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Last week, we released Mystery Ball and the first professional reviewer to review the game gave it just two stars, and it was hard for Mystery Ball creator David Howe to swallow.

Most of the feedback from Mystery Ball has been glowing, but when you create something, it's usually not the compliments you remember, it's the criticism. David received a lot of feedback during the beta testing period of Mystery Ball and his acceptance of that feedback made the game a lot better. Instead of going on the defensive, David listened to what his testers had to say and tried to implement their suggestions. But receiving feedback is a lot different than reading something that is out there for the whole world to see.

In this way, releasing a game reminds me a lot of writing for an audience. I saw how David started to question some of his decisions and even though he didn't want to let it affect him emotionally, it did. It hurt. When you first start writing for an audience, it's a similar challenge. It's scary to put your words out there for everyone to judge. And the first time readers tell you they don't like what you have to say, you get a knot in your stomach. It hurts.

The first time I experienced this was in high school when I wrote a column in the school newspaper asking my classmates to stop showing up to football games drunk. I had a lot of hateful things said to my face after that column was published. Kids I had known since Kindergarten told me to go to hell.

If you cannot learn to accept that some people are not going to like everything you write (or games you produce), then writing (or creating) is not the profession for you. I've been called a lot of mean names through the years; I've received hateful emails and hateful phone calls.

When I was the Sports Editor at the Emporia Gazette, the Emporia High wrestling team won the State title. We ran the story with a huge photo above the fold on the front page of the newspaper. We ran a photo gallery on the back page of the first section of the paper. We ran a column about the coach in the sports section. The next day I had a voicemail from an angry grandma, who demanded to know why we had one stinking* article on the coach and nothing on the team. She had failed to look at the FRONT PAGE of her newspaper. Instead, she went straight to the Sports section, picked up her phone and called me names I didn't even know grandmas knew.

*She didn't say "stinking."

The letters you get in the mail from 90-year old women who love your columns or thank you letters from moms of baseball players end up meaning much more than the hateful things people say behind their keyboards. You'll get more negative responses over time, because people like to be angry. Most people only speak out when they're mad.

A lot of people love David's game. Some will think it sucks. Some will say it sucks without even playing the game. It's OK. Usually those are the people who don't even look at the front page.

… And after a two-week break, the Sweet Linkage is back.

  • We lost our second tree on the Red Nova Labs' premises late Tuesday night. We might be starving for oxygen, but we made the news!

  • Our Kansas City neighbors Barkley did a study on what to keep in mind when targeting Millennials. If you're a millennial and you're reading the Sweet Linkage, you should know that every word you read saves another puppy's life* and your friends will think you're really hip.

*Not true. Just trying to test out point No. 6. The thing about being hip though... that couldn't be more true. Read the Sweet Linkage. Everyone cool is doing it!

  • Is it just me, or does the future seem really creepy?

  • Since the Halloween edition of the Sweet Linkage didn't make it to print, here's one link and one video I would have included -- some spooky pumpkin carvings and an epic Halloween light show.

  • If you've ever longed for a sarcasm font, it's you're lucky day. Check out Sartalics.

  • This headline made me laugh out loud and will probably make you start cleaning your cellphone and keyboard.

  • The graphic below, sent to us by our friend Allen Jones, is pretty freaking sweet.


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