RIP Eric Medalle

The Pokemon Company International Creative Design Director Eric Medalle died on Sunday during a windstorm in Seattle while taking his youngest daughter for a drive. Their car was crushed by a tree. His daughter, who’s 2, has sustained only minor injuries, thank god. He also has another daughter, aged 6.

Medalle was credited with several games in the Pokemon series according to Bulbapedia:

– Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire: English & European Graphic Design
– Pokemon X and Y: English & European Graphic Design
– Pokemon Black and White Versions 2: English Version Artwork
– Pokemon Conquest: Graphic Design
– Pokemon Black and White Versions: English Version Artwork
– Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs: English-Version Graphic Design
– Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver Versions: English-Version Artwork
– Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia: English Version Artwork

A friend of his wife’s (they work at the same school) has created a YouCaring page to raise funds for the family.

RIP Eric Medalle.

JumpStart lays off most of the old Neopets staff

Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure I’m the only person in my peer group who cares about this, but I’m going to write out a little timeline anyway because it cuts to what’s left of my childhood nostalgia.

Back in 1999, Adam Powell, a programmer and game designer, and Donna Williams, a web designer and graphic artist, started Neopets as a way to “keep university students entertained, and possibly make some cash from banner advertising.” (Source) It soon garnered more than 600,000 views per day, and those working on the site reached out to investors to help cover costs. I probably joined in 2001 when I was about 9 when they had become a serious gaming site, and had taken off a lot of the non-Neopets jokes and branding. It was, at that point, almost totally converted to a children-oriented site where swearwords were monitored and personal information couldn’t be shared, but there were still themes of dark humor (murder mystery complete with decapitation!) in some of the content put up, and some of the female characters of the site were perhaps more scantily-clad than on a regular kids’ site.

In 2004, the team developed a premium membership in place of banner ads and some virtual perks. I never personally took advantage of these because I was still school aged, but I did take advantage of the free trial once!

In 2005, Adam and Donna sold the site to Viacom for $160 million (Source), and by 2007, a lot of the site was completely redesigned. The site itself, the pets, the shops, the worlds, etc, and some of the changes were made to make customization of pets (namely clothing and backgrounds) feasible, which opened up the possibility of pay-to-play features that they launched later in the year. Neopets was promoted through Nickelodeon at that time with lots of different types of merch and gift cards and a minishow. Some people were disgusted that TNT (The Neopets Team, as they are collectively referred to as) had sold out, and along with their demographic aging on them, the site became less and less popular. Users who were still on it however were more or less accepting of the changes as the function and core of it was still the same. Myself included, though I started to use the site less frequently.

In 2014, Neopets was acquired by JumpStart (Source), and basically everyone hated that shift. Server lags, glitches, didn’t add anything new– and on March 6th, nearly all of the Neopets staff were laid-off for unknown reasons. (Source)

It doesn’t look good. I think I may have to say good bye to a huge chunk of my childhood, and it is not a nice feeling.

A question of scent: lavender aroma promotes interpersonal trust

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-01-olfactory-fragrance-lavender.html

This is an interesting study, but the authors of this study write quite a bit about how the experiment could be improved upon. I wonder as well how much of the Affect Grid especially was influenced by the fairly common knowledge of the effects of lavender and peppermint.

The “trust game” used in the experiment is also known as the game made up to help demonstrate Game Theory created by John von Neumann. Business students like myself are taught this game generally within the realm of economics to the end that rational people will try to optimize their benefit, and to teach the Nash equilibrium, which is when everyone involved in a situation is making a decision that takes into account everyone else’s choices, and an individual cannot stand to benefit from changing their strategy.

Sometimes, when the game is set up so that being unified in every decision results in the highest reward, a sort of positive Nash equilibrium that wasn’t really demonstrated in Game Theory’s conception which indicated unity as a neutral state, it’s used to teach business students not to step on each other on the path to success. That working together instead of indulging our innate competitiveness, we stand to have win-win situations instead of win-lose.

Perhaps the next time I need to negotiate for something, I should put some of Caldey’s Island Lavender on and the game will swing in my favor, or maybe it will just make me the sucker, and I’ll end up risking too much as a result of my own inclusive state of mind.

Gay Gaming Characters

The PBS Youtube shows are just so good! I don’t even play that many video games and this channel is incredibly intriguing.

This isn’t an issue I’ve ever even thought about, and now I’m  a little upset because it’s  obviously such an overlooked problem. I’ve only vaguely read about the social issues within the gaming world as it is, and part of that is that I’m not a gamer. It’s interesting, but it follows the pattern: nerds are really insular. Even now, when nerding is a big trend, there are people that try to keep themselves encapsulated: the backlash against “fake cosplayers” and “gamer girls”, brony culture, “filthy casuals”, haha. I can see the big patches of people who put up the red tape, whether or not they realize it or not. I mean, the whole stereotype of the gamer in their mom’s basement eating junk food and lacking a job is based on the notion that gamers don’t like social change/”growing up.”

The lack of acceptance top-down? Makes sense business-wise. It’s risky. The community is loud when it wants to be.

Great advice I needed

Great advice I needed

Really quick post, just wanted to share what I’m totally going to do from now on.

“You could call it my own version of “The Price is Right”. If I see something I want to impulse purchase, I think of a price I would be happy to pay for it. If I check the actual price and it’s lower, I buy it. If the price is higher, I walk away.”

I AM GOING TO SAVE SO MUCH MONEY.