When New Year’s Day was right around the corner, I noticed a trend in the various social media platforms I use. Many of these platforms popped up special “year in review” features encouraging me and other users to revisit fun experiences from the past year. I’ve always found it entertaining to reflect on the past year as the new one comes in, so I appreciated this kitchy gimmick. This year, one of the things that I enjoyed reflecting on was all of the blog posts I liked in 2017.
Welcome to a special week-long New Year’s celebration dedicated to YOU! This week, I’m sharing a year of my favorite blog posts written by the WordPress community in order to recognize your contributions to the wonderful blogosphere that we are all part of. If you missed Day 1, be sure to check it out (Day 1 contains a more thorough explanation of this festive special)! You can also check out days 2, 3, 4, and 5 for more of these amazing blog posts.
Today, we’re taking a look at blogs from October and November. Keep an eye out for more posts throughout the week. I hope that you enjoy reading these as much as I did!
1. Anyone interested in Half-Life, whether you’re a fan of the series or are interested in playing it, will appreciate The Moronic Cheese Mage’s review of Half-Life 2. The review takes a thoughtful look at the game’s history and the reception of its predecessor, Half-Life, followed by a thorough review of the game. The Moronic Cheese Mage examines in-game tropes, the game’s higher difficulty level (compared to its predecessor and other games of the time), and feelings inspired by the game’s soundtrack, among other topics.
2. The words “mindfulness” and “gaming” usually don’t appear together in the same sentence. However, mindfulness and gaming are two highly compatible concepts, as discussed by Jay Borenstein in On mindfulness and gaming: why I main the monk class. In the post, Jay talks about the significance of monks in fighting games, from the attention that they bring to the concept of harmony in the face of violence, to finding harmony in difficult times. (Another well-done post from The Nerd Speaker that I would recommend is Zen and the art of Super Mario Bros. 3 Speedrunning).
3. Although I don’t find many chances to write about it, my appreciation of art extends beyond the realm of pop culture. Water colors and trees have to be one of my favorite medium-subject combinations, which makes it no surprise that one of my 2017 favorites is Woohoo, I’m Finally Finished! (The Winter Sun and Bathing in a River of Poison) from The Things I’ve Seen. The post contains two finished watercolor pieces, and offers in-progress glimpses of the works as well. (Another favorite of mine is the Without a Bubble series)
1. Gamers know that some videogame mechanics really don’t make much sense when analyzed too closely. They also know that sometimes, analyzing the mechanics that make our games fun can be its own form of entertainment. In Immersion and Odd Mechanics, Geek.Sleep.Rinse.Repeat offers a humorous look at strange mechanics from Commandos 2: Men of Courage, The Last of Us, Assassin’s Creed, and Far Cry, and throws in a few general gaming mechanics as well.
2. Twice over the course of this New Year’s Special, I’ve referenced my appreciation for posts that use literary or critical theory lenses to analyze pop culture content. With that in mind, I must share a queer theory piece that I rather enjoyed from Rita Kim Illustrations: Rhetoric Essay: Queer Theory. The essay applies queer theory to the yaoi/boy’s love genre, discussing historical implications, ideals of beauty, and the seme-uke trope along the way.
3. Animal Crossing fans might have noticed the release of the mobile game earlier this year. I myself have never tried a title from the series, but have always wanted to, and found the mobile game a delightful introduction to what the series is like (albeit, a highly abridged introduction). The Final Fourteenth Mage wrote a fun review of the game following its soft release in Australia, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. I enjoyed reading this review, and found that it touches on many of the mechanics that I both like and disliked from the game.
Do you have a favorite blog that you’ve written or read from October or November? I invite you to share it in the comments! I’m always excited to read new posts.
And as always, if you have a literary device you want to know more about, or a game, comic, show, or movie that you want to see make an appearance on the blog, leave a shout-out in the comments!