Tag Archives: cranium

Criticism Is Awesome

9 Dec

NOYep, you heard me right. Criticism is awesome. It may go against our very nature and need for acceptance, but “attaboys” don’t really get us anywhere. If anything, they give us a false sense of security and a tendency to relax and let things happen as they will.

Great things don’t happen as they will.

Have you read this article by game designer Raph Koster? I instantly recognized several themes, not just from my game playtesting days at Cranium, but also as a writer, entrepreneur, and mom.

Though you really should read the whole thing, I know you’re busy, so here are the crib notes:

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What’s in a Name?

8 Apr
My daughter's name, Szaba, is from Szabo, a Hungarian surname on my dad's side.

My daughter’s name, Szaba, is from Szabo, a Hungarian surname on my dad’s side.

Names. They’re one of the first big decisions you have to make as a parent.

They’re also a big decision in business.

So, what’s in a name? In essence, it’s an inkling of who you are or what you offer. Same holds true of your business name, product name, or even your title.

What does yours say about you?

Fun
Traditional
Boring
Unexpected
Straightforward
Inherited
Intriguing

Is that was you want it to say? You know what they say about first impressions, right? They matter.

My prior employer, Cranium, drilled this into me. You remember the name of that game, don’t you? Continue reading

Why I Want My Daughter to Be a Gamer

17 Sep
Dr. Suess

Just another day of work at Cranium.

For many of you, your knee-jerk reaction will be to disagree with that statement. To you, I say, “Let’s look at some facts first, shall we?” I’ll even go so far as to propose that you may change your tune after reading this (if you don’t support games already).

Let me back up a bit …

Professionally, I used to work at Cranium, and I still freelance as a games writer. Personally, I just love games. Both kinds: video and board. So does my husband. He’s a 12-year vet of the video game industry with an affinity for board games akin to Cookie Monster and cookies.

All of those reasons recently led me to PAX Prime, a big Seattle convention for people who make and enjoy games.

I was surprised to hear three themes keep coming up at PAX, and I’m happy to report they all bode well for families who game.

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Surprise and Delight

8 Feb

When I worked at Cranium (before it was sadly decapitated by Hasbro) we had a saying we applied to every game and toy we created:

Surprise and delight.

When I think back to my childhood, it’s the “surprise and delight” moments that really stand out—something wonderful that happened on some ordinary day, suddenly making it extraordinary.

I recall a few of moments like that:

  • My dad surprising us with a “beauty shop” bath time, complete with our choice of hairstyles from the J.C. Penney catalog. (Of course, our hair didn’t look anything like those pictures afterward, but we forgave him.)
  • My best friend Sarah slipping me a top-secret letter at school. (It was a drawing of me marrying Michael Jackson with our Cabbage Patch Kids as witnesses.) Continue reading