We don’t make mistakes, we make video games

Recently I’ve been watching some Bob Ross. Why, you ask? Well, because it’s Bob Ross and really the better question is why aren’t you watching him right now? Ha, yeah. Didn’t see that 180 switcheroo coming did you.

I love Bob. I love his soft spoken voice. I love his hair which I imagine various woodland creatures happily live in. I love how he giggles when he beats the brush like it’s the most fun you could ever have. I love his unapologetic love for Van Dyke Brown. I love how “Dick Van Dyke Brown” sounds, and I love his philosophy.

“We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”

Isn’t that nice? I mean really, when you really sit and think about it. Isn’t it really, really nice?  

That philosophy says when things don’t go according to your plan (whatever that was), it’s fine. Absolutely 100% ok. Mistakes are just a by-product of somesort of expectation. The paint doesn’t care. The picture is still going to be a picture, and so better to not get hung up on what you deem ‘not right’. We just fold them in, and make them part of what we’re making. Good. Ok now, take a 2 inch brush and we’re going to use some Titanium White…

It’s a wonderful attitude to have. Not only does it make creating something easier but it’s true for a lot of aspects of life. It’s a wonderful reason to not beat yourself up just because things aren’t matching your invisible plan.

We like that stance, it’s good.

And yet…

– Pete Brisbourne said

No I didn’t.

My bad. Do carry on.

And yet…what do we do when creating assets in video games?

Not happy with the last 60 seconds of modeling? Undo undo undo. Ok, let’s go again.

You know what? I prefer the original version of this thing, let’s hit up that revert button and keep it how it was.

Oh no, you see, that row of vertices is just too high can you drop them? Oh now they’re too low, what if we raised them up? 

Can we try it in blue? No, purple. I mean orange. What about Dick Van Dyke Brown Clown Frown?


Whereas Bob didn’t have an undo button on his canvas, we who make digital content do and we use it all the time. We don’t let mistakes live because we can so easily erase them like they never happened.

I wonder what that does to us.

I wonder what it would be like to treat digital creation more as a one way street. I wonder how much insane pressure and expectation we burden ourselves with in the pursuit of perfection because we can undo and redo everything, endlessly.

I wonder what a journey making games would be like if we let more happy little accidents happen.