2019 [IRL]

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And there goes another year an entire decade. Turns out my early twenties ended up being only slightly less confusing than my early teens, and I’m cautiously looking forward to see what I will write about my early thirties. Hopefully instructions on how to obtain more of this mythical adult wisdom. But more on that later – here’s 2019 in review.

Wörk

We’re almost there. Starborne is going live this April, and I’m really excited to see the work that all of us have put in over the past few years finally paying off. I’m pretty much operating on autopilot at this point, so it’s a great relief that we’ve wrapped up feature work. Who knew polishing could be this relaxing!

Unfortunately, I am severely burned out as well. In hindsight, my post from last year raised a bunch of red flags and I should have seen this coming. If there’s one thing to take away from this post, it’s this:

For many, game development is a passion job. You’re working more hours for less pay and have poor job security compared to an average software developer. Be very careful about overworking yourself and losing that creative spark. Because once it’s gone, there won’t be much else keeping you here.

List of Various Stuff of the Year

Vinland Saga 📺

I can attest that this is one faithful anime adaptation. It’s also been fun to pick up the series again with a bit more background info on the depicted time period as I’m living in Iceland. If you’re a fan of grimdark historical fiction, give it a watch!

Parasite 📺

How do I even describe this one? It’s a Korean thriller about income inequality. Kind of like Snowpiercer, now that I think about it. But a little less on the nose with a little more subtext. Anyways, it’s quite good.

Chernobyl 📺

Chernobyl masterfully builds up tension around the disaster we all know will happen. But once the spectacle is over, the gaze shifts towards the human casualty caused by the bizarre environment that is the Soviet state apparatus.

Total War: Three Kingdoms 🎮

This has become my favorite entry in the franchise surpassing even Shogun 2. The game features smooth combat, a refined diplomacy system, a fantastic campaign map and a great amount of depth and polish in almost every sub-system present – basically, it’s everything I’ve wanted from Total War.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 🎮

I’ve finally gotten around to playing the latest Zelda entry, and it is absolutely fantastic. This game single-handedly raises the bar for open world games moving forward because it does exploration so, so well. Deserved system seller right here.

Jackbox Party Packs 🎮

We played a ton of these during game nights at the office, and if you enjoy degenerate low-brow humor it’s one of the best party games to have on hand. The sheer ridiculousness that poorly drawn phalluses can produce is truly something else.

AERO 15 OLED 🔌

What can I say? I picked up the refresh after purchasing the 2018 model, and I got what I wanted: High performance, great display, decent IO in a non-gamer chassis. It’s been my daily driver for 6 months now and I’ve really taken a liking to it.

Mate20 Pro 🔌

This is still a great phone. In many ways it was even better than the Samsung Note it was competing against. However, Huawei ending up on the entity list and losing support from Google killed its mobile future and taught me three important things:

  • Globalization means that I as a European am very much affected by a trade war between two countries on the other side of the world.
  • Google has an unhealthy monopoly on a lot of things, including Android.
  • We’ve reached peak smartphone. For real, what even are the differences?

Pretty basic things in hindsight, but it doesn’t hurt to get a reminder every now and then.

Google Stadia 🔌

As a dev, I’m excited to see cloud streaming become mainstream. As a gamer, I’m excited to see cloud streaming become mainstream. Maybe Microsoft can help cloud streaming become mainstream. Until then, Stadia will join the ranks of Oculus and remain a hard sell.

Closing Thoughts

Looking back, it’s been a very eventful decade for me. I must admit I doubted where I would end up and only managed to find my footing recently. So if I were to cynically describe my current career path, it would look like so:

  • I dropped out of middle school
  • I got a useless degree from a private school
  • I failed to get a desirable job

Of course, I’m doing much better than these three bullet points would ever imply, but I think it highlights something important I came to grips with over the past few years: Success is pretty damn relative.

A prestigious degree, fancy job title, high salary, shiny car, lots of sex and a nice house: That’s how success was quantified in my teenage environment, but I was never able to buy into the hype.

Don’t get me wrong, those are all great things to have if you want them. But I saw them as pleasing milestones and not the abstract endgame I wanted to work towards. So the more I thought about it, the less I thought of the academic path I was on.

Thus began the process of letting go of things I pretended to care about, and replacing them with things I pretended not to care about. Of course, I was a rash teenager at the time and in hindsight a more strategic approach may have been preferrable.

But rather than the specific choices I made, what stuck with me most was that I had agency over my own life for the first time. I also learned that the pursuit of your own happiness is sometimes incompatible with making people you care about proud, which is okay.

As a result, I became much less judgemental about others while being fortunate enough to genuinely enjoy what I do on a daily basis. Now that doesn’t mean I’m any less ambitious, and I’m excited to do all the things I have to do in order to end up where I think I want to end up.

Long story short? It’s never too late to change direction, so do whatever the fuck it is you want to do in life.

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