Maybe I should write something about 2011?

25 Dec

I’ve never bossed around a Third World country while wearing a hat, so I haven’t had the worst of years. I’ll try to break up the incoming thought deluge into categories, and without too many distracting links, so that you may spend Christmas Eve having the most enjoyable time reading half-assed blogs instead of talking to visiting family members possible.

Personal

So the relationship I was in for five years blew up in my face. I’ve stopped blaming myself, which annoyingly precludes the whole thing as a learning experience, but with a handful of essays, a new writing opportunity and the annual November games glut, I’ve been lucky enough to take my mind off it. For the most part. It’s difficult to imagine going that far with something without thinking about the future, even if the current situation makes that future seem unlikely or unclear, and though I’d never want to be with someone who wasn’t happy as such, it’s hard to watch as that future gets taken away barely a week after everything seems to be fine.

Other than losing my best friend, things haven’t been so bad. Communal deathmatch sessions are a semi-regular feature in the house I joined in September, and our pub quiz team has been performing far better than we have any right to, even with the Diet Coke-marinated brain of a hairy Journalism student on side.

Games

See Gaming Daily for my Games o’ t’Year – in hindsight I possibly could have added ‘current judgement-clouding infatuation’ to the reasons Skyrim isn’t there. I didn’t get it until the third week of November, and I’ve played over 90 hours – to give an admittedly flawed comparison, that’s only 10 less than my time spent in Killing Floor, and that’s two years old.

In terms of not-PC, I ended up selling both my PSP and my DSi. A phone upgrade made the multimedia benefits of the PSP chunkily obsolete, and there’s no denying I only ever wanted to play Pokemon Heart Gold on that little dual-screened thing – evidently I don’t mind paying over £100 for nostalgia. The proceeds went towards a PS3, primarily with a view for Guitar Hero parties but ultimately becoming a mere conduit for Uncharted 3. Loved it regardless, but how the hell am I not broke?

‘Work’

Ha. If I said I’d try for paid work this time last year, it was never recorded so at least I have plausible deniability when someone accuses me of failing. That said, there are two notable things that happened this year with regards to my pathetic non-career: firstly, I joined BeefJack – capitalise the J, that shit’s important – as a news writer. I only cover Tuesdays at the moment, but I’m glad to be doing something a little outside my comfort zone. Doing news badly is one of the worst things you can do, but there’s no way of learning like doing, so it’s worth the constant sense of ‘Christ, what if I fuck this up?’ that only sometimes plagues my reviews/feature-writing process. Thanks to editor/big boss man Lewis for showing me the ropes.

Secondly, I got Sunday Paper’d! The appearance of Gaming Daily in Rock, Paper Shotgun’s weekly links roundup is a semi-regular occurrence, and it’s always nice to see the sudden spike in traffic, but this is the first time thousands of people have been simultaneously pointed at something of mine. I don’t want to imbue RPS with some kind of godlike quality, capable of controlling the entire flow of PC gaming enthusiasts on the internet, but getting a ‘Yeah, this is worth reading I suppose’ from the pros makes me a wee bit proud. And scared of reading the comments.

Music

I bought just two albums this year – one was comedy rap, the other was Foo Fighter’s excellent Wasting Light. Recorded, on tape, in Dave Grohl’s garage, this is such a perfect blend of the personal and the ferociously rocky that (unlike every other album they’ve made) I actually like more than three songs on it. Well done, Foos, now tour the UK again.

So, most of my new music this year has come in sub-five-minute chunks. BEHOLD the excitable poppy brilliance of this song about Mass Effect’s lead character! GAZE upon Corridor Digital’s gorgeously shot Dubstep Guns short, which is not just The Best Video On YouTube (No Complaining), but actually made me enjoy a couple of dubstep songs! GET KIND OF PLEASANTLY CONFUSED by how enjoyable this Zebrahead cover of a Spice Girls hit can be!

Overall

A year of dizzying highs and thoroughly sucky lows, 2011 would be lucky to get a 6/10. I’m going into 2012 a lot more uncertain of particular things, and time is absolutely running out for me to turn words into even a little bit of cash. Still, I have my health, a bond less than three weeks from maturing, and a fair collection of folks who’ve been nothing but nice to me since January. I don’t have a calculator to hand, but that seems like a net positive.

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