It’s been a full two years now since I first started this blog site on WordPress and I just wanted to write up a quick post for the occasion and pause my usual self-criticism in an attempt to…god forbid, say something positive and more or less pat myself on the back for stepping outside my comfort zone even the slightest bit and managed to stick with for two entire years.
It’s funny how, looking back at past posts or on the time I’ve invested into this blog site – between planning for, and sitting here trying my best to wrestle my usual spread shot of half-baked words and ideas into something intelligible. I feel like some significant improvements have been made and then other times….not so much. One of the things I am most satisfied with over the past two years would be the progress I feel like I’ve made in getting comfortable with writing(even if it is just about video games) and can look back and actually point to different things I’ve written that I can say I’m legitimately happy with.
I’ve loved video games since playing my first games on the NES, starting with Super Mario Bros.(most likely) as a little kid all the way to playing Super Mario 3D World on my Nintendo Switch this morning before work. I’ve always known others that would occasionally play video games, but it was always a foregone conclusion that they were something you would eventually grow out of and not something that would have any significant meaning in one’s life. One of the positive, yet unexpected results of this blogging/social experiment is managing to up build the smallest bit of self-confidence, along with making friends – something weirdly awkward and terrifying as an adult…unless that’s just me.
Moving forward, the plan is pretty much the same – keep writing on a consistent basis and try not to get so hung up on things like format or post structure and just….you know, write something and make a blog post of it from there. It’s happened far too many times that I’ve fallen into the “paralysis by analysis” trap and end up making the simplest blog post far more difficult than it needs to be. At the same time, I’ve also come to learn that it’s not really ever productive to sit down and force myself to stay in front of my computer screen until I had come up with something. If I simply don’t have anything to say, be it about a particular game or whatever, you can allow yourself to move on to something else you feel more…inspired to write about and not beat yourself up about it. There’s blog post ideas that I still enjoy thoroughly and will continue to write, as well as a few newer ones that I want to play around with over the next year. I still plan to sit down and dedicate some time to going through and working on some website improvements – layout, art, etc. as that kind of thing tends to get neglected a little too often with my thought process usually being “It’s working, so leave it alone”.
And finally, I want to express a sincere thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read, comment on, or show the slightest interest in anything I’ve managed to cobble together these past two years. I started this blog primarily as an outlet to talk about video games and something of an online journal, with the thought of people reading anything I posted never being something I anticipated. We’ve all heard the stories of people’s unfortunate experiences with toxic online communities, making me realize how fortunate I’ve been in finding a positive blogging/streaming community such as this to interact with on a near-daily basis. Here’s to another year of talking about video games….
Greetings and Happy New Year! It’s been 2021 for just over a week, but I still wanted to take a few minutes to look back on 2020. It would still be a bit of an understatement saying this past year was stressful, in what seemed like a never-ending barrage of calamity and catastrophe. For many, video games went from enjoyable hobby to coping mechanism in seeking a form of escapism from the realities of current events or simply as a means to pass the time while under lockdown in the earlier months of the year(and some facing this again in the final months).
Despite the overwhelming amount of negative things throughout 2020, there was quite a few things I was able to accomplish or keep working towards. I know I could write an even longer post if I were to discuss the constant events of last year, but I wanted to just take a moment from my usual, pessimistic self and focus on some of the positive things from 2020.
I consider myself fortunate through this past year, as my workplace had already transitioned from an office to work-from-home status in the beginning of 2019, so I had already adapted to a much shorter morning commute. There were times throughout the year when I was a little reluctant to continue posting the usual “Video games 24/7” type of things; being fully aware of far more serious issues taking place than what I thought about the new Final Fantasy game or PlayStation 5 reveal as it could come off as a little privileged, as if I had little else to worry about.
2020 was only my second year of blogging and….I’d like to think there was some progress made. While I still don’t feel overly confident in pure writing ability – something I’ve felt since high school, I do feel some improvements have been made. I also know the first, and most commonly provided tip to “get good” at writing is simply to keep doing so. I’ve made it a point to try and be as consistent as possible in putting down my thoughts and ideas in a notepad I keep nearby as I’m working during the day, whether or not it ends up being used in a blog post. I was able to get something written down and posted on a pretty consistent, weekly basis throughout the year, though I also stayed mindful about not just forcing myself to “come up with something” for the sake of maintaining a steady rhythm. I don’t see treating the process of writing a blog post as some sort of detention where I’m unable to leave my pc until I have something to show for it.
In addition to this very broad, basic goal, I have spent a fair amount of thought and energy in blogging as frequently as I feel able, as to gain a bit more confidence, which will in turn, have an effect on my writing. Something as simple(in concept, at least) as getting more comfortable and confident may not prevent typographical and grammatical errors completely, but my hope is to at least be happy with what I was able to contribute and not be quite as self-critical at every opportunity.
Another area in which I gave a more deliberated effort this past year was to participate in more collaborations and community events whether on WordPress or via social media, such as Discord or Twitter. When I started up this blog, my main goal was simply to have an outlet to talk about whatever gaming-related topic I wanted and at whatever length I wished. Since the beginning of my time on WordPress, I’ve been fortunate enough to interact and discuss all kinds of video games(or whatever else) with a number of people. It’s been a lot of fun, as well as fulfilling to contribute a few paragraphs or an entire post as part of a collabortive effort with others or in a few rare moments, coming up with something of my own to invite others to join in.
At the beginning of last year I’d mentioned I wanted to try live streaming or recording gameplay here and there. I created a Twitch account at the very end of 2019 with the intent of streaming a bit from my PlayStation 4. I did managed to stream a couple different times directly from my PS4, with one of those attempts thinking I had managed to combat my nervousness enough to actually talk into the headset mic…only to discover afterwards it had been muted the entire time. It was a few more months before I found the bravery to try it again after I built my PC in late May. It seemed to go ever so slightly better as I kept at it; typically it was just some late night Overwatch after I finished work for the day. It wasn’t until July or so that I began to devote a few days a week to streaming and I’d say it was late August or so that I can say that I was finally starting to feel more comfortable with hitting the Start Streaming button. I didn’t really have many expectations in regards to streaming, but in another 2020 twist, it’s turned into one of the highlights of my week and I’ve made a lot of fun memories while hanging out with others from around the WordPress/Twitch community. Over the holidays, I was even compelled to throw together something of a highlight reel containing some of my favorite clips from 6 months of streaming as a way to look back on a few of the laughs in a year that seemed overwhelmingly negative.
As I did last year, I’ve included a list of all the games I played at least an hour or two for the first time in 2020. I ended up playing 64 different games for the first time and completed only 21 of them, leaving me with a roughly 33% completion percentage, or one out of every three games I started. This is just the games I played for the first time throughout the year, I’m not entirely sure what those numbers would be if I included the games I had played before – a majority of games played on stream this year were ones I was already familiar with. I received an Xbox One X last February, which granted me access to all the titles available on Game Pass. A few of my favorite games I played in 2020 were ones I was able to play Day 1 on Game Pass – Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Streets of Rage 4. In addition to a pretty decent library of Xbox games on Game Pass, I was finally able to build my own PC – something I’d been interested to do for a few years but was a little apprehensive about until I had both the knowledge and funds to do so. I’d spent just about the last decade using a Mac, so being able to take better advantage of Steam sales resulted in quite a few pickups throughout the year.
I’d like to have finished more games than I did, but being able to say I’d actually finished a couple JRPGs like Final Fantasy 7 or Chrono Trigger, or a game like Bloodborne was pretty cool. Here are the games…
There’s a few things that happened throughout the past year that I’m genuinely happy with and wanted to make note of…
Another year of blogging
Building a PC(first time experience)
Another month of spooky Blogtober posts(and streaming) this past October
Completed a few of my backlog goals – Final Fantasy VII, Chrono Trigger, Bloodborne
Creating a Twitch channel and routinely streaming over the summer
Collabs and blogging community events – Great Blog Crawl, Trophy Hunters, Pokémon(upcoming)
Received offers from a few publishers to review upcoming indie games
Managed to make friends through WordPress, Twitch and other social media – Discord, Twitter
For my goals in 2021…I haven’t come up with TOO many. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s how quickly our plans can be tossed aside by circumstances we can’t control. I was able to write down a few things that I’d like to accomplish/keep working on as I make my way through the year…
Keep at it – blogging & streaming
Work on improving blog site and Twitch channel(something neglected too often)
Try not to be as self-critical about every little thing
Keep working on backlog – Persona 5: Royal, Yakuza(any), Final Fantasy III(VI), Zelda games
That’s all for now. I also wanted to say a sincere thank you to everyone who has read, commented, watched, or shown any sort of interest in my continued nonsense here on WordPress and more recently, on Twitch. This has been a highlight of the previous year(s) and I’m looking forward to making more progress in 2021…