Who Am I?

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I was enjoying reading about blogger Alice so much the other day that I decided to pinch her idea and write a post about who I am – which would be perfect for today, the start of NaBloPoMo!

I’m Charlotte. Named after a princess…I think. Myself and my two sisters were all named after queens or princesses. As well as two sisters I have one younger brother who has suffered me hen pecking him for most of his life. When I was little I used to wake him up at 7am on the weekends and make him practise baton twirling with me. He was pretty good!

I turned 27 last month but refer to myself as a “Kinder Surprise” since it’s a surprise to me that I’m not a kinder anymore.

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I used to live in Japan. I studied at Kinjo Gakuin University in Nagoya as an exchange student, then went back there on the JET Programme to work as a junior high school teacher for two years. I don’t think I’d live in Japan again since the cons outweigh the pros now, but I’m thinking of at least visiting again some time in the coming year.

I get what I’m going to call “life anxious” sometimes, when I get myself all worked up because I feel that I’ve not done enough with my life already. You may laugh and say that I’ve lived in two different countries and have a good job and am seeing the world. But I know people who’ve taken paths that I almost took – like learning Chinese in Taiwan, working on the Peace Boat, learning Korean – and I start beating myself up about me not having done these things as well. Perhaps it’s an expat thing, perhaps it’s a gen y thing. No idea.

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I eat gluten free because wheat creates a horrible rash next to my nose, and I’m vegetarian 90% of the time. I eat fish or meat once a week, but am considering sticking to meat and not fish after reading an article about how we are overfishing the seas. I drink as much tea as possible (I use Tea Horse tea subscription service – highly recommended!) I’m not really one for alcohol though I like a nice beer with a meal, and red wine is my drink of choice at all other times. I don’t like olives.

I live in Frankfurt, Germany, with 4 German humans and 2 Tunisian cats. The photo above is of Nerina, and Yannick is the other one. As I write this, Yannick is asleep on my feet and Nerina has found a way into my suitcase which is stood upright. I have no idea how she’s going to get herself out of there.

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I’m from a little town called Bury St Edmunds, but if you ask me where I’m from I’ll tell you Cambridge because people (even fellow Brits) have never heard of Bury St Edmunds. I once had to draw a map for my Liverpudlian flatmate to explain where Suffolk is because she didn’t “know anything about the South”.

Here in Frankfurt I work for Nintendo where I translate games from Japanese to English. I’m not sure if I’m able to mention some of the games I’ve worked on, or even my favourite project so far, but I’m sure you can imagine the type of thing I do for a living.

So, I guess that’s it for me! I’d love to know more about the people who read my blog so I tag all of you reading this and hope that you leave me lots of nice links in the comments section!

 

A Short History of Me and Gaming

When I was back home last week, I cleaned out an old cupboard and came across this – my old Gameboy. I got a tad emotional (why do I always get like this?!) and thought about how much I had begged to have this console, and how proud of myself I’d be if I had known that I would end up working for Nintendo some day.

I started off with a Commodore 64 at the age of 4 or 5. It was with this that I learnt to do simple maths, spell and other skills. My mum liked me having educational games, and so when I was 9 or 10 and begged for a Sega Master System, it took a long long time before I was allowed to have one. Finally my begging and pleading paid off but I was only allowed to play for 30 minutes a day – quite some restriction for a console with no save function! My best friend had one with Alex Kid built in, but mind had Sonic. I feel that I was more mainstream, but less cool to have Sonic and not Alex Kid. Don’t you miss built in games though? I feel so nostalgic when I think about them. Despite mum not being keen on my toy, she got me a load of games and I had everything from The Lion King to Dick Tracey but Dynamite Dux was by far my favourite. I don’t even know what was so appealing about it – I think it was just that it was quite ridiculous and the graphics were pretty funny.

I had the Master System for a few years before it was replaced with a SNES that I bought from a carboot sale. Although I liked the SNES, I never really had many games for it – 3, in fact. I don’t know why I know I only had three for it, even though I can only remember one of them. I had Taz-Mania, a sort of Mario Paint one with a built in music maker, and a third one that I can’t remember for the life of me.

When Playstations became popular, I told my SNES and saved up all my pocket money to buy one. By this time my interest in gaming was pretty low, but then I came across the greatest game ever made. Of course, I am talking about the masterpiece that is Bust A Groove. Looking at the Wiki for it now, it has a list of cultural changes the game went through before it was released in the west – this is particularly interesting to me now. I had no idea of half of these things!

The best thing about the Playstation was the Playstation Magazine, which for 5 pounds also included a demo disk. This would include demos and previews of new games as well as occasionally home made games by small develop teams. This was such an awesome thing – I miss it so much! I bought loads of games after being hooked to the demos! It’s such a shame we don’t have this culture any more.

Out of all my consoles, I think my Gameboy was probably the one I used the most. Holding it in my hands today, it struck me how very big it is compared to modern hand-held consoles. The Gameboy Camera and Pokemon were my two favourite things to play with on there, and there are so many holiday memories that I have of myself and my brother sat in the back of the car playing Pokemon while our parents are shouting at us to appreciate the scenery and the holiday and get our noses out of our consoles!

I went off of gaming for a long time and didn’t pick it up again until I bought a Wii in Japan, the same Wii that is with me today. I still love dance and rhythm games the best, though I dislike puzzle games like Zelda. I am fairly easy going with games at work, though I do get game rage sometimes – especially during Skyward Sword!

I think mainly I’m just happy to be able to play games for more than 30 minutes these days!! I hope to become a better gamer as I get more and more projects under my belt. Though I suck so much at games I do wonder how on earth I got here sometimes…

What’s your favourite old school game?

From Start To Finish.

While I was waiting for Mr in town on Saturday, I noticed that the game shop had Mario Party 9 in the window. I went to investigate and found a bunch of kids playing it.

Now, here’s a warning – I get emotional at everything. EV.ER.Y.THING. And this was no different. I was tearing up, thinking “omg, they are enjoying the thing we worked so hard on” when the game shop guy turned to me and asked if I wanted to play. YES!

So I spent quite a large amount of time beating the kids at the game. The game shop guy told me that they get the games 2 weeks in advance so they can play them and get used to them, so he was pretty good at the games too. The two kids playing against us were just left behind as we fought with each other to win each mini-game. Sadly, I think in the end, he won. But it sure was fun.

It just amazing to see kids run into the shop and tug at the guy’s shirt saying “oh wow! Is this Mario Party 9!!?” like they had been waiting for it this whole time. I’m so glad I can be in a job that’s so rewarding that I can instantly see that people enjoy the things I help create, and it makes me work all the harder to make sure they keep coming back.

Ok, I’ll probably shut up about this now, haha.

My Game Was Released!!

Exciting times, because the game I worked on came out!! My first project was Skyward Sword but since I was new and knew little, and because I joined half way through the project, it was cool but not so special. I was the main UK translator on Mario Party 9, so it’s very special to me. The project was the making of me and helped me grow and learn in so many different ways.

So if you are in the UK or Ireland, and you see that game, take a good look at it, because it’s my baby!

The Nintendo Life

It was my dear friend’s birthday yesterday, so I took him to dinner. He also works at Nintendo. As we ate we sighed and wondered why there is such a thing as the Nintendo Bubble; why is it that people who work with us rarely have lives, friends, love outside the people we work with.

When I first joined the company (only 6 months ago now) I was determined to make local friends, German friends, people to hang out with outside of work. It was at my birthday party in October that I looked around the table of 20 or so people who had gathered to celebrate with me that I realised that I should stop trying so hard and accept that I love the people around me.

The people who work at Nintendo are COOL. Like, properly cool. There are so many amazing people with so many different life experiences and skills that it’s hard not to be in awe there. One of the most amazing things is how many people can not only speak their native European language, not only English fluently (so much so they can spot mistakes in my English in an instant!) but also speak Japanese as well. How I’d love to have 3 or more languages…

Another reason why it’s just easier to have in-house friends is that it does pretty much take over your life, even when it’s not a challenging project. The current project I am on, despite  not being involved enough for me to feel the stressful parts, is controlling me so much that I am dreaming about it, and thinking about it and the contents as I am walking down the street. When we have get-togethers the boys usually talk nothing but video games, so much so that I feel so sorry for the few non-Nintendo wives who have to put up with all the boring shop talk haha.

And then, it’s good to be close to people and be able to talk openly with people who know what kind of troubles you are going through. The current project is very different to my previous two and I’m finding more than before that I have to work harder to bridge the gap between my co-workers who have years of experience and myself. Being able to talk about this over Sunday brunch with people who have been there is so nice. We are unable to talk about most things to do with work as, of course, we work with so much delicate information, so I can’t just phone up my mum and tell her all about it. 

There are about 400 people working at our office in Frankfurt. Within those people I only interact with very very few people, but everyone is so nice and friendly even if we don’t know each other by name. It’s like a secret club we have going on, where we know all the secrets and have secret handshakes and all that. I’m sure I could never get bored of the Nintendo family.

So I don’t mind being in the Nintendo bubble at all. It’s a pretty cool bubble to be in.