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?

Repost: I Am A Terrorist

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A long, long time ago, I remember a controversy that surrounded Modern Warfare 2′s “No Russian” mission. As of today, after finally playing it, I am able to comment on a bygone Internet hiccup. Enjoy.

As an American military officer inserted into a Russian terrorist cell, I stepped off an elevator and proceeded to mow down innocent Russians in an airport. Under the context of “maintaining my cover”, I slowly shot at those that had raised their hands in surrender and those that withered on the ground in pain. Fighting my way across the tarmac later on, battling with armed FSB agents, I found it odd that my survival instincts kicked in. Sure, I had just committed a terrible crime against the Russian population, but I still had to protect my own butt. After dispatching more than a few agents, I ran with my fellow terrorists to the escape vehicle. It was there that I was shot.

Ah yes, the bigger picture. The terrorists had known all along that I was a mole. Made me feel stupid for killing all those innocent civilians under the guise of “cover”. I now wonder if I could have walked through the entire mission never firing a bullet or lobbing a grenade….

When I first loaded up Modern Warfare 2, the game prompted me by asking if I was okay with playing a particularly graphic mission. I quickly pressed okay because I knew which mission it was talking about. I really think, that this mission was okay given the context it was presented in. Although, I do think that there was something a bit sick about the slow and methodical way the terrorists made their way through the airport. Reminded me of watching an accident scene…except for the fact that I was actively participating in causing the scene.

I am amazed where video game narratives are able to go in this day and age. No longer are we having to deal with simple stories of princesses needing to be saved but instead having to deal with stories that feature moral “gray” areas. I am also amazed at how sucked into the narrative I was. I seriously thought I would blow my cover if I didn’t shoot people. Only afterwards did I take a moment and realize that I could have shot into the air.

As a Christian, video games are often difficult to approach. Though I didn’t feel personally convicted over this game, I do wonder in retrospect just how “active” of a participant we are to be in situations like the one painted above. While the context of the mission may have been okay, I have to ask myself to what benefit was there in mowing down virtual civilians? That brings to mind an entirely different topic of killing in video games. We’ll tackle that one another day.

I Am A Terrorist

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A long, long time ago, I remember a controversy that surrounded Modern Warfare 2’s “No Russian” mission. As of today, after finally playing it, I am able to comment on a bygone Internet hiccup. Enjoy.

As an American military officer inserted into a Russian terrorist cell, I stepped off an elevator and proceeded to mow down innocent Russians in an airport. Under the context of “maintaining my cover”, I slowly shot at those that had raised their hands in surrender and those that withered on the ground in pain. Fighting my way across the tarmac later on, battling with armed FSB agents, I found it odd that my survival instincts kicked in. Sure, I had just committed a terrible crime against the Russian population, but I still had to protect my own butt. After dispatching more than a few agents, I ran with my fellow terrorists to the escape vehicle. It was there that I was shot.

Ah yes, the bigger picture. The terrorists had known all along that I was a mole. Made me feel stupid for killing all those innocent civilians under the guise of “cover”. I now wonder if I could have walked through the entire mission never firing a bullet or lobbing a grenade….

When I first loaded up Modern Warfare 2, the game prompted me by asking if I was okay with playing a particularly graphic mission. I quickly pressed okay because I knew which mission it was talking about. I really think, that this mission was okay given the context it was presented in. Although, I do think that there was something a bit sick about the slow and methodical way the terrorists made their way through the airport. Reminded me of watching an accident scene…except for the fact that I was actively participating in causing the scene.

I am amazed where video game narratives are able to go in this day and age. No longer are we having to deal with simple stories of princesses needing to be saved but instead having to deal with stories that feature moral “gray” areas. I am also amazed at how sucked into the narrative I was. I seriously thought I would blow my cover if I didn’t shoot people. Only afterwards did I take a moment and realize that I could have shot into the air.

As a Christian, video games are often difficult to approach. Though I didn’t feel personally convicted over this game, I do wonder in retrospect just how “active” of a participant we are to be in situations like the one painted above. While the context of the mission may have been okay, I have to ask myself to what benefit was there in mowing down virtual civilians? That brings to mind an entirely different topic of killing in video games. We’ll tackle that one another day.

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?

Friday Sing Along!

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Phew. What a long crazy week! As the countdown to summer approaches, I don’t know about you, but spring fever is hitting hardcore. Others around the world must be feeling this as well (even though its not spring everywhere). Below you will find a collection of odds and ends from through out the week. So sing along with JBG…

it's a world of laughter, a world or tears its a world of hopes, its a world of fear theres so much that we share that its time we're aware its a small world after all...

1. Number 1 on our countdown is a delightful story of a little boy with rage issues. You see, his parents took his keyboard away as a disciplinary measure. So, the kid bludgeons his dad with a sledgehammer while he is sleeping. Mom, scared stupid, gives the 14 year old his keyboard back. The kid takes the keyboard and plunges right back into playing games (which is why his keyboard was taken away in the first place). Scary. – For the full story click here.

its a small world after all its a small world after all its a small world after all its a small, small world!

2. Number 2 in the news of the weird this week, a Wii Fit accident leads to sexual addiction. Don’t believe me? Click on over here then for more. If you dare…

There is just one moon and one golden sun And a smile means friendship to everyone. Though the mountains divide And the oceans are wide It's a small small world (repeat chorus)

3. Finally, number 3 on our countdown is a bit of a cheat. The South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced a curfew for young gamers this week. For more on this click here or here.

It’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all

And to answer the person who searched for “why am i paying $15 a month to be harassed by wow players”…I truly don’t know. 🙂

It’s a small world after all, it’s a small small world.

Song stuck in your head? Too bad.

Until next week. Good bye! Adios! Ciao!

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!