My 2014 in review

In 2014 I published two books, Breathing Machine and Clipping Through. I also published my first short story, a work of speculative fiction about the Atari dig, called The Unearthing, and contributed an essay about loyalty and girlhood called Are You Sure to the Double Dare Ya! riot grrrl zine with a bunch of comics people.

Thanks to Clipping Through sales I have been able to pay royalties to Liz Ryerson, as I hoped I would be able to, each month. This makes me happy about the possibilities of self-publishing and sustainability.

I started a column at VICE UK; one of my best pieces of the year is there, on why Desert Golfing has encapsulated 2014 for me. I also tried yet again to explain my love for Metal Gear Solid 3, and didn’t catch it all.

I launched a video series exploring and playing with vintage adventure games, called Lo-Fi Let’s Play, syndicated at Rock Paper Shotgun (I’ll resume regular weekly episodes in the new year). And I started guest-hosting the Guardian’s Tech Weekly podcast, where I’ve interviewed folks like Biella Coleman, Steven Johnson and Jamie Bartlett.

I wrote an article about how a tight group of traditionalists with mainstream appetites and negative attitudes was becoming irrelevant and worth ignoring. The “gamers are dead” piece then went on to prove how absolutely correct I was — especially as the word “dead” does not appear anywhere in the headline nor in the article. Then my book sales spiked, I went in TIME magazine and on MSNBC and in the New York Times and on NPR (again).

From now on, anyone who wants to talk to me about the above events or to ask whether I am “okay” should buy me a glass of champagne first. Because of course I fucking am.

Many are still not okay and might never be okay. I hope my guide to supporting women online during harassment episodes keeps helping you help them.

I butted heads with my own nature to forcibly teach myself Netrunner this year, and documented my personal journey (with illustrations!). It’s not really a piece about Netrunner as it is about the nature of play and the self, and games and learning. Earlier this month I came in 8th out of 46 in a London Netrunner tournament.

One of my best pieces this year was about bodies, violence, presence and consent in games, led by a study of one of Merritt Kopas’ works. Speaking of masochism, the piece I wrote about Sonic the Hedgehog’s weird, undying legacy was very nearly as controversial as the “gamers are ‘dead’” piece.

I did some journalism — I like this set of interviews about the Threes issue, and also this reflection I did on the failures of game journalism in the wake of Irrational’s closure. The stuff we all knew and didn’t report. I felt “over” the “damaged but strong female character” thing.

I gave talks in Nottingham, Antwerp, Zurich, Portland OR, New York, San Francisco, Malmo and Cologne this year. I launched a game design consultancy called Agency with a colleague and we’ve been helping indies’ dreams come true.

I played a lot of really good video games. Here are my top 5. If I were making a top 10, the other 5 would be Jazzpunk, Threes!, Game of Thrones: Iron from Ice, Curious Expedition and The Sailor’s Dream.

These are just my favorites of 2014, for me. As always, links to anything I do, things I think and feel, etc, get posted on this website eventually, so if for some reason this isn’t enough articles, you can read back through [UPDATE: Critical Distance’s Year in Video Game Blogging is out now, so there’s even more games criticism from other writers available for you.]

In spite of everything I had an exceptional year, and 2015 is shaping up to be even better. Thanks to everyone who got me through the hard times. Our community of the compassionate, the curious, the playful and the proud is stronger than the extinction bursts of a thousand little aberrant nerves.