Gambling Isn’t Quite Like Gaming

I’m back from Vegas! Sorry for a slow few days around here. While in Vegas on a 4 day business trip I was able to try my hand at gambling for the first time. I looked for some fun slot machines, took my 5 dollars, and tried my luck.

The one I found had pirates on it and it made cannon sounds. I cautiously put in a dollar. Hit the button. And lost my whole dollar. I then went to the PENNY slots, put in my dollar, and lost 75 cents. It was then that I figured out a penny slot could still bet 75 cents at a time. So I found a true penny slot that let me literally play 1 cent at a time. I ended up playing for 30 minutes betting anywhere between 1 and 10 cents per bet.

At one point I thought I won the jackpot. I got 3 skull and crossbones and the thing started making all sorts of sounds. Nope, I just won 40 free plays. I was a little sad that I wouldn’t be starting up my own gaming studio.

In the end, I lost my $5 but had 30 minutes of trying to figure out the most effective way to maximize my bets. While sitting in the gross, smoke filled casino gambling away my pennies I was thinking about how this could relate to video games. It really didn’t. I wasn’t “playing” anything here. I was pushing one button and hoping. But the business model felt akin to some games monetize. Hearthstone, for example, is essentially gambling. You put down your money and hope good cards come out. Many games are the exact same way.

I walked away still feeling the same way: I like to know that the money I spend on entertainment is guaranteed, or at leave highly likely, to entertain me. Sure, I take a “gamble” on seeing a movie every now and again that I may not know a lot about, but I still do my best to do my homework. For example, I love Disney so I knew I would enjoy Zootopia (I did, best movie I’ve seen in a long, long time.) I was skeptical about Batman vs. Superman, and sure enough the reviews were scathing — I skipped it.

Video games are the same way, though I do take more gambles in order to give you guys my thoughts. I tend toward buying games I know I will enjoy.

Catching up after a long week

I’m back from my 4 day business trip to Seattle — forgot to mention I would be gone. I missed SoCal quite a bit. All that wet stuff falling from the sky and people smoking everywhere took a bit of getting used to for me. Living in the suburbs in the Inland Empire (greater Los Angeles area) we see very little of either of those things these days. I caught some kind of cold from the trip which either came from all the people hacking up a lung on the plane or the rain.

miitomoI had my first experience with Uber while in Seattle, and proceeded to use it a dozen times. That was pretty cool. I was marveling at how incredible it is that I walk out of my hotel, tap a button on my phone, and a car pulls up. I get in the car, it drives me where I told my phone I wanted to go, and when I get there I just get out of the car and go along my way never having to exchange money or interact with anyone (if that’s my desire). Technology is getting pretty darn cool — especially where our handheld devices are concerned. Now if only gaming could catch up a bit. Seems to me we’ve stagnated a bit on these dumb time waster games and haven’t seen much for mobile devices.

Nintendo’s first official first-party app Miitomo launches next month. I’m once again a little confused by their direction with new products. Miitomo is going to be an app about dressing up your Mii, talking with friends, and taking photos with your Mii. I was hoping for more from them when Tatsumi Kimishima took over. Just not seeing any of that yet. Where’s the true first party GAMES rather than these awkward Japanese inspired social mechanics?

Interestingly enough, Nintendo continues to push forward with updating games they released in the past for use on the 3DS family of systems. FOr example, Pokemon Yellow Special Edition Pikachu Edition launches on February 27, 2016 ($9.99). Pokemon Yellow was released 18 years ago! I love that they are bringing back these titles, but I’d also love that Zelda open-world RPG we’ve been waiting on for a few years now. I’ll be a tad bitter if the Nintendo NX launches and all these Wii U games we could have had are pushed out a generation.

Settling back into my routine is nice. I’m going to pick Final Fantasy Explorers back up and continue pushing forward. I’m loving the Machinist and looking forward to the Red Mage. Also playing LEGO Dimensions, Just Cause 3, and way too many games — write ups coming soon. Several of you have joined us in Albion Online. If you need a guild invite let me know! Our island is awesome for free crafting on high-tier stations.

D23 Expo Gaming and Geek News

I’m a huge fan of Disney. My wife and I just renewed our Disneyland annual passes, and I’m eager to start going again once this heat weave we’re experiencing is over. Somewhat on-topic for our blog, Disney just had their D23 Expo over the weekend and announced some incredible news for fans like us as well as for gaming fans.

First…

Star Wars Land

Star Wars Land

I got chills when this was announced. An entire land at Disneyland (and Disney World) dedicated to Star Wars… it’s a dream come true. Star Tours the ride is already a must-ride for me every time we go. I spend at least 10-15 minutes in the Star Wars gift shop looking at all of the overpriced licensed goodies. Apparently the new Star Wars Land will have shops operated by difference species, and new major attractions featuring the Millenium Falcon and a “cinematic battle.” My fingers are crossed for blue milk at concession stands. I didn’t see an announced date, but I’m guessing 2017.

A little more on topic now… (Not that Star Wars and geekery are ever off-topic…)

Disney Magic Kingdoms

Disney Magic Kingdoms App Game

Disney Magic Kingdoms will be a Roller Coaster Tycoon style game where players can build their own Disney themepark. Starting with the iconic castle (which one I do not know, but I’m partial to Sleeping Beauty), players can place many of the rides and attractions from the parks including Haunted Mansion, California Screamin’, Astro Orbiter, and of course Space Mountain.

I’m assuming Magic Kingdoms will be a time-waster game. I’m okay with that, and I trust Disney to carefully control the experience, especially since it involves their brand in such a huge way. I’m betting we’ll see expensive In-App Purchases — the likes of which I will never, ever, purchase but always work hard to hopefully try and earn them in-game.

Nothing beats Disney quality. Their apps are phenomenal. I’m really excited to build the ultimate park, put Dole Whips on every corner, and pipe that sweet smell of cinnamon and sugar to every inch of the Keenland. Definitely putting this one on my must-watch list.

I’m back!

Woohoo! It’s good to be back! Well, not really. I loved being on my honeymoon, and I enjoyed the first real 100% relaxing trip I’ve taken in over 10 years. Nothing beats swaying in a hammock on a tropical island. We took a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas and had an absolutely wonderful time. This was my first cruise ever, and I have to say it was much better than I expected.

We were on aboard the Disney Dream. She really is a beautiful ship, and as a detail oriented person I love how Disney goes to great lengths to ensure every little detail contains that sparkle of Disney magic. From the Aqua Duck water slide-coaster to the private island, it really is a great experience. We paid quite a premium, as in all things Disney, but it was worth it for us as Disney fans. I’m happy to share any details and answer any questions you might have about the cruise. Suffice it to say I highly recommend it and will do it again.

Oh! The wedding was beautiful, and the the whole day was magnificent. I’m so glad that I can say the entire thing from ‘I do’ until the last day of the honeymoon was absolutely flawless. The one hiccup in all of it was at the very end on our flight home … we got delayed right at the last second before boarding and ended up spending like 14 hours in the airport waiting on our flight. To top it off we both got colds from all the sneezing and coughing people on the plane. Both of us agreed that the honeymoon ended upon the cruise docking so this doesn’t count! 😉

So what now? My internet (~22mbps … grumble) is up and running. I just got my computer and desk all set up yesterday night. I’ll be logging in from home now to play games again!

Did I miss anything big? I’m going through all the news sites and my email (over a week without my phone on means quite a pile to sort through) and should be up and running today or tomorrow at the latest. We have lots of furniture being delivered and still so much to do, but I’m at a point now where I can come home from work and relax to some games.

AT&T U-verse Questions – HELP!

My fiancée and I are moving stuff into our new place, debating which TV to buy, waiting for the bed to be delivered, trying to find decent furniture, and then we realized one important thing: We should probably get internet. Before I jump to the point of this post I want to give a little preface.

When choosing this place we did so based on a huge list of criteria ranging from our budget to its location, etc., etc. Everything is truly amazing except for the fact that the only internet provider we can get is AT&T U-verse. What a total drag. I hate being victim to a monopoly, but supposedly the developers gave TWC time to come in but they were late so they closed up the ground and said no more running lines.

Our apartment complex was built just under a year ago. AT&T U-verse ran fiber lines directly to each unit during construction. U-verse has a dedicated rep for our complex that supposedly gives pretty good deals to rival what AT&T will sell you on their website. So I got the guy’s number and gave him a call.

I got on the phone and cut right to the chase: I want the best internet you got and I want a little bit of TV too. So he put together a package that comes in at $76/month +California taxes (that price includes their hidden fees and modem leasing, yada yada) and a guarantee that our prices do not go up each year due to the special deal we got through our complex. Yep, that’s cheaper than their online prices (I’d be paying 86 for the same package and slowest internet). I choked when he told me how fast the connection was: 18mbps. Excuse me, say what? I currently have 100mbps from TWC. The rep told me “Yeah but this is Fiber running straight to your unit. It’s better.” I asked, “Why?” He said, “because it has more bandwidth and on TWC you have lots of people sharing the same line and that slows you down.” I replied, “Speedtests showed me getting 100mbps-125mbps at all times. I didn’t feel slow. I downloaded any time of day at 10 megabytes to 13 megabytes a second.” He replied again about it being consistent and great.

Having no choice, we’re going to have our setup occur on March 30th. My question to you all is whether or not this guy is giving me a load of crap. I see 18mbps and I think I’m about to go back to the stone age. I want to watch my Netflix in super HD and not have any buffering issues, and I want to do it while playing online games with great ping. Am I going to be okay? Speak comfort to me, friends!