Preferably someone whip smart, responsive, great communicator who wants to eventually become a product manager with my mentorship. General Assembly is a really special place and I promise the role will be intellectually challenging and stimulating.
“At some point we will all have a reason not to fund the next ‘big thing’ because the next big thing starts out as an idea that competes with something you or the vc, or syndicate you are looking at or already funded 6 months or 6 years ago.”—
It may even get more nuanced than this as people make the relative trade against the pro-rata share of the “old big thing” vs. their allowed capacity in the “new big thing.” Double down on your winners people and cut your losses.
We spoke to Adam Heart, creator of Divekick and fighting tournament veteran, today for part two of our Future of Genre series: The fighting game finds new life through instant death. We asked him what he found similar and dissimilar in the strategy and knowledge required between the one-hit-kill matches of Divekick and something like Street Fighter. Obviously one mistake could mean death in both, but how else are the stakes different? His response:
They are actually very similar, but in Divekick you need to hone a much smaller set of skills and maintain a smaller set of facts to compete. It’s intense and real, but it is bite-sized in that way. You don’t have to grind or practice hard or play hours every day to win a Divekick tournament. If you know the game, and you know your character, and you know the situations, and you can get into your opponent’s mind, you can win.
To win in Street Fighter 4, in my opinion, you need to know the following (this list is excluding character matchups).
- How to move left and right
- How to crouch
- How to jump up, left, and right
- How to block, both high and low
- How to use your normal attacks, of which you have over 12 on the ground
- How to use your jumping attacks, of which you have over 6
- How to perform, and the ability to perform effortlessly, each of your 2 to 6 special moves
- How to perform EX special moves
- How to perform Super attacks
- How to perform Ultra attacks
- How to throw your opponent
- How to focus attack
- How to dash out of focus charge and focus attack
- How to focus cancel
- How to focus attack dash cancel
- How to cancel normals into specials or supers, and knowledge of which ones can be cancelled
- Knowing which of your air attacks, if any, can cross up
- Knowing how to block a cross up
- Knowing which of your moves are safe and which are not
- Knowing which of your fast or long range moves can punish your opponent’s unsafe behavior
And that list should be enough to get you started. If you are comfortable with all of that, you are probably ready to start really learning to play Street Fighter 4.
To win in Divekick, you need to know the following:
- How to jump up, and jump back
- How to use your one attack
- How your character-specific trait works, if you have one
- How to use your ground special move and air special move, both of which are always just “press both buttons at the same time” (no memorization needed)
Now you are ready to really learn to compete in Divekick.
Both games test reading, reactions, spacing, deep game knowledge, pattern recognition, etc. They aren’t far apart in that way, only in the number of things you need to know and practice before you get to really play.
There’s a great design lesson to be learned here when choosing between complexity and simplicity and not losing sight of the desired end effect - minimizing the distance between first time exposure and user joy. Both approaches can work, but mind the gap. I’d argue that the time it takes to balance complexity within a feature rich design vs. the time to express simplicity via minimal features is often equivalent.
Tumblr has been my guilty music pleasure since 2008, posting over a thousands songs, exploring thousands more, enjoying Cover Day Friday among my peers and queuing up songs on ex.fm. I’ve relished in the freedom that sharing among a small set of followers expands our appreciation for music, emboldens our love for the craft, and encourages us to dig deeper, purchase more and go see more live shows.
All that changed for me in 2014.
I’ve received a scant few DMCA takedown notices from Tumblr over the years, twice due to posts with music by Lewis Taylor who is notorious for removing all his music from the internet including YouTube. In each instance, the post was removed in accordance with the takedown request mitigating any further harm.
At the end of 2013, I posted an Apocolyptica cover of Metallica’s “One” that was reblogged many times outside my normal set of followers. I received a very different DMCA takedown notice from a post-Yahoo! Tumblr stating the following:
We’re writing to let you know that, due to repeated uncontested notifications of copyright infringement against one or more of your blogs, your Tumblr account is one more uncontested notice away from termination. Please consider this a final warning. [emphasis mine]
This constitutes a grand total of 4 takedowns across almost 6 years amidst thousands of songs posted and reblogged.
The fact is Tumblr is 100% correct. Nearly every audio post I’ve done has infringed upon a copyright, and I clicked the checkbox stating I had the rights to post when I didn’t, so there is nothing for me to contest in the notification. Just like everyone else doing audio posts on Tumblr. Tumblr is a cesspool of music copyright infringement.
With fear of termination after 6 years of creative non-audio content, I panicked. I deleted every single audio post out of fear that a singular notice would remove everything I’ve contributed to Tumblr. I’ve not done an audio post since.
Now for the loathing. Given the risk of loss, I investigated how to export my blog content. I was surprised to find that Tumblr no longer provides an export mechanism as they had for many years. So, in one breath, Tumblr prides itself on saying that we the users own our content, but if Tumblr doesn’t provide a means to claim our creations seamlessly, that claim rings false.
Now, Tumblr has a few choices here when handling DMCA takedowns that don’t involve termination:
Push uncontested infringing posts and consequent reblogs into purgatory - hell ban the post such that only the blog owner can see it, show that there is a takedown notice pending and the post is unavailable until it is settled
Transparency regarding all claims against your blog - email notification is not enough. Clearly show how many repeat uncontested offenses are the limit before more drastic measures are brought forth. The process of notification and to contestation for takedowns is not part of Tumblr’s Dashboard interface.
Rather than terminate an entire account, Tumblr should remove the ability to post audio for music offenders, images for picture offenders, or text for plagiarism - this makes more sense than terminating the entire user’s account.
If threatened with termination, provide reasonable and clear methods for exporting users’ blog content to their computers. If users own what they post, allow them to claim it at anytime and back it up as often as they wish. The walled-garden of Tumblr is a locked box when it comes to user content.
Goodbye Tumblr audio posts. You were great while you lasted.
TL;DR verion: It is not a matter of if but when you will eventually cross Tumblr’s unspecified copyright infringement limit, resulting in your own fear and loathing. You don’t own what you can’t export. You’ve been warned.
In a world of zero downtime, hyper-available content, persistent identity, feature creep and engineered complexity, enters Flappy Bird. After zillions of iOS and Android downloads, many broken screens, rampant praise and hatred, mocking videos, a stunning $50K USD/day in ad revenue, and an onslaught of copycats, its sole creator, Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen, has made good on his promise and pulled the hit game from stores forever.
Though many have written about the zen of Flappy Bird’s simplicity, Dong’s exit should be a lesson to entrepreneurs. Going out on top is a choice all market leaders have. Nothing has more impact than hitting your high note when the world is watching, dropping the mic, and exiting stage left, never to return again. Most top dogs will never do this either out of greed or fear or some combination thereof. Dong’s unflappable indie hero cred is now the stuff of lore - he didn’t burn out, nor did he fade away.
He just left.
Now, what can we take away from this. The contrarian in me finds this fascinating as it will be a live version of a thought experiment I’ve had. What happens when something so coveted, so imprinted into the zeitgeist of “now”, is removed without a trace? Behavioral economics and gamification have played with the idea of scarcity within play schemes and games, but rather than gating on an intra-game meta level, this maneuver is a macro level of availability.
People are addicted to crack, and crack is no longer in production. Forever.
Before now, no one has turned an app into a limited availability event. Dong’s ability to kill his baby, for everyone to see, is remarkable, and will have ramifications.
Anyone newcomer who wants to play the game will now have to seek out someone who still has it installed, forcing real world interactions among mobile users. Within the next upgrade cycle for phones, the game will be stripped from existence, only a memory.
Is this the app version of Jimi Hendrix burning his guitar at Monterey Pop Festival - maybe, if that festival had no cameras present. Is he the app version of Banksy - maybe, but Dong’s arguably more enigmatic as he doesn’t want to sell it, doesn’t want to give it away. He just wants to stop it. Is this like the last episode of M.A.S.H. or Seinfeld - maybe, but those endings were planned and promoted well in advance. Dong is going out like Bo Jackson, just without the freak injury.
Will you tell your kids, “yeah, I played Flappy Bird and broke my damn phone!”, for them to be in awe that you were part of a moment? Maybe.
Anyone copying Dong Nguyen’s game play is a fool. Emulate his exit. Better yet, evolve his exit. Game scarcity can become part of the game. An example. Allow 100K downloads and you remove the game availability. Force players who own the game to progress past a certain point before availability continues and the game extends. Make players work to find and help each other to unlock more content. The game is killed not when the most engaged player churns out (normal life-support pattern), but when the least engaged player does. Everyone’s score matters in the fate of the game.
I look forward to seeing where brave developers take this unforgiving, ultimatum style of play. If you’re a crazy developer and want to see how deep the rabbit hole can go, hit me up. I’ve only scratched the surface here.