Monday, May 30, 2005

Is it Human to Unwant Others?

This realization has been slowly building inside of me. People, even nice good people, put others down and compare them as objects would be. This is done on a regular basis. There always seems to be something negative one person can say about another. I believe there are two types of putdowns, the first one is where you put yourself down because that is what you were trained to do by your friends and family (we usually ignore bullies). The second is when our family and friends put us down and limit our potential by defining us.

Time for a story: Today I met a family friend of my mother who has a young son. The boy was young enough that his voice still sounded like a girl and he clung all over his mother for attention and affection. The mother, unfortunately, never wanted the kid (as my mother later told me) and has since separated from the man who helped her get the child in the first place. I watched her push the kid away many times as he reached out to her and I saw her making faces of disgust and embarrassment as the child was rejected. How completely terrible? At least put the kid up for adoption or have an abortion or something! The problem is, she would never choose what was right for the child; she would be too self conscious to risk alienating herself from society and her friends to admit she had screwed up and ask for help. Society is a lot like our family and friends, it guides our minds into entrapment and we torture others with our problems instead of admitting they are our own.

Some people don't believe in abortion, okay thats fine with me, I respect your beliefs. I ask you to consider acknowledging the murders of fully functioning empowered adults by unaborted unwanted children. I believe that is precisely what happens when children are raised by parents who hate them (and tell them so on a regular basis through verbal and body language) and all the kid has is TV and reckless friends, drugs and alcohol to turn to. The kid grows up and shoots his classmates, he or she resorts to violence and hatred towards others (because that is all they have been given from their own parents). We are all capable of amazing things and it is sad to see that potential to amaze acted out in such terrible ways. Maybe it adds contrast to the adult lives of the rest of us "normals" but the contrast usually comes in the flavor crimson red.

My story doesn't stop there, even though that is the most drastic and immediate example. Each day I see and hear people around me naming other people, defining them into their current state, trapping them. Is it necessary for all of us to be the same? We all know it is a blessing to have diversity among our fellows because it helps round out our shortcomings (at which point we can feel perfect about ourselves and put others down). Isn't it sad that instead of appreciating our construction worker friends, and our young pregnant friends, those who dropped out to pursue their own path or join the military, isn't it sad that we cast them away? I admit I have almost forgotten my shortcomings as they were beaten into me by my peers in middle school. At least in middle school we all felt equal externally, while a select few suffered domestic abuse and mental suffocation. Just as we cast others away, we are casting a part of ourselves away; we are limiting our own potential to follow our hearts in new directions. We set up fences around ourselves and end up avoiding the potential for greatness out of fear for being called a hypocrite. Yes, a hypocrite... That is a powerful word isn't it? Kind of sounds like "Flip Flopper" and we all know the effects that word had on John Kerry during the elections. Hypocrite, it is quite possible the worst thing anyone could be called, it makes you human.

It truly is human to unwant others, even ourselves. My goal isn't to flood this post with negativity, just ask others to recognize their inner human and forgive it for being such a piece of shit. Yes, a bit extreme, I know... The next time you feel trapped, or maybe you are trapping others by talking behind their back (really trapping the people you are talking with, reminding them of what will happen behind their backs), just reread this post please. One of my good friends believes people are part animal and part angel, forgive yourself for all of the terrible things you feel and do. Make a mental change.

Encourage those around you for what you like about them, not the things you dislike. Everyone has potential to be great when encouraged. Don't let negative encouragement guide them astray. Don't let them hate themselves and shoot your kids at school, don't let them hate in groups and blow up our busses or our buildings, don't let them hate the way they were treated. Don't let them feel like you... As we encourage others we set ourselves free to encourage ourselves.

I want to contrast the writings above by explaining that I do not believe all people are equal, nor should they be treated as such. If someone earns a black eye, let them wear it. Be the one to offer a better way. Remind yourself that everyone can be happy, that is the only thing we all have equally in common. Different things make different people happy, money, attention, solitude... let them have it and do not feel ashamed to be richer or poorer. For sickness and in health we will always have the potential to encourage those around us.

posted by Court @ 3:15 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Nintendo DS Marketing Project

I just found this article at IGN and thought it was very intriguing considering I had just finished a Nintendo DS report for my marketing promotions class at CU. I also found this article on GameSpot which mentions the 94% market share of the Nintendo DS but also that Sony cannot produce enough PSPs to meet demand and may have to delay it's European entry... That 94 could be dropping soon Nintendo!

Here is the introduction to the Article I wrote for my marketing promotions class outlining a possible strategy for the DS in the US market. You can contact me directly for the Excel data if you are interested and view a better formatted version of the report here

The images below were created by me as prototypes for a possible Nintendo female gamer promotion. The handheld console has been produced in iridescent pink (to match the success of the i-pod mini) and has been packaged with Nintendogs, a hot game title currently out in Japan and making its way to the USA.

Executive Summary
Nintendo's DS (Dual Screen) gaming system is the newest in a line of portable handheld gaming systems offered by Nintendo. Since 1989, when it launched the first Game Boy, Nintendo has dominated the handheld gaming market and focused on a demographic of five to 17 year old males. Over the past 15 years Game Boy has been challenged by Neo Geo (Neo Geo Pocket), Sega (Game Gear and Nomad), and more recently Nokia (N-Gage). None of these offerings have been successful at stealing market share from Nintendo who has continued to improve its offerings with newer more powerful systems to challenge competitors as well as backwards compatibility for it's previously released titles. On March 24th 2005 Sony introduced the PSP (PlayStation Portable) gaming device aimed at the growing demographic of 18 to 34 year old gamers. The PSP is still relatively new as of this report but already there has been a shift in handheld gaming as over 500,000 PSP units were sold within the first two days of the US launch.

Sony has been incredibly successful working with third party software designers in gaining support for its previous gaming platforms (the PlayStation and PlayStation 2) which has put pressure on Nintendo and decreased their market share for the Game Cube system. When Sony entered the console gaming market with its PlayStation 2 in the United States on October 26, 2000 the pressure was so intense between Nintendo, Sega and Sony that Sega was forced to exit the market. Just as Sony was able to enter the console gaming market in the early 2000's and rise to the top, dominating Nintendo and forcing Sega out, the PSP is currently threatening Nintendo in the handheld gaming market. So this prompts our research question, how will Nintendo be able to continue to increase their market share in such a competitive market place?
Faced with huge competition from the PSP in the 18 to 34 year old demographic, primary and secondary data indicates that Nintendo should reinforce itself as the primary offering for young adults age 5 to 17. Nintendo will continue to expand into the entertainment industry outside of gaming to increase its intellectual property with the PoKeMoN franchise and strong ties to Nickelodeon and Disney. This gives Nintendo leverage and a competitive advantage in younger demographic. New products such as GameBoy ADVANCE video have expanded the feature set of the original GameBoy and Nintendo needs to communicate this competitive advantage to its consumers.

Since Nintendo has not traditionally contracted with third party software developers as strongly as Sony, Nintendo has a distinct opportunity to market itself as the original first and only in the market. Furthermore, Nintendo has avoided violence in it's games (the majority of which are rated E for Everyone) which has pleased parents and maintained the image of being a kid-friendly brand. With Nintendo's kid friendly background, the company has a unique opportunity to penetrate a growing market of female gamers age 5 to 17 with offerings such as PoKeMoN and the soon to be released Nintendogs. Communicating these advantages and positioning itself as a kid friendly brand using scuba style communications will increase market share for Nintendo and allow the company to dominate in an increasingly competitive market. the full story here:

posted by Court @ 4:50 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Nonexistent Noisy Past

This is a response to the following pieces:

White Noise, by Don Delillo
Plasticville, by David Trinidad
Generation X, by Douglas Coupland

Few things remain constant and fresh in our world. The ultimate expression of change which effects and also affects us at the same time is aging and death. We try to relate to each other in our own ways and although our memories sometimes overlap I would argue beyond this, that each of us seeks a constant and relatable experience which we can hold on to and share. To find the parts of ourselves that match a past we can relate to we turn to knowledge and experience. We are a highly social being and it is through our memories of TV shows, lifestyles, and our common experiences with death that we begin to comfort ourselves. The readings in White Noise, plasticville, and Generation X each communicate this human trait, and stimulate our own desire as a reader to feel "the" past.

When people have free time they often use it to relive and "relieve" the past. It is interesting that these two words are only separated by one letter. Whether it be through watching Nick at Night or going on road trips or visiting our old houses or jobs we take comfort in the past, even if it isn't necessarily our past, because it is constant and we can all use it to relate. Using the example of the road trip story in Generation X, the characters had never even lived in the valley they visited but through studying and story telling and observation they could relate and take comfort in what had happened there, as if it was a hard time they had all overcome together. Again in Generation X the example of shared past comes up when the old picture of Marilyn Monroe is exposed, (or should I say, the old picture of Marilyn Monroe exposed comes up). The media affects us in many seemingly adverse ways, but I would argue that the way it exposes everyone to common products and music and media etc. etc. is not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to bonding. Even on the other side of the world people could relate to Marilyn Monroe in Generation X and isn't that comforting? In each of these books experiences speak to us because we have lived similar lives through the media and the world we all share. It may be boring and un-inspirational but I can understand a need to feel a part of something as big as Marilyn Monroe, urban housing, or Barbie.

America sells. We here in America all buy, and buying is a constant and comforting experience. In each of these three pieces, which took place primarily in America, buying was a subject that not only came up, but was a constant part of the story. The old housing development in Generation X was set to make a fortune at one point, and its now devastated ruin fascinated the road trippers. They spoke of those who had bought in and must be weathering it out all alone in what now seemed like a wasteland. Moving on to Plasticville it is quite apparent the roll that buying has played on the characters; the book is all about the toys our characters bought as kids. The primary reason any of those characters could relate well, or rather, why their stories and poems all seemed to mesh is because of the continuity of the toys or objects being sold to them during their early adolescence. The best and most revealing example of the comforts that buying can bring is White Noise. The grocery store provides a rest haven for our characters. It is a physical manifestation of the idea that past trends repeat themselves. Just as trends seem to constantly repeat over time in our culture, the grocery store physically remains constant and is something parents and children share alike. Just as a mother and daughter living in the year 2000 could share stories about driving their VW Beetles, they could also enjoy and understand the grocery store together. There is an inherent difference between the past and the present however; grocery stores and VW Bugs get newer and nicer while we as humans get old and die. People are made to deal with change in life, but there are certain areas that we rely on for consistency, and when they suddenly re-stock our grocery store shelves differently than we are used to it can cause major upset. Buying is a big comfort in America and we rely on it for comfort. It is no wonder then that the central focus of the media in America is on selling things to us.

These books not only made me think but also feel. I am a person living in the here and now of today, and much of the material in these books worked on me as it did on the characters in the stories. It is hard to say whether painkillers are a benefit to society or rather a dangerous drug exposing us to addiction and limiting our full experience of all that life has to offer, including pain. By providing everyone with a consistent knowledge base the media gives us security and a feeling of fit. As our lives continue to overflow with comfort and consistency how will the way we deal with the pain of change? One of the biggest dangers of drugs is addiction, and if we become addicted to the idea of how other cultures are "supposed" to act our what old toys "were" like, or how our family is "supposed" to run will we lash out as in White Noise or will we continue to lie to ourselves and use the painkiller of the media.

posted by Court @ 3:11 PM | 0 Comments Links to this post

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