2013 was the most exhausting year of my life. I seriously couldn’t go a full season without undergoing some sort of massive life upheaval: In February 1UP died; I got married (legit-style) at the end of March; in May I began working with USgamer; in August our landlord took back occupancy of our apartment, and we relocated to North Carolina in October. All told, there were six separate occasions during the year in which I was away from home for more than 10 days at a time (that’s more than two months of the year), and this trip to Hawaii is my seventh. And that’s not including all the smaller trips I took. I feel pretty displaced lately, in some good ways and some bad.
Despite this, I’m looking back at the year and proud to say that at least professionally, I’ve done the best writing of my career this year. The move to USgamer was a tough choice, but the right one; I’ve been given a lot of latitude to pursue the stories that interest me, and although some of the bigger concepts I have in mind have been forced to sit on the back burner until things settle down a little for me personally, I am sincerely proud of what I did produce. I don’t cross-link nearly as often from here as I did in the early days of 1UP, so I’m throwing up a few end-of-year links to the best stuff I wrote in 2013. You know, in case you care for some reason.
Time, and a Word About Animal Crossing: This game was a big ol’ rorschach blot.
Great Works, Troubling Moments: Is it OK to enjoy a creative work that includes serious insensitivity?
Tokyo, Our Favorite Punching Bag: Inspired by a viewing of Akira shortly before playing Shin Megami Tensei IV.
Breaking Bad is Over, So Where’s the Video Game?: Seriously.
The Classic Gamer’s Tokyo Shopping Guide: Not a new topic, but one that’s changed in recent years. Here’s the latest dirt on the best places to find old games in Tokyo.
Indie Before It was Cool: The Umihara Kawase Story: The professional highlight of my year may have been interviewing the creator of Umihara Kawase. That or hosting Keiji Inafune’s Mighty No. 9 announcement panel.
Who Makes the Best Mario Games?: Not actually a question; more a survey of the different teams who have worked on Mario games.
Crop-Top Chronicles: The Strange History of Konami Ads: Wherein I point out someone else’s fetish.
With Metroid, Indies Do What Nintendon’t: I consulted with a bunch of indie game designers about why they mine the rich concepts of Metroid, a franchise Nintendo appears to have abandoned.
And over on 1UP, I found my not-a-review of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon personally satisfying, if only as a swan song.
And I think all the 2013 in Review stuff I did turned out pretty well, too. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed at least some of my work this year, and I’m hoping to top each of these pieces in 2014.