Dollar75 / Member

Forum Posts Following Followers
718 2 14

Dollar75 Blog

Spare some change?

by on

And so the curtain closes on yet another year, so it is about this time I look back and reflect on the past 12 months. 2010 has been a year of change for me, a change in my personal life with meeting my girlfriend and a change in myjob situation, that is to say, I now have one. But this has also been a year of other changes. Changes of my opinion and point of view.

This first started quite late in the year when I got my iPhone. Being vocal about being anti-Apple for many years seemed to come back to bite me with this new purchase asI was forced to eat, not just a mere slice of humble pie, but more like a whole bakery. That is not to say my stance on Apple marketing has been wrong all these years and my views on the 3G iPhone were completely incorrect, but having now had the iPhone 4 for a few months now, I have come to realise that they do make good products. Unlike many phones where your love affair with them comes screeching to a halt after a month or two after you find a fatal flaw.

It is this purchase that has lead to many of the changes I have gone through this year. One of them being social networking. This is something I never really got into before, becauseif I wanted to get into the Twitters or the Facebooks, I had to use my laptop. Now, I am able to use them on my phone at any time. I have never been a fan of Facebook though. For me, it seems like a networking site where friends are a form of currency to prove your popularity, where you seek approval from your friends on the comments you make, i.e. "2 people like this comment" and where anyone is able to find you. Because of these factors, I chose Twitter as my social network of choice and so far, I'm enjoying it. I care not about how many people follow me or like my comments, but I use it as a tool to get news from SMH, Gamespot, IGN, 10 News, Playstation and SEGA.

The iPad. This is something I just didn't get. Why was it so popular? It cannot do the things that a laptop can do, like downloading, burning cd's/DVD or even viewing videos if they were in Adobe Flash, but never the less this was the hottest product of this year. After having the iPhone 4 for a few months, I have noticed that I don't use my laptop as much anymore. I used to carry my laptop to work every day without fail. I'd browse the internet, watch a few epsiodes of something or maybe play a game or two. I can honestly say though, now I "get" the iPad. If you don't want the expense and hassle of owning a laptop, you no longer have to. You don't have to do virus checks, rebuild it every year (although I've heard you don't have to do this as much witha Macbook anyway) or have the extra weight. Its easy and simple to use with the only limitation being on what apps don't exist to cater for your needs, which I'm sure there aren't that many of those.

Last but certainly not least, the other change in opinion of 2010 is mobile gaming. I have always owned a dedicated portable gaming device, from Nintendo Game & Watch, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance, PSP and DS. These have always brought me joy as I'm able to get my gaming fix during my 10 hour weekly commute to work. Games like God of War and Professor Layton have been my staple for a while and, for the most part, these games have made spending hundreds of dollars for the device worthwhile.....sortof, well, maybe not the PSP. But my opinion of these dedicated gaming devices has always remained high.

But now mobile gaming has gone through the roof. Whether you're on an Android phone or the iPhone, game fixes anytime, anywhere have gone to the next level. A while back someone in the media (can't recall who said it) said that games on the iPhone were better than that on the DS and PSP. Needless to say this got a fair few comments on the forums, including some negative ones from myself. Whereas alot of people agreed that they may have had the addictivness of the games licked, the complexity, storyline and depth were seriously lacking. Since I've had the phone, I've been addicted to many of the games on offer. These don't have complex storylines, many button combinations to master or even much development, they have been fun........and extremely addictive. These have satisfied my gaming fix for a time until I get bored with the repetition and move onto something else. There was very little to master in these games, these were point scoring games where inevitably it would end with you saying "just one more go". And there is nothing wrong with that. For a gamer that loves my Asssassins Creeds or Arkham Asylums, it was good to get back to the core workings of a game, addictivness and fun.

However, this was soon to change with the purchase of Infinity Blade. This is not a cartoony, point scoring game, this was a mature game with graphics that beat God of War on the PSP, one of the best looking games on that device. Where it may be true that you could say the Retina display may have a hand in its looks, you can't put it all down to that. The sound is something else to behold, put a decent pair of headphones on and what you have is a addictive, mature game that you can get hours of enjoyment on. There's no denying that games on mobile phones have a way off the maturity and complexity that the DS and PSP offer. If you look at the iTunes store, you'll find about 90-95% of the games are cartoony time wasters, but when you consider that games on the phone started about 10 years ago with Snake and look at where we are today. If you compare that to 10 years in a console cycle, from the PS2 to the PS3, the only real change has been graphical, the games at their core have remained the same. And with the demand for mobile games on the rise, you can only expect the quality and diversity to improve. So as to the comment that iPhone games are better than PSP/DS, I would say there a way off in terms ofdepth and maturity but only time will tell if dedicated handheld devices will stand up to the challenge of this new wave of casual gaming. Afterall, why pay $300+ on a dedicated gaming device when you can get your fix for a fraction of the price.

So that is it, 2010, the year of change for me. Change is good I've found, it can affect your life in very positive ways and even give you a different opinion on things you used to hate.

The Apple of my eye

by on

There's something ugly happening inside of me, and I'm not all that convinced that it's a good thing. I just got a new toy, the iPhone 4. This is the first time that I have opened my doors to Apple. Some may say that I'm way behind in the times, but there is a reason for this. You see I have always loathed Apple, not because of their products per se, but because of the marketing of their products. They always hold something back that SHOULD have been in the first release, only to update the product less than a year later and this annoyed me to the point of shutting them out of my life.

The reason why I have cautiously opened my door to an Apple product is because I have had a run of very bad phones. Infact, my phone history is abit of a mixed bag. During the 90's I was always the first to have the latest phone. I was one of the first to have the 6110 and be amazed at how it could read out your location on the main screen. After that was the 7110, the first phone to be able to send emails, albeit a very long and confusing way, but never the less, it could be done. After this came my first smartphone, O2. The reason for this purchase was simple, it had windows media player and I wanted to watch cartoons on my daily commute. When I first got it, it was great, it had a good camera, quite a large screen and the usability was good. However this relationship turned sour when the software stopped working and I had to take it to a repair shop. Things got quite ugly when the owner refused to repair it when I made the receptionist cry (long story). So I got it back, but it wasn't fixed.

After this, like anyone who's just got out of a bad relationship, I wanted a break, so I got a simple Nokia phone. I was satisfied, it wasn't anything spectacular, but I knew that it would serve my needs.

Once this contract was up I was ready to get back into the tech horse and get myself a wiz bang phone, one that I could be proud to call mine once more, so I looked at the Blackberry Storm. I had seen the reviews and none of them painted a really great picture, but it was either that or open up my heart up to Apple, and I wasn't ready for that.

Like the O2 phone, life was great at first. I watched my TV programs on it, had access to my email etc and it certainly did everything right. It was quite a buggy phone, but it was manageable. Then came the bombshell, the fault that would stop me from looking at it through rose coloured glasses, I wasn't receiving any phone calls. I could receive the text to tell me I had a voicemail, but I couldn't actually get the calls first hand. And this was during a time where I wasn't in work and needed to receive calls from agencies, quite important stuff. This relationship went south very quickly after this and ended in an incident involving the phone, my throwing arm and the kitchen floor. It was good anger management. However this left me with a problem, no phone and still under contract. Luckily my girlfriend came through with a spare, one that she had used previously, the HTC Diamond.

While it was great that I was able to have a phone, the phone itself was nothing spectacular. Infact I wouldn't describe it as a smartphone, more so the phone that was dropped on its head as a baby and at school, it would be the one underneath the tree eating the worms. The functionality of this thing was awful. You could have the phone on silent, but then you wouldn't be able to hear your alarm in the mornings. I mean who designed this?! The whole point of having it on silent is so it doesn't disturb you with calls, whereas an alarm is MEANT to disturb you.

Anyway, I digress. I was overjoyed when my contract ended and I could finally get a new phone, and I feel that after my hit and misses of the past, I decided to turn to the dark side and give in to my hate, get an iPhone.

After a long 4 week wait for the phone to arrive, I was virtually skipping down to the mailroom to pick up my new toy. I ripped open the box to reveal a shiny new phone, one that everyone had raved on about and one that could hopefully fill the phone void that I had had for quite a while.

After cursing the set-up process in which I had to shut down my sim and transfer all the data to the micro-sim AND go to iTunes to boot it up, I was ready to take it out for a spin. Oh the joy I had in the first day, going to the app store, downloading useless apps and a few games to boot. I especially wanted to set up my gamertag in the gaming centre. Being addicted to trophies on the PS3, the chance to take this addiction on the road was too tempting to pass up.

The honeymoon phase didn't last for too long though, as only after day 3 I saw the first flaw, the phone didn't recognise daylight savings and woke me up an hour earlier. I jumped onto the net and discovered this was a bug and that I wasn't the only one to have it. Was I annoyed? Yes. Would I have laughed harder if I was a non-iPhone owner? Probably. But I knew the joy it had brought into my life in the short time I had it, so I was willing to overlook this imperfection.

The ugly thing that I mentioned at the start of this blog though is, I have noticed that I look at what phones other people have, and if its not an iPhone, I'm feeling sorry for them. Is this how it happens? Is this how you turn into an Apple groupie? You let them into your life for one measly gadget and they turn you into a person that feels sorry for others if they don't conform?

Having been on the other side for so long, I am determined to continue to see both sides. I know how Apple treat their customers. Sure they can deliver products that bring you joy, but they never quite give 100%, they hold back and their customers overlook this because they believe the pros outweigh the cons. Just like me regarding the alarm, they overlook this imperfection and continue to give their all to the relationship.

Having been burned in several other relationships, I am entering this with caution. It's like I've sat it down and said that I want to take it slow, I don't expect anything spectacular, but I just don't want to be hurt anymore. Will Apple hear my words? Who knows, its early days. But I do know that this relationship is looking promising.

The end...literally!

by on

Series conclusion. These are two words that a gamer rarely hears in a franchise. Companies strangle the life out of each franchise in order to satisfy their bottom line. Just when you think a fanchise may run out of ideas, you find out there's a new episode to the story that is a distant relative of the original star lead that is just as annoyed/dedicated/talented as their family counter-part.

This leads me onto the main reason why I started this blog, God of War 3, the game that could and hopefully will revolutionise the way conpanies sell their franchises. Not just with countless editions, but as a story, a franchise that can be judged by the story as a whole, rather than each game, greater than the sum of its parts so to speak. If you say God of War, you say the whole series, not just one or two of the 50 creations that followed.

Its surprising that we judge games on their risk factor because they're new, take Heavy Rain for example. This is a game that is very different and unique in that its very heavy on the story, very adult and not much in the way of actual gameplay, but that has somehow worked. If risks can be taken in creating a new game, why not the same risks in ending a franchise.

Where would we be in movies if the Matrix trilogy never ended or Harry Potter or X-Men, the trill in each franchise is in its conclusion, Something that has been building up to and has captured the imagination of its followers.

So I say to the creators of francises like Final Fantasy 13, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Residant Evil, games that can no longer be judged as a whole but rather individual games, be brave. If you have ideas that can spand 10 years and 5+ games, start a new, experiment, you might just ht the nail on the head.