10 Best Media Objects of 2006 (Part 2)
If you missed Part 1, here’s the gimmick: It’s not what got shoveled at us by mass media in 2006, it’s what I, Cornelius the Wise, decided to pluck from the media wash that enveloped us all during that fateful year. This time we zoom back to the near-present and the selections are almost timely:
8. Shadow of the Colossus (PlayStation 2 video game, 2005): Recently promoted (or demoted?) to a $19.95 Greatest Hits title at your local big box superstore, this moody, arty game succeeds marvelously at breaking the adventure game mold. No points, no power-ups, no mini-games, just you and your horse on a bleak, melancholic quest to kill all sixteen Colossi inhabiting a washed-out netherworld of yawning chasms and silent spaces. The creature design is beautiful, the score appropriately mournful, and each takedown of a Colossus is so gorgeous and tragic you can’t help but question your selfish goal to off them all. When’s the last time a video game made you feel morally ambiguous? (From the makers of PS2 sleeper hit Ico.)
7. Deadwood Season 3 (TV series, 2006): There are currently two ways to see this show: legally on HBO (booooooring!) and illegally by downloading high def AVI files from your favorite torrent site (L337!) As with most television, everything’s too well-lit and too clean, but the elaborate, profane language of the dialogue (in blank verse, no less), the tense wild-west plot, and the towering performance of Ian McShane as antihero Al Swearingen make for a compulsively watchable experience. Season 3 cements the golden formula of the show: introduce villains so evil they make the first batch of villains seem like fairly nice guys. And Gerald McRaney has the role of a lifetime as psychopath George Hearst. Took me forever to realize it was Major Dad up there hacking off fingers with an axe.
Tune in next time for 6 and 5.