2016 is here, and with it come the usual resolutions: lose weight, stop drinking/smoking, take up yoga, whatever blah blah blah BORING. You’re cooler than that. You’ve got things to do. If I might interject into your busy planning for 2016, I’ve got a few nerd-style resolutions that might help you make this year one of the best of your life.
1) See every damn geek movie that hits theaters this year
We know Marvel’s been churning out the hits over the last eight years, and this year should be no exception. The following all premiere or are rumored to premiere this year:
- “Captain America: Civil War”
- “X-Men Apocalypse”
- “Doctor Strange”
There are a few other properties gearing up for a lucrative 2016. Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” (Jan. 1) started this year out right with some slick Western-style social commentary, but the real stars of this year are the comic book films, including the previously listed Marvel movies and this year’s DC movie premieres:
- “Batman v. Superman” (Mar. 25)
- “Suicide Squad” (Aug. 5)
- “TMNT: Out of the Shadows” (Jun. 3), which is the sequel to 2014’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”
We’ve also got a few films adapted from video games this year:
- “Ratchet & Clank” (Apr. 29)
- “Warcraft” (Jun. 10)
- “Assassin’s Creed” (Dec. 21)
Aside from those, some original properties are getting reboots and sequels, like:
- “Independence Day: Resurgence” (Jun. 24)
- “Ghostbusters” (Jul. 15), which will feature an all-female version of the original team
- Harry Potter fans should dust off those wands and house scarves because “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” will be out Nov. 18
- Star Trek fans will be donning their reds, yellows and blues for Jul. 22’s “Star Trek Beyond”
- The Star Wars franchise will have its extended universe augmented by “Star Wars: Rogue One” on Dec. 16, almost exactly a year after “The Force Awakens” hit theaters (and if you haven’t seen that by now, what are you even doing with your life)
A few more sci-fi/fantasy films hitting theaters in 2016:
- “400 Days” (Jan. 12)
- “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” (Feb. 5)
- “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny” (Feb. 26)
- Pixar’s “Zootopia” (Mar. 4)
- “The Divergent Series: Allegiant” (Mar. 18)
- “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” (Apr. 22)
- Disney’s “Moana” (Nov. 23)
Mark your calendars for your favorites and get your gear ready for those midnight showings; this year’s gonna be an exciting one.
2) Ask off for all the new game releases so you can binge guilt-free
If you’ve got a good amount of PTO saved up, this is the year to use it.
- “Tom Clancy’s: The Division” is finally coming out (how many years ago did they first announce that?) Mar. 8
- 2008’s cult hit “Mirror’s Edge” is getting its well-deserved sequel, “Mirror’s Edge Catalyst,” May 24
- Prepare to punish yourself repeatedly when “Dark Souls III” hits shelves Mar. 24
- Make it a date for superhero-themed shenanigans with “Lego Marvel’s Avengers” on Jan. 26
- “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End” will hopefully show up in April, so ready your PS4s for the graphical majesty headed your way
Few games have concrete release dates for 2016, so keep your eyes peeled for official announcements on these blockbusters: “Dishonored 2,” “Final Fantasy XV,” “Mass Effect: Andromeda,” “The Last Guardian” and “Gears of War 4.”
Some highly anticipated indie releases are also slated for release in 2016, including:
- The ultra-hyped “No Man’s Sky,” a procedurally generated, sprawling sci-fi exploration game by Hello Games (rumored June release)
- The plucky little park-ranger-simulator, “Firewatch,” by Campo Santo (Feb. 9)
- “We Happy Few” and “The Banner Saga 2” may also release in 2016, two games that are sure to challenge our perceptions of what video games’ stories should be
A few other rumored releases include:
- “Cyberpunk 2077,” the IP of CD PROJEKT RED, the developers of “The Witcher” game series
- “Outlast II”
- “Crackdown 3″
- “Horizon Zero Dawn”
With 2015 claiming some of the biggest releases (namely “Fallout 4,” “The Witcher 3,” “Dying Light” and “Five Nights at Freddy’s 4”), 2016’s games will have to kick it up a notch to match the hype trains of last year. Make sure you’re available to take part in gaming history and put in your requests for days off ASAP!
3) Prep your house for the AI revolution before our overlords arrive
Artificial intelligence has been cropping up in the news more often these days and for good reason. IBM has started segmenting its Watson technology into different functions (medical analysis, business and prediction software, to name a few), a move that is exciting the AI development scene and frightening a few of science’s more paranoid experts. Amazon unveiled its drone delivery system, Aldebaran and Softbank debuted Pepper, the robo-companion being used as a greeter in retail outlets, and self-driving cars have become a commercial reality in the U.S. The uses for AI are endless and constantly developing, and there are plenty of products that utilize this technology that you can get now and be ahead of the curve, like the Nest line of smart home products or Whirlpool’s smart washer and dryer devices.
There are even crowdfunding campaigns to help augment your home’s intelligence with smart lighting (Fluxo), indoor pots that tend your plants for you (Click and Grow) and a kitchen thermometer that tells you when your food is done via an app on your phone. The future is here, people, and if it’s not in your house already, it will be.
4) Start saving for a self-driving car
With Google, Tesla and many others getting in on the self-driving car development trend and legislators considering new laws to regulate robocars, that self-driving car you covet is just around the corner. I recommend you start setting aside your money now since experts are predicting that by 2020 we could see these babies on the market. Sure, there are a few kinks to work out before then, but I don’t doubt they’ll have it all handled. So far, there are only a few models to look forward to, but it’s anticipated that at CES 2016 (stay tuned for our coverage of this convention!), we’ll see more companies jumping on the bandwagon.
Self-driving cars won’t be cheap, so whether your cash goes in the piggy bank or the actual bank, get to it!
5) Start a new hobby, like cosplay or a YouTube channel
There are plenty of online resources available nowadays to get your how-to fix, but truly committing to a new hobby like costume play, geeky baking or even running your own YouTube channel can be a massive undertaking if you don’t know where to start. Do yourself a favor and check out these resources for fun, new hobbies to try this year.
Cosplay Tutorial: A huge aggregate of tutorials written by real cosplayers, carpenters and craftspeople. There are plenty of tips, tricks and inspiration to get you motivated. Be fearless and dress up as a character you’ve always wanted to this year. (If you’re into Star Wars, head over to our collection of 15 amazing Star Wars cosplays to get inspired!)
R/Let’sPlay: This Reddit forum is an excellent place to learn how to do Let’s Play videos on YouTube, and all the knowledge you learn here can easily be applied to other types of video content, like beauty vlogging or movie reviews. The community is welcoming and thoughtful, something the Internet sorely lacks in many places, so take advantage of their hospitality and learn from some of the most successful people on YouTube how to grow your channel.
TRPG Resources: Come on, you know you’ve always wanted to try tabletop role playing games, and now is the year to corral all your nerd friends and start a campaign. TRPG Resources is a solid place to start your research on and collection of “Dungeons and Dragons” lore and paraphernalia so you can be the best Dungeon Master around.
6) Plot out your convention tour because, damn, there are a lot of them these days
Conventions have always been a great way to meet new people with your shared interests and get the latest goods in your hands before they hit store shelves. Their popularity has only grown as they’ve become more accessible and produced with higher quality, so instead of the exclusive anime club in so-and-so’s garage, you’ve got entire convention centers with hundreds of thousands of attendees, swag bags for everyone and plenty of bathrooms so the line isn’t too long. Here are some of the big conventions you should mark on your calendar:
Penny Arcade Expo (PAX): While tickets for PAX East (Boston) are already sold out, PAX South (San Antonio) has a few individual day passes left, and PAX Prime (Seattle) hasn’t even started selling yet. PAX is notoriously difficult to get into, so if you want to go, you better keep your eyes glued to their Twitter (@Official_PAX) for ticket sales announcements because they sell out within minutes of release.
Anime Central (ACen) May 20-22: Held in Chicago, this is the biggest anime convention in the Midwest, and it’s almost 20 years old, so you know they’ve got their shit together. They haven’t said yet who will be presenting or appearing as a guest, but the news is sure to come out soon. Tickets are available for pre-order if you’re a member; otherwise, they’re $45 at the door.
Indy Pop Con Jun. 17-19: A massive gaming, Internet, anime, nerd convention in Indianapolis, Indy Pop Con 2016 promises to be one of the biggest for guests and events. Voice acting legend Nolan North and “musical comedy geniuses” Ninja Sex Party are only a few of the personalities attending this year’s convention. The panels have yet to be announced, but tickets are still on sale at $50 for a three-day pass.
7) Upgrade your PC to something respectable
Just because you can play “Fallout: New Vegas” on medium graphics quality with relative ease doesn’t mean you can allow yourself to remain mediocre. You could have so much more, you know. You could have ultra quality in “The Witcher 3” with nary a chug if you just invested properly in a good PC setup. Don’t worry; it’s never too late to learn to build your own PC, and it really isn’t as scary as you think. Make 2016 the year you conquer your fear and upgrade your home computer into something you can be proud of. PC Part Picker is a great place to start to make sure the pieces of your build are compatible and meet your budget requirements and you can also check out other people’s builds to help you get an idea of what you need to build what you want.