1. Get Jiro!
So, somehow in between living out the ultimate fantasy job of travelling the world eating and drinking and getting really pissed at the Travel Channel chef-turned-author-turned-tv host Anthony Bourdain decided to write a graphic novel. Get Jiro! is the result, a near future tale that mashes up the worlds of organized crime and high-powered foodies. In the Bourdain’s vision of Los Angeles, a food obsessed populace have given celebrity chefs a kind of warlord status where they rule their neighborhoods with a blend of muscle and exclusivity. The two most powerful houses are run by a traditional french chef and a vegan locavore and they compete for territory. Into this mix walks Jiro, a Yojimbo-like sushi chef with the best knife work this side of the Pacific. He is a bad ass who decapitates a customer in the first scene for getting ricve into the soy sauce mixture. Both sides want Jiro for his skills with a blade and the freshness of his nigiri, but he has plans of his own. The comic was hilarious and based on an intriguing but ridiculous concept. Bourdain’s voice shone through in some of the narration, and the end result was a truly original comic.
A video game that places you in the shoes of a failed bodyguard-turned-supernaturally-gifted-assassin Corvo and sends you sneaking and murdering your way through a steampunk dystopia, Dishonored hits all the right notes for me. The setting is incredibly well-thought out and the texture of the crumbling empire and its plague-ridden, downtrodden populace is palpable. There are strands of Bioshock, Thief, and Deus Ex sprinkled liberally throughout the DNA of this game. The game encourages you to find your own path through each mission. The game certainly encourages you to pursue nonlethal tactics. The load screen promises that if you can reign in your homicidal urges your endgame will be “less dark” although the morality mechanic is a bit too sketchy and unclear to be of use. The game doesn’t explain whether killing someone and hiding the body gives you higher or lower chaos than choking them out and leaving the body laying in the middle of the street. Still, the attempt to map practical considerations onto a morality choice is admirable. If you choose to allow the level-headed guard captain to die, there will be more low level mooks patrolling the checkpoints while leaving more corpses around increase the number of roving mobs of plague-infested rats.