Collectivist product design

This promo for Nintendo‘s “3DS” portable games system is particularly interesting. I feel that it demonstrates that collectivist social values map well to product design in regards to social gaming, passive interactions, and appeal to a broad demographic:

Nintendo’s philosophy appears to be to make products that are elegant, complement a healthy life, promote social interaction, and evoke a sense of wonder that can be shared with others (not just “gamers”).

This philosophy took root when Satoru Iwata became CEO in 2002 and he eloquently described it in his keynote address to the 2005 Game Developers’ Conference. Following are some key excerpts.

Early in the speech, Iwata poses a number of questions to the games industry:

As we spend more time and money chasing exactly the same players, who are we leaving behind?

Are we are creating games just for each other?

Do you have friends and family members who do not play video games?

Well, why don’t they?

And, I would ask this: How often have you challenged yourself to create a game that you might not play?

I think these questions form an important challenge for all of us.

Later in the speech, he hints at how Nintendo seeks to answers these questions:

In the universe of interactive entertainment, there is a planet we call video games. It is the one we know best.

But … it is only one.

Also in our universe are other planets which entertain, but in different ways from current games. It is this part of the universe we are anxious to explore.

I have a great deal of respect for Nintendo and I applaud them for relentlessly pursuing their “entertainment for all” philosophy. I’m looking forward to the 3DS.

Australian real estate bubble

I think it’s pretty clear that Australia is in the middle of a significant real estate bubble fuelled by speculative investment, tax incentives, and government stimulus.

Rather than harp on about all the reasons why explosive property appreciation isn’t good for the economy (and isn’t sustainable), I’ll just post some links to websites that serve as appropriate counter-balances to the wide-spread (and well-funded) property spruiking shenanigans that somehow pass for journalism in Australia.

General information:

  • Bubblepedia: Wiki and forums discussing the Australian property bubble. I recommend subscribing to their RSS feed so that you can read articles they link to (and make up your own mind).


Price histories:

  • REFind: Property advertising history (“The best way to track Real Estate and rental price reductions for individual properties.”)
  • Old Listings: Look at old listings (advertised prices for houses) per suburb, and browse through listings per street.

Philosophical / Political:


  • apm Home Price Guide: Used to list up-to-date monthly price changes.  Now only lists year-to-date prices until ~3 months ago and a positive “long-term trend”. (Still useful as a reference for “discounting” though.)
  • RP Data suburb reports: Only lists aggregated data and median prices, but the effects of (increases and decreases in) government stimulus are visible in many suburbs.

Do you have an opinion on housing prices? If so, please leave a comment.

Heidi’s childhood writing

Heidi went to elementary school in the USA. While cleaning out her old room, she found these short essays.

My Itchy Story

Review: A touching slice of life anecdote with a happy (if not somewhat predictable) ending. Charming in its own way.


Review: At first glance, this piece appears to reflect indoctrination within the modern American context of the Cold War. However, it later reveals itself to be deeply critical of these views by presenting perceived “freedom” for what it really is. The author poses the question: Does true freedom have guidelines?

Marzipan modelling

Heidi’s dad loves marzipan, and every Fathers’ Day someone makes him something out of marzipan. A few months ago, I asserted that this year we should try to reproduce his likeness in marzipan.

We bought the marzipan a week or so ago in preparation, but on the day we only had 15 minutes or so to produce a bust. So our plans to colourise the model using chocolate were left unfulfilled.

Heidi worked on texturing (for the hair and flannel shirt) and I did most of the modelling (working from a quick sketch I had made earlier).

I think it turned out pretty well:

Heidi’s dad was chuffed, and the sculpture remains uneaten. 🙂

Posting backlog

I have an uncharacteristically long posting backlog.

I’ll probably have to drop a bunch of intended posts, but I want to get through the following at least (over the next week or so):

  1. Albany: Life as a kept man in regional Western Australia.
  2. Game Jam: Super low-fi game development.
  3. Malaysia: Same same, but different.

Hopefully, I can then get back into my normal ranting – ahem, I mean posting – routine.