If I were to summarize the 2020 albums as I heard them, as I did in 2018, even though everything went to shit, at least we got some good music in many genres. The year started off like any other, with my earlier meandry reviews implying a mindset of getting out in life more to random concerts and such, but after COVID closed concerts and my health problems, well, at least I heard 193 good albums released in 2020.
While writing Part 1 of my PAX 2020 coverage, I wondered: How many more of these essays will I write? I was excited about many games while wrote that essay, but when I continued for this essay… I wouldn’t say it was burn-out as much as playing one disappointing or mediocre demo after another. I think I played five or six demos that I almost instantly disliked? I covered the ones I had something positive to say…
I initially thought of bumping these PAX 2020 essays to earlier publication dates. PAX “Online” happened from September 12 to 20 and these essays will publish in early November. My reporting timing is insignificant since other than some PAX-only demos, all of the information will be archived online… I think? Despite valiant efforts by the PAX staff to recreate the expo feel, I feel that the production quality was lacking in ways that should be improved next year.
Although I wrote about my thoughts on whether playing Pokémon LeafGreen made my life easier in my penultimate essay on this series, that essay was also concerned about the question of whether playing with a strategy guide would ruin surprises for me. No, since I appreciate narrative surprises more than gameplay surprises. Did playing this game make my life easier? Similarly, this question has perspective-dependent answers. I can answer no, and without narrative irony, yes.
My favorite thing about Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! is how it shows developing creativity. Although the anime focuses on a small animation studio of three students producing animated shorts, so primarily dealing with project collaborations within that specific environment, many of the themes can apply to project work in other disciplines or even to solo work. There are elements that aren’t as polished, either intentionally or unintentionally, so it’s not perfect, but, close.
Rating: ★★★★☆ [4/5]
For years, I’ve struggled with ways to balance my vocational work, my avocational work [writing], and my leisurely time. For years, that meant never actually taking much time to play games, relax, or do anything that would help me release steam. I’ve made attempts, through writing, over the years. One such experiment was allowing myself thirty-minute time slots to play games, if I wrote pithy reviews. Those reviews weren’t great, but the thought was good.
Each episode of Sengoku Choujuu Giga is abstract, adapting the historical Choju-jinbutsu-giga scrolls [translating to “Animal Person Caricatures,” or, Scrolls of Frolicking Animals] into 3-minute limited animation poems in anime format. The implied storytelling with its unconventional humor puts a unique twist on teaching real events, possibly. Concluding the first season review from years ago, the episode synopses below will impressionistically recreate the episodes through stylistically poetic interpretations of haiku with interpretive kigo, or maybe not.
Didn’t Kondo Marie already write a book about getting rid of stuff? Why would there need to be another book? Which is the better one? Both have their advantages. Whereas The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up broaches the topic of reducing clutter in general terms, Spark Joy goes into specifics with drawings and applicable examples. If the former book is like an essay arguing a point, the latter book presents the execution on those arguments.
Blood, Sweat, and Pixels by Jason Schreier externalized my experiences with the videogame development industry. Though I wasn’t in it for long, and although I was only scraping by as an independent developer, I tasted just enough of it to wholeheartedly say this book will give you the ugly truth behind beautiful videogames. The work is arduous. If you’re not fully invested, it’s not worth trying, because you must commit yourself entirely. Isn’t that life?
Written as more of a casual conversation exploring the reasons why we keep things we don’t care about than an extensive textbook tutorial about materialism, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Kondo Marie has many simple revelations sprinkled throughout its breezy reading. Unlike the trivial Netflix series that overly dramatizes the unimportant, the book it’s based on wins its merit through asking tough questions, including: Would you be OK with letting this book go?