A Waking Insight

A Waking Insight

A couple nights ago I was talking to buddy Steve, someone who I hadn’t talked to in years. We had worked on a shareware game together for the Apple IIGS called Dueltris in the early 90s, and we also worked together at a game company in Florida for about a year. It was interesting to catch up with him, and share some of the insights we’d both had regarding teams, management, and leadership. One of the funnier ones that sticks out is “Golf is a great sport. You can drink beer with your buddies and walk around the course until you’re 90.”

We talked until 3 in the morning. The combination of meaningful conversation plus a few back-to-back episodes of Battlestar Galactica lead to a dreamless, no-nonsense slumber. I closed my eyes, and a few hours later I opened them with a sense of clarity I hadn’t felt in a while.

First of all, it occured to me that I’m entering a new personal phase, one that’s actually kind of exciting. Here’s the rough timeline:

  • 1992–1999 Video Game Development is my Life and my Passion. So I think.

  • 2000–2003 Ok, my passion isn’t apparently video games…drifting. I shift to new media / interactive design. Start working with friend from college, life is good and filled with possibility.

  • 2003–2004 Friend dies from cancer. Back to drifting. Switch to new media development, less design. Also realize that I’ve been something of a prick from 2000 onward, and don’t like what I’ve started to become: all business, no passion, fed up with incompetence and just angry.

  • 2005 I relax. I blog. I even allow myself to be goofy, supportive, and nurturing. I go with the flow. I don’t force agendas. I discover, to my great surprise, that I really adore people. Many things clarify, internally, as to what is important to the “inner me”.

  • 2006 I wake up on Tuesday, March 22nd, and realize that it is time to re-integrate some of the 2000-era Dave into the newly-relaxed 2006 model. This time, I think I can balance the drive, passion, and appreciation for people.


p>Whereas 2005 was a year where I pretty much accepted things as they came to me, 2006 is shaping up to be a year where I’m more desirous of impressing my will on circumstance. I know, that sounds kind of bad, but I don’t think it is. It just means that I am giving myself permission to want changes and that working to achieve them is OK. I’m also sure that is a “duh” thing to say to some people, but I’m working against two things in my past: The “don’t be too cocky” Asian upbringing, despite me being largely “whitewashed”, and that period of time in 2000 where I rebelled against it and became something of an asshole. I have been atoning for the latter for years. But this Wednesday morning, I awoke knowing I was done with that.

What does it mean? I’m not sure, but I can tell you what it feels like: I have just finished playing a 38-year long game of chess. I started out in fear, but by the end I learned to love and respect my opponent. I didn’t exactly lose, though I was on the defensive for most of the game, until I realized I could affect the flow and movement of the game as well. By the end, I manage a draw. We’ve cleared the board, refreshed ourselves with drinks and snackage, and we’re setting up again. This time I am going to play for the sheer fun of it. I’m going to enjoy the company of my opponent. And I’m not going to feel embarassed by it.

It’s interesting that my melodramatic posturing above is triggering all kinds of internal alarm bells. I hear my Mom’s voice saying something like, “Don’t be so brazen.” Or is it a fear that I’m not going to live up to my declared expectations in the second game? It’s a bit of both, I know…so the thing to do is to suck it up and just post this.


  1. Wade Winningham 16 years ago

    Having met you briefly at SXSW, you came across to me as a happy, friendly person. So, I would never have thought you had a ‘asshole’ phase in you. As someone in your age bracket (I’m 39) I can relate somewhat. I’ve had a passion for game development but never did anything about it other than join the IGDA and hang out with other developers. My passion since being a teenager HAS been software development. Since the web’s been here, it’s definitely my primary focus.

    2000 was a big year, for me, too. I left a job as a Director of Development to go on my own. To get away from the management and politics of the corporate world to reconnect with what I loved to do. I’ve kept with that since and I couldn’t be happier. Having been through that experience, I now have the confidence to say no when I need to and follow the path I set for myself.

    I feel that you’ve opened up a little with those of us who follow you online.  It’s brave, appreciated, and you’re not alone.  It’s not about the destination, but the journey along the way.


  2. Dean Johnson 16 years ago

    To inaccurately quote a famous 20th century philosopher:

    In the rough and tumble world of Rock and Roll,
      you have to lead with your face.

    That about sums it up.

  3. Ian 16 years ago

    This post is very interesting to me for a few reasons.

    1. I’m only 24, just a youngin, and I’m just starting a journey that’s in some ways related to the one your currently on. I’ve always found that experience is just as important, if not more so, than skill. So I try to be open to any stories people are willing to share.

    2. I’m moving in the exact opposite direction that you moved. I’m currently working in the new media/web development field and I’m trying to break into video game development.

    I’m really looking forward to having a chance to talk to you tomorrow. I’ve been looking forward to the new media group meeting since I found out about it.

  4. Mari 16 years ago

    Turning times are incredible. I’m so glad you’re recognizing yours.

    My favorite phrase was: “But this Wednesday morning, I awoke knowing I was done with that.”  THere’s so much research showing that when a person forgives himself, other mountains move too.

  5. Dave Seah 16 years ago

    I’ve been in an odd mood all day, feeling out this change in stance. It’s good to know that others are doing the same thing…thanks!

  6. Nollind Whachell 16 years ago

    “Also realize that I’ve been something of a prick from 2000 onward, and don’t like what I’ve started to become: all business, no passion, fed up with incompetence and just angry.”

    Sounds like you’re talking about me, not you. Again a lot of similarities here.