There’s a flock of birds who sit within the trees. From up high, they can scan the area but remain safe from any danger that may loom below. As moments pass and the birds call to one another, sharing suggestion or caution, one dives to the ground. The birds react. Some cry in fear they’ve just witnessed the loss of one from the flock. Others laugh, mocking the actions of one so foolish, as they see.

Time moves forward and the birds who sit atop the illusion of safety look down at the friend they thought may not return. Witnessing its safety and the bounty of food it has discovered by leaping into the unknown, another bird leaps to join him. The two together revel in the rewards, happy to have taken risk. One by one, the rest of the flock drops from the trees to join.

Every bird shared the same goal, but only one was willing to try something new. The rest sat and watched in horror or derision, wanting but unwilling to take a chance. At a glance, the brave bird seemed nothing different from the rest. Yet, experience or trust or knowledge or a combination of all three told him he could be different; that he could lead the group toward the common goal.

A car passes by and every last bird takes flight into the tops of trees. They sit there, calling to one another and spinning their heads around to scan the area. They wait there until suddenly, one bird jumps from the branches and flies toward the ground.

Our experiences are a collection of moments that we’ve lived through and as we move forward, we are able to take on what we never had anticipated because we’ve done something impossible before. We know that it’s okay to take risk because we know the reward when we succeed. We learn from where we’ve been to get us to where we are going.

This month is the first step into the new year, and looking ahead we see nothing but possibilities. There are many companies and many developers who are introducing new projects and releasing new games that all derive from something before. We’re going to see how the past can inspire the present and the future.

Nintendo is just days away from fully revealing its next console, Nintendo Switch. The console is due to release this March, seemingly acting as the culmination of former President Satoru Iwata’s work and his vision for the company. Fan favorites Crash Bandicoot and Final Fantasy VII are being remade after years of absence and demand. Sonic the Hedgehog is poised to make a comeback with two new projects in development. We’re also anticipating the release of Yooka-Laylee, the spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie, developed by the original creators of the Nintendo 64 game.

Video games as a medium are always building on what came before, but we’re seeing in 2017 another level of remembrance to what brought us to this point. As you sit and read this, you are made up of every experience that you’ve had until now. This one is added to those that will follow and carry you into the next. When you are again faced with a challenge or an opportunity for something new, you’ll be able to retrieve the knowledge that you need from something you’ve already done. In this way, we can travel time and visit ourselves from the past. You can close your eyes and see yourself in another way to help create a better you for right now.

This month, as we begin another year, let’s add to it all that we’ve got. As you play a game, remember what it took to turn it into what sits before you. As you journey through the year, remember why you’re doing what you’re doing and what got you there. Remember to do the things that make you smile and remember to take moments for yourself. Remember that it’s okay to take a chance. Remember that sometimes it’s okay to be the disruption in the cadence.

Remember that every now and then, you have to jump out of the tree.

Posted by Joe Dix

Joe is the creator of The Free Cheese. He eats a lot of pizza and takes thousands of pictures of his pugs Oswald and Earl every day.


  1. Joe,
    The first game you played was Super MARIO. Yes, my favorite game and first game is and was Tetris! I’m still competitive, Champeen!


    1. I remember playing Mario a bunch, specifically Super Mario Bros. 3, but Tetris remains the earliest memory of playing. And yes, you’re always champeen!


Say Something!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.