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Response: What is Good Taste?

This is a response to an article that 2D Will Never Die wrote one time.

I might just be privileged and optimistic, but I shall not say these years have been horrible to us. I mean, we got Steam, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Kindle (and a lot of other goodies that Amazon gives), and even Mini in a Box. We also have an Internet that has a connection level that is so deeply integrated, thus making these things possible. More locally, even though the debt in Puerto Rico is in default, I got a Master’s Degree in Software Engineering, my own business that is not tied to a single physical location, and a couple of “escape routes” available if things get really bad, though Puerto Rico seems to be handling itself just fine so far.

Even so, I can see that things can be better. Right now, people are craving and perpetuating an NC-17 culture. Even here in Puerto Rico, “safety” is edging out responsibility. Of course, there is not only the debt default that Puerto Rico still has, but also the people in government lacking responsibility in finances, thus why I have considered “escape routes” in the first place!

Ironically, a picture from 2D Will Never Die just happens to illustrate what I want to say:

While 2D Will Never Die used this picture in illustrating an “almost all-consuming trend of going from ‘colorful and full of character’ to ‘dark and all looks the same’,” I point out that the “dark, monotonous” cell phones are capable of doing things (comfortable comic reading, streaming media, drawing, writing and running computer code) that is far out of reach of the cell phones that are “full of color and character”. Even the games that the dark phones can play are leagues bigger than the ones the colorful ones can play!

I guess that I am trying to say that every day has significant bad and good points. All I can do is take responsibility for my actions and change what I can.

Thankfully, culture is one thing that I can change.

2D Will Never Die attributes the sick culture of this day to expense and bad taste. The website claims that everything getting more expensive comes from us getting stupider. While I do not know what the website means by “we’re getting stupider” and how that ties to bigger expense, I agree that more expense leads to more aversion to possibly money-wasting risks into the unknown.

2D Will Never Die’s premise that aversion to fun risks leads to a child-unfriendliness, even if children are the target audience, is interesting. In light of a video from Saber Spark, I noticed that this unfriendly effect happened with SpongeBob SquarePants, a fun and exciting cartoon! The Nickelodeon channel neglected other shows, pushing SpongeBob SquarePants for around a decade. Even when the maker of SpongeBob SquarePants left the cartoon, Nickelodeon kept the cartoon going. The cartoon itself ended up “simplified” and otherwise blander in its later seasons. These days, I am not really comfortable in seeing what Nickelodeon offers; the general offering feels repellent.

2D Will Never Die mentioning higher costs in both animation and electronic games is also interesting. The program Synfig and the programming language Python were a response to these costs with their respective industries. Synfig does away with the need to draw in-between frames; Python has extensive library support and is simply simple to write. So far, Synfig remains obscure, but Python is one of the most in-demand programming languages. (I honestly wonder why these solutions that have similar goals got drastically different outcomes…) The key is that both Synfig and Python aim for smaller costs without a decrease in quality. After all, an army of skilled artists staying up all night to reach a deadline leads to a more romantic mental image than a few affordable artists tracing some 3D models a few days a week, but what would be the results of those skilled artists, and what are the consequences of such a time crunch? I myself know of the crunch because of college, especially my Master’s Degree! I would welcome anything that would alleviate the  crunch without sacrificing quality!

2D Will Never Die gives an interesting observation that the incident with the Twin Towers at the United States in September 11, 2001 changed the zeitgeist there. After all, Dada, a “nonsense” art movement, came out of World War I. However, I propose that the incident at September 11, 2001 was merely a catalyst to a cultural entropy that was happening in quite a long time now. I earlier mentioned that we have a sick culture today. The thing is that the sickness started decades ago. I mean, 2D Will Never Die looked fondly and even ideally at the 1990’s, but MTV’s and Comedy Central’s contributions to this decade were not only sick, but also borne out of an earlier sickness. In fact, in the United States, at least, I would put the beginning of cultural sickness at the 1960’s and the 1970’s when the countercultural movements took hold of the country and became mainstream. Because of a lack of vigilance, the zeitgeist became less conservative and therefore sicker. In light of this, I am not surprised that the owner of 2D Will Never Die, the owner apparently born in the 1980’s, would be so impressed, even if also somewhat disgusted, at eyeballs falling off bloody chunks, the owner even calling the eyeballs “good taste”, claiming that the eyeballs are not “goreporn”, but rather a friendly, lovely extra little gift from a company that liked and understood children.

There is no good taste in falling eyeballs!

Just because children like something does not mean that we have to give that something to them! Children would just love to fight with other children, eat lots of sugar, and stick their hands into places that would cause “death or serious injury”! I am not saying that children are stupid; I am saying that children, due to their immaturity, might want something that would end up very bad for them. Even if they know that those are not real eyeballs, we should not be encouraging this stuff to children whose tastes are, honestly, still in development.

Of course, by no means should you have to choose between good taste and exciting fun. In fact, I want to make games that have both. Thankfully, 2D Will Never Die offers points on what exactly gave stuff from the 1980’s and 1990’s good taste and exciting fun:

  • Fun that is bright, colorful, energetic, and even goofy feels good.
  • Maximize what feels good; minimize what feels bad.
  • Emphasize style, not ballooning cost.
  • Make places of escape, not venting.

One interesting yet important point 2D Will Never Die gives is that independent developers (That includes me!) have not only a huge freedom not afforded to big companies but also have an Internet that has a connection level that is so deeply integrated. In fact, 2D Will Never Die seems to say that we can mix the best of the 1980’s and 1990’s with the best of today.

Do you still remember these cell phones?

The older ones are more fun, but the newer ones are more capable.

Why do we have to choose?

Why can we not make a fun, colorful, yet strongly capable cell phone? Why can we not make something with the fun of yesterday but with the potential of today? Why can we not make something in both exciting fun and good taste?

Honestly, I found myself wanting to do just that. However, that is a subject for another post.