The rise and fall of Nintendo

Nintendo actually started off as a company which specialised in just playing cards until one of its Japanese owners decided to make games consoles. The colour TV 6 was released in 1977, shortly followed by the game boy in 1989. The most famous of all and most successful to take however, was the Nintendo DS (2004) next to the Wii in 2006.

Now when I was growing up, the latter two consoles defined your social status at school.

‘What colour do you have’ (black, of course),

‘What games do you have?’

Best of all we would have toy day; an afternoon at the end of the school year where the entire class would huddle around the reading corner, backs humped and eyes fixated onto the screen of Chatroom A. There was always that one kid who would be drawing phallic objects, and the rest of us would try to remove is off the screen as fast as possible in case the teacher walked by.

The DS was the most entertaining device I ever owned back then. It did not require internet and it was mobile, meaning my childhood mainly consisted of me, my Sim, cooking mama and Mario.

I stopped playing, however, after the age of 12 and my console remained neglected for the next six years. When I was 18, my best friend started the DS craze in my school – where we reminisced and replayed old childhood favourites. We went back to playing Mario kart during every spare time and it almost turned into the scene of the old reading corner – except this time with 15 teenagers, fighting it out to see who was best at drifting.

Over the years, Nintendo have come out with revolutionary consoles – but of course some have missed the mark every once in a while. The 3DS was meant top be the new upgrade. Instead, it made everyone feel quite nauseous whilst playing some of the games. Then came the Wii U which sold only 13 million hardware units, compared to the original Wii which sold 101 million in the first year.

In 2018, Nintendo released the switch. The sleek, modern and colourful version of the Nintendo DS and Wii combined. The Joycons being made to absolute ergonomic perfection, accessible for all ages and capable of doing single and multiplayer games on one console. It’s the DS of the younger generation, and really won’t be letting them any time soon.

– …. . / .- .-. – / — ..-. / — — .-. … . / -.-. — -.. .

Try to uncode the title

When Samuel Morse was commissioned to travel to Washington to paint a portrait of a military officer, he received a letter by a messenger informing him that his wife’s health illness had worsened. When Morse rushed back to his home town in Connecticut, it became a great shock to find out that the message had taken so long to be sent that his wife had not only died in that period but had already been buried. This motivated Morse to invent an ingenious system which started the evolution for effective communication systems.

Morse code is essentially a series of dits and dahs (dots and dashes) assigned to each letter of the alphabet. For example; the letter ‘E’ is a single dit (.) whereas the letter ‘L’ is dit, dah, dit, dit (. — ..), the same stands for numbers and punctation. Where there may be no obvious pattern of dots and dashes for the alphabet, the numbers are fairly simple to learn. Zero consists of five dahs (—————), one consists of one dit and four dahs (. — — — —), two is two dits and 3 dahs (. . — — —) and so forth.

Morse code is mostly used in the navy by transmitting radio signals or using flashlights to communicate with other ships or to send distress signals. In some instances, it has been extremely useful when passing on subtle messages. When an American Colonel was captured during the Vietnam war, he was forced to participate in a Vietnamese propaganda video, telling the audience of how well he was being treated by his captors. This in fact was completely untrue as he was seen to blink out the word ‘Torture’ in morse code (—  — — —  .—.  —  ..—  .—.  .).  Another instance happened during the second world war, when a British Soldier was captured by the Nazis and sent to a concentration camp. During his time in captivity, he was allowed to sew. One particular needlework he did impressed the Nazis so much that it was allowed to be hung in every other concentration camp. What the Nazis didn’t see, however, was a slight detail in the work which read ‘God save the King’ and ‘F*** Hitler’, all written in Morse code. 

Image result for god save the queen needlework concentration camp

Learning Morse code is very simple. Most people use mnemonics which helps determine the length of the letter and the number of dits and dahs it contains. ‘BOOT to the head’ is a common phrase used to learn the letter ‘B’ ; It consists of one dah followed by three dits (— . . .). However, the most effective way is learning morse codes through sounds, which makes the entire concept much easier to understand

Morse code is an extremely useful skill and essentially its another way of learning a new language. Although modern communication methods may be faster than Morse code, it is certainly a language that is understood in every country. Some people important phrases in morse code, the most obvious being dit dit dit dah dah dah dit dit dit, commonly known as ‘SOS’ (. . . – – – . . .).

TITLE: The art of morse code

The trouble with birthdays.

The trouble with birthdays: Only one thought had invaded my mind last month as I came to the daunting realisation that my birthday was fast approaching. Ageing had come easily to me during my more youthful years, yet now I was extremely bothered by the thought of having to ‘grow up’ – I was clearly not ready. I was afraid of the responsibility that was to make a sudden entrance. My parents were even suggesting that I move out into a place of my own as if I was: 1. financially stable and 2. had actually done any of my own laundry before. “You’ll thrive with the freedom”, they said. Which is true, especially when you’ve been living with the same people who absolutely don’t know about the meaning of personal space. I digress. As my birthday was approaching, I started questioning my successes the previous year. I had thrived in many ways but I still felt underwhelmed – as if there was more to be done. At times throughout the year, I was teased with glimpses of what my life would be like, but I knew there was still some distances to go. The problem was that I didn’t know how to get there. I plummeted with this depressive thought for a while, even tried to cancel my own birthday. To my delight, however, my mother had already planned out the colour of my birthday invitations to match perfectly with the recycling bin. I even thought about spending the day on my own, to find new self and find peace with the old me. Instead, when my special day did come, I spent it meditating beneath the walls draped with floral wallpaper between one of many sausage rolls I had that day. I may not have found the solutions to my problems but the day passed with ease – my mother did a great job with the party. Let’s just say that I won’t be moving out any time soon.

Barbie’s problem

A few weeks ago when I was teaching a girl no less than 10, I saw that her pencil case was covered with prints and stickers of Disney princesses. This for me brought back moments to reminisce. I picked up the case and fingered the outlines of it. How I used to look up to all these characters, creating shrines for them in my bedroom and dressing up like them for every birthday. Momentarily, I asked the girl who her favourite was. “Belle” she said. Then I asked her least favourite expecting a villain like Scar or Ursula. “Tatiana”, she said as if it were obvious enough. I asked why. Her response instantly brought me back from my reminiscent high. “Because she’s brown.”

“Brown, but you’re brown too?”. Bearing in mind that the girl, like myself originates from South Asia. “I’m not brown, I’m white” she said almost proudly. I ended the conversation right there. The last thing I wanted was to argue with a child. Her comment angered me but more importantly I was concerned to what made her think this way. What was so wrong with us Asians that made her want to deny the fact that she was brown?

This isn’t the first time that problems have arisen with diversity in fictional characters and toys for children. Take Barbie for example; the doll was first released in 1959 where is wasn’t really a problem for all dolls being identical in skin colour, hair or having the “perfect” body. It was a huge hit with young children and parents since birthday presents had just gotten easier.

The issue relies on the fact that young girls from across the globe will have been conditioned to think that beauty only lies within a woman of white skin, blonde hair and a body shape that is impossible and unhealthy to achieve. Studies show that 40% of children are dissatisfied with the way they look after having received a Barbie doll. This comes from a variety of reasons such as body image and skin colour. Although the demographic for the Barbie is well below the age of ten, the long term consequences are much more severe. Having worries about body image at a young age is more likely to lead to having disorders with eating, social anxiety and body dysmorphia. What Mattel failed to mention is that the real life size of Barbie is frankly impossible to achieve. According to calculations, the doll would have a dress size of 2, this being far below the average dress size of an adult and extremely unhealthy.

It took almost 60 years for Barbie to have a transformation. In 2016 Mattel created dolls with several skin tones and body shapes. One size certainly does not fit all and customers were given a choice of what kind of Barbie they could have. But was it 60 years too late? Barbie’s brand image will always be of a silicon plastic doll with white skin and blonde hair and not the diversity that has recently been introduced. So for the future, children will need to be brought up with the varied dolls, potentially reducing eating disorders in teenagers and a less conditioned vision of beauty.

Barbie body image

Unconventional methods of dating

Online dating is not a brand new concept; In fact, it’s been around for almost three decades. Although the discovery of new technology allowed websites such as match.com develop into applications on our mobile phones, the objective of matching with a stranger online and having a potential relationship with them has remained the same. Popular dating apps include Eharmony, Zoosk, Tinder and the budding Bumble. Having previously tried Tinder before, I was keen to use Bumble as I had not really heard of it before and intrigued to find out what was in store.

As ironic as it may sound now, I wasn’t actively looking for a relationship. I strongly believe these things should never be forced and so, without much anticipation or expectation, I opened up the app.

Initial thoughts: I particularly liked the colour scheme; a strong golden yellow, which was attractive to the eye and useful for making your profile radiant. The concept being to find the pollen to your queen bee, in other words, your soulmate/best friend. The app allows you to have up to six images of yourself, a short biography as well as connect your Instagram and Spotify. This is what my profile looked like: (excluding images)

When writing a biography, it’s best to include your passions and something that represents your personality. In my case, this was something quite comical (as I find myself to be quite the comedian). The profiles that didn’t particularly catch my attention and immediately made me swipe left (reject) were the ones that said something along the lines of “swipe right for a good time” or “life-guard, so actually certified to give you mouth to mouth”. Yes, this was a real one.. I mean, it’s good to be a little enigmatic but there is a fine line between mysterious and unpleasant. Additionally, the best profiles also had the most intriguing images. They were often filled with colour and showed a genuine personality. Selfies are mediocre but the bee wants the flower with the most character, so perhaps use pictures of you travelling or partaking in a hobby. 

Unlike other dating apps, an advantageous feature Bumble is that it only allows the female to start a conversation with their match. Having an app that is so female orientated creates a sense of safety and a has a non-traditional value in which the male does not make the first move. Another compelling feature is that there is a 24 hour time cap to begin a conversation with your match including an additional 24 hours in which your match can respond. This gives only 2 days to strike up a conversation with someone, differing to other dating sites where the match can be kept on hold and dragged out for several months. This urges you to make a move as fast as possible meaning more bees buzz faster! Although, if the female does not start a conversation with her match, then there is an option for the male to use a ‘daily extend’, where you can remain matched for an additional day.

In my experience, the best conversation starters go along the lines of “Hey, how you doing?” or simply asking about their day. This will allow your match to open up and get the conversation going. A simple “hello” will not give your match a lot of work with, neither will a cringey pick up line. I started nearly all my conversations with a “Hey, how you doing?” followed by something that intrigued me about their profile. Once I received a reply from my matches, I was able to see who really had a genuine interest in me. 

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This was the only person who responded to the likes and interests of my profile which definitely got my attention, and I was intrigued to know more about them.
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I was a little confused by this one… he loves reading but hasn’t finished a book yet? I didn’t think it would be necessary continuing this conversation.
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And of course some just weren’t as serious as others.
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This was funny and flirtatious, again drawing me closer for more conversation.

The best response were the ones to reciprocate my questions and ask more about me.  My passion for crime novels and English literature was shared with a complete stranger and we were able to connect on a deeper level and speak more personally about ourselves so I began to develop a genuine interest in this person. This was my Bumble boy .That being said, this is how you can ‘over’ do things:

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You will know once the foundations of a potential relationship has been set when you begin to connect on other social media platforms other than the app itself. You begin to have a mix of constant flirting as well deep, meaningful heart to heart conversations and sending each other pictures of what we’ve come across in our day. For example; myself and Bumble boy would send each other pictures of the books we’re reading or bargains we’ve found at the supermarket for a few weeks or so (Yes, this is what adulting feels like). Then came the conversation of meeting up. He was always reassuring me that he did not want to push anything or make me feel uncomfortable in any way. Even so, just like most people, I felt anxious about meeting a stranger from the internet. He would always say “The worst case scenario is that I’m 50 and I’m fat but we are meeting in a public gallery and I most definitely not kill you!” – bearing in mind we both love crime novels and always come up with ways to kill each other when we’re flirting (grim, but sexy). 

The thought of meeting someone from online may sound daunting, and there are correct ways to approach this. Do meet in a public space – you will never know the intentions of the person you are meeting and even if you think you know them, you can never be sure. Make your place of meeting easily accessible for the both of you. You don’t need to travel lengths to meet someone for the first time, why not meet in the middle? Always let a close friend or family member know where you are at all times and what you’re doing – prepare for the worst case scenario. My match and I decided to meet up at a gallery in London during the afternoon. It had many visitors but was also quiet enough so we could communicate with each other clearly. We went on a long walk through Hyde Park and I showed him my favourite spots in London (since he was new to the city). Don’t pressure yourself to make a move with your match, first let the conversation flow and learn to feel comfortable in each others’ presence. If it was not meant to be, you will know so always prepare to be disappointed at least in the slightest.

I have a humiliating history of not being asked out on a second date. To my surprise, Bumble boy messaged me after our meeting and told me he enjoyed my company and would like to meet again. Triumph! I mainly think this was because I went to our date with no expectations. I didn’t put any pressure on myself to look amazing or be funny like I would do on most other dates, I also didn’t have any expectations from him..

Turing’s Pardon.

Alan Turing was a code breaker who revolutionised artificial intelligent engineering during the second world war. There were only a small number of people who only knew of him and his work before Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of him in the award winning film, ’The Imitation Game’. Turing was part of a team which set out to break the Enigma Code – a complex set of letters and numbers coded by German scientists which was used send secret messages to German U-boats in the battle of Atlantic during the second world war. U-boats would often disrupt the paths of containment ships which contained vital supplies for Great Britain. By breaking this code, Turing and his team were able to outsmart the U-boats which eventually led the allies to victory and pushed back the war by at least four years. 

In contrast to the victory, Turing’s unfortunate suicide was triggered at first by being found guilty of “gross indecency contrary to Section II of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885” on three attempts. Punished with a choice of either imprisonment or chemical castration, Turing was left with no choice but to ingest chemicals to “cure” his homosexuality. The idea was that the castration technique would turn him into a heterosexual by reducing his hormone levels. Turing was found dead in June of 1954 after intentionally eating an apple filled with cyanide. 

Almost 60 years later, in 2013, Turing was given a royal pardon by the queen – this was essentially an apology for the way in which he was brutally treated. This, of course, was supported by many important persons on a global scale. However, it also raised questions and thoughts about the type of small minded society that most Britons lived in. Those in the LGBT+ community often lived by keeping their identity a secret- or like Turing, marry a person of the opposite sex in order to remain ‘normal’ to the rest of society. 

During the war, there were many countries in which being homosexual was criminalised. However, in Germany, the LGBT community were especially segregated and went under the most merciless treatment. Both Great Britain and Germany were damaging communities and punishing homosexuals at extreme measures even though both countries were fighting each other. If both parties believed most truly in the same causes then was the war even that necessary? Additionally, it is a known fact that the person on the throne will pass all the laws. The Queen herself was coronated in 1953, Turing died in 1954 and homosexuality was legalised in 1967. Discarding all the circumstances, would it have been possible the homosexuality bill to be passed earlier, preventing Turing’s death anyway? 

There are many questions still being asked in which getting hold of an answer will merely seem impossible. Although, Turing’s work saved the lives of hundred and thousands of people, it was his identity that let him down in the end and he could not go on to contribute more to science due the simple fact that his sexual preference was not accepted in society. Changing laws does not necessarily change opinions. Everyone living in a small minded society cannot suddenly become more open to new ideas due to a passing of a bill. Yet following authority figures in order to bypass commotion only shows conformity and fear. Turing ignored the stigma placed upon his sexuality and came out honest and clean despite opinions and laws- this being a method we should all adapt. 

Source : The Daily Beast. (2018). The Castration of Alan Turing, Britain’s Code-Breaking WWII Hero. [online] Available at: https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-castration-of-alan-turing-britains-code-breaking-wwii-hero [Accessed 16 Oct. 2018].