Here’s a huge list of websites that put together Best of 2004 lists in different categories. Very useful if you want to catch up and discover new stuff you may have missed.

Here’s my favorites from each category:

  • Game: Half-Life 2 – What can I say? It was the game that had so much hype, that one would think it would be impossible to live up to it all. Miraculously, Half-Life 2 does it, and more. It is the game that reminds PC gamers why they are gamers in the first place. Gameplay, sound, visuals, mechanics; everything about the game is polished and superb.
    Runner Up: Rome: Total War
  • Movie: Hero – A movie not even made in the U.S. wins my vote. Hollywood has gotten stale, with innovative and creative films a rarity these days. That’s why foreign films are a blessing, because creativity reigns supreme. Hero is bright, colorful, filled with intrigue, great action and storytelling, and characters that are all too human. A truly magical film that deserves full attention here in the States.
    Runner Up: The Terminal
  • Hardware: Apple iPod 4G – Still reigning supreme in the portable MP3 player market, even though Dell and Sony are trying their best to steal market share, the iPod is every music-lovers’ best friend. The touch-sensitive click wheel is what makes this MP3 player stand head-and-shoulders above the rest, and it doesn’t hurt that it has become a cultural icon in the process.
    Runner Up – NVIDIA’s GeForce 6800GT
  • Software: Mozilla Firefox – A no-brainer in this case, as it is the browser that is heralding a new era in internet surfing. With unprecedented security, solid features, and steadily growing user-base. The ability to use extensions, where you can “add your own flavor” to the browser, rounds this out into, quite simply, the best browser we’ve seen so far.
    Runner Up: Apple’s iTunes
  • Album: Zero 7’s When It Falls – The one album that has gotten the most love from me is Zero 7’s supremely fantastic When It Falls. There are so many great songs on there, and it’s so relaxing and stimulating, that I find myself listening to them when I’m working, or just relaxing. Their music invokes good memories, and I’m all for that.
    Runner Up: The Arcade Fire – Funeral