No More Resolutions

Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account. - Oscar Wilde

The seasonal period has its fair share of arbitrary and baseless traditions, most of which are fairly innocuous and some harmless fun. Others however are dangerously stressful and depressing, like the usual “good resolutions” that some of us feel compelled to promise in the New Year, usually after a profligate Christmas season where money was thrown around and alcohol and food consumed with embarrassing fortuity. Invariably these promises fail to bear fruit leading to further disappointment and depression in the already gloomy early months of the year. Tish and pish to them, I say! Out with the resolutions, in with the new tradition: the airing of grievances. To have a good old moan exorcises the daemons and stress of the previous year, clearing the mind for the inevitable stress that lies ahead. Here is my shortlist of annoyances.

1. Microsoft.
2. The way the Fox Japan announcer pronounces "horror" as "horrow".
3. The way leads have this tendency to ask you to work within a strict polygon budget, are unhappy with the results, change it by adding several thousand extra polys and say "See? I improved it. It looks nicer now." A poly reduction task usually follows some months later when performance issues are bug tracked.
4. The on-going steady decline into far-right nationalism and fear mongering racism of the Japanese government.
5. American gaming podcast hosts who pronounce "niche" as "nitch" rather than "neesh".
6. Politicians and news media and their symbiotic relationship with regards to videogaming and overly sensationalist news reporting.
7. Game industry analysts who are clearly making shit up as they go along, have a success rate of about 1% and are making all the obvious mistakes fanboys make when they let personal opinion and casual observation inform their judgments.
8. Keynote speakers or givers of presentations who use the phrase "I'll just go ahead and..." whenever they put up a new slide, reveal figures, scratch their nose, exhale, etc.
9. The decision making process of Japanese game development combined with the utter failure of planners to actually plan ahead for things.
10. The word "flabbergasted" which I hereby nominate to be stricken from the English language on grounds of esthetics and taste.
11. Third party publishers who whine about their shitty, second-rate shovelware not selling as well on Nintendo hardware as Super Mario Galaxy.
12. My commute, my train line and the thousands of people I have to share it with, especially those that try to read newspapers, shove and push and somehow think they deserve more space than is physically possible to provide.
13. Kanji, the inability to survive using English alone or my aging brain refusing to learn more languages - take your pick.
14. Japanese game development companies who ask you for your current salary and future salary expectations and then proceed to offer you a job with wages below, often very much below your quoted figures. I’ve sent out more rejection letters this year than I have ever received over the course of my career.
15. The inability for common man as well as supposed professionals to grasp the difference between "it's" and "its".
16. Populist “literature”. Sure Dan Brown was enjoyed by 100 billion people but that doesn’t automatically mean it is quality literature or beyond criticism. It just means 100 billion people have very little or no taste in books.
17. Meanderthals, slow walkers and those whose walking speed is near-stationary because they're fucking about on their mobile phones or reading a manga.
18. The type of game journalist who thinks he is part of the development process and will happily share is insights so the developers can make the game better by writing things like “If they sort out these problems before the title’s release next week it’ll be a better game”.
19. Sony’s amazing ability to turn a worldwide, top-selling franchise into the albatross of the gaming industry by merely using management hubris and badly judged PR.
20. The religious war on freedom, science, common sense and modernity in general.
21. Pseudo-science, astrology, homeopathy, and other baseless, supernatural hokum.
22. Fundamentalist, rabid anti-smokers who won’t be satisfied until tobacco, smoking, smokers, the word “smoke”, ex-smokers and ashtrays have been eradicated from existence and history and don’t even have the common decency to let me kill myself in my own way in private as it somehow is a personal insult to them and their brood. These are also the kind of people who think “Mind if I fart!” is a hilarious, original and apt come-back to any polite smoker who enquires about the possibility of him smoking if no one else minds.
23. Conversely, Japanese parents who bring their young children, babies even, into the smoking areas of cafes and restaurants and proceed to blow smoke into the faces of their progeny making me personally feel bad about smoking in an area that is supposed to be a safe haven for us sophisticated folk.
24. The ever decreasing standards of air travel. It won’t be long before we won’t be allowed any check-in or carry-on baggage, pass through the metal detectors naked, wear orange jumpsuits and be chemically sedated just to protect “democracy”.
25. Knowingly self-depreciating humour, excessive complainers and self-loathers.

Have a good 2008. If you share my world view you may agree things can only ever get better.


  1. One of my grievances is the lack of pro science skepticism in games. Glad to see we have one developer out there who knows how to smell bull shit.

  2. The "mind if I fart" comes from a now-ancient Steve Martin comedy routine, which was funny at the time. I didn't know it had evolved into a bad cliché; this is the first I've seen it mentioned since the original sketch (which dates me badly).

  3. anon, you'll be glad to know that according to informal polls on one global industry community forum the vast majority of us (on that forum at least) are lefty atheists.
    I'm still trying to find a decent English-based skeptics society in Tokyo though. Got to do my bit.

    doesnotequal, yeah, I know of the origins. The best response to "mind if I fart?" is, "sure, go right ahead!" and then light up. I bet you you can smoke a Hell of a lot more than they can fart and besides, my sense of smell is totally broken after years of chainsmoking, so it's of little concern to me. Ha!

  4. 15. The inability for common man as well as supposed professionals to grasp the difference between "it's" and "its".

    I don't know about others but for my it's not that I don't know the difference. It's that I'm too lazy to proofread and on first typing my hands seem to randomly type it's or its.

    Mind if I fart

    That's because unless their is a baby in the room there is no socially exceptable way to refuse. No one wants to be a party-pooper. So from the non-smokers POV it was rude of you to even ask. You should have seen that no one was smoking and not have asked in the first place. No one would ask "mind if I stink this place up with noxious fumes that'll make you feel sick and make all your clothing smell?" but that's basically what smokers are asking.

  5. "it was rude of you to even ask."

    Oh, okay. In future I won't ask then. I'll just do. :)

  6. Admit it, after a few times of peole saying "sorry, but I'd really apprciate it if you didn't" you'd bitch about them not letting you smoke.

  7. Not really. Unlike most anti-smokers I can be perfectly sociable, tolerating those who don't smoke and polite enough to not do so...provided of course the anti-smokers lend me the same courtesy, which is unlikely as this would include being able to *politely* respond to my query if they'd mind me smoking. It's a little weird how anti-smokers have seemed to forgotten how to have polite conversation and that my role in life doesn't neccesarily include them as the center of it.

  8. - Women pushing prams down the road

    I can't stand them! At least here in London, they just expect you to get the feck out of their way and don't even bother to thank you when you do.

    The fact that they take the whole pavement and make you walk behind them at the same snail pace as them doesn't seem to bother them either.

  9. Anti-smokers have become fanatical. There's a dogma to the not-smoking faith that includes the idea that the mere mention of the word "smoke" is a sin. You're totally right about that. But, as gman there demonstrated - it goes far beyond that. There's this push now that falsely conflates "being polite" with "don't rock the boat."

    There's no polite way to say no, because you don't want to be a party pooper? What?! Have you considered that a snappy retort (Regardless of its origins) is more rude? Have you considered that, no matter how you say it -- heck, even if you don't say it at all -- you're pooping on the party by not letting it happen at all? There's no way not to impose on the smoker's day, if you say no, and you feel that saying no is important, so why try to escape the repercussions?

    Take responsibility, or as us yanks would say, "Man up" and just say so. Try this sometime, "Thanks for asking, but please don't do that. I find it foul." You'd be surprised how well that works.

    Take it from an ex-smoker; we'd rather you just say no than be assholes. Any time you try to get what you want without taking responsibility for it... you look like an asshole.