4 May 2024

10 Years After

It has been ten years since I published my last post here on this blog.

Ten years is a long time, but they can also go by faster than one anticipates. For some time I thought about coming back to post an update, or make a post as if I am writing a letter back to my past self, but I also pondered on what I should write about, and how I should write them. Well, coming up with a title was the easy part (it is the ending song from The 08th MS Team).

I (re)started this blog in 2008 with hobby-related topics to take a more central theme. At the time, a friend of mine recommended me to visit Danny Choo's website, who at the time wrote about a variety of topics on anime, hobbies, Japan, as well as his experience over there (he is a very different person by now though). Not surprisingly, he got a large following, and some, including me, were inspired to do something similar. Personal blogging was still popular back then, while microblogging was still in its relative infancy.

Although much of my hobbies are related to anime, I rarely talk directly about the anime or the games themselves, but rather about new toys or related news that I found interesting at the time, as well as some toy reviews and visits to local conventions. I do not like talking about milestones or boasting about what I did (unless you really insist), so I will let the past posts, or whatever are left from them after link rot, to speak for themselves.

Apart from blogging itself, the activities associated with it could also be fun, such as seeing new content or perspectives, exchanging comments on other like-minded people's blogs (or perhaps exploring a new hobby or perspective out of curiosity) and waiting for each other's replies, looking forward to bloggers' new posts, possibly helping each other out and even meeting them in person. It was quite an interesting time. Although most people have either moved forward or disappeared, I still manage to keep in contact with a few in the blogroll to this day, and even met gundamjehutykai as recent as last year.

I eventually announced a hiatus from blogging due to multiple factors, with a possibility to return in the future. However, the Internet has changed a lot over the past ten years, and, in my opinion, not necessarily for the better. While social media has become a very accessible and convenient source for content consumption (but less than before), the ever-increasing flux of information means people have adopted a shorter span of attention. Moreover, the evolution to its current form also means much of the communication is diminishing over time, from worded conversations down to mostly buttons and statistics, with the ecosystems encouraging their users to vie for greater vanity and recognition. Interactions between people no longer feel the same, and nowadays passion alone means little unless you make yourself not just relevant to your audience, but also to stand out from other people one way or another. The environment is no longer as friendly as it once used to be, and often hostile at times. That almost made me forget what it was like to enjoy hobbies with others out there, and I don't really want to be an active part of it anymore.

The blogging days may be over, and I have also lowered my presence in the social media, but that does not necessarily mean the same with my hobbies or the people I have met along the way. I simply want to enjoy my hobbies by myself, or perhaps with those who I want to share with, in contrast to the more public environments where perspectives have changed significantly and are becoming incompatible with mine.

I would be lying if I say the past ten years have gone well for me, but there are small positives gained here and there. One major addition just after I stopped blogging was Ace Combat Infinity, an online free-to-play co-op instalment of the Ace Combat jet fighter video game series. Although nowhere well known or mainstream, I got to know how dedicated fans from various parts of the world interacted not only within the game itself, but also outside; at least one group still conducted annual barbecue parties after the original game ended service in 2018. I also got more involved in some gaming wikis, and while they are often thankless contributions outside of the dedicated communities, it is something that I have more confidence doing at my own time since blogging. I am also grateful to know more fellow players such as Sly, who still continue to look out for each other beyond Ace Combat.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Unless something extraordinary occurs or is outside my control, I will leave the blog as an archive of sorts for as long as possible, mostly as a reminder of what it was like back then. I may not know what lies ahead, but I want to have a slight smile looking back at that small and perhaps insignificant part of the history before moving ahead.
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