For the last 18 years, I've been making computer games. I've been lucky enough to be involved in just about every part of the process, from writing music and sound effects through to designing some pretty cool graphical effects. I've also played a lot of games - in fact, some would say a ridiculous amount of games. I feel comfortable saying - I know a good game.
And a good game needs polish. Every great game i've ever played shines when compared to the alternatives out there. Sometimes this is graphical, sometimes it's a gem of design, sometimes it's the hook behind the game, but there will always be at least one part of the product where you can see the love, time and attention - where someone has bent their back and applied pressure. Taking something rough and refining it until it is gleaming.
It's easy to spot when you look - it will be something that, upon close examination, improves in your estimations. Something you think is good, and then when you dig deeper, realise it's actually brilliant. Something that sparkles at you, drawing your attention in the first place. A good game will have a few of these gems, a great game will be liberally scattered with them.
I try and ensure that my work is polished, and I'm lucky to work for a company where the same is true of most of my colleagues. I've come to expect a certain attention to detail when work is complete; after all, we're in a highly competitive industry and you need to shine to be the best. Recently, I've had a startling revelation.
The rest of the world doesn't work like this. The majority of people are happy to just get by, happy for the fruit of their labours to be just good enough. I've had experiences recently with car salesmen, boiler repairmen, service in restaurants, estate agents; the list is pretty long, but the end result is nearly always some level of disappointment.
I've come to the conclusion that two things are for sure - I need to lower my expectations, and the rest of the world needs more polish.