, , ,

20122012 will be remembered as a pretty momentous year by many, particularly those living in London. The Olympics came and left a lasting mark on the capital, silencing the doubters with a celebration of sport that provided a huge boost in morale for British people. Plus the world didn’t end which is nice. For me 2012 was a year in which not a whole lot really happened and I didn’t make much progress. I moved house again, this time to Greenwich, easily my favourite home in London to date. But my main reason for living, the pursuit of my writing dream, didn’t really go anywhere this year. That won’t be the case in 2013 however, I’m just starting to make proper progress with Wynks and I’m developing ideas for other books too. By the end of the year I expect to be on my way.

2012 was a great year for films and a number did massive business. Marvel Avengers Assemble, The Dark Knight Rises and Skyfall have all taken over a billion and they’ve done it on the back of overwhelmingly positive reviews. It was another fairly up and down year for animated features which ranged from the yawnsome (Ice Age 4, Hotel Transylvania) to the sublime (ParaNorman). See my Top Ten Films of 2012 and my Top Ten Most Anticipated Films of 2013 for more details on my thoughts. The year ahead looks promising but in a more muted way than the last twelve months. Man of Steel could be a big deal and there are various dark horses to watch out for. One thing is certain; it will be Disney’s year in the animation stakes. After effectively skipping 2012 the greatest animation studio in history has two very big titles on the way. First in February is Wreck-It Ralph which has been out and making waves in the States for a while. December will see the turn of Frozen, the studio’s adaptation of The Snow Queen. There’s a chance it might not make it out in UK shores until 2014 but either way the two films massively overshadow pretty much anything other studios have to offer. The next most promising film is Monsters University from Pixar so that’s’ another Disney connection. Elsewhere Dreamworks has no fewer than three features out this year, The Croods, Turbo and Mr Peabody and Sherman. None of those are cause for particular excitement at the moment but I think The Croods could have something to recommend it. Sony’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 and Blue Sky’s Epic are also piquing my interest.

As for video games 2012 wasn’t the most electrifying year for Nintendo’s software releases. Yes we were given a new home console but it arrived with a bit of a falter and without any really major titles. It’s all about the next twelve months for the Wii U and all eyes are on E3 to see what new games come out of the woodwork. The 3DS could also be facing a key year. With the handheld now well established the time has come for some really great titles to appear. As I mentioned in my Top Ten Most Anticipated Games of 2013 I plan to buy a PS3 at some point this year so I will be able to cast my net wider in search of games.

But now it’s time to reveal my Game of the Year. Like I said this wasn’t a vintage year for the kind of games I play so this year’s winner doesn’t match the calibre of previous incumbents but it’s still a hugely enjoyable game and, perhaps more importantly, a surprise.

Rose Red Prince’s 2012 Game of the Year

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (Wii U)

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed Image 2This excellent kart racer proves that Mario can’t have everything his own way. A combination of solid controls, proper speed and spectacular courses combined with the nostalgia-inducing characters to provide a well-rounded a highly enjoyable experience. With plenty to do and a good amount of variety the game proved consistently more fun to just play than the game it pipped at the very end of the year.

Runner-up – New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U)

Easily the most significant thing I achieved as a reader this last year was to finally finish the Tales of Redwall by Brian Jacques, the author whose first book, Redwall, inspired my own ambition to be an author. Although I’ve enjoyed reading the 22-book series immensely, when you’ve spent two years sticking largely to one world and one writing style, reaching the end is a bit of a relief. I plan on spending the next year reading just whatever takes my fancy in bookshops although I’ll be mainly sticking to children’s adventure fare.

But my Book of the Year is not a Redwall book. Instead my best reading experience of 2012 came from the source of my number one film of all time.

Rose Red Prince’s 2012 Book of the Year

Coraline (Neil Gaiman)

Coraline CoverNeil Gaiman’s story about a little girl who loses herself in a world in which her mother is a witch with button-eyes is a beguilingly spooky tale and one that strikes a chord on many levels. It is a beautiful book that really plays on childhood fears in powerful ways and a fantastic story.

Runner-up – The Sable Quean (Brian Jacques)

So that’s 2012. Check back soon to see my updated Top 100 Games and a new annual feature that will be debuting shortly; my Top 100 Animated Films. Have a great 2013.