Retrospective: 2015, A Year of Learning

2015 was, in a way, both a big and small year for me. I did so much, yet I feel I accomplished so little. It felt like such a start-stop year, but it hasn't deterred me one bit. This post is all about looking back on what was, as well as looking forward on what will be.

 

Here's a few things I learned along the way.

- I learned what I do and don't enjoy in games, and that it's OK for me to not like a 10/10 game. There are game franchises and genres that just don't appeal to me but are wildly popular and addicting to others. I doubt I'm ever going to get into a MOBA, most shooters just aren't my thing, I'm not into sports games or simulators. Everyone has different tastes, and that's totally cool.

- I really enjoy some games that other people won't ever like. The whole "Walking Simulator" discussion comes to mind here - Everybody's Gone to the Rapture was one of my favourite experiences of 2015, but it was very divisive among the gaming community. I enjoyed stopping, walking around and enjoying the scenery more than I ever have running through and destroying it. I also much prefer guided experiences over self-created enjoyment - Minecraft and GTA are no longer games I want to play (even if they were/would have been when I was a kid.)

- You don't have to play every game. I still have not played so many games from the PS3/360 era, including Gears, Uncharted, any Halo passed 2, Red Dead, the Far Cry's and an insane bunch more - but that's OK. More great games keep coming out, and they are amazing. I don't need to "Keep up with the Joneses". Realizing I didn't have to have this self imposed pressure to play all the games (in the same way that we don't have to watch every TV show or see every movie) was so... liberating.

- I learned to be more confident and focused on the thing I was working on. In 2015 I was able to focus more on the projects I wanted to work on from star to finish. Before, I would always think up tons of ideas, start working on many of them, and either would lose steam and abandon them mid way or never even start them at all. I don't know if it's because I'm more passionate about the projects I'm working on now, but I'd hazard a guess that my getting older has allowed me to become more laser focused on what I actually want to do rather than what I think I should be doing. My mindset doesn't seem to be as scattershot and hyper as it once was (thankfully.)

- I learned that I actually love writing. Prior to 2015, I didn't do much in the way of writing down my thoughts, but after beginning to actually write about topics that I'm passionate about helped lift that writers block I always experienced right through school. I don't know how many words I spat out through a keyboard in 2015, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was more than the amount I said out loud.

 

Here's what I did actually do in 2015.

- I started this website. I didn't know what this was going to be when I started it, but having my own space on the web to play with that wasn't a social media profile has been fantastic.

- I bought a 3D printer and started my own Kickstarter, which didn't work out as I'd hoped. This particular project was one that taught me more about rejection from a community than any other.

- I started a monthly magazine, which again didn't work out very well and burned me out pretty significantly. I enjoyed creating them for sure, but it was a mammoth effort for just myself to just get the work done, let alone push it, market it, attempt to find an audience... doing this helped me realize that I did things around the wrong way, and need to approach creation and marketing from a different angle.

- I used the remainder of the work I'd done on the magazine to write a book about the year in gaming, which I'm actually proud of. During and after finishing this project, I didn't have the anxiety I felt around it like I had with other ones I've worked on - this one I felt I could just do, get it out there and be done with. Whether anyone actually reads it or not is both debatable and honestly, doesn't really matter that much to me. For me, it's going to be a cool thing I did to look back on - if others read it that's awesome, but I'm cool with having just done it.

- I got caught up in the amiibo craze. At the time, it was so cool to be a part of something like this - a community that was fun and a craze that was all aboard the hype train. I wrote a few really cool articles about them, and it was fun hunting down the harder to find ones. But let's be real here - I spent way to much money on plastic crap that's basically useless. While I'm still going to purchase a few here and there that actually mean something to me and I would definitely have up on a shelf (Wolf Link from Twilight Princess looks frickin' amazing) my whole "in box collection" is just going to stay in the cupboard for the next 20 years before it eventually gets thrown out with the trash.

- I got caught up in the holiday hype too much, preordering and purchasing way to many games and other gaming memorabilia, wasting to much money on things I didn't need. The Fallout 4 stuff was the peak realization for me - after seeing the history of Fallout 4 book for half price mere days after buying it at launch was that straw. I'm still going to buy collectors editions for games I'm super keen for (Fire Emblem Fates, I'm looking at you) or if I find cool ones for cheap, but no more wasting money on useless junk I don't need (That Pip-Boy is really a useless piece of garbage).

- I ended up playing a lot of games that I didn't know I would at the start of the year, and enjoyed a whole bunch of them. Every game that was in my top 5 were games I either was not paying attention to or didn't even know existed at the beginning of 2015. Looking forward on the year to come, that thought alone is exciting.

 

Here's where I stand, at the beginning of 2016.

- I'm at peace with the tumultuous nature of last year. I had quite a few crushing lows, but they haven't deterred me from continuing to be excited about this industry, from enjoying what I do and, most importantly, from loving games.

- I'm going to continue writing about games. This website was been the one staple throughout 2015, and it's not going anywhere. It may not be as frequent and it will no doubt look entirely different by this time next year, but I'm keen to continue to see where it goes.

- I have a forward thinking mindset for 2016, and have a handful of projects I plan to work on through the year. This year is the most planned out I've ever been in my entire life. I've got a lot of cool things in the pipeline, which if you read this website, I think you will really enjoy. So stay tuned!

 

Thank you for your support.

If you've stuck with me this far, I just want to say thanks. The support from the people around me helps me stay on course and continue enjoying what I do without getting to anxious about it all.

So that's that! 2015 is done, and has become a year to look back on instead of forward to. How was your 2015? What did you accomplish, enjoy, learn? I would honestly love to talk to you about it!

On the flipside, 2016 is here! I can already tell it's going to be an exciting year, personally and in the gaming industry. What are your plans, aspirations, things you are excited for? Tell me damn it! :P

Happy New Year y'all. I can't wait to see where it takes us.