Statement on current events

A lot’s been happening in the world lately. Silence, in some cases, is anything but golden, so I just wanted to make a few comments, not only on what’s been happening, but also the effect that it’s had on me, on my family, and on yyrGames.

There are many skills that young children easily acquire over time, such as the ability to walk, or to speak their parents’ language. Racism is not one of these. No child learns racism naturally; it has to be taught, either directly or by example. And yet, racism continues to be passed down from one generation to the next, despite the fact that it presents no benefit to anyone. It is used only to tear others down, when in fact, we should all be on the same team.

I believe that my country, the USA, has a systemic racism problem, and that not enough has been done to address and combat it. It creates financial, educational, human-rights, and other hurdles for Black and minority populations that simply do not exist for others. It is a deep-seeded, complex problem that doesn’t have a simple solution. What’s needed to solve it is massive systemic change, the sort that either comes from the bottom up or the top down.

At the top of this country currently sits a regime chock full of racist, terrible people, who have broadened the divisions between already-divided Americans, and set an awful example for our children. With each passing day, they do more damage, and undo more progress, not just pertaining to racism but also to education, the environment, voting rights, and so many other things that truly matter.

Later this year, we need to vote out as many of these terrible people as possible. But there is also something that we can do right now: to lift up minorities and vulnerable populations, who have been—and continue to be—affected by the systemic racism in our society. Whether it’s working directly with them, donating to organizations who do the same, speaking out on their behalf, or working towards a positive result in November, there is certainly something that you can do personally.

For starters, here are some organizations we support, that you could consider donating to:
Color of Change

And, if you are in the US, please vote in November...not just in the presidential election, but in your local elections as well.

There is one other major current event we cannot ignore: the coronavirus.

We are several months into the USA’s version of the pandemic, and it further goes to show just how polarized and divided this country currently is. It seems to me that most folks are either taking precautions, wearing masks, staying home, and respecting the health and safety of others…or, they are acting as if the pandemic is over, was never a big deal to begin with, and that the news media is making a fuss over nothing. And then, you have the folks caught in the middle, forced to deal firsthand with the virus and its effects because of their job, their economic situation, or both.

The group of people downplaying the threat—or worse, believing that government orders put in place to slow the spread of the virus infringe on their personal liberties—are only thinking about themselves. They are unable or unwilling to acknowledge that if they get sick, it affects other people as well. And once again, leadership at the top of this country hasn’t helped; they have stifled containment efforts by continuing to downplay the threat of the virus. This is not just stupid; it’s also dangerous.

I believe that we have a responsibility to mitigate the spread of the virus however we can right now. Please, continue to stay home if possible. If you must go out, whether you’re indoors or outdoors, please BOTH wear a mask AND practice social distancing, keeping at least 6 feet between you and others whenever possible. I know that we’re all tired of doing this by now, but why risk wasting all of the effort we’ve expended thus far? Please, stay the course!

On top of that, please remember that many are still struggling due to the economic impact of COVID-19. If you find yourself financially able to lift up those who need it, please do what you can. Also, support your local restaurants and other businesses, many of which can or should be offering delivery or curbside pickup!

Please consider supporting the following, as we have:
Your local Feeding America organization (ours is Feeding Westchester), or your local food bank(s)
Your local libraries (ours is North Castle Public Library)
Your local animal shelter (ours is SPCA of Westchester)

FInally, it is worth mentioning that, while efforts to lift up our Black and minority populations are important, it is also important to put forward these efforts safely and responsibly, in a way that does not exacerbate the spread of the virus. Please, if you feel that you must go out, ALWAYS wear a mask AND maintain social distance!

As far as me personally…my IT job is busier than ever, more because of the current events than despite them. I work for a nonprofit mental health agency. We transitioned from in-person to Internet-based counseling at lightning speed, and are now in the process of getting our clinicians laptops to replace their office PCs, so every day is packed. I’m one of a skeleton staff traveling into the office every day, and when I get home, I’m exhausted. That’s further amplified by stresses brought on by current events, the threat of the virus, the isolation from my friends and extended family, and the other mandatory changes in my routine. Bottom line: I haven’t been able to work on yyrGames very much.

Ultimately, that’s probably why you’re here. So since you read this far, I’ll give you an honest, unabridged look at the status of my projects:

Super Multitasking: Versus Ultimate (Steam/PC & Mac): I had originally hoped to complete the expansion this summer, and have a preview version in the Beta track by May, which didn’t happen. The preview version is still coming soon, and will hopefully show up over the next few weeks, but if you played the MAGFest build back in January, please don’t expect a ton of visible changes from that. As far as release, Summer 2020 is no longer feasible. I would like to target Fall, but at the moment, I’m not ready to make any guarantees…except for one. This expansion is going to be awesome. It will transform the game into something with way, way more depth, replay value, and accessibility than what exists today. There will even be an exciting new game mode that is unscripted, but ramps up more quickly than Standard Mode. Stay tuned!

Bungee Ferret Tossing 1.5 (Steam/PC): I’d love to complete it this year, but it’s not a priority for me right now. I would be disappointed, but unsurprised if it slips into 2021.

Falling Plus for Xbox One (unannounced!): This is basically finished, but I hit a snag in the build process and I haven’t yet figured out how to fix it. I currently don’t consider this a priority either. Hopefully, this will just show up one day, and once it does, Sharpshooter Plus for XB1 won’t be far behind. Both games will be part of the Xbox Live Creators Collection. BFT 1.5 will follow suit sometime after its Steam release.

That leaves two IPs of mine that are still stuck on Xbox 360: CardArcade, and my series of Snake games. I’m not currently developing new versions of these—I feel that the time isn’t right for them yet—but I still absolutely plan to do so in the future.

I do have a couple of planned but as-yet-unannounced projects, both entirely new (not re-releases), one under my MRG label, and one that’s way more ambitious, with a focus on local multiplayer. At this time, I’m not optimistic that you’ll see either one announced this year, but we’ll see what happens.

If you’ve read this far: I really appreciate that you’re interested in my values and my work. You could consider following me on Twitter (@yyr_). I don’t post all the time, but when I do, hopefully you’ll enjoy reading my thoughts. And, I hope that you’ll continue enjoying yyrGames.

Stay healthy, safe, and sane! And please try to be understanding of those around you during this difficult time. We’re all struggling in our own way. On the flip side, never be ashamed or afraid to ask for help. That is why we have families and friends, after all. =)

Be well,
Aaron “yyr”