I began my last New Year's Day post with "It's the first day of the new year, and 2020's going to be the best year yet. In human history. Probably."
Good thing I made sure to add "Probably", right?
Anyway, let's get to the fun Top Three lists, everyone likes Top Three lists right... ha ha ...
My Top Three TV Shows
1. Alice in Borderland
I love death game manga, that should be no surprise considering the nature of Prison of Lies and Methods to an extent. Any death game anything gets a big head start for me. But aside from that, the show understands what makes death games compelling — atmosphere. I loved the empty Tokyo streets and the feeling of loneliness it evoked, as fantastical as it was. The actual death games themselves had simple twists that I usually couldn't guess — though yes, I'm not great at guessing twists. And the sheer dread and despair of that ending was great. The soundtrack was memorable and put cool twists on various tropes. I liked the ticking motif — usually an overdone gimmick, and yet it had a unique crunchy sound design quality. This is how to adapt a manga correctly. Now if only someone would adapt My Home Hero already!!
A great reboot. There are so many jokes and delivered so quickly that there's bound to be something you'll laugh at. Though it definitely feels like it's still stuck in the 90s sometimes, I don't really mind that myself.
3. Queen's Gambit
Yeah, I'm pretty basic and I also enjoyed the Queen's Gambit.
My Top Three Anime
1. Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!
Shows about making anime/manga like Shirobako and Bakuman are some of my favorites in the entire medium, so Eizouken didn't really need to do much to get me on board, but once I was there, I just loved the characters, design, setting, pretty much everything.
2. The Great Pretender
I don't remember being this excited about an anime in a long time. A little predictable but so satisfying. It has its own unique structure to it. The international setting reminds me of shows like Lupin. I don't know why I haven't seen more buzz about this, I think it's fantastic.
What if Christopher Nolan made an anime? Wait wait wait, where are you going?? Come back!! Anyway, this show is great. Having to figure out the puzzle in each person's head... I feel like this would make a really cool game too.
My Top Three Games
1. Genshin Impact
There are many mobile games that I love, like The Room, Layton Brothers, Hitman GO, Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice — but they get a bad rap in general. I think the medium still has a lot of untapped potential. Anyway, Genshin Impact continues to blow me away. I can't believe it's running on an iPad. But aside from appreciating the technical aspects, I also am really enjoying the gameplay and open world. Somehow they've managed to make every classic JRPG trope exciting again. The way quests are integrated is natural and clever as well. For example, I ran across a broken stairway, and got a random quest later where I helped a guy fix it (badly). It really made the world and characters feel connected to each other.
2. Agent A: A puzzle in disguise
To be honest, I find most point-and-click puzzle games more frustrating than fun. But the atmosphere and cool art style kept me playing this one. It was pretty short too! I only had to look up a walk-through three times!
3. Death Come True
Though it feels a little underdeveloped story-wise, I really liked this — the panoramic interactive view was really cool. The in-universe TV show was a nice idea as well.
At this time last year I still had 35 chapters of Methods left to go. Now with that game finished, Pageturner 3 finished, and another game coming very soon, I think things are in a good place for me going into 2021. However, I definitely did stop pushing myself as hard and as a result made much slower progress.
I'm not sure if that's good or bad — on one hand, you shouldn't push yourself too hard, of course. It's not healthy. And though I had deadlines, I'm my own boss and I could technically completely ignore all of them with zero consequences. On the other hand, if I take too many breaks, it's its own kind of anxiety. I have so many ambitious projects that I want to make that are "queued up" — and the longer I take on one, the further those projects are pushed down the queue.
One of my resolutions for this year is to find the fun again. Recently my projects have felt too much like a grind. It's not that I never enjoy working on them, it's that I enjoy working on them less than I used to. I think that's because I want to be expanding what I can do to the next level — and instead, I feel like I'm not working at my full potential. In 2021, I want to identify and overcome my various creative deficits. I'll be exploring several new approaches and techniques, which I'm sure I will want to mine for future blog post content, so I'll say no more!
Next year will also be the 10 Year Anniversary of LockedOn Games! That's pretty amazing.
Have a Happy New Year!
— LockedOn, 2020.
* Totally forgot Eizouken was a 2020 show, so I updated my list