Two worlds; One comeback!

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Welcome (belatedly) back to GGAL!

Wow, its really been a while huh. So first let me apologise for my absence, I know the wait must have been unbearable. If I were you I would have given up on this blog out of protest, or at the very least only read the posts when they come into my email so that the blogger doesn’t get any views (this is what my roommate does and he’s such an ass).

Any who, if you are wondering where I’ve been, the answer is nowhere. I’ve been here as usual except I have been swamped with deadlines! Essays galore! And not even the kind that you can B.S. in an evening with a six pack of red bulls, though I may have helped out their share price with frequent, ahem, flying (hehe).  No, I was doing some really heavy stuff, including an accounting paper which has definitely killed my love for Monopoly. And in the midst of all my suffering I came to a bit of an existential crisis (I mean what student honestly hasn’t). But while me contemplating changing my name and moving to Argentina was unlikely to have helped me finish my coursework, it did give me an idea for what to write about. So I’ve decided that GGAL is gonna have a little existential crisis of its own. Oh, and if you’re thinking, “what happened to the two-parter you said you would finish?”, then to that I say: Life is full of let downs. (I’ll get to it soon I promise)

When I first started writing on GGAL, I knew that I could give a unique perspective to things if I used video games as a reference. But now I’m gonna give you guys a little more context to my writing and why its worth sticking around for the ride. You see, I have two broad areas of passion in my life; my creative passion (which gaming is a core part of) and my financial passion (hence my doing a degree in finance). And having spent plenty of time socialising with creative people, I’ve realised how massive the disconnect really is. I have gotten to meet lots of creative people over the years (doesn’t that make me sound 50), from writers, game developers, Art’s majors and everyone in between. And while all these people are definitely awesome, they are rarely interested in the financy type stuff. And I get it for sure. Finance can feel like a different world and for many it can feel like a pretty bad one. Out of touch corporations, evil bankers, economic uncertainty, recessions, crashes, bulls, bears, taxes, confusing jargon, disappearing jobs and how then hell does retirement work!?!

pexels-photo-66100.jpeg
Feels a bit like this

Ok, breath. You alright?

Yes, it can all be pretty scary, money and finance is a language that only a select few can understand, and for everyone else its simply not a option. At least this is what I get told. But have no fear; GGAL is here! Being a person who loves to be creative just as much as I am fascinated by finance means that hopefully I can help to bridge this gap. Money and finance can be gamified just like everything else, sure it can be scary at first but the more you play the easier it gets (and the more fun). If you are the kind of creative person (or any other kind for that matter) who has written off finance or business as a universe that’s too alternate, then I’d like you to know that you’re in safe hands here.  The future maybe be scary and covered in the fog of war, but one thing is for certain; its beatable. And remember, this isn’t coming from some guy who got rich 100 years ago and continues to preach about his outdated advice that has no use in the modern world. I am living it just as much as you, I’m not rich, I haven’t made, I’m simply optimistic. And honestly, theirs no reason why anyone reading this shouldn’t be too.

Every terrifying topic (all hail alliterator) will be be conquered! We are gonna play every level and I promise that we will come out the other side a little less scared and a little more confident. And while I may not know everything about every topic, I will endeavor to learn, or at the very least interview someone who knows what on earth their talking about.

 

Money origami
Japanexperterna.se
Money origami

So hopefully you enjoyed this little piece of motivation, it was definitely a welcome reprieve from writing essays that’s for sure. So does this change what you’ll be reading here on GGAL? Not really. All the different topics I was looking to write about (including finance) are still gonna happen, but perhaps now you can better understand the motivation behind what I’m rambling about. Oh, and if anyone wants to suggest any topics, finance or otherwise, that they’d like to see gamified into an article than feel free to leave a comment.

Thanks again for the patience for the last couple of weeks, normal order will now resume, thanks from all of us here at GGAL (just me), gud night, gud week and most importantly, GIT GUD!

GG everyone

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Habit Clashing!

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Sup you creatures (of habit)

Welcome back to GGAL; the best blog on the internet!*

*(The American Bar Association does not support this claim)

As you may have guessed from my delightfully devilish introduction, today’s post is gonna be talking about one of my favourite, failed pursuits: habits. Ah habits, the cause and solution to all your productivity problems. Is there anything they can’t do? Create bad-ass routines? Check. Help you cram 1000 hours into a day? Check. Make you spend 4 hours of revision time on Portal Knights instead? Check. Carry and destroy the one ring in the fires of… that’s not right. Anyway, the point here is that they have the potential to be the game changer everyone needs to become the next Elon Musk but also the game breaker that will turn you into an unfamous Homer Simpson. Obviously, habits are a massive area and certainly not something I can cover comprehensively in one post, so I think this is gonna be something I’ll talk about a lot in the coming months and years.

Habit
Legit took me half an hour to make

So lately, I’ve been reading (ok listening to, don’t judge) The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey, which was essentially this dude’s experiment where he spent a whole year after college trying to become as productive as possible. Now, being the impressionable character that I am, it got me super hyped to do 50 Billion tasks a day. Yeah, I’m sure you can imagine how that worked. My first day was great; it was a rush. I remember writing 2000 words of content, both for this blog and for my coursework, I went to the gym, I made my house spotless, heck I even meditated . And then came day 2… Let’s not talk about the utter No mans Sky that was day 2.

A change in tact was definitely needed, I needed to take things slower, more deliberately. I needed to get back to what I’m good at: games. What game have I been able to play consistently over time, something I’ve turned into a habit? Well, as the thought crossed my mind, my eyes instinctively shifted towards my phone… Clash of Clans time! Without doubt one of my worst habits, It’s probably the third thing I check when I wake up in the morning and yeah it’s a problem. But it’s also a possible solution…

The best Youtuber in the world IMHO (the H stands for hype), Game Theory, expertly covered why these mobile games can be so addictive. If you haven’t seen it I’ll quickly summarise the important idea of the “happiness equilibrium”. This is concept that we have a base level of happiness that we will always adjust back to. No matter the highs and lows that happen to us, whether its winning the lottery or losing a leg, we always eventually adjust back to our base level of happiness. Its all based on some neurosciency kinda stuff to do with our brain’s pleasure centres and wow even I’m falling asleep. Look, the actual science isn’t the important part, though if you want you can check out the Game Theory video at the end. What is important here is how mobile games abuse this system, initially, they front load the game with rewards; everything is cheap and quick to build/upgrade. However, the longer you play, the more stretched out the periods of time before you get your next fix of hog-rider reward. This by the way is the same strategy slot machines in casinos use to keep you playing. So yay, free gambling and video game addictions!

Ok ok, what does any of this have to do with habit building? Well these strategies that are used to build crippling and life destroying addictions can be flipped to help us build powerful and healthy habits. So at the start of the habit building process, rewards need to hit hard and heavy as if you were getting hit by Smough’s hammer of happiness (That was 7 H words! And they say man’s not hot…). However, as time goes on its important that you leave longer gaps in between these rewards to ensure you keep you coming back for more.

One last point to consider is that this process will take some time and there is only so much willpower we have to work on this habit building process among all our other responsibilities. Ever heard of the saying that it takes 30 days to build a habit? Well its WRONG! It can actually take over 60 days, which is far more miserable. So remember to take your time here, upgrade one wall at a time, sure it’ll take a while but its worth it, you don’t want an awful rushed base like my roommate’s (seriously, he had pink walls at Town Hall 9!).

Habits are like my Lvl 7 Balloons, they take a while to get but once  you get them you can destroy everything that dares stand against you accomplish any task you put you mind to. But just be sure to never work on more than 3 new habits at once. Why? Find out next time on GGAL! (Sorry)

GG Clashers.

Here’s the previously mentioned Game Theory for anyone interested

Also, GGAL recently hit 100 followers on twitter! Follow me @gitgudatlife

I deserve a muffin! Actually, BRB…

Muffin
Literally bought it to make this joke

The No-Respawn List!

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Sup overachievers!

Welcome back everyone, my name’s Michael and welcome back to another episode of GGAL. I hope everyone’s having a great day and just wanna says thank you so much for helping me get to……….

(pause for ad)

……………. A whopping 4 views on my last post. Just wanted to say I couldn’t do it without you and this week lets try and hit 5! And so, without further ado, lets get into this game…

Ok, now that i’m done making fun of every YouTube gamer ever, back to being mean and bitter. So seeing as i’m working on an essay for class and that this post will likely be little more than procrastination, i’ve decided to do something a little different for this week. One of my favourite bloggers/youtubers/podcasters/general internet presences is called Thomas Frank and runs the College Info Geek site. He was actually one of my biggest inspirations for getting into writing and if you want to learn more college/ young people stuff he has some really great tools. But one of the things he’s done that I absolutely love is something called his impossible list. The concept here is pretty simple; a checklist of everything he wants to achieve in this life before that metaphorical storm comes and takes him out of the game.

Now when I first saw his list I thought it was insane, some fo the stuff he wants to do (as well as some of the things he has done) is pretty crazy, I mean were talking cycling up a mountain kinda insane. So, seeing as I’m still pretty young and have often caught myself saying “i’d like to do that”, to myself, I’ve decided to create my own list. Since all my stuff is gaming related, and this is just a glorified “bucket list”, i’m gonna call it my No-Respawn List. Just a quick note, this list is very much intended to be a living piece, so I will try to regularly update it for progress or even new goals. Think of it as an early access game or Sea of Thieves with actual progression. Also, not everything I ever hope to do will be on here, these goals generally revolve around self-improvement, obviously some personal things will be kept to myself.

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Symbolism

Academic Goals

  • Graduate (that’s about as much school as I can stomach)

 

Professional/Financial

  • Work at least a year for a company I’ve heard of
  • Hit an annual income of £40k per year
  • Be involved in a start-up company
  • Own a piece of property (not 100% on this but that’s another subject for another post)
  • Receive my first piece of passive income
  • Earn my first penny from this blog (don’t look at me like that!)
  • Earn my first penny of freelance work
  • Pay off my student debts

 

Fitness/Health

  • Complete a half marathon (lol)
  • Complete a marathon (LOL)
  • Climb a mountain
  • Complete a 100 pushup set
  • Weigh less than 180 lbs (yikes)
  • Intermittent fasting for a year
  • Bench press 300
  • Squat 300
  • Deadlift 300
  • Do 10 pullups
  • Meditate for an hour
  • Undergo a course of allergy shots
  • Actually finish P90X for once

 

Creative/Personal

  • Make a game using RPGMaker
  • Make a game that’s self-coded
  • Learn some level of coding
  • Write a book
  • Write a novel
  • Learn to surf
  • Attend a convention and represent GGAL
  • Start a podcast (GGAL)
  • Start a YouTube channel (GGAL)
  • Meet one of my inspirations
  • Collaborate with an inspiration
  • Finally learn Japanese (I’m half, don’t ask and don’t tell my mom)
  • Write an article for another website
  • Get paid to write an article for another website
  • Earn a football coaching licence
  • Manage a football (association) team to a real life win
  • Read 100 books
  • Reach 100 views on a GGAL article
  • Catch a shark (again)

 

Gaming

  • Win the league title in Pro Clubs of any Fifa
  • Beat Dark Souls 3 NG +7
  • Train 6 Pokémon to level 100
  • Reach Town Hall 11 on Clash of Clans (No gems)
  • Get every achieve in all the Bioshocks (Xbox)
  • Become a pirate legend on Sea of Thieves (I don’t hate the game)
  • Explore the darkest dungeon
  • Win a game of HQ

 

Like I said before, this list is in no way finished and I’m looking to add to it regularly. I have no idea what happens if I actually manage to 100% this list but hopefully I can add to it regularly enough that this will never happen, after all the game never stops at GGAL.

 

Until next time, GG everyone.

 

 

A better learning ‘Platform’

Sup slackers… uh, I mean students!

Welcome back to GGAL

So, I’ve just had my first exam for the term and the good news is I’m relieved to have it done. The bad news, however, is I’ve still got 3 more next week… sigh (duck). At this point I can still pretty safely assume that the vast majority of the people who read this know me personally and do it out of pity/ bribes. But it’s quite possible that exams are something that you, dear reader, are struggling with as well (and if not, you can read this full of regret over your past failures).

Now to give a bit of background, I have always been a bad student. That doesn’t mean that I’m stupid, I could well be, but that’s not what I’m saying. It also doesn’t mean that I dislike learning, in fact that’s probably the most enjoyable part of the education system. No, I just always hated the grunt work, the late nights studying and the “hustle” for you Vayner-freaks (sorry Gary, I’m a big fan, please read my work). I will admit it, I’m lazy. Yup. Or more specifically, I’m lazy about studying. But there was hope for me. And if what I just described sounded anything like you, then there’s hope for you too. You see, us lazy people have a power that few other mortals can comprehend; our creativity in finding ways to avoid hard work. But before we get into that, I want to take you on a little side quest.

notes macbook study conference
Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com

Probably reading the latest GGAL

I want you to think back a couple of console generations, before battle royales, before microtransactions, heck, even before shooting undead fascists was all the rage. We’re going back to the golden age of platformers. Life was so simple back then, whether you played as a stereotyped plumber, purple dragon or as a weird limbless whatever Rayman was, this was a beautiful time for gaming. But were not doing this just for some fond memories, were here to work! You see the answer to acing your exams lie here in these pixeled, platforming paradises (try to fail me now Set 5 remedial English!). What was so brilliant about these games was their carefully designed progression systems. They would always start with the basics, whether that was taking out goombas, flaming gnorcs or even learning how to jump. But what’s really clever is how new challenges would be integrated. The game would always clearly highlight that the new challenge was important, either through a cut scene, boss battle or whatever, but they’d make sure that you as the player understand that it was crucial to progress in the game. Next you be bombarded with this new challenge to really drill it into your understanding, so perhaps the whole level revolved around Sly Cooper’s newfound stealth mechanic or around Spyro’s gliding. Whatever the new mechanic may be, the game ensures that you need to understand it to move on.

Platform game
8 Bit platformer
by
phantomblade 

The graphics are as good as I remember…

Now here’s the important part, the new game mechanic that you have now proudly mastered, is found sporadically through the rest of the play through, usually not that often, but just regularly enough that you don’t forget it. By the time you’ve reached the final boss and are expected to use all the different skills you picked up throughout your journey, you’re a pro! You kick Ripto’s ass and bring peace to the dragon realms (did I mention I liked Spyro). To bring everything full circle, this is very similar to an extremely important study tactic called spaced repetition. The concept here is almost identical to the progression systems that were just described; learn a new concept, study is in detail at first, but then gradually study it less, only bringing it up just before you’ve forgotten it. This takes advantage of something called the spacing effect, which says, boring story short; the longer the intervals between study, the better the retention. It’s particularly useful when you need to learn a large number of details, e.g. for a showdown with bowser test. And just like the platformers of old, once you get to the final boss/exam; you’re ready to dominate!

Ok, everyone with me so far? Were almost done I promise! So how, as a humble student, do I take advantage of such a technique? Well, in short: flash cards. In a bit less short: the Leitner System of flash card boxes. If your curious about how to use it, then you should definitely look it up, but because I think boxes are tedious and Leitner is a stupid name, I prefer to just have technology do the heavy lifting for me. So I just created my flashcards on an app called Tinycards. I picked this one cause its very smartphone friendly and I thought it had a cute interface, but there are other sites and apps that I’m sure work well too such as Anki or Quizlet. And for all you “pics or it didn’t happen people” …

EF CARDS.PNG

If your curious you can even check the deck I made for my Entrepreneurial Finance exam, not sure why you’d want to but here you go…

https://tinycards.duolingo.com/decks/7tU5tKvq/entrepreneurial-finance

For my exam prep, I made flash cards for all the things I needed to study for my exam and then I let Tinycards do it’s magic. It’s learning tool cleverly utilises the ideas of spaced repetition to ensure that I was constantly keeping my understanding of the material sharp.

Well that’s pretty much all for today, if you do indeed have exams, hopefully this helped, if not then I’m amazed you made it this far. Any who, back to crying studying, and by the time the next article is out, I will have finished my last ever exam (academically at least)!

So, until next time, GL and of course…

GG everyone.

Gaming Through History: The Elder Banks Part II

Sup player 2 (I’m player 1)

Welcome back to GGAL! Just before I get started I wanted to say that I’m liking how I’ve got a whole intro thing going on. That’s it. That’s all I wanted to say about that.

Anyway, this week’s post is the follow up to my little introduction on banking, if that doesn’t interest you then tough! Not only is the next post not out yet, I don’t even know what I’m gonna talk about! Unless you’re reading this in the future Majora’s Mask style, then that’s all kinds of weird (Before you get @ me about improper use of Majora’s Mask, please understand that that’s the only time travel game that I could think of. So, bite me.) Now, while the last post was talking a bit about the origins of banks and how the initial roots of the industry began to sprout (how’s that for a metaphor), this week I’m gonna go into how the banking sector works now, or at least how it works on an institutional level.

Cast your mind back more than 3 days (happy now you Zelda freaks) to the early Goldsmith’s of Skyrim. Protecting not only their gold, but also the wares of all the local Khajiits in their big iron vaults. Now, the locals realised something that every Elder Scrolls player has had the misfortune of finding out; carrying stuff sucks! Gold is like dragon bones, yeah, they may be valuable but they can be a real Hagraven to carry around. So why bother? Honestly, its not like anyone is stealing your gold as no one has access except the Goldsmith, so why not just leave it in there. “But how do I buy muh supplies!”, I hear you scream. Well, instead of having physical gold, lets instead have a place holder made of paper, perhaps a document signed by the goldsmith that says something like “I pity the fool who thinks the holder of this document is entitled to X amount of Gold”. See, ain’t that easier to lug through Blackreach than 80 pounds of metal. Now I can hear the dwarven gears in your head turning ( ‘dwarven gears’ jeez i’m stretching hard to make this metaphor work).

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He probably makes gold too

This next part is how Ye Old Goldsmith starts to sound a lot more like Lehman Brothers so I need you to pay attention, yes that means you, stop checking your twitter! At this point the friendly neighbourhood smithy has cottoned on to something curious, no one had really come to check up on the gold. No one. Everyone is feeling pretty safe with their gold being locked away and since they can now use paper documents to buy things, the gold has just kinda been forgotten about, kinda like that guy camping at the back of the plane on Terminal in MW2. So, the good ole smithy has a brilliant idea, a special idea. Since no one really knows how much gold they’ve got, why not just start lending the paper money to Ysolda so she can finally start that store of hers. But don’t stop there, lend it to anyone, Stormcloaks and Imperials, mages and companions, and screw it, even lend to the Argonians! Nope, can’t do it, they suck, they suck hard. But you get the picture, seeing as no one knows how much gold you have, technically you can lend as much gold as you want! Sure, maybe this is game breaking to the economy but who cares! You’re rich! Filthy rich, seeing as you get a portion of interest on each little micro-transaction and if you wanna do the math; 10% of infinity is still infinity so the message is clear: lend as much as you can!

At this point, Goldilocks’s little side project had become so lucrative that it was time to quit her day job and go full time into the lending gig. Now if only there were a name for it, probably would sound good if it started with a “B”. Hmmmmmm.

Photo by Philip Veater on Unsplash

Actual photo of my current savings

Oh well here’s where things got tricky. As little Goldi decided to upgrade her life, buy the Jarl’s throne and move in to Dragonsreach, the Jarls’ of the world began to question things. How did the humble old Goldsmith get richer than us!? So, they decided to investigate and were certainly not happy with what they found. Goldilocks was making money off their gold! That skeever-scat! The question now is what to do? Yeah, they could send the goldsmith off to Helgen for a bit of a, ahem, haircut, or they could do something a little more worthwhile and a little less bloody; demand your fair share! So now the Dragonborn not only gets somewhere to keep their gold, but they even get a tiny piece of interest, while the Goldsmith, ah forget it, the bank gets to lend other peoples money at a very juicy rate.

And that, kids, is how the Thieves Guild banking industry began. Obviously, this story gets even more complicated once you examine how banks changed in the last 100 years but that is a story for another time. And before you ask, no. That time is not next week, I need a break for these bloodsuckers, or if you represent a bank’s HR department, esteemed potential employers. Any who, that’s all for today, catch you next week for more GGAL!

GG Everyone

In case in you can’t wait for more GGAL, don’t forget that I’m still on twitter! @gitgudatlife

Follow me @gitguatlife

Gaming Through History: The Elder Banks

Sup you money grabbing scrubs!

Welcome back to GGAL; the best place on the internet to receive unprovoked insults!

Now this week’s game/ life-related topic is gonna be one that holds a very special place in my cold, Grinch-like heart; money! Oh yeah, the sweet elixir of, well, buying stuff. The keys to that brand-new set of Daedric armour, that dreamy Los Santos McMansion or if you prefer movie references, “you can even save the spotted owl with money”.

Now understandably, money is a huge topic and this most likely will not be the only money post I ever write (in fact I’d wager 50 billion Newbucks that it won’t). So, I hear you asking, “what are you gonna talk about Michael? Micro-transactions? The economics of Fallout’s bottle caps? What’s a Newbuck?”. And my answer to all those excellent questions is how’d ya know my name you creepy stalkers? Enough questions! What I will, in fact, be enriching your lives with is a money origin story. What does that mean? Oh, I bet the anticipation is killing you (or you just stopped reading and went on YouTube like the rest of the internet community). Well, to sum up in a word (and it’s a word even dirtier than Micro-transaction); banks! Yeah, I went there. I can feel your skin crawl, why did I have to pervert the sanctity of gaming with banks!? Needless fancy words aside, I actually have two decent reasons why: firstly, because I’ve had a class on banking and seeing as I have very little interest of entering that sector, I want to make use of that knowledge here. Secondly, and far more interestingly, a lot of games illustrate the banking origin story really well.

Generally speaking, there are broadly two different types of currency you will find in games, in more modern settings it’s usually some kind of paper money (e.g. Dollars), but in older or fantasy settings the currency is typically gold. This is the important part and it’s something I bet many of you will have taken for granted (I definitely did until I started researching for this article). So, what do gold and banks have in common, well, actually quite a lot. You see banks didn’t just spawn out of thin air, they evolved out of the goldsmithing industry. I know, when I first heard that it definitely made me scratch my head as well but hold tight, we’re almost at the good part.

TES Coin
Elder Scrolls: Oblivion Coin by Daniel Ramirez

Ok, so earlier I said that there are several games that illustrate this concept and the ones I have in mind are the Elder Scrolls games. Have a ponder my fellow Tamrielites (Tamrielists?), while those worlds certainly have a functioning economic system, do you ever see a genuine bank (ESO and the Tamriel Trade Centre don’t count!)? At best there’s just that chest in your basement that can store your stolen silver plates. While I doubt that Bethesda chose not to include banks for authenticity reasons, this is still useful in understanding how banks (and by extension the money system we know today) came about.

What’s with those Goldsmiths then you ask? Well cool your jets I was just getting to that! You know how there are no banks in Skyrim or Cyrodiil, well let’s just say, I would guess that the existence of a certain guild is a big factor in why said banks don’t exist. The idea of a giant pile of money available to members of the Thieves’ Guild would probably be game breaking. And while the image of Bender robbing the imperial city is hilarious, it begs the question: if Tamriel’s fictional residents had little hope of protecting their goods, what hope was there for real life Goldsmith’s? The answer was a big, beautiful wall safe. Now, this safe became so effective that the other townspeople began to realise that maybe it would be better to keep their valuables with the local Goldsmith rather than allow it to remain vulnerable to Trogdor the Burninator in their thatched-roof cottages (damn that’s an old YouTube reference). And so, the locals would pay the Goldsmith to keep their goods protected… for a small fee. And so, the transformation from Goldsmith to Moneybags’ banker began.

Grey Metal Lockers Is Open

This, however, was only the start of the journey, many more changes would have to happen before Eorlund Gray-Mane became Lloyd Blankfein, but I realise that this post is already long as it is. If I don’t cut it soon then you’ll fall asleep faster than if I used a [random generic sleep spell] from [random generic RPG]. So, while this may be all the Game Theory that I watch beginning to run off on me, I’ve decided to split this post in two and explain the rest of this story next week.

How then does the story of Goldsmithing end? Does the Thieves’ Guild reorganise as payday loans company? Will Goku finally be able to open a Roth account? Find out next time in another exciting episode of GGAL!!!

GG folks.

“Press A to start”

Sup procrastinators!

Welcome back to GGAL (doesn’t that sound cool, makes me feel all established and whatnot). Anywho, today, what I’d like to talk about is projects, or more specifically, how to get into them. Now, I’m not a guru and I definitely haven’t taken a year out to master the art of productivity. On the contrary, about five minutes before I started writing this post I was actually dabbling in a bit of Darkest Dungeon, which I can’t recommend enough (though it is harder than… on second thought I’m not gonna finish that joke). Now being in my final year of grad school, I’ve got a metric ass load of projects that I’m gonna have to do and it kinda makes me wanna cry just thinking about it, but that group therapy sesh is for another day (or another post). But what’s worse than any individual project is the part that comes right at the beginning; starting. It sucks. Like I don’t know about you, but I am definitely the kind of guy who would want to spend an hour getting the right font just to avoid actually getting to work. Now if I were just blessed with incredible focus or were able to convince my doctor to give me some Adderall then none of this would be a problem. In fact, rather than talking to you about my trails of procrastination (or just procrastinating by playing Trails, I’ve done that too), if I were HYPER-PRODUCTO MAN (trademark pending), then I would just write a really demeaning post about how great I was and that you should be more like me. But unfortunately, I am not HYPER-PRODUCTO MAN, I am just man man (Manbearpig for short).

So rather than tell you how to be perfect at starting projects, I thought I might share with you a practical example of a project that I have started; hint hint, it’s looking at you. That’s right! I’m talking about GGAL (not some creepy spyware that’s staring at you through your webcam, I realise how that last sentence could be misconstrued). See, while I may have only just written my first post a couple of weeks ago, I actually started the WordPress page about a month before that. Back then I was feeling this incredible wave of enthusiasm to start my own writing project and so decided to create GGAL. But then the Power Star’s influence on me petered out, and all that was left was this unmotivated kid/Italian plumber if we’re continuing that reference.  You see, after the excitement was gone, my mind began to flood with thoughts: it’s too hard, you’ve never done anything like this before, you won’t be any good at it.

Dark Souls blog 3
Dark Souls III (8) from Videogame Photography https://www.flickr.com/photos/videogamephotography/

But don’t worry kids! This story has a happy ending (or beginning, or whatever). And in order to illustrate how I got out of this pre-writing rut, I would like to turn your attention to Exhibit A: a game so, brutal, so unforgiving, but most importantly, so much fun; Dark Souls. That’s right! You don’t really believe that a blog with GIT GUD in the title was never gonna talk about the granddaddy of kick-your-ass-gaming, do you? Now, why exactly is Dark Souls such a good example of how to start projects? My answer is twofold; firstly, the game itself represents this journey so well. You start as no one. You may be unkindled, or perhaps even ashen, but you are definitely not a hero. There was nothing predetermined to say that you are guaranteed for success. Everywhere you reach, you do so through grinding and pushing on, even if it requires a bonfire or fifty along the way. Everything you gain is gotten through beating enemies that you may have believed you weren’t tough enough to beat. The second reason and the one that truly influenced me to start writing is the fact that as gamers, we dive in head first more than we may realise. I knew that Dark Souls was gonna be tough before I played it (it has “prepare to die” on the box for crying out loud) and yet I still played it. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been stricken with “paralysis by analysis” before starting a project or essay, and yet when it came to games, it felt so simple; just play it. And yeah, I died. A lot. But it didn’t matter, I learned to Git Gud at those games by playing, and I’m going to Git Gud at this blog by writing. Sometimes, we as gamers just need to remember what we’re good at, getting stuck in and pushing play.

But that’s all from me for this week, GG everyone and remember to always Praise the Sun!

Oh before I forget! There’s a rumour, on the Twittersphere! GGAL is now on twitter! Follow me @gitgudatlife