The number 13 has always been a lucky number for me (in true contrarian fashion). In gaming, we all try to narrow the amount of luck involved with our skill and strategy. My year in gaming has been no exception. Not only did we (TheGamerNerd.com) hit our first year anniversary, but we’ve amassed a nice group of contributors who themselves have built our library of reviews to over 70 to date. We’ve started to gain some notice on the inter-webs through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Youtube, and BoardGameGeek. Game developers and publishers have even heard a whisper or two about The Gamer Nerd around the water-cooler, sending us review copies of games and accessories. Most importantly this site has continued to be an added source of fun for me and I thoroughly enjoy sharing my gaming 2¢ with the world and engaging in some nerdy conversations.
Personally, my year in gaming has been completely random. If the scope of my reviews didn’t clue you in, my gaming taste is all over the place. From collecting a more than healthy amount of board games to time traveling back in time with my new-to-me Sega Saturn (birthday present!) and the always prevalent Sega Dreamcast or re-kindling my love for Pokémon with the latest 3DS releases—what can I say? I’m truly a gamer nerd.
Lets get into some specific highlights. Kicking off my first dive into the world of Living Card Games (LCGs) is Android: Netrunner. Netrunner is a game that hits me on so many nerd levels. It is a 2 player card game, you collect promos, there’s deck building, a near future cyberpunk theme, tremendous artwork, and an active competitive community. The game fills the void that was left when I retired from Magic The Gathering (MTG) but brings with it the advantages of the living card game genre (high gameplay emphasis with a divergence from collecting). Sadly my middle-of-nowhere living situation doesn’t lend itself to a huge gaming community, but I was able to make the trip to Gen Con Indy this year and get some intense Netrunner in by participating in the National Tournament. I surprised myself by finishing tied for 33rd after the opening 7 rounds, unfortunately the top 32 advanced to the elimination rounds—but honestly, I was very satisfied with my first Netrunner tournament experience. I look forward to being a part of this community as the game grows.
The Nintendo 3DS has weaseled its way into my gaming arsenal with the release of Pokémon Black 2 andWhite 2 and the newest addition, Pokémon X and Y. I’ve logged an embarrassing amount of hours in my copy of Pokémon Y (130+) and have thoroughly enjoyed the mix of nostalgia and discovery. The most notable moment in my year of Pokémon was catching my pièce de résistance, a shiny Gastly—aka an eventual Shiny Gengar (my favorite Pokémon since day 1). For the uninitiated, shiny Pokémon are extremely rare to find, something in the neighborhood of 1 in 8,000 encounters. After breeding over 640 Gastly, my gaming dream since the release of Pokémon Silver and Gold came true.
I’ve slowly started to break down my fiancée’s aversion to gaming by introducing some classic gateway games like Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne. I’ve enjoyed the challenge she presents in finding a game that peaks her interests. She has even surprised me a few times with her unlikely love for the Dominion deck building series and the arcade powerhouse, Crazy Taxi for the Dreamcast.
The sense of community that comes with gaming is really the biggest draw. Since moving to Illinois from the place I was born and raised in (Cleveland, Ohio) I’ve made the majority of my new friendships through hanging out at a local game store here and there. Sadly, that game store closed—but as a testament to the strength of the gaming culture, I’ve continued those connections. As our contributor Nic Shayko has mentioned, I was honored to be included in his marriage proposal to Lynne Albert. Nic and I have been friends since the 2nd grade, our friendship revolving around our love for Cleveland sports and gaming, both video and cardboard varieties. Being a small part of that moment by slinging my Photoshop skills on a custom Agricola game card was truly awesome and I can’t wait to officially welcome Lynne to our gaming table (we’ve already played plenty of board games, but you haven’t played a board game until you’ve played one with a Shayko or 2).
Good ol’ number 13 has not failed me this year. I raise my glass of sparkling apple cider to the year’s end and look forward to the coming year.