Games & I

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This post relates back to my 2016 retrospective. I’d advise reading this first.


A question that has particular been on my mind is – how do I approach my aspirations in a way that is both fulfilling & ethical, yet realistic? How do I do this whilst holding to my own values?

Like the questions I had before, I don’t have a clear answer for this. To be fair, this post isn’t about looking for an answer but rather the affect this question had on me in regards to a major aspiration of mine.

You see, in 2016 a part of me gave up on my dream of making games. These are my reasons:

  • Having knowledge that the world is more screwed then I thought, my wish to make games, & the kind of games I wanted to make, feel comparatively trivial & unimportant (that was a truly sad thought for me). A part of me feels obliged to help the world get truly better in some way. I’m still not sure how I can help but I don’t think providing another form of escapism is the way.
  • I had reached a point where just thinking about making games brought about feelings of frustration, self-disappointment, & apathy. I’d tried many approaches that all lead to similar results, each one not able to account for my own shortcomings.
  • I have an awful habit of stating I’ll do something & not actually doing it for whatever reason. I’ve become really sick of being that kind of guy. I’ve become hesitant to say I’ll do anything, unless I seem to be already doing it.
  • I’ve known for a long time that its difficult to get into the games industry, & that surviving or even making a living from it is even more difficult. Hell, I know how difficult it can be just to try & make one game, I’ve been trying to do it alone since graduating in 2013. I admit the task has only become more daunting over time.
  • I like games, but I’ve become disgusted with the mainstream games industry. Cultural toxicity aside, it’s market driven nature has become more apparent to me. Any regard for experimentation, artistic expression, & the effects of the medium is seemingly relegated to indies, small studios, & critics, since everyone else is comfortable with games “just being games”. I feel like this point alone is worthy of it’s own post (I know, more to write about!).

Continue reading

2016 Retrospective

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Whelp, this took way too long. This is not a review of world events in 2016; just my own reflection on what I’ve been learning & how that’s affected me.


2016 has been a year of further complex realizations. Before I’d been musing on how my own thoughts & actions can effect myself & others. Since moving to my current flat, my thoughts have broadened to systems & ideologies that may affect us all.

I’ve been learning concepts related to socio-politics & philosophy, as well as figures & movements within these topics. I’ve gained some familiarity with concepts like Post-Modernism, Socialism, Neoliberalism, Subjectivity, Cultural Hegemony, & Hyperrealism; even Veganism. I’ve gained some familiarity with names like Marx, Nietzsche, Sartre, Focault, Kierkegaard, Camus, & Hegel; plus some modern names like Chomsky & Zizek. These topics & names have provided a lot of insight & new ideas that I would love to see more media & stories explore (I’ve gained a new found appreciation for the ones that do). It helps that over half my flatmates study &/or have an avid interest in these topics & are quite happy to talk about them.

Side note: a flatmate actually compared my thinking to Hegel’s philosophies. It’s weird having your personal philosophy supposedly match a philosopher you were completely unaware of just months ago.


Yet, I’m still quite clueless as ever. I’ve been introduced to these terms & given a basic idea of what most of them are about, yet I feel I don’t have a true understanding of them.

If anything, what I’ve learned has a tendency to throw me off. About every month or two I seem to learn something that makes me question my assumptions & “what I should do”; all in the backdrop of a wider world & global system that I’ve known to be messed up, yet I keep discovering new perspectives that make it apparently bleaker then I thought. I’ve come to learn that the best information may very well be the knowledge & questions that deconstruct & challenge your foundations. Continue reading

December/January Life Update – Discomfort

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Hello to you & 2017, it’s been a while.

This was going to be both a life update & a reflection of 2016, but the reflection kept growing & growing. Dividing this into three posts seems more humane, which I’ll space out over the next few days. My other excuse for the absence is that I’ve become more lazy & distracted since the Christmas & New Years period.

So, the main things that have happened:

  • My part-time contract ended on December 23rd & I’ve received news my boss’ higher ups will not employ me at this time for legal reasons. Fortunately my boss is willing to help get me setup as a “self-employed” contractor just so he can hire me back himself. I just need to get setup with WINZ again & go from there. 2017 is going to be rather interesting since I know nothing about being self-employed or being a contractor (yay?).
  • I actually found a boardgame I’ve been wanting to play for a long time – Tales of the Arabian Nights (this review serves as good insight into what the game is like). I love this game, I wish I had it when I was younger. It’s one of the inspirations for the prototype I’ve been working towards, & now that I’ve actually played it I’ve been reconsidering some of my design choices so far. Good thing I’m still in the planning phase.
  • I’ve had my brother come down & stay at my flat in late December through to New Years, though we stayed in Te Anau with my parents for Christmas. Seeing family & the dogs has been nice but it left me in a subdued mood. This feeling seems to have passed though I still find myself stuck with questions.

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November Life Update – Cutting Back

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Hello, I know it’s December now but this update is about things that happened last month. Besides, I might end up doing one more update before the end of the year.

It feels like I’ve delayed this update too much so there’s a fair amount of things I want to cover & try to recall.

Quick summary for those with little time:

  • Been thinking about my dreams & if I can ethically justify them in the context of the world at large (something I’ll delve into on a separate post).
  • I’ve had two sets of random guests stay over at my flat briefly. I’ll be talking about the first pair (the second largely kept to themselves).
  • Cancelled my D&D campaign.
  • I’ve taken a different approach to my game projects, & now I’ve found myself actually sticking to a project for once (yay!).
  • I also finally got around to getting most of these questions up in front of my house.

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Class struggle – key to liberation

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Now that I’ve read The Communist Manifesto & learned more about what Socialism is, I feel more comfortable in sharing this post & calling myself a Socialist.

I share this because I believe Socialism is a concept people need to learn more about (particularly with the way the world currently is) & I feel posts like this can serve as a good intro to what Socialism is about. I want people to know that there is a better alternative way to run society if we are willing to understand & fight for it.

I know how intimidating topics like Socialism & Capitalism can be, but I encourage people to read this. It is a long post but it’s informative & fairly straightforward. At least it gives a New Zealand perspective of the topic.

Some term explanations:
* Marxism – a political & economic philosophy developed by Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels that is the basis for virtually all Socialist & Communist movements (this post explains some key points of that philosophy as it applies today).
* Aotearoa – Maori term for New Zealand
* Pākehā – Maori term for “white New Zealander”

International Socialists

auckland-health-workers-strike Auckland health workers strike 2015. Photo: RNZ

Shomi Yoon gave this talk to the International Socialism Day School, Newtown, Wellington, last month.

It seems obvious that we need to understand the world in order to change it. Socialist strategy and tactics for liberation is not only about the downfall of capitalism but also for genuine liberation for all.

A Marxist understanding of class and understanding that this is the central divide in society is crucial. But more than this, it’s the working class that can transform society for genuine liberation. I want to contest the idea that putting class at the centre of our analysis means that other forms of oppression are secondary in importance to class – far from it – it provides a concrete analysis of where the oppression comes from and how we can overcome it.

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Window Questions

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Hello, this post stems from a random thought I had yesterday. I felt the need to put up a series of questions in front of my house. I haven’t put them up yet, but this is the list I have so far:

What is your story?

What does your life say about you & what you value?

What decides your life?

If you died now, how would you feel about your life?

Should shame, fear, hatred, & sadness be standards you live your life by?

What defines truth?

What is reality beyond your senses & the messages you have been told?

What meaning is there to find in a world where none is given?

What defines morality?

What insight can the worst of us offer that the best cannot?

What makes the outsider evil? Why must they be that way?

What perspectives have you not considered?

To what point & purpose do your thoughts & beliefs serve?

What are you ignorant of?

What purpose does ignorance serve?

Why obey rather than question?

What gives leaders their power?

What is worth destroying the world?

Why obey a system that brings more suffering then good?

When does profit become more important than anything else?

How many idiots here think?

Are these questions a bit much?

Submit your answers to our letterbox

The questions I came up with are meant to be thought provoking, with the intention of encouraging critical thinking. The last few lines are meant to be more tongue-in-cheek, though part of me would like to receive mail from random people giving their answers.

For that matter, I’d be curious to see how people reading this post would answer these questions as well. I’d also like to hear any other suggestions for thought provoking questions.

If you’re looking for some explanation, read on. Continue reading

A 1st D&D Campaign Handout

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Ugh… finally got this done! This took me way too long to get done (my excuse is I got caught up in world building  😀 ).

I’m posting it here so those who are curious about it can see it, & also so I can free myself for other pursuits. Fair warning – it’s a long read (over six pages long, way too big to paste into a blog post).

To summarize the document, it covers:

  • What to expect from me as a DM.
  • What the setting is + some lore regarding what your character should know from the get go.
  • Some house rules, mainly about leveling.
  • What I’ll need from players.

If you feel up for it (& can open Word documents) here it is.

Farewell.