An awful lot happened in 2012 for me. Much of it I can’t talk about, because believe it or not, there are still parts of my life I like to keep private. (I know, I’m a reactionary Luddite!) Here’s what I can talk about. You can do an awful lot in a year if you put your mind to it.
There’s a lot more behind the scenes that I can probably talk about in 2013, the seeds of which were sown in 2012. It’s been a hell of a ride. So please join me in sharing some of my year’s highlights.
I saw the launch of the best handheld gaming console in history, universally adored by everyone who has one. The PlayStation Vita.
I beat the top table tennis player in our company. Once. He’s simply unbeatable, but I managed it. (He has beaten me a hundred times since, but I don’t care, I have my victory.)
From being unfit, unhealthy and obese in 2011, I became healthy, fitter and half-decent at table tennis, eventually topping the company Table Tennis Ladder. Trust me, for a guy who was too fat to pick up a ball in 2011 to being the guy who beat the champion who picked up the balls for him because the fat guy was too fat and unfit to pick up the ball in 2012 was no mean feat. No mean feat at all.
In one memorable match in a semi-final, I came from two games to nothing down to win 3-2 and go on to win the department final.
I went to GDC in San Francisco for the first time in a decade.
I spoke with lots of developers there and started to finalise my plan.
I was moved into Business Development and got to set up a team called “Strategic Content” that has dramatically helped to change the way that Sony deals with developers, having put together a pitch for a huge programme with my team that got the backing of executive management. This has been the toughest, most demanding, most rewarding job I’ve ever done. I have a great team, a great boss and a great management structure. I’m not just saying this, it’s a fact. The results speak for themselves. There’s no way you can do as much as I’ve done in a year if you’re not absolutely flying at your job. It doesn’t sap energy. It gives you energy. I’ve had fewer sick days this year than at any time in my 30 years in the games industry.
If you want to know what I’m like to work with, don’t ask me, ask my colleagues and business partners, who have my respect and gratitude.
I ate a whole lobster for the first time
I ate a beef bacon buttie for the first time. (Halal of course)
I bought a Raspberry Pi and left it in the cupboard all year as punishment.
My daughters got great grades in their exams.
My eldest got into one of the top universities in the country.
My youngest got told that she’s Oxbridge material (insha’Allah) and one of the top 1% in the country for English.
My wife, Brent’s Artist of the Year since 2011, continued to create fantastic art work
and had some successful events, especially The Other Art Fair.
We had two great Eid parties with close friends and family.
I finished the Chimera remake for Mac
and for PC
– in my own time. In C++. Old school.
(Image above from my Spectrum original courtesy of @sokurah)
Chimera got featured by indiegames.com
(I cannot tell you how much of a buzz this gave me!)
I got interviewed by Retro Gamer for issue 111, and also for the Ultimate special edition 109
After they found one of my pictures of my beloved Palomino Blackwing 602 pencil on Instagram, I got interviewed by pencils.com
I got interviewed by Ant Sharwood for a Murdoch web site!
(Ant’s a great guy and the interview was too kind)
My Mo Farah tweet retweeted over 500 times and got RTd by Jonathan Freedland
I started signing loads of PS Vita titles (I wish I could mention them, but that honour should go to the parties creating the games)
I learned to play an acoustic fretless bass, which I now do pretty well
I visited San Francisco, Barcelona, Madrid, Köln, Brighton and leafy Tunbridge Wells.
One of my tweets got favourited by my favourite San Franciscan, Tim Ferriss
Flew a plane for the first time at the Goodwood off-site, where I also got to drop a bomb out of the window. Joked with the pilot that I was probably the worst Muslim bomber of all time. (It was a grapefruit, and it was very funny at the time)
Gave a well received presentation at Shoreditch House for TIGA. (OK, it was a great presentation)
Challenged my gamer colleague at Super Crate Box and more than doubled his original score, getting 306
Broke 2000 followers on Twitter (without really trying to get followers to be frank, but it’s a nice landmark all the same.)
Improved my relationship (and Sony’s) with the independent games community through being honest, frank, supportive and willing to move quickly and to change.
Bought s ScanSnap scanner and started to dematerialise my physical stuff, thousands of documents now digitised.
Got BT Infinity 2 broadband and now get a solid 70Mbps down and 15Mbps up
Got an iPad 3 Retina, bought with 2 mins of battery left on my iPad in a Starbucks outside GDC in San Francisco after hitting refresh for an hour.
Got an iPhone 5
Got an Accu-Chek Mobile (it’s a blood testing kit for my diabetes and it’s really cool)
Got a Samsung Laser Printer (it was cheap as chips, but so cool)
Read a shit-ton of books, I mean an absolute shit-ton. I’ve lost count. Amazon loves me.
In the year of Netflix:
Watched Dexter from the start
Watched Breaking Bad from the start
I visited a Masonic Lodge to watch a Facebook event, and I wasn’t sure which of those two made me feel dirtier. (Just kidding)
I donated an enormous pile of books (over a hundred), recognising that most of my reading is now done on iPad and Kindle. I still have hundreds of physical books left, despite now getting rid of close to 500.
Managed to stay at the flat we’re in for another year by offering a voluntary rent increase of 7% in addition to a £150 one-off write-off. That was a win. A major win. I’ll tell you why in 2013.
Had a guitar lesson on Skype from Maneli Jamal
, one of the best guitarists in the world.
Exchanged emails with Gareth Pearson
, another simply amazing guitarist and like Maneli, a lovely guy.
Read the War of Art and exchanged emails with its author Steven Pressfield, a lovely guy. (Notice a trend?)
Learned that you can reach out to people and they will respond as long as you’re not a douche.
I bought over a hundred games on Steam.
I bought over a hundred games on iOS.
I got dozens of PlayStation games.
I played very few of any of them.
I took some nice photos.
Set up Beyond the Final Boss
with Mike Bithell and Byron Atkinson-Jones, to show kids who are getting bullied that if we can win, then can too. We plan on making this count in 2013. The racist bullies and neighbours who with the protection of the police terrorised me and my family for years when I was a youngster and for so long made me dread every waking and sleeping moment, well, they failed. And how.
There are two words I’ll leave this Gregorian year with.