It being the holiday season, I wanted to take a moment to thank you, readers and contributors both, past, present and future.
You see, 2020 marks Unwinnable’s tenth year of existence and as we put the first decade behind us, I am feeling reflective. It hurts my head to think about, really. Back then, my dad’s untimely death was recent enough to still loom over daily life and I was stuck in a job that was making me exquisitely miserable. Founding Unwinnable wasn’t me starting a website so much as it was me fashioning a metaphorical life preserver.
A lot has changed since then, for better and worse. I won’t bore you with the details, but Unwinnable is still here, somehow. As the world of publishing (and the world in general, honestly) becomes ever more precarious, dozens of people still want to write for the hundreds of people who read Unwinnable. It astounds me. Every single day, I think “How on earth did this happen?”
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t easy or anything. And the life could slip out of it at any time. But for just about ten years now, you’ve made something cool and welcoming and thoughtful in Unwinnable. Not me. I’m just clinging to the life preserver. You write the words. You read the words. Unwinnable is yours.
Thank you for ten years of not letting me sink into the dark, dark sea.
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Anyway, lemme get my facade of ambivalence back on.
OK! Our cover feature, by Sharang Biswas, takes a look at live action roleplaying and the inherent, collaborative creativity it fosters. The cover and title page also mark the return of artist Lucas Peverill to our pages. Our second feature, by Caitlin Galiz-Rowe, looks at how Sea of Solitude undercuts its own journey of mental health healing. In the artist spotlight this month we have illustrator and comic artist Sally Cantirino.
In the columns, Astrid Budgor and Noah Springer both do the year end wrap up thing, giving you plenty of albums to sift through as we put 2019 to bed. Blake gives an alcoholic’s review of Afterparty, a videogame about out-drinking the devil. Deirdre Coyle reads the tarot of The Arcana. Ben Sailer picks at the supposed neutral stance of the war story at the heart of the latest Call of Duty game.
Matt Marrone picks his album of the year. Yussef Cole unearths the privilege and entitlement lurking at the heart of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Sara Clemens takes a deep dive into the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas (we’re a little more music-centric this month – must be something about the holidays). Justin Reeve throws the blueprints out the window as he plays Manifold Garden. Rob Rich poses his action figures against the rules. Jason McMaster eulogizes Everquest creator Brad McQuaid.
Finally, we bid a fond farewell to Corey Milne and his Checkpoint column, which has been with us since we went monthly, though he filed some real bangers in the Weekly (his Judge Dredd fan fiction remains one of my favorite things I’ve ever published on Unwinnable). I’m going to miss his mix of history and crit, as well as his total disregard for deadlines. Thanks for hanging with us, Corey.
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All right, enough of all that. Have a wonderful and safe holiday season and we’ll see you back here in January for the next issue of Exploits.
Kearny, New Jersey
December 16, 2019