My Top 20 Zelda: Breath of the Wild Moments

In less than one week, it’s probably fair to say the most anticipated game of the Nintendo Switch’s life will release at last. It follows the single longest development cycle for a main series Zelda game in history, six years and two months after Switch launch title Breath of the Wild. To mark this momentous occasion, I’m going to do something I’ve never done before: resurrect an old article I’ve had floating around in my drafts folder for years and publish it in a fresh light.

This one was initially thrown together in the hazy afterglow of completing BotW in late May of 2017, envisioned as a 20-screenshot roadmap of my own (at the time) 140-hour path through the game. However, the draft was already well past 30 entries and nowhere near the end of my journey when I first gave up on it, as I was unable to cut out anywhere near enough moments to prevent the list from ballooning into a true word count monstrosity. It’s also easy to forget in 2023 just how many articles, critiques, videos and morsels of general coverage this revered game was receiving a mere two months after launch, so I hardly felt like I’d be making enough unique noise to stand out from the crowd and justify such a massive piece.

That task is much easier now. Separated from the game by more than half a decade – I have not touched this one since its excellent dungeon DLC came out at the end of 2017 – only the moments I remember the strongest get to stay. Thus, right before the launch of its sequel, we can reflect on the legacy of one of Nintendo’s most impactful games and have a bit of nostalgic fun along the way. After a touch of reformatting and an emotional scroll through thousands of compulsive screenshots, here are my top 20 moments from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, presented in chronological order.

1. The Plateau

It’s been said in approximately a million video essays: The Great Plateau of Breath of the Wild is one of the best tutorials in gaming. Over an area that feels impossibly massive at first, you learn and test interlocking mechanics over four multiple-solution tests that get you well and truly into the groove of the weirdest Zelda in decades. For me, this was undertaken in the small hours of the morning while staying at a mate’s place post-midnight-launch, with my body screaming at me for daring to deprive it. I obviously didn’t care; after multiple rewatches of various gameplay demos from the previous year’s Zelda-only E3 show, I was enthralled at how many new approaches were still apparent.

2. Out of Link’s Depth

I cannot separate my memories of Breath of the Wild from the conversations I was having with anyone I knew or met who was playing at the time. And nor would I want to; in my opinion there have only been two games since that could possibly challenge it for water-cooler chat value: 2020’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons and 2022’s Elden Ring. From those very chats I picked up rather quickly that most people go directly east after the Great Plateau, following the only real suggestion the game gives you other than the refreshingly direct “Defeat Ganon”. But I wasn’t about to let a game that bragged about being this open tell me what to do: I went north, towards the castle. I died. Again and again and again. Soon enough I discovered a shrine and eagerly dived in to escape the high damage output all around me – only to be met with one of the game’s longest and most intricate shrine puzzles: the Trial of Power. Yeah, that took a while, and it left me with some massively overpowered weapons, but I adored the feeling that I could do it anyway.

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Ten 2023 Movies Summarised in Ten Words Each

And so we arrive at the first movie milestone within a year that couldn’t possibly live up to the cinematic majesty of 2022… could it?

Nah, it couldn’t. But maybe?

Though 2023 perhaps opened with a bit of a stutter after the dust settled from the customary late-Australian Oscar buzz period, by mid-April we are in the thick of a release schedule that has already delivered surprises and quality in equal measure. I know I’ve missed one or two word-of-mouth gems so far and you can be sure I will catch up on them by year’s end, but here’s my first batch of ten (you could argue it’s technically nine) new-release films for 2023:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre

Thinner plot than Ritchie’s best, but riotously fun character banter.”

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Destined to be callednot that bad in five years.”


Best of 2022 Closer

Looking back at this equivalent post from the previous year is always amusing, but this time around it was hilarious; I really thought 2022’s amazing first quarter prospects meant we’d get a proper release date spread for videogames throughout the year! Truly a fool. Nonetheless, looking forward is always fun, and 2023 definitively contains the promise of the next mainline Fire Emblem, the next mainline Final Fantasy (maybe even two of them?), the next mainline Zelda, both a new Tekken and a new Street Fighter, and the next Christopher Nolan / Mission Impossible films. Hey, we might even get some big Xbox exclusives again, or even an Australian Steam Deck release? We can certainly dream.

I cant’t wait for it to start gathering momentum, but until that happens, here’s a look back at all my favourite stuff from 2022:

1. Top 10 Disappointments

2. Five Special Awards

3. Top 5 Game Consoles

4. Top 15 K-Pop Singles

5. Top 10 Movie Characters

6. Top 10 Gaming Moments

7. Top 10 Movie Scenes

8. Top 10 K-Pop Albums

9. Top 15 Games

10. Top 10 Movies

Best of 2022: Top 10 Movies

This has been the year’s final countdown on Vagrant Rant for a decade now, but it’s usually a relative breeze to put together after the competitive stress of the album and videogame lists – which in fairness do tend to require more time investment. But it also rarely feels like the biggest list of the year, despite its prime slot.

And yet here we are. Not since 2014 has my top ten movies ranking been this ridiculously stacked; I probably wouldn’t hesitate to throw the entire thing at last year’s list and watch it displace the majority of 2021 like an Archimedes dream. Three films that provided mentions on both the characters and scenes lists this year don’t even make the overall top ten here. The Black Phone, Elvis and After Yang don’t even make the honorable mentions. I tried to fit them. I don’t know what else to say; it really was so much fun to watch movies in cinemas this year, and that did not seem likely for the majority of this decade thus far.

I finished 2022 with 41 new-release movies in the can – yes, including Morbius – and because I doubt I’ll ever get up to a number that high again, we’re going for a full deck of ten (still un-ordered) honorable mentions to close out the year – hey, that’s still only covering under 50% of what I watched so it doesn’t feel gratuitous, right?



This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. To agree with me 100% is as likely as avoiding MCU fatigue. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.


10. The Batman

For the first time in ten years, the best superhero movie of the year came from DC. Anything is possible, folks; especially when a movie looks and sounds this good. Sure, this is a Batman story with eyebrow-raising things to say about Bruce Wayne, his allies and his enemies; and the vast majority of the new classic character interpretations justify themselves. But this isn’t just a comic book – it’s a movie, and I mean, just look at it. You could probably just overlay the red-and-black film logo over the entire film and it would barely look out of place; shadows and blood-red highlights define a stunning vision for Gotham City courtesy of Planet of the Apes trilogy director Matt Reeves. That main score is also evocative and weirdly catchy, and it’s bolstered by the best use of a Nirvana song since Weird Al gargled marbles.

9. The Stranger

This was surely Netflix’s best-ever year for exclusive new films (I’d love to comb through properly and confirm that though), and The Stranger is a compelling start to that argument. Based loosely on a gut-churning true story, this tale of an undercover cop trying to make friends with a slippery drifter suspected of cold murder is rendered scarily relatable by Joel Edgerton’s anxious two-sided performance. Sean Harris is even better as the mark in question, and the cinematography makes the isolating open plains of Western Australia feel as bleak as the claustrophobic interior shots rife with unsettling buzzing. The Stranger is definitely more about the journey than the destination, but what a journey.


Best of 2022: Top 15 Games

What a weird year for those of us who follow videogames.

The flow of the annual release schedule remains a frustrating thing to predict year-to-year, but it took on an extra-strange shape in 2022: as far as the wider triple-A scene was concerned, virtually all the big game action was localised to the first and last quarters of the year. That meant enough of a relative chasm in the middle to allow me to complete a massive-scale catch-up project I never thought I’d have the time to do, but it also meant an unusually dense December full of release dates that didn’t blink for once. So it’s no surprise that, with a couple of big-name exceptions, this GOTY countdown is defined by the only two consistent sources of quality game releases all year: prestige indies and the Nintendo Switch.

Single-player games don’t qualify unless I played them for over five hours or finished them, which this year eliminates *deep breath* Sonic Frontiers, The Callisto Protocol, Tinykin, Harvestella, Soul Hackers 2, Live A Live, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, AI: nirvanA Initiative, Card Shark, The DioField Chronicle, Metal: Hellsinger, and Evil West from contention, even though any of those games could have genuinely challenged for a place on the list had I got to play more of them – and I’m probably forgetting quite a few others. Extra-special shout-out to Chained Echoes, High on Life and Sports Story, which arrived at the eleventh hour and rocketed up in hype after I had already started the year-end writing process in earnest and had absolutely no hope of playing them.

Parentheses indicate the platform (or platforms – cross-save is truly a wild concept) where I played each game.



This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. To agree with me 100% is as likely as avoiding MCU fatigue. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.


15. Stray (PS5)

2022 was a year positively teeming with quality indie games, and they ran the gamut of genres and presentation styles. Only one of them was really trying to follow the triple-A game design formula. It was the cat game. The game where you play as a literal cat. In a way, that kinda made it this year’s Kena: Bridge of Spirits: a Sony exclusive with a wide linear level design structure, evolving stakes, tempting PSN trophy design and great use of the Dualsense controller; it is thankfully much easier than Kena though. Stray also has an excellent soundtrack, goes to some pretty wild places in terms of its oddly endearing AI supporting cast, and doesn’t outstay its welcome. Good stuff to kick us off.

14. Triangle Strategy (NS)

Triangle Strategy can perhaps consider itself one of the unluckier victims of 2022’s release schedule quirks, hitting in the middle of arguably Square Enix’s worst PR month in years when it already had enough to deal with regarding its terrible name and warped fandom expectations. Hindsight is 20/20, but it’s tempting to imagine an alternative situation where it let, say, the Tactics Ogre Reborn remaster go first to allow it’s story-first tacical gameplay approach room to breathe around JRPG July or something. But contextual frustrations aside, this game is a treat, fusing a meaty Game of Thrones-infused narrative epic with stunning artwork and rewarding, character-driven progression to add intimate significance to on-field strategic moves and major off-field democratic choices alike. Speaking of which…


Best of 2022: Top 10 K-Pop Albums

As we head into the big three countdowns to round out the year, here’s a cool dose of quality K-Pop and K-R&B song collections that flowed better than anything else I heard in 2022. It was a banner year for veteran SM soloists, a couple of familiar voices and some exciting new talents. A couple of cheeky classification instances in there this year, but that’s hardly a new phenomenon. That said:

1-3 tracks = N/A

4-7 tracks = mini album

8+ tracks = full album



This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. To agree with me 100% is as likely as avoiding MCU fatigue. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.



5. SMiLEY – Yena

It is once again a minor crime that my formatting insists on keeping the mini album list down to five entries, but despite the plethora of fantastic options for fifth spot this year I can’t help but remain attached to the very first one I heard in 2022.

January saw former Iz*One member Yena begin her solo career with the first of two EPs, but the oddly-titled SMiLEY has almost none of the hallmarks of a debut effort; almost a year after the mini’s release the gumption to kick off a five-track piece with an acoustic slow jam is still stunning (and essentially unique among the idol scene). Said jam Before Anyone Else is immediately captivating, and though the title track is no Smartphone, the high register touch makes Lxxk 2 U one of 2022’s more palatable punk-pop attempts. Pretty Boys is a masterful staccato delight worthy of anyone’s top B-Side list, leaving Vacay to carry Yena home on a light breeze. A promising start to be sure.

4. Colorful Trauma – WOODZ

Three years in, three entries on this list; the artist currently known as WOODZ isn’t slowing down. With this fizzing EP he packs more bombast and bravado to ice the considerable producing chops now expected of any of his album releases. The multi-layered talent sets up the rockier, almost country-tinged tone of Colorful Trauma with a guitar lick so starkly unusual among WOODZ’s close contemporaries it may as well be a fanfare. Thus starts Dirt on my leather, yet another out-of-the-park smash of an opener to add to the WOODZ collection. HIJACK proves the guitar goodness no fluke, buzzing like an Advance Wars CO theme song underneath growling vocal ad libs. The third-track appearance of punky title I hate you almost sounds toothless in comparison, but it does have a killer melodic pre-chorus that pairs nicely with the wailing lead guitar behind Better and better. Committing to the full strumming quintet, it’s a pop-acoustic accompaniment that brings the album to a gentle close on Hope to be like you.


Best of 2022: Top 10 Movie Scenes

This has to be my favourite edition of this list ever.

So many great 2022 movies, so many great scenes, not enough space. There’s no slot for that haunting Riddler scene that opens The Batman, for example, or the water bottle backstory from Bullet Train. Zoe Saldana nailed two completely different all-too-short sequences in two wildly different movies this year, and I couldn’t find room for either of them here. I’d also normally have space to have fun with ludicrous moments like that crab dance from the third Fantastic Beasts movie – which is played completely straight – or that cooked out-of-body tiny cave meet-up from the beginning of The Northman – or that final shot from The Menu. But alas, only ten slots on this one. Here are the movie moments that fill them:



This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. To agree with me 100% is as likely as avoiding MCU fatigue. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.



10. Sea Showdown – Avatar: The Way of Water

The trademark James Cameron Action Finale is present and accounted for in his spectacular 2022 Avatar sequel, and how. A few prior action beats go off spectacularly in 3D and 48 frames per second – starting with a stunning train derailment and moving through countless gorgeous water-borne shenanigans – but the climactic battle on open water is somehow greater than the sum of its technically-impressive parts, largely thanks to an ocean of earlier ensemble character work with and an armada of Chekhov’s gunfire ignited surgically by a master of the craft.

9. Field Operation – Ambulance

The constant complication conga faced by the desperate criminal characters at the centre of Ambulance’s white-knuckle ride-along would probably make for a pretty decent black comedy if the film was shot differently – but that hypothetical version probably wouldn’t include this visceral scene. I’d wager only medical professionals would find the exaggerated luck and Hollywood-accurate medical terms at the heart of this impromptu video-call surgery funny in any way. For the rest of us, it’s just a nail-shredding tension tornado not for the squeamish.


Best of 2022: Top 10 Gaming Moments

As long as there are new games, there are moments within those games that will come to define the year in which they first appeared. Future mentions of that year will hurtle these immortalised blends of digital art and human experience to the forefront of the mind like tiny, delicious morsels of nostalgic goodness, transporting the player back to a crystallised slice of time when experiencing this medium felt truly worthwhile.

Actually, that may just be me.

Here are my top ten favourite moments I had with videogames in 2022. Big ol’ spoilers ahead, particularly for a fair few story endings.



This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. To agree with me 100% is as likely as avoiding MCU fatigue. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.



10. Exiled – Pokemon Legends: Arceus

Raise your hand if you thought the cel-shaded Pokemon spin-off about rounding up historical versions of fan-favourite creatures in steam-powered Pokeballs was capable of an affecting story moment putting you in the shoes of a shunned outcast after an entire town turns on you during a crisis, forcing you to perform a silent walk of shame as everyone judges you for something that isn’t your fault. Yeah, I’m not raising my hand either.

9. Mammoth – Horizon: Forbidden West

Even more than the first game, Horizon: Forbidden West is built on interlocking systems; we’re not talking obscene Breath of the Wild physics shenanigans here, but we are dealing with a richer suite of combat options that builds on Zero Dawn‘s greatest strength to cook up a veritable buffet of viable attack angles in most situations. After throwing you into a handful of scenarios designed to tease out some of these options, the game’s first encounter with a resting, fully decked-out robotic mammoth (or at least the first one I found) is an absolute peach. I almost beat it once with the head-on approach, then after reloading the save tried a completely different combination of weapons, weak points and environmental hazards to chip away and take it down. It’s a sensational spectacle, especially once you factor in all the gorgeous particle effects and the electronic/symphonic hybrid battle music – which goes hard.


Best of 2022: Top 10 Movie Characters

If you’ve visited this site at all during 2022, thank you! You might have picked up the vague impression that a lot of movies worth seeing came out this year, and you’d be right. However, sometimes a sea of well-made films can limit the potential for standout characters to emerge; traditionally this is a list that tends to revel in larger-than-life caricatures thrust into the memory because their surrounding movies aren’t the greatest. It’s also historically rather fond of side characters that aren’t necessarily all that important to narrative momentum, often allowing them to have more fun.

That’s how you know 2022 was a truly special year for cinema: not only did I thoroughly enjoy every one of the ten movies that birthed these characters, but the vast majority of them are essential parts of their films’ stories – a couple are even the main protagonist. Needless to say I quite enjoyed writing this one.



This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. To agree with me 100% is as likely as avoiding MCU fatigue. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.


10. Danny – Ambulance

Jake Gyllenhaal must be so much fun to cast in movies these days. The drama / thriller veteran has built up such a varied portfolio of roles that if you go blind into a JG film, you’re probably just as likely to see him play a relatable underdog as a despicable psychopath. And that makes him absolutely perfect for Danny in Michael Bay’s Ambulance. His first scene sets him up brilliantly with characteristics of both archetypes and from then on he becomes the cast’s true wildcard, holding emotional dynamite in his capable hands as the tension ratchets up consistently around him, threatening to set off explosions. And boy, do we get explosions.

9. Namor – Wakanda Forever

Even more than its ambitious predecessor, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is an ensemble piece; and while the best performance in the movie surely belongs to Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda, the most memorable character presence comes from a new addition. The long-awaited MCU debut of Namor the Sub-Mariner – here reinvented as a villainous immortal Mesoamerican warrior worshipped by the alternate name Kukulkan – simmers with a vengeful anger tempered by intimidating patience thanks to a physically imposing turn from Tenoch Huerta. Best believe his zippy airborne action sequences and the destruction they cause are something to behold, too.


Best of 2022: Top 15 K-Pop Singles

As far as this site is concerned, 2022 has essentially been about looking back over the last decade of entertainment media; that is, of course, purely a coincidence based on my decision to start a blog at the beginning of 2012. But for some reason, more than any other year-end countdown list this year, this particular one really seems to want to match the nostalgic mood. Whether it’s the sound, the visuals, or shockingly the acts themselves, increasingly large swathes of K-Pop are starting to sound like they did ten years ago, and I for one am thrilled. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of stuff on this page unbeholden to the past; but if you’ve ever called yourself a lapsed casual K-Pop fan, this list might just be worth your ears (and good pair of headphones, and probably your removal of automatic captions, but that’s up to you).

A shout-out to the community of the Diggy’s Dungeon K-Pop podcast for their knowledge and recommendations, and as always a quick disclaimer that I base this very personal ranking on the music first and foremost (well entirely, really – most of these music videos were completely new to me this week).



This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. To agree with me 100% is as likely as avoiding MCU fatigue. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.


15. Forever 1 – Girls’ Generation

Welcome back SNSD!

Way, way down on the list of things I didn’t know I wanted to hear in 2022 – because I genuinely didn’t think it was possible – was the return of a full (well, as full as possible after all that 2014 business) Girls’ Generation line-up. But not only did they somehow make it happen, they put out the best track in the history of the eight-member edition. Packed with cheesy touches like that cavernous stadium clap effect on the chorus, and utterly unafraid to overfill your headphones with a wall of sound, the chorus line still manages to soar over it all, and the Into the New World reference in the background of the bridge? Stop, please. I’m not afraid to admit I got real emotional the first time I heard this one.

14. Alone – Highlight

The former B2ST boys brought back the bass in 2022 – and not much else – but that minimalist sound just works wonders on the ever-confident Alone, which extracts maximum value from a single slap line, a bit of cheeky distortion and the mature charm of the group’s four remaining vocal veterans. It’s a clean dose of throwback K-Pop listening, and that’s before you even lay eyes on the gloriously 2010-style video. Dance-in-a-box, ambiguous collapsing scenery, neon lights and expensive car all present and accounted for, thank you.