Tag Archives: 2019

7 Hong Kong democracy leaders convicted over 2019 protests

Seven Hong Kong pro-democracy advocates were convicted Thursday on charges of organizing and participating in an unlawful assembly during massive anti-government protests in 2019 that triggered a crackdown on dissent.

The seven include media tycoon and founder of the Apple Daily tabloid Jimmy Lai, as well as 82-year-old Martin Lee, a veteran of the city’s democracy movement. Lai had already been held without bail on other charges related to his pro-democracy activities.

They were convicted for their involvement in a protest held on Aug. 18, 2019. Organizers said that 1.7 million people marched that day in opposition to a proposed bill that would have allowed suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial.

The activists, apart from those who have been remanded in custody on other charges, were granted bail on condition they do not leave Hong Kong and must hand in all their travel documents.

They will next appear in court on April 16, where mitigation pleas will be heard before sentences are handed down. Taking part in an unlawful assembly or a riot in Hong Kong can result in a maximum sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment for serious offences.

Pro-democracy activist Lee Cheuk-yan waves to supporters as he arriving at the West Kowloon Courts for verdicts in landmark unlawful assembly case, in Hong Kong on Thursday. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Ahead of the trial, supporters and some of the defendants gathered outside the court, shouting “Oppose political persecution” and “Five demands, not one less,” in reference to demands by democracy supporters that include amnesty for those arrested in the protests as well as universal suffrage in the semi-autonomous territory.

‘We believe in the people of Hong Kong’

“So on this day, in a very difficult situation in Hong Kong, political retaliation is on us,” Lee Cheuk-yan, one of the defendants, said ahead of the court session.

“We will still march on no matter what lies in the future. We believe in the people of Hong Kong, in our brothers and sisters in our struggle, and the victory is ours if the people of Hong Kong are persistent,” he said.

Previously, two other defendants — former pro-democracy lawmakers Au Nok-hin and Leung Yiu-chung — had pleaded guilty to organizing and taking part in an unauthorized assembly.

Hong Kong was rocked by months of protests in the second half of 2019, sparked by the extradition bill. The bill was eventually withdrawn, but the protests expanded to include full democracy and other demands and at times descended into violence between demonstrators and police.

In the aftermath of the protests, Beijing took a tough stance on dissent, imposing a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong and approving electoral reforms that would reduce public participation in elections and exclude critics from running for the city’s legislature.

China had pledged to allow the city to retain freedoms not permitted elsewhere in the country for 50 years when it took Hong Kong back from Britain in 1997, but its recent steps are seen as a betrayal.

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CBC | World News

Canadian boxer Thibeault bumped up to Pan Am silver after doping infraction DQs 2019 gold medallist

Tammara Thibeault said she was getting tired of bronze medals, so the Canadian boxer can now swap one of those bronze for a silver medal after a doping infraction by one of her competitors at the 2019 Pan Am Games.

Colombia’s Jessica Caicedo, who defeated Thibeault by points in their semifinal in Lima, Peru, in July 2019, was stripped of her gold medal by Games officials in an announcement on Tuesday.

“I was surprised, it’s not something you’d expect a couple months or a year later, [but] with the year that we had it’s a year full of surprises,” Thibeault told CBC Sports’ Anastasia Bucsis. “I was pretty grateful — it doesn’t happen every day. I mean, it’s a good thing that it doesn’t.

“It’s not something that makes me necessarily happy, but I am very grateful that the [Canadian Olympic Committee] and everybody involved are trying to make things better by switching up the medals.”

American Naomi Silver was awarded the gold medal.

The 23-year-old middleweight from Montreal also believes the change in medal colour might be a good sign going forward.

“I’m happy about it because I’m really fed up with getting bronze medals,” she said with a laugh. “I got a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games, I got a bronze medal at the Pan Am Games, I got a bronze medal at worlds. I was like, ‘OK, this is a sign. We’re moving up the chain here.’

“It’s not necessarily the way I would’ve wanted to get the medal [because] I would’ve liked to have the chance to fight for gold, but that’s not the way it played out and it is what it is.”

WATCH | Thibeault reacts to being awarded silver:

A doping violation has changed the colour of the hardware the Canadian left Lima, Peru with last year. According to the native of Montreal, it’s just a glimpse of what’s to come. 5:23

Despite a positive test for the athlete who beat her for a spot in the 75-kilogram gold-medal match, the southpaw doesn’t think her sport has doping issues.

“I wouldn’t say [boxing has a doping issue] because it’s the first time I’ve experienced it, or been anywhere near an experience with something like this,” Thibeault said.

She may have been bumped up the podium, but Thibeault says the lessons she took from Lima will remain the same — particularly the need to stay grounded and focused on the task at hand.

“I was really disappointed with my performance at the Pan Am Games because I came in there as the champion and left with the bronze medal. I was really, really disappointed. 

“I’m a very humble athlete but I kind of came into the Pan Am Games and was thinking ‘I’ve done this before,’ and I was a big flop, which just sucked. [I] don’t take that for granted — every opponent and every fight and every performance matters. You can’t afford an off-day.”

WATCH | Thibeault takes bronze at AIBA worlds:

Canada’s Tammara Thibeault lose to Nouchka Mireille Fontijn of the Netherlands in the semifinals at the AIBA women’s boxing world championships. The loss still gave Thibeault a bronze medal in the 75kg weight class. 13:59

The COVID-19 pandemic has also been a test for Thibeault and her teammates, who were set to travel to an Olympic qualifying tournament before the sports world ground to a halt in March

“[Training] was stopped abruptly,” she said. “Seven days before heading out for our Olympic qualifiers, our head director [told us] ‘qualifiers are cancelled.’ I was like ‘it’s a joke, it’s not real’. He said ‘no, it’s real, you guys aren’t going [and] training camp is over.’ And maybe a couple days later, everything shut down. Everything.”

Thibeault moved from her apartment in Montreal back to her parents’ home for what she thought might be a couple of weeks, but ended up spending four months there.

Eventually she and her teammates were able to get back into the gym and train, despite all of the upheaval about whether the Tokyo Games would happen.

Tammara Thibeault doesn’t think doping is a big problem in her sport. (Carlos Osorio for CBC Sports)

“We are incredibly privileged to continue doing our day-to-day job — we’re all full-time athletes… [but] obviously it’s very different. I haven’t travelled in [about] 10 months, but [Boxing Canada] have been doing everything we can to have adequate training,” Thibeault said. “Especially with all the uncertainty — for a while we didn’t know if the Olympic Games were happening. And then they were but Canada wasn’t going. And then they weren’t happening. There’s not much we could control.

Now that she’s back into regular training, she has her sights set on an Olympic medal. What can we expect from her at the Tokyo Games?

“You can expect me on the podium, it’s just a matter of choosing the colour,” she said with a big laugh. “OK, no —hopefully I will be there and I will represent Canada and go get a medal for us. That would be the first time a Canadian woman would be on the podium for boxing.

“I’m really hoping to do that and I really am hoping for gold.”

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CBC | Sports News

Liverpool, 2019 winner, overwhelms upstart Atalanta in Champions League

Jurgen Klopp has made no secret of his admiration for Atalanta’s all-out attacking game.

Perhaps because it’s similar to the way his Liverpool squad pours forward with speed and precision, often overwhelming its opponents.

In the first-ever meeting between the two teams, Klopp’s side was the one doing the overwhelming in a 5-0 rout of last season’s surprise quarter-finalist in the Champions League.

Portugal striker Diogo Jota scored a hat trick to take his tally to eight goals in 10 matches across all competitions since joining Liverpool in September.

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane also found the net for the 2019 champion, which strengthened its control of Group D with a full nine points.

Elsewhere on the third match day of the group stage, 13-time champion Real Madrid beat visiting Inter Milan 3-2 in Group B for its first win in this season’s competition courtesy of a late goal from Rodrygo.

Defending champion Bayern Munich got late goals from Jerome Boateng, Leroy Sane, Robert Lewandoski and Lucas Hernandez in a 6-2 win at Salzburg to preserve its perfect start in Group A.

Manchester City also stayed perfect with a 3-0 victory over Olympiakos in Group C with goals from Ferran Torres, Gabriel Jesus and Joúo Cancelo.

In another rout, Borussia Monchengladbach beat Shakhtar Donetsk 6-0 in Group B to match its biggest European Cup away win.

Ajax and Porto also won, while Lokomotiv Moscow and Atletico Madrid drew 1-1.

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CBC | Soccer News

Watch Olympic Games Replay: 2019 World Aquatics Championships


Look back at some of the most exciting moments from past high-performance competitions. This week’s Olympic Games Replay features action from the 2019 world aquatics championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

Coverage begins on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET

Relive the biggest moments from the event in Gwangju, South Korea. 0:00

Click on the video player beginning on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET to watch Olympic Games Replay.

This week’s coverage features action from the 2019 world aquatics championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

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CBC | Sports News

White House aware of intel about Russian bounties on U.S. troops in 2019, sources say

Top officials in the White House were aware in early 2019 of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans, a full year earlier than has been previously reported, according to U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence.

The assessment was included in at least one of President Donald Trump’s written daily intelligence briefings at the time, according to the officials. Then-national security adviser John Bolton also told colleagues he briefed Trump on the intelligence assessment in March 2019.

The White House did not respond to questions about Trump or other officials’ awareness of Russia’s provocations in 2019. The White House has said Trump was not — and still has not been — briefed on the intelligence assessments because they have not been fully verified. However, it is rare for intelligence to be confirmed without a shadow of a doubt before it is presented to top officials.

Bolton declined to comment Monday when asked by the AP if he had briefed Trump about the matter in 2019. On Sunday, he suggested to NBC’s Meet the Press that Trump was claiming ignorance of Russia’s provocations to justify his administration’s lack of a response.

“He can disown everything if nobody ever told him about it,” Bolton said.

White House distances Trump from assessments

The revelations cast new doubt on the White House’s efforts to distance Trump from the Russian intelligence assessments. The AP reported Sunday that concerns about Russian bounties were also included in a second written presidential daily briefing earlier this year and that current national security adviser Robert O’Brien had discussed the matter with Trump. O’Brien denies he did so.

The administration’s earlier awareness of the Russian efforts raises additional questions about why Trump did not take any punitive action against Moscow for efforts that put the lives of Americans service members at risk. Trump has sought throughout his time in office to improve relations with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, moving earlier this year to try to reinstate Russia as part of a group of world leaders it had been kicked out of.

Officials said they did not consider the intelligence assessments in 2019 to be particularly urgent, given that Russian meddling in Afghanistan is not a new occurrence. The officials with knowledge of Bolton’s apparent briefing for Trump said it contained no “actionable intelligence,” meaning the intelligence community did not have enough information to form a strategic plan or response. However, the classified assessment of Russian bounties was the sole purpose of the meeting.

Then-national security adviser John Bolton told colleagues he briefed U.S. President Donald Trump on the intelligence assessment in March 2019. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

The officials insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose the highly sensitive information.

The intelligence that surfaced in early 2019 indicated Russian operatives had become more aggressive in their desire to contract with the Taliban and members of the Haqqani Network, a militant group aligned with the Taliban in Afghanistan and designated a foreign terrorist organization in 2012 during the Obama administration.

The National Security Council and the undersecretary of defence for intelligence did hold meetings regarding the intelligence. The Pentagon declined to comment and the NSC did not respond to questions about the meetings.

Concerns flare anew

Concerns about Russian bounties flared anew this year after members of the elite Naval Special Warfare Development Group, known to the public as SEAL Team Six, raided a Taliban outpost and recovered roughly $ 500,000 US. The funds bolstered the suspicions of the American intelligence community that the Russians had offered money to Taliban militants and other linked associations.

The White House contends the president was unaware of this development as well. However, the information was also included in the presidential daily briefing. And officials told the AP that O’Brien did brief Trump on the matter. O’Brien has denied such a briefing occurred.

The officials told the AP that career government officials developed potential options for the White House to respond to the Russian aggression in Afghanistan, which was first reported by The New York Times. However, the Trump administration has yet to authorize any action.

The intelligence in 2019 and 2020 surrounding Russian bounties was derived in part from debriefings of captured Taliban militants. Officials with knowledge of the matter told the AP that Taliban operatives from opposite ends of the country and from separate tribes offered similar accounts.

The officials would not name the specific groups or give specific locations in Afghanistan or time frames for when they were detained.

Russia denies, U.S. investigating report

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, denied that Russian intelligence officers had offered payments to the Taliban in exchange for targeting U.S. and coalition forces.

The U.S. is investigating whether any Americans died as a result of the Russian bounties. Officials are focused in particular on an April 2019 attack on an American convoy. Three U.S. Marines were killed after a car rigged with explosives detonated near their armoured vehicles as they returned to Bagram Airfield, the largest U.S. military installation in Afghanistan.

The Marines exchanged gunfire with the vehicle at some point; however, it’s not known if the gunfire occurred before or after the car exploded.

Taliban delegates arrive for talks in Moscow in May 2019. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/The Associated Press)

Abdul Raqib Kohistani, the Bagram district police chief, said at the time that at least five Afghan civilians were wounded after the attack on the convoy, according to previous reporting by the AP. It is not known if the civilians were injured by the car bomb or the gunfire from U.S. Marines.

The Defence Department identified Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman, 43, from Newark, Delaware; Sgt. Benjamin Hines, 31, from York, Pennsylvania; and Cpl. Robert Hendriks, 25, from Locust Valley, New York, as the Marines killed in April 2019. The three Marines were all infantrymen assigned to 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines, a reserve infantry unit headquartered out of Garden City, New York.

Hendriks’ father told the AP that even a rumour of Russian bounties should have been immediately addressed.

U.S. service members are seen at Camp Bost in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in September 2017. (Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

“If this was kind of swept under the carpet as to not make it a bigger issue with Russia, and one ounce of blood was spilled when they knew this, I lost all respect for this administration and everything,” Erik Hendriks said.

Marine Major Roger Hollenbeck said at the time that the reserve unit was a part of the Georgia Deployment Program-Resolute Support Mission, a reoccurring, six-month rotation between U.S. Marines and Georgian Armed Forces. The unit first deployed to Afghanistan in October 2018.

Three other service members and an Afghan contractor were also wounded in the attack. As of April 2019, the attack was under a separate investigation, unrelated to the Russian bounties, to determine how it unfolded.

The officials who spoke to the AP also said they were looking closely at insider attacks — sometimes called “green-on-blue” incidents — from 2019 to determine if they are also linked to Russian bounties.

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CBC | World News

Sweden earns world junior bronze, beating 2019 champions Finland

Linus Oberg scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period, and Sweden held on to beat Finland 3-2 on Sunday for the bronze medal at the world junior hockey championship in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Rasmus Sandin also scored for Sweden and tournament scoring-leader Samuel Fagemo supplied the other goal.

Fagemo, a second-round pick by the Los Angeles Kings last year, finished the tournament with eight goals and 13 points.

He and Oberg scored less than three minutes apart to give Sweden a 3-2 lead heading into the third period.

WATCH | Linus Oberg notches winner from behind goal-line:

Sweden beats Finland 3-2 with Linus Oberg’s go-ahead goal for the bronze medal at the world junior hockey championship. 0:30
Sweden was dropped into the bronze-medal game after losing its semifinal to Russia in overtime a day earlier. Finland lost to Canada in its semi.

“It feels a lot better than Saturday,” said Sandin. “We were very disappointed after [the Russia] loss.

“We came together pretty quick. It was great to win this one.”

Flurry of late chances

Patrik Puistola and Matias Maccelli scored first-period goals for Finland, which won the tournament last year.

“Losing in sudden death to the Russians was tough, but to come back strong and win the bronze medal, it’s been fun,” said Swedish centre and Dallas Stars prospect Oskar Beck.

“It’s tough. In the first period we didn’t play good. We came out as Sweden in the second period.”

Swedish goaltender Hugo Alnefelt made 21 stops, including a huge glove save on Finnish captain Lassi Thomson with six seconds left.

Finland, which pulled goalie Justus Annunen for the extra attacker with about a minute to go, had a flurry of late opportunities but couldn’t get past Alnefelt.

“I’m so disappointed. I expect more from us,” said Thomson, an Ottawa Senators first-round pick.

Annunen finished with 18 saves.

Germany avoids relegation

The Swedish team, which has three silver medals since 2013, earned bronze at the 2010 tournament before losing four straight third-place games. Sweden’s lone world junior gold came in 2011.

Finland had won three gold medals at the tournament since 2014 and last won bronze in 2006.

Sampo Ranta was named Finland’s player of the game while Fagemo took that honour for Sweden.

Earlier Sunday, Germany avoided relegation by beating Kazakhstan 6-0 in the third game of a best-of-three series.

Dominik Bonk scored twice for the Germans, who had a four-goal second period to help secure a spot in next year’s tournament in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta. Austria has been promoted to the 2021 event.

Germany won the first game of the series earlier this week before Kazakhstan bounced back, claiming its first victory of the tournament on Saturday to set up Sunday’s clash.

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CBC | Sports News

Barack Obama Shares His Favorite Music, Movies and TV Shows of 2019 — and Celebs Respond

Barack Obama Shares His Favorite Music, Movies and TV Shows of 2019 — and Celebs Respond | Entertainment Tonight

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2019 at the Movies: The Best and Worst Moments, Biggest Scene-Stealers and More

2019 at the Movies: The Best and Worst Moments, Biggest Scene-Stealers and More | Entertainment Tonight

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The Top 5 Games We Played in 2019

What is life without fun? Few things are as fun as getting truly lost in a game you love. As we close out 2019, it’s time to look back on the games that dominated our free time. This year, we have top five (or almost five) lists from Joel Hruska, David Cardinal, Michael Justin Allen Sexton, and Ryan Whitwam. Our picks skew newer, but not everything we’ve been obsessed with is from the last year. These are just the games we’ve enjoyed the most in 2019.


Red Dead Redemption 2

As a primarily PC gamer, I was never able to play the original Red Dead Redemption, but Rockstar saw fit to port the sequel to PC. The game suffered from a rocky launch on PC, and not all the bugs have been ironed out, but it’s still one of the most engaging gaming experiences I’ve had in recent memory. The world is detailed and rich with content, and not just repetitive fetch quests like some games that tout the size of their maps. The storytelling and voice acting are also absolutely top notch. Traveling to distant waypoints in many games is tedious, but the journey is part of the fun in Red Dead Redemption 2.

Pokemon Sword and Shield

Pokemon occupies a unique place gaming culture as a franchise that became a worldwide phenomenon without any full console releases. Pokemon Sword and Shield broke with tradition when they launched on the Nintendo Switch. They still have many of the same problems as older Pokemon games like clunky menus, confusing online features, and bad writing. That’s not why people play Pokemon games, though. It’s about catching ’em all, and Pokemon Sword and Shield do that better than any previous games in the series. In addition to the game’s linear routes between cities, there’s a vast Wild Area to explore. The raid battle mechanics are also a nice addition. You can waste truly obscene amounts of time searching for your favorite mons in these games.

Untitled Goose Game

Who would have thought a goose could be the bane of an entire town? But that’s what you become in Untitled Goose Game. The game presents you with a to-do list and turns you loose on the unsuspecting people of this unnamed hamlet. Some items on the list are simple — steal the gardener’s rake and put it in the lake. Others will take more planning and thought, like the quest to make someone put on the wrong glasses. This game speaks to some sort of casual maliciousness we all have when playing games, and it’s incredibly engaging. You will become the goose, and as you walk away from your vanquished foes, honking and flapping your wings, you feel almost unreasonably powerful.

The Outer Worlds

The Outer Worlds is basically a smaller, quirkier Fallout in space. As a refugee from a stranded transport ship, you have to make your way in the libertarian fantasy that is the Halcyon solar system. You can either support the mega-corporations that dominate the colony or fight to change things. Along the way, you’ll assemble a crew of misfits with their own backstories to investigate across the Halcyon system. The settings are fun to explore, and the voice acting is surprisingly good. I will be the first to admit The Outer Worlds isn’t a perfect game; it’s too short, and there’s not enough variation in gear. Still, it’s one of the best things I played this year.

MechWarrior 5

I love giant fighting robots, and MechWarrior is the premiere giant fighting robot franchise. However, we went almost 20 years without a proper single player MechWarrior game. That finally changed a few weeks ago with the release of MechWarrior 5. You play as the leader of a mercenary group, traveling the stars in search of money and revenge at the controls of heavily armed mechs. The combat in this game is superb — the dozens of included mechs have unique characteristics, weapon loadouts, and roles. These war machines feel heavy and powerful, and it’s an absolute delight to blast other mechs as you fulfill a contract. The game does have some problems with a meandering storyline, and the voice acting is barely passable. I’m willing to forgive that in light of the incredible combat, though.



Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

Mutant Year Zero is one of my favorite games that I’ve played this year. It’s not really a full AAA title in scope — think of it as more of a “AA” game, bigger than an indie, but smaller than what a large studio would build. The game is built on the same engine used for the newer version of XCOM, but it allows free-moving exploration in ways XCOM isn’t known for. It’s not perfect — there are definitely a few rough spots — but it feels like a Fallout title (and includes a few easter eggs referencing that game).


World of Warcraft Classic

I haven’t had nearly as much time to play WoW Classic as I’d like, but I’ve definitely had tons of fun with it. Bringing back Blizzard’s iconic World of Warcraft proved to be a popular choice for the company. The mode has been more popular than Blizzard anticipated, though it’s not clear how many players are brand-new to the title versus those coming back to relieve the glory days.

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

Don’t look at me that way. I never had access to a console growing up, which means I’ve had a lot of first-time fun with some of the old console games. Yoshi’s Island is a truly amazing game for it’s era, with gorgeous artwork and great level design.

It was designed to be a more ‘accessible’ platform, and I’m willing to admit I need that kind of feature, having basically never played platformers as a kid. I die. A lot. The restore button is going to break off the NES Classic long before any other component. I may not be very good at the game, but I’ve certainly had a lot of fun with it.

Sadly, I’m only in for three titles  — I’ve scarcely done enough gaming to talk about it, outside of the above. One of the ironies of writing about the topic is that it’s hard to find the time to actually do it, and life had other plans for Christmas this year. I had planned to write an article about No Mans Sky, which I recently bought, but I’ve only been able to spend an hour with the title thus far.


Nobunaga’s Ambition: Taishi

I got my first taste of the Koei Tecmo’s Nobunaga’s Ambition game franchise roughly twenty years ago on the SNES. Afterwards I fell out of touch with the series but recently have got back into these wonderful strategy games with Nobunaga’s Ambition: Spheres of Influence and Nobunaga’s Ambition Taishi. Though both games provide an enjoyable experience as you fight to conquer the Japanese isles, Taishi has options to automate some of the more tedious aspects of the game and makes the later stages of the game significantly more enjoyable than in Sphere’s of Influence. Though it’s not what I’d call perfect, it’s currently my favorite strategy game that I feel any fan of the genre will enjoy.

Jade Empire

Jade Empire is sent in a fictional world roughly based Chinese history and culture with Buddhist elements influencing the game’s story.  The game also features its own artificial language that was created by a linguist explicitly for use in the game. Released in 2005, I first played this game when I was 14, and it helped to grow my interest in Asia. It’s by far my favorite game of all time, and I make it a point to replay this game at least once every year. Though my hopes for a sequel have yet to be answered, if you’ve never tried the game before its well worth giving it a try.

Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy

This is another game that I first played years ago on the original Xbox. Set in ancient Egypt, Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy is predominantly a puzzle game with some fighting and RPG elements mixed in. I got back into this game this year after discovering that THQ Nordic had released a remastered version of the game with improved graphics. Though the gameplay remains unchanged from the original, it holds up well it’s still fun to play. There is also a fan based mod in the works which includes content cut from the original game.

Fable III

When Lionhead studios launched the original Fable, it instantly became one of the best RPG games in the world. Later games in the series changed drastically and mixed reviews. Though the games were fun, they were also disappointing because of the extent to which they changed. Fable III has never been able to stand up to the original Fable, but trying the game again after a few years I found this game to still be fun to play and an enjoyable experience.

StarCraft 2

StarCraft 2 needs little introduction. Since its release StarCraft 2 has been a crowd favorite with the online multiplayer gaming community. The game also has a long and highly enjoyable campaign that also has plenty of replay value. Though I don’t play online much, I often return to run through the campaign, which is why I opted to include it in my list of top five games for the year.


Untitled Goose Game

This game comes pretty close to qualifying as the ultimate un-video-game — at least compared to most current hits. You can’t get killed. At most you suffer from a couple momentary ruffled feathers. There is no time pressure, unless you complete the entire game and decide to try and set speed records. Graphics are trivial and cartoon-like — but artfully thought out. It is fun, addictive, and can be played by anyone. You only need a couple buttons and a joystick, along with a sense of humor.

The plot is simple. You’re an annoying goose who spends your day harassing the unlucky denizens of a nearby village. When in doubt honking is sure to get a start out of them, and help you distract them. There are dozens of tasks you get to try to accomplish, ranging from breaking things to befuddling shopkeepers. Watching and kibitzing can be almost as fun as playing, so don’t hesitate to fire it up when the whole family is around.

F1 2019

For some reason lost in history, our family follows F1 racing. Despite the relative lack of passing or on-track action, we’re addicted. So it is great to be able to “follow along” with the season by playing the F1 games for each season. This year in particular, the game came out part way through the season, so it was possible to drive the same tracks that the racers would that weekend. There are extensive team and career modes, but they’re wasted on me, as I don’t have the attention span for them. But experimenting by driving different cars and different setups adds to the enjoyment of the race season.

Forza Motorsport 7

If it wasn’t for the F1 connection, I’d rate Motorsports 7 as a no-brainer winner over F1, and it definitely has the best AIs of any version of Motorsports. I really enjoy the versatility of the game, with a huge selection of cars, tracks, and race series. It is certainly not anything like iRacing when it comes to racing fidelity and true competitive racing, but the graphics are much more detailed, and I don’t participate in multi-player racing (other than with Avatars) anyway. I also play Assetto Corsa and Project CARS, but Motorsports is my go to if I just want to spend some time on track.

Dirt Rally

The most stressful video game experience ever for me was driving a mountain course in Dirt Rally in VR using my Oculus. I can imagine driving a NASCAR around an oval at full speed (as lethal as that might prove to be), but I can’t imagine driving at high speed on a dirt track hugging a cliff. So for the most part I stick with the forest tracks in Dirt Rally, but I love the combination of needing to drive the car and interpret the messages about the upcoming hills and turns from my rally co-driver.

Ultimate General: Civil War

This is another game where the campaign modes are wasted on me. But the detailed, and carefully-modeled, tactical engagements and multi-day battle strategies are great fun for a reformed hex board gamer like me. And unlike with tabletop versions of military campaigns, I can play this one against the computer any time I want. Like many games of its genre, it doesn’t get updated much, and some elements of it are behind the times, but it looks great on my 4K 32-inch photo monitor.

That’s the titles we’ve been playing — what’s held your interest through 2019?

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