Closing the Door on 2012
2012 has been a tough year for me. It’s the first time since 1991 that I haven’t held a job for an entire year. My self-confidence has been wavering most of the year. I’ve had to sell off a lot of my belongings to make ends meet. Fighting my battles with anxiety and depression this year has largely gone against me, though I’ve managed to crawl to the finish line and see the year end and another one begin.
It’s important to note that 2012 wasn’t all terrible. Turning 40 wasn’t as bad as I feared, though it got tougher after the first few months. After nearly giving up on writing for good, I found an opportunity to get back into the fold and had a decent year of output. I returned to Los Angeles and E3 for the second year in a row, and met up with people that I have great admiration of and respect for… people like Andy Eddy, Dan Ryckert and some members of the Game Informer editorial team, Marcus Beer, Kevin Dent, Dan Hevia, Jesse Divnich, Michael Pachter, members of Zen Studios, and many others. I got to review some good games this year and got to enjoy lots of pinball experiences. I returned to college for the first time in more than 20 years and wound up with a 4.0 GPA in my first semester back.
I think the most important thing, to me, is that I realized some things about myself.
When I was preparing for my 40th birthday, I found out about some videos from a personality known as Pat The NES Punk (Pat Contri). I was really big on the NES at the time, and watching Pat’s video series not only brought smiles to my face but they also began what’s become a personal transformation as 2012 went on. I found myself wanting to focus my time and attention less on today’s video game scene and more on what I found was a growing and close-knit retrogaming community. When a surprise gift of a Nintendo Entertainment System arrived just prior to my birthday, the dominoes began to fall. My mom’s gift to me was to help me build a small collection of NES games to start with, and I slowly built that collection over the remaining 7 months of the year. My retro collection had started to build a month prior with a Super Nintendo Entertainment System that I’d purchased thanks to a great deal from a relative, but the NES really sealed things… and I got a Genesis with birthday money soon after.
Even though E3 was a very exciting and unforgettable event in June, I kept feeling myself drawn back to my older stuff. I pulled my collection of NES manuals out and sorted them, sharing pictures online occasionally. I began talking more and more about my collection and older games, pointing out memories and what used to be. I wrote a lot about it here and used Twitter to share my enthusiasm quite a bit.
I was realizing that I could still have a passion for writing or sharing content. I was just changing my focus. It was probably overdue, since I’d been spending way too much time on Twitter and here on Consoleation complaining about everything that I disliked about modern console gaming. I could have been spending that energy on more positive things and maybe making a bit of a name for myself… maybe not to the extent that Pat Contri has worked so hard to get to, (or any of the personalities from Retroware TV, which has become one of my go-to websites this year) but instead just present myself as a knowledgeable, passionate, and decent writer. That’s where the decision for my top 2013 resolution comes in.
I’m likely never going to make a living as a writer, but writing for me has never been about the money. It’s been about sharing my knowledge and experience, networking with like-minded people, and maybe being in the same conversation as some of those who worked hard to become professionals. When I met the people I mentioned at E3 and they knew who I was… it made for a humbling and special experience. It was a dream scenario for a guy who’s played games for most of his life and who has been given the opportunity to write a few things to know that his work and words have been read by people that he looks up to and has been inspired by.
Despite all of my personal trials and tribulations, I have a lot to be grateful for when I look back on 2012 in its waning hours. I’m grateful to my family for keeping me afloat despite having zero income and for supporting me in my quest for a college degree. I’m grateful to Nathan at Popzara Press for affording me the opportunity to contribute work as an aspiring analyst, going on gut instinct and retail experience rather than professional experience and a business degree. I’m also grateful to Nathan (and to Chris Mitchell) for getting me out to Los Angeles and into E3 this year, making a dream come true yet again. I’m grateful to all of the people who took the time to meet and talk to me while I was at the show and strengthening my belief in myself. I’m grateful to all of my followers and readers on social media who sifted through all of my complaining and railing this past year, offering their support, insight, and conversation.
Finally, I owe all of you who have taken the time to read Consoleation at any point this past year a debt of thanks. 2012 was this blog’s best year ever, with 8,100 page views and 600 unique visitors. Consoleation is on the cusp of breaking 24,000 page views in its lifetime, which is a big deal to me. When I started it back in 2008, I didn’t know what direction it would go in and basically used it as a supplement to my writing work elsewhere… but now it’s an independent entity and I’m humbled that a blog from a relative unknown could see nearly 25,000 page views. That is thanks to you, and it means more than any words could possibly express.
As I ring in 2013, there will be changes, as I alluded to with my 2013 resolutions. I’m looking forward to my new direction.
I wish you and yours the very best in 2013: success, health, and all good things. I hope that you enjoy closing the door on 2012 and opening a new one for 2013.