Select Quotes From Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

On Work

  • She could tell you exactly what was wrong with any game, but she didn’t necessarily know how to make a great game herself. There is a time for any fledgling artist where one’s taste exceeds one’s abilities. The only way to get through this period is to make things anyway
  • “You go back to work. You take advantage of the quiet time that a failure allows you. You remind yourself that no one is paying any attention to you and it’s a perfect time for you to sit down in front of your computer and make another game. You try again. You fail better.”
  • If you’re always aiming for perfection, you won’t make anything at all.
  • “You know what I keep thinking? I keep thinking how easy it was to make that first Ichigo. We were like machines then—this, this, this, this. It’s so easy to make a hit when you’re young and you don’t know anything.”“I think that, too,” Sadie said. “The knowledge and experience we have—it isn’t necessarily that helpful, in a way.”
  • That night, Sadie tried to remember herself back in 1996. There were three things that had driven her, and none of them reflected a particular generosity of spirit on Sadie’s part: (1) wanting to distinguish herself enough professionally so that everyone at MIT would know that Sadie Green had not been admitted to the college on a girl curve, (2) wanting Dov to know that he shouldn’t have dumped her, and (3) wanting Sam to know that he was lucky to be working with her, that she was the great programmer in their team, that she was the one with the big ideas. But how to explain this to Destiny? How to explain to Destiny that the thing that made her work leap forward in 1996 was that she had been a dervish of selfishness, resentment, and insecurity? Sadie had willed herself to be great: art doesn’t typically get made by happy people.
  • “There must be more to life than working and swimming and playing Go.”“The boredom you speak of,” Alabaster said. “It is what most of us call happiness.”“I suppose.” Alabaster sighed. “This is the game, Emily.”“What game?” Alabaster rolled their lilac eyes. “You are happy, and you are bored. You need to find a new pastime.”

Viewing Everything Through Your Snowflake Lens

“It’s so funny you should say this, because if you were one of my students, you’d be wearing your pain like a badge of honor. This generation doesn’t hide anything from anyone. My class talks a lot about their traumas. And how their traumas inform their games. They, honest to God, think their traumas are the most interesting thing about them. I sound like I’m making fun, and I am a little, but I don’t mean to be. They’re so different from us, really. Their standards are higher; they call bullshit on so much of the sexism and racism that I, at least, just lived with. But that’s also made them kind of, well, humorless.

“If their traumas are the most interesting things about them, how do they get over any of it?” Sam asked. “I don’t think they do. Or maybe they don’t have to, I don’t know.”

On Phases of Life

  • Dov laughed. “I forget how young you are. You’re still at the age where you mistake your friends and your colleagues for family.”“Yes, Dov,” she said, trying to hide her irritation. “When you have children, you’ll never be able to worry about a friend as much again,” Dov said.
  • the middle-aged—”“Those cursed souls worn down by the inevitable compromises of life, you mean?”
  • A good game designer knows that clinging to a few early ideas about a project can cut off the potential for the work. Sadie did not feel that Naomi was altogether a person yet, which was another thing that one could not admit. So many of the mothers she knew said that their children were exactly themselves from the moment they appeared in the world. But Sadie disagreed. What person was a person without language? Tastes? Preferences? Experiences? And on the other side of childhood, what grown-up wanted to believe that they had emerged from their parents fully formed? Sadie knew that she herself had not become a person until recently. It was unreasonable to expect a child to emerge whole cloth. Naomi was a pencil sketch of a person who, at some point, would be a fully 3D character.
  • The fact that Dong Hyun had not died a video game death meant that Sam had been able to spend time with him before the end. The length of time it had taken Dong Hyun to die also meant he had said everything he wanted to say to Sam, his cousins, and his grandmother. Was this trade worth his suffering? Sam didn’t know.

On The Idea of  Cultural Appropriation

[Sam half-Jewish, half Korean responding to a reporter]

The alternative to appropriation is a world where white European people make art about white European people, with only white European references in it. Swap African or Asian or Latin or whatever culture you want for European. A world where everyone is blind and deaf to any culture or experience that is not their own. I hate that world, don’t you? I’m terrified of that world, and I don’t want to live in that world, and as a mixed-race person, I literally don’t exist in it. My dad, who I barely knew, was Jewish. My mom was an American-born Korean. I was raised by Korean immigrant grandparents in Koreatown, Los Angeles. And as any mixed-race person will tell you—to be half of two things is to be whole of nothing. And, by the way, I don’t own or have a particularly rich understanding of the references of Jewishness or Koreanness because I happen to be those things. But if Ichigo had been fucking Korean, it wouldn’t be a problem for you, I guess?


  • The people who give you charity are never your friends. It is not possible to receive charity from a friend.
  • Sam normally took comfort in numbers, but he was disturbed by how paltry this particular number was, considering the presence Marx had maintained in his life. He performed the calculation twice to confirm. Yes, it was 4,873. This was the kind of baby math Sam did when he couldn’t sleep. Four thousand eight hundred seventy-three, Sam thought, the dollars in a seventeen-year-old’s bank account when he’s flush, twice the number of passengers on the Titanic, the population of a town where everyone knows each other, the inflation-adjusted cost of a laptop in 1990, the weight of a teenage elephant, six months or so more than the number of days I knew my mother.
  • They were in her car on the way back from a math competition in San Diego, and Sam was giddy with the feeling of being better than everyone else at something that he didn’t care about at all.
  • Sam knew “cunt” to be a Rubicon. He had once overheard his mother’s boyfriend call her this word during an argument, and Anna had transformed from a woman into an obelisk. After that night, he had never seen this boyfriend again, and so he knew those four letters possessed profound, magical properties. “Cunt” could make a person disappear from your life forever
  • she apologizes, but the apology lacks the conviction of the attack


  • “And what is love, in the end?” Alabaster said. “Except the irrational desire to put evolutionary competitiveness aside in order to ease someone else’s journey through life?”
  • Since she’d started teaching and become a mother, she’d felt old, but that night, she realized she wasn’t old at all. You couldn’t be old and still be wrong about as many things as she’d been wrong about, and it was a kind of immaturity to call yourself old before you were.

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