Fireside Fridays #5: Accepting changes, Shovel Knight and celebrities

This week, our editorial team and Marketing Manager talk about accepting new things, journalism and why the world is obsessed with celebrities

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This week, we have Brian Koh, our Marketing Manager on board Fireside Fridays with his usual sage-like commentary on life and Justin Bieber. But mostly Justin Bieber.

For some, the weekend means respite and taking a break before kicking ass on Monday. How do you spend your weekends?

Malcolm Gladwell on Criticism, Tolerance, and Changing Your Mind / Brain Pickings

“That’s your responsibility as a person, as a human being — to constantly be updating your positions on as many things as possible. And if you don’t contradict yourself on a regular basis, then you’re not thinking.” – Malcolm Gladwell

In his chat with Paul Holdengräber, Gladwell touches on ‘blind policy’, which is something we see (pun not intended) everyday. People doing things for the sake of doing things. Tradition. Unlearning something is especially difficult for most people. “But I’ve done this for years! It has to be correct,” they wail.

Here are three extremely thought- and discussion-provoking audio clips. The other two are about pseudo-tolerance where one accepts another to boost their own egos, and that dishing out criticisms freely doesn’t always render you a critical person.

- Elaine Huang, Correspondent (Southeast Asia)

Breaking The NES With Shovel Knight / Gamasutra

One would think that making games looking like 8-bit/16-bit classics would be easy since you’d be using new hardware to emulate something vintage. Well, you’re wrong: there are a lot of factors to consider; these include figuring out which kind of NES system limitations to break (like sprite flickering and color palettes), lessening detail on characters and objects so that it’s easier to animate in the long run,, and what elements need to be preserved to keep the new game feeling like an old game.

This Gamasutra blog post by David D’Angelo outlines how he and his team created Shovel Knight by taking the old and mixing it with the new. If you want an insightful look on how an indie game is created from a developer’s standpoint, this is a good place to start as any, especially if you’re familiar with classic games such as Super Mario Bros. and Mega Man 2.

Also, the game is out now on Steam, in case you don’t have plans for the weekend.

- Jonathan Toyad, Games Editor

E.B. White on the Role and Responsibility of the Writer / Brain Pickings

Elwyn Brooks White, who authored “The Elements of Style”, as well as several children’s books, did an interview with The Paris Review  in 1969. In it, he gave some insights into the role of the writer – his perspective of it anyway. And in many ways I agree. But the snippet that attracts attention is the following quote highlighted in the interview:

“The writer’s role is what it has always been: he is a custodian, a secretary. Science and technology have perhaps deepened his responsibility but not changed it. In ‘The Ring of Time,’ I wrote: ‘As a writing man, or secretary, I have always felt charged with the safekeeping of all unexpected items of worldly or unworldly enchantment, as though I might be held personally responsible if even a small one were to be lost. But it is not easy to communicate anything of this nature. A writer must reflect and interpret his society, his world; he must also provide inspiration and guidance and challenge.”

This was in response to being asked about the role of the writer in an era “increasingly enamored of and dependent upon science and technology”. A question asked in 1969, and relevant especially today. I’m not a “writer”. It’s a profession I happen to be in,  have some modest skill at and enjoy somewhat. People say I’m a good writer. I’m good at paraphrasing and working under excellent editors reviewing my output.

All the same, we have a duty, especially in the larger context of the world we live and operate in, to frame a topic, make an evidence-based case and be truthful and factual. People read us, talk to us and are influenced by our communications.

The problem with the truth is that you come to realise that it has narratives built around it: their side, your side and the facts of what actually happened. Ideally, we all want the facts, but our inherent bias and agenda can always create something to suit our narrative.

- Shiwen Yap, Correspondent (Southeast Asia)

Is Hatsune Miku a better pop star than Justin Bieber? / Polygon

Have you ever wondered society’s tremendous fascination with the idea of the celebrity? These are people who are just like us — eat bad seafood and you wind up on the toilet all the same. Granted, they’ve accomplished some amazing things, but the ‘idea’ of celebrity also exists because of the attached value we’ve placed on them.

This particular podcast by Polygon, deconstructs two ideas of celebrity. One is about the human celebrity product created by the entertainment, meant for consumers to consume, and at the same time, faces pressures placed upon the individual by consumers, as well as their own need to exist on their own terms. The other is the concept of a celebrity, that was created to be a shared idea, whose ownerships and reappropriations are governed by the Creative Commons, and in essence, faces none of the societal pressures of the former.

Technology creates possibilities, and we might be witnessing the birth of a new type of celebrity product, one that encourages ownership through co-creation and collaboration.

- Brian Koh, Product Marketing Manager

Other reads:

Stefan Lim, CEO, GigOut: Mixing personal with business / e27

My startup failed, and this is what it feels like… / Nikki Durkin

Why are there so many wallets on Kickstarter? / Kickstarter

STEPPING OUT / The New Yorker

Featured Image Credit: kamilpetran / Shutterstock

Elaine Huang

Elaine is a fervent believer that if there ever is a zombie apocalypse, we will all be snapping away at them with our phones and posting them onto Instagram. A Mass Communication graduate of Ngee Ann Polytechnic's School of Film and Media Studies, she enjoys writing about technology and entrepreneurs. When not hashtagging her way through all sorts of trouble, Elaine is probably contemplating how to write in the third person.

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