Pardon my tardiness to the yearly retrospect club. Being punctual with my writing wasn’t one of my new year’s resolutions, unfortunately. However, writing in general was, and this is definitely a great time to reflect on all things that made last year special. Since I’m a self-proclaimed nerd and otaku, I figured it’d be fitting to specifically celebrate all things nerdy that were the highlights of 2013 for myself. I always like to feel “good” to be a nerd, instead of ashamed or reserved, and upon looking back on the year, I even found it a struggle to narrow it down to 13, which is a great sign that I’m living a great life as a nerd. This helps me feel that there’s nothing wrong with my lifestyle, and that it can carve as deep of memories as anything else out there. So without any more delay, before I ramble on to 2015, let me proudly share my defining moments as a nerd in 2013!
13. Street Passing Brandon Jones, the narrator of GameTrailers.com
Working at Disney World, one would expect to pass all manner of important people, but, unfortunately, most celebrities don’t have 3DS’s on them. However, it makes perfect sense that the founder and “voice” of my favorite video game website, would always have his 3DS on him. That didn’t stop me from geeking out when I was running through my daily street passes after work and one of the Mii’s said “I’m Brandon,” and his comment said “GameTrailersVO.” There was no way. The chances were too small. It’s got to be a fake Mii. So I logged onto twitter and found the real Brandon Jones account and there was a tantalizing clue. He had a tweet saying that he was going to be out of town for a week or two and that he wouldn’t be narrating videos during that time. A trip to Disney, I presume? So what follows is the picture you saw above. My first ever celebrity interaction thanks to social gaming technology. I couldn’t think of a more charming way to meet a gaming celebrity.
12. Finally getting the Dark Souls platinum trophy.
This one was a LONG time coming. I had the game at launch in 2012 and promptly beat it within a week and fell in love with it, but more and more games kept piling up, and I had to move on instead of going for the platinum that I so desperately wanted. It wasn’t until early this year that I had an urge to play Dark Souls yet again and I ended up starting the game over and beating it again, but then put the game on hiatus until much later in the year when I simply focused all of my gaming time to getting that trophy. Dark Souls is my utter fascination. That game is an atmospheric, immersive masterpiece, and I wanted to show that I experienced everything from it. The platinum trophy was my proof of that. Until I earned it, I wasn’t a true Dark Souls veteran. When I finally did hear the last trophy chime possible in the game, I gushed with satisfaction and felt like a true gamer. These are the moments that I play games for and I’m glad I had one in 2013, even if it’s from a game that released in 2012.
11. Building two of my favorite decks for Magic: The Gathering.
I build a lot of magic decks. I’m known as the magic guy who lugs a giant cardboard box of all my decks because I’m too indecisive to pick certain ones whenever I go somewhere to play. I roll a 100 sided die to choose which deck I play with, never picking favorites. This year was different, however, because I finally built two decks I’ve always wanted. First was my Planeswalker deck. It’s easily my most expensive deck and packs about 25 different planeswalkers as well as a full playset of Doubling Season which is my favorite card in magic. The shenanigans that deck creates nearly break the game, and I love seeing every new planeswalker that’s revealed to gauge it’s viability to this specific deck.
The other deck is my first ever Commander deck. I bought the pre-constructed White/Blue/Green deck which is my favorite three color combination and transformed it into a flexible, controlling, and versatile contender. It’s technically not my first one, because I had built one earlier this year, but then it was stolen before I even got to play a single game with it. It uses Derevi to great effect for explosive mana ramping into late game control that comes out early thanks to the excess mana. It’s a much more brutal deck than my Planeswalker one, and both are decks I’m very glad to have.
10. Theros launching for Magic: The Gathering
I’m hyping Theros as the block that will become my favorite in all of Magic. Greek Mythology is simply amazing, and Magic R&D’s take on it is even more breathtaking with it’s astounding artwork and greatly themed card design. Since we only have one set to gauge it from, it’s tough to tell how it will ultimately rank among my other favorite blocks, but based on first sets alone…this already has the lead. Containing more of my favorite creature types than any other block, as well as taking place in my favorite historical fantasy setting, Theros is easily on it’s way to becoming my favorite Block in magic. Oh…and it also introduced the first Simic (Blue/Green) planeswalker which is my favorite color duo, and you know why I love planeswalkers.
9. Discovering Disney Quest with an annual pass.
Disney Quest is a five floor arcade located in Downtown Disney in Orlando Florida (And probably other disney location around the world) full of exciting arcade games. That’s what the brochure basically says. To me, Downtown Disney is my home away from home where I can let the rhythm gamer in me let loose. It was introduced to me by one of my first friends I made here who is a long time Pump it Up (dancing game) expert. Full of blinding flashing lights, thumping bass, and 8-bit chirps, the atmosphere in Disney Quest is always exciting and stimulating. I discovered my favorite recent rhythm game there known as Re-rave. This led into one of my most triumphant moments as a rhythm gamer. I walked in one day and saw another gamer playing Re-Rave like a champ. I approached him and asked how long he had been playing and we started talking. Eventually it came to us asking what our usernames were on the leaderboards and I said that mine are all under Lotus. Then he replied, “Ahhh, so you’re the infamous Lotus!”
I blushed. I was very humbled that my name was actually known solely because of the time and effort I put into this game and the fellow nerds that compete for the high score. It was a sign of mutual respect and one that I gladly returned. We became friends and he’s someone that I always keep my eye out for when I’m there honing my skills and perfecting my rhythm gaming craft.
8. Playstation 4 is real and it’s out.
This year was a big year for every hardcore gamer because new consoles were announced AND released within the same year. I’m a Playstation fan through and through but appreciate any company that keeps hardcore gaming alive, therefore I still respect Microsoft and I am still a Nintendo fanboy thanks to the ever-evolving Pokemon. (I did a thing there) Unfortunately I am still unable to afford a Playstation 4 so all I can speak from is my experience with my friend’s own Playstation 4’s. It’s a new generation of gaming full of promise that I hope has more moments like Journey, or new IP’s to fall in love with as I did with the Souls series.
7. Fate/Zero, Hunter X Hunter, and Brotherhood break my top ten.
This year, my top ten was invaded by three new anime that make my list feel all the more epic. Hunter X Hunter crept in at number 6 thanks to the amazing charm of it’s characters combined with it’s surprisingly intellectual storytelling and fights. Gon and Killua have sealed the deal in being the best friendship in an anime, at least to me. Fate/Zero came in dark and heavy and stole the number 5 spot. This anime is absolutely incredible. On an episode by episode basis, this technically IS my favorite anime, but unlike all the others on my list, it has a very sour ending to me that really kept it from being the masterpiece that it seemed like it was going to be. It’s dark, emotional, smart, epic, and beautiful. Finally FMA: Brotherhood came in at number 2, and was easily the highlight of anime for me this year. It was an all-encompassing anime that really made a stronger impression than the original by a long ways for me. I can’t fault a single thing about that anime.
6. Developing friendships with anime and games.
This covers multiple moments of the year, but all of them are basically one simple thing. My friends and I love watching anime and playing games. Whether it was taking as many friends as I could through Fate/Zero and Steins;Gate, or going through the emotional roller coaster that was Clannad with one of my best friends, I enjoyed every moment of bonding with my friends over anime like this. Chief among these was the epic marathon of Full Metal Brotherhood that my room mates introduced me to for the first time. I also met a few new good friends by playing against them in fighting games which is one of my favorite ways to get to know another gamer. And of course, nothing beat setting up three tv’s in the living room and playing through Dark Souls as an entire household. Rock Band also helped make a lot of parties much more enjoyable.
5. The supervisor of my new job is a nerd.
“No one here is going to be into my kind of stuff,” I thought when I arrived for my first day of training at Planet Hollywood. Come to find out, my trainer/supervisor turned out to be someone who loved pretty much everything I do. Video games? Yes. Anime? You betcha. Even…Magic? UH HUH! It turned work into something I could look forward to even more and made certain shifts so much more enjoyable. This ultimately leads into the next post…
4. …and now he’s my room mate.
Surprise. We needed to replace one of our room mates in August so we brought in the very same supervisor and his girlfriend. Now the nerdiness of this house is at an insurmountable height. It has led to many fun nights of Magic, gaming, and anime. It’s always nice to celebrate a new room mate, especially when it’s one that you actually get along with and have similar interests with as well.
3. Shadocon is the best con of the year.
Shadocon was in October and it was the best convention I’ve ever gone to. My favorite thing is to meet cosplayers and take as many pictures as possible, and I did that more than I did at any other con. On top of that, I got to room with four of my really close friends that made even falling asleep an entertaining process of making Key and Peele references. My personal moment of triumph came in two forms. First, my second ever AMV I created won Best Action at the AMV contest. I will be posting that very same AMV in the post after this one! The more important thing was meeting a new friend that ultimately became a new best friend that I am incredibly thankful to have.
2. Tetsuya Nomura double reveals Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III
What. A. Moment. It’s tough to describe the explosion that happened in our living room during our E3 party when this double bombshell was dropped. Our living room was packed with at least 10 people all geeking out over all things E3. When Tetsuya Nomura said he had a trailer, the entire room became silent. My heart literally stopped, this was the man directing the ever-elusive Final Fantasy Versus XIII and many fans have already scoffed at the game’s actual existence. That is until the name “Noctis” was read in the subtitles and we all knew that this was indeed Versus XIII. My jaw dropped. Then my body crumpled to the floor as I witnessed the first new footage of Final Fantasy Versus XIII in years. I literally started tearing up and I was rolling around uncontrollably on the floor watching the TV like a lunatic. This was my most anticipated game since 2006 and they finally gave me new footage on a silver platter. We had enough. The game looked fantastic and the world is absolutely gorgeous. Then Tetsuya Nomura popped up on the screen and said he has one last trailer.
Cue the Kingdom Hearts music. Everyone in the room started shouting out random exclamations of excitement, none of us sure whether we were truly seeing a new Kingdom Hearts. Then it exploded into raw, high definition gameplay footage and we knew that this was the moment almost every RPG fan in the world was waiting for: the announcement of Kingdom Hearts III. My room mate and best friend was literally crying, hunched over the door. We had people hugging on the couch. Honestly, I don’t think the announcement of world peace would have had as strong of an effect on this particle group of nerdy maniacs. It was a reaction worthy of being spread across Youtube had we recorded it. It made me realize that life is amazing to be a nerd living in a constant state of anticipation. I saw all of my friends around me cheering for the same thing I was and it was then that I realized…there is no other lifestyle better for me than what I have right now.
1. Kissing my first kawaii otaku girl.
Where do I even begin? This almost doesn’t qualify as a nerdy moment, but I strongly feel it does because the entire situation is steeped in nerdiness. I saw her at a convention, a place where I am already in a state of feverish excitement. She made me extremely nervous and in any other situation, I wouldn’t have dared said a word to her, but an opportunity presented itself for me to talk to her and I jumped at it, diving head first into a conversation that I wasn’t even sure I could finish. She was incredibly charming, with an adorable cosplay, and a very endearing attitude. She wanted to look like a beautiful anime character and used amazingly artistic make up to do so, and that was such an terrific thing to me. What a genuine and inspirational form of nerdom that was. From that conversation, we struck a really strong bond that already had us feeling very comfortable with each other. Let’s fast forward to the first night I’m at her house. Her room is a gorgeous mural full of exotic Japanese-themed decorations. It’s almost like a mirror, reflecting her own beauty across every wall. We bonded so quickly that this night eventually culminated in a kiss. A true kiss. Not one of emotionless physical attraction, nor drunken misconceptions, but of the fact that we liked each other and we wanted to take that step.
Now, you may be surprised to hear that this kiss was the most that happened between us, but it’s true. That’s not a sad ending, however. She is my best friend, and has done so much to support me, so I’m very grateful for her in any form. We put all of that romance behind us, but when I think about that kiss, I actually find it an incredibly great thing in it’s own right. It was proof that something passionate can happen between two people with nerdy or unique fascinations as long as they just remain true to each other. Maybe by the end of 2014 when I write my top moments for next year, I’ll be able to put something more than just a kiss. Maybe it’ll be the same girl or maybe it will be another cute cosplayer walking around a con I have yet to go to. All I know is that by the end of 2012, I couldn’t have written about anything like this, but this year I could. Because of that, and regardless of what it led to, this kiss shared between two passionate nerdy people was the most important highlight and strongest memory I have of 2013.
I can safely say that 2013 was an unforgettable year for me. None of these moments are repeatable. They are all unique events in my life that twist and shape me into the nerdy human being I am right now. I’ve had serious trouble this last year as well, trouble that will haunt me for a long time, but I wouldn’t undo it if it meant the things on this list would never come to pass. Take the good with the bad and keep moving on. Now we look forward to 2014, another shining light on the horizon. Let it take us through even more geekiness than we can handle. Stay tuned for my 14 most anticipated nerdy things of 2014.