Just a geek who lives in Olympia, WA with my wife, son, and animals. In my free time I play board games, write fiction, and make stuff.
346 stories
·
2 followers

I Tried An E-Cargo Bike For 30 Days And Didn’t Need to Touch My Car Once

1 Share

Here’s a confession that some folks in the Streetsblog audience might be find a little shocking: I own a car.

More specifically, I resentfully maintain an 11-year-old Toyota with fewer than 80,000 miles on it, despite multiple cross-country road trips for various moves in my mid-20s. Outside of long drives like those, that much-neglected Yaris stays parked outside of my St. Louis apartment most days of the week, paint peeling to a leprous patina because it rains a lot here and I never bother to wash it.

It is not an exaggeration to say that I hate pretty much everything about owning a car. I hate the panic attacks I get nearly every time I drive it, I hate the money I have to spend to keep it running, and I hate knowing that every time I turn it on, I am contributing to the not-so-slow demise of the planet, not to mention multiple pandemics that are disproportionately killing my BIPOC neighbors.

But the truth is, sometimes, I need my dumb little Toyota — and if I’m honest, it’s not just because I live in an auto-dependent city that thought it was a good idea to ram two highways straight through our core downtown, and put every single doctor’s office that takes my insurance umpteen highway miles away.

When the e-bike company Rad Power Bikes offered me the opportunity to try out its Rad Wagon 4 electric cargo bike, I knew it wouldn’t help me surmount some of my biggest day-to-day barriers to biking — and of course, there are enormous barriers that people with fewer privileges than me face every day. No bike, no matter how fancy, can protect a rider from dangerous drivers who are reassured by legal policies, roadway designs, and culture that if they kill a person outside a car, they will almost certainly face no consequences. An e-bike alone can’t put a grocery store within easy reach if your city relegates them to strip malls off of high-speed highways; it also can’t prevent gender-based harassment and abuse, or racial profiling and police assault against people of color, or any number of barriers I can’t fully comprehend as a white, cisgender person with a host of economic and social privileges.

But there were a handful of barriers to riding that I thought an e-bike might be able to help me overcome, so I could leave my piece of crap Toyota in its city-subsidized parking space just a little more often. Here are a few.

Riding in a mask

Fun fact about me: I have mild asthma. (Fair warning: you’re going to hear about some of my various medical conditions throughout this post, because they sometimes impact my mobility, and also, because stigma is stupid.) Because I have the extraordinary privileges of great medical care and the time to get the exercise I need to manage my condition without medication, this is very much not a big deal for me most of the time. But I’d be lying if I said that the first time I tried to get on a manually-powered bike in a mask, I wasn’t a little uncomfortable by the end of the two-mile mostly-uphill ride to the grocery store, even though I knew I needed it.

Editor's note: This photo was taken on a socially distanced halloween group ride. Rest assured a hot dog costume is not my usual riding gear.
Note: This photo was taken on a socially distanced halloween group ride. That said, a $17 hot dog costume is a great alternative to expensive high-viz riding gear.

Like all e-bikes, the Rad Wagon is powered by a pedal-assist mechanism, which means that when you pedal your bike even just a tiny bit, a motor kicks in to keep the bike moving at a speed of your choice, and when you stop pedaling, the motor stops, too. You do need to keep your feet moving throughout your ride  — though the pedal assist goes up to a respectable level 5, at which point you don’t need to exert yourself very much at all to maintain the bike’s top speed of 20 miles per hour, which is pleasantly zippy without feeling out of control.

(Side note: if you want a workout, or your bike is running out of battery, you can select a lower level of assistance, or ride the Rad Wagon with no pedal assist at all. You can even skip using the bike’s thumb throttle feature, which is darn handy for getting a beastly 76.7-pound bike moving from a full stop. Personally, I feel zero shame about using that throttle every single time I hit a stop light, and keeping that sucker on maximum pedal assist at all times.)

Perhaps there is no better endorsement for an e-bike these days than this: with an electric boost, riding a bike in a mask is shockingly easy, even when climbing huge hills. With enough assist you won’t even break a sweat, much less find yourself sucking wind.

Hills

While we’re on the topic of hills: I hate them! And contrary to what you might have heard about the midwest: we’ve got them!

Case in point: I lived in Santa Fe for years, and thus I regularly and literally dream about eating Hatch green chiles. But the only quick way to get home from the single restaurant in my city that serves even remotely passable New Mexican fare involves summiting a 250-foot hill — and I have to do it after I’ve eaten my body weight in sopapillas.

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 1.18.55 PM
Bonus: the front light also comes standard with the bike and turns on automatically when you activate pedal assist.

That hill was about the only time during my month of e-biking that I felt my quads engage, and my friends, they didn’t engage much. On a steep incline, the Rad Wagon slows down and taps out at about 15 miles per hour — and if you load the bike down with cargo, it will go a little slower than that — but it will make the climb, no problem.

Gin0rmous grocery hauls

Until recently, I found it pretty easy to get my household groceries on a standard bike, with the help of a basic rear rack, a couple of cheap panniers, and the willingness to make a smaller run to the store a couple times a week on my lunch break rather than embarking on a gigantic, semi-monthly haul.

Then a little thing called “the coronavirus” happened.

After hearing my friends who live in grocery stores basically begging everyone they know to stop treating the frozen food aisle like a daily social club, my husband and I cut down to one grocery trip every 20 days or so, and got really good at finding new ways to cook rice. But the trade-off was that we usually had to drive, especially when it came time to re-up on seriously bulky things like toilet paper or a bag of food for our 75-pound dog.

The Radwagon has integrated long-tail rack with a massive, flat platform for strapping down up to 120 pounds of cargo. (The payload for the whole bike is 350 pounds including the weight of the rider; I pushed that rear-loading limit a few times, but, for the record, nothing broke and no one died.) With a couple of super-sized Ortliebs, some basic straps and the help of a simple front basket, I was able to haul enough groceries for a whole month — including a month’s worth of TP.

Huge stuff

Look: I’m not one of those people who likes the challenge of hauling every single thing I buy on a bike, no matter how massive it is. If I didn’t have my Dumb and Mostly Useless Toyota, I would probably be fine with renting a Zipcar the next time I needed to purchase a big piece of furniture. (Though I stand in awe of Streetsblog Chicago editor Courtney Cobbs, who once managed to haul a full-sized dresser on her Tern.)

But there is one thing that I’ve always felt a little cognitive dissonance putting in the trunk of my car, even if I sometimes can’t avoid it: my bike. And because there is no local bike shop within walking or bussing distance of my home, every time I shred a sidewall on a tire or otherwise break something on my Surly that I can’t or don’t want to fix myself, I find myself in the psychically weird position of burning a bunch of fossil fuels to get my favorite people-powered vehicle back in working order.

Well…

Screen Shot 2020-11-25 at 1.37.15 PM
Note: I skipped the mask in this photo because I’m in my back yard. Don’t @ me!

Side note: If the RadWagon itself ever became unrideably broken, that beast would definitely not fit on a car rack. But that’s what mobile bike shops are for!

When I first got the RadWagon, Rad Power Bikes was kind enough to get my local VeloFix franchise to pre-assemble my bike for me and drop it off at my house, and that gave me an opportunity to meet Francesca, the awesome mechanic who would help me out if I ever got stranded on the side of the road. Since the company sells directly to consumers rather than to shops — and since many local shops don’t work on e-bikes anyway — that’s actually how many of their customers get their new rides. (Pro tip if you buy a Rad bike: if you can at all afford it, use a service like this. I’m a firm believer in the idea that no one should need to get certified as a bike mechanic simply to get on two wheels — after all, most drivers never need to learn how to service their own engines — and I’m told assembling an e-bike is a bit of an undertaking.)

Pain

Here’s another fun fact about me: like approximately 10 to 20 percent of people with uteruses in the U.S., I have a chronic pain condition called endometriosis. I am privileged to have access great medical care that makes my condition totally manageable most of the time, but I am also unlucky enough to have a severe form of endo that sometimes impacts my mobility. My condition is mostly intermittent, but I live most of my life with a low buzz of constant pain, and I pretty reliably have a few weeks a year when every individual muscle in my lower back, upper legs and pelvic floor feels like it’s being twisted in its own, individual vice grip. On my very worst days, I can’t walk more than a few steps without something or someone to lean on, and while riding a bike with a comfy seat and upright handlebars can help a lot, I’m pretty limited to routes without hills that would require me to engage my core muscles very much.

So, yes: endometriosis sucks! But even bad pain days do not make me feel particularly eager to use my Toyota as a the world’s largest mobility aid. Hearing from other people with mobility challenges — especially those that are relatively invisible and intermittent like mine — made me curious about trying an e-bike as a possible solution, but cost was always a barrier. (Disclosure: Rad Power let me try the RadWagon for free, but at $1,699, it’s easily among the cheapest e-cargo bikes on the market, and some of their other models cost as little as $999.)

Happily (?), I did have one of my nightmarish pain weeks during my 30 days with the Rad Wagon. I used the heck out of that pedal assist, and I even relied on the thumb throttle to propel me for a couple particularly painful blocks rather than moving my feet. I could still feel a little bit of the road vibrating under those teeny little 22-inch tires, and like everything else in my life that week, it hurt. But it hurt a whole lot less than any other bike I’ve ever tried riding on one of my high-pain days, and it’s hard to articulate how freeing it felt to be able to get to the library book drop (mostly) on my own power on a day that I otherwise would have spent curled up in bed.

If there are any health insurers reading: please, please, please make e-bike prescriptions available to people like me.

Passengers

This doesn’t need much preamble, so I’ll just go ahead and nerd out: with a couple cheap accessories like running boards and some hand grips in the back, you can fit two full-grown adults on a single Rad Wagon. (I’m told you can actually fit three people if two of them are children, but no one would lend me their babies for this story, so you’ll just have to trust the Rad Power website on that one.)

Don't @ me about this helmet fit, I borrowed it and we only went down the block.
My super-lovely friend Kiley let me whisk her away for some take-out. (Note: don’t @ me about this helmet fit, either — I borrowed it from someone with a considerably smaller head, and I swear we only went down the block.)

Now, lest this article become an ad for Radwagon: this bike definitely has its downsides.

Hauling a heavy, six-and-a-half-foot-long object up the eight stairs to my apartment was not easy or elegant, and on high-pain days, I definitely needed help. I’m not wild about the idea of setting up a ramp every time I need to store my bike, and a water-tight backyard shed is an investment I’m not prepared to make for a single vehicle right now.

Rad Wagon OdometerThe RadWagon’s respectable 25-45 mile range also isn’t ideal for cargo-intensive activities that I enjoy like like bike camping outside the city, and charging it to full takes a little foresight, since it needs to stay plugged in for about four hours. Knowing I could get home on my own power if my battery ever died was a comfort — and one I wouldn’t have with an electric car — but riding the Rad Wagon without a pedal assist would undoubtedly be arduous compared to a standard bike built for agility.

Still, despite those small drawbacks, the Rad Wagon easily helped me meet a range of needs that otherwise couldn’t be comfortably accomplished on two wheels. Over the course of my 30 day e-bike experiment, I replaced 76 miles of trips that I almost certainly would have driven with electric-assisted bike rides — it probably would have been more, but, y’know, coronavirus — and didn’t touch my Dumb and Mostly Useless Toyota once.

I’m not sure I’m quite ready to sell my car yet — St. Louis, build even a single mile of on-street protected bike lane and then maybe we can talk — but it’s definitely a start.

Read the whole story
Share this story
Delete

Civil Eats TV: Liquid Gold on Tribal Land

1 Share

“We were always told if you take care of the land, the land will take care of you,” says James Kinter, tribal secretary of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, whose ancestral homeland is located in Northern California’s Capay Valley. “This is something that we fought blood, sweat, and tears for. Because we had to buy back land that was stolen from us.”

James Kinter of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.

James Kinter of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.

Kinter is standing in an olive orchard on a blustery November morning, in the shadow of the tribe’s Cache Creek Casino and Resort and nearby golf club. “Before the gaming era of our tribe, we were very much in poverty,” he said, describing the tribe’s long journey from decimation to reclamation over more than 100 years. “Transforming this land really helped our tribe; we never forget where we came from.”

More than 4,000 years ago, the Yocha Dehe thrived as farmers and hunters in this region. By the mid-18th century, they were forced off their land by Spanish colonizers, enslaved by missionaries, and rendered nearly extinct. In the 1900s, the tribe was forcibly relocated by the U.S. government to a barren and non-irrigatable reservation; by then, the tribe’s population had dramatically declined from 20,000 to just a few hundred members.

For decades, the tribe, once resilient and self-sufficient, eked out a subsistence living, reliant on the government for survival. It wasn’t until the 1980s, when portions of the Yocha Dehe ancestral land were returned, that a period of stability began, including the development of a bingo hall (later to become the casino), which helped reverse—and return—the tribe’s fortunes.

A Return to Farming

With the money from their successful enterprises, the tribe began farming again in 2003, first planting wheat and sunflowers, and later, alfalfa, safflower, garbanzo beans, sunflower, sorghum, walnuts, almonds, and seven varietals of wine grapes, with the support of the research and development team at U.C. Davis and Jim Etters, the tribe’s director of land management.

Today, with more than 22,000 total acres in production, the Yocha Dehe own one of the most diverse farming operations in Yolo County, and it is one of just a few tribes that are expanding their agricultural footprint in California. Of the 3,000 acres the tribe is currently farming, 250 acres are certified organic (they grow organic wheat, asparagus, tomatoes, and squash), and more than 1,200 acres are in permanent conservation easements. In addition to the farming operation, the Yocha Dehe run a herd of 700 cattle, following a sustainable grazing program on the tribe’s more than 10,000 acres of rangeland.

An overhead view of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation's farmland, including the Séka Hills oil processing mill.

Wherever possible, the tribe uses sustainable farming practices, and has received several grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service for water and rangeland conservation, and for ongoing work on sustainable grazing practices, erosion control, and invasive weed control.

“Growing up, we weren’t into farming in the way we are now,” says Kinter. “We were more the people working on the farms. And now we’re the owner[s].”

Reclaiming their land has also led to tribal gold: the Yocha Dehe produce award-winning extra virgin olive oil, grown, harvested, and produced under the Séka Hills label, named for the blue hills that overlook the valley. And while olives and olive oil are not a traditional Native crop, it seems fitting that the tribe has taken a practice brought by Spanish colonizers and made it their own.

A Crop of the Future

Walking under a silvery canopy of Picual olive trees—known for their bitter, robust-flavored fruit—Etters says the Capay Valley is perfect for this crop because of its undulating topography, hot climate, and limited water. For these reasons, the tribe decided on olives, he says, noting that it takes sustainability and their culture into account in every decision they make on their farm and ranch.

Jim Etters walks through the olive groves inspecting the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation's farmland.

Jim Etters.

“The tribe was really concerned about water conservation and pesticide usage, and that is one of the key reasons, along with soil and climate, that they chose to plant their first olives,” says Etters. “They really do see it as a crop of the future.” The olives use a third of the water as the nut trees.

Today, the tribe farms roughly 500 acres of olives, including Arbequina, Arbosana, Coratina Frantoio, Koroneiki, Picual, and Taggiasca. It sells single-varietal olive oils, a “Tribal Blend,” made from Arbequina, Frantoio, and Taggiasca olives, and Olio Nuovo, freshly milled Arbequina olive oil, which is bottled directly after milling (most new harvest oils are “settled” for several weeks before bottling).

The olive oil has received dozens of awards, including several gold medals in this year’s California State Fair Commercial Olive Oil Competition. Séka Hills sells out of olive oil every year; this year, due to the pandemic, it has seen an uptick in e-commerce sales, which has made up for the sale losses from its foodservice business.

 

Starting in 2010, the tribe began planting super high-density (13 by 5 feet apart) Arbequinas—described as buttery and fruity—and pruned into short, square hedgerows to enable mechanized harvesting. There are only a few varietals of olives which can be grown in this matter, which Etter says has made it a more viable commercial crop in California, reducing the high cost associated with handpicking. The Picuals are planted at medium-density, and harvested with prune or pistachio shakers and then collected onto conveyor belts.

The tribe decided to invest in an on-site mill in 2012 when it became untenable to drive long hours to the closest mill; they can now produce a high-quality product quickly and with lower transportation costs. The mill, a state-of-the-art operation with gleaming machinery from Italy, produces 75,000 gallons a year of Séka Hills olive oil, and also serves as a community mill for other local olive growers. The tasting room and 2,300-square-foot retail space sells other Séka Hills products, including estate-grown wine, vinegar, wildflower honey, prepared nuts, and Angus beef. It has remained open, but on a limited basis, during the pandemic.

Sustaining Their People

The tribe’s long-term approach to stewardship and environmental sustainability reflects a sacred commitment to their land and to the well-being of future generations, says Kinter. In 2003, the governor bestowed the tribe with the state’s highest environmental honor, the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award.

Processing olives into olive oil at the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation's Séka Hills facility.

It is an active part of the Yolo County community, and its fire department is a contributing member of the region’s emergency response force, as well as the only Native American fire department to achieve accreditation from the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. It was active in responding to this year’s devastating fires in the county, and lost 12,000 acres of rangeland in fire, which turned their cattle feed to ash. And though COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on Native communities nationwide, the tribe, which has suffered much loss and devastation historically, has thus far been spared.

As the Yocha Dehe tribe strives to preserve its legacy, its goal is to grow its population and tend its natural resources, following traditional wisdom and creating long-lasting connection with the land.

“The tribe’s been here for thousands of years; this is our homeland, our aboriginal territory,” says Kinter. “We’ve been here since the beginning of time, and we’re going to be here until the end of time.”

Photos and video by Mizzica Films.

The post Civil Eats TV: Liquid Gold on Tribal Land appeared first on Civil Eats.

Read the whole story
Share this story
Delete

How to Recover Washington’s Economy Without the Waiting on the Feds

1 Comment
Carbon tax-based bonds are well suited for Washington’s economy to recover while meeting climate and equity goals, building resilience, filling budget gaps, and creating jobs.
Read the whole story
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
pawnstorm
5 days ago
reply
Even if the senate gets flipped, it would be a bad idea to count on the federal government for help. This seems like a good path forward.
Olympia, WA

Join me on Dec 4

1 Comment and 2 Shares

Dear Listeners,

How about some catharsis? Join me for a full, livestreamed concert on Dec 4

I’m happy to announce a full-production, multicamera shoot from the stage of University of Vermont concert hall. You can buy tickets at this link:

https://www.uvm.edu/laneseries/zoekeating

What else is going on? The same as lot of you, I expect: trying to live my best life while caring for another human in the middle of a time of crisis and uncertainty? For the early part of the pandemic I focused on being the person my son needed while friends and family and school and sports and camps were off limits. Once I accepted it for what it was, it was actually a lovely summer but I would probably describe the effect on my career and sense of self as…annihilating.

In September, school started up again for 2 days a week so I kissed the ground and turned the power back on in my studio. Then in October…4 days a week!!…which feels like such a miracle in comparison to the remote-learning scramble that I know a lot of you are coping with. I am also lucky because although in person concerts are cancelled I seem to have work coming out of my ears. I’m scoring for two movies right now, have multiple commissions and additional projects lined up for all of next year. Covid cases are rising again in Vermont and I’m concerned that schools might close again but like everything else this year…I can’t control it so I try to do my part (please, wear masks!) while not stressing too much (I don’t always succeed at that ;-)).

That’s it really. Let’s try for a little musical catharsis on Dec 4. I know I could use it. I realize a livestream is not the same as us all being together in a room but one silver lining - the concert won’t sell out and all the seats are good!

May you and your loved ones stay well. Thanks for listening,

Zoë

Read the whole story
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
sirshannon
8 days ago
reply
This is gonna be good.

Athletes Are No Substitute for a Functioning Government

1 Share

Patrick Mahomes and LeBron James have tried to help people vote this election season, but it’s not their job.

Read the whole story
Share this story
Delete

Memorisation: Do we need this tedious mechanic?

1 Comment

Do you enjoy keeping numbers in your head?

Many games, especially board games, include a memorisation element. Which cards have been played, how many meeples went into a tower or even the current score are vital pieces of information which we are often forced to memorise. It’s a tedious task that contributes little but remains present in a large number of games.

TRACKING

The most common form of unnecessary memorisation is hidden trackable information. Trackable information is details or knowledge about the game you can keep track of, like what cards were played on the last round. Hidden information is information you cannot see. Put together, it means there are details you know everything about but cannot check after some time has passed.

In other words, hidden trackable information is information that requires memorisation to know. It’s not actually hidden, but obscured. If I see four meeples go into the tower in El Grande, I know there are four meeples in it, whether the tower is transparent or not. Only if I forget or if I don’t pay enough attention will the information become an actual mystery.

This kind of needless memorisation is extremely common. From Puerto Rico to Power Grid, as well as in Tigris & Euphrates and Settlers of Catan, we can find it in all sorts of games. But it’s not actually hidden to the attentive player. As long as you pay attention once it’s as if it were face-up in the middle of the table. It’s a needless detail that impairs our ability to play a game.

For example, in Reiner Knizia’s Samurai, the score is the largest factor in how you play. You collect pieces of three types and strive to gain a majority in two of them. Where you attack or pressure your opponents changes depending on their score. And yet, you need to memorise that score because the game hides it.

SKILL

Some people argue that memory is valuable because it’s a skill. Truth to be told, it’s not difficult to memorise game information. You can count cards and keep scores with little practice. For example, I use strings of three numbers to remember my opponent’s score in Samurai. The first digit represents peasants, the second priests and the third bureaucrats.

But is it fun? Well, no. Is it interesting? Again, no. Nobody goes around and says, “You know what I like about Samurai? Having to memorise the score”. Instead of wasting time on memorisation, I can learn how to negotiate, to understand stock markets or how likely it is for my girlfriend to yet again stab me on the back. These are good reasons to play games, memorisation isn’t.

If I wanted to play a game about memory, which I don’t, I wouldn’t play Samurai. Or Chinatown or Power Grid or any other of the hundreds of strategy games that include hidden trackable information. And if it were such a deep, interesting skill, it couldn’t be replaced by writing things down on a piece of paper.

There are some great games that require memorisation. Fighting games, for example, require extensive memorisation of moves. If I want to play Street Fighter at a competent level, I need to know how to perform an uppercut. Similarly, if I want to do well at card games, I need to know my deck’s contents.

But, in those cases, memorisation is not needless. It’s just an unfortunate consequence. On the other hand, there’s little artistic justification to add memory tests to a game about power plants or bartering. It’s a damaging element that games would do well in avoiding.

POOR MECHANIC

Memorisation is a terrible mechanic. I can spend my time with the game planning my moves, thinking about the possibilities and trying to outsmart my opponents. Or, I can repeat three numbers on my head over and over just to know the current score. Which one will make me walk away happier? Which one will make me think “It was a good idea to come here and play this game”?

Sometimes, people insist in keeping memorisation in, to the detriment of everything else. I once played a game in which you make bids face-down. My rivals, who were sticklers for the rules, refused to let me check my own bids when I forgot about them. The result? I had no idea what I was doing. I did not have fun and now I try to avoid playing with them. What did memorisation achieve?

I’ve often won because my opponents did not keep data in their heads. “Oh, I thought the blue card hadn’t been played”, “I thought I had five meeples”, “I thought you were winning”. Well, you thought wrong and now the match has gone down the drain, har, har. It’s a waste of time. No game has improved because someone forgot to memorise.

Some disagree, though. One of the most common complaints about Vinci was its tendency to devolve into leader-bashing. Its remake, Smallworld, hid the score and most reviews claimed this fixed the issue. But it doesn’t. All it does is to make it possible to get it wrong and bash an undeserving player instead.

In fact, the most common effect of unnecessary memorisation is to make play slower. All the time spent memorising, keeping scores and all other nonsense is time I could spend strategizing or even talking with the other people at the table. I would rather check the score, and forget about it, than have it take away my precious gaming time.

MY EXPERIENCE

I despise memorisation. I can’t think of a worse mechanic that is still acceptable to use. I’ve seen designers balk at losing turns, elimination, direct attacks and even dice rolls, but forcing the player to waste time on memorisation is seen as normal. But I admit my crusade against needless memorisation also has a personal side to it.

I suffer from attention deficit disorder, which makes it difficult for me to focus. I’m easily distracted and struggle to keep my mind on one task. As you can imagine, having to keep numbers on my head makes it harder for me to play. I can do it, but it’s frustrating. It exhausts me.

In that sense, memorisation reminds me of the “skill” of telling colours apart, reading small print or understanding poorly written rules. It’s a barrier that prevents people from enjoying what’s valuable in games. So why add it? Like Nintendo’s baffling stance against configurable controls, it adds little, yet prevents many from playing comfortably.

To me, doing away with needless memorisation is no different from providing player aids or using a calculator. It makes games more enjoyable. Tradition, bad design or even preference may keep it entrenched in the art form. But I think it’s time to do away with it whenever appropriate and possible.

Memorisation: Do we need this tedious mechanic? was originally published in Erik Twice.

Read the whole story
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
pawnstorm
16 days ago
reply
Well, my vague dislike of memorization in games has been upgraded to pointed hostility.
Olympia, WA
Next Page of Stories