Good day, my friends! Today we reminisce for it is the end of another year. A year that featured both the lowest lows and highest highs I’ve had in the past decade. A year that marked my 30th birthday, my first year streaming, my ninth wedding anniversary, getting the best job I’ve ever had, and more.
And it’s been a crazy year for this website as well… I switched formats on my monthly recommendations, committed to doing seasonal anime reviews in a big way, altered the way I look at events like E3 and my year-end wrap-ups. I kept up with the promise to work on improving the production quality of my reviews by adding better formatting, images, and links to most of my posts. It’s been crazy to see the growth, and I owe it all to you guys. My heartfelt thanks to all of you who read what I write.
But, that’s enough general stuff… let’s get into specifics. I wanted to touch on some of my favourite parts of the past year, in terms of games, anime, the website in general, and my twitch stream.
I spent a fair bit of time this year focusing on creating some really in-depth posts on a few topics. I am really proud of how these turned out as they’re some of the best work I’ve ever done.
The first of these was a look at Catherine. Catherine is probably the best puzzle game I’ve ever played, but that alone shouldn’t be enough to keep me coming back to it so often, so what was it? Why did I seem almost obsessed with watching and playing this game? I struggled for a while to come up with the perfect answer to these questions, and while it’s not entirely spoiler free… here it is.
The other of these posts was one I posted just recently, reflecting on the way World of Warcraft impacted my life. It is, in my eyes at least, probably the best work I’ve ever done In the post I explore a lot of the lessons I’ve learned from my time with the game and the people I met during that time, as well as reminisce about some of the fondest memories I have of the game. If you’d like a bit of a glimpse into my past, take a look.
I had a blast this year in March, which I had declared to be JRPGMonth due to the sheer number of these games releasing within its short span. Of course, it helped that it was also my birthday month and that my wife let me stream nearly every day so that I could make my way through a few of these fantastic games.
While streaming Atelier Shallie, I met several of my most loyal viewers, whose support has been amazing over the course of this year… and it was a fantastic game in its own right too. But I also had a great time streaming Final Fantasy XIII, and making all the bad Hope jokes I could come up with to a receptive audience!
I also wrote a series of Shadows Six posts celebrating JRPG month covering soundtracks, art, character design, as well as announcing my favourite JRPGs of all time. If you’re interested in checking any of the JRPG month content out, it’s all here under the #JRPGMonth tag.
There were a few big aspects I struggled with, which led to a lot of slow times for article releases. The first was the shift towards providing more anime content. I was thrilled to start doing more anime content, but it meant that my reviews took a cyclical flow. Every 3 months I had a month of panic mode followed by two months of quiet.
I was hoping to use games to fill that quiet, but sadly that didn’t work out this year since there were only a handful of new releases that really caught my eye. Additionally, streaming a game takes longer than just playing it, which led to a bit slower of a review turnaround than normal.
Making matters worse this year, I experienced several periods of depression which often led to sickness. Most of them were either work or money related, so I won’t bore you guys with the dry details, but depression led to sleepless nights which led to exhaustion which led to sickness. Between feeling miserable and BEING miserable, it was often hard this year to find the motivation to write. Fortunately, that time is over with.
Selubrating Good Times!
Taking a step away from the website itself, my stream has been growing, and this year I decided to steal one of my friend‘s best ideas, and I started doing monthly stream specials. These streams, which I call ‘Saturday Selubrations’, started early on in the year and have developed into an amazing monthly tradition of 14+ hour streams.
I’ve had such an amazing time doing such long streams, letting viewers vote, that for my 1 year streamaversary (streaming anniversary ;)) in November, I decided to take on the ultimate challenge: the 24 hour stream. I made it to 27 hours, but I crashed for about 20 minutes in the middle(nice little on-stream nap ;)). But it was so awesome seeing so many amazing people show up to cheer me on in that crazy challenge and vote for what game they’d like to see me play.
This year has been the proud home of so many amazing soundtracks… I am constantly in awe of the music. Looking back at the start of the year, we had Your Lie in April’s second season… but it didn’t end there. The rest of the year continued to feature some almost addictive songs… even the crappy shows like KanColle had great music. But there were some real standouts whose soundtracks just fit perfectly… Sound!Euphonium, Eden of Grisaia, Plastic Memories, Charlotte, Utawarerumono: The False Faces, The Asterisk War, and Beautiful Bones to name a few. I can’t stop listening to Bravely Yours, Fuantei na Kamisama, and Waiting for the Rain.
But it wasn’t just the anime that impressed… Atelier Shallie’s soundtrack was pretty much what you’d expect from the series. That is to say, it was spectacular. Additionally, Omega Quintet had a ton of great music. And it wasn’t just the girls’ songs, but also a lot of the background ambience was incredibly well done. My favourite was a sort of somber tone that often played while Aria was on-screen. Disgaea 5 and Tales of Zestiria also had relatively strong soundtracks, and the opening theme to Sword Art Online: Lost Song is amazing.
Wrapping Things Up
Thank you all so much for a fantastic year. You guys, and the outlets that you’ve given me through this website and my stream, have helped me to get through the hard times. I’ve had a fantastic time streaming for you all, it’s been crazy watching both the stream and the website continue to refine themselves and grow, and I hope that this year is nowhere near the end of the great times.
Within the next few days we’ll be revealing some info about what is to come, so keep an eye out for that… and I hope you enjoyed reading about this year’s highs and lows.