Five things on Friday #319

Things of note for the week ending Friday 21st January, 2022

INTRO

Hello. How have you been?

It’s been 350 days since my last missive. Writing hits different these days. But I’ve got some stuff that I think you’ll like so we’ll get into it.

I wrote about gaming while you were gone. And writing too. Which means, if you’ve been paying attention to my Twitter bio, I’ve got one more think piece on ‘Figuring stuff out’ to deliver. I’ll get right on that.

What else can I tell you?

Happy winter months. It’s cold, crisp. Dark. Those of you that suffer from or that live with someone that suffers from seasonal affective disorder will know these chilly days can be tough. But we are nearly there, gang.

The evenings are already getting lighter and it’ll be spring time before you know it.

I promise you…

And hey, it’s been a minute. Hit reply and say hi, won’t you?

In the meantime, let’s crack the literal and figurative knuckles, dip into the #5things tag in my inbox and see what’s what.

Shall we?


1. THE FUTURE OF ONLINE SPACES

Yes, I am steadfastly refusing to use the m word.

You can’t move on the socials or in the trades without some wang wanging on about the m*t*v*r*e is the answer to all our prayers (I’ve been in three workshops this week and my goodness, the stories I could tell you).

There are few things here that you should read and educate yourself on.

First and foremost, Amy Kean’s surgically provocative piece (previewed above) says it all. Trigger warning: it dives into some VERY HEAVY STUFF right off the bat. But I assure you, if you do read it, then you’ll take a deep breath, a step back, and approach all ‘ideas’ and general guff-ery around this term with a healthy amount of scepticism.

As you should. You need to be ready for when the wolves come to talk to the shepherds about keeping the lambs safe.

And perhaps an accompanying piece to the above, I can also strongly recommend Moxie Marlinspike’s recent essay ‘My first impressions of Web3’ – there’s enough there to help you hold your own when you next find yourself next to a crypto-bro at a drinks party.

Without being a dick about it, I deal with bottom lines, ROI, and making real money for clients. You wanna spaff a load of ‘innovation’ dosh at second life 2.0 for a two page spread in WIRED, you go for it. It’s not for me. Yes, I’m being reductive. Trite even. But the myopic obsession with generating unqualified – and unchallenged! – broad brush statements about our future digital reality is madness. At scale.

Go and read any future trends article from the early 2000s and then step away, slowly, and crack on with your day.

‘But James! Think about the impact on gaming!’

Boy, do I have a thread for you.

We good?

Good.

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Source.

So yes. Unlike me to kick of semi-ranting but it has been A WEEK and I had to get this out of my system.

Onwards.


2. SOME STUFF I’VE BEEN DOING

Last year was well busy. Picked up a ‘notoriously difficult to win’ DMA GOLD, for OREO’s work ‘The Playful Network’.

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DEFINITE HIGH POINT.

Fun fact: the submission was a lift and shift from non-shortlisted APG paper (members can read that on WARC). Lesson: don’t be put off by failure.

EDIT: not a WARC member? You can probably download the PDF here.

The MASSIVE BATMAN PROJECT we’ve been working on ALL OF LAST YEAR finally dropped. Long project. Made longer by Pattinson getting Covid. Oh, Pattinson. Killer launch film, great website experience, more stuff in the delivery pipe between now and film launch.There’s Batman-OREOs in stores near you RIGHT NOW. Go get.

New European brand platform for Belvita. This has been a long labour of love also (started Q3 2020, I think?). Same deal: new TV, new positioning, more connected experience stuff to follow soon. Actually saw it on the telly tonight as well – that’s always nice.

There are still some irons in the fire (one more bat-shaped one) and a few more things. But yes, point is: work takes TIME. And it’s nice to have these buses arrive altogether.

PS. For the record, that’s my third batman project ever (OREO for THE BATMAN, Nokia for DARK KNIGHT RISES and Pizza Hut for ARKHAM KNIGHT).

I am the luckiest man alive.

What else?

Oh yeah, one last thing: I experimented with a new podcast/music format with Anchor FM and Spotify. Only made three episodes and then the mrs called it self-indulgent, so I killed it.

But your critique is welcome (that’s code for: ‘enough of you say nice things and I might revive it’ – ok? OK).


3. THIS WEEK IN GAMING

We’ve not caught up in a while so I’m just going to tell you what I’ve been playing / played / finished lately and make some recommendations your way too.

That sound good? OK, let’s go:

  • Ghost of Tsushima.

    Utterly beautiful. Did the whole game (Director’s Cut PS5 edition), platinum + DLC. Absolutely recommended.

  • Guardians of the Galaxy.
    GOTY for many last year, I’m only just getting into it. I’d say I’m about halfway through right now and I can tell you, this game is genuinely laugh out loud funny in places. The characters never stop talking and it never gets annoying. You must play.

  • Pokemon Glittering Pearl.

    So my son got his own Nintendo Switch (Lite) for Christmas. We both got new Pokemon for it and, I’m showing my age now, but I haven’t properly touch a Pokemon game (a real one, Pokemon Go doesn’t count) since Red & Blue. I am pleased the mechanics haven’t changed much! Got a Switch and a friend to play/trade/battle with? Get Pokemon!

  • Destiny 2
    Nuff said.

There’s been a few others (and I’ve done a larger thread on Twitter looking at my whole year of gaming but): HADES, RETURNAL, and FORZA 5 all spring to mind as being stand outs of last year but listen, the one game I implore you to try and find and play is a little side-scrolling platformer caller SPIRITFARER.

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It broke me. Emotionally speaking.

It’s a game about death and grief.

Facing it. Dealing with it. Accepting it. And oh my hell it is such a gem of a game. Find it. Play it. Report back. It is a joy to play but once it’s got you and you realise what’s going on… just wow.


4. HOW IS TODAY?

Speaking about grief, I think it’s about time I told you about this.

How is today?

“As a society, we’re closed to certain topics. They’re taboo. We give universal experiences like death and grief the silent treatment – brush them under the carpet, dust off the stiff upper lip so we can keep calm, just carry on.

We don’t think this way works for us anymore. We know it doesn’t. Grief is heavy, and it lasts for life and we need many hands to help carry the burden. When you share a problem it’s halved. Is this not the formula for grief too?”

A dear friend of mine is one of co-founders of this incredibly profound movement. How is today? is basically a guide on how to have better conversations about grief. If, like me, you’re lucky enough to make it this far in life without grief having a major impact on your life, then you may not know the first thing to say or do when someone else does. How is today? is here to help.

The podcast is genuinely excellent. Speaking to real people, who have dealt with real problems, and who speak about them in unbelievable ways. I’ve done the reading and I’m about halfway through the series, podcast-wise, and it’s already helped me find better ways to talk to people about their loss, their grief.. their octopus.

I think this is the best thing in the newsletter this week so please all go look it up.


5. FACEBOOK’S VAST WASTELAND

Infinite channels but nothing on.

“Banal viral grist is likely fine in small doses, but the cumulative effect generally feels pretty crummy. I’ve experienced this on numerous platforms (recently, it happens to me on TikTok), where some mindless scrolling morphs into an hour-long binge and I put down the phone feeling almost hungover. I feel overstimulated and a bit bummed out about how I spent my time. You can see how this gets bleak when it becomes habitual. It could be, as Facebook’s own research teams suggest, bad for you after a while.”

In the seemingly never-ending battle against disinformation spreading through social channels, are we missing something else?

This piece, via The Atlantic’s Galaxy Brain newsletter explores this idea, makes an interesting comparison to TV days gone by… and is well worth your time (there’s not much else on, after all).


BONUS SECTION

THIS IS THE BONUS SECTION. BONUS LINKS TO BONUS ITEMS THAT WILL OVERLOAD YOUR BROWSER TABS AND I’M NOT SORRY FOR THAT. MAN ALIVE, THERE’S SOME GOOD STUFF HERE.

ENJOY.


WE ARE APPROACHING THE END OF THE NEWSLETTER. PLEASE DO NOT FORGET YOUR BELONGINGS.

Thanks for reading this far. It’s just turned Saturday as my eyes wander up towards the Publish/Send button. I’m OK with that. You should be too.

I hope life is being kind to you and I hope you have a peaceful weekend.

Take care and until next time,

Whatley out, x

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Author: James Whatley

Chief Strategy Officer in adland. I got ❤️ for writing, gaming, and figuring stuff out. I'm @whatleydude pretty much everywhere that matters. Nice to meet you x