2016 - A Look Back

  • First things first, if you clicked on this thinking it was going to be list of best releases, or even discussion about them, this isn't the right place. Sorry!

    As we approach the end of the year, the overwhelming sentiment people I'm in contact with have expressed is that 2016 is "the worst year ever," generally citing celebrity deaths and election results as their reasoning. This got me thinking, and although my usual devil's advocate nature kicked in, I have seen this year as one of rebuilding.

    Let's get personal, because hey, why not. The beginning of the year found me without a job, crippled with anxiety, and doubting any self-worth I had gained up until that point. I dusted myself off with encouragement from friends and quickly found an awful job at another soul-crushing call center and dreaded every moment in that building. I would watch Gametrailers videos on my lunch breaks to help ease the pain and I distinctly remember seeing the Bloodborne "10" put up. I was confused at first but a quick gaze through the comment sections gave me terrible news - this crew of lovable fellas was getting shut down.

    I honestly just felt lost. It was a strange experience then, it's a strange experience to recount now. I had formed bonds with people whom I had never met, just from hearing their opinions and ideas on a daily basis. It had become part of my routine and it was stripped away at the time I needed it the most. I would fervently check the Twitter pages of each member that remained when things closed down. I remember starting to browse other gaming sites to try and pick up news and just feeling like I had cheated on my significant other.

    I was on break at work, doing research in the bathroom when bam! I saw it. I'll link the video below but I'm sure we've all seen it by now. I've never felt such elation (especially given my location at the time); it honestly felt more surreal than I could have imagined. A week later, I receive an email from my dream job inviting me on board. I went from "THE WORLD IS ENDING, I CAN'T HANDLE THIS," to "Oh hey, everything is actually really good and better than it's been in years," in a matter of weeks.

    Once the forum was announced, I decided I would do the unthinkable - I would join an online community for the first time in my life. What I was greeted with far exceeded my expectations and interacting with all of you on a daily basis is an absolute treat. There is such an undeniable passion that exists in the content that the Allies create and it overflows here. Even when my gaming sensibilities disagree with an opinion here, I can't help but be fascinated all the same. I can't thank all of you enough for defining love and respect, it's been a life-changing experience for myself.

    I guess the point of this inane rambling is that even when times are dark, things can always change in an instant. You just have to be willing to seize the opportunities given to you. If you share the sentiment that 2016 is the worst thing ever, just try to take some solace in the fact that we at least got to witness the formation of EZA and we're on this crazy rocket ship to the sun together.

    Youtube Video

    Oh, and 2017 is going to be better. Persona 5 hype!

  • @SabotageTheTruth There is a lot that I can relate to here. Not in terms of job but several other points.

    In February, my great-grandmother passed away. Not many can say they knew a great-grandparent well into their 20s, but at least I can say I was. I, too, was a follower of GameTrailers and around that time did I find out about the shutdown. I was distraught to say the least because a group of people that could make me feel better were now, let's call it like it was, disbanded.

    Then March 21 happened and I watched the 12 hour launch stream after watching the above trailer. In a year that has not gone great on a societal level, I too had personal growth.

    Along with other factors, I really wanted to contribute to their Patreon, and to date I'm proud to be a Patron. I've enjoyed pretty much every piece of content I've been able to watch and between shows, streams, and reviews, that's a whole hell of a lot.

    When the forums launched, I too was really tentative. I never had been part of an online community and to date I'm still a hermit of sorts. But I started to post in threads that I felt I could contribute to. Most notably a certain sinister game we know all too well.

    I have been BLOWN AWAY by the positivity I've encountered here. The community Top 100 thread was/is my absolute favorite because I had such great conversations there. I really enjoy the threads I facilitate because I think I've found a group, not all of which I agree with but still, of people who I'm getting to know and it's great

    I even started to submit questions to both podcasts, Cup of Jones, and comments for the community video. And it was and is a jolt of shock and surprise anytime I get something read. For example, I just had a question read on the most recent Frame Trap. That floored me.

    I guess what I'm trying to say, in all of this long-windedness, is that joining the EZA Community is one of the best decisions I've made. So while 2016 will have negativity associated with it, I will always have this place. This group of people.

    Love and Respect <3

  • @Brannox Thanks sir! I agree with everything you just said, that Top 100 thread is by far my favorite thing on here as well. I really should start submitting some questions to the Allies myself, it's something that always slips my mind.

  • Well I am never going to say that 2016 has been a good year... I swear half of my childhood was killed this year...

    BUT I will agree that a beautiful bright light on this year has been the formation of Easy Allies, and this community. I discovered GameTrailers only at the very end of 2015, so I didn't feel the loss perhaps as much as others, but it did suck to find something awesome and have it taken away so quickly. So have the Allies back was great, and this forum was just as good. I constantly try to find communities to take interest in, but rarely are they filled with as much love & respect as this one :)

  • @SabotageTheTruth great post! It's very, very relatable. I plan on doing a more involved post later down the line (I'm drafting a weird personal essay/pop-culture review hybrid that I was hoping to workshop with you all at some point after my grad school apps are over), but I want to share a few of my initial thoughts here with you all first.

    This has been a year of my highest highs and my lowest lows. Unfortunately, there have been so many lows recently that those moments of glory are hard to remember. I really front-loaded my year: I came back from injury for my senior-season at school and contributed in a huge way to our come-from-behind victory against our rivals at conference champs. That was dope. Also dope? Finishing my thesis, which pushed my GPA over the edge to let me graduate with honors. If the year ended then, everything would have been great.

    Unfortunately, life happens. I moved across the world to Japan for what is supposedly a working gap year. That's how I rationalize it: it's only a year, during which time I can push my language skills and finally become fluent. I'm the first of my siblings to 1) live in a foreign country, and 2) "embrace our Japanese heritage." But as much as I can see the benefit of living here on paper, it just wasn't what I expected. I live out in the boonies, which, rather than forcing me to use Japanese on a regular basis, just makes me isolated. It's a bedtown, only ten years old, and going through such a forced demographic shift that it's lost any cultural identity. I live in an empty housing project, surrounded by other, larger empty building, surrounded by rice fields. That's not to say there isn't beauty here. I've seen things that make me stop and just stare in wonder. But some days it's hard to see those things, and I have to force myself to remember why I'm here. I like the school I'm working at, and there are days when I wonder why I've been feeling so bad. Then the company that hired me does something weird, not anything bad or even significant, but something just slightly irksome that I end up overthinking and overanalyzing, and before I know it that one tiny remark has sent me back into a spiral. My philosophy has always been to have a good sense of humor about everything and to try and find at least something that brings you joy in everything you do, and that's still true today. It's just harder than it should be sometimes.

    All of which is to say that I've been really struggling with my anxiety and depression, and sometimes the world throws things at me that make everything even harder to deal with. November has been... not the greatest, but hey. That's life. And I don't want to make it seem like I'm just wallowing in sadness, because I'm not. I'm making strides to try and be a healthier person. I'm coming up on my first month without drinking, which means I'm one step closer to nixing that problem before it gets too far out of hand. I might be lonely out here in reality, but I like to think I've found a nice community in here with all you guys. Like @SabotageTheTruth and @Brannox, this is my first time ever doing anything like this. I would not have joined if I didn't truly believe that this would be different from other online communities, and I certainly wouldn't be posting overlong personal shit like this. In between all of my other obligations, I've started writing for pleasure again, which has helped me reconnect with one of my oldest passions. And, of course, Pokemon came out.

    So yeah, 2016 has been a real mixed bag of a year for me, but it's not a lost cause. Life will always have its ups and downs, and I'm coming to realize that a big change is only making me more aware of the downs, not making them any worse. Plus, and this is the thing that I often forget, I'm young. There's plenty of time for everything to get better if need be. It's all just perspective.

  • Global Moderator

    I can't do other but agree! I normally isn't too bothered to "review" my years, but 2016 feels like its been many deep lows, but also had a few really good highs.

    I were at my last year of university coming into 2016 and a lot of my friends I had gotten during the first 2 years moving to UK went away on different projects so I barley saw them. I remember reading the news of "GT shutting down" and thought to myself "noooo this must be a joke!" ended up seeing most of the live stream whilst having tears in my eyes (yes I can sometimes be emotional). I re watched a lot of their shows and retrospectives as time went on. University were kinda overwhelming the last year and I started to miss home more and more. Then we had the news of EZA and I remember screaming out in joy when seeing the launch.

    Finishing of uni was hard but worked well, graduation day was awesome, even though my dad refused to show up despite I inviting him many times. I spent time with my family that came to visit and the whole week were amazing, just to wake up and realising that I had no job and house contract coming to an end. I had a few good weeks looking for jobs and being with friends until Brexit hit. All of a sudden I felt so.... empty. I didn't feel welcome in the country I had moved to, I couldn't look people in the eyes and I mainly hid away on my room playing games. Then I received a job as a graphic designer which I was so happy about. The problem were that they only payed me for 3 months and then they said "we will see after if its a good fit". Found a new shared house not too far from work and I finally started to relax a bit.

    The 3 months were starting to come to an end so I asked my boss "soo.. any idea if you'll keep me or not?" which he just replied "I don't know, we will see". On the second to last day of my contract he approached me and said "well I can keep you till christmas". so here I am, kinda like it but in one point I feel a bit left out. I over analyse stuff and found myself in a deep low and just thinking that my performance wasn't good enough, I didn't know if I could afford to go home and see my family and so on. I now know that I will have to spend christmas alone in an empty house that will suck loads, but I will manage. I am looking for a stable job now and I try to stay positive.

    I like UK and I feel like I would of failed a bit if I had to move home, but on the other hand that means I would get to see the rest of my family.

    But finding these forums at launch really have helped me a lot. I have been on many communities in my days, but none being so friendly and welcoming as this one! I feel so blessed being here and I carefully wish that some people are starting to recognise me here!

    Here's to 2017!

    Love & Respect

  • @naltmank Man, hearing you describe yourself being stuck in the situation you're in in Japan makes me sad. I know you probably don't have much say in where you live at the moment, and I'm not sure what you're doing for work (JET?) But hang in there man, it can get better.

    It may be weird to suggest, on a video game forum, that you go outside more, but I know a lot of people who have been in your situation and basically have kept themselves sane by getting away from where they live whenever possible. There may be a hiking, surfing, or photography group or something that operates near you. That kind of thing can often lead you to making friends and not getting into a ruthless spiral of isolation. Good luck!

  • @TokyoSlim I'm in a program similar to JET (I was told not to apply to JET because I'm a dual citizen here), but one that pays way less, lol. And I don't mean to make it sound completely miserable here! I do go out a lot. Every day in fact. I make my runs an excuse to "go exploring," and I go hiking a fair bit. The main sense of isolation comes from the fact that my friends and I are all spread out a bit, and we can only see each other on weekends (if then at all). Plus our salary is extremely low, which can make meeting up a bit difficult at times. I also go into Tokyo about one a month to check in on my grandmother and meet up with friends there. It's definitely a big change from constantly being surrounded by friends and teammates, though, which is something I have to get used to.

  • @naltmank Yeah. It's definitely a different speed than HS/College. Lol

    Hope things work out for you! If you can, i know a lot of people that went over to teach made way more money under the table as a private tutor. You gotta have a little hustler in you to work that out though. Good luck!

  • I think once you get to be a certain age, you just kind of fall into a routine. My life hasn't changed much in the past 5 years or so. My last big life changing moment was buying a condo in 2012. Other than that, I worked, I watched movies, I game, I cook.

    This year I used all my vacation time volunteering at film and music festivals and had a blast, even though I was technically taking a vacation to go work for free somewhere else. Highly recommended.

  • Thanks everybody for sharing! I know it can be a little daunting to share things from your personal life on the anonymous beast that is the internet, but again, I think we're part of a pretty stable community here.