The best video games of 2016

Do you remember a simpler time when videogames were our only form of escapism? It’s the first thing in my memory where choice became a big deal. I understand TV is escapism, and so playing with your imagination, but these usually had outside influences that I had no control over. My life as a baby and then as a curious toddler was built on decisions with no input of my own. Then, something magical happened. Somebody placed me in front of an Amiga with a box full of floppy disks with unlimited potential. I could move Guybrush Threepwood where ever i wanted to! Sometimes, I was even able to solve a puzzle! I was in control of my life, finally. I still however was afraid of the monitor after I turned it off. I would speed out of the room like a little scared kitten. Where do the videogames go after the screen turns off. Do they come to life?

Today, I am only ever slightly afraid of my television. Years of therapy and many upgrades in game console have led me to the stage where I no longer freak out when it turns off. But that is a rare occurrence, as most of my time is spent playing through a library of great videogames. Here are the best of the best we played last year. This is still relevant, as the only new game we played this year is Breath of the Wild, (which is a very good title and has become so close to my heart)

5. Final Fantasy XV

After 10 years of waiting, was it finally worth it? I suppose yes, yes it was. It was certainly different from what I expected, with little prompt from the game to dig deeper into the story and instead letting you roam free with your handsome buddies. The fight system is a little clunky, but fun and the changes in gameplay from Episode Duscae were welcome. The behemoth mission in Duscae is such a pain in the ass, whereas i really enjoyed it in XV. The game is still surprising me with all it’s little secrets and side missions, which don’t really seem to get boring. There’s also a new game plus, a ton of dlc coming which should bring me back after a vacation away from Noct and his pals. Perhaps because of the addition of a Japanese language option, (thank god they had this) I also started to like Prompto, which every news publication actively told me not to. I like him a lot. You were all too cynical about this prettyboy character.

4. Dark Souls III

I am a big Dark Souls fan. The first game changed my perspective of gaming forever, encouraging me to seek challenge and despair wherever I can find it when playing games. Since then, it’s been a yearly tradition to pick up the next installment of whatever FROM SOFTWARE have been working on. Dark Souls III seems to be a hybrid of what worked in Bloodborne, and what people missed in DSII, a good thing for those who felt the second game in the series was a tad dissapointing. It became again the most cherished game on the console for a while, where a half hour play session would turn into 8 or more, invading and betraying my way through the world. The best part about the game is that you always feel that you could be better, could get stronger if you really wanted to. Cameos from previous games made this one feel all the more like a love letter to fans. Still, it doesn’t match the original’s same sense of wonder, the first time you exit the Undead asylum and enter Lordran. I hope whatever FROM have got planned next is going to blow us away even more.

3. Dragon Quest Builders

I always wanted to get into Minecraft, but I couldn’t ever get into it. All I would do was dig down to the centre of the earth and then the sad sweet music would play and I would feel like some little spec of dust in a hole where nobody could find me. I never played a Dragon Quest game before, and this action rpg-block crafter hybrid seemed to be the best place to start. It’s got great music, surprisingly fun gameplay and crafting elements, the fight system is simple but effective, building stuff is fun, exploring is a treat. It has had me hooked since release.

2. Enter the Gungeon

This game was purchased on a whim, but it’s easily the one i’ve spent the most time playing. Enter the Gungeon combines roguelike elements with a Bullet Hell shooter, something I never knew I wanted. The intensity of Bullet Hell schmups is hard not to admire, but stupidly hard to master. I never could really get the hang of them. Could I get the hang of Gungeon? Yes and No. I haven’t beaten it, although I have sunk probably 150 hours into the game. Everytime you play, it’s the first time, with small unlocks here and there. The first boss took so long to beat, I got that feeling of doubt like the first time I played Dark Souls. “Maybe this game is too hard for me.” But no, you have to push on further! If Dark Souls taught me anything, it’s that you never let a game beat you prematurely. Then you start getting through the first, second, third stages, with no problems! The same sense of accomplishment fills you when you start to craft mastery of a game after so much torment. However, I still haven’t beaten it, nor am I close. I did get up to a penultimate boss on the weekend with a friend (who has beaten it) in co-op, but we died. They just released a new (free!) update with new bosses and guns etc, so there is absolutely no reason for me to stop playing this one. I love this game.

1. Darkest Dungeon

Darkest Dungeon looked too weird at first glance, I’ve never been into tabletop D’n’D sessions or old school numbers games. I got it on sale because of it’s gleaming reviews and was still a little skeptical. But this one works so well, it’s the first time where statistics and random elements become actively thrilling. There’s such a great, punishing combat system where slight errors in judgement can lead to the wiping out of your adventuring party, and there it comes, permadeath of some of your favorite adventures. But shit happens, and you got to send in more weary travelers the next day, who may be successful or might share the same fate. So many people, freak out under the pressure and become erratic, leading to your doom. But occasionally something magically happens, and the pressure brings out a heroic quality in an adventurer, sparking a torch of hope in your dread filled heart. The aesthetics, music and voice acting make this game all the more addictive. Like with Dark Souls, the bleak narrative of the game starts to speak to you like a drug. You start to feel the darkness, and you enjoy it. A special shoutout to Wayne June, the lead voice actor of the game, whose amazing gravely voice has helped create a truly intense experience.


Every few years or so, an album comes along that fills you with that warm feeling of awe, reminding us of the soul changing effect that well-constructed guitar music can have on the human heart.

Hand Habit’s debut LP, Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void) is magnificent at capturing a feeling more than a sound, taking you to those lost summer days floating barely above the water, a hidden enigma that captures everything important about American guitar music.

Meg Duffy, the singer and guitarist behind Hand Habits has been recording and touring with Mega Bog and the Kevin Morby band, but her own efforts are much more an intimate, bedroom affair. Recorded in her living room in her Upstate New York hometown and at her current L.A home, Wildly Idle captures the beauty and tenderness in jangly guitar music that other bands don’t even come close to.

Duffy tells us that she has always gravitated to the more warm sounding frequencies than the tinny high ends. “I think the guitar I play really helped me figure that out. It’s a lone star strat with a humbucker, and the bridge pickup is very bass-y and warm. I only have one guitar, so it’s what I started with and with my vocals, making this record made me realize just rolling a bit of the high end off makes me feel more comfortable with hearing my own voice.”

The lo-fi qualities of a bedroom recording have their own specific charm, but Duffy’s album is so well orchestrated you would have thought it was recorded in a vacuum where melancholic surfers go to die. “I did everything on ProTools with less than a handful of microphones. The amp I was using started to die halfway through tracking so I ended up going DI for most of the guitars. I owe the final touches to Ged Gengras who mixed and mastered the record.” It was recorded mostly by herself except for a few guest performers including Avi Buffalo, Kevan Lareau and Sheridan Riley.

Wildly Idle releases today
Wildly Idle releases today

She says she is incredibly proud of the album, and rightfully so. Wildly Idle’s track “Actress” overwhelms you with Duffy’s songwriting ability, a folky-Paisley Underground song about running away to pretend to be something else that showcases her stunning vocals.

The stand out track is “All the While” which hooks you from the opening lyrics that instantly transport you to the Californian desert where she lives. “Hold me like a child/You made me out to be/And bring me to the Wild West/Where you can set me free.”

The themes Duffy wanted to convey through the songs were “being comfortable with space, with distance, with yourself in general. I’m very into comfort and moving through emotions.” Her creative rituals reflect this explorative approach to life as she spends time “Isolating myself, making myself vulnerable to new emotions and humans, taking a lot of baths and the ‘digital detox’, also going back to this book on reharmonization I have that I barely understand.”

Outside of music she says she would like to pursue fashion and carpentry as artistic pursuits, citing the fact that at the moment she has nowhere to put her clothes aside from a suitcase. If you want to catch her live, she may be embarking on a tour in Europe this April as well as opening for Kevin Morby in June, which definitely will be one of the best gigs to catch this summer.

Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void) Releases on February 10, 2017 from Woodist Records, also available on Bandcamp & itunes

postscript opinions: This album struck a chord with me because it’s fresh sound, rhythmic songs and semi-clean guitars were something I felt so desperate to hear, and hadn’t even realised it. I had turned my back on guitar music for the most part, looking for new vistas in the depths of electronic music, but what I had been looking for was right in front of me the whole time. Wildly Idle was almost a spiritual experience to me, like drinking a pot of Ayachusa and walking into the woodlands, fighting with your emotions but not in a sad way. It truly is a great album.


Listen to me, I refuse to endorse stupidity in any way or form, but when it’s happening right in front of me I can barely look away. This was filmed in the downtime for our latest short, which will be out imminently.

Why Hollywood Won’t Cast Peter Carson Anymore

Not long ago, actor Peter Carson was at the top of his game, acting in multiple movie franchises and starring in his own TV show, but after a series of public outbursts painting him to be an outcast, the powers that be have been considering pulling the plug on his career in Hollywood. Best known for his starring role in ‘The Milkman’ and cult hit ‘Room 836’ Carson captivated audiences with his witty and emotional performances, but recently his career has hit a slump. Here at Bad Talk, we might have found out the answer.


A group of filmmakers have put an open call out to young people across Scotland to get creative and make short films as a way to make their voices heard on Brexit.

Young Filmmakers Glasgow have launched ‘No Frame Is An Island’, a project that consists of 30 second short films submitted by anyone aged 13 to 30. The submitted films are required to have no cuts or editing, consisting of a response to Brexit and a chance for your voice to be heard.

Sean Mcinally, the founder of Young Filmmakers Glasgow feels that doing something creative is the perfect outlet to figure out your identity and help voice a person’s opinions clearly. “It really helps to create. I think when you go to create, or when you have to refine your identity into something like a 30 second short film, it’s forced out of you so it helps a lot.

Last year the collective debuted the First Act Film Festival at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow, showcasing some of the best films made by young Scottish people.

“It was our first year, it was great. We went in with it with pretty high ambitions, we wanted to bring in a big guest and we ended up securing Iain Smith who produced Mad Max : Fury Road, and that film had just won 7 Oscars or something. He did a speech that was so inspirational, he had a lot of wisdom about the Scottish film industry.”

No Frame is an Island – Scottish Filmmakers are Reacting to Brexit from Young Filmmakers Glasgow on Vimeo.

This new project is similar to a film festival in that takes these homemade shorts to the big screen, adding a touch of cinematic flair.

“I can’t stress enough how important I think it is to do what we’re trying to do, there’s no better way to get young filmmakers making films than to promise them an audience of people that are gonna watch it, not just online. It’s a cinematic experience, it’s real people in a dark room, which I think is gold for a new filmmaker, especially today.”

This is new ground for the Young Filmmakers Glasgow, who haven’t curated their work with a political agenda in mind so far. “I think people are excited about it because I don’t think filmmakers have had a collective response or movement against Brexit yet, so we’re one of the first groups of filmmakers to tackle it as a whole.”

There is an assumption that most submissions will be from the remain camp, but they hope for the sake of the argument that they will be quite balanced. “Our group has always been very international, so we’ve got a strong European identity. The point is you don’t have to be Scottish, just based in Scotland, because Brexit affects everyone. I don’t think we’re gonna find out what we have until we bring the films together and get around to screening them but it’ll be exciting.”

Part of the group’s manifesto is anti-film school, disregarding the notion that you need to be a film graduate to make a film. ‘No Frame Is An Island’ is refreshing in it’s optimism that anybody can create a film, whether it’s been shot on a high priced film camera or somebody’s mobile phone. The group are hugely ambitious, one of their goals being the creation of Scotland’s first film studio. If they keep coming up with innovative ways to get people into film-making, they might just be the catalyst that Scottish film needs to become truly groundbreaking.

The closing date for submissions is January 31st 2017 and the screening will be held next month at the Gilmore Hill Centre, 9 University Ave, Glasgow on February 26th.

You can get involved with ‘No Frame Is an Island’ at the website and check for updates on Facebook and Twitter.


What? You didn’t see ‘The Milkman’? It’s one of the most revolutionary films in history! Recent history, of course. It’s been nearly a year since we set out to make Sam Mackeddie’s first short of 2016 – a series of short films that get worse and worse as the year goes on. However, with aid from Agent Sam Rose, Renaissance man Ray Syed, Playboy Matt Cameron, Primetime player Reetta Tihinen and Pete ‘Milkman’ Carson, there was enough competence from the hungover crew to complete this one and make it look all pretty and emotionally scarring. A year has passed and a lot has changed. We’ve all moved apartments, and lost each others phone numbers. I gained a lot of weight and got fat shamed on twitter. At least we have ‘The Milkman’ to remind us of a simpler time.


Just one last thing before you go out for 2017. Harry Potter is back and bigger than ever, in his debut directors cut edition. That’s right, they’ve started the extended cuts, but only for specific films. This time it’s a new cut of the fourth film, arguably the first one to cut large chunks of the book out of the adaptation. With this latest edition, we will be able to bask in the original’s glory.


Hello, and goodbye. The year is almost over,today being the only day of the year appropriate to say to someone “see you next year.” Isn’t it cheeky? next year is tomorrow! Other days, it sound so far away. Usually I get a bit soppy on new years but I don’t have any excuses to do that this year. Here’s a treat for you Hogmanay gay divorcees out there, a film about the exposure of a corrupt politicians. Riveting.

BAD TALK # 3 & 4

Hey guys

last weeks podcast is  here from dropbox be warned that if you download it’s a hefty wav file. Streaming is fine though mate.

Now for this weeks one, I got this snazzy little dropbox podcast program so i can share my shows a little easier. download the latest via justcast or just stream here. what ever you feel like! it’s an mp3 too so it’s not a pain in the ass.

This episode features magic island, air, mr. oizo and the stooges. Hope you enjoy it all, you princes of Dalry, you kings of Newtongrange.

Bad Talk episode #4