That I’m a big ol’ music weirdo should come as no surprise to anyone who has read some of my previous writing about it. I have tracked just about all of my music listening to last.fm since 2014, both to maintain a record and gather minute statistics about myself.
I turned 16 in 2010, and my 25th birthday was this past November. The latter half of my adolescent identity formation therefore took place during this past decade, and the music I listened to during those years acted as a score, a signpost, a catharsis, a reflection. I’ve come to mark events in my life with the music I was listening to at the time. And having spent my teen years sitting in front of a computer listening to music at pretty much all times, I developed a pretty large collection.
Another decade in the book, another opportunity to represent my life in lists and data.
Looking retrospectively, this past decade defined my interest in games. It’s been a hobby of mine since I was a young child — I remember holing up in my mom’s basement, replaying the same minigames over and over in Gus Goes to Cyberopolis. My dad bought me a Gameboy Color for my fifth birthday, and I dedicated at least a decade of my life (regrettably) to the Kingdom Hearts series. But in 2010, I started my first job, and so I finally had some disposable income to spend on my hobbies; I didn’t have to beg for games as birthday or Christmas or whenever presents. And so I played a lot more games in these past ten years. I started to follow industry news beyond new releases. I became more thoughtful about and critical of the industry. And I shifted my hobby into professional inquiry: in 2018, I co-wrote a book chapter about how video games could be used in educational settings, and in 2019, I piloted a camp that empowered kids to create their own video games.
The games industry has shifted a lot in this decade, too. We’ve seen a renaissance of games that put character and narrative at their center, which has long been what I wanted to see out of the medium. Game designers continue to heighten the artistic potential of games, both in photo-realism and artistic expression. Put shortly, video games this decade have been really, really good.