Blogiversary – 4 Years!

It’s already been (eighty-)four years! What do I have to say about blogging for this long? What have I learned? Have I even learned anything? As hard as it is to *not* immediately follow up this question with some cynical comment disguised as a joke – “Not a goddamn thing!” I’m going to refrain from…wait. In all honestly I do feel like there’s a number of things I’ve accomplished(using the word *very* loosely here) and will acknowledge that I have a hard time imagining what my everyday life would currently be like had I not made that fateful decision four years ago. I have been afforded quite a few new and exciting experiences all stemming from this meager blog site. I also  feel like the way I approach, or even play games has evolved over the last few years; there’s the astounding fact that I’ve somehow made a few friends and acquaintances along the way.

In short, 2022 was a year of ups and downs. It started off pretty slow but I was able claw my way out of a depressive hole and get back into a routine of regularly writing and streaming. This momentum carried through most of the summer and I had actually started to regain the smallest shred of confidence in regards to WordPress and Twitch. It was towards the end of the summer where I started to feel a little burned out, yet again by getting perhaps too ambitious – it *does* happen from time to time, by trying to juggle too many different blog projects, stream ideas, games, etc. The final months of the year represented the bottom of the mental/emotional bell curve that was 2022. I had no shortage of ideas drafted up for blog posts, but only a few of them ever materialized and streaming had once again gotten pretty inconsistent. Stressing yourself out over not doing something is never gonna be the most efficient way to accomplish anything…I’m working on it, ok??

Despite my frail state of mind the past year, I am able to look back on the year and feel pleased with some of the things I did accomplish. My favorite posts of 2022 would have to be the Bloodborne Hunter’s Journals, Elden Ring enemies that annoyed the hell out of me and a 2022 trophy showcase. A couple of these posts were memorable as they were collaborations with a few other blogger friends. I even decided to shake things up a bit by writing up a list of game & whiskey pairings this past spring, which I had a lot of fun working on. All of these favorites can also serve as an (uncomfortably)accurate representation of this past year – From Software games, trophy collecting, and alcohol.

Things I want to focus on moving forward…

Keep on writing – Yes, I know. It sounds like such a cliché and I realize I’ve said this very thing for how many years in a row now, but it’s true. I do want to keep on blogging despite occasionally dealing with those intrusive moments of “Fuck it. I don’t care anymore.” I feel like I’ve been doing marginally better in the past few weeks as I’ve managed to get a few posts written up, with a couple more in the conceptual/first draft stage. I’ve taken a small break from streaming these past few weeks to allow myself more time to focus on some other things going on – blogging as well as IRL, and give some perspective on how I want to approach my presence on Twitch going forward. Another thing I’ve been trying to work on in regards to writing is I still don’t feel like I’ve completely found my “voice”. I have no delusions of ever being considered a writer – truth be told, I am still hesitant to use the term ‘blogger’ or ‘streamer’ either. I’m trying to find the balance point somewhere between allowing my personality come through in whatever I’m writing and it *not* being a completely incoherent mess of words. Some of my favorite blog posts of this past year are ones that I was able to overthink *slightly* less about how everything was going to be formatted or structured and just…had fun with it?

Read more – One of the things I set out to do in the latter months of this past year was to read more; setting the goal of reading an honest-to-god entire book for the first time in what feels like an eternity. I used to read quite a bit when I was a kid and would typically have a book nearby at my work desk over the various jobs I’ve had. I’ve also gotten way behind over the past year or so in reading other’s posts from around the community, but have been spending some of my free time during my afternoons at work reading and replying to those. Of course, having the literal attention span of a hamster has made this a lot more difficult lately too, but I’ve been reading a little bit here and there of the Berserk Vol. 1 that I picked up a while back as well as some F. Scott Fitzgerald short stories that I’ve been meaning to read for years.

Don’t set as many goals – I made the joke that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to NOT throw out some half-assed challenge to myself just for the sake of…I don’t even know what. That’s not to say I’m descending further into apathy, but I’m trying to be a little more discerning about what I’m willing to invest my limited mental and physical energy into.

Finally, I want to say thank you to everyone that has read, liked or commented on any of my assorted nonsense over the past 48 months. Starting this blog really has been one of the more impactful decisions I’ve made, whether or not I had any idea at the time.

Here’s to another year of overthinking productivity! Thanks for reading!

Fighting(Games) With My Wife

Anyone who’s interacted with me for long enough will no doubt have noticed my tendency to ask utterly random, at times, barely coherent questions as I drift about in my daily stream of consciousness. Not gonna lie, this has at times resulted in a number of interesting ideas for…<sigh> *content* in regards to blogging or streaming. So, anyways…the other day while I was working, I randomly asked my lovely, unsuspecting wife, “Hey, remember Killer Instinct?” This was followed up with “remember Clayfighter?” before eventually expanding my line of questioning to “which character did you main in Street Fighter 2?”. We’ve known each other since elementary school and both have memories of playing a random assortment of Nintendo games back then. This eventually led to me suggesting that we should sit down and play some of the old 16-bit fighting games that we played as kids. There were a lot of different fighting games in the 90’s; some of them were memorable, and others, not so much. I decided to simply grab a handful of fighting games for the SNES that were scattered around our apartment which we remembered from our younger days. Later that night I arranged a space in our living room in front of the small CRT TV we’ve kept around for years as we went head-to-head in five old school fighting games. Some of the games we played have aged a little more gracefully than others, but either way it was a fun evening as we got to kick back relive some positive childhood memories over snacks and drinks.

Killer Instinct

First up, Killer Instinct. I remember really liking this game quite a bit as a kid. The game seemed so dark and brooding and had a roster of unsettling characters, so it definitely stuck out to me at the time. For a game first released on the SNES in 1995, Killer Instinct still plays relatively well. It isn’t as reliant on special attacks and I kind of like how it plays a little bit slower than other fighting games of the time, which almost makes it feel closer to beat ’em ups like Final Fight. I actually remember playing as Cinder against (future)Mrs. Omnivore as I’d essentially button mash my way to victory…which I absolutely did again in 2023.

Winner: Me

Mortal Kombat 3

I’ll admit I never played Mortal Kombat 3 growing up, but we have a copy of the game and playing a handful of SNES fighting games didn’t seem complete without *some* MK representation. For whatever reason, the special moves in Mortal Kombat games always seemed a lot harder to pull off than in Street Fighter, but I was able to figure out a couple of Sub-Zero’s attacks as well as Kung Lao. I was also able to achieve a minor level of success in landing a well-timed uppercut, though it ultimately didn’t really matter much as I was on the losing end here…

Winner: Wife

Ranma 1/2: Hard Battle

So, the story here is pretty random. We both played Ranma 1/2: Hard Battle as kids, but knew absolutely *nothing* about the IP itself. Neither of us knew the game was based on a manga/anime, but it DID let you play as a panda. It really doesn’t take much to persuade you to play a particular game as a kid, does it? I actually think I appreciate the game more as an adult, when you pay greater attention to things like frame rates and animation. It is the one game of the group to feature a dedicated jump button, rather than by pressing up on the d-pad like most fighting games. We seemed pretty evenly matched in Ranma 1/2, so we decided to call this one a draw after dueling 6-8 times.

Winner: Draw

C2: Judgement Clay

Anyone else remember Clayfighter? Here’s another game that both my wife and I played during our childhood years. In fact, I specifically remember getting my ass handed to me by her(multiple times) years ago while playing the first Clayfighter game. The sequel – C2: Judgement Clay still plays decent enough; it’s strength was always in its distinctive early 1990’s humor and fast-paced action rather than deep combat systems. I ultimately took the “L” in Clayfighter, which brought back plenty of memories…

Winner: Wife

Super Street Fighter 2: The New Challengers

Saving my one of my personal favorites for last, my wife and I ended the night with a bit of Super Street Fighter 2: The New Challengers. I still have many memories of renting this game as a kid and being so captivated simply by the inclusion of a few new characters in a SF game – T. Hawk, Cammy, Dee Jay, and Fei-Long. It’s not difficult at all to see why SFII(and its many, many spinoffs) is so beloved in the fighting game community. The game plays great even after 30 years. Growing up, I played Street Fighter games almost exclusively on my Genesis with a 6-button controller, so having to use the shoulder buttons for a hard punch or kick still feels a little strange. Fortunately for me I still have plenty character special moves memorized, so I walked away with the ‘W’ here.

Winner: Me

Next time, I’ll be bringing out the Sega Genesis and we’ll have to play some More(tal) Kombat and Street Fighter. I also think I may have an old copy of TMNT: Tournament Fighters somewhere around here…

Thanks for reading!