Looking back and ahead: 2021
Happy New Year dear reader! This post came out a bit later than I intended it to, but my 2021 started off just like it was still that cursed year 2020; I had to take a COVID-19 test that fortunately came back negative, but I was unfortunately still bedridden for multiple days, including New Year’s Eve. I’m still not recovered but oh well, enough about that.
I wanted to take this time to look back on my 2020, as well as what I’m planning to do for 2021. It will just be a brief update post in that sense, so I can focus on some other posts as well in the meantime.
Looking back on 2020
My 2020 on the blog started… in March! As several may know, I’ve actually been on a hiatus since 2019 because I couldn’t find the motivation to write, as well as being too busy with work. Despite that though, I was still writing reviews–just not on here. And after doing that for a few months, I figured… what the hell was I doing? I have a blog, I should use it! So I grabbed my last finished review, which was Super Mario 3D Land, and made it up to my normal standards. It was good to be back.
As you may have noticed, my writing style between my original reviews and Super Mario 3D Land was a lot different. I didn’t enjoy my original writing style anymore because I forced myself into a pattern, which burned me out. My writing style changed once again later in the year, but my return was closer to what I had in mind initially. It was also the introduction of several new staples, such as the “Before you read” where I give some information about how I personally approached a game, and the “Question of the Day” where I ask readers a question that often has to do with the review. I still wasn’t too satisfied to be perfectly honest, but this would do the job for now.
The writing style evolved once again with the Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light review. This was, yet again, closer to what my ideal writing style should be: approaching a game from the opening screen, then slowly cover my positives- and negatives along the way. My ideal writing style has always been “a YouTube video, but in text format”, and that’s where I’m slowly heading now. I’ll probably keep evolving the writing style a few times more because I am never satisfied, but one day we’ll definitely reach my holy grail.
This was also the review where I started debuting my new original character and mascot for the site: Nepiki! I’ve always wanted an original character that I could truly call my own, and now here we are! And when I introduced my original character, I also gave the entire site a redesign–one that I am very satisfied with. The headers of every article annoyed me the most as they just wouldn’t work with social media, but I found a cheap workaround for that. There are also headers in every review now with an index, so people can immediately go to the review or… go to the verdict, then complain about the score. Though I’m not IGN so that doesn’t happen here. I might still make adjustments in the future since review are heavily reliant on images at the moment (which is especially bad for people with bad connections), but I’m afraid I’ll put that in the freezer for now as I am not an expert.
My favourite articles of the year to write, aside from a select number of reviews, were definitely two of my most recent ones: Emulation and Video Game Piracy, and In Memoriam: Adobe Flash. Talking about a particular topic close to heart was definitely something I enjoyed and that I would like to do more often… if I had the inspiration. My least favourite articles to write were the Fate/Grand Order tierlists–not because I didn’t have fun writing, but because I forced myself through them yet again. I really should stop doing that already. But as I expected, they are by far my most succesful articles–for better or worse.
So what else is there… ah yes, Twitch! This is something I was already slowly getting into during my hiatus, but then stopped due to a terrible internet connection and a lack of confidence. My internet connection is better now and my confidence is… kinda whatever, I just game and see where I end. I’ve had a good run so far, and am definitely coming back to it when I look at 2021.
As for my year outside of the blog… it was alright I guess. I wasn’t really struck by COVID-19 as badly as other people were, because I am a gremlin who stays inside all day anyway. The only thing I actually miss doing now is going to Retro Gaming Conventions, though my wallet likes that I have to skip that. I haven’t seen my office since March either and while I do certainly miss going there… working at home gives me so much more free time in comparison, it’s ridiculous. Other than that, I’ve tried to keep my social contacts up with friends through gaming, but unfortunately, I just am not a social person–and I probably never will be because that’s just who I am. Still, I do regularly game with friends so I’m trying!
And speaking of friends! I usually make an end-of-the-month post linking to some articles made by other WordPress bloggers but I figured, this is probably a good time to give a spotlight to the people I’ve most interacted with this year, or whose articles I’ve enjoyed reading the most. Despite me not being a social person, I do greatly appreciate all the contact I have on here and also enjoy reading what other people come up with. Also, please forgive me if I haven’t linked you down here, but the list would be pretty endless and I have to keep it short because I want to move on to 2021!
- Aether (Lost to the Aether)
- Everything is bad for you
- Gaming Omnivore
- Jacob (Books and Pixels)
- Later Levels
- Red Metal (Extra Life)
- Solorayo (Ace Asunder)
- Thero159 (A Reluctant Hero)
Looking ahead to 2021
Given that 2020 was such a strange year, I am not even going to bother predicting the future. There are at least two things that I can be certain of though: I’ll be playing Genshin Impact every day, and I need to work less for a year due to the COVID-19 crisis. That last part is definitely going to hurt my bank account and could lead to a potential dismissal if things aren’t looking up. But my boss and I are optimistic so let’s hope for the best. In the meantime, I got a lot more time on my hands now. So what are my plans?
I figured it would be for the best if I list ideas and resolutions here instead of direct plans, because I know I have a tough time making plans and sticking to them. This is not because I don’t want to, but often because I can’t. Hence why I’m probably never going to launch a Patreon since I can’t provide people with their money’s worth–unless I suddenly become unemployed and social restrictions are removed, but I’m hoping to avoid that. So here’s what I want to do this year, but take everything with a grain of salt.
Reviews! Well, my site is literally a review site so that’s inevitable. I’m still hoping to write many reviews and occasional miniviews as well. I would crank those numbers up but honestly, I do also need to play games to actually review them in the first place. But yeah, reviews won’t go away and maybe I’ll improve them in the future even further than I already have. I’m not planning to make them longer than they currently are though, as I like the size of them. Unless a game has so many conflicting game designs that I all want to address, such as my review of Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light.
There will definitely be a lot more retro game reviews this year though, as I’m playing them more often now thanks to Twitch. I may also do a few more marathons where I play multiple games of a series back-to-back, just because it makes reviewing them easier and more consistent. Take that with a major grain of salt though, as I usually get tired from playing too many games of the same franchise back-to-back and I don’t want to force myself through them, because that will just end up in a negative result. But something like Sonic Advance 1, 2 and 3; that’s probably something I can do.
I’m also reviving the ROM hacks and Fangames section of the site, with a new showcase coming next week. This, of course, does depend on if I play ROM hacks and Fangames in the first place, so don’t expect a new article for them every month or so.
As stated before, I genuinely enjoyed writing two of my latest articles, but my problem is motivation. I unfortunately don’t have the talent to come up with a topic at the spot and start writing about it. What I might do is take a look at some of my “Question of the Reviews” and maybe take some inspiration from there. Kim from Later Levels actually inspired that idea so it’s definitely worth considering!
As for what else… probably some more new stuff? I’ve actually written a complete achievement guide for a game on Retro Achievements and while I don’t think I’m just going to lazily carry that over to my site, I might do something with guides. It’s in the backburner and has no priority right now, but it’s something that I’m not objected to.
Twitch! Yeah, I figured I didn’t really have much else to say about the blog so… let’s move on to Twitch. I’m still planning to stream on every weekday from 6PM UTC onwards, at least for the coming time. I do genuinely enjoy streaming still and will do so for as long as I actually enjoy doing so. I am very close to Twitch Affiliate so I’m hoping to knock that goal out soon as well, probably ask some friends to boost me or something. Modern games, Retro games, Genshin Impact: it’s all going to be there!
I wish I had more to say or announce but honestly, I’m just going to keep it at this. I don’t want to get too overzealous yet, and I also don’t want to make promises that I most likely won’t be able to fulfil. Besides, I want to prioritize getting better first of all so I can actually do the stuff I want to do lol. So thank you all for joining me again, and I wish you all a great new year!