Well, another year is almost out. This year, we focused on trying to clean up the faeces that came out of the butt hole of last year, but we just wound up smearing it everywhere and making the situation 10 times worse.
However, amongst the heaping pile of hot garbage, there were some cool people that really stood out, ready and able to fil our lives with joy, happiness and entertainment, with the goal of making us feel good about life and keeping our spirits high in this royally screwed up world we live in.
At the end of last year, I listed my Most Valued People (MVPs) of 2020. Not all of these people have necessarily played a supportive role in my personal life, but they’ve been there to provide me, and others, the happiness and good vibes we so desperately needed, especially with this deadly disease wiping out thousands of people every day! So, without further ado, I present to you… Seedy’s MVPs of 2021!
As you can probably imagine, it’s very hard to condense a list of so many cool people down to just 15 places. Therefore, it’s only natural that more than 1 person can take a single place, and some people are struck off, despite how badly you want them to be on. Sorry guys, it’s just how countdowns work. 🙁
This countdown mentions people in my personal life. Therefore, I’ve taken a number of steps to make sure that everyone’s privacy is protected as much as possible.
- All those in my personal life who are featured in this countdown were notified beforehand, and I was granted their express permission to feature them.
- Unless a person’s real name is public knowledge, only their full first name and the first letter of their surname will be shown. If someone has a common online username or nick name that they use in place of their real name, said username/nick name will be shown instead.
- No places of work or residence, including building/apartment numbers, street/town names etc, will be mentioned anywhere in this countdown.
A Final Word
If you personally dislike one or more people featured in this countdown, please don’t publically shout your feelings out in the comments. WordPress has an approval system for comments posted on an article, so if you’re gonna start drama, your comment(s) will simply be rejected and won’t show up on this post at all.
The Bottom of the Pile
15. Chris Wright
Chris Wright has been making content on YouTube for about a decade now. I first came across him when his channel was named Blindgamer95. However, he has since changed the name of his channel to his real name.
Chris, who, like me, is without any eyesight, makes many types of content include audio game demonstrations and text to speech (TTS) skits featuring many computer voices like Microsoft Sam, Mike and Mary, and the LH (Lernout & Hauspie) voices.
I only got talking to this guy personally a few weeks ago. However, I can honestly say that he is one of the funniest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting in contact with. Plus, he’s taking time out of his busy life to record, edit and upload these audio game demos, shedding light on something that very few people know about, and we take for granted every day as blind people.
If you wish to check out Chris Wright’s content for yourself, you can visit his YouTube channel by clicking here.
14. Michael MJD
Climbing up a place to number 14 is the master of insane technology experiments himself, Michael MJD! I’ve yet to find out what MJD actually stands for, but anyway, Michael saw his 11th year on YouTube this year, with his channel now weighing in at a massive 240 thousand subscribers! That’s about 6 times less than the minimum amount he actually deserves, however.
Michael is the guy who takes a device that’s primarily meant for listening to your favourite jogging tracks and turns it into so much more. Windows XP on an iPod? Come on! He’s the guy who gives a whole new meaning to the idea of nested virtualization, taking it to a whole new level of madness. Hell, he’s the guy that goes out and buys a nigh on hundred pound pint of Microsoft OS branded ice cream!
You can find out all the crazy stuff that happens over at MJD Studios by Checking out Michael’s YouTube channel.
13. The Nostalgia Mall (Billy Core) and the Flying Scotsman (Jay Wakefield)
Also stepping up a place on the ladder this year are Billy Core and Jay Wakefield, also known as the Nostalgia Mall and the Flying Scotsman respectively.
I’ve enjoyed Billy and Jay’s content for many years, and this year was no exception. Specializing in content regarding vintage hardware and software from many brands including Compaq, Packard Bell and Toshiba, these guys’ channels are a must-watch if you pine for the days when computers actually worked out of the box, before digital downloads, subscription models and endless software update cycles took over our lives. When plug and play actually meant plug and play, not plug and sit on your ass for 3 hours while 50GB of software files and updates download and install.
Out of the 2, Jay has taken more notable steps this year, such as venturing slightly away from physical hardware and focusing on virtualization and emulation, using tools such as PCem and 86Box. Jay also revived his website earlier this year. I’m not sure how the website looked in its previous life; it had died long before I discovered both him and Billy. However, in its current form, the site functions as Jay’s personal blog, much like Fireseed Inside is my personal blog.
It’s a new entry at number 12. Logic has been a blind video game accessibility activist for many years, especially when it comes to the wildly popular building/survival game of Minecraft. He also specializes in the Logic music production software for MacOS, hence the LogicPro part of his handle.
Logic uses his YouTube account, Twitter timeline and other communication platforms to raise awareness of how video games can be, and are being, made playable by the blind by highlighting the accessibility features that are present in Minecraft, either through in-game means or the use of external, third party modifications to the Minecraft software. His YouTube channel contains tutorial videos and live streams that show him demonstrating Minecraft’s built-in accessibility features and external mods in action. Speaking of tutorials, Logic is currently working on a tutorial series called the Blind Craft Survival Guide, a reference to the Minecraft Survival Guide series by Pixlriffs. This series will show aspiring Minecrafters how they can set up the game on their computers and enjoy all of its many exciting features. Sighted people can follow along with the tutorial, but it’s mostly targeted at blind gamers who rely on assistive technologies such as screen readers.
Huge kudos to this guy for taking time out of his busy office job to show the world that 100% functional eyesight is not required to experience the fun and excitement that video games like Minecraft can bring!
11. Sarah Sbaughn, AKA Sbaughn006
From very late 2020 to very early 2021, Typerspeed 2, the reboot of my Typerspeed game, was buggy, unstable and relying on speech synthesis and artificial intelligence algorithms for its voicing. With no hope in sight, Typerspeed 2 was quickly heading towards the same fate as its original iteration in 2018, a big, heavy axe to the head! That was until Sarah (Sbaughn006), out of the goodness of her heart, sat down and recorded some voice lines for the game and allowed me to use them on a permanent basis, at absolutely no cost to me. The game finally had a actual, real life, human voice, and I finally had a reason to keep the project alive! She is just one of many kind supporters who has helped Typerspeed develop into the challenging, fast-paced, high-intensity PC typer it is today.
The Top Ten
10. Brandon Cole and Misty Rayburn
Flying up 3 places to number 10 is none other than everyone’s favourite video game accessibility activist, Brandon Cole! His wife, Misty, is also joining him this year. Together, Brandon (Super Blindman) and Misty drive the Break Down Walls movement, an initiative that aims to smash the barriers between video game developers, gamers with disabilities and their target audiences, be it through live streaming or general interaction. The Break Down Walls website also includes a dedicated guides section, which contains video game accessibility guides written by both Brandon himself and the wider disabled gaming community.
Alone, Brandon fights for video game accessibility for all gamers who are visually impaired/blind. He raises awareness of features that are, and can be, made available in video games to assist the blind, including menu and in-game narration via text to speech or human voicing, visual colour/contrast adjustments, and adapting font/text sizes.
Why not check out Brandon’s Twitch channel. It features many fun and exciting video game streams, including, most notably this year, game play of Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone, made possible by the Hearthstone Access mod. There are also many interviews that Brandon has taken part in, with the primary goal of raising awareness of his work, why he does it and what he hopes to achieve from it.
The thing that earns Brandon and Misty a place on this countdown is their endless fighting spirit and give ’em hell attitude. When people around them try to push them back, they push 10 times harder. Together, they work tirelessly to crate a better, more accepting and inclusive environment for disabled gamers the world over.
9. The King Cobra and Braille0109
Climbing up to 9th position, and joining Braille0109 from last year, is Angel, also known as King Cobra. It’s always a laugh with these 2 guys. This year hasn’t been a easy ride for me personally, however, these 2 have always been there for me when my smile wasn’t working.
Braille himself has helped me through some rough seas over the years as well, most notably the Data Wipe 2019 incident, in which 500GB of my personal data was tragically lost, never to be seen again. That was such a stressful period in my digital life that almost resulted in me quitting IT forever. However, Braille kept giving me good advice, pointing me in the right direction towards restoring my PC to life and slowly rebuiding my infrastructure. Now, almost 3 years later, I’m in a better position now than I ever was! I have a PC, a Mac, A 1TB external hard disk drive, SD cards, cloud storage services, and my own virtual private server! Oh, and I’m also developing software again!
8. Destructatron and Supremekiller
Note: Supremekiller changed his handle recently, however this new name hasn’t propagated across all his platforms yet, so the old one is being used here.
Up 2 positions from last year are the ever-helpful empath Supremekiller, and the quick-witted tech nerd Destructatron. The main reason for Supremekiller’s rise through the ranks this year is the fact that for most of this year, and some of last year, he has provided me with a fast, reliable and stable means to host my cloud infrastructure, my websites, my radio station, the Fireseed Forums message board etc. Before then, I was relying on free web hosting services with extremely limited features. If I wasn’t provided with such generous offerings from SK, the Fireseed Network would have probably died along with everything else in 2020. It’s because of him that the Fireseed Network is even a network in the first place!
Destructatron, on the other hand, has always been there to help when problems with said cloud infrastructure have come up, be it my stupid mail server refusing connections from clients because of misconfigured SSL/TLS settings, or the IRC server that would refuse to even start because the configuration file was missing a single god damn semicolon! Conceded, he hasn’t always been able to successfully solve a problem, but he’s always given it his best shot, and that’s all I ask at the end of the day. Destructatron is also just a good friend to have around. If you’re having a horrible time right now, he’ll most likely be there to help you out.
7. Jade H
Even though Jade is no longer in my life anymore, I still think about her and miss her a lot every day. She was one of the many people who supported me through the draconian COVID19 lockdowns last year. I know she’s just an email away, but sending an email is nowhere near the same thing as actually being in face-to-face contact with someone. Even when you can’t physically see someone, you can mentally see them by hearing the sound of their voice and feeling their presence.
6. Leanne E
Rising up 2 places to 6th position is the woman who has supported me through thick annd thin non-stop for 4 straight years! From when I took my first big steps into college back in 2017, to the cold, dark days of 2020 during the COVID19 lockdown, she was always a shoulder to cry on no matter what. Thank you for continuing to support not just me, but countless other people as well. I’ve no idea where we’d be without you!
5. Helen T
Although I haven’t really seen much of Helen this year, she is not moved down or disqualified from this countdown because she has played a hugely supportive role in the past. When we were all stuck inside our houses, working from home and staying 6 feet away from each-other, it was getting to the point where it wasn’t just my mental health that was becoming a problem, but my physical health as well. In this moment, I reached out to Helen (virtually, of course), and she gave me the boost I needed to tell my daemons to beat it! Thank you for keeping me strong throughout the years.
4. Aly T
For most of 2020, My stress and anxiety levels were so high that I couldn’t even boot up my computer, let alone log into my email client or use any other part of the internet; COVID19 and its impacts were everywhere! Throughout 2020 and 2021, Aly has tought me that it’s perfectly fine to slow down once in a while, and that all I can do is try my best, even if I fail.
3. Jonathan Kay, AKA Trekie, AKA the Messenger Geek
Sliding down 2 places from the top spot is the Messenger geek himself, Jonathan Kay.
I don’t give a monkey’s backside what you have to say about Jonathan. Again, your attacks will just get rejected by WordPress’s review system upon my request, so don’t even try. He’s a special friend to me, and he’ll always have a place in my heart.
An MVP for Microsoft’s MSN/Windows Live Messenger service for over a decade, he ran a support site that provided many helpful articles highlighting MSN Messenger (pre-2005)’s many exciting features, how to use them, and how to resolve MSN Messenger related problems. He is also the creator of the now defunct Messenger Reviver software, which kept the awesomeness that was MSN/Windows Messenger alive while Microsoft was relentlessly forcing people over to the ever-rotting crap pile that is Skype. Jonathan also inspired the creation of Escargot chat, a Python-based project that aims to revive MSN/Windows Live Messenger and other dead instant messenger clients.
On a more personal level, Jonathan further stoked the fire that is my nostalgia for the 2000s. If it wasn’t for him, I’d never have discovered Escargot, and 5 years of devistation and frustration over the death of MSN/Windows Live Messenger would not have been reversed.
2. Garry W
Since 2017, this guy has been nothing to me but an absolute legend! He has held my hand through every single problem I’ve faced since then. College stresses, my introduction to PTSD in 2018 and everything else that came before and after it that year, and everything in between. He introduced me to the world of virtualization and emulation, showing me that there is indeed an escape route from what we call modern life. He has supported every single one of my personal projects since the word go. He’s the ultimate inspiration for projects I’m most proud of, such as the House of Fireseed and Typerspeed, from version 1.0 of the game way back in 2018 through to Sepia, the game’s current iteration. Gary has not only kept me strong over the past 4 years, he’s kept me happy, mentally grounded, and, dare I say it, alive.
And so, here we are, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! Who will seize the top spot and be Seedy’s ultimate MVP of 2021? Well, we shall see!
The winner, and Seedy’s ultimate MVP of 2021, is…
1. Richie W and Nathan Smith of Nathan Tech
I haven’t known Richie as long as I have Garry, but none the less, he deserves the same legendary status. He’s kind, supportive, geeky, nerdy… him and I just click with everything. He’s into pretty much all the movies, TV shows, video games etc as I am, and much like Gary, is always ready and able to be your friend and support you come hell or high water. His wacky, off-the-wall humour is enough to make the whole world smile. For these reasons, and so much more, Richie flies right up from his number 3 position in 2020 to stand tall and proud in first place in 2021!
Joining Richie at the top of the tree is Nathan Smith of Nathan Tech. I wrote a review of Nathan Tech in June, so I won’t go into too much detail here. But to repeat what I said in said review, Nathan is nothing more than an altruist who puts the health and happiness of others well above his own, even if it means starving himself to death in the process. He’s a software developer, an audio content creator and the owner of a sci-fi MUD (multi-user dungeon) game known as Cosmic Rage. Being without any functional eyesight, Nathan is highly devoted to making his software, and that of other developers, accessible to all, no matter the disability. In fact, I’m using one of Nathan’s software programs, Sunrise Waterfall, to write this countdown!
Below is a list of links to some of Nathan Tech’s work.
- Nathan Tech’s main website
- Nathan Tech’s software programs
- Nathan Tech’s audio tutorials
- Nathan Tech’s Twitter account
- Nathan Tech’s RSS feed
- Nathan Tech’s software archive
Well done to everyone who made the list this year, especially our joint first placers, Richie W and Nathan Smith.
Since I don’t have actual golden trophies to give you guys, here are 2 virtual ones instead. Around the outside of the trophies, bold letters read
You are Seedy’s MVP of 2021!