Looking back, there was one titanic event of 2012 that dominated so much of what this site is about since it happened… Disney buying Star Wars from George Lucas, who was then free to roll around on a giant pile of cash and badmouth his own decision. Disney recouped the money from the $4 billion deal a few years ago, and somehow still manages to set records with movies that “disappoint” and “underperform.”
Rise of Skywalker didn’t match what Force Awakens or Last Jedi did but still made $176 million domestically on its opening weekend and turned in the 3rd largest December opening ever… but also manages to be the worse rated (both by critics and audience) ever. It’s weird to look back on that now, as Star Wars has become an ever-present thing in our lives. I mean, it was there in 2012, but it’s crazy how far it’s blown up since coming over the the darkside.
For this series, we’re going to walk through the years and go through some of the touchpoints that we’ve been through in the big focuses of our site… movies, video game, and of course… LEGO.
2012 was the swan-song year for the last generation of consoles… and technically, the kick off for the current generation with the launch of the WiiU. Yeah, that was a console, owned by dozens of people around the world (okay, millions, but still, it is widely seen as a failure, considering what came before it and after it).
Ace’s Pick: Looking at the list of 2012 games, I realize there were just a handful of them that I played. That was the year my daughter toddler age, and my second kid was born. So my sparse free time was even more so. Still, I did squeeze in a couple though and out of the few games that I played that year, this was tops for me:
Probably not the best game to come out of that year, but it was the best game I played. I do remember getting bored with the rinse-and-repeat style of play. Plus the decision to open up the item store for real money seemed to just suck the fun out of it for me. I may pick up IV, but I’m not that big of a PC gamer since I’m a Mac guy. Not even sure Blizzard would support Macs anymore.
Eric’s Pick: 2012 really became the year where Let’s Plays on YouTube started getting really, really big, and leading this charge was Telltale’s Game – and big moment in the spotlight – The Walking Dead. I’m sure that a large chunk of their sales can be attributed to YouTubers like PewDiePie racking up millions of views on their playthroughs. For me, personally, I heard this game had one of the best stories in a video game, and I was willing to take that leap and figure it out.
Oh, man, am I glad I did. If you’ll notice, throughout these yearly reviews, I won’t say any of my games are perfect – they’re all flawed, sometimes very. However, each game generally has one really, really strong point that is pushed to its full potential. For the Walking Dead, that is the story. The rest of it – the “game” part, is…alright. The animations can be crude, the textures are low quality, and the puzzles themselves, while good for the story, can sometimes overwhelm.
Still, what this game does right, it does so right. The story, which starts at the zombie outbreak and continues on to a few months later, has Lee Everett, voiced by the legendary Dave Fennoy, taking care of a young girl, Clementine, who wants to find her parents. By now, the old-guy-takes-care-of-girl-who-isn’t-his trope as seen in the Last of Us, Logan, Sicario 2, is a bit tired, but at this point it was really fresh and used to great effect. Added to that, this was when Telltale wasn’t churning out games, so the in-game choices really meant stuff. You could go a whole fifth of the game with a different character, and the final act depended upon how strong your relationships were with the various folks left.
It’s such a masterful story, and a really emotional one as well. Just a shame that none of the other seasons managed to hit such highs.
Nick’s Pick: 2012 was a very strange year in gaming for me… just as it was for movies and LEGO. Not because of any particular game, movie, or set… but because 2012 was the year that I became a dad. My daughter was born in 2012 and everything about my life changed… it sounds cliche, but it’s true. Between preparing for her arrival and just playing other stuff, the year was defined by a bunch of games I played a bit of but didn’t hook me because I was so damn distracted. Yeah, this is the year that Borderlands 2 came out, but to be honest, I didn’t really get into it all that much. Dishonored and Sleeping Dogs both came out that year as well, and they’ve been sitting in my backlog waiting for me to play them since that time.
One game that I did play, however, that remains as perhaps the best example of “video games as art” that has ever been made…
It’s hard to explain the sort of game that Journey is… or if it is even really a game. It’s effectively what you make it, where you can wander and move, or look around. It’s multiplayer, in a sense, but there’s something so fleeting and unique about it that you have to play to experience.
2012 is such a weird year for movies for me (Eric). Either the movie is still talked about today, or completely forgotten. And maybe that’s the legacy of movies to begin with, but even to someone like me, who watches smaller movies more often than larger ones, a ton of these movies in the first 20 or so Google results I’ve never heard of. Also, just a lot of crap. Like, a ton of really rough movies. Anyway, here are three movies that aren’t crap.
Ace’s Pick: This may seem like an odd pick, but I remember laughing hysterically when watching this:
Eric’s Pick: Near the end of high school, I had no clue what I wanted to do with my future. I went to a school that specialized in the STEM stuff, with barely any room for the arts. And as someone who didn’t click well with any letter in STEM, I felt a bit lost. One night, I was looking for a movie to watch, and I came upon Les Misérables. I’d heard my sister, who was really into musicals, talk about the movie, so I decided to check it out.
I came away completely swept away in the magical, musical world of the French Revolution. I know now that it isn’t a perfect movie, far from it, but there was still something enrapturing about it. And then I knew what I wanted to major in – film, so I could one day make something like Les Mis. Now, of course, my opinion’s changed, but the movie set me on a path that lead me to where I am now. All this time later, I haven’t gone back to re-watch it, because I’m afraid of seeing its flaws. I want to keep the perfect, fantastical world forever locked within my mind.
Nick’s Pick: I was sort of torn on this one, but ultimately went for the most obvious. I was very tempted to pick Wreck-It Ralph, a movie that I adore… but I also realize I’ve watched that maybe once since 2012, and I watch a particular Marvel Cinematic Universe movie from that same year at least once a year.
Some of the shine has come off this particular title since it came out, and its director has most certainly fallen out of nerd favor… but it’s undeniable the effect that the movie has had on the cultural landscape as a whole. Yeah, 2019 saw Avengers: Endgame come and break all the records, tie up all the things, and make all of the money… but it was the original 2012 that made it possible.
Ace’s Pick: I was scrolling through the list of sets that came out this year in 2012 but stopped looking once I came across this:
Series 7 Collectible Minifigures Galaxy Patrol. “Galaxy Patrol” is rather boring so I call him “Space Marine” because it sounds much cooler and it is definitely not because of Warhammer. I have over 1,500 of these guys. I felt up so many baggies of S7 that I was able to just tell if I had a Space Marine by the weight alone. Yeah, I was obsessed. I still pick some up from eBay every once in a while. If you’ve got any lying around that needs a good home, hit me up.
Eric’s Pick: You may not know this, what with it never coming up, but I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan. Like, way more than Star Wars or Marvel or any of that crap. And our last LOTR article was in 2017, so. Kinda out of fashion.
LOTR (Hobbit aside) are my favorite movies ever made, and I usually watch all three, extended editions (of course) every six months or so. There are plenty of flaws about the trilogy, don’t get me wrong, but it’s such a magical experience that I do not care whatsoever. Plus, the fanbase isn’t crazy or rabid, like Star Wars or Marvel, respectively. Everyone generally likes these movies, and that’s cool with me. There’s still the Amazon series to deal with, but we’ll get there when we get there. Anyway, all that to say, when Lego started making LOTR sets in 2012, I was psyched.
So my pick for 2012 isn’t actually specifically 9469 Gandalf Arrives. It’s the entire LOTR (not Hobbit) line. Sets include:
- The aforementioned Gandalf Arrives
- 9470 Shelob Attacks
- 9471 Uruk-Hai Army
- 9472 Attack on Weathertop
- 9473 The Mines of Moria
- 9474 The Battle of Helm’s Deep
- 9476 The Orc Forge
- 10237 Tower of Orthanc
- 79005 The Wizard Battle
- 79006 The Council of Elrond
- 79007 Battle at the Black Gate
- 79008 Pirate Ship Ambush
My only wish in life is that Lego could have totally whored LOTR out like they did Star Wars. Like, I want every possible set they could think of. Like, really obscure scenes. A $20 set of Eowyn and Faramir falling in “love”. A $30 set of Aragorn and the Hobbits camping, with a deer for hunting and apples. Call it Second Breakfast. I want a Lego set of when Merry and Pippin light up kush behind Treebeard’s back. Oh, you don’t think that’s a real scene? Well, don’t be hasty, and check it out. Please, Lego Gods. Appease me.
Nick’s Pick: I’m going to echo Eric here, in a way, and pick a fantastic set based on one of the iconic locations of Lord of the Rings: Bag End, or 79003 An Unexpected Gathering. The Hobbit trilogy (which should have been two, tops), are just hot garbage as films… but this set from it is so good. It’s a good enough representation that I went and started listening to “Misty Mountains” from the soundtrack (which is far better than the movie).
It was a simple little set, and a bit pricey, but it had so much charm and heart to it. I reviewed it in 2013, and could not recommend it enough. It was a set that was just begging to be MOC’d and expanded on… something I never did but wish I still had the ability to do so. Sadly, those days are behind me, and this set is in storage along with almost my entire collection… but looking at the pictures makes me want to go find it to put together again.