A new year means new possibilities and a chance to set some new goals. While we’re nearing the end of January (time flies!), and 2021 is still feeling a lot like 2020, I’ve already begun to add a number of things on my roster as far as leisure pursuits go. Here’s how I’m kicking off my 2021 in video games, TV, and books.
Despite having a ton of video games in my backlog to get through, especially after getting a few new ones as Christmas presents, the two I’ve been playing most consistently this month are Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Cyberpunk 2077.
My love for New Horizons hasn’t died down, even as I have more or less shaped my island the way I want it to be. I find this game easier to play on weeknights after I’ve switched off for the day from my job. Between making Snow Boys on the island to the occasional events, like the Fishing Tourney from a few weekends ago, there’s enough to keep me entertained for short bursts of gaming.
On the weekends I have been mostly dedicating my gaming hours to Cyberpunk 2077. As bad of a rap this game has gotten I’ve been able to look past it to do most of the side missions I’ve found so far to earn eddies, the game’s currency, and get to know the sprawling world of Night City. My first impressions of the game has been positive, which has allowed me to enjoy Cyberpunk 2077 for what it is. As my main big game of the moment, I’m hoping to finish it over the next month or two to formulate a better opinion of it for a future post.
Going to the movies may be currently off the table with our continued fight against COVID-19, but luckily there are plenty of shows and movies being released every week. Among the shows I’ve been watching are Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 4, This Is Us, and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 4 is the conclusion to the darker take on Archie Comics’ Sabrina the Teenage Witch after Netflix pulled the plug on it for good. The final season has Sabrina and her coven fighting off the dreaded Eldridge Terrors that the show teased in Part 3. Sabrina and the residents of Greendale are in for the fight of their lives, and they need to rely on each other if they hope to stop the Eldritch Terrors from bringing down the end of days on earth. I’m about three episodes in of the eight episode season, and I’m loving every minute of it. I do hope the showrunners will give Sabrina and her coven the proper send off they deserve.
As far as network television shows go it has been mostly slim pickings due to the challenges of shooting a production during a pandemic. Some shows will have late returns, while others have managed to go full speed ahead with their productions to deliver their shows on schedule. Those shows happen to be This Is Us and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.
This Is Us has been a show I’ve been watching since Day 1 and it has provided plenty of comfort before and during the pandemic. The character development of the Pearson family and the storylines have been solid from season to season with the writers knowing exactly how to pull at your heartstrings in all the right ways that you’re either smiling or crying or both by the end of an episode. The show has also managed to shift their storylines slightly to incorporate the pandemic and address BLM. From what I’ve seen from this season, the show has delivered time and again without fail.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is a fairly new NBC show that is now in its second season. I decided to watch it last year when lockdown made it easy to make time for it. The show is about a San Francisco coder named Zoey Clarke who wakes up one day with a weird ability to hear a person’s innermost thoughts through song. Whenever someone in her life is going through an emotional dilemma they’ll suddenly burst into a song and dance number only Zoey can see and hear. I would almost describe this show as an adult Glee with an emotional heart à la This Is Us.
The show has become an instant favorite of mine after finishing the entire first season last year, and the new season is shaping up to be just as delightful and heart wrenching as their first. Even as the outside world continues to remain uncertain, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is the kind of escapist entertainment I need in my life.
Being able to have a lot of time on my hands at the moment, I’m hoping to knock back even more books from my “to be read pile”. It’s about as long as my video game backlog! After being able to read a total of 19 books last year, I’m aiming to increase that number to about 20-22 books. I already have a few books in mind I want to read this year, but to start, I’m currently reading a collection of Anton Chekhov’s plays.
I’ve always been a lover of the classics after my school days of required reading helped develop a better appreciation for them. There have been a ton of books from famous writers I haven’t read yet, including Chekhov, and I’m trying to rectify that by reading those books I never read for a class.
I did really well with my classic reading list last year, making time to read 1984 by George Orwell, The War of The Worlds by H.G. Wells, and Meditations by Marcus Aurelius to name a few. The books I read last year aren’t always easy to sit through. Some of it can feel like a slog, especially if the writing style requires more focus and discipline to stick with than your average modern fiction book. But the desire to understand why they’re beloved classics and dissected in an English class year after year is the reason why I’m picking these books up.
As someone who wants to be a published writer someday I think it’s important to know what came before and how modern day writers will go to these writers for inspiration for their own creative works. It also helps that I’ve gotten into audiobooks over the last year or two, which will make reading some of the denser texts, like Marcus Aurelius, easier to digest.
This wraps up my start of the new year in games, television, and books. Let me know what you’re playing, watching, or reading by leaving me a comment below!