2019 has been a busy year for me and has also probably been emotionally draining for everyone I know. But hey, I finally graduated! Well, I don’t have a job in the career path I want yet, so please hire me. Anyway.
Last year, there were 3600+ unique visitors to this site. This year, up to this point, there’s been more than 8000, which I’m really proud of. Views are also much higher, but I don’t trust that metric because WordPress seems to have a weird glitch where it counts scrolling through the main page as multiple views. Still though, Indie Hell Zone’s definitely done better than last year.
So, out of the things I wrote this year, what were the most read?
My thing on Heartbeat is easily the most successful thing I’ve written this year. Sometimes, good games just have terrible people behind them and I believe that it’s best to move on to something else. For instance, instead of Heartbeat, I ended up playing Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass, another great indie RPG Maker game that I think deserves more attention.
Second most read thing I wrote this year was Kio’s Adventure, a review that I bailed on halfway through because the game was horny about high school girls in the worst ways. I… don’t like that this is the second most read thing because I’m confident that a good portion of views was from people into this stuff that found my article and didn’t expect me to trash on it.
But the third most viewed thing is something that I’m proud of, and it’s RPG Maker and the Misaos: Brief History and Notable Entries. As a critic that regularly says “RPG Maker is good, actually,” I felt a need to show off the best of the best. I’m hoping to dive into some of this stuff for reviews in the future, because there’s a whole bunch there that’s caught my eye.
Also, I know that I don’t talk about the stuff I make a lot but consider checking out Slimes and nominating it for this year’s Misaos if you think it deserves it
So, this is the year where I started making a lot of videos, all thanks to a video bundle by Humble Bundle. Unfortunately, the first thing I’ve chosen to do was do a playthrough of YIIK to be in solidarity with my friends over at YIIK Pics/Last Heart Left. Please support Rasen, he makes good podcasts.
I’ve debated on whether YIIK or Kio’s Adventure was the worst game I’ve played this year. While Kio’s Adventure’s got morally bankrupt content, I’ve ultimately decided that YIIK has got to be the worst game. YIIK: A Postmodern RPG is truly awful in so many areas and it lacks the “bosses rushed production” or “we lacked the funds” justifications that plague so many other “bad” games. It’s not fun to play, its story’s got nothing going for it, it’s just bad.
But what pushed it over the edge for me was the Elisa Lam stuff. If you’re new here, the beginning premise of the game has Alex searching for a woman named Sammy that disappeared from an elevator in a manner mirroring the case of Elisa Lam, a woman that showed a mental breakdown in an elevator before killing herself.
Besides the fact that appropriating the incident for plot is extremely insensitive, there’s also the fact that Sammy… is not an important character in the long run. By Chapter 4, the original plot of searching for Sammy is pretty much forgotten and it only properly gets readdressed if you go for the alternative ending, which feels more like the developers remembered they forgot that plot. The last boss also reveals that Sammy is ultimately unconnected from what has become the game’s main story. Sammy didn’t need to be in this game. Ackk Studios didn’t need to appropriate a tragic death.
If there’s anything good about YIIK, it’s that it inspired people to go make better things.
Anyway, Ackk Studios recently crawled back out to announce updates for the game, but I refuse to touch the game again. Unless these updates change literally everything about the game, it’s still going to be garbage.
After that, I’ve been making other video stuff. In particular, I’ve started doing a series of videos called Hell Hour, where I show off a bunch of games within a one hour video. In the future, I’m hoping to check out a bunch of game jam games because I feel that they’d fit within this format.
I’ve also done a few streams, but because I’m smart and not an idiot, I keep streaming at 1:00 AM my time, showcasing my pointless attempts at doing a pacifist speedrun of Streets of Rogue to no one in particular. It’d be cool to stream some other stuff, but I also refuse to talk for multiple reasons. Not sure how that’d go down for more proper streams, but whatever.
Another thing I tried doing this year was playing through gacha games and recapping whatever story there is. I kinda want to get back to that, honestly. I think Final Fantasy: Opera Omnia’s actually an okay game and it has fun little character interactions that’s been lacking in other mobile Final Fantasy games. What about Pokemon Masters? Uhhhhh… okay, I’ll be honest, I don’t think it’s a good game. It just doesn’t have a sufficient hook in either character or gameplay for me.
Some friends are getting into Granblue Fantasy though, so I guess I’ll do that stuff. I was hoping that SINoALICE would come out by now, but by the looks of things, global SINoALICE seems to be dead in the water? Man.
I’ve also been more active on Patreon this year, because you know, it’d be nice to make money doing things I actually enjoy. I hope to write more Patreon content in the coming year, because there’s a bunch of stuff I want to write about, for I have fallen into the trap of wanting to monetize my own enjoyment. Anyway, if you don’t want me to enjoy things and want me to suffer through more of Doug Walker’s works like his take on The Wall, you can force me to do so if you help get me to $30.
Here’s to hoping that 2020 will be a better year for Indie Hell Zone! I hope to bring a variety of stuff to the table and to show off more things that deserves more attention! And hey, as we close the year out, remember to vote on your favorite indie games released this year and in this decade!