2017 Jen's Favorite Things
As the end of the year gets closer day by day, bringing the holidays with the passage of time, it means that's 'tis the season for thinking of gift ideas. Whether you need something for the techie in your life, or you're looking for something to surprise your gamer friends, 2017 has had plenty of awesome new things to feast your eyes upon. From games to accessories to hardware, these are my favorite things of 2017.
Google Pixel 2
I'm generally not the kind of person who gets super excited when a shiny new phone hits the market. I enjoy them when I use them, but for me, a phone is a tool meant to help me do things, not something to admire on its own. Or, that was the case until I picked up my Pixel 2.
While plenty of features that the Pixel 2 offers are fantastic, it's that sweet, sweet, camera that made me fall in love. With twice the image stabilization my shaking hands no longer ruin photos with blur, and selfie portrait mode is probably my favorite thing that's shown up in 2017.
From $649 Buy Now
Daydream View (2017)
I'm a big fan of VR and spend an inordinate amount of time watching videos, playing games, and seeing things from a new angle. I adored the first generation Daydream View, but the 2017 model has taken everything that was already fantastic and made it even better. A slightly different form factor, lovely colors, and a built-in heat sink to ensure that you can enjoy VR for as long as possible without your phone overheating.
$99 Buy Now
Horizon Zero Dawn
When Horizon Zero Dawn finally released in February, I was all in. An awesome female protagonist, an open world fit for exploring, robot dinosaur enemies, compelling storyline, and jaw-dropping visuals combined with a beautiful soundtrack make this game my favorite new video game in years. It does everything it's supposed to, and then goes even further. This game is the real deal, and there wasn't a single moment I didn't enjoy. With the addition of the Frozen Wilds DLC that dropped at the beginning of November, it got even better. I only hope that we'll hear about a sequel in the next year or two because I haven't had nearly enough fun in this epic world.
$30 Buy Now
PlayStation Aim Controller
There are plenty of games in VR that let you shoot your way through pouncing arachnids, irradiated zombies, or just enemies in general, but until recently it didn't exactly feel like I was shooting while in VR. The PlayStation Aim Controller delivers a controller that looks vaguely like a rifle and feels like one when I'm in VR. It initially showed up with Farpoint, but it's now compatible with nearly a dozen different games and it makes things so much more immersive.
$60 Buy Now
Strange Weather by Joe Hill
When I'm not playing with new tech you can almost always find me reading an awesome new book. I stumbled onto Joe Hill a few years ago, and tend to devour his novels. This year instead of one new novel from him, I snagged a copy of Strange Weather, which is a collection of four short novels compiled together. Each of the stories hits like a hammer, and they take the horror genre a step further. From a camera that erases memories, to actual nails falling from the sky during a rainstorm, there is plenty of bone chilling content here to love.
$17 Buy Now
I've loved tabletop games, and storytelling games for just about as long as I can remember. Recently I got the chance to pick up Cthulu Tales, a storytelling game where the goal is to use played cards to tell a story of madness. The party each takes turn retelling how it is they came to be in the asylum where they are telling their story. Your goal is to pull off telling a convincing enough story to convince the leaders of the Asylum that you don't belong there. It's a ton of fun, and full of all sorts of references to Lovecraftian horror.
$28 Buy Now
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