“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.
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.
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.
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.