Tag: Nintendo

Animal Crossing décor inspiration

Animal Crossing décor inspiration

Grant and I have been playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf on his new (pale pink) 3DS. I’m the mayor of the town, because Grant’s a sweetheart, and he’s just a citizen. We have tons of pals who are playing, too, so we’ve really enjoyed it. He played the original GameCube version, and maybe a bit of the prior DS one I think, and I worked in linguistic QA at Nintendo during the several months before the Wii version of the game was released in 2008. I’m pretty sure that’s a legally acceptable way to get my experience with AC across, haha. I’m having much more fun this time around, for what it’s worth!

I seem to have become somewhat obsessed with the design and furnishing of my house in the game. I never cared much about that before, but something about being a real-life homeowner makes it deeply satisfying. Most people go nuts with the many outlandish and brightly colored sets you can collect, but I’ve found myself drawn exclusively to extremely realistic and traditional design schemes. However, Animal Crossing only lets you customize your exterior in limited ways, so I’ve found myself incorporating elements of design that might be more appropriate outdoors into my AC rooms. Here’s my castle-style outside (new door and mailbox to come):

My "castle" exterior house in Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

For example, in my bathroom, I have a pair of these statue thingies called “Merlion(s).” I don’t know if that’s sort of like the Capricorn half-goat-half-fish thing or what, but I saw them in my Happy Homes showroom and went nuts and bought a pair immediately. Pretty sure they’d make more sense in a garden or courtyard, ya know? Perhaps you can’t tell, but water is continuously streaming out of their mouths, unless you face one and press the A Button. ;) Don’t worry about where the water goes. That’s not important in Animal Crossing. (Oh, and isn’t the parquet floor amazing? I would never have something that busy or frilly in real life, probably; we never saw a single detailed floor when we were house-hunting in Seattle. But I love the look especially with that wall; very Downton Abbey.)

My Animal Crossing bathroom, with a pair of Merlions.

Here are a couple more obsessive symmetry things that possibly belong outdoors, my maneki nekotachi (no idea if that’s how you pluralize it). I love the paw-raised kitty, and I used to have two with their right paws raised (which is more traditional) but Grant spotted a left paw one in the HHA and bought it for me. Yay! Proper symmetry: deeply pleasing. I know these are kind of a weird scale to have in an indoor home; they too look outdoorsy to me. But there WAS that big trend a few years ago of giant white ceramic animals that just sit on your floor and do nothing, so maybe these sort of fit into that category?

A pair of Japanese lucky cats (maneki neko).

Either way, now I kind of want to get a pair of these for my home office. After all, the right one is supposed to bring money/prosperity, and the left paw one is supposed to bring customers (according to this). What more perfect motif is there for my growing  business? I’m going to try to find a set that’s made of matte white, cream, or black ceramic with no colorful adornment, since I find the more traditional colored ones can look kinda gaudy. (And they also don’t go with my cool turquoise office décor.) There’s a local Japanese noodle restaurant called Boom Noodle that has some gorgeous plain matte white ones of various sizes on display in their foyer, so maybe they’ll share their source. After all, I can’t just run to Timmy & Tommy Nook in real life. Bummer!

Another matchy-matchy AC thing is my two Rococo Sofas, currently dyed Gothic Yellow but probably to be changed back to their original Gothic Brown at some point. (Oh, and matching Rococo Candlestick sconces on the wall, obvs. And yes matching fireplaces shut up.) I’ve actually been dying for two matching sofas in our real life living room (RLLR, LOL) but we’re having trouble finding two of the right dimensions and price point to work in our smaller living room/entryway, so I was pretty tickled to be able to scratch that itch in game. These are WAY more traditional and feminine than anything I’d put in my real-life house on purpose, but I think they’re charming here and the detail makes them that much more recognizable in the small scale of a DS game, even on an XL device.

A pair of matching Rococo Sofas and Rococo Candlesticks in Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

And yeah, I have not two but FOUR matching Peacock Chairs, because those too are lovely and feminine in game, and I also have two coffee tables instead of one because there aren’t many four-square coffee tables and SYMMETRY MATTERS PEOPLE. That probably should’ve been my post title, haha.

I used to have just plain cream sofas in my living room instead, which I liked a lot and now have in a weird upstairs den-like room because I’m smitten with the cowhide rug and retro TV. (The rug doesn’t scale well in a bigger AC room so I can just never ever expand this one, haha.) Even though I complained about retro legs in this long design post, I find them cute in this specific room, and somehow in AC all is forgiven. And I LOVE the look and idea of cowhide rugs in real life, but I don’t know that they’re all that practical in our home, and I don’t think Grant likes them that much, and I get the feeling I’d be “over” that look too soon for it to be financially viable. Again, AC to the rescue, letting me play with design elements I love in a safe space, haha. I actually love the look of two light sofas too, but in our household with a black cat already and with hopes for kids someday, cream sofas just wouldn’t fly. But something really clean and minimal with the arms the same height as the back is my favorite sleek look, even if it feels less functional. Aaaah, AC.

Cream sofas and a cowhide rug in Animal Crossing.

The one thing I really wish AC let you play with was window treatments. (Or maybe they do and I just haven’t gotten there. No spoilers, please!) Can’t you imagine big dramatic swags and valances and whatnot to fool around with? It is sort of a bummer that if you expand your main room, you lose the window along the middle of the back, and the only windows in any of the auxiliary rooms are also on the sides, so you have to manually move the camera around to view them. Maybe that’s why they didn’t bother with drapery options. But I’d go NUTS if I had that choice, especially since that’s an area I’m toying with at home in real life, too!

Oh, and I looooove my bedroom, with the matching Exotic set. I just learned the other day that you can dye it, so I’ll probably start experimenting with that next. It’s way more Asian inspired than most of my home furnishings, and while I do love getting multiple pieces of a matching set, this much feels like overkill. But you get points for having multiple pieces of a set! Which remind me of the satisfying joy of obtaining set bonuses in World of Warcraft raiding gear, haha. Since there’s no way I’d turn back to such a hardcore MMO between my current time management and tennis elbow concerns, it sure is nice to feel like a semi-competent fire mage as mayor of our little town.

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Last stop is my kitchen, which is pretty boring but still kinda fun because I used the Kitschy Tile and the Kitchen Wall in there. I would never normally put something so patterned up in a real house, but it’s kinda charming and reminds me of Spanish kitchens in Barcelona and Madrid that almost all have granite countertops and ceramic Moroccan-inspired patterned tile on the walls and usually a different larger-scale tile on the floor. This isn’t exactly a replica of that, especially given that there’s no countertop to speak of, but it’s a sort of chaotic, pattern-filled yet traditional retro vibe that reminds me of living in Spain.

My Animal Crossing kitchen.

So there you have it! My basement is boring, so I won’t show you that… oh fine; you’re right. We might as well. Gotta store those gyroids somewhere. Here it is:

My Animal Crossing basement full of gyroids.

LOVE that Library Wall, but not as much as I love the Ivy Wall that’s brick covered in creeping ivy vines. That’s in my museum exhibit (aka closet) now. It was perhaps my only treatment that’s truly strange for an interior; I like to keep my AC houses freakishly realistic but the ivy on the brick was too pretty to pass up. It sort of made no sense with this Modern Wood Floor, but I might reinstate it here in my basement if I can find some sort of outdoorsy-looking alternative at some point. Something that looks like a temple floor all in ruins with vines running everywhere would be perfect, right? ;)

As part of my Animal Crossing In Real Life ordinance, I actually wound up buying two matching indoor topiaries to flank the entrance to my kitchen. They’re no giant white cats, but they’ll do nicely! Check ’em out:

Matching topiary kumquat trees.

They’re kumquat (fortunella marginata nogami) trees that were grown at Monrovia and sold by Lowe’s for mad cheap; the gal marked them down from $60-something to $30 because they’re no longer flowering (even though the left one has two little green fruits!). I’m not sure if they’ll survive happily indoors, but they seem a bit hardier and less sun-desperate than the Meyer lemons I’ve managed to kill over the years, so I’m hoping I can at least keep them alive and happy-looking, if not fruiting.

I know they were still staked here, and I know I could ideally remove that annoying white cable for a more staged shot, but REAL LIFE ISN’T A VIDEO GAME YOU GUYS. I have to pay an electrician to make it so I can unplug that cable. For now, you get the idea. (The matchiness of the left hutch is new, too.) I’m quite pleased with this much symmetry; after all, I’m learning that matching identical pieces placed like this offer a sense of polish and formality to an otherwise casual and kind of haphazard collection of furniture from over the years. If I ever find me a real-life Cyrus to dye them up all custom (read: please send me Seattle upholstery referrals), I’ll let you know!

A note (or novella) on harassment

A note (or novella) on harassment

On The Crossover Episode 8 today, a very important conversation happened. Sarah Parmenter and Whitney Hess joined Dan and Haddie to speak about serious harassment that both women have experienced. Sarah’s story in particular was harrowing, in that someone specifically targeted her by faking porn pictures of her and going out of his (come on, it’s a he) way to try to expose those photos to everyone in her large and prestigious professional circle. She wrote a recent blog post about the issue, which Whitney followed with a post of her own, and both women were very eloquent and amazing as they told their stories. I urge you to go consume all of that content for yourself, in this order: Sarah, Whitney, Crossover. Go back and do that before you finish this post! Or don’t, but you should. :)

I’m not a stranger to harassment, but I’m lucky. I haven’t been nearly as harassed or harassable as most of my female colleagues at most jobs I’ve worked at. I don’t know exactly why; I expect it has something to do with being naturally tall and loud, both of which are things I can’t change about myself (at least not easily). I hope part of it is my personality, too, but I honestly don’t know. I used to attract harassment when I was a teenager, but only from random strangers when I’d walk around the city, etc. Never from people I interacted with on a regular basis. That came later in life, and in a subtler costume.

I was harassed at my first “real” job after college, as a legal assistant for an attorney who turned out to be a Red Flag Elemental. I didn’t realize it until I’d been there a while, but his harassment of me was much subtler than anything I had learned to spot as harassment, even though I grew up surrounded by hippie feminist liberals. I was more skeeved out by some of the questionable law practices in that office than by any of the potentially inappropriate harassment-type stuff, and I booked it pretty quickly even though I didn’t have a good exit strategy, because I just didn’t want to be around that vibe even if it meant I was broke and desperate and totally alone.

That drove me to a different law firm job, for a high-powered attorney who was both feminist and old-fashioned. She always wore below-the-knee skirts with nylons because you never knew when you’d end up in court, and some judges are old school enough to believe women shouldn’t wear pants in their courtrooms. (That thing that happened to Alicia Florrick on The Good Wife? Totally happens in real life.) She was a very ethical senior partner, but shady things still happened out of her line of sight. After I left the firm, and I believe after my former boss passed away, I heard through the grapevine that a female legal assistant was let go after sticking up for herself when a partner (later disbarred for unrelated reasons) smacked her rear with a newspaper in the copy room. I like to think such a thing wouldn’t have happened on her watch, but I think lesser things must have.

Then I moved on to jobs with a more subtle type of harassment; the ones where you’re denied opportunities for growth because you’re female, or you inherit a higher-powered position without inheriting a commensurate salary bump, or you’re spoken to in different ways than your male counterparts for the same types of offenses, or mansplaining is inescapable. Those are standard rate at almost any place of work, and you have to learn how to advocate for yourself in those circumstances. There’s discussion I don’t care to expand upon here about how that’s partly gendered behavior; about how some men face those same challenges. I don’t doubt it. But all that was minor league stuff compared to what I encountered when I entered the video game industry.

Working as a female in games is a blessing and a curse. So many amazing women are entering the field more and more often, but I get why they’re reluctant. I get why the #onereasonwhy phenomenon struck. Women who are comfortable wearing attractive clothes are slobbered over; inappropriately joked about or to. Women who are not conventionally attractive are the subject of some seriously messed-up conversations and jokes. It doesn’t help when you work on a product that has a minimum cup size of approximately Z for all its female NPCs; I hate to think of what the entertainment (or adult entertainment) industries are like. The most wildly inappropriate things have happened at the allegedly-AAA places I’ve worked at, though I have to say it seems like working in QA is truly the dregs. Testers and people who work in testing somehow seem to have a massive overlap with people who either lack appropriate social graces, or choose to override them to deliberately harass, belittle, demean, and disgust the women in their workplace. This is insanely frustrating as a tester who simply loves being picky about errors and making things look better. I didn’t ask for the stigma that accompanies a burning perfectionist core and a devil’s-in-the-details eye. (Watch me make like nine typos in this post.)

I don’t yet feel like I have enough distance or legal protection to get into the specifics about the things that have happened to me and to my female coworkers. But you know the strangest thing? Big Tech jobs are where I’ve felt by FAR the least amount of harassment thus far. Big Tech is where everyone was professional to me, where there was a decent balance of women vs. men (even if the women tended to be more PMs and the men more SDEs), and where I generally felt that there was less homophobia, bigotry, and inappropriate expression. It wasn’t gone, but it wasn’t nearly as rough as when I worked in video games. I felt more of a dev/business animosity than any kind of male/female animosity. But I also wasn’t in any Big Tech role for long, and I was always there primarily as a linguist for hire, and not a lasting asset.

I’m grateful that I haven’t gone through the types of things that Sarah and Whitney (and yes, even Haddie) have experienced. But you know what? I suspect it’s coming. I’m prettier than I used to be (neither fishing nor bragging; I simply know how to put myself together better than I used to). I’ve gained a bunch of weight, which in some views makes me less attractive, but of course I’m curvier as a result and that invites a different kind of harassment. I’m also likely to become pregnant at some point, which will invite a different kind of creepiness, I hear. And I’m growing my business. My Twitter following has more than doubled in the past few months, and my Facebook page is growing slower but will probably take off if I do things right. I’m trying to scale up a very public business that involves very personal and intimate interactions, and I don’t know how far it will go, but I aim to become something of a minor media figure someday kinda soon.

I’m sure that unacceptable trolling and harassment  is something I’ll face again even though I don’t work in game studios or law offices any more. Stories like the ones Whitney, Haddie and Sarah shared help raise awareness, help women everywhere stand up for themselves, and help educate and encourage men to stand up for an environment free from sexism, harassment and nastiness. Please go peruse their stores, and please pay it forward in whatever way you can by impacting your own circles with an understanding of the fact that it is absolutely not okay to tolerate harassment, even the minor kind. Women everywhere need your support. (Including me.)

Only at Nintendo

Only at Nintendo

So in a nutshell, working at Nintendo has been lovely.  According to company policy, however, I shall not be discussing anything remotely contentful relating to my work there.

Thus, Imaginary Readers, I leave you with this linguistic/gamer tidbit.  On the fridge in the break room, there is a sign that asks employees to take home their food “nightly”.  And of course, someone added an extra K.

Viva la nerd. I like this place. :)