ESPN 30:30 Box Set ESPN has been running this incredibly awesome series of thirty sports documentaries this year to celebrate 30 years on the air. ESPN reached out to some of Hollywood’s top directors to create these films that celebrate some of the most talked about and under-appreciated moments in sports. The first box set just went on sale last week, and it collects the first fifteen films of the series. This collection covers such memorable spectacles as the OJ Simpson car chase on June 17, 1994, the rise and fall of the USFL, the Wayne Gretzky trade to LA and the tragic death of Len Bias.

No more Lost – I had a very strong love/hate relationship with Lost. For every good episode that saw a major plot development or great moments, it was usually followed with an episode that killed off one of your favorite characters or added yet another unneeded question to keep the WTF balance in check for the series. With Lost finally ending after six seasons in 2010, I am grateful that I will no longer have to anticipate any more episodes of this bizarre program that sent me on a whirlwind of emotions like no other show before it. I promise to never waste another moment on this show again…unless ABC will somehow manage to re-release the entire series in chronological order.

The Book of Basketball This was actually released in 2009, but the paperback edition just hit shelves a couple weeks ago and it includes all kinds of bonus content! I finally finished the hardcover edition of this book a few months ago, and even only being a casual hoops fan I found it to be an extremely informative and entertaining read. Bill Simmons knows his hoops, and his humorous writing style features all sorts of imperative footnotes that makes catching up on basketball history fun for everyone!

Season Two of The Tester & WCG Ultimate Gamer As much as it pains me to lay this out there, I love both of these shows. Say what you will about reality television and the usual hi jinx that it contains, but I was entertained by second seasons of The Tester and WCG Ultimate Gamer this year. Both shows are eight episodes and features video game themed challenges where the goal is to win to become either the next PlayStation game tester (yes, really), or for a one year roster spot on WCG USA. There are a few characters and moments on each show that are pretty groan inducing I will admit, but that is par for the course with almost any reality show. If you can manage to stomach that, than you will be in for a fun ride that brought back memories of old video game contest shows like Video Power and Nick Arcade.

Heavy Rain, Alan Wake & Red Dead Redemption – If you happen to remember my article half a year ago here ranking the top 10 games for the first half of the year, you may recall that it was a particularly strong first half of the year for games. Rest assured, now with 2010 nearly in the bag, I can say without a doubt that 2010 is the first year where the first half year of releases easily outclassed the second half. It outweighed it so much so that my top three from the first half of the year are my top three for my overall game of the year. And I hold all three of these games on a high pedestal with not much ground separating them in my rankings. Pardon the cheap plug, but to hear my final top 10 rankings, please subscribe to my podcast where we will be having our game of the year episode within a few weeks.

Pinball FX2/Marvel Pinball – Hats off to Zen Studios for their consistency at pumping out nonstop awesome video game pinball tables! Almost every time I sit down to play games, I tend to warm up with a couple of runs on a pinball game made by Zen Studios. Whether it was them supporting Pinball FX and Zen Pinball with frequent DLC tables throughout most of 2010, and then proceeding to blow us away with Pinball FX 2 and its amazing evolution of table design and leaderboard upgrades. They did not stop at Pinball FX 2, because just a couple months after that fine release, they pump out Marvel Pinball, with four more addicting tables themed after some of the best superheroes in the Marvel Universe…and Blade. I dare you to download a table or two and not get hooked to the amount of sheer fun each table provides and the addictive nature of score chasing everyone on your friends list.

Miz as WWE Champ This just would not be a “stuff of the year” list from me without a couple wrestling mentions. Mike “The Miz” Mizannin had quite an interesting journey to becoming the current WWE champion. From debuting in the entertainment world ten years ago on The Real World, to riding the MTV reality circuit for a few years until finally debuting in WWE in 2004 on its Tough Enough competition. Being one of the few Miz fans from his early beginnings in WWE when no one thought he would last a year in the company, I nearly lost it when he finally proved all the doubters wrong and  won the WWE championship.

The Nexus John Cena Beatdown Just one more wrestling moment to add to this list. If you used to be a wrestling fan, odds are you watched during the WCW/WWF Monday Night Wars when each company was raising the bar each and every Monday to get you to flip the channel. With no real competition, WWE has become complacent with its storytelling and features less and less must see moments each year. In 2010 they managed to capture some of that old fire with the debut of the Nexus stable. Here they made an impact with an 8-on-1 beatdown on John Cena and literally tore apart the ring and beat up the entire ringside staff in a moment completely unprecedented. The Nexus has since become one of the most interesting stables of wrestlers in quite a few years.

2 Responses to Gruel’s 2010 Stuff of the Year

  1. Tex says:

    I can’t lie, I love the tester too. It’s damn entertaining, for some reason.

  2. ESPN’s 30 for 30 is excellent. My favorite is either the USFL or the Baltimore Colts marching band.

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