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December 2023 Retrospective

I was prepared to look back on 2023 and say that it was a bad year. I had failed to find a home yet again and three interest rate hikes weren't making things any easier. But sitting here now and looking back at the books I read, the games I played, the vacations I went on, and the friends and family I got to see, 2023 has actually been a fine year. Sure things could always be better but on the whole I'm in a very solid place. Hopefully I'll finally be able to find a house to call my own in 2024 and setup the hobby shop I have always wanted.

The Good

Godzilla Minus One

Godzilla Minus One is probably my favourite film of 2023. The only other possible competitor would be Oppenheimer.

The best thing about the film is that it doesn't really focus on Godzilla. He is a plot device to explore the survivor's guild of a soldier in postwar Japan. Godzilla Minus One is closer to a drama film with fantastic actors then the bombastic CGI-fests we make in the West. I highly recommend you give it a watch.

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty

Cyberpunk 2077 made my list of honourable mentions in 2020. In that article I wrote:

I don't think that Cyberpunk 2077 is going to have some No Man's Sky level of rebirth. The core of the game would need to change in order to come close to fulfilling all the promises that CDPR made. The sandbox world they created would need to be rebuilt from the ground up and I just cannot imagine the finance people are going to OK spending that much money. CDPR is going to spend the next year fixing bugs, optimizing performance and then we'll probably get some $20 story DLC.

While the DLC ended up costing $30, I have to give CD Projekt Red credit because they did rebuild a large portion of the game from the ground up. The levelling and perk systems were overhauled allowing players to really customize the abilities of their character. Armor was disconnected from clothing so you can now dress as fly as you'd like while still being an absolute bullet sponge. They also completely overhauled cyberware to allow you to become a chromed out machine if that's your thing. It is much closer to what I had been expecting from the game at launch but still does fall short of what the marketing was pushing. However, if I had played this version of Cyberpunk first it would definitely be in contention for Game of the Year.

And I haven't even talked about the DLC, Phantom Liberty, yet. CDPR really took everything they learned about storytelling and design and cranked it to 11 for the new area of Dogtown. The main missions are a tightly woven spy thriller that constantly had me questioning who I could trust.

If you are reading this and have never played Cyberpunk 2077 before you I can say without equivocation that there has never been a better time.

Beat Super Mario Bros Wonder

I raved about Super Mario Bros Wonder last month and am happy to report that it was an absolute joy right until the final boss. It was actually so much fun that I have been replaying every level trying to get a perfect rating.

Super Mario Bros Wonder is now up there with Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, and Monster Hunter Rise as my must-play Nintendo Switch games.

One Piece Manga

With the release of the Netflix TV show and our visit to Japan, I was exposed to so much One Piece this year that I finally cracked and started reading the manga. I am so glad that I did because I utterly adore it. There is this perfect mix of whimsy, action, and comedy, that I haven't seen in a long time. I've already fallen in love with the characters and cannot wait to see where their pirate journey takes them.

Honourable Mentions

Built MSN-04FF Sazabi Gundam model kit

When I was in Japan I bought a super deformed Gundam model kit of the MSN-04FF Sazabi.


Finished reading The Gantz manga

Back in March 2020 I started reading the Gantz manga and this month I finished the twelfth and final omnibus. It is definitely the weirdest manga I have ever read but I think in the end I can say that I enjoyed it. Some of it does feel like it was written by a 13 year old who believes they are being "edgy" while other parts were surprisingly deep and dark. It's not going to be on the list of greatest mangas of all time but it is one of the more unique ones.

The Bad


If a single person reading this seeks help from a medical professional I'll consider it a success. I had been experiencing insomnia this month and after going down the WebMD rabbit hole I managed to convince myself I had cancer in addition to a plethora of other conditions. I finally sought help from medical professionals, which was not easy due to our persistent shortages here in Canada, but it helped tremendously. A couple quick tests later and we're able to say with certainty that I am not at death's door and the solutions to my problems are much more straight forward. So please, if you are suffering from any ailments do not hesitate to reach out for help.

Review December Goals

January Goals