2019: Year In Review

It’s the end of another year, and also the end of another decade. If you’re worried that I’m going to make you endure a ten-year retrospective like every other content creator on the internet seems to be doing, let me put your fears to rest: I’m not. I can barely remember what I did ten days ago, let alone ten years ago. And while you might be entertained by a cringeworthy look back at my pre-teen years, that’s a trip down memory lane I’m gonna pass on.

As is tradition though, I am going to wrap up 2019 with a look back at my favorites from the year. I promise you I’ll keep it concise, so without further ado, on to the lists!

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Imagination & Impact | Why The Game Awards Matters

Listen, I’m not here to bash on anyone’s favorite pastime or anything like that, but I have to confess: awards shows have absolutely zero appeal to me.

I can see why they would be interesting. If you’re a film or fashion aficionado, there’s a lot for you to see at say, the Oscars or the Golden Globes. The Tony Awards and the Grammys often feature performances from nominees or the big artists of the year. Beyond that, I think anyone who follows these awards shows would argue that they are meant to celebrate the accomplishments made in a particular industry, whether that be film, television, music, or theatre.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that our culture can come together to celebrate creative projects. In a society that increasingly emphasizes STEM fields at the expense of the arts and humanities, it’s nice to know that there are still people who appreciate things like this.

The struggle I often have – and this is not an original criticism in the slightest – is that these award shows tend to focus on a specific subset of people within a very broad industry. Awards often go to the productions with the biggest budgets, or the actors with the most recognized names, the shows that were hyped up by audiences and critics alike. To be blunt, I couldn’t care less about seeing an actor/actress who makes more money in a year than I will ever make in my life win an award.

That’s the kind of mentality I had when I first started following The Game Awards about a year ago. As the name implies, it is an award show for video games. Aside from being an industry that I care more about and follow more closely, I think there’s something that really sets The Game Awards apart from its more well-known counterparts. Having just watched the 2019 show a few days ago, I thought I’d take a look at what makes The Game Awards work well.

7 TGA

 

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Sunshine Blogger Award: The Sequel

Approximately a million years ago (actually, more like three years ago), I was tagged in the Sunshine Blogger Award by my dear book blogger friend Paige Turner. More recently, I’ve been tagged again by The Story Sponge! I figured we were due for another round of random questions, and they had some pretty great ones, so that’s what I’ll be participating in today.

Since it’s been quite a while since the last time I did this, here are the rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them. (Did that above, but in case you missed it – thanks to The Story Sponge for nominating me!)
  2. List the rules and display an award logo on your blog post.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  4. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and notify them by commenting on any of their posts.
  5. Ask the nominees 11 new questions.

Like I said, i got asked some pretty interesting questions, so without further ado, here we go!

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Climbing My Mountain | Thoughts on Celeste

A year ago, in the midst of final exams and papers, I gave myself a few hours off to watch The Game Awards, the Oscars of the video game world (but with less gowns and more t-shirts). I remember that night, huddled on my bed in my dorm room, seeing Celeste win the Best Independent Game and Games for Impact awards. I was intrigued, because the Games for Impact Award generally goes to games focused on emotional storytelling and/or social issues. Not only that, but the developer, Matt Thorson, spoke about mental illness in his acceptance speech. I kept the game in the back of my mind.

5 Celeste 2

Later that month, I was visiting family in North Carolina, and saw that my cousin was playing Celeste. I learned then that Celeste is a platforming game that relies on quick reflexes and precision to make it from one “room” to the next. I really wanted to give it a try, because the music was catchy and the retro graphics were cute, but I’m horrible at platformers. Even Super Mario games with all of their fail-safes are a challenge for me. I had a feeling that Celeste would be a frustrating waste of money for me, so I shelved the idea of ever playing it.

That is, until the Epic Games Store gave it away for free this year. Knowing it was considered one of the best games of 2018, I “bought” it and decided to give it a whirl when I was itching for a new game to play.

As I suspected, I sucked at it. In the first chapter (or “level”) alone, I died hundreds of times. I would die hundreds more in the chapters to come. But what really drew me in to Celeste was its story and main character, Madeline. I found myself identifying with Madeline a lot, and in a way, her quest to reach the summit of Celeste Mountain became my quest too.

5 Celeste 5
Madeline begins her quest to reach the summit of Celeste Mountain.

 

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October 2019 – Month In Review

Every month I think, “surely this month will be less busy than the previous month” and every month I am proven wrong, but at least I’m consistent.

All that to say, there’s a lot I want to talk about, so I won’t waste any time getting to the important stuff! First off, this month, I blogged about:

And here’s my 1 Second Everyday compilation from October!

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September 2019 – Month In Review

Happy October! It’s supposed to be autumn here but we had two days that were 90 degrees Fahrenheit (about 32 Celsius) which is definitely not normal for central Pennsylvania. Please give me colder weather and apple cider (which is the SUPERIOR fall beverage). I want to wear my sweatshirt.

School started this month (more on that in a minute) and it was a bit of a struggle to get into the swing of things this year. Because of that, I wrote a grand total of one blog post this month. But it’s a good one! It’s about books: Making the Most of Required Reading

On a related note: I’ve decided to revisit how and when I post things on my blog, and you can find all the details here: Blogkeeping: New Schedule!

And finally, you can check out my 1 Second Everyday Compilation for September!

Read on for the rest of the month!

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August 2019 Month In Review

I know I’m only a week off of my normal schedule, but let me just tell you something – it feels like it’s been an eternity since August happened. I’m glad I made some notes for myself, because I’ve forgotten just about everything I did last month.

Before I launch into that though, here are my blog posts from August! I was a little bit off of my normal rhythm due to traveling, but I’m still proud of what I was able to write this month:

You can also check out my 1 Second Everyday compilation from August below!

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March 2019 Month in Review

March 2019 Month In Review

Happy April, everyone! I hope you’re enjoying the transition between seasons like I am – we finally started getting some warm weather here in the past few weeks, which is a relief after such a long winter.

I’ll tell you a little more about my month in a moment, but first, here’s what I blogged about this month in case you missed anything!

I’m still keeping up with my 1 Second Everyday project as well – here’s March’s compilation!

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Character figurine with duct tape over his mouth and the text "Don't give up on silent protagonists"

Don’t Give Up On Silent Protagonists

Technology is amazing, right? In early video games, we were lucky if we got a few strings of text to move the plot forward. Today, we’re presented with cutscenes that play like short films, complete with voice acting and animation. This growth has been great for gaming, but the increased use of voice acting has often left one of my favorite tropes in the dust: the silent protagonist.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a silent protagonist is a video game character does not have dialogue. They may interact with other characters through facial expressions, gestures, or “assumed” speech (in other words, there’s a pause in which the protagonist is assumed to have spoken, but they’re not given explicit dialogue). Silent Protagonists are most often seen as player characters. A few examples would be Link from The Legend of Zelda, the player character in the Pokémon series, or Chell from Portal.

As voice acting becomes more common in video games, the silent protagonist is less common. After all, it would seem weird to have everyone else talking except for one individual character!

But I still think there’s a place for the silent protagonists in our video games, if for no other reason than the way they provide a playing experience that other types of protagonists cannot.

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Nintendo Switch with text "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Dream DLC"

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Dream DLC

If you follow video games at all, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – released barely over two months ago – has become Nintendo’s fastest selling game. The multiplayer fighting game is a hit with hardcore and casual players alike, with its colorful selection of stages, items, and characters setting it apart from the crowd.

Since the original Super Smash Bros. was released in 1999, the character roster has grown from twelve to over seventy different options. Of course, we’re still waiting on the new DLC (“downloadable content”) characters. Nintendo announced that Joker from Persona 5 will be joining the roster in February, but the other newcomers remain a mystery.

I understand the speculation train has long since left the station, and everyone and their cousin has put out a video or article about who they want to see in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I’m going to do my own anyway. After much deliberation, I’ve compiled a list of five characters I think would be good fits for the SSBU stage – not necessarily ones I think are likely to make it there, but if I were in charge, I’d pick them.

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