It probably doesn’t need to be said that 2020 has been a wild ride and not the best kind. Anything terrible or unbelievable that has happened to us personally or to the world at large will almost always be blamed on the year itself. We’re exhausted, frustrated, and maybe less optimistic than we were 10 or 20 years ago. At this point we would be glad to rush the end of 2020 in the hopes things will somehow look up in 2021. Whether or not it will happen remains to be seen, and there is that ever persistent fear nothing will change no matter how hard we try. Despite the turbulent year I do try to find some pockets of sunshine and reasons to celebrate. This month marks the anniversary of the simpleek blog.
Retreading video games you started years ago, but never finished, brings forth a number of feelings. It’s like someone you met briefly but never really got to know better, or recalling memories that now seem vague and hazy with the passage of time. Since the pandemic has forced many of us to stay at home longer than we would have under normal circumstances, it has opened up opportunities to shift your attention on other activities that used to be deemed as “I’ll get to it eventually.” The much older video games in my backlog have been getting a lot more love and attention in recent months.
Making the most out of a crap year means retreating into the things that give you a measure of joy and escape. Being stuck at home a lot of the time has encouraged me to revisit video game backlogs and select games I’ll want to pick up again after not touching some of them in months or years. When I’m able to fully focus my attention on one game I accomplish a lot. Recently I finished playing The Witcher 2: The Assassins of Kings, and I’m thoroughly impressed with the work CD Projekt Red had put into this 2011 game.
When you’re playing any video game and you’re looking to tick off a number of quests from your to-do list, you highlight the quest you’re in the process of finishing and then consult the in-game map to know exactly where you need to go to get to your destination. Most maps are straight-forward and allows you to place a marker at or near the area you want to be. But when a map is poorly designed or just too damn difficult to understand, then it makes your task much harder to complete.
Seasonal transitions often means doing a little rearranging in your closet to store away clothes that are no longer appropriate for the current weather, and digging out the ones that are. When the dog days of summer leaves us to make way for autumn’s cooler embrace, I always look forward to pulling out my warm sweaters and comfy boots. Due to the current pandemic, our fall season over on the east coast of the United States is looking a lot different this year compared to last year. I’m still very much working from home, and the only time I do go out is for walks or takeout on nights when I want a break from home cooked meals. When looking presentable for a short time out is necessary, I’m looking for fun ways to match the cloth masks I have with whatever outfit I have on.
How we remember things begin to get a little hazy with the passage of time and age. Details are harder to recall, or you remember moments with such clarity while the rest kind of fade into the background. Dontnod Entertainment’s recent video game Tell Me Why explores the memories we remember or the ones we like to forget. How do you move on from the past when your own mind won’t let you until you confront the truth of what really happened?
The constant plight of gamers has always been having too many games and so little time to play them in. Games will be partially started or not started at all. Many of them are in various stages of progress, and you’re lucky if you ever actually finish a single one. Completing a video game has always been a cause for celebration for me because I take a really long time to play one. A video game I had the honor of finishing was Gone Home on the Xbox One from The Fullbright Company, and it was one of those games you don’t know what to expect.
One of the silver linings I found during this time of great upheaval and uncertainty is my easy access to a variety of reading material. Thanks to a small, but sizable pile of books I have in my unread pile, I have been ticking off books as read in the last few months. After discovering an Amazon Prime membership also entitles me to add a maximum of 10 e-books from their collection, mostly classics and older books, to load onto my iPad through the Kindle app for free, this hungry reader won’t be left wanting for books. As I devoured book after book, a curious pattern began to emerge—the need to swap the form my book took.
Every writer has a spot they have chosen as their writing space. Whether it’s by a window in their favorite cafe or sitting on their bed with a laptop propped on their lap, the location hardly matters as long as you’re getting your story written. Whenever I prepare myself to sit down and write for the day, one of the first things I do is put on some music.
Anime has always been my first love. Ever since Sailor Moon debuted in North America in the 1990s, it became my entry point into the vast and wonderful world of Japanese animation. I discovered Cardcaptor Sakura, Fushigi Yugi, Ayashi no Ceres, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and so much more. Manga followed closely behind, mostly because many of the anime I fell in love with were already based on a manga series. When homework and studying were done during my high school and college years, I couldn’t wait to spend my weekends or vacations from school diving into an anime series I was into. Now with those days long behind me, I find my anime viewing to be dwindling until a great sense of nostalgia (or boredom) nudges me to see what’s currently available on streaming.