One Year: A Retrospective

Well here we are, one year from the creation of this blog.  March 5th, 2014 was the date of the first post I made on this blog (technically my first post was on February 26th, but that was just an introduction to the blog that I don’t count).  You can see this first post here (or the introductory post here).  When I first started this blog, I didn’t really have a set goal for it.  I still don’t honestly.  It was really just an exercise for me, to keep me practicing my writing skills.

Some of you might remember that the initial purpose of the blog was just to be a place where I could put down my thoughts on a subject each week.  Often I would have thoughts on something that had no real avenue for escape, no real place for expanding on.  So these subjects then become fodder for the blog.  My first post dealt with the paranormal, and how even though I have always been interested in it, I’ve never actually believed that ghosts exist.  I thought it was an interesting bit of my life, and I wanted to share that with people.  That post also featured something that would become a prominent subject on my blog: video games.

Video games are a very big part of my life in a lot of ways.  It’s one of my main ways of blowing off steam, of relaxing after a long day.  It’s also one of the ways I keep in touch with my friends, as we will hop into Skype every now and then to play a game together.  Video games were always more of a social and fun thing for me when I was younger, but I find that I also take them very seriously as a form of media.  Throughout this year of the blog, I talked about various games that I thought showed they could be more than just little entertainment machines, which is what I think most people out there see them as (which is way they aren’t taken seriously).  I mean, the name “video games” has the word “game” in it, which has a whole set of connotations that occasionally prevents the medium from being seen as a legitimate form of expression, especially for those from an older generation.

So I tried to show that yes, there are those games that are little more than the equivalent of interactive actions movies, but there are also games like Gone Home that demonstrate the ability of a game to tackle a subject in its own unique way (check my post all about Gone Home here).  I talked about the preconceived notions that people have about games and tried to show that most of these notions are rather obsolete these days, as games continue to evolve and grow.  We can sit back and continue to judge games based on their surface appearance, but it’s when we look beyond the cover that we begin to see the substance underneath.  Sure, Grand Theft Auto looks like nothing more than a brash, loud, violent game, but underneath all that is one of the most lovingly recreated versions of Los Angeles (called Los Santos in the game) that I’ve ever seen.  There’s so much more going on in the game than just “bang bang shoot kill” if you take the time to see it.  And it’s the same thing with many other games.  There exist plenty of games that are thoughtful and meaningful, if you are willing to look for them.

Gone Home as a game certainly capitalized on a lot of '90s nostalgia.

Gone Home as a game certainly capitalized on a lot of ’90s nostalgia (although the Super Nintendo game pictured here is entirely fictional).

When it comes to games, I also talked about the issue of gamers and their attitudes online.  My most viewed post last year was The Problem with Gamers.  Looking at the stats, that post currently has 137 views, which came as a bit of a surprise for me.  In the post, I talked about how I tend to refrain from playing competitive games online because the general attitudes of people online is horrendously aggressive and mean.  When I used to play shooter games online, I would often here so much rage, cussing, and even racial slurs coming from mouths that I bet were no older than sixteen.  It got to be so much that I just stopped caring and tended to only play online if I had a friend in tow that I could sit in a private conversation with, be it an Xbox Live party or a Skype call.

Another subject I often talked about was writing.  I did a lot of posts that dealt with the nature of being a writer, and a few posts where I just practiced writing.  I started with simple place descriptions, but I did actually write a short horror story for the blog a few months back.  One of the posts I got a lot of response from was The Creative Struggle.  It actually wasn’t a very heavily viewed post (only 17 views on it as of this writing), but I got a lot of praise on it from friends and family who thought it was one of the more personal posts I did.  I certainly enjoyed writing it, that’s for sure

Writing is a very prominent feature in my life.  It’s something I would love to make a career out of.  My dream is to make it my primary job sometime in the future, writing science-fiction stories for people’s enjoyment.  But I also recognize I have a long way to go, as I haven’t even gotten anything published yet.  It’s a hard fight, because no one wants to take a risk on someone unproven.  But the key is to never give up, never surrender (thank you Galaxy Quest…thumbs up for those who know what I’m talking about).

Those were the two biggest subjects I talked about, but by no means the only two.  I’ve written about a lot of different things over the years from movies to religion to politics.  My interests are varied, and I wanted the blog to reflect that.  I started to have some fun with the blog later on as well.  Two of my posts were questions from this silly little book my mom gave me as kind of a gag.  I use a random number generator and take the first five numbers I got, then assign those numbers to questions in the book and answer them.  I wasn’t very serious about it, because I found most of the questions to be kind of……dumb.  But you can take a look at these posts here and here, if you’re interested.

My least successful endeavor for this blog was probably the story analysis pieces.  I did about three of those, one of them more recently because I decided to try reviving the idea.  My first two I wasn’t very happy with because I felt like they were overlong and frankly kind of boring to read.  It’s something I’m continuing to experiment with, so we’ll see if I can find a way of doing it that appeals to both me and the people reading this blog.  It may turn out that writing those kind of things is not my forte, and I’d be okay with that.  But I still want to try and make it work.

The only question that remains is “what next?”  And honestly, I’m not really sure.

I will continue writing in the blog on a weekly basis, but I’m not sure about what I want to change with the blog.  One of the ideas I might implement later on would be an archives section, where I would list my posts by category as a way to facilitate easier reading, because I realize that not everything I talk about is going to be interesting for everybody.  But other than that, I don’t see things for the blog changing very much.  Like I said, I want to continue trying the story analysis pieces, but in a better and shorter format.  But aside from that, I don’t have any real grand plans.

It started as a simple way to write down my thoughts.  And it shall continue.

 

I hope to continue living in Duluth for a long time.  I mean, with views like this, why wouldn't I?

I hope to continue living in Duluth for a long time. I mean, with views like this, why wouldn’t I?

 

Well thanks for reading.  That’s all I have for this week.  One year…time certainly seems to have flown past when you look back.  I would like to thank everyone who continually read my posts.  I’m glad you enjoyed the ramblings of a young man from Duluth with too much on his mind.  I hope you will continue to read and enjoy it.

Tune in next week for another post.  As always, have a wonderful week everyone.

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