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Happy 1st Birthday Blog!

This blog is turning one-year-old today and when looking back at its beginnings, Wow, so many things have happened that I can’t even begin listing them all. I remember exactly one year ago that I was looking at some comments about game blogging and decided to create one given that I like gaming and writing stuff, so a mix between the two would be nice. Besides, I’ve been reading opinion articles, previews, reviews, hands-on and stuff like that about the game industry my entire life so writing my own seemed like a good idea.

I was scared at first, especially if I was going to do a good job with it, how to design the site and all that but fortunately, Blogger dashboard is easy-to-use so someone ignorant in web-design like me was fully capable of putting up a fairly nice site. Also, I was doubtful about how to find followers but everything went fine.

One year ago, I was still into hunting down platinum trophies on my PS3 and to be honest, I was doing quite a good job with it. I remember that I wanted to get as many as I could but by the time this place was created, I was starting to notice that playing games only to get platinum trophies was retarded and that I had my other awesome consoles abandoned because of it, so I radically changed the way I was playing games and it worked wonders.

Still, I’m very proud of some of the trophies I got, especially the DiRT 2 and Final Fantasy XIII ones. But getting easy trophies was seriously affecting my gaming sessions and when I found myself playing crappy games like Sly Cooper for trophies I knew something was very wrong with me.

Ironically, I switched to the Wii after I quit trophy-hunting, just a few days after creating the blog and I spent a lot of time on games like Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Wave Race 64 (Virtual Console version). I remember making some comments about how cool it was that I was playing a lot on a console I hated so much some time ago.

This blog was going to be used just as a diary of my gaming activities originally, but then I started to get ideas about opinion articles, reviews and a small section for my other geeky hobbies: figure collecting and Anime. So I organized it a little more and while much of the content is personal, the big articles are created for the public to read them.

I started to share it around Twitter and managed to meet a lot of awesome people, from fellow hardcore gamers to community managers from companies like Namco and Tecmo. Watching how they worked and how they wrote about gaming gave me a lot of ideas I used for the good of my style and it seems to have worked awesomely. While I have a very little group of followers on Blogger itself, I’ve managed to get a lot on Twitter and Tumblr because of it and I always get positive opinions about my articles. That’s what motivates me to keep working on this.

There are many, many plans that I have for this place but I just can’t put them all up together by myself. During the year I planned to make my own gameplay videos, create a retro section, give more attention to the anime reviews and other things but I had to either cancel them completely or write way too little about those. But I still have those things in mind and with luck; I’ll slowly work on them during 2012. I even had the idea of “recruit” people to work with me on this but when thinking about the long-term scenario, I decided to keep running the blog by myself and it’s going to stay that way.

I’ve reviewed 27 games in 2011. It sounds like a little but it’s actually a lot of titles. I’m very surprised myself to have written about so many great games in only a year. Many of them impressed me a lot and I completely loved them while others disappointed me a little. The highest scores I gave were a couple of 9.8 out of 10 for Forza 4 and Halo Reach and the lowest ones were a couple of 7.5 out of 10 for Star Fox 64 3D and Ultimate MvC3.

The first game I reviewed for the blog was Donkey Kong Country Returns, I gave it a 9.25 out of 10. When I read that article, I laugh at how my style for writing has changed over a year. My newest ones seem more serious and take much more stuff into consideration. Still, I think my early reviews are excellent and I’m very proud of them… Actually, when thinking about it, my reviews for Tales of Vesperia and Final Fantasy XIII are older than the one for DKCR but I didn’t have the blog when I wrote those so I simply posted them on Facebook notes and then put them up here.

The game reviews are probably the most important articles in the site. They were the ones I worked the most on and took the most of my free time. I played the games not only to have fun, but to analyze every aspect of them to actually elaborate a good opinion. In fact, some of my gamer friends over Twitter refer to me as a “passionate game reviewer” and I love how that sounds.

Reviewing games no matter what console, franchise or genre they come from is a really amazing thing and makes me realize even more how beautiful and diverse this hobby is. Over the last 365 days I drove awesome cars, fired thousands of guns, killed hundreds of monsters and KO’ed dozens of enemies with martial arts and I can’t help but feel happy about it. I’m extremely proud to be a gamer.

Just like this year was, 2012 will get as many reviews as I can write. As I mentioned before, I’ll most likely pay more attention to older games next year given that I won’t spend much money on gaming stuff and that there are old games from this very generation that I feel I need to write about, like Bioshock 2, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep and many others.

My opinion articles didn’t get much attention from myself sadly, I wrote several ones like the anniversary of the Zelda franchise, the N64 and one with my reasons for hating FF8 but I really didn’t pay much attention to these. I have plans for many that I’ll write during 2012, out of my head I‘m thinking about a pro-Final Fantasy X-2 article and others defending or hating other games. I was way too objective with my reviews in 2011 (and they will still be as objective as possible I promise) so I’ll give myself the opportunity to be a little subjective with more opinion articles next year.

For the anime section, I promise to work more on it. I saw a lot of cool series (actually a little, just the ones I reviewed) and there’s a mountain of DVDs on my room waiting to be used. I’ll slowly but steadily watch all those and write about them. In fact, watching more anime is one of my 2012 resolutions. Ah, I think it’s time to mention that the most visited article in the entire blog is my review for Queen’s Blade, I find that really funny and makes me wonder if I’m the only one out there who openly says liked the series.

2012’s first mayor article will be an anime one, a review for Code Geass. I’ve been holding it since June but I just can’t bring myself to watch the entire series. I usually just play games, watch something else on TV or spend time with my girlfriend and buddies on my free time. Watching long anime series is not my thing but I actually like Code Geass a lot and want to give it justice and write the cool article it deserves.

But not everything was so great, there was a time when Blogger as working properly, around the July-October gap when I simply couldn’t access the site at all and was having a lot of trouble with it. I even thought about buying a domain and moving the entire thing away but fortunately, the tech support forums were really helpful and fixed the issue just days after I asked about it.

I’m very happy about how this place has shaped up. Many things are going to change in 2012 and to start it; the name of the blog will no longer be “Mike’s Gaming & Life”. In fact, that was something silly I made up when Blogger asked me to name the site and since everyone calls me Mike and the blog was going to be about my gaming sessions, I called it that. But during the entire year I’ve been thinking about another name. Several ones came up but I’ve finally decided for “The Nibelheim Post”. For the ones out there who don’t know, Nibelheim is the name of the hometown of Cloud Strife, the protagonist in Final Fantasy VII, one of my favorite games of all time. And the “post” is because it’s a site about gaming articles, just like a newspaper, so I think it’s a cool name for it.

I have also been thinking about creating a separate Twitter account exclusively to share the mayor articles from the blog to avoid spamming my own followers there. I’d still share stuff from here in my personal account but having a separate one would be great to share articles several times a day without fear of my non-gamer followers getting pissed at it. I don’t like to be spammed on social networks so I won’t do it to anyone.

My experiences here have been really positive and I’m going to keep working on it. I send my regards to everyone who has supported me on this by giving me ideas, telling me I’m doing a good job or simply sharing the site on their own. 2012 is going to be great in this place so if you read this blog, stay tuned and participate more.

Happy 1st Birthday Blog!

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