[2010s] Best of the Decade: Games

Video games may be super lame, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been a very important part of my life in the 2010s. So with that in mind, I’d like to feature some of the very best the past ten years had to offer. It won’t be comprehensive and it won’t be ranked, so don’t try and argue with me because I left off Dark Demon Hunter X 🙁 It’ll mostly be limited to one game per series/creator/whatever so that I can talk about many different types of games.

First, honorable mentions for very good games that I liked a lot: Mario Odyssey, the excellent adventure platformer; Shovel Knight, the superb adventure platformer; Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which could theoretically be a platformer; and Fire Emblem Awakening, Game & Wario, Stardew Valley, and Into the Breach, none of which are platformers in any shape or function.

As for the main entries:

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Newtype Coffee…?!

I was in Nagoya, a city with considerably higher vending machine diversity than my town back in Tohoku. You really never know when you’re gonna stumble on some weird limited edition drink in some back alley machine set up for the can collectors next door, or one really weird edition in one machine among a row of five different ones.

And on this day I stumbled on the Newtype Coffee. What does it mean? What could it be? It’s a Gundam drink with not one, but TWO can designs. And it’s sold exclusively as a warm coffee, so you can use it to heat up your hands in the blistering 12-degree-celsius mornings of absolute winter wasteland Nagoya.

I got three of them, because I have basically no impulse control and also because I wanted to tell you, yes you, exactly how this drink tastes so you can find it if you so want.

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[2012] Sburb OST: Sometime Fan Projects Succeed

Fan projects usually fail. They’re usually not very well thought-out, being too ambitious or too unfocused. They invite way too many people onto the project, with way too many people who don’t actually have any inclination to contribute beyond “ideas” or whatever. I’ve personally been a part of multiple projects that have failed in exactly this way, including ones where I was one of the people who dropped off quickly as an “ideas” person.

Because of all of that, I continue to be extremely proud of what the Homestuck fandom was able to accomplish at its peak, especially in the fan music community, and there’s no better representative of that than Sburb OST, the coolest fan album to have ever been made.

If you haven’t read Homestuck, this will make like 20% sense at best, but Sburb OST is the fan-made soundtrack to the Sburb “video game,” to a generic fit-all Sburb session. It tried to take listeners through a typical Sburb session and all its aspects. It makes genericized versions of the Homestuck leitmotifs, and introduces entirely new ones, all of which pop up throughout the album. The song art even takes us through a sort of story that features the same characters (stand-ins for the musicians I believe).

It’s really ambitious, and better yet, it actually exists. It was actually completed, mastered, and released. There was a bit of drama throughout production, and it took over two years to complete, but it actually came out, and that’s what matters.

Also, the music is good. Take a listen:

[2015] Gay Marriage Happened

We look back at the past decade of American history and remember, oh wow, gay marriage was only legalized like five years ago. The entire culture has changed around gay marriage so rapidly that it’s hard to remember that, in 2010, only a couple of states allowed it. Being LGBT+, even in the most open of online communities, wasn’t generally something accepted.

I think it’s awesome.

Gay marriage has so completely changed the rest of the United States that it’s made every other place on Earth without it look like ancient barbaric wastelands. Japan, famous internationally for its comic books about boys kissing, is treated more and more backwards with every passing year, and honestly, it’s probably deservingly so.

The fact that I can write a gay romance web novel (I have no shame so here it is) and share it with friends and family and none of them will bat an eye… It’s not even something I had considered until I sat down to write this post, and it’s honestly bewildering me now. How did things move so quickly? How did it normalize so permanently?

I mean, it’s not like LGBT rights have improved THAT much in the past decade. We still have people act like it’s an unholy abomination and comment gladly on Facebook with their “I have a gay relative, so it’s OK that I can say this” posts. We still have transgender people treated like second-class citizens who can’t even use the bathroom for fear of retaliation. For all of that, I don’t want to praise the world TOO much. There’s still an extremely long way to go.

But gay marriage? The ability for same-gender couples to come together and start a family and live in harmony? It’s like… Dang, that’s a completely regular thing now.

Nanoha and Fate, trailblazers for the entire decade for gay rights