To mark our annual end of year feature, we reflect on a year of Shinesparkers, and discuss the work we have produced through a challenging year. We know the Coronavirus pandemic has been especially challenging for many of us, but we wanted to sign off our content for the year with something positive. This is how Metroid has been a good distraction in 2020.
The Team taking part in this year’s feature:
While this year has been personally challenging for me, I have been blessed to work with some really great people within the team, who have been very supportive and accommodating during these difficult times. Together, I am proud of the content we have put together this year, including our podcast, which has allowed us to interview some pretty amazing people, such as Jessica Martin (Voice of Samus, Metroid: Other M) and Eric Kozlowsky (Ex Retro Studios) and some amazing creative individuals from within the Metroid community.
Since I have been spending more time at home, I have been able to support the many features, interviews and community spotlights seen on the website, and I am thankful to everyone who was involved in making those possible. In addition to this, I have been working hard behind the scenes on a huge project for Shinesparkers, which I hope to reveal later next year. It has been a great distraction from the global pandemic, and something I am very proud of.
This year has taken everyone by surprise. A lot has happened, and like many in the world, I lost my job and have been forced to reassess my career path and indeed, career. Shinesparkers is how I’ve gotten through this, and other low points in 2020. I have been excited to work on and see five interviews published this year with Eric Kozlowsky, Jessica Martin, DoctorM64 (AM2R), Richard Vorodi (Metroid Prime Hunters) and Sam Balcomb and Jeff Dodson (Metroid: The Sky Calls). It was a privilege and an honor to be able to talk to Jessica and Doc ten years after I first played Other M and AM2R’s demo as a teenager. I was also pleased to have The Orpheon and Kabutroid, two of my favorite Metroid community creators, as guests on our new podcast.
During lockdown I began to spend more time on Shinesparkers, as well as making crafts and expanding Wikitroid. I have been working on an art project that I will share with you in 2021, which was loosely inspired by the Six Fanart Challenge that went around social media this year. I’ve asked members of the team to choose characters and enemies from Metroid for me to paint on a broken flower pot as a celebration of the series. Watching movies and playing games with the team has also been a great escape and I hope we’ll continue to have those fun times.
Just like everyone else, this year has been very challenging. My work situation keeps getting more and more complicated because of the strange times we are living. Luckily, due to the immense amount of free time that it gave us, I was able to start working on a series of Metroid comics, inspired by quotes from the famous “Dragon Ball Z Abridged” parody, as well as streaming games on Twitch, including Metroid Prime Trilogy and soon AM2R. I’ve also worked on a few projects for Shinesparkers that I’m hoping to share sooner than later, as well as making changes as to how I manage our social media. We got feedback and interactions like never before so I’m really proud of it!
Just like Darren mentioned, we had the immense honor and privilege to interview incredible people in our podcast this year, including a few who worked on the Metroid series and very talented and dedicated Metroid fans! In spite of the difficulties of life this year, the team managed to create amazing content and realize great achievement for the website. I couldn’t be more proud to be part of a team of such incredible people! Now, let’s hope 2021 will be a better year for everyone. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a new Metroid game?
I started this year with the objective of “taking it easy” compared to a rather hectic 2019. Well, clearly that idea quickly went down the drain. I had some tough times earlier in the year, and I’m extremely grateful to Darren for being an incredibly supportive friend during that period. Although I did not do much related to Metroid this year, it was a friend that I met because of Metroid that was there with me when I needed it.
Aside from that, I used some projects, such as Shinesparkers, as a way to distract myself from other matters and help me to focus. I mostly did maintenance to improve readability and navigation on the website, but I’ve also started working on something you will all get to see next year.
Before I begin I want to start off by saying ‘Hi, I’m new to the team and sometimes I just can’t stop typing’. There’s an obvious theme to these little reviews, but seeing the year trailing us behind, it’s really something to be expected. Starting off the year, I had some plans to kickstart my career. With how quickly the world fell into turmoil, things have unfortunately dwindled to the extent that this isn’t something that would progress for at least another year or so.
I like to look at the brighter side of things however… or at the very least, try to. Though my aspirations for the future have come to a standstill, I am very fortunate to still be able to work at my local mini-mart. Because of this, and the funny coincidence of not being able to go out, I’ve been able to build a little nest egg. What did I do with it? Pretty much the same as most other gamers stuck in lockdown this year with extra cash, built myself a PC, and it was my first one at that. Granted, my initial intention was to use it as a VR machine (which is beautiful at that), but it also allowed me to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a very long time with better results: video game streaming!
Most of my streams are multiplayer games as a collaboration between NintyBuzz and NPUK, though I do also stream some solo stuff on Fridays. The first game was Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, followed by Super Paper Mario. There’s been one game however that I have been wanting to stream for ages: Metroid Prime Trilogy. There’s just something about this collection that I truly love, perhaps it’s three of the greatest Metroid games in one, or perhaps it was the game that got me started in the Metroid fandom. Either way, every stream I broadcast of this title gently uplifts my soul no matter how hard of a day I have had or how few viewers I get, it’s something that kicks off my weekend with a smile.
Aside from streaming, I’ve also done a fair amount of work one some headers for Shinesparkers here. It’s definitely been a great experience and I feel I have been able to really improve my graphic design skills in the process. If you had to ask which are my favourites so far, I would probably have to go with the first one I did for Darren’s Metroid V concept, or the header for Metroid Trainer’s Community Spotlight!