It’s Important to Keep Doing Childish Things!

As most things on this site are, this is totally my opinion and isn’t based on fact. Well, there are at least some psychologists who agree with me, so maybe there is something to be said for the argument.

I sometimes find myself walking down the street, getting up off a chair, or just generally going about my regular daily activities and noticing that I’m doing some basic movements differently than I did when I was 10. I’ll walk on the grass instead of trying to balance on the small curb on the side of the road, for example. I’ve learned to catch myself when doing this, and have started to question why.

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Is it really that dangerous to walk on the curb? Is it bad for my knees to slide toward the refrigerator while wearing socks in my kitchen? And why don’t I push the shopping cart and stand on the back anymore while it rolls forward?

Well actually… I do. Fun fact: the most convenient way to get from the Costco exit to your car is by pushing the cart and jumping on the back and riding it. I’ve beaten many boring adults to their cars this way, believe you me. I also hopped through a piece of scaffolding near my apartment the other day to get from the street on to the sidewalk.

I won’t get into why play is important for adults and children alike, but I do think it’s important to keep doing childish things in order to stay active, stay young, and stay interesting. I think that every once in a while, we should see how children go about their lives, living with less worry and care and neuroticism, and we should learn from them. Doing childish things will not only make you feel young, but will probably help you look it too.

Plus, who doesn’t want a grandpa who rides shopping carts?

What People Mean When They Say “I Dress Well for Myself”

I hear a lot of people say “I dress well for myself, because I like to look good”. This has come up especially when people talk about certain things they find look nice, but one of their friends will say “hey you know girls don’t really find green shoes to be attractive” or something to that effect. The fall-back answer is “well I don’t care, I dress well for myself”. I think that’s kinda bull.

Most people do most things for themselves, most of the time. So it would be hard to argue that people don’t dress well because they want to. The distinction I want to make though, is that people don’t actually understand what they’re saying when they say this. In reality, people want confirmation and want to feel good, and they get that through other people. Someone will dress in a certain way (or see people on TV or in the media dress that way), get confirmation from friends, family and strangers (via compliments, looks, attention, etc.) and they will be happy. They’ll then continue to dress in a way that repeats this feeling, until the point where someone says that something isn’t attractive to others and they have to defend themselves. They defend themselves by saying that it’s not for other people, it’s for them. They think that the choice of clothing or behaviour is for them when in reality, it’s the positive feedback and acceptance that they need, so dressing a certain way is just the middle step between the positive feeling and their choices.

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I’m not even entirely sure why I’m writing this, I guess it just bothers me when people are stubborn about things that they don’t understand, and have come to believe (as in this case) that it’s a conscious choice that they make that has no connection to what other people think. Another defense might be “but I don’t follow the trends”. Well, that’s another way of differentiating yourself and making yourself more attractive to potential mates by choosing a certain style. It’s for you in the sense that you will get something out of it, but not directly.

Then you might say “Oh but I’ve always thought this dark lipstick looks good even though everyone says it’s bad.” Well, that’s also not you. You weren’t born with the opinion that dark lipstick is nice, attractive, or even suits you. You saw commercials for makeup and hair, beautiful TV show hosts, paintings of noble women, and your gorgeous aunt wearing it. You then formed the opinion, over many many many years, and have come to accept it. Those people aren’t doing it for them. They’re doing it because it’s considered attractive, and that in turn promises a dream of good relationships, attention, and more.

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I’m not asking or suggesting that anyone change the way they dress, I’m simply suggesting that behind the choices you make there are bigger, more substantial drivers that people often ignore. I like to think that being aware of what drives your decisions, in general, will lead to better decision-making abilities in any walk of life.

Why Europe is Better than North America, and Why It Isn’t.

I just came back from Germany a couple of days ago, and while I was there I noticed a few things. Well I noticed a lot of things… I should hope. But there were certain things that they do that I realized seemed just backward or silly, and thought of how much better we have certain things in North America. On the other hand, there were a bunch of things that we don’t do nearly as well, and I wanted to share these random thoughts with you.

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What does Europe (or Germany, at least) do right?

  • Not censoring too much
  • Letting people drink in the street / park
  • Eating dinner at the right time
  • Style – everyone just seems well dressed and like they put a little bit of thought into what they wear.
  • Putting prices on things in store windows – though I imagine it would be better to trick people into walking into your store before revealing your inordinate prices.
  • Tipping – mandatory tipping is just effing stupid.
  • Being laid back about language (but maybe that’s just Quebec being stupid and me noticing it)
  • Letting dogs be everywhere – they’re allowed in stores, restaurants, the metro (subway), busses, everywhere! So much better.
  • Maintaining / not maintaining parks – they have parks with actual green areas with ponds, bushes, weeds, whatever and it makes it 1) better for the environment and the animals that can actually live there and 2) feel more wild and more “not the city”.

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What does Europe do not so well?

  • FREE WATER AT RESTAURANTS, DAMNIT PEOPLE COME ON. I get it if it’s a place where you can’t drink the tap water but… Germany? Grr.
  • Free bathrooms – they really really don’t like these. Like, really? Basic human need here!
  • Being open on Sundays
  • Smoking everywhere (or almost everywhere)
  • Being nice when people actually bump into one another – though this is likely just the cities I was in / German thing.

Pictures from this article were taken during the trip, and you can find them all here. Anyway this doesn’t speak for all of Europe or all of North America, but I’ve been to quite a lot of places on both continents and it seems like my opinion wouldn’t change much about these things. That’s ma rant. Hope you enjoyed.

Why I Chose Video Games

I’ve gotten this question a ton, mostly from people not in the games industry:

“What made you get into video games?”

Figured I’d write my answer here, and I’m curious to hear what other people’s answers are to this question. The inquisitors, of course, are asking about making games as a career choice, not simply playing them for countless hours. Actually I don’t even really play that much… fine, except Rocket League…

So why video games? I had the idea of getting into the field a few years ago, and while I’m not sure what exact instant in time or what event sparked it, I realized that it kind of brings together all of the things I’ve wanted to do for my whole life. I’ve always been a creative person with an imagination the size of a megalodon, and I started my post-high-school schooling in music before switching into sciences and eventually engineering. I wanted to get into architecture but went with mechanical engineering because I didn’t have an amazing portfolio ready and I knew (thought) engineering was a more stable career path. Engineers can design of products that people interact with every day, and architects design spaces that alter people’s interactions with the world around them. This last bit is super powerful; a well-designed space can greatly affect the way a person views the world and their overall happiness at work or at home.

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Personally I think the carpet is too dark… but hey.

But why stop there? Why be constrained by the physical world? Why not take people into the crazy, insane imagination that fuels my brain and fills it with images, words and stories? I’ve never really been good enough at art to convey what’s in my mind, and I’ve never been a talented (or patient) enough writer to create text that makes you want to jump into the page and never leave.

That brings me to my next point: you can’t actually jump into the pages of a book. Well, maybe a very big book… but generally, you can’t. You can’t look at a painting of a house and go see what’s behind it. Traditional media, or non-interactive media such as books, television, movies, paintings, etc. are great. BUT the thing they lack is true immersion. A book might pull you into the story and you might feel like you’re right there next to the characters seeing their experiences first-hand, but you’ll never alter the story or the interaction between the characters. This is something you can do in games and it gives games, in my opinion, a completely different value as a story-telling medium.

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So, because of the idea that games can be a medium through which I can channel my imagination, and because they are one of the only forms of media that allow for true immersion, I’ve chosen video games. There’s a third reason, which I can’t say I knew before I got into the industry, but I sure as hell know it now. The people. Are. Fantastic. They really, truly are. I think I’ll probably write another post about that sometime as I don’t want to drag on, but it’s incredible the kind of mutual support we give each other in this industry.

That’s all for today folks, I’d love to know your thoughts and, if you do work in games, your reason for doing so.