Saturday, February 7, 2015

Personal note, game diary, variety.

May I tell you something shameful, Internet?  Do you promise to keep it a secret?  I know you're good at that. 

I've never had a cell phone

I had a little burner phone I bought for like fifty bucks when I was a dumb kid who let his phone bill get cut off like ten years ago, but that's it.  That little POS lasted about a week before I ran out of minutes and money and it went into the trash. 

Since then, I've been a bit proud to not have one, particularly as the devices becomes ubiquitous. I'm the guy without a cell phone, I'm (still) the guy without a Facebook account. I hear about way too many fights that happened because of Facebook to ever sign up for it. 

Similarly, there's a lot I don't like about cell phone ownership.  I don't like that it's another sixty bucks out of your pocket each month and I don't like that people occupy themselves with cell phones instead of their lives. I see people ignoring each other at social engagements - whole tables of hip, sexy young people at hip, sexy restaurants, silently flipping through their phones instead of, y'know, talking to each other.  

Which makes me feel old as shit. 

I bring this up because, if all goes to plan, Kayla and I will be sharing a house within a month.  This has raised any number of questions about how life's logistical problems will be managed, with one such quandry being "what are we going to do about a phone?"

Kayla's had a cell for years, and my first reaction was to say we'd just get a cheap land line and that would be plenty... but my rationale for having a land line isn't simply because it's cheap - it's because it offers security in extreme situations.  

Or did offer it. Once. 

When there's a power outage, classically, an old wired, corded phone would still work when nothing else in your house did - the phone lines are on a separate grid - so when the power went out, you could advise the power company and anyone else who might need to know ("honey?  Pick up candles on your way home.")

But that was in the old days.  Nowadays, every phone provider is also an Internet provider, and you aren't getting an Internet and phone setup in your house without one of their cable routers.  Your phone signal (or ours, at least) no longer goes into the wall, into the phone lines - it goes through that cable router.  And that cable router requires a powered connection in your house.  Thus, when the power goes out, so does your phone. 

...but not with a cell.  In today's mixed-up, crazy world, a cell phone is a safer, more reliable option than a classic, wired home phone.  

And about twice as expensive.  Kayla has nothing but positive things to say about her service with Bell, so - contrary to how I buy pretty much everything - with absolutely no research into other carriers or options, we went into a Bell store yesterday and I left with an LG G3.  

I've long felt that my reticence to get a cell phone would pay off one day - that if I could hold out long enough, I could get a cell phone that appeared after the uncomfortable adolescence of its technology without paying through the nose for it - and time, it seems, it has paid handsome dividends. 

I wanted an Android phone, not an Apple, because I've heard too many people complain too much about their iPhones, and ninety-five percent of what I do on my home computer is through some sort of Google service (image search, Google itself, YouTube, and of course this blog itself). I've long been a fan of LG products - particularly their TVs, which I find are reliably cheaper than Sonys or Samsungs while being just as good.

The LG G3, it turns out, is LG's flagship phone which received all kinds of crazy-good reviews in 2014.  It's not precisely the New Hotness - they'll have another newer, hotter phone coming out in 2015, no doubt - but it's still quite warm, and it boasts the single feature I require most in a mobile phone.  

Specifically, it can run XCOM: Enemy Within

Long have I lamented the absence of Firaxis's XCOM on Vita while folks with smartphones are able to get their tactical alien takedowns on the go, and the very first thing I did upon arriving home and jacking in to my wifi was to give Google thirteen bucks and download the two gig game.

It looks fabulous, it runs well, and the controls are very much good enough for a touchscreen - or at least, I haven't yet made a move I didn't intend to.  Whether or not Enemy Within is actually a full-featured version of the game I so adore on consoles remains to be seen, but at this point it's very pleasing.

Also, the thing can make phone calls and text and it has Google Maps and YouTube and a very capable internet browser.  It's got this handy thing where it can turn on instantly into camera mode and silently take pictures, if (in my cellphone crime-fighting fantasies) I suddenly find myself witness to a crime.  It's slim, it's light, the screen is huge and sharp and I can customize it with Justin Currie art.

Lock screen.                                                                                   Center page.
Left page.                                                                                               Right page.

And long have I turned up my nose at smartphone gaming, but with a superphone in hand, it looks far less irritating.  They have fucking Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic on the Android store.

That's something that may bear looking in to.  A can of worms has been opened, and a whole new, broad swath of gaming opportunities have been laid at my feet.

Kayla and I should have moved in together a long time ago.

In other news, that Persona 5 trailer got me all kinds of hyped - and the world at large, it seems.  I'm most curious about the movement systems we saw - something that the Persona team has never really gone after, before, if you're not counting Catherine's puzzle-platforming.  It's a JRPG you can get just silly-hyped about without Final Fantasy's dull, gnawing reminder that the last five games in its series weren't all that great.  It's Atlus.  It'll rock.

And no, I haven't picked up Dying Light again since Darkest Dungeon happened.  The thing is, I love Dying Light.  Dying Light is everything I wanted it to be, and it lives up to its #3 placement on my hype list - it just had the bad fortune to release a week prior to my #1 most-hyped game of the year, which is similarly everything I wanted it to be, plus debuffing guitar/lute shreds.

There aren't enough hours in any given day to spend the time I'd prefer to with Darkest Dungeon, but I think that may be a bit of a plus - I'll have less of a chance to burn myself out on the game before it comes to my Vita.

More than that, I find myself fascinated to be in so close to the ground floor with a game's development.  By all accounts Darkest Dungeon's Early Access is in fact an unusually-finished game, when compared to the low Early Access standards most other titles have subjected players to, but I'm still eminently curious to see how the game will change and evolve throughout its development - and how different the final product will be from the game that is already so completely absorbing.

Ahhh life is good.


  1. We have the same phone! Lovely.

    Pick up Hitman: Go. It's like a delightful board game version of Hitman, and I adore it.

    1. I did see a lot of good stuff about it when to came out...

  2. You know what, Hellion? I'd let that happen.

  3. I don't know.... An hour in and Darkest Dungeon feels like an excellent cut of meat that, while cooked correctly, has no garnish. I need some story potatoes to go with the mechanics.

  4. Congratulations!
    I don't game on my phone, but I hear good things about Monument Valley, 80 Days, and World of Goo.

  5. Hell yes. Congrats on the smartphone. I'm an Android fanboy, so this isn't really an objective opinion, but... you made the right choice.

    I don't game a lot on my phone, but I will recommend Hitman Go, 80 Days, Monument Valley, and the divine Kingdom Rush games.

    1. I'll admit I was a bit jelly of Hitman Go when it came out. Then I watched a vid from Eurogamer, I think, and was like "this is an affront to everything Agent 47 stands for."

      Still... tempted...

    2. Late reply here, but... it's not an affront! It captures the essence of Hitman pretty well! You sneak around through familiar locales (including some based on old Hitman levels), you equip disguises, you distract and outmaneuver, you wait patiently, and you execute. It's not a dumb baby game!