• "The real Grim Meathook Future, the one I talked about back when I wrote that thing and the one I see now, is the future where a relatively small slice of our species lives in a sort of Edenic Eloi reality where the only problems are what we laughingly refer to as White People Problems, like being able to get four bars’ worth of 4G signal at that incredible pho joint that @ironicguy69 recommended on Twitter, or finding new ways to lifehack all the shit we own into our massive closets…while the rest of the world is reduced to maintaining our lifestyles via a complex process of economically-positioned indentured servitude and clinging with the very tips of their fingernails onto the ragged edge of our consumer leavings, like the dorky dude who shows up the first day of school with the cheap K-Mart knockoffs of the pumped-up kicks the cool kids are wearing this year. In other words, the Grim Meathook Future is the one that looks like the present, the one where nothing changes."
  • "In my philosophy, Street Fighter is a game, but really it's a tool. It's like playing cards or chess or tennis: it's really about the people. Once you know the rules it's up to the players to put themselves in the game, to choose the nuance of how they play and express themselves. I think fighting games flourish because it was this social game. If it had been a purely single-player thing, it would never have grown so popular."
  • "At the moment, however, the prevailing wisdom seems to be that audiences have to be tricked into buying digital toys. Toys have to be disguised as something else. They don't yet have the framework of expectations around them that allows people to decide whether the proposition is worth it on its own or not, whatever that phrase really means. They're yet to feel entirely legitimate." Lots of lovely stuff in Christian's article here, but this stood out particularly: having to disguise toys to sell them to current expectations and the current marketplace.
  • "Over the past few months I have been collaborating with her to curate her first ever career-spanning exhibition. Retrospective Posy Simmonds: Essentially English opens on June 12th at the beautiful Art Nouveau, Victor Horta-designed Belgian Comic Strip Centre in Brussels and continues until November 25th 2012. I’ll be adding photos from the exhibition shortly, but below are the texts I have written for the explanatory graphic panels." Paul Gravett on Posy Simmonds – some great sketches in here and details of early work.
  • "[Bradbury] told them about a child he had watched, teased by his friends for wanting to enter a toy shop because they said it was too young for him, and how much Ray had wanted to persuade the child to ignore his friends and play with the toys." That, forever.

I had the great pleasure to get to Galy Tots at Kemistry last week: a lovely, tiny retrospective of Ken Garland Associates’ work for Galt Toys. It was lovely: lots of nice examples of graphic design and photography, as well as lots of items on display, including a prototype of knock-down furniture for playgroups, that was just beautiful.

There were several particularly lovely touches: firstly, that all the toys and games on display were set up to be played with – indeed, that they were set up so that children as well as adults could play.

And secondly: all the exhibition copy was written by Garland himself, which gave it a tone that was both very honest but also charming and subtle.

There were two quotation I took down, because they made an impact, and I wanted to share them.

Garland wrote about Edward Newmark, who had been manager of Paul and Marjorie Abbatt’s toyshop before he went to Galt.

Edward brought with him the conviction that play is a serious business, and toys are the tools of the child.

Talking about their time working for Galt, Garland said:

Most especially, it is rare for designers to have the experience of their work being enjoyed before their very eyes. I have had the greatest delight in seeing children playing our most successful game, Connect, in many parts of the world.

Watching something being enjoyed before your eyes is one of the great pleasures of designing things to be played or interacted with.

(And, by corollary, nothing hurts more, or reminds you to up your game, than watching somebody not have fun with something assumed they would enjoy).

  • "I would call him the greatest puzzle designer of all time, but that implies that there are lots of people who do what he does and he’s better than them, and that’s not quite right. What I mean is to say is that Raymond Smullyan is the Marcel Duchamp of puzzles, he’s the Brian Eno of puzzles. His work is singular, transformative, genre-defining, in a class by itself."
  • "Kareem, after the game, remarked that he would pay to see Doctor J make that play against someone else. Kareem's remark clouds the issue, however, because the play was as much his as it was Erving's, since it was Kareem's perfect defense that made Erving's instantaneous, pluperfect response to it both necessary and possible—thus the joy, because everyone behaved perfectly, eloquently, with mutual respect, and something magic happened—thus the joy, at the triumph of civil society in an act that was clearly the product of talent and will accommodating itself to liberating rules." This is phenomenal writing.
  • "There’s no demonstration of life’s futility or language’s emptiness that is so profound, it can’t one day be turned into a reassuring fridge magnet, and that thankfully helps put pessimism back in its place."
  • "There are 1868 cars on the highway right now. You can watch them drive by, or draw your own and it will join the front of the line. Where are they going? The journey is yours." Progressive's annual report is done vy an artist each year; this year's is a lovely Aaron Koblin piece.
  • "The choice for light as a medium is the result of a systematic exploration of what kinds of stimuli pigs respond to. We were aware of some evidence indicating pigs enjoy light. But when we saw how they reacted to a laser pointer, we knew we were on to something." Kars' frankly crazy game for pigs and people is in video form now, but he's deadly serious about it existing. I'm quite excited for him.
  • "Nine hours in, with no end to the fetching and photographing and fishing and flower-watering in sight, I suggested to one of my nieces, who was playing the game with me (the whole thing's drop-in co-op friendly), that maybe collecting three pepper pots to make Monstro the Whale sneeze was not so very different to collecting three sets of banners for the Toon Town election. It turns out that, from the perspective of a six-year-old, it's entirely different, and I clearly understand little about whales and even less about elections." A marvellous, marvellous piece of writing from Christian (again).