Couldn't find a picture I liked for a proper header so this is Toti the Puffin doing his best U WOT!? face. Hi Toti, I miss you.

I remember the plane landing in Minneapolis on the day I moved here. I had never seen so much snow in my life, an entire city blanketed in white. I had always wanted to live in a city like this, one that had actual winters. No more of that mild Southern chill in December I had known for 26 years. It was strange. I had come to this place, so foreign to anywhere I'd ever been really, trading one life for another so I could work a dream job for a magazine I'd spent a good chunk of my life reading. My goals were pretty simple. Somehow fool my coworkers into thinking I was skilled and social enough to belong. Build a life for myself. Write good, honest things about video games and FEELINGS.

It's been a year now, to the day. In that time I've traveled to more places than I have ever before to talk to developers about the video games they've been pouring their life into. To Vancouver. To LA. To San Francisco. To Seattle. I even went to Iceland but they wouldn't let me bring back the puffin I befriended.I've met people I've known online for years in person for the first time. I've met people I've come to care for deeply. I've played good video games, I've played bad video games. I watched the news of David Bowie's death scream across a headline and wanted to lay down and die. I tried karaoke and, like most people, was terrible at it (but still enjoyed it)!  I won The Super Replay Showdown, absolutely annihilating rival Andrew Reiner, and subjected our poor viewers to an entire playthrough of Tex Murphy: Under A Killing Moon

I've written to you from the confession booth that is my living room sofa.

I've tried to find the spectacular hidden in the broken and mundane.

Well. How did we do? What have we learned, class?

I've made unfortunate decisions. I've hurt people I cared about and I've had them hurt me. I've had to piece myself back together.

I've learned that success is not happiness, that your dream job is still work--hard work, in fact. I've also discovered that sometimes on bad days what I truly need is to go to Runyon's on Washington Avenue and order an ungodly amount of buffalo wings with a side of bleu cheese and a beer. 

Airline miles, y'all. Save those up.

Also, love people but don't let them break you.

Also, burning bridges is rarely worth the effort.

Also, puffins are the greatest creatures to grace the Earth.

Also, ghost peppers will destroy you.

Also, Yoda hates you for some reason, best avoid him.

Also, eat yogurt with cereal.

Also, maybe Watch Underscore Dogs 2 isn't that bad.

Also, everyone except you is wrong about Virginia and you will take your love of that game to your grave.

Also, Canadian television is weird.

Also, thermal underwear is god's gift to humanity.

Also, your favorite games can't save you but they can help you save yourself.

Also, you play too many video games and write too much and drink too much coffee and bourbon and should probably tone it down and find some other hobbies but probably won't.

Also, we're barreling toward a dark and uncertain future but we have each other and maybe that's enough.

Grade: B, good but more than enough room for improvement

Not bad. I can live with that.

If you've been reading what I've written for Game Informer, or even before then when I was writing for Paste, Playboy, and other outlets, thanks so much. I hope to continue to do my part in the coming year to try and write meaningful things about games and what they can tell us about being people.