What’s up, friends?
As is not entirely surprising to me, OverThinker Y’s been a little bit quieter over the last couple of months; I’ve been working on myself a little bit, working out some Life Priorities, and trying to put my energies into productive things that are good for me to be doing, as vague and odd as that sounds.
Point is, there’s not a lot of content coming out on this ‘ere blog as of late, but that’s not to say I’m dead and buried; here are a few of the things I’ve been up to recently!
Over at The Well-Red Mage, I’ve done some cool things: first, I was invited to appear on an episode of Mage Cast, the Magely podcast, to talk Kingdom Hearts! So if you’ve ever thought ‘Wow, I wonder what that Chris guy sounds like when he makes word-sounds with his mouth flaps’, then this is your chance to find out.
Sticking with the KH theme, I partnered up with the Blue Moon Mage (Blue Williams, @wrytersview on Twitter) to create TWRM’s second ever ‘Dual Cast’ review for Kingdom Hearts 3. That was a lot of fun, and Blue was amazing to work with, so check it out!
And recently, I wrote a brief thingy on Sonic ’06 for a collaboration about some of the greatest games of all time, which just happened to release on April 1st.
I’ve not done any ‘proper reviews’ for TWRM in a while, I notice – the last one was Killer7 in January, a review that ended up being an epic 5,000-worder about auterism, post-modernism, East versus West aestheticism, and all sorts – but I do have one pending review at the moment, so keep an eye out for that.
Elsewhere, just this morning I had my second piece published for Obilisk: a thought piece on save systems and how they can lend themselves to good and bad design. No real conclusion, as usual, but interesting to think about!
That’s about it, I think, but I am also doing some fun stuff more privately on novelling and developing an audio drama, maybe, so watch this space.
More Important Things
I didn’t ask you here just so I could tell you what I’ve been working on, though – quite the contrary. In fact, I wanna highlight some things that other people have been doing, and also say thanks to some people who took the time to recognise that they like what I get up to from time to time.
See, Normal Happenings (esteemed host of awesome collaboration The Games That Define Us, which I was very honoured to be part of, and more recently Tracking Shells, a Mario Kart love-in well worth reading) hosted their 2019 Blog Awards towards the end of last month: there are a few fun categories, and each winner is picked from a pool of nominees put forward by other members of the blogging community.
Annoyingly, I somehow completely failed to realise that this was coming up – otherwise I’d have had a whole bunch of nominations of my own to make! Reading through the final post, though, I was absolutely stunned to see that I’d received not one, not two, but three separate nominations, from three different bloggers, in two different categories. Not only that, but I even won one of them!
What d’ya know? Somehow my odd mumblings about how diversity in fiction is something to be embraced, even by those who personally hate anyone and everyone who doesn’t look and act exactly like them, were considered good enough to win an award! So that was pretty awesome. I’m happy it was that post, actually; some of the things I’m proudest to have written are on the subject of making games more accessible to everyone, meaning open to people with physical or mental impairments as well as culturally inclusive.
It was Lightning Ellen (also known as Livid Lightning these days) who nominated that post, so a huge big-up to her. She’s an immensely cool person, and actually we’ll have some more words to say on her shortly, but first some more huge thanks to Luke of Hundstrasse for nominating me as the kindest blogger (humbled!) and Pix of Shoot the Rookie for giving me my other nomination for most creative blog post (for a PowerPoint presentation put together by Master Xehanort). I’m genuinely surprised and flattered to have received these nods from the community, so… thanks, guys. Oh, and of course a massive thanks to Normal Happenings for pickin’ me and whatnot.
I thought it’d be cool to take a look at the rest of the nominees and winners, since they’re all deserving and awesome people.
Up for Kindest Blogger:
All thoroughly deserving, of course, but there are a couple I know better than others – which is entirely my own fault, and I hope to get to know the rest just as well in the near future – and I can say that each of them does so much for the community without expecting anything back. Ellen and The Gaming Diaries are both always there leaving supportive, thoughtful comments on everyone’s work, making them feel appreciated; that’s something I really wish I had more time for, since so many people are coming up with such great content and I just haven’t been able to spend as much time as I’d like reading what all my fellow blogpeople are putting out there. I know there’s a lot of really insightful, important work being done, so thanks to everyone who’s doing it.
Also, I’m reminded of how many people in this community are just always there for each other; we’re an odd bunch, but there are so many people willing to go out of their way to talk to someone and do whatever they can to help. I think we’re quite open, as a general trend, about how we’re doing with our personal wellbeing and mental health, and it’s really amazing seeing people who are admitting to having struggles still wanting to be there to help others through theirs. Ellen in particular is someone I know from experience to be incredible in this regard, so she’s a thoroughly deserving winner. I hope one day to be able to give something back to her.
Another quick nod while we’re here to Sheikah Plate, by the way, because I keep meaning to make her Monster Curry but haven’t yet got around to it. Seriously, though, her recipes look amazing and I only wish I had more time and culinary skill to make them all!
In the Most Creative Post category:
I’d read two of these before coming across the NH Awards – the Gamer’s Guide to Glasgow, and GGAL’s Blitz entry – and love them both. I’ve never been to Glasgow, much to my shame; I’ve been to Edinburgh and the Westlothian area, where my grandmother grew up, but not Glasgae. If I ever do go, though, you can bet that I’ll try out some of these suggestions – and of course I’ll also be angling to meet up with Pix of Shoot the Rookie while I’m there! As for the Blitztacular, I’m intimately familiar with it on account of it being the entry that knocked me out of the competition, and deservedly so.
As for the two posts I’d not read before seeing them as part of the nominations, Double Jump are as concise and insightful as ever on the topic of gaming awards, and McWriteStuff is someone I’ve interacted with a little bit on Twitter but not really been able to engage with his work too much, and I feel I’ve missed out! His satirical ‘advice’ is hilarious and actually useful, if only by telling you precisely what not to do.
Nominated for Best Solo Blog Post:
I think I had read all three of these already, but they really are all great posts. Ian’s take on the yearly wrap-up, in which he picks a few unusually specific categories and highlights some shining and not-so-shining examples of each, is both funny and informational; The Gaming Diaries’ piece is well-researched and sensitive, reading like neither a critique of the media nor an endorsement of headlines but like an impartial and considered analysis; Kim’s article is typically personal and insightful about the nature of blogging, the pros and cons, and how this hobby can be difficult but can also be very worthwhile.
Again I’m reminded of how we as a community can really rally round people. All these posts are in some way personal, or open up to small small extent about the writer’s life and feelings, and each of these writers is someone I feel very proud to know. Ian and I talk regularly, and he always has something interesting to say; it almost feels like Kim and I are co-workers or flatmates or something sometimes what with how often we can be found chatting; The Gaming Diaries has reached out to me unexpectedly and considerately a couple of times to make sure everything’s OK.
Good Lord, this is a cool thing to be part of.
The winner of this one, by the way, is The Gaming Diaries, and I think this piece really deserves recognition as an example of a proper, well-done, researched opinion feature.
2018’s Best Blogging Collaboration featured:
I had the enormous pleasure of being a participant in all three of these, as it happens! I contributed a couple of posts to the Crystal Compendium, entered the Blitz as Master Xehanort, and was the other half of High Score Haute Couture… which I guess means I owe another huge thank-you to Ian of Adventure Rules for another half a nomination! Blimey.
Now, the Crystal Compendium was a big, ambitious project, but I think it would be fair to say that it was mostly individuals working separately and bringing it all together into a single place only once. As for Blogger Blitz, it was one of the first things I took part of when I was first coming into this community, and it’s just so good. I don’t think there could have been any doubt about the Blitz getting the winner’s spot: every person who takes part is super cool and invested and just having a great time, which really makes it feel like a big family having some sort of incredibly cool party, and Ian’s really got an incredible thing going there.
As for High Score Haute Couture, I’m really glad to learn that people enjoyed it. It was an odd, silly thing that we just decided to do, and I don’t think the specifics of it being a fashion show were as big a draw as the fact that we were just having a fun time being fabulous!
Also, big love to Pix. She’s awesome, and I really need to just chat with her more often outside of when we’re working on something specific. That said, though… we are talking pretty regularly at the moment… I wonder what that could mean? (Watch this space!)
And for the title of 2018’s Best Blogger:
I’ve already given some love to Adventure Rules’ Ian, not that enough could ever be given because he is truly a great human, and Red and I have got to know each other pretty well lately as I’ve been contributing more to TWRM – plus we can sometimes be found having immensely in-depth conversations about all sorts of things, which has been really good.
As for Athena and Jonez, I think I got to know them both around the same time when I was first getting into this community, and both are super cool. Jonez is ever-friendly, insightful, and always shining a light on deserving games that others might not know so much about. He’s critical but fair, which I think is about the best that a reviewer can hope to be. Athena, meanwhile, is one of the smartest people I think I’ve ever come across, and has this way of always communicating these really awesome concepts (which can be really quite complex at times) in an accessible and interesting manner. That’s an underrated skill, but she’s got it in spades.
And finally, the winner, Later Levels. I’m not surprised to see that Kim got three separate nominations in this category; she is absolutely the glue that holds this community together, in my opinion, and is probably the sole reason a whole bunch of us know each other in the first place (myself included). She gets a lot of well-deserved love for the support that she gives to every single person she comes across, but I think sometimes we almost forget that she’s also a really smart person and a great writer as well as being a pillar of the community! It just speaks to the strength of her character, I think, that she can also be so good at writing about games but for that only to be the second best thing she has going for her.
So a giant thanks and well-deserved congratulations and love to everyone who was nominated, to Normal Happenings, and indeed to everyone who did any nominating! Again, check out the original post for full details; it’s worth a read for sure.
Before I wrap up here, I also want to quickly say thanks to anyone who’s nominated me in the past for any of those blog-award-type-things that involve tagging a bunch of people, asking questions, spreading the love and so on. I always appreciate it very much, but I just don’t have the time to answer questions and by the time I’ve done it I usually find that everyone I would want to tag has already been picked by somebody else! I’m ever flattered whenever I get mentioned for any of these, but I think that when they’re mass-tag things they tend not to feel all that unique, so I don’t think anyone minds that I’ve not been keeping up with them!
And… that feels like enough, so thanks for reading and please do check out every single person mentioned in this post. They all deserve it. Heck, if there’s anyone who hasn’t been mentioned, leave me a link in the comments! There are probably hundreds more amazing bloggers out there that I’ve just never come across, but I look forward to meeting them.