Woah, this year has been really long! Usually, I’d be reciting the words of my parents on the last day of the year – the one of reflection – when they tell me that each year passes by quicker as you age, but nope, not this time.
I left Indie Statik back on January 22nd, and it already feels as if that was something that happened to a different Chris Priestman, one from another dimension. A lot happened to me this year, now that I look back on it, and most of it for the better, at least for my well being.
(Below I write about personal stuff, if you’d rather read about some of my favourite work I’ve done this year then scroll down to THINGS I DID THAT WERE OK)
First off, my circumstances have changed dramatically and, finally, after four years I feel as if I have accomplished some of what you might call My Career Goals (yeah, whatever). I moved out my parents’ house for the third time and, finally, it feels like a proper and confident move rather than a temporary or arbitrary decision. Being able to do this was down to making some decent money from my writing this year, which was one of my new year’s resolutions, so hurrah, woo hoo, well done.
I guess it’s worth going over that in a little more detail, so…
After leaving Indie Statik in January, I soon started writing for Kill Screen, which has taught me a lot, especially in regards to improving the quality of my writing. And much of it can be attributed to Clayton Purdom, my editor, who is a rad dude and a heck of a writer. He also uses the word “shit” like no other. I enjoy telling him this.
I’ve also held my position as news writer at Pocket Gamer since August 2013 which, I think, makes it the longest writing job I’ve ever had. I point that out because it marks a change in me. Previously, I’d been skipping around various publications mostly due to being terrible at committing to, well, anything. I used to get bored of what I was doing, and felt like I needed something else to do, something different, so I’d hop off somewhere else… usually doing the same thing with new people. The logic doesn’t really match up there. Whether it was The Indie Game Magazine, Indie Statik, wherever, I stayed for some months, worked like shit, and then disembarked soon after. It’s a reflection of my chaotic and desperate mindset at the time.
Now, however, I’ve learned that committing to something long-term has its benefits, and I like it (it also helps that the people at Pocket Gamer are wonderful and supportive). I guess I’m looking to get comfy by having more constants in my life. I’m now living by myself, which is ideal for me (being a bit of an introvert most of the time), I have a daily schedule and regularly keep to-do lists, and I more or less do the same thing every weekday. The result of this is that my stress levels have been reduced a lot. I’m happier. I’m also doing even more work than I used to, I think, but have more control over it, and somehow have more time outside of work to meet with friends, and do whatever it is that takes my fancy that evening.
That’s probably why this year has felt long to me. I’ve been paying a lot of attention to how I spend every hour of every day, becoming a bit obsessed with time management, but only in the interest of doing more activities outside of work. This is rather self-indulgent, but I’m on a semi-holiday right now and find myself questioning how the heck I manage to squeeze all the work I do between 8am and 5pm most days (at least 6 stories for Siliconera, 1 for Kill Screen, and between 6 and 10 for Pocket Gamer every day). But I do manage it and I’m proud of that.
However, now that I’ve met some of those goals I’ve been pursuing for a few years, and am starting to get comfortable, that old habit of wanting to move on is trying to find a way into my brain. I can feel it there, tapping away at my skull with a perturbed rat-a-tat-tat. It’s working on me a little, but not how it used to, as it’s mostly manifesting inside me as a desire to write more substantial, prepared, and insightful articles in 2015. I’ve had a couple of ideas brewing for a while that I’ll, somehow, find time to rap out onto my keyboard. So, rather than moving on, I’m looking only to do bigger things where I already am.
I FELL INTO A WARP DOOR
This I’m finding hard to believe. Apparently, it’s been almost a year since Tim W. and I started to discuss the idea of starting up Warp Door. I announced it on February 6th, which is much earlier in the year than I remember, but didn’t soft-launch it until April 2014.
I was at the A MAZE. festival in Berlin when I found out that freeindiegam.es had stopped posting. And it was then that I decided we should do something with Warp Door to, in some way, keep the spirit of it living on. I think we have, and out of everything I’ve done in 2014, I feel the proudest of Warp Door. I really loved doing my Pocket Dimension column on there as well. But had to stop it due to time constraints and increasing business on weekends. Hopefully I’ll find a way to keep it going in 2015.
We’ve shared some wonderfully strange little games (over 1500 apparently) during the year, and people have contacted us either through email, Twitter, or in the comments to tell us they appreciate what we’ve been doing. That’s made me the happiest this year. (Side note: Luca is a monster when it comes to finding strange games, and I’m so glad to have brought him on with Tim and I, so if you’re reading this Luca, excellent work and I hope you’re able to keep it up!)
I also owe a big thanks and many hugs to all the people out there making peculiar, surprising software for us to pry our inquisitive noses into. I love it. I love you. Keep it weird.
THINGS I DID THAT WERE OK
I am now twisting into my most masturbatory posture to have a look at the work I did in 2014 that I’m most proud of, or that I think is worth checking out if you haven’t already. Here we go:
- On April 11th, in a hostel somewhere near the center of Berlin, I woke up slightly nervous, but ready to sit on stage for an hour with Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn, who are better known as Tale of Tales. We talked about the kinds of games they’re interested in, those that they’ve made, the culture and art they draw from, and their manifestos. You can listen to it all here.
- Haha, this one’s funny to me now. I wrote an article that starts off being mean to David Cage, but is about the misuse of the term “cinematic” in videogames, and looking toward what designers have yet to take from cinema.
- Finding Aviary Attorney – a bird lawyering game – and talking to its creator is easily a highlight of my year.
- Anti-games. 2014 had them, and so I wrote about those, as well as anti-games of years prior.
- Talking to Justin Smith about Desert Golfing and normcore before the game became ‘a thing’ is one of my favourite interviews I’ve ever done. Here’s a choice quote: “This is my post-aspirational game. It’s not trying to be anything. It’s a game like every other game. I feel that I have mastered difference, and now I want to master sameness.”
- Interviewing Clocktower creator Hifumi Kono and Ju-on (The Grudge) director Takashi Shimizu was something I never could have predicted happening this year.
- Nicky Case has had a brill year in terms of what he’s created, so talking to him was always a pleasure, but my interview with him about his game based around ideas brought up by Ferguson is my favourite.
- I think my most-read article this year is probably this one about how a Fox amiibo nearly won a local Smash Bros. tournament.
- Another interview, and this time it’s with the brilliant Rachel Simone Weil, who I profiled for Kill Screen’s Emergent series. I enjoyed everything about this one.
- One thing I’ve been developing this year is an interest in architecture. And so it was a delight to write about how video games are doing great things with brutalism.
- A word that I discovered and held on to for dear life was “voidscape.” I wrote about a few games that upheld the concept, and then I wrote about a voidscape game that its designer created after reading my article.
I also wrote about cyberpunk as a texture, the glorious LSD: Dream Emulator, interviewed ustwo about Monument Valley, tried to address the problem with Call of Duty’s grieving scene, spoke to the creator of a special game about blinking and the passing of life, fought with myself about the existence of Kevin Patterson, investigated Flappy Bird and its depressing spin-off game Flapping Bird, and let my Dark Souls fandom slip into an interview with the creator of Ashen.
Technically, I also made a game this year. Sort of, Well, not really. It is whatever the hell it is. I messed around in Unity and then let people see it and say “Chris, really?” That happened.
I also started a regular Indie Mavens column on PocketGamer.biz, which has some brilliant quotes in it, so it’s worth picking through if you’re a game creator, I reckon.
That’s only a highlight of what I’ve written this year, too. Writing news for three different websites every weekday has meant that I’ve written hundreds of articles, if not over a thousand, this year.
I’ve accidentally been writing 2015 as the date for the past month so it seems I’m ready for the next year to begin. As already said, I plan on keeping on as I have been, while finding time to do the occasional bigger and better article. I need them to break up the monotony, and to give me something to focus on outside of it. I’m also most proud of those well-researched, lengthier articles and so I want to get those warm fuzzies again and again.
Aside from that, I’ll be continuing to pursue more outdoor adventuring. I’ve been to Berlin, Krakow, and San Francisco this year. In 2015 I’ve already planned a trip to the European battlefields and another one to visit Scotland for the first time. I’ll probably end up travelling to some other places too.
I’ve also noted that I’ve been using Twitter a lot less. It used to be a constant thing for me, a beeping presence that fed on the detritus of my life, but now I only use it for work purposes, or strictly to share some cool shit that I’ve found and think is worth sharing. I’ll definitely be continuing to use it like that, and not to argue with people, or to get involved in any kind of debate, really. I used to do that, but that mostly led to negativity and we’ve all had enough of that by now, haven’t we?
So that’s that then, goodbye 2014, and hello 2015. As always, I’m most looking forward to what digital peculiarities I’ll be finding and writing about 🙂