Last month, Michelle from A Geek Girl’s Guide had the great idea of creating a new blog award. There may be many that already exist and that do a great job of bringing the community together; but the Achievement Unlocked recognition is unique in that it specifically celebrates sites that cover all sorts of geeky interests.
I’m humbled and honoured to say that she very kindly included Later Levels as one of the nominations for the first award. This means responding to five standard questions, followed by another five which have been dreamt up by the nominator themselves. As the Achievement Unlocked creator herself wrote: “Whether you are all about video games, DIY across all fandoms, sharing your cosplay journey, or anywhere in between, it all fits and is worth celebrating” – so let’s get on with those answers.
1. Why did you start your blog?
I first started blogging in February 2013 after finding a book called 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die and suggesting we did just that to Ben and Phil. We soon found out however that the idea was completely unrealistic! Later Levels was then formed in December 2016 through a desire to produce posts which were more ‘personal’ than reviews and based on titles or subjects I was actually interested in, rather than what was listed in a book or appeared in the news. You can read the full story in this article if you’re interested.
2. What are your favorite topics to write about?
It will come as no surprise to regular readers that I enjoy playing and writing about my favourite genre of video games: adventures. I’ve adored point-and-clicks and wannabe pirates since finding The Secret of Monkey Island as a kid. I also like writing about things going on in the community or gaming industry, such as whether Fortnite will be the downfall of our children or poor research completed by gaming news outlets – subjects which require a bit of investigation and digging around to get to the original sources.
3. What have you learned since you started your blog?
One of the most important lessons I’ve learnt is not to forget the sheer joy that comes from playing video games, rather than simply finding the subject for your next post. It’s also critical to understand there are no quick wins: resorting to dubious measures might be tempting but you’ll only end up with hollow stats and a lack of fulfillment. It’s also been enlightening in terms of finding out more about myself. I’ve learnt that although I may not be a naturally sociable person, I’m capable of putting myself out there when I need to.
4. What do you love about being a geeky blog?
It’s definitely the people! Most of my real-life friends now are those I’ve had the opportunity to meet through blogging and it’s great having a group at a similar stage in their lives with an interest in video games. Some of these awesome individuals even took time out of their busy schedules recently to provide references and help me prepare for an interview, and it was with their support that I managed to secure a new job and career change. I can’t thank them enough – more about this lovely lot a little later on in this post.
5. Where would you like to see your blog go in the future?
This may sound like a strange answer but the response to this question is definitely ‘nowhere’. At no point during Later Levels’ progress has blogging becoming a career or an avenue to make money ever been considered, and that’s how I’d like to keep it. The joy for me comes from it being something completely different from my day-job and a task which doesn’t feel like a chore; it’s a creative outlet I wouldn’t get anywhere else. If the site is still going in years to come and I’ve met even more awesome people through it, then I’ll be a very happy blogger.
6. If you could be a part of one of your favorite fictional worlds, what world would it be?
I’ve given several answers to this question in the past but after playing Eastshade recently, I think I’ve finally found the place I’d like to call my digital home. I want to watch the eclipse from the harbour, ride my wooden bicycle through the pink trees in Blushwood forest, sail my raft down the river, and go fishing for Old Pops in the lake. Every location in this game is beautiful and it’s so relaxing to play, as noted in my review last month; I could imagine every day on Eastshade island feeling like a holiday.
7. If you could interview any fictional character, who would it be?
After playing Heaven’s Vault, the character I’d like to interview right now is Myari. I went out of my way to try and avoid this her during my playthrough because there was something about her I just didn’t trust, but my ears pricked up when a conversation with another NPC hinted at something going on behind that cool exterior. I’d like to ask her about her history, her belief in the Loop, what she knows about the robots and why she’s so interested in the Empire Crown. If I can’t interview Myari, I guess I’m going to have to dive back in for a second run.
8. What fictional character do you think would make a good geeky blogger?
I think Mae from Night in the Woods should have her own blog. We’d get all sorts of interesting content from her as a writer: thoughts on video games she’d been playing with Gregg recently, analysis of films she’d watched at the cinema with Bea, some far-out fan fiction, and updates on new songs the band is working on. If we’re really lucky, we might also get the chance to read some guest posts by her mom Candy; she reads all sorts of books (including some about eels) so maybe she could do a book review or two.
9. What other hobbies do you have besides blogging?
If I’m at home and not playing video games, you can usually find me in the kitchen trying out a new recipe because I really enjoy cooking (and eating side of it too). I’m also a big fan of 80s music and fashion and have been known to frequent a themed weekend or two every year. I went to one with friends at the end of April and I’m not sure what I enjoyed about it the most: the fact that I got to see Tony Hadley and Soul II Soul perform, or that I had an excuse to wear a denim boiler suit and white stiletto boots. It’s a very tough call.
10. What is your favourite geeky thing as of right now?
My lovely other-half doesn’t do traditional romance but he does know good technology: instead of flowers, he surprised me with a Razer Blade 15 Advanced recently. Despite initially not thinking I needed one, the thing has barely left my side since and I’ve got so much use out of it for both gaming and blogging already. The other thing I love is our Elgato Stream Deck – another item I thought was a bit of a frivalous purchase, but came to appreciate massively while completing our GameBlast19 marathon stream in February.
It’s now time to nominate some fellow bloggers. As mentioned for question four above, there have been several people who have helped me massively over the past month and I’d like to issue them with an Achievement Unlocked Award to show how grateful I am to them. They’re not only wonderful writers with awesome geeky interests, but lovely friends who are willing to take the time out from their busy schedules to offer advice and assistance to others.
Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to answer the first five standard questions above along with these little challenges:
Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.