The Tattoo Begins

For many years now I’ve been considering getting my first tattoo.

Now, considering my age now I’m calling it my “mid-life crisis tattoo” which is going to be a lot cheaper than getting a red sports car. The Joker was always my first choice for a tattoo and never changed so it was a lock.

This work in progress tattoo was done by David Phelps at Adrenaline Tattoo in Downtown Vancouver. I cannot wait to get it in full color later this month.

Perception

Human beings are the only animal that forms ideas about their world. We perceive it not through our bodies but through our minds. We must agree on what is real. Because of this, we are the only animal on Earth that goes mad.

— Narrator, Legion, Season 2: Chapter 10

Cineplex VIP

Over the years I’ve been seeing much fewer movies in theaters. I’m tired of the movie start time being advertised as 7:00PM and then setting through 20+ minutes of ads and previews. Sorry, I don’t have to put up with that at home for far less the cost.

So, when a VIP cinema opened up close to home I was intrigued enough to give it a try. Ultimately it will get me back into theaters, at least tiny bit more often.

What all do you get for the $20 admission price? 

  • Reserved seating.
  • Food service directly to your table.
  • Reclining seats (you can even adjust the headrest)
  • 19+ only admission (a serious perk)
  • Access to the VIP bar and lounge
  • No commercials (I not 100% if this is really a thing or the fact of a new theater or an early showing)

The food is, to the most part, what you get outside but brought to your table with a nicer presentation. Currently, they do not have a license to allow you to bring your alcohol into the theater.

Chicken Parmesan & Fries

Everyone was very friendly and it does do (mostly) what theaters should do to survive long term. When you’re competing against films coming to video months after release and people with OLED 4K TV’s, they’re going to have to step up their game even more.

I recommend VIP for big event movies and if I were not forever single, date movies.

State of Mobile Gaming

Ninety-five percent.

For me, that is the percentage of current mobile “games” which are complete garbage. What would be a fantastic start to resolving this situation would be to move all “games” with in-app purchases from “Free” over to “Paid”.

So, who exactly is to blame for the state of mobile gaming then?

Unfortunately, the majority of the blame lands squarely on the users. I’ve lost track how many times I’ve heard people unwilling to even pay so much as $2.99 for an app. Realistically you cannot make a premium mobile game and survive on that kind of money. Think about it. How do you pay staff on a game that people pay for once and so little? The days of the $0.99 cents Angry Birds (which itself has become full of microtransactions) are long over.

“Wait a minute! It sounds like your advocating for current practices! I’m confused?”

No. The current, insidious, predatory practices of nickel and diming the public are going to doom the entire genre unless pulled way back. Yes, yes, that’s a lot of hyperbole but I think people are already starting to get sick of it. The trend is to make the waiting for things to happen so positively irritating that you will decide to fork over some cash. For a quality, feature rich game, I have no problem paying in excess of $15 as a start.

EA’s take on the beloved classic Dungeon Keeper is a shining example of what is wrong with the industry. Now, it should be no surprise that EA is among the worst of these but this, with this franchise, was just so terribly disappointing.

Then, let’s not forget the Warner Brothers title for the “children”, Harry Potter, which strangles your character for a long time unless you pay to speed up his/her rescue… I am not making that up.

I want to echo one of the points from Feature Creep in that many of these are not even real games. They are excuses to make you keep paying or wait. In the game “Boom Beach” a simple upgrade to a character takes 2 1/2 days.

Loot Boxes

This is gambling. Period. Even if the items are not paid to win items it is still a form of gambling and parts of the world are starting to take notice. 

It is difficult to say how this will turn out or how the industry will find a new way to claw money out of us but I think it’s a positive step. Making “AAA” games is not cheap but this exploitation is not the answer.

Subscriptions

If done properly this could actually work. Any game which has a backend to support or wants to continue to put in new features simply cannot work on a single payment. Nor do we want them to resort to loot boxes and other microtransactions. 

Perhaps a “complete” subscription would be the answer. Thus unlocking all features, all characters with no further money required. The drawbacks are of course there’s only so many subscriptions which people are willing to pay for so if subscriptions become the norm the number of games people play will greatly diminish.

Summary

In the end, I do not think there is any easy answers to the problem. I can say without a shadow of a doubt the current trend is poisonous.