Nintendo and Innovation

Nintendo has been (and arguably continues to be) the beacon for innovation since the inception of home console gaming.

Whether it be through revolutionary game design, three-pronged controllers, or modular consoles, Nintendo seems to be determined to be the people others will point to and say “they thought of it first.” This is obviously a pretty good business approach. The idea that you need to constantly reinvent yourself and adapt to changing times is still a prevailing one.

But as far as I can tell, this hasn’t always been Nintendo’s plan. And it’s gotten a bit crazy recently.

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Plans for 2017

This is a first!

I actually have a strong idea of what I’m going to do with my creative projects in the coming year. Strong enough to talk about.

The kind of stuff I want to put out all comes back to my enthusiasm about games – things like game reviews, analyses, and discussions of game mechanics and design. To that end, here is a short list of the things I’m going to start devoting myself to:

Streaming and recording: It all starts with playing games, and while I’m playing games I also want to record footage of games to be used in videos and give me something to refer back to for writing. I can also do streams while recording and get my audience involved in my work, adding to the discussion. Internet permitting, I’ll do this fairly often – probably whenever I feel like it rather than at a scheduled time.

Writing: You know, that thing I say I do. I’ll be playing games so I can talk about them, and the main things I’ll be talking about in written pieces will be game reviews and smaller topics (asides, basically) that don’t really need a ton of production put into them. I’ll do my best to stick to a publishing schedule of once a week or so. I’ll also still write about non-game things as I get inspired, but my main topic will be games and gaming.

Video essays: This is the most ambitious thing on my list, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for a long time (at least a couple years). When tackling large topics – like breakdowns of far-reaching elements of game design and the like – I want to take the time to do a full demonstration in both audio and video. Recording game footage and what I want to talk about, writing the script, and editing all that together, will definitely be a huge undertaking – which is why these won’t come out very often, but I certainly hope they’ll be very worth it when they do.

Podcasts: This is an idea that was brought to me recently. I’m not sure how I’ll set these up, but getting a friend or two together and talking about recent events and otherwise shooting the shit sounds fun. The audio will probably get uploaded to my channel like a video would be.

The list above gives a bit of a look of what I want my life to be like in 2017. I want to be all over Twitter, I want to be spending time with friends, I want to be playing games and using my love of games to fuel discussion and think about what they really mean both to me and to others. I’m hoping I’ll be able to do at least one blog post every week, one video every month, and some podcasts and streams here or there to really connect with the people important to me – you all.

I’m gonna have a lot to show next year. It’s gonna be my year to really do what I’m passionate about. Look forward to it!

From Past to Future

I just had a conversation with myself.

Not a sort of checking in with myself, a “hey, how you doing” “well I’m alright, thank you” conversation.

I reached deep and found my past self. Who I was before my life took innumerable turns for the worse. And she talked to me.

She told me all about how great I used to be… Despite how young and naive I was. She reminded me what those times were like. When I could be the life of a party. When I could command a room. When my personality was larger than life.

She showed me what a dynamic person I used to be. And showed me where I went wrong. How I became misguided in my pursuit of an ideal which wasn’t myself.

I’ve talked about how I consider myself multifaceted — how I’m not all one thing. I thought that was just because I have a multiple personalities. And I still do, but that’s not what actually defines me.

The truth is that my personality is just plain fractured. Broken. Not into pieces. Just broken, as-is. I should be a huge person, powerful and confident and assertive. But I wasn’t being that.

For so long I’ve faked it because I knew I used to be like that and I didn’t know how to be it again genuinely. But now I understand a bit better.

I used to live without restraints. And that got me in a lot of trouble, because I was a dumb kid. I started to break down when reality set in and I started needing to be an adult.

But isn’t that not how things should be? I’m so much smarter and more capable now than I ever used to be. Why should I be less than I ever was just because I’m more challenged? If anything, I should be more.

I know how to handle myself now. I don’t have to be constantly afraid of making the same mistakes. I can live without restraints again and reclaim the happiness I used to feel when I didn’t have to fight for it.

Now I can fight for my happiness when I have to. And win. Because that’s just what I do.

I’m not going to let the pressures of life nor the reality of being an adult wear me down and restrict who I know I can be. I already feel years younger, like I’m picking myself back up right where I left off when I was 18-20.

I’m going to be that person again. The person who is dynamic, confident, powerful, happy, loving, loyal, and carefree. There are a few people in my life right now who could really use that, not the least of whom being myself.

A long time ago, before I was “Nihil,” I was “Skyla.” I don’t know which name suits me better right now. Maybe I’ll need to find a new one.

But look out, world. Skyla’s back.

Letting Go

Lately I’ve been thinking of the concept of “letting go” — that process of removing (usually harmful) thoughts and things from one’s life.

This process is interesting to me because of what it implies. To let go is, literally, to release something from a grip. This, of course, means that something must have been held before it could be let go.

What things do we hold onto? And why? And why do we eventually let go of them? And, perhaps most importantly, what effect does that process have on us?

I said in the first paragraph that things which are let go are usually harmful, specifically to the person who held them. But that begs the question: why hold onto something harmful to yourself?

Usually this is explained by the person not thinking or realising that this thing, whatever it is, is harmful. Or, more tragically, it could involve the person justifying the harm or thinking that the thing is worth holding onto regardless of it.

Did you think of anything in your life, personal or witnessed, which may fit either category? Toxic relationships, addictions and vices, preconceptions; these are things we sometimes hold onto and we invariably think we’re correct while doing so.

Even if we’re not consciously aware of it, we always have a reason for holding onto things which hurt us. We might think the person is worth it, that the pros outweigh the cons, that we’re right whether or not we look at the facts.

Then, eventually, we learn that we are wrong and begin to let go — or become so stubborn that we simply can’t.

Of course, not all things that we hold onto, at least in some sense, are harmful. Many of us have at least a few good friends, healthy hobbies, a professional or academic calling, etc. These are not necessarily things we hold onto (in a demanding sense) as much as they are things we simply have, however.

Taking ownership of something is fine, but “holding onto” (and later letting go) something implies more of a need. Obsessive. Must keep. Must have. Such things take ownership of you, not the other way around.

Let’s say there’s something you want. You want it so badly that you can hardly stop thinking about it. You’d give much to have it. You simply can’t let go of this idea.

This is a harmful thing, ultimately, because not having it won’t kill you (otherwise you’d actually need it) and yet it feels that way because of how important it is to you. Whatever it is, this is an example of holding onto something harmful via a justification (“I want it,” simply put).

This is invariable. Things which are held so tightly cause harm in one form or another ultimately because they take control from the person holding them. Think about yourself and the things you hold onto in this way.

Here, I’ll give you some examples:

“This will work out, I just need time.”

“They’re usually better than this.”

“I might need this later.”

“No one can know about this, I’d just die.”

Let go. 

There’s so much more in life which can be of value to you outside of these needless relationships, obsessions, insecurities, et al.

What will happen? Well, at first you might feel terrible. You might want to go back. You might scramble to pick up that thing and grip it tightly again.

But if you can resist that urge, I can almost guarantee you that you’ll be shocked to discover how much better you feel without whatever it was.

I’ve seen that. I’ve felt that. I want you to feel it, too.

It all starts with letting go of the things, ideas, people, and everything else holding you back. You’ll learn how little you need these things when you try.

Usage of Will 

“Willpower” — both the faculty by which a person makes decisions and the implied courage and determination which make such decisions possible — is an interesting topic for me. 

I used to think that the common interpretation of a “strong will” was an intangible thing, simply a way of explaining our ability to make tough decisions. We do what we must because we must and the people who perform exceptionally well at this are said to have “strong wills.” 

I no longer think this way, however. Recent experiences have shown me that will is a much more tangible thing. It can be felt. Utilised. It is no mere ability or right, but rather a power we can tap into. 

This can be explained by further examining the nature of will. An absence of will means an inability to make decisions. In other words, it means no control over one’s self. The presence of will does not imply absolute control of one’s self, however — only that control is now possible. 

Let us also examine the implication of a decision. Making a decision — choosing one thing or group of things from a potentially limitless pool of options — is both a decision to do and to not do. The decision, which is a product of will, exerts control on the world around one via its consequences. 

I must emphasise that last point. By choosing to do one thing and not others, when all choices were valid, you are taking control — to however big or small a degree — of not only your destiny, but also the potential destinies of others through your actions. This is a product of will. Others, too, can take control using their own will (and must, lest they be swept aside), but it is by your will that such a circumstance would arise. 

And now I must ask: Have you ever thought of the consequences of your actions? Considered people you’ve helped? Considered people you’ve hurt? How many lives do you think that you, and you alone, have irreversibly changed as even an indirect result of your actions? Think on it. 

Do you now understand how powerful will truly is? 

Will is not merely the right or ability to make decisions. It is that which allows us to be who and what we are. We smile, we cry, we hate, we love, we bring joy and cause pain to both ourselves and to others. We do these things consciously and actively, or consciously choose not to, through will. 

The most important thing to realise, however, is that will can overcome that which attempts to combat it. Fatigue, pain, and laziness are conditions we all fall into. Succumbing to these conditions, however, is not an inevitability. It is a choice, and therein lies the trap. 

Short of physical incapacitation, nothing truly stops you from doing whatever you wish besides your own will. Remember, will is as much the power to decide not to do. We excuse ourselves from action, say “I’m tired” or “my head hurts,” and then voila — we’ve used our will to restrict ourselves. It’s quite insidious. 

But it’s your will, not anyone else’s. You have as much control over it as you realise this. Having a strong will, truthfully, only requires awareness of how many decisions you actually make and how much those decisions affect you. 

Dear reader, if you were to get anything from this piece of writing, I would want it to be this: realise that it is your will to be both inhibited and unfettered, trapped and free, miserable and joyful. 

You — not others, not circumstances, not drugs, not vices, not your obligations, not your money, not your possessions — but you and only you have the power to truly affect your immediate and long-term destiny. 

That is what it means to use your will. 

Feedback Appreciated

That is a tongue-in-cheek name for an article about feedback. It is appreciated, though.

What is feedback? What does “feedback” mean? Here we refer to an opinion, comment, critique, etc, directed toward something else. A rating. A review. A thing said about a thing. Feedback.

Feedback is also a valuable commodity. When someone creates something, feedback is usually desired — if not requested — because of its value. But why?

Consider: a survey is a kind of feedback. A survey may ask you to rate a service or an item, and even ask how it could be improved.

This is valuable for several reasons, including — but not limited to — getting an idea of something’s worth, building confidence in a product, learning of flaws to improve, and even gathering ideas for improvement.

But this feedback has another, more subtle value. It is indicative of interest. In other words, feedback says “I care enough about your product that I want to see more of it.” And that’s powerful. That is motivating.

Whether you want to see it improve or indicate its quality, your feedback is possibly the most valuable thing you can give to anyone who produces.

There are people who struggle to do anything because of lack of feedback. They’re uncertain. Directionless. They need a push to keep going — a reminder that their work is appreciated, a tip for how to proceed, anything.

They need feedback you can provide.

I said it before but I’ll say it again: feedback is one of the most, if not the most valuable thing you can give. Nothing is too simple, too short, too generic that it can’t be valuable. Even a simple “I like this” does a heart wonders.

Say something to your favorite people who produce and create. Never underestimate the power of your words.

Maintaining Momentum

I’ve found that it takes a surprising amount of tenacity to claim one will do something and then actually follow through on that thing. For example, say you have a project of some kind which is due in a week. It’s easy to say “I’ll get it done before then” but then you still have to do it!

This goes beyond planning to get something done and dips into the area of motivation. I touched on this in the last piece I wrote, but when you want something you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to get that thing.

How badly you want it can be a big factor in how motivated you are to get it done, but often enough one must also overpower whatever would hold them back. And it’s not easy, I can tell you that from personal experience.

Having said that, motivation really does boil down to “how much do I want it?” and “how willing am I to get it?” If you have those two things in abundance, you’ll succeed. Not because that’s “all it takes” or because want and willingness give you natural ability — but because these things help you push through obstacles.

You will encounter some kind of resistance (fatigue, hunger, moods, people and/or things actually hindering you, etc) on the way to getting whatever you want. But there are always solutions to these obstacles — your success depends not on avoiding them, but pushing through them when they arise.

When looking at something you want to do, something you want to get, something you want to accomplish, and so on, be ready to overcome adversity on the way there and know that you can when you encounter it. That’s my tip for following through.