Media of 2022
Around this time of the year, I usually write a blog post about my favorite books of the last year. But this time, not enough of them really stood out. So instead, here's my favorite pieces of media I consumed in the last year:
This is the story of how gunpowder changed the world. We get to see the familiar history of central Europe, but told unusually, from the bottom up: how seemingly small inventions change the course of peoples and nations. The book is in essence a history of warfare in the last few hundred years, but this time the movers and shakers are not Great Men, but chemistry and engineering. A fascinating perspective, to say the least.
Along the way, the book unraveled countless tangents and quirks I had previously stumbled upon, yet never understood. How castles went from tall walled structures to flat earthworks in the 18th century due to the disruptive invention of cannons. How wooden galleons of 1850 were obsoleted by turreted iron warships practically overnight. How rifling and shells bled dry the coffers of Central Europe and made conflict inevitable. This book contextualized many a story like this in the most riveting manner!
Ever since we had our second child, I didn't really find the time for video games any more, much to my regret. So when the Steam Deck was announced, essentially a portable gaming computer, it didn't feel like a worthwhile investment.
But boy, was I wrong about that. The genius of the Steam Deck is how it's instantly-on, instantly-off like a video games console, allowing me to play in short bursts that would not otherwise be available to gaming. But in contrast to a console, the deck allows me to play games without blocking the living room, and away from the computer screen I'm working at all day anyway.
It has reignited my video gaming, and surprisingly not just for newer titles, but thanks to EmuDeck, emulated retro games as well. I had a blast playing Banjo-Kazooie with my daughter, and Chorus, Ace Combat, Guardians of the Galaxy and Death Stranding on my own. To me, this is a revolutionary device, and I haven't touched my gaming PC or any of my video game consoles since!