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by Dorothy Hatic

I do not like to write about current political events.  I would prefer to stick to my usual shtick, which is education.  But the recent Sony debacle with leaked emails from company officials referencing President Obama, Angelina Jolie and others has gotten my ire up just a tad.  It has led me to think about it in terms of what it really says about Sony and its obviously ugly company culture.  

I want to preface this blog by saying that this is an editorial and does not necessarily represent the thoughts, feelings, or opinions of my partners.  And I want to say that I am not trying to speak disparagingly of the involved employees at Sony.  There seems to exist a culture there where it is perfectly acceptable to make fun of the hand that feeds them.  

Sony is a giant in the entertainment industry.  That probably will not change.  And their PR people will work diligently and without fail, no doubt, to smooth even this faux pas over until it is a distant memory of the past.  However, I am sure that it presently stings pretty much.  And those whose emails were hacked and who said less than kind, compassionate, and loving things about the stars of their movies and the movie goers like the President of the United States are probably squirming just a little bit in their own shame.  I’m sure they all had mothers who taught them better.  

We can all learn something from Sony’s misfortune.  What we put out into the universe matters.  Whether we are writing a seemingly innocent email, talking in confidence to a close friend, or driving our car and merging into traffic when someone cuts us off, what we say and do matters.  My mother told me if I couldn’t say something nice about someone, not to bother saying it.  Well, I can tell you, although I know that is a good lesson to follow in life, I don’t always remember that.  I’m sure Angelina Jolie has been called worse than a “spoiled little brat.”  I know I have been called worse.  But I’m not sure it’s the words so much as the energy behind those words that do the damage.  And now it is out there in the universe for us all to speculate about and the energy I feel when reading those stories is not all that positive.  As someone who works with corporate culture and is deeply passionate about helping companies to grow workplaces where people can thrive, and someone who is building a video game to teach young people to make conscious choices, and someone who is building educational curriculum to help educators to help their students to be accepting of others, this Sony situation is extremely disconcerting.  It is a punch in the stomach.  

It is also a good time for us to take stock of a few lessons to be learned here.  Our technology systems are vulnerable to hackers.  Be vigilant.  To quote my mother, if you can’t say something nice about someone, think about what you’re saying.  What kind of power of you wielding when you make fun of or disparage another?  And what is it saying about you?  And if companies are made up of people, and people supposedly want to work for companies who provide safe, pleasant and respectful working conditions, what are our own responsibilities toward that end?  If Sony needs someone to come in and help them build a company culture, I can make a few recommendations.  




 
 
 
 
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Thich Nhat Hanh

Imagine living every single moment, directly experiencing each breath and what is happening on the inside and on the outside in our own little worlds.  Take that just a little deeper to that same breath and what is happening in your family, your community, your country, our globe, our galaxy, and the container we call The Universe, from which we all come.  

Imagine all that happens in just one breath.  We are all together, creating our worlds in the same one breath, right at this very moment!

Be mindful of what is exhaled into the Universe.  We all matter and we are all participating in this life together with our one collective breath of life!

Let us take a deep breath, exhaling love and health to a beloved teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh.

http://plumvillage.org/news/our-beloved-teacher-in-hospital/

This is the time to remember Thich Nhat Hanh’s own words about death:  “Our greatest fear is that when we die we will become nothing.  Many of us believe that our entire existence is only a life span beginning the moment we are born or conceived and ending the moment we die.  We believe that we are born from nothing and when we die we become nothing.  And so we are filled with fear of annihilation.”

“The Buddha has a very different understanding of our existence.  It is the understanding that birth and death are notions.  They are not real.  The fact that we think they are true makes a powerful illusion that causes our suffering.  The Buddha taught that there is no birth; there is no death; there is no coming; there is no going; there is no same; there is no different; there is no permanent self; there is no annihilation.  We only think there is.  When we understand that we cannot be destroyed, we are liberated from fear.  It is a great relief.  We can enjoy life and appreciate it in a new way.”

Thanks to Thich Nhat Hanh for his profound wisdom.  

Myra Baker

 
 
BEHIND THE DESIGN

Today I’d like to share a bit of myself with the reader.  I want to share my approach, creative process, and imagination behind the design of Ramthor’s Tower:  Maze Defense, and why it means so much to me.  

Ramthor, the main character in N-1 Games’ smart device app, and one of nine characters in N-1’s “Chronicles”, has a fixation of ego that resembles my own egoic fixation.  My personality type has been identified as “Type 8”.  Although Ramthor and I are two very different characters, our basic, conditioned behaviors (usually reactive) are very much the same.  Therefore, throughout this game, I was able to genuinely put my mind and heart into the narrative to represent my fixation of ego in the most transparent way to exemplify most honestly a “Type 8” personality.  

Each time the player clears a grid square to create his maze, he is subtly, but most certainly, making a new and willful decision with each press of the finger.  Many people have suggested to me that the grid space clearing functionality should be more “user friendly”; however, as the creator, I believe that this common strand of “user friendly” design would actually decrease the game’s problem solving and teaching tools.  In life, we evolve and succeed more quickly if we always know that we face a decision at all times.  Many people can lose this knowing and end up at a perceived “dead end.”  To me, the truth of the matter is that “dead end” isn’t real; it is just perceived as real because one forgets that they can make a decision to do something differently.  Many people can get complacent in a “way of life” or a “way to live life” or “the way to live life”, believing that there is a set way to do it.  There is no one way to do it; there is no way to do it.  We are life, and at all times we have a choice to enforce our kinetic energy throughout the potential energy that surrounds us.  

All of this can be taught, I believe, with more game designs that require more deliberate decision making.  To think that our behavior is just “good enough” actually halts our evolutionary process to be ever presently growing, like the tree.  A tree is life just as humans are life.   In each jewel quest of N-1’s app, the player in Ramthor’s Tower: Maze Defense is presented with a new environment.  Each environment at each level is directly influenced by historical eras of the human race.  At each level, the player embarks on a subtle journey back into time, while being present with whom he is now.  Certainly, he is creating a maze, defending his city as in each of the previous levels, but each maze is different, becoming increasingly more difficult, so that the idea behind the design is that the player evolves with the environment, and with the history of the human race.  

RT:MD in my imagination is a key to the hearts of our ancestors, a key to our hearts, and a key to the hearts of our futures.  A true man, I believe, is a man that can be present with his past, while holding courage, faith, and a goal to grow and evolve from his mistakes.  This is what Ramthor is all about.  Ramthor wants to evolve with the cosmos, with nature and with all of life.  He will grow, too, and continue to do so unless the player is unable to make the choices to help him evolve.  In truth, Ramthor’s choices are the player’s choices.  We can die short of our potential, or live tall with all that we can.  Ramthor chooses the latter.  Many, however, do not.  

So, I ask you…Do you know the Ramthor within you?  

Zach White, Game Designer/Quality Assurance Manager

Conscious Dimensions, LLC

114 Wellington Place

Cincinnati, Ohio 45219

513.518.2679

Zacharytwhite1@gmail.com

www.consciousdimensions.com

www.N-1Games.com



 
 
By: Cathy Hudson

When I came across this Ted Talk from gaming superstar, Jane McGonigal, I immediately felt a kindred spirit.  

When game designer, Jane McGonigal found herself bedridden and suicidal following a severe concussion, she had a fascinating idea for how to get better.  She dove into the scientific research and created the healing game, SuperBetter.  

http://www.brainline.org/content/special/jane-mcgonigal-10-extra-years-ted-talks.html

I am not a game designer.  I am a visual person with a B.S. in Fashion Design.  It may seem like an unlikely fit to be the Project Manager here at N-1 Games, but actually, working to teach health and wellness via games is perfect for someone like me who relishes in a passionate, whimsical, and visual world.  

About ten years ago, I began learning about a practice called the Enneagram*.  For those of you who know me, you know that I took to it like white on rice.  If you do not know me, well, I took to it like white on rice!  It helped me to have a deeper sense of myself and others.  

The practice of the Enneagram spilled right into my deepest being and exposed my depression.  This practice, along with the correct medical attention, a great teacher, and support from family and friends, has enabled me to recognize my depression as a gift.  And, at the risk of sounding dramatic, (I fixate on type 4**), it has saved my life many times over.  

Each day that I get to work with N-1 Games is a day of healing and abundance!

Jane McGonigal  found healing through gaming.  I believe I am finding it, too, right here at N-1 Games!

*    http://goconscious.com/home/enneagram_education.html

**  http://n-1games.com/idealist.html

Cathy Hudson, Project Manger

N-1 Games

 
 
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By Dorothy Hatic

Coming to press soon are the N-1 Chronicles.  They are the nine stories which were written about nine personality types, which we refer to as F.A.C.E. (Furthering Awareness of Character and Essence).  Aside from the obvious entertainment value of the stories, each chronicle features a fantasy character, representing one personality type. Each artistic caricature is metaphoric of personality type and is designed to enhance both storyline and personality characteristics.  The storyline offers scenarios in which the creatures evolve through the seven levels of consciousness (F.A.C.E.T.-Furthering Awareness of Consciousness, Experiencing Transformation) by a problem-solving technique called L.E.G.S. (Life Evolving Guidance System).  

F.A.C.E. represents each character at each level of consciousness.  If I thinks of myself, I can look back and see my life at the various levels.  For instance, Ramthor (F.A.C.E. Eight) at the Amethyst (purple level) is referred to as the Priest.  The worldview is that everything is animistic and magical.  Everything is alive, including the rocks, trees, and earth.  And everything has meaning.  Remember when our playtime was full of magic and wonderful intention, and we found that special book/story that spoke to us with so much belief in it that it paved the way for our understanding that, without that magic, life was a little too scary and perhaps impossible.  Our beliefs at that level were like a protective force between us and the forces of nature.  Ramthor is like that.  He is the priest, and the protector, of our tribe and our group.  Ramthor is one of those storybook characters to whom we looked up and from whom we expected deliverance from those demons/”nightmares” in our closets.  And like Ramthor, we grew to understand that the worldview changes as our experiences and level of consciousness provide us with more information and more knowing that our individual needs are somehow different.  

By the Turquoise level, Ramthor comes to the understanding that we are all one.  He sees himself as a part of the larger cosmos, which serves the individual and the whole as the same.  He realizes that all actions and non-actions impact all beings, and the entire cosmos.  It is a much higher understanding than the Amethyst understanding, but Ramthor understands, too, that he had to go through the Amethyst level to arrive at Turquoise.  At Turquoise level of consciousness, Ramthor lives with and accepts the paradox of all things.  But it is his journey, through all the levels, that delivers him to Turquoise, and therefore, illuminates for the reader the acceptance of all that is, including ourselves.  

At each F.A.C.E.T., we ask ourselves, “Who am I?”  It is a teaching moment in our chronicles.  It is a time to reflect upon where we’ve been, and where we’re going.  We have the opportunity (L.E.G.S.) to identify a new problem, envision what the possible solutions to that problem are, and to make a realistic assessment of which solution might be the best one for us.  Momentum then takes place, as we experience this part of our choice through the journey upon which we find ourselves moving, in the majestic flow of learning experientially the consequences.  And then!  We get to ask ourselves, “Well, how did that work for you?”  

Really!  How did that feel?  What did I learn?  Where am I now?  Who am I?  

Imagine, reading a story such as one of the N-1 Chronicles, and, with our character, celebrating with the award of a piece of gear to aid the character in his on-going journey to a new level of consciousness.  And think of your own rewards to good choices you make for yourself and your group, rendering you to a different place (figuratively speaking), where yet another challenge waits.  Yet the process is the same at each juncture.  Define the problem.  What are the possible options for solving it?  How do I go about doing that realistically?  Carry out my plan.  Now, how did that work out for me?  And then I celebrate for my stick-to-itiveness.   That is what our chronicles call L.E.G.S. (Life Evolving Guidance System).  It helps our characters live and grow and evolve through our seven levels of consciousness, or F.A.C.E.T. (Furthering Awareness of Consciousness, Experiencing Transformation).  

That is only the beginning of what you can learn from the N-1 Chronicles.  Following each character on his journey opens up a plethora of opportunities to see others, including ourselves, in images never before imagined, but which ironically, relate intimately to our own special virtues.  

 
 
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by: Mary Barr Rhodes
Discernment is defined as the “ability to judge well. When your children are taught to discern with their bodies, their minds and their hearts, they learn that problem solving can come from a place of true essence. Through learning discernment, your children will be able to face and address more and more difficult decisions as they mature. 


  1. At an early age, discernment begins with the ability to categorize and organize. In the beginning it may be as simple as helping sort vegetables from the garden, or helping to put away the groceries. Children learn to discern through their personal experiences. 
  2. Teaching mindfulness is key to discernment. Guide your children to use all of their senses when they are exploring. In understanding the unique attributes, they begin to understand, appreciate, and to gain personal insight. Here are a few questions that you might ask:

    1. What shape is it?
    2. Does it have weight and take up space?
    3. What does it smell or taste like?
    4. Does it make sound?
    5. Where does it live?
    6. How big is it?
    7. What color is it?
    8. Is there a pattern or texture?
    9. Is there movement?
    10. Is it a living organism?

3. Foster curiosity in your children. In teaching discernment, parents guide the thinking of the child through real-life scenarios that require problem solving. In this process, your children realize that even as a parent, you still question life. In that understanding, your children are given permission and encouraged to question. Simple questioning can jumpstart your children’s own questioning. 


•  What do you think of this situation?

•  What are you feeling about this situation?

•  What are your senses telling you about this situation?



4. Wisdom comes through critical decision-making. Teaching children to quietly observe, to whole-heartedly dive into an experience, and then to have the ability to reflect upon that experience provides the platform for reasoning, communication, and serves as a guide to belief and action. Critical decision-making provides your children with the confidence to conceptualize, to apply, to analyze, to synthesize, and to evaluate. 

Ultimately, discernment gives your children the ability to make decisions consciously, instead of just following orders. In teaching discernment, a strong foundation will support your children as they step out into the larger world. Discernment allows them to trust themselves and others, and in that trust they will be able to better maneuver the dynamic nature of life.

 
 
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by Dorothy Hatic

Hopefully you have already met Ramthor on your smart phone or other smart device.  He is the main character in the tower defense app, Ramthor’s Tower: Maze Defense, brought to you by N-1 Games.  But there is only so much we can do on a phone app.  Ramthor has so much more depth and personality than he reveals to us in his one dimensional game play, which, while lots of fun, can only, by virtue of its required brevity, reveal so much about its main character.

Coming soon, however, in publication, is Ramthor’s complete story.  Again, complete, in so much as limited words and art can reveal.  Just like anyone, Ramthor is multi-dimensional.  He is complex and deep.  He is indescribable.  

Yes, he is fantasy.  He is half- man, half- beast just like he appears in the app.  But he is also so much more.  No doubt, you know someone like him.  You might even be like him yourself.  There is no mistake that he is delightfully relatable.  The good, the bad, and the ugly shine through to reveal a complete person. His entire story is worth reading.  The complete Ramthor will both irritate and entertain you.  You will both admire and revile him.  Ramthor is that dynamic personality that draws you in, and, at the same time, makes you step back.  His story is worth a read for many reasons.

  1. Ramthor is a type eight personality.  He is bold, defiant, willful, self-confident, and confrontational.  Reading his story, you will instantly relate to someone you know, maybe even yourself.  As Ramthor emerges from one level to the next, you will see the personal growth that is possible for this personality type.  You will both honor and redress him for his choices.  
  2. Ramthor’s story is rich in metaphor and symbolism.  The art in the manuscript is beautiful, telling much of Ramthor’s story in the stunning and dramatic artistry.  This personality type is illustrated in both the art and the metaphor, describing Ramthor’s personal journey to become his true essence.  
  3. Ramthor is a survivor.  From Ramthor’s basic fear of being controlled to his basic desire to protect himself and others, Ramthor is a leader.  Throughout his story, you will learn to trust Ramthor, knowing that his deepest wound is learning to trust you.
  4. Ramthor illustrates that being vulnerable is all right.  For Ramthor, learning to be vulnerable is what saves him.  Vulnerability is his most difficult and, yet, most endearing trait.  You have heard of big teddy bears or big bad wolves.  That is Ramthor, wrapped up in one giant hulk of a character.  
  5. Ramthor will make you glad you knew him.  Ramthor’s story doesn’t end in this manuscript.  He lives on in Rayna’s story (type nine).  He loses much in his story.  He loses his horns.  He loses the love of his life.  Weakness?  Failure?  You will have to read to find out.  
  6. Ramthor’s journey is, by design, everyone’s journey.  If you are not a type eight like Ramthor, do not think his story is not a part of your own.  We have all types in us.  Somewhere in Ramthor’s journey, there is a message for you.  Your reaction to Ramthor will tell you much about yourself.  Let the lesson be a mirror that you can observe it without judgment.  It is simply a reflection for you to see and think about.  It is deep.  It is profound.  It is Ramthor.  

 
 
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As CEO of Conscious Dimensions/ Play N-1 Games, you can imagine the excitement that stirred in me when I got the invitation to give the Keynote Address at the International Enneagram Association/Korea. Korea and Samsung are synonymous in my app/gamer mind. Our team is made up of mostly iPhone/iPad users …which is something I have never been able to wrap my mind around. Why would game makers use a product that less than 10% of the world uses?  But I’m going to use this opportunity to take the app to those non-iPhone users in the world that make up the other 90% and introduce them to our Ramthor app.  I am excited about learning a new culture, talking about the enneagram, and taking Ramthor’s Tower Defense app to Korea for Samsung users to download and play.  I am actually sending the app ahead of me so that individuals who are attending the conference will be able to have some game play before I even arrive. Looking forward to sharing my findings with my team and all of you!

Dr. Deborah Ooten Ph.D


 
 
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