Dean’s favourite things of 2018

2018 was an exciting year for me.

I got to fly on a plane for the first time since I was two years old; I moved to downtown Toronto, something I’ve always wanted to do; and I got the chance to use almost every single flagship smartphone released this year, which was a dream come true.

I’ve got to say, I love my job.

Alongside my fellow MobileSyrup writers, I wrote my own list of my five favourite things from the past year.

Pray for the Wicked

Panic! At the Disco is my absolute favourite band and it’s been that way since I was 14. This year, the band released a new album called Pray for the Wicked, which Brendon Urie, the sole remaining original member of the band, says was inspired by his Mormon past and his mother.

Pray for the Wicked features hits like “Say Amen (Saturday Night)” and “High Hopes.” The latter was nominated in the Teen Choice Awards’ top rock/alternative song category but didn’t take home prize. At the time of writing, the song sits at number 13 on Google Play Music’s Top Overall songs.

The emo-pop album has other great songs. I personally love like “King of the Clouds” and “Hey Look Ma, I Made It”.

The now confirmed pansexual Brendon Urie performed at the Scotiabank Arena where he showed off his athleticism, his love for the LGBT community and his amazing vocal range.

Runner-up: Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse soundtrack

Sense8 Finale

A show that celebrates diversity in so many ways ended with a two-hour and 41-minute movie and an orgy scene that you’ll never forget.

Sense8 first started in 2015. The series features eight supernatural humans linked with one another telepathically. They can feel each other’s pain, communicate with one another across oceans and use each other’s unique abilities. The telepaths, otherwise known as ‘Sensates,’ are formed by clusters of eight who are all born at the exact same time.

I was very happy with the finale of Sense8. Whereas the first and second end on a sombre note, the finale left me content and joyful with everyone getting what I believed they deserve.  It gave me everything I wanted more, including drama, romanticism, shootouts, fight scenes, LGBT empowerment and of course the characters using the most out of their telepathic abilities.

Runner Up: RuPaul’s Drag Race: season 10

Pokémon Let’s Go

This trip back to Kanto was definitely a fun one.

I’ve been a Pokémon fan since I was a little kid playing trading cards with my friends. My first Pokémon game experience was Pokémon Silver, and while it wasn’t Red, Blue or Yellow, Silver and Crystal featured both the Johto and Kanto regions. I eventually played Yellow where I was introduced to a little Pikachu that followed me around everywhere. I eventually put that Pikachu back in the PC as it always seemed a tad grumpy.

After Yellow, I always craved a game where any Pokémon could follow you around and eventually I got it, Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver. Though the game became outdated and I started craved a title with the new graphics originally featured in Pokemon X and Y. Finally in 2018 Pokémon Let’s Go came out for the Nintendo Switch.

The game is beautiful, sports a brand new catching mechanic and Pokémon once again follow your character. After beating the game, some Pokémon like Charizard can fly you around in the air avoiding enemy trainers and other Pokémon.

Let’s Go is almost exactly what I crave in a Pokemon game, though it only featured the first 151 Pokémon.

Runner Up: God of War

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice 2018 game trailer

One of my favourite game developers is FromSoftware, the creators of the ‘Soulsborne’ genre and the games Bloodborne, Dark Souls and Tenchu. While Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice looks like it will have quite a few differences from its Soulsborne counterparts and even Tenchu, it looks like it might be the perfect combination of each game. Unlike those type of games, Sekiro features a lot of vertical gameplay, murderous samurais and demons.

Unlike any of the Dark Souls titles, this game lacks magic and unlike Bloodborne the game is missing trick weapons.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice looks to be an amazingly fun game, the main character features a prosthetic arm that can turn into a number of very cool weapons, such as an axe that can break shields, ninja stars that can allow its user to teleport and a flamethrower that can set your sword and enemies on fire. That alongside a grappling hook that can quickly let you run away or find a better vantage point, before attacking.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice isn’t out yet, but this was definitely my favourite game announcement of 2018 and makes me very excited for 2019’s upcoming games.

Runner Up: Cyberpunk 2077 game trailer

Ramen Misoya

After starting to work and live in Toronto’s downtown core, I’ve decided to take it upon myself and try as many ramen restaurants as possible and rate them from my least to my all-time favourite. While in 2017 I fell in love with Momofuku, a well-known restaurant on University beside the Shangri La, this year a new restaurant opened up on Queen Street.

The ramen place offers a range of different flavours and uses a soybean miso base. The menu has both gold kome and silver shiro and can come with a variety of veggies, mince pork, tofu, potatoes and more.

My favourite thing on the menu is the Tan Tan Deluxe that features seaweed, egg, minced pork, pork belly and eggs. The dish also uses a Tan Tan base that’s a bit spicy but is definitely the most delicious ramen base I have ever tried. I was shocked to find ramen that I might like more that Momofuku, but after going back to try it that was definitely the case.

Check out the restaurant at 646 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1E4