This is going to be a bit of an odd blog I think. There’s definitely scatterings of video games here, and some bits about Destructoid as well, but the focus doesn’t lie there. As egomanical as it is, the focus is me and 2017. Seriously, this is wildly off-topic for a video game website. I think sometimes you need to take stock of the recent past to comprehend where to go. I believe also it might explain my behaviour a bit, as people might have seen a bit of a change out of me. I confess this may not have been necessarily a positive change, and I’m sorry to those I’ve hurt or annoyed and those I’m about to hurt and annoy with this recap of the year. I speak not with bitterness or anger but simply my mind, to help understand the madness of what is behind us.
Starting with Destructoid, I admit I’ve drifted away a bit sadly. I recall spamming news articles with comments in the form of crude armchair philosophy mixed with strange humour that at least I chuckled at. I recall posting the rare blog about whatever caught my eye. I recall recapping weekly. Now I don’t comment, I don’t post blogs really and I struggle to recap even fortnightly. When I wrote a quickpost asking if people wanted one of these “what was 2017 to me” blogs, I was surprised Hypno Coffin specifically said I was one of the few people they read blogs of still. I feel pretty irrelevant these days really.
I’ll start off by saying you’ll find quite a few reasons why I disappeared through-out this blog post. A lot of life management things happened, and Destructoid did get hit sadly by the balance. Yet, well, it’s not quite that simple.
I think 2017 (and a bit of 2016), for Destructoid, represented isolationism. I confess my life has been dominated by periods of sliding into a community only to make myself isolated from others due to unintentional conflicts or just lack of meshing. I believe the Destructoid Discord group partially represented that. I started out okay, but got into some conflict over gore. I was on good terms with a few people there, but those unfortunately wore down eventurally.
In the same way that in Corpse Party the ghosts grabbed Mayu and dragged her along the floor, wearing away her... Nah, I better not complete that thought.
I think the final straw was I pretty much covertly begged for help in the general chat once. I wanted someone to tell me I was wrong about something I thought, not in the sense of me being worthless in my views but in the sense of that I was worth something. Unfortunately, the general chat took it as a good opportunity to tell me I was wrong to complain and that I was pretty much doomed to failure. I’m skipping over details because we’d be here for another 1,000 words, but it definitely created a rift between a group of people I thought I could trust and myself. I learned not to come to Destructoid with my emotional problems.
This combined quite harshly with an user who seemed to primarily use the Discord chat to air their emotional baggage commonly. I confess I have a very bad history with people airing emotional bagging, as I dated someone who did that within every conversation and left me spiralling into misery. So my irrational knee-jerk, combined with my request for help being rejected, left me feeling isolated. So I left the Discord chat.
Similarly, in 2016 I had my enthusiasm for recapping destroyed. A fellow recapper turned recruiting into a very miserable affair and when Dreamweaver would use the recap forums to air emotional baggage, their only input was to mock my attempts to help him. It left a stain that, a year or so on, has yet to be rinsed. They taught me enthusiasm and wanting recapping to be something awesome was worth nothing. Especially as they were of some authority (and still are), which indicated that enthusiasm was not valued in management.
I bring these details up as a backdrop. I was left a little burned by 2016, but room was given for 2017. It didn’t start off well as my awkward misreading of a situation while slightly drunk on my birthday left me blocked and cut out by a prominent Destructoid user. They seemed like a good person, but I knew if I ever tried to push the issue and apologise it’d lead to them (who are incredibly shy) freaking out harder. A few months later I tried to reach out to another popular Destructoid user about my concerns with the recap group and was ignored, which left me feeling increasingly isolated.
And thus, in isolation, I succumbed to psychological deviancy and became a cereal killer.
However, these are just personal grievances. Where things begin to get more awkward is my concern at the direction Destructoid is going. Increasingly the community blogs, who I believe are the heart and soul of the website, are being buried. From no front page button to the blogs if you’re not signed in, to a “community cblogs” text sending you to the quickposts, to cblogs being completely glitched out with regards to reading (hence being a month late with my recap, sorry).
I also have some personal grumps with who Destructoid is teaming up with. To a lesser extent, this includes Enthusiast Gaming. Part of Destructoid’s charm, to me, is the rawness. I don’t feel comfortable expressing myself openly sexually, but I adore people can do that. By going under the collaborative Enthusiast Gaming umbrella, due to the nature of Enthusiast Gaming, there is more of a Puritan approach to nudity and gore which I feel runs against what Destructoid stands for as a community.
To a more major extent this is Gameumentary, but that’s a long vicious tale (which includes very particular people) why.
However, I’m a simple user. Destructoid is a big boy with big boy muscles and big boy shorts. They can do what they wish. I almost feel guilty and out of touch complaining about who Destructoid is, as there is simply a chance I’m no longer suited for the website. This isn’t me waving goodbye, but a musing on my isolationism and disagreements. I’d be curious on other people’s thoughts.
And...Mmmm...What big boy muscles Destructoid does have...
That isn’t to say I saw Destructoid as this ugly barbaric creature plundering and… Conquering. I honestly would have left if I didn’t enjoy Destructoid still, and the community is definitely a huge part of why I still keep coming back. Chatting with Zer0t0nin, AngriestCarp, RadicalYoseph, Dwarvenhobble, ChillyBilly, Mike Martin and Occams have been wonderful. In addition, a lot of users I’ve chat to via Quickposts have been great.
I also feel a sense of pride about my Yellow News series. I still consider the charity pack Yellow News post easily within my top 3 blogs, if not absolute favourite, even if the upvotes and comment count makes it a comparable lesser popular Yellow News post. I’m pleased I stuck with only posting Yellow News when I had a good idea I liked, rather than making forced jokes/statements that I feel ambivalent about. The quality of execution is something I have to give to Zer0t0nin and Dwarvenhobble, the former making sure it wasn’t too vicious and Dwarven making sure there was a bite. They’re polar enough that I think if they ever met it’d end in a shirtless bare-knuckle boxing match in a dim damp parking garage, but the polarity definitely helped the quality. I still hope Yellow News will be front-paged one day. I doubt they will, but I can hope.
However, Destructoid also fed into my game journalism. I do still feel a sense of burned out isolationism from never being picked up. That my work just isn’t good enough due to having a dry (if any) wit. If you see some of my later comments to Niero, you definitely can see how hard I’ve given up.
Yet, well, it isn’t as though game journalism has treated me well. For instance I was involved with Brash Games. Yes, THAT Brash Games. Yes I got my name removed from my two reviews for the website (Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?! And NEO Scavenger) after working for a month. Talking with the owner before the controversy I did get a vibe of someone who wasn’t in it for the community or hobbyist interest. The lack of an employee chat room, how difficult it was to get him to answer any particular questions and a review list dominated by older titles rung warning bells. There wasn’t any warmth. It was news to me to find out much later my name had been removed from reviews, but with only two reviews I’d rather leave it standing as a stain against the website than let them fix it.
I've learnt all too well if you despise someone and you spot them making a mistake, don't mock them for the mistake, let them ruin themselves.
I was also involved with Scholarly Gamers for a bit, and then swiftly had a falling out. There’s something very bitter about being frowned upon due to a dark sense of humour, being fired due to said humour being conducted privately and then one of their major streamers streaming Cards Against Humanity later that week. That’s putting aside someone called The Scholarly Gamer wasn’t even in control or running their Scholarly Gamers website, and that the people who actually run the website never talked to me about the issues prior to firing. At the risk of being insulting, it was at the time the video game journalism website equivalent of a puppet state actually run by rather untrustworthy and hypocritical people.
I also had to bollock an owner of a website I still work for, and nearly got fired in the process, for advertising gambling via an article (without disclaimers), when the target demographic was family (including children). Since whistle blowing, I’ve been removed from convention coverage and generally ignored by management. I write for them mostly out of tradition and better-the-devil-you-know than out of love for the people who run it.
That isn’t to say it’s all bad in the field. Indie Gamer Chick flung me a DM after finding out I was a game journalist asking to write for her website. Unlike Brash Games which was thoroughly a con, it seems like a work of love. Sure I have to pay for my own way, but I don’t mind that. The main stick in the mud is their inability to get Wordpress to work with me, which makes writing for them impossible until it is fixed.
However, this likely makes it seem like my career is in a shambles. In a way, I guess my game journalism career has fallen apart and is burning in the mistakes I’ve made. Yet, from this a new venture is hopefully being born. Since November I’ve been learning to code in C# in Unity. It’s a very slow process, but an enjoyable one actually. There’s a strong hope if I keep at it that maybe I could even bag a job doing coding, or at least make a video game I’d adore to see being made.
That isn't to say some games I'd like to see made aren't being made.
I also spent this month working on a Darkest Dungeon mod. It is a new class called The Duelist designed around being a glass cannon that focuses on riposting. The art/animation is nowhere near finished and there is definitely a need for balance, but the basic coding is 90% done. It’s honestly awe inspiring to see a project I’ve made come to completion.
This is layered upon getting a job finally. I knew I needed to get a proper paying job one day, and knew my experience working at a day centre would mean care work would be a good way to go. However, for a long time people would look at my lack of personal care experience and brush me off, including a day centre who specifically said that’s why they couldn’t hire me. It got desperate enough that I got an interview with a nursing role, just so I could get personal care experience. They even offered me the job, even if the manager I spoke with raised countless red flags (including playing “guess the symptom” with my mental health condition). I was even offered the position.
It was then lucky that an interview at a residential care home for adults with learning disabilities came through. About 5 months in, I still consider myself so fortunate to get the job. Sure the pay could be better, the hours are pretty dogshit (14 ½ hour days are semi-common, and can be combined with sleep-in shifts) and I’ve had some minor clashes with staff. That said, it’s genuinely enjoyable work within a care company who does the rare thing of not treating their staff like dogshit.
My step-mum, who is a manager/deputy manager, once was called into an office at work and screamed at (including plenty of swearing). This was by the owner.
Around this period of starting work at the job, I finally begun dating someone. It is still unreal to me, as prior to meeting him my last partner was over five years ago. He’s also my first boyfriend, which compared to dating women there’s a lot of unusual differences. Like there’s definitely a different power dynamic and expectation, as when I was dating a woman there was that expectation of “well, man is dominant and is instrumental”. Not every heterosexual relationship is like that, but I did feel that odd pressure. In a homosexual relationship, it’s very...Take it as you go. You just do what comes naturally. It’s very unusual and brand new, but in a nice way. I also didn’t expect the hardest part of telling my dad I’m dating a guy is explaining the concept of bisexuality. I don’t know, I thought it was a simple idea?
I think that’s it of my 2017. It’s definitely a rollercoaster of ups and downs. While it feels like I’ve turned my back on Destructoid and game journalism a decent amount, I’ve filled with the void with a job, a partner and coding. Is this what adulting feels like? Well, at least I can still play a shit ton of games in my free time. Speaking of, I’ll be writing my top 10 and bottom 10 soon enough. I’ve got some days off after Boxing Day, so I’ll write it up then. I might also see if I can write up more Yellow News if people would like more and if I can think of good ideas.
I hope everyone else’s 2017 have been really awesome and I’m sorry if my comments annoy others. I don’t share the events out of a sense of vindictiveness, but rather a sense of comprehension. I’m willing to bet I’ve forgotten at least one or two major things of 2017, but I’m hoping to learn from the parts I have remembered. Feel free to share your thoughts of 2017!
I hope you have a good Christmas!