The Nintendo Switch is a Monster

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“I’m going to pick up my Nintendo Switch pre-order after work today.”

“Really.”

“Yeah, I didn’t get a copy of the new Zelda game with it though. So I ordered a copy on Amazon.”

“That’s cool.”

“Yeah, the new Zelda game is supposed to be the best game ever. Or at least that is what people who play games for a living are saying. I’m excited.”

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Why is the videogame hobby so much about having the new thing?

I get that hype, limited inventory, and being a part of the console honeymoon conversation are all reasons to buy in early. I get that. But why does so much of gaming feel like a bragging contest? A game of Cold War one-upmanship. Except between fellow gamers instead of The United States and Russia.

Consumerism is a social and economic order and ideology that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts.

OR

Gotta Catch ‘Em All

Even as an adult, I feel pressure to have the latest gadgets. I don’t even want a Switch–I think it’s best to wait awhile–and talking to my co-worker this morning made me feel envious. Hyped even.

BUYING FRENZY!

And if I feel that way, how does my kid feel when it comes to stuff? How am I supposed to parent in a consumerist culture?

Titan

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There is a place that I have always wanted to visit just south of Tucson, Arizona, the Titan Missile Museum.

As a student of history, especially The Cold War, I can think of nothing better than being able to visit one of America’s destructive atomic silos. Just imagine what would have happened had the United States had to actually fire against a Soviet target:

  • World War III
  • The End
  • Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)
Kind of puts life in perspective, to think that everything we know could ended at the push of a button. Thankfully, we had leaders with cool heads that prevented us from going to the brink.
Anyone out there visited the museum. Is it worth the trip for a history buff?

The Cold War is Over: Part 2

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Despite the Cold War ending in 2009, I still use my iPod Touch on a daily basis. I have also learned that Bluetooth for gaming wasn’t that big of a deal. However, I am still leery of Apple and its hardware upgrades. Primarily a console gamer, I am used to the 5-8 year life cycles the consoles go through. With the exception of the PSP, every major video game console has stayed relatively the same (minus a few minor hardware upgrades that do not alienate the user base). $250-$300, a one-time purchase, buys the user 5-8 years of gaming. Comparing that to Apple and their hardware upgrades every few years, I’m not sure those that have adopted the iPhone/ iTouch hardware are getting the biggest bang for their buck.

I have read that iDevice gaming is the wave of the future. In this wave, the likes of the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP are washed to the side as cheap gaming reigns supreme on the iDevice. As much as I love my iTouch, I cannot imagine a world without Nintendo and Sony handhelds. I believe that each has its place in the vast expanse of gaming; each has its own strengths and weaknesses. While gaming on the iDevice may be the in thing at the moment, I can assure you that this will not always be. How do I know this? Alienation by hardware upgrade is not how Nintendo has become the dominate competitor in handheld gaming. No parent, and certainly no gamer, is willing to pay for upgrades in hardware every few years. At least I hope not. My pockets aren’t deep enough.

This is my second in a series of thoughts on iPhone/ iPod Touch gaming. For Part 1, click here.

The Cold War is Over: Part 1

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Despite what you may have been taught in school, the Cold War did not end in 1991 but ended in 2009.

During the height of the Apple App Store Gold Rush, I worked on a side project entitled Cold War Fruit. The website/ blog was dedicated to iPhone/iTouch app news & reviews. While I enjoyed the six months I spent mixing Cold War history with Apple apps, I did not forsee the anger and frustration that was on the horizon.

Having bought a first generation iPod Touch, I was able to enjoy the same benefits that my friends with iPhones were enjoying. Checking mail, surfing the web, and playing the latest apps were suddenly intertwined in my daily life. I wondered how I had ever lived without an iPod (the Touch was my first iPod). This small wonder of a device went everywhere with me and still does.

When the second generation iPod Touch was announced, along with the iPhone OS 3.0 upgrade, I suddenly found myself segregated from the rest of the Apple populace.  One of the touted features of OS 3.0 was Bluetooth wireless gaming. Bluetooth = awesome! Right!?? No. The first generation iPod Touch did not have Bluetooth!. In a single hardware upgrade, Apple managed to kill my enthusiasm for everything Apple. So, I decided to quit focusing so much on the Apple App Store and instead go back to an older project of mine, JohnnyBGamer. I was finished with Cold War Fruit. The Cold War was over.

This is my first in a series of thoughts on iPhone/ iPod Touch gaming. Be sure to check back soon for more!

1985

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“Years may seem so distant
Feels like a million miles
Troubles were nonexistent 1985.”

~ Roper, 1985

At the ripe old age of 28, I look back upon my childhood in the 1980’s with some measure of nostalgia. Family pictures show an era of bad hair, denim jackets, and Vision Streetwear skate shoes. As a kid I remember waking up every morning at 6 a.m. to watch my favorite cartoon shows. Thundercats, Voltron, and the Transformers ruled my morning television. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, however, was a show that was not welcomed in my parent’s home. (Retrospect shows I didn’t miss the poorly made action figures from the show.) Little to my knowledge the Cold War was still raging. Star Wars, Space Station Freedom, and other Reagan-era programs were in full swing. My world was simplified by the four walls of my families’ home. Life was good and yet reality was quietly pounding at the door. Troubles were nonexistent…

I would venture to guess that most of us look back upon our childhood as a time when life was good and summer would never end. Days spent making mud pies, building ramps, and combating the evil menace known as the opposite sex (parents didn’t count!). For others, the era of childhood was a time which couldn’t end any sooner. Family complications, fights at school, and personal freedom just couldn’t keep some of us from wishing to be grown up.

Flash forward to the present and where do we find ourselves? The protection of our parents has finally begun to wane and the world has started its assault. Mixed moral messages, important life decisions, and blatant consumerism tell us that we have to keep up with those around us. Money is everything. How hollow does that statement ring to you?

As I grow older I find that relationships with actual human beings are everything in life. More and more, age has caused me to experience the seemingly inhuman concepts of tragedy and death. My awareness of people suffering around me grows with age. This suffering has always been going on, even in the 80’s, but youth makes one oblivious to such things. Relationships, history, knowing and learning from others, these are the things that matter. Life is certainly a vapor.

The American way of life is fast paced and easy to get caught up in. Sometimes we need to step back and reevaluate our lives. No one will remember you for the promotion you received at work, the money earned over your lifetime, nor the glories and accolades you received while doing so. In the end, people will remember how you lived your everyday life. Where you nice? Generous? Mean? God-fearing? Friend? Neighbor? What legacy are you trying to lead/ leave? Thoughts to ponder.