Oops, haven't posted anything here all year...

...anyways! Here's a little review of stuff I liked in 2023. This was originally a Twitter thread, so individual thoughts are pretty short. I threw in some personal life stuff at the end, too.

Video Games

Ys! I played 1, 2, and 6 this year and I adored them all. I think 2 comes out just *barely* on top for me. I just love bumpslash too much. This quick & snappy action RPG series is one of my new all-time favorites. Can't wait to explore more. Hoping to reach 8 next year.

I got a ton of joy & inspiration from games made by friends this year. Highest on that list is Facets and its prequel novel Wayward. Inspired me to make my own stuff and even make the foolish plunge into NaNoWriMo. Atop the Witch's Tower and Licorice Recoil were also lovely.

I got into shmups for the first time ever this year. I haven't explored much yet, but I've loved digging into the few I have. ZeroRanger was my gateway. Touhou (6 & 8) has been fun to finally see for myself. Hellsinker is a mindbending journey I'm looking forward to continuing.

Visual novels had a strong showing. Butterfly Soup 1 & 2 were easily my favorite. Please go read them! The House in Fata Morgana is something I'm still digesting - gorgeous and devastating. Planetarian packed a lot of punch in just a few hours. I foresee more VNs in my 2024.

Cool indie games lightning round.

The most fun I had playing a video game this year was probably Neon White. The delectable Machine Girl soundtrack is what brought me to the game. Turns out the gameplay, characters, and design are also fantastic. This game repeatedly left me breathless and sweating.

I started my Legend of Heroes journey w/ Trails in the Sky! I enjoyed FC, but it dragged a bit. I started SC the other day (technically '24) and have been loving returning to these chars & places after a break. Still unsure if I'll continue past Sky 3rd, but I'm excited!

There are lots of games not on this list because I either haven't played enough to feel confident in adding it, or I played it after December 15th, which was a deadline of sorts for me. Those games may appear on next year's list! Let's dig into some other media now...


I listen to lots of video game OSTs, but here are some non-soundtrack albums I adored this year:


I watched so much anime... Rapid fire as many favs as I can...


I began my Brandon Sanderson era... I liked Stormlight (got as far as Oathbringer) but went too hard, so I took a break. Really enjoyed The Final Empire though! Outside of the Cosmere, and this is one of my favorite books I've *ever* read: Babel: An Arcane History by R. F. Kuang.

Board Games

As for board games... Didn't play many once I got my new day job. My big shelf of them has become a source of anxiety lately, so I'm not sure when I'll get back to it... but I did have a great time with Madrino this year, as well as my standbys Heart of Crown and Magical Kingdom.

Personal Stuff

For me, 2023 was an emotional rollercoaster I'd rather not ride again. I was in a pretty bad mental place at the start of the year. Then I came across this "How to Make Good Small Games" article, which lit a fire in me to create. Shortly after, I was hired into a video game studio as a game designer. My first full-time salaried job with benefits since 2018! I worked my ass off, I did great work, and I enjoyed it overall. But in October, just ahead of the holidays and only 8 months in, I was very suddenly and thoroughly laid off.

I'm not exactly eager to jump back into that industry. With so many layoffs industry-wide, I'm sure it will be much harder to actually land anything anyways. I feel like The Industry is currently very much at odds with how I view games and creating in general. As society descends further and further into capitalistic hell, I want to reclaim creativity from the clutches of corporations and profit-driven entities and mentalities. I'm reminded of this "Divest from the Video Games Industry!" article, and I feel more compelled than ever to live according the those words I say I believe in. I'm also repulsed by the trends of the tech industry in general. Call me a pessimest, but, as much as I'd love to avoid those things forever, I'm confident that it's only a matter of time before it becomes inescapable. It's bleak out there, especially for creatives. With all of this said, I have no idea what else I could do for work. We'll find out eventually though, I guess!

On a more positive note... I'm more emboldened than ever to make stuff!
(periodic depressive episodes aside)

I participated in my first ever NaNoWriMo this year, kind of on a whim. I made it through, writing over 50,000 words! I'd like to eventually release it, but, to be honest, I'm not sure if I will. It needs lots of editing, and there are some fundamental things about it that I'm uncertain I want to present in their current form.

I'm working on a small Bitsy game with my partner, which I hope to finish my portion of within the next month or two. I'm also converting a short story we made together, formerly just a Twitter thread, into a visual-novel-like format. It's close to done, but I made the foolish decision of trying to make a soundtrack for it... I think that music is maybe... 40% done? I hope I can finish it.

I started messing around in RPG Maker MV recently. I had a single location made up of a handful of maps, and I just started filling it out with things to interact with. I was having a blast with it, and I liked how the little story was shaping up, so I plan to make that into a releasable project too. It will be small and probably combatless. Just a little story vignette of sorts.

I have an itch to make some sort of action game. Probably a shmup. I had a loose idea for one I started tinkering with as a way to learn Game Maker. Not sure if that will go anywhere though. I also recently got an itch to make some sort of puzzle game with a really cozy and/or ambient vibe. Something that you can enjoy just existing in as you work through the puzzles. I want it to have story though, and not be abstract. Something with characters. This is just a nebulous thought floating in my head for now.

Oh, and I got my ears pierced this year. I feel good about it. I'm trying to identify and embrace a little more of whoever or whatever I am.

In Conclusion...

I dunno man. 2023 sucked for basically everyone. Whether or not things get better next year, I hope we can all find somewhere we feel loved and can give love. I hope we can all be true to ourselves and find it in us to create despite and to spite everything around us.

Thanks for reading!