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I guess I just like liking things

My original intent was to write an article griping about poor support for mobile games, but I really am trying not to be Mr. Negative here. So I thought if I did a post that had some other stuff but also included some griping it might be okay.  I’m worried that some day I’ll just fall into the standard “here’s what’s wrong with everything” stuff that most pop culture blogs tend to be/become. Keep me honest, people!

So here’s what I’m playing these days:

  • Scrabble (iOS) / AlphaJax (Windows Phone) – These should just go on the “assumed” list, the kind of game I’ll always just have going on in the background.
  • Angry Birds Star Wars II (Windows Phone) – There are some interesting additions to the game, but I haven’t yet figured out if “interesting” = “good.” It’s set in the prequels and there are Light Side levels and Dark Side levels, which boils down to “here are different characters that have the same kind of play mechanics.” There is also a new mechanic where you earn… somethings (they look like slingshots) which you can then buy new characters to use. So, for instance, if the level you’re playing gives you three Darth Mauls to beat it, you can buy a General Grievous and use him in the level if you think it will help you, and it totally just lets you do it with no penalty, it’s a legitimate way to beat a level. Interesting. In the way of Achievements, there’s a “play for 24 hours” one that I am apparently 43% of the way towards getting.
  • Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360) – This is my third or fourth time through this game, but that doesn’t include having to start over halfway through because I couldn’t get past a certain part.  I’m playing through on the Insanity difficulty, which might as well be called “frustratinger than trying to put toothpaste back in the tube” mode. I’ve gone through the Insanity difficulties on Mass Effect 1 and 3, so this is me trying to complete things (and get an Achievement for it), but good night is it ever a slog. I’ve been at this for months now, but many of those months are “I am taking a break so I don’t rip all the hair from my head” months, so I don’t know if they count.  As I mentioned, there was a restart in the middle of this because I got to a point (the damaged Collector ship, if you’re wondering) that I tried everything I could think of (and was told to try by some message boards) and couldn’t get past. Ultimately, starting over and going about my team upgrades in a different way allowed me to get back to that point this time much better prepared – I now have capacity for 7 medpacks, as opposed to just 2, for instance. And choosing squad members with Warp capability (not “warp engine” capability, sadly) makes a huge difference, too.  Even with all of that, though, it still took me 20-30 tries to get past it, and there’ve been a lot of “at what point does a fun hobby turn unfun” thoughts bouncing around my head.  I don’t have an answer for that yet, but I’m pretty sure “right around the time there are two Scions, a Harbinger, and four scouts gunning for you” is at least a part of the answer.
  • The Simpsons Tapped Out (iOS) – Since I remember the zombies from last October, that tells me I’ve been playing this game for a year now. This week the newest “event” opened up, another Treehouse of Horror-themed one, that has you tapping on ghosts to open up new decorations and characters. So far it’s fun, but we’ll see if the end of the month bears that out.
  • My Muppets (iOS) – Enjoyable, but there isn’t really much motivation to pour a bunch of time into it.  Really, there’s not much else to do other than populate your environments with Muppets, and the digitizer takes so long to randomly come up with the Muppets you need that it’s more of a “I guess I’ll check in on this one every so often” thing.
  • The Sims Freeplay (iOS) – This is where one of my frustrations comes in. A few weeks ago there was an update to this game that added a “Mysterious Island” area. It has four monuments that you can build and level up (by having your Sims do tasks) that, in turn, give bonuses to your Sims, like extra Simoleons and XP. Once all four of them are built up to level 25, a new volcano opens up that will apparently give mega bonuses. Near as I can tell, it’s going to take about 15 years to upgrade all four of the monuments, so I might never see that volcano.  The building materials are granted randomly, so needing three granites might not sound like much, but the drop rate for granites seems to be less than 1%, and granite is only one of the three resources needed. So, yeah, I’m sticking with my 15-year guess.

    But that’s not the most frustrating thing. When the update happened, one of my Sims was visiting a neighboring town, a feature added in the previous update. After this update, any time I try to go to the town to retrieve him, the game crashes to the OS desktop. Many others are having this problem, but there has been no official response. The rumored “fix” is to restore from a saved game, but I don’t have a saved game because you would have had to save it before this had happened, and the saves last for seven days.  I don’t really feel like I have the right to gripe about a game that I haven’t spent any money on, but it is very frustrating, especially when there are game mechanics that rely on you being able to send a Sim to other towns.

  • Ghostbusters (iOS) – Which brings me to this one. I have been unable to play this one for almost six months now. Same deal: after an update to the title, it crashes to the OS desktop when I try to open it.  While support did answer me initially, any follow-up attempts at communication have been met with silence. So if any of you work for Beeline, please pass alone my frustrations. Since this one’s progress is stored locally, too (and doesn’t even have the option for saving to the cloud), I can’t uninstall/reinstall without losing a ton of progress and the 50 cores I had saved up.

On my radar:

  • Dead Rising 2 (Xbox 360) – This was one of the free games offered to Xbox Gold Members last month, so I downloaded it, but I haven’t played it yet.
  • Lego Marvel – I’m thinking this will be the first game I get for the Xbox One, but it might take a while for me to get it.
  • Splinter Cell Blacklist – I love the Splinter Cell series, I just haven’t had the money to get this one. I’ll start watching for used copies in another few months.
  • Assassin’s Creed 4 – I’m not keen on pirates, but I love this series, so I’ll end up getting this one, too.

What are playing these days?

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