One executive with little doubt about the rising costs of water is Peter Brabeck, chairman of Nestlé. He has been at the forefront of corporate efforts to draw attention to water scarcity, a problem he believes is still not taken as seriously as it needs to be. “Humankind is running out of water at an alarming pace,” he says. “We’re going to run out of water long before we run out of oil.”
Water scarcity is a far more pressing problem than climate change, he says, but receives much less political attention than it should. “We have a water crisis because we make wrong water-management decisions,” he says. “Climate change will further affect the water situation but even if the climate wouldn’t change, we have a water problem and this water problem is much more urgent.”
“I wasn’t the fastest guy in the world,” Dr. Simons said of his youthful math enthusiasms. “I wouldn’t have done well in an Olympiad or a math contest. But I like to ponder. And pondering things, just sort of thinking about it and thinking about it, turns out to be a pretty good approach.”
Great and small enterprises often have two births: first in purity, then in maturity. The idealism of the Declaration of Independence gave way to the cold-eyed balances of the Constitution. Love starts in passion and ends in car pools.
The beauty of the first birth comes from the lofty hopes, but the beauty of the second birth comes when people begin to love frailty. (Have you noticed that people from ugly places love their cities more tenaciously than people from beautiful cities?)
The mature people one meets often have this crooked timber view, having learned from experience the intransigence of imperfection and how to make a friend of every stupid stumble. As Thornton Wilder once put it, “In love’s service only wounded soldiers can serve.”
Recent studies show that musical ability might be a sexually selected trait.
4. How do you feel about making a game with a female protagonist?
I think representation in media is very important. I remember one day while I was finishing Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, I was rushing through the metro, and I saw this life-size poster with the Brotherhood flanking Ezio. A teenage girl walked up in front of me, slowly, looking at the poster, and then she walked straight up to the female Assassin and reached out and touched her face and just stood there for a while looking.
I have at times debated whether this is the right industry for me. I’ve been attached to the computer since I was tiny and grew up loving games and loving programming. And this industry is an industry full of growth and opportunity and passion. And my colleagues are some of the hardest working and most friendly and intelligent people I have ever met. But at times I get lonely. It can be lonely to be the only woman or one of very few women on the team, or to be the only one with my own girly taste in film or books or whatever. But seeing that girl standing there, it made it all worth it, because I realized that it is worth pushing for more diversity within the industry and for a diversity of characters within the games we make.
That girl reminded me what it was like to be young and looking for role models and how powerful it can be to see yourself represented in the media that surrounds you. My favorite games growing up were Colonel’s Bequest and Zak McKracken. Later it was Starcraft, then the Longest Journey and Morrowind, and more recently it’s been Skyrim and Gone Home. Most of my favorite games have compelling characters, often compelling female characters, and I think that is not a coincidence.
For many years most films have had mostly male characters because it is assumed that while women will see a movie with a male protagonist, men won’t see a movie with a female protagonist. And so female-led movies won’t make money. But I think this last year may have disproved this. It’s exciting and you can look it up: In the top 100 grossing films of 2013, female-led movies grossed on average more than male-led movies. As well, it was found this year in an analysis of movies since 1990 that movies that pass the Bechdel test have netted higher than movies that don’t.
Can we prove the same with games? I want to.
And so it has been such a pleasure and an honour and a dream come true to work on Child of Light. I love the character of Aurora. She’s brave and tough and relatable and girly and cute and rises against adversity. She’s an interesting character.
And all of this is beside the fact that people in real life are just so interesting and so varied. People are fascinating. And in games, we are making virtual worlds, and so we can make anything we want. I think we have a responsibility then to create interesting, varied characters.