Bamboo Cyberdream

a panda wanders the electronic landscape

Violent Video Games

I’ve never experienced violence in any real way.

I’ve lived a pretty good life — I was lucky enough to grow up in a nice neighborhood and be sent to a good high school which took me to a quiet suburban college. I’ve lived in cities cities since then, but my experiences with crime have been limited to having electronics stolen from my car. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been in a fight, and of those fights, nobody ever left with more significant injuries than some scrapes and bruises.

I was lucky to find employment and thus was not forced to join the military1. I always participated in non-contact sports. I was a theater kid. Shit, I think I was even involved in Amnesty International at one point?

I have no idea what it’s like to genuinely fear for your life. I’ve never been in a situation where the stakes of the crisis were actual lives. I don’t know what violence is.

Talking to Press

My Twitter feed was oddly divided this afternoon, with lots of emotion and opinions swirling around a pair of articles from Kotaku and Penny Arcade. In short it comes down to Kotaku wishing more people in the industry would talk with press honestly, and Penny Arcade calling them childish for expecting that.

As rarely as I find myself saying it these days, I found myself on the side of Penny Arcade. The other developers I know (either in real life or via the large communal break room of Twitter) were fairly split on the issue, but I noticed a pretty clear pattern: small developers agree with Kotaku, and large developers agree with Penny Arcade. (There are exceptions, of course; I’m making a gross generalization.)

Waking Up

Note: this blog is usually about video games. This time it’s not. If you want to read about video games, skip this post. Similarly, if you like this post, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will like the rest of this blog. It is usually about video games.

I graduated from the University of Virginia, which was one of the first public universities anywhere in the world. I didn’t grow up in Virginia, but quickly came to think of U.Va. and indeed the entire state as my home. When I moved to the DC area from California, I first chose to live on the Virginia side, even though my work was in Maryland. The state and its flagship school are closely bound up in my present identity.

There’s not a whole lot I can add to the discourse surrounding the series of dramatic events that have unfolded in Charlottesville over the last few weeks. I have a journeyman’s interest in (and a much-less-than-journeyman’s knowledge of) business history and theory. I have no formal training or experience running a company, but I dive into books about the subject and drink in stories of what made certain companies rise and others fall. So when the phrase “strategic dynamism” was getting thrown around frequently in the commentary around Teresa Sullivan’s forced resignation, I did a bit of research on the subject to see what, presumably, the University was lacking.

Procedural Orders

Oh wow, I haven’t blogged in a while. The last time I did it was met with a small shitstorm of people passionately agreeing and passionately disagreeing with me. So I guess I touched a nerve?

Anyway, in the meanwhile, I helped put out a game. It’s doing pretty well. You should play it. Also, in place of a love letter to Marathon, I’m doing a whole blog series with George Kokoris and Brendan Keogh. Both of them are inimitable and excellent, and I’m looking forward to seeing where we go with this.

I am now about to make the most pointy-headed blog post I’ve ever made or likely will make. Fair warning.

Game Ideas

Blatantly inspired by Josh Olson’s excellent I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script, which is worth your time. I am not as foul-mouthed or incisive as he is, unfortunately.

I meet you at a party. Or a wedding. Or a bar. Doesn’t matter. Maybe we have mutual friends, or just struck up conversation over some humorous occurrence that we both witnessed. We’ll talk movies, football, the weather, and music. Eventually, you ask what I do for a living.

“I’m a game developer.”

“Oh, let me tell you — I have the best idea for a game.”