San Francisco, California

Sticks and Ropes

I love this piece by Dave Rupert on videogames and the art of kindness. He quotes a recent interview by Hideo Kojima:

Most of your tools in action games are sticks. You punch or you shoot or you kick. The communication is always through these sticks, I want people to be connected not through sticks, but through what would be the equivalent of ropes

Dave then continues:

Most games are about fighting off bad guys. Creating divisions and putting distance between yourself and bad things. “Bad things” in video games usually mean objectives and outcomes that don’t explicitly benefit your avatar. I don’t think I’ve realized how much video games reinforce self-centeredness and self-preservation. It’s your story, you’re the hero, attack whatever isn’t on your team and gets in your way.

I’ve started thinking about sticks and ropes a lot in regards my online interactions. Regretfully, I see places where I’ve acted more like a stick when a rope was the better tool for the job. I am not perfect at this, but I’ve been working on tempering some of my reactions and criticisms before becoming a stick.

I’ve been thinking about this post for the past couple of days now, especially as I begin work on a maybe-book project—it’s a book/zine/talk/I-don’t-know-what-yet that lists every mistake I’ve made in the field of design systems. And as I read Dave’s piece I realized the title of this book that I’m writing should probably be something like How I learned to stop being a stick: a Robin Rendle story.