Staying in the know: The Weekly Zeitgeist

Hey guys! In my previous article I talked about how we played games weekly to get more accustomed to the Web3 space alongside having something fun to foster a sense of camaraderie.

I’m going to be continuing that theme today by talking about Zeitgeist —

the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time

Though, not in the literal sense of the word as above. Here at Mighty Bear Games, Zeitgeist takes on a different meaning — that which is a fun little presentation about the happenings of the world. We come together as a studio every Friday, both employees in the Singapore office and those working remotely, and for some of those Fridays, I talk about what’s been going on. What’s the topic? Anything under the sun.

The first design of Zeitgeist slides

From the creation of Sui the ‘Solana Killer’ to Argentina winning the World Cup to recommending a newly opened local restaurant, I’ve covered a myriad of matters and while I do enjoy edutainment as much as the next person, the objective behind Zeitgeist is manifold.

The Importance of Memes

To frame the purpose of Zeitgeist, let me first stress the importance of memes not only in our culture but to a game studio such as ours full of creatives from different walks of life.

The definition of a meme has evolved through the years, but I like to think of them as inside jokes that you can have with anyone, even strangers. From decade-old rage comics to the surprised Pikachu face popularized in 2018, memes have made our large world that little bit smaller. This shared experience is part and parcel of our lives now.

It might sound like I’m going on a tangent, but the importance of Zeitgeist is closely linked to this sense of a shared experience. When selecting news topics or game recommendations or even Twitter beef threads to share during Zeitgeist, there’s always a deliberate process. It would be easy enough to take the biggest headlines, slap some paint on it and call it a day — but I want Zeitgeist to be something more relevant to the studio. In a meeting, I usually cover the following:

  • News headlines from around the world.
  • Topics that concern Web3 to keep us in the loop.
  • Games, movies, tv shows, or generally popular media that I know might be appealing to some within the company.
  • Topics that might be relevant to our current overarching tasks. (For instance, talking about AI as we explore using it as a tool in our processes.)

By personally crafting this Zeitgeist experience, it in turn becomes a meme within the studio. People remember what’s been talked about because they found it interesting, or they found the way I presented it funny, or somebody said something during the meeting that resonated with them.

So far I’ve spoken in very general terms, but let’s break down Zeitgeist a little further to understand why we do it.

World Headlines

The first topic of each Zeitgeist is usually a headline. It can be for something as specific as an ongoing event like AGDQ 2023, to an introduction to Stable Diffusion, or even to something as serious as the Turkey-Syria Earthquake that happened earlier this February.

To be a studio that’s current and in the moment, we need to know about what’s happening in the world. Naturally, one topic once in a while is barely scratching the surface of being in the know, but the more important part is knowledge sharing. Presenting my opinion on a matter is only one thing. It’s a common occurrence for people to become invested and do their own research, or for people to voice their own opinions during the presentation, or even correct me when I make mistakes.

The knowledge that’s shared is important, yes. However, it’s the act the sharing in this case that I find to be that much more important. When people discuss things regardless of whether it’s because of proximity or obligation, that act of sharing is a soft skill that’s important to any gathering of people, both professional and otherwise. The sharing of ideas is essential to teamwork and collaboration and that’s what I want Zeitgeist to implicitly impart.

Game Recommendations

Being a games company, this was the next logical step. Since we’re making games, we should be very well versed in the industry that we’re working in and I always give some game recommendations during each Zeitgeist. However, I don’t limit them to games that are similar to what we’re working on, or what we’re planning to work on. In fact, I try to branch out as much as possible.

This touches more upon a personal belief of mine, and that’s that you can learn much more from different genres within a medium than you can from the same genre of that medium. What I mean is, while creating a shooter like Destiny 2 you can still take some notes from another game in a totally different genre such as Hollow Knight, a Metroidvania. Regardless of the genre of games I’m playing, there will always be a lot of questions that pop up in my head regarding its use for the one I’m working on.

Truly a gem of a game, one that I can’t recommend enough.

What about Omega Strikers’ moment-to-moment gameplay makes it so frenetic yet gratifying? How does Alien Isolation’s enemy AI make the game so tense? Why does A Little To The Left’s UI look so clean? As we play games of different genres and different styles we begin to understand not only the strengths of different games but the shortcomings. Widening and deepening our understanding of the industry helps not only to inform us of the best practices but also of the gravest pitfalls.

In the Web Web Web Space

It’s more difficult than I expected to come up with a witty subheader each time

Being a studio that’s working on a Web3 title, it stands to reason that I would always include a topic that’s concerning the space as a whole. Like my previous point about game recommendations, I don’t usually limit what I share to Web3 games and instead introduce all sorts of relevant topics.

Nothing is too big or too small to share, as my goal with this is not only to inform but to get people interested. To many, the Web3 space is an obtuse and somewhat elusive entity. It’s difficult to understand and even more difficult to get into.

I try to distill down topics that I find interesting and relevant to us to their basic building blocks, and I try to be as scant as I can with details not only to keep things light but also to leave a trail that people can follow to do their own reading. If they’re interested that Limewire has returned with its own token, I don’t explain why they’re back and what their token is; I think it’s very important to foster curiosity rather than sate it.

Pop Culture and Memes

Ah, but how could I talk about the importance of memes without sharing them with my friends and fellows? Whilst I want Zeitgeist to garner a sense of community within the studio by having a common space for sharing information, I also just want it to be something that people can enjoy and look forward to at the end of a long week.

To that end, I always try to include things that people can enjoy in their own time like recommending a movie that’s coming out to a local theatre, bringing to light a tv show on a streaming service, or creating my own memes to share with everyone.

Bussin, Rizz, Gang Gang, what do they mean?

A fan favorite of Zeitgeist is the Gen Z Lingo section that I usually bookend the presentation with. It’s a simple and very quick section where I explain a word many may not be privy to (the average age of our company being far from Gen Z). A good example was the first time where I explained the word ‘Bussin’, and people actually started using it in conversations around the office or even in their own presentations. Ironically perhaps, but it’s become an inside joke over time within the studio.

That last part kind of ends this article neatly. Zeitgeist was always meant to be a presentation of what was happening in recent times to keep us up to date and to just have a good time talking to one another in an informal setting. It was meant to share ideas and opinions about topics that were relevant to not only our work but our interests as well.

It’s just something to look forward to together, and I think that that’s something we should all have in whatever capacity. Something as small as this weekly presentation, to a monthly pizza party, or even an annual company vacation. It’s important to create your own office memes because that’s what collaboration is, people sharing their knowledge and skills to work towards the same goal in a shared environment.

My name is Randall, and as we say, this was Zeitgeist.

Staying in the know: The Weekly Zeitgeist was originally published in Mighty Bear Games on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.