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January 1, 2014

Planned All Along: 2013 Retrospective

Planned All Along : The 2013 Retrospective

Happy New Year, everyone! Yes, this is January 1st, and if it still isn't, then maybe you need to repair your clocks. Ah, 2013. This was a pretty cool year. I guess. Nothing can beat the frenzy around the Mayan calendar, but eh. Why should I care about that hoax. I knew it wasn't possible.

But let's start talking about my blog. Even if it's only half a year old, Heck, barely five months and a half old, it's still become very great. I never thought it would become this popular. I guess all my PR and self-advertisements helped a great deal. So, before I continue this article, I would like to give you a few stats about the blog.

Number of visitors: Approximately 4950. Getting close to 5000!
Number of posts: Including this one? 99.
Month with the most page views: December, with 1416! (Just for the fact, it's 550 more than the second month with the most views, August, with 850).
Most viewed additional page: Archive, with nearly 100, with About Me a close second, at 90. (I really should update that page.)

Number of games reviewed: Not counting the demos, 20. Demo Reviews included, 28.
Number of review articles: Again, not counting the demos, 31. Demo Reviews included, 39.
Number of Editorial-Style articles: 18.
Number of Cool Stuff articles: 20.
Number of Top 12s: 3. (Those still count as review articles, BTW.)

Now, a few Top 5s and Top 10s about the blog's statistics. I'm mostly unveiling some important information about the blog's visitors here, so this information isn't really THAT useful. But as a look back at this blog's existence so far, I think it's really good. And it makes good trivia.

Top 10 Most Read Articles:
10. Top 12 Video Game Franchises I'd Like To Try Someday
09. Fakemon
08. Wii Sports
07. How To Train Your Dragon (Wii)
06. Mario Pinball Land (Part 1)
05. The Uncharted
04. Pokémon Snap
03. Top 12 Most Unexpected Smash Bros. Characters
02. Top 12 Pokémon That Could Get New Evolutions
01. Did the Raving Rabbids Ruin Rayman?
That #1 baffles me. I put so much thought in my reviews, I make sure they're 2,000 words long, and it's an Editorial that is the most-read article on my blog. I'm pleasantly, but understandably, surprised. It's not even the article I put the most thought on. But why did it hit that spot? You'll see soon enough.

Top 5 Traffic Sources:
5. t.co isn't a website. Any Twitter person knows that this is when a page is accessed via Twitter. And how did I get so many views through Twitter, you may ask? By asking Lewis Lovhaug to promote my blog, of course! I'll never shy away from this, whoever helped my blog in its humble beginnings deserves a part of the thanks. I'm that kind of guy.
4. plus.url.google.com is not actually a website either, but rather the sum of all the views I got by posting links to my articles on my Google+ account and in a few communities. You can notice it when you look under my main article; many posts made by me, all promoting the article you're on at the moment.
3. Some site called Vampire Stat. I don't know them very well, but they seem to be an online service calculating the worth of a website. Their site is full of information, so go check it out.
2. The Brawl in the Family forum. I always advertise my reviews on that forum, and I see why I do. A great community of gamers, really nice people, all discussing a webcomic that I really appreciate and talking about even more aspects of the gaming industry. Thanks to you all, you brought no less than 364 views to my blog, and I can't do anything but be thankful again and again.
1. Google! Yes, visitors who were doing Google searches and ended up clicking the link to my blog. That's how my article on the Raving Rabbids grew from 30 to 300. Thanks, Google! That's also how some other articles hit the Top 10.

Top 5 Page Views By Country
5. United Kingdom: Thanks to the English people on the other side of the ocean, your visits to my blog are really enjoyed. (Nearly 100 vsitors)
4. Malaysia, I wouldn't have expected that country to be among the Top 5, but I can't complain. English really IS the way to discuss with almost anyone, anywhere. (over 110 visitors)
3. Germany, now that's an odd choice. Then again, German used to be the basis for the English language. Unless I'm mistaken... Whatever, thanks to you Germans, and hopefully you'll come back! (A bit more than 140 visitors were from Germany)
2. Canada, of course it's on the Number 2 spot; that's where I'm from, and even if I'm a French-speaking Quebecer, I acknowledge that my success in Canada is mostly because of the fact that the blog is written in the English language. I think I love referencing my home province a little too much, though. Eh? Canada brought me over 1120 views.
1. United States, topping at nearly 2400. That's over twice as much as the number 2. Thanks, America, and thanks to all the Americans. You are more than half of all my viewers, and I had to say it. Thank you.

I'd do the Page views by browser and operating systems, but I don't think this kind of thing is that important, so I'll just list them quickly instead of making a big deal about it.
By browser, Top 5 from most to least: Firefox, Internet Explorer (with only 17 less than Firefox), Chrome (with only 5 less than Internet Explorer), Safari and... Mobile Safari.
By operating system, Top 5 from most to least: Windows (over 3000!), MacIntosh (almost 600), iPhone, Android, Linux.

Now, for the most personal side of the retrospective, my favorite articles.

Top 10 reviews:
Again, all opinion-based, my favorites.
10. Purr Pals: God, those damn cats... Those god damn cats... I loved to tear this game a new one, because it's so flawed. It can be fun, but you must look past the major defects, and that ain't easy. I'd say the “scary cats” running gag worked well.
09. How To Train Your Dragon (Wii): I love the movie, I also quite enjoy the game, so it was a review I had fun with during writing. It forced me to really play through it, and I discovered more about the game because I intended to write the review. It's also my first 3,000-word review, the only other one being Wii Music. It's rare that I have more to say than can fit into 2,000 but not enough so that 4,000 is too much.
08. Thrillville: Off the Rails: Yeah, the plot makes no freaking sense. But everything else is very good. What else can I say, this blog concentrates on the game's plot, so if it makes no sense... Still, that review was a lot of fun to write, I especially love the “'Wait, What?' Rating” running gag.
07. Pokémon FireRed: As much as I like the game and the review, this goes kind of low on the list. It's my first three-part review, a new top in terms of review length. But in the end, it's just reviewing the basic Pokémon plot, which has been done so very often.
06. Master Of Illusion: For a game with so little plot, it was very fun to review. It has let me play the solo magic tricks again, to my personal amusement, and I really loved doing as if I did the game's Magic Show in front of an audience – that is, my readers. A nice twist on how I usually review games.
05. Castle of Shikigami III: My first major review, I had a lot of fun tearing through the many problems it has: The overpowered characters in a situation where they strangely suck, the plot which changes so damn much that coherence is thrown out the window, the extreme difficulty, and everything else... It holds a place dear in my heart for all that.
04. Wii Music: Love the game, love jamming with my friends or with my family, loved writing this review (also the first time I incorporate videos into the review to provide more visual examples)... Love it.
03. Garfield: The Search For Pooky: What a piece of crap... It's one of the games that got me cursing the most through the years, for all the bad gameplay reasons I gave. It felt so good to finally tear this game a new one, that I had to put it on the list.
02. Mario Pinball Land: For about the same reasons as #3, this game is flawed to an extreme, again the story makes no freaking sense, and gosh is it overall bad. I swear, it's so awful that I don't ever want to play it again.
01. Just Dance 3: For one simple reason. MUSIC! As I said hundreds of times already, I'm a huge music fan, and this reviews shows it. It's the one that took me the longest to write, taking over an hour and a half every day for a week to make sure the end result was good, and even when I was about to publish it I made a few changes. Just by writing this review, I see the work that gets put into musical episodes, no matter if it is for TV shows or for web series. And I greatly respect those who take this challenge for a moment.

Top 10 Editorials:
10. Why So Many Luck Games And Mini-Games?: Because this really bugs me and I wanted to find an answer to this. I believe my answer was satisfying; it's normal and down-to-earth, with links to real-life situations.
09. Clothes And Decorations: Fun Or Lame Rewards?: It's a topic of little importance, but I see the point. And being able to customize things in video games has become very important.
08. Did Pokémon's Stories Play Their Better Cards Too Soon?: I had noticed how Gen 4 really went overboard with the enemy Team's dangerosity, and it worried me. Now, I know about the plan of Team Flare in Gen 6, and I can safely say that Game Freak has found more ways to terrorize us with powerful enemy Teams in Pokémon.
07. Can The Sonic Series Still Be Saved?: As my first question Editorial, it wasn't that easy to write, but I think I managed to do something fine with this.
06. Overly-Long Levels: Good Or Bad?: Marathon levels are known in fandoms for being absolutely painful to play, and I can understand. I think I needed to write an article like this.
05. Is The Pokémon World A Good Place To Live In?: I especially like how I compared the universe of Pokémon to real life. Who would have thought of that? I think my answer is clear, and I'd say we can see the world of Pokémon in a new light thanks to it....
04. Is Luigi Still Overlooked?: Another question that bugged me a LOT. It's not certain, but at least 2013 was Luigi's time to shine. And I'd say my answer wasn't half bad, either. Haha.
03. Are Licensed Games Such A Bad Thing?: This questions is a big debate in the gaming industry, because of all the bad licensed games, but luckily there's always the surprising little one you can see every once in a while. It's not all dark.
02. Why Do I Dislike Mega Evolutions?: Okay, so this one begins immediately with an opinion, and I spend it explaining why I dislike Mega Evolutions, a topic that came up this year, when the release of Pokémon X and Y was still far off. I still stand by my argumentation, and ever since X and Y came out, some of my points were strengthened, others were weakened, but I still agree with myself on everything I said there. It's just so unfair that mighty Pokémon get a totally unnecessary Mega Evolution while Pokémon that could benefit from it, well, don't. This sucks.
01. Did The Raving Rabbids Ruin Rayman?: My most-read anticle, ever, and in retrospect, it's truly one of my better articles. I throw in some comedy, I explain my points very well, I give examples, I compared to another situation... Truly, it just shows how good those Editorials can be when I really put a lot of thought into them. And I'm thankful that I even thought of this question.

Top 5 Other Articles
I do much less of those, because there's really not as much I can say about the Cool Stuff and the other articles. I'll keep it to just 5, but that covers every single article that isn't a review or an Editorial.
5. All my Cool Stuff articles for Poké-Month. That is, articles on Jwittz, Fakemon, Gijinkas and the Extended Fanon Edition Pokédex. I have a few more ideas of Cool Stuff articles around Pokémon, too.
4. The “Thanks” page, because I never thank enough the people who helped make this blog what it is.
3. My “About Me” page. Never thought it would be read by so many people. Oh well, glad you're at least a little interested in who I am!
2. My review of Carrie (2013): Really, I think this proved that when I want to, I can be extremely analytical, and I showed talent in reviewing something else than games for once. Also marks the first time I used any form of the F-word in a review. In that case, it was as an adjective.
1. The Uncharted: My Halloween Special, and a fanfic that has received a lot of positive feedback so far.

Best 5 Games I've Played For My Blog In 2013
5. Yard Sale: Hidden Treasures Sunnyville: It's a generic example of object finding games, but it adds a few more touches here and there that make it better than many other games that I've reviewed.
4. Wii Music: Because playing music in a video game has never required creativity as much as in this one.
3. Pokémon FireRed: It's low on the list, but it's more because while the gameplay is great, the story has been seen way too often, and it's really just the changes made between each Pokémon game that make this formula endurable.
2. Just Dance 3: Yeah, it's flawed, and it's my favorite review of the year, but it's still not one of the best games ever.
1. How To Train Your Dragon (Wii): Can't help it, the game grew on me. It's really not that bad, and it can get you hooked up pretty fast.

Worst 5 Games I've Played For My Blog In 2013
5. Desktop Tower Defense DS: Just... so useless of a game. I mean, it really IS a bit entertaining, but when much better similar games are available on Internet for free, why would you bother buying a DS game like this?
4. Purr Pals: Those cats... Aaaaaugh!
3. Castle of Shikigami III: I never thought I would hate on this game so much, but it's true, it's awful in many respects. Oh, it has some good things, but those aren't saved by the multitude of bad things.
2. Mario Pinball Land: You could have guessed that one easily. I mean, it's really, really bad. However, its #1 spot was stolen by another game reviewed not so long ago...
1. Garfield: The Search For Pooky: Badly programmed, horrible story, and so many things wrong with it, as of now it's officially the worst game I've ever reviewed.

10 Things I'm Looking Forward To In 2014 (For This Blog, Of Course)
Does that mean I'll fit them all into 2014? Maybe not! But I'll try! Most of those are plans I have for this year, so if one or others of them don't happen, have no worries. That could mean that I'm saving them for another year.
10. A Drawn to Life Month. I really want to show my appreciation for this franchise, because this franchise's story is so freaking good.
09. My review of Super Smash Bros. Brawl and the story of its Adventure Mode, the Subspace Emissary. I expect it to be one of my longest reviews, maybe five parts or more. If this doesn't happen in 2014, I hope it will happen in 2015.
08. Sonic Month, during which I'll review Sonic games and discuss Sonic topics.
07. Making my very first videos related to the blog. I still don't have any camcorder, but I'll try. Maybe I'll be able to do a little something. ...That's really not official, though.
06. Adding new segments into the blog. As you noticed, I added a new segment called Demo Reviews to the blog, and now I'm planning to add new segments. One would be called VG Flicks, during which I'd review movies related to video games. Those would replace the reviews of Game Boy Advance games, seeing as I'm gonna run out of those soon.
05. Changing the colors and other details of the blog. Maybe re-do the logo and the stylized title at the top of the page. Maybe when I reach the first anniversary...
04. Inserting a storyline into my reviews. Okay, I said before that it was really difficult to do that in written form, but I can try. I mean, nothing's impossible when we can convey the right emotions, after all...
03. The First Anniversary Special: Yes, I'm hoping to get a little something done for my first anniversary special. This will be up on July 19th, the day this blog started. Maybe I'll ask some artists to draw pictures for the blog. Maybe I'll make an Extras section with wallpapers. Maybe I'll... I'll... We'll see in due time.
02. The review of Rock Band 3 DS. It's gonna be a musical review, it will be up in December 2014, I expect it to be separated in THREE parts (while the Just Dance 3 review was separated in two), and I intend to use every single song in the game to explain my points. Good thing there's only 25 songs in this one.
01. The next Halloween Special: I'll make it a thing to write a story for every Halloween. It's really my favorite time of the year, and it's clear that it's the time when my creativity is at its best.

Well, guess that's all I can say for this little retrospective... Hopefully 2014 will be an excellent year in the world of video game reviews. I hope I can count you among my readers in the next months!


And tune in Friday for a review!