2017 was a year of exploration for me. I did a lot of things differently compared to previous years, some of which included:
Work in general was a bit of a downer. Had a few department changes and went through a couple different managers. Situation has stablized for now, but we still don't have all the tools we need to do the things we want to do. Hoping this year will be a better one, otherwise, it might be time for a change.
Speedrunning as a general community is by far one of the better gaming oriented communities I've come across. However, I have mixed feelings about its current state. I believe people are generally supportive of one another, but I've found this is largely dependent on what subcommunities you're in, if they even exist.
If you run obscure games, only retro games usually have a good support network, even if nobody else runs said game. The best chances of getting a nice support network appear to be from running popular games or retro titles. Running niche/obscure modern games that nobody runs will not offer much in that department.
Ultimately, I feel that you'll have to expect little to no viewership if you want to speedrun obscure modern titles, and this is something I wish would get more exposure. There are a lot of opportunities to get exposure for you and your game with the advent of online marathons, but I feel marathon organizers could do a better job with the variety of their game selection. Far too often, I've seen the same games time and time again get in various online and IRL marathons, while the obscure games get left in the dust. I don't believe it's impossible for modern niche runners to ease their way into the community however, but it requires more work and possibly exploring different avenues of the community, such as random tournaments and races that pop up from time to time. This is something I'm going to try doing more in 2018.
I also believe that speedrunning is too scattered as it is. While it has to be that way due to the nature of the hobby, the one thing I feel could be improved is the ease of finding upcoming and ongoing events in the hobby. This is usually the main thing that has the potential to unite all the various speedrunning groups, and there isn't really a good, organized way to find out everything that's going on as it currently stands.
I bought a LOT of video games this year, and probably played/beat about 20% of that amount. Doing the speedrunning thing a lot more definitely put a damper into the time I spent playing new games this year. The irony that comes with speedrunning is the amount of time you sink into your speedgame to reduce the amount of time a single attempt takes, which means sacrificing time for casual gaming.
As far as 2018 is concerned, I'm planning to devote more time to learning new skills and going out more to meet more people IRL. Anime conventions are nice, but I always felt that it was difficult to meet people there unless you cosplay. I'd like to do more things with this site in all honesty, but I think learning proper web design should be priority if I'm ever going to upload more content.
Some of the other things I'm considering pursuing include learning Japanese, using GameMaker/Unity to learn the nuances of making a video game, and romhacking.
Regarding video games, I want to try out and beat more new video games. The backlog isn't getting any smaller, and the games aren't getting any shorter. There isn't any game I'm particularly interested in trying to route/speedrun other than Disgaea 5 right now, so this should be easier to do this year.
Getting a better network is also something I'd like to work on. Most of the time, I've felt that I've put in a little more than what I've received in return, and I'd like to find people who are a bit more on the giving side.
Since I fall under the umbrella of running a niche modern game with no runners, it's a lot more difficult for me to get exposure for myself and my work to other speedrunners. Thankfully, there are events out there that do cater to my interests.
There are things called mystery tournaments going around, which involve playing random games you've probably never played before. I'll be joining most, if not all of them, as I see them as a great chance to try out new games and maybe find hidden gems in the process.
For speedrunning goals, my main desire is to get Disgaea 5 accepted into both GDQ/RPG Limit Break. It's a great and unique RPG speedrun for many different reasons, and I'd like to change the general perception that the series is too long and grindy through playing the game at these live events. I plan to attend RPG Limit Break 2018, as I've already attended both GDQs, and the environment seems more akin to what I'm looking for in these events.
Getting a game into AGDQ 2017 was nice and all, but the best thing about that particular game was the memes. I would like to get a game in that I'm more passionate about due to the game itself, and Disgaea 5 is the perfect game for that.
Whatever happens after that is still up in the air, but it depends on whether I find a game that really clicks with me like Disgaea 5 has. I may look into Disgaea 4 Vita once I get runs of Disgaea 5 that I'm satisfied with. My final goal for the game would be to do what I call the 'ultimate run', which involves 100% Trophies + defeating the hardest boss, Carnage Baal.
Overall, 2017 was a step in the right direction, but I wouldn't call it a breakthrough year. The main takeaway is that I made the most out of the opportunities I was given and tried new things.
2018 will hopefully be that year that I finally sort out what I want to do in the long term.