batman
  • Decorum
  • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
  • Usagi Yojimbo (regular series and color reprints)
  • X-Men

Honorable Mentions: Hill House (comic imprint), Pulp, Strange Adventures, Rorschach, Spy Island, Star Wars: Darth Vader

Favorite Magazines
I love magazines, and I still read tons of them, but I’ve never included a category for some reason. The only two titles that I buy physically are Monocle and Konfekt (that just launched), and the rest I read digitally via Apple News+.

  • Edge
  • Empire
  • Konfekt
  • Monocle
  • Total Film

Honorable Mentions: Retro Gamer, SFX

By Jean Snow

Senior Manager, Esports at Ubisoft. Before that, half a life spent in Tokyo.