Intervention

"We need to talk."

I walk into the apartment slowly, assessing the scene. The tone of the voice is serious, wary. Expecting a struggle. For just a moment, I consider turning on my heel and making my escape. It's still happy hour.

The moment passes. "Okay."

Bag down, jacket off, but I keep my shoes on. It's easier to make a dramatic exit when you don't have to tie your laces. I take stock of the situation: The dishwasher is running, the kitchen is clean. One lamp on beside the couch, music playing in the bedroom. But we're alone. Or as alone as one can be with the Internet.

"Sit down." Gesturing to a spot on the couch. The faces flicker, scramble, a pale-faced male in a Mastodon shirt one moment, a brunette with streaks in her hair the next. Like A Scanner Darkly. Each flash seems familiar for a brief moment, like a friend or someone whose thread topic made you chuckle during a long work day, then melt into a personality of a stranger, in an unsettling display of anonymity. You think you know them, but you probably don't.

"What's wrong?" I ask. "Did I do something wrong? Did I double-post?"

The images continue to blur and change, but they all look disapproving and a bit sad. "We're concerned. All you ever talk about is your iPhone and its silly little games. We think you're becoming an elitist — a … a digirati." The Internet says.

Without thinking, I reply. "Well, yeah."

"This isn't funny," says The Internet. "This is serious. Ever since you got your iPhone, you've been kind of a jerk. All you talk about anymore is how great it is, how fun the games are. And it's not even that you're wrong — which you are — but that you're so smug about it."

"There's nothing wrong with the iPhone," I say, louder than I intended. Without thinking, I pull the device out of my pants pocket and flip it from horizontal to vertical and back. "Look, it flips the screen around. That's cool!"

The Internet, all at once, rolls its eyes. "Yes, yes. We know. That's like the fifth time you've shown us that. But we like games, Cory. We want to play a real game." A tanned, young face flickers across for a brief moment, eyes wide, accentuating the point.

My head tilts slightly, puzzled. "But there are real games. Didn't you hear me talking about Galcon a few months ago? That was on the PC first, and it's so much better on the iPhone." A couple taps on the screen and the theme music is playing. "Look, it's got multiplayer!"

The Internet sighs collectively — the sound of thousands of networked, anonymous users dismissing my enthusiasm — and rises from the couch. They walk across the hardwood floor to the kitchen and open the refrigerator, flashes of long, alluring legs and swaying hips. I watch, dumbfounded, and ponder for a second how The Internet always seems more attractive the further you are away from it. They turn, a beer in their hand, and consider me from afar.

"What happened with you and the DS? You used to love that thing, and those are full-fledged games." The faces change again, animated eyes and a shocking swoop of blue hair. "Remember Phoenix Wright? All the funny dialog? You spent hours with that series. You used to talk about it all the time, remember?"

"Well, yeah. But that was years ago." I glance at the shelf, at the rows of games and movies that I once cherished, but now serve only to fill heavy boxes when I move, or take up space in the increasingly tiny living quarters I can afford. "There's been a bunch of really great games. New Super Mario Bros., Elite Beat Agents, that game where you draw the lines and the cream puff dude runs across."

They go blank a second, no faces, no sounds. A formless, unreadable shadow. Searching. "Kirby: Canvas Curse." The faces return, in triumph.

"Uh, yeah." I hate it when they do that. "But they don't make those anymore. It's all Sudoku clones and educational junk. Shovelware. Brain Age 12: The Wrath Of Khan."

"That's just because there's a lot of titles available." Their voices get louder, their faces paler. I've made a point they don't like. "There are still more, better games on the DS. What about RPGs, huh?" Here it comes. "You can play those for HOURS. You got any of that on your FANCY APPLE PHONE?"

And there it is. Every argument with them ends this way, in upper-cased fury. I take a calming breath.

"Listen, if it really bothers you--"

A phone rings. "Hang on." They reach into their pocket and pull out a Motorola RAZR. "I've gotta take this."

"Wait a minute!" I jump to my feet, the realization hitting me like a wave across the bough. Now my voice is the one raising. "Is that what this is about? You're just pissed I've got a better phone than you!"

"Well, maybe if you didn't talk about it all the time!"

"Look, it's really not a big deal. I never said the DS sucks. I don't think the PSP is terrible. I’m not passing some sort of judgment on you. Obviously I find some sort of value out of the software I'm getting on this thing, but it's not like I'm right and you're wrong."

A bright flash. This must pass as relief for the anonymous masses.

"Why don't we do this: I'll take a much more serious look at the games I decide to rant about on the iPhone. I won't bother you about two-minute time wasters like Uno or iBowl or whatever. But when I find something I think holds some serious value, I'm going to tell you about it. Shout it from the rooftops. Because if it's really good, you'll want to know."

The images cycle, the boy who never logs out of WoW, the mother who plays Peggle while her newborn naps, the guy in the cubicle who wants to close the spreadsheet so he can play Call of Duty with his friends at home. They all consider my words and, I think, realize that I'm trying to be genuine. They don't all agree, but they don't fight back.

"Okay."

A silence falls over the apartment. The tension in the air dissipates. Something has been decided, something changed. Between us — the Internet and me — we try to get back to our decided levels of normalcy.

"Hey," the Internet asks, "wanna see this great cat video I found?"

Comments

Dr. Corby wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

Families are expensive. Sell them on eBay.

I have a 19 year old, a 14 year old and a 12 year old...what am I offered?

:^)

You pay $50,000 to unload all three. You're still coming out ahead in the long run; just think of it like paying off your mortgage early.

Dr. Corby wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

Families are expensive. Sell them on eBay.

I have a 19 year old, a 14 year old and a 12 year old...what am I offered?

:^)

Careful, *Legion* will take you seriously.

Bravo, sir. You managed to take every message board/forum thread I've read, roll them up, add a pinch of caring, a smidgen of proper grammar and spelling and turn them into something wonderful.

Full disclaimer: I don't think I should be paying for a phone that has an expected life span of 2 years and can only be used in conjunction with someone else's fee based services. I get cheap phones, hopefully free after discounts, so I can make phone calls.

I'm required to carry a phone by forces beyond my control (I.E. mother, girlfriend, work) so I might as well have one I can geek out on as well! Also, AT&T is one of the better carriers in the SF Bay Area. Not really a counter point. For awhile I proudly carried my RAZR I got for free. The recent loss of my Zune had me searching for a new MP3 player. I carried two devices for so long and was a bit fed up with that arrangement, so what better way to merge the two. For the record, I used to be pretty Mac unfriendly. So I die a little inside every time I say: "Hey, that's neat." about an iPhone feature.

I still prefer my Blackberry.

I think the beef with Cory is that no one likes "the fanboy." They guy who talks mostly about a very narrow subset. They hate it when the focus is 45 minutes of Rock Band and then a peppering of something else. Thye hate it when a month goes by where everyone is playing "This month's MMO fad."

It can go from funny to sickening pretty fast. Anyone with me that they are ready to stop listeing to TWiT? Which has become this week in twitter? We listen to podcasts for the big beautiful world of what we love and what we have missed, maybe what we can catch up on later.

I wish I had an iPhone for everything you can do with it but very little for the phone itself. I'm not willing to pay the monthly fee.

*sobs*

I watch, dumbfounded, and ponder for a second how The Internet always seems more attractive the further you are away from it.

You have never uttered a better line in your life. Ever. Feel free to Google it...

rabbit wrote:

3: DEMOS and DELIVERY. How much use do you get out of your 360 because you have a constant stream of new games to try out, even without spending any money. We've often handed out advice that the 360 with a gold membership is one of the cheapest ways to just get game value because of this. The fact that you can be in the environment where you want your portable gaming device (coffee shop, bus, car, train, backyard) and get 10 new games to try in 10 minutes shouldn't be discounted.

This is huge for me. My iPhone is always with me, so I can (and do) browse, download and play new games anytime and anywhere. I grab a new game almost every day, often for free. Some I toss immediately, others I play for an hour, and a few keep me occupied for weeks. As far as my current gaming habits/interests go, it's the perfect casual platform.

interstate78 wrote:

I wish I had an iPhone for everything you can do with it but very little for the phone itself.

Sounds like you want an iPod Touch.

Yeah, the second gen touch has all of the functionality can use most apps and every game what it lacks is a GPS, phone modem(no 3G internet) so you are locked to WiFi. But its battery life is better, you need a special headset, but you can even make skype calls with the touch. Anyony looking at Netbooks, or smartphones but wonder about data plans should look at the touch.

KingGorilla wrote:

But its battery life is better, you need a special headset, but you can even make skype calls with the touch.

Wow - I didn't know that. One of my biggest peeves with Skype is the need to be tied to your desk when making the call - I'm a phone wanderer. +1 for the Touch - definitely looking like I'll be picking one up with my iPod dies.

"Wait a minute!" I jump to my feet, the realization hitting me like a wave across the bough. Now my voice is the one raising. "Is that what this is about? You're just pissed I've got a better phone than you!" (Emphasis added).

I understand the point of the article--that it's unfair to dismiss praise for iPhone games purely on the grounds that it's on a phone. I also see the compromise at the end. In a real argument/intervention, though, I don't think anyone would have let you get away with completely dismissing their criticism in the way you do here. As a general rule, it's not a good idea to tell people why they think something--especially if you're chalking it up to jealousy. "You just think that because..." sentences are generally untrue, and are rude and irrelevant anyway.

I think an equally plausible way to look it (and one which doesn't involve insulting those who disagree with you) would be to say that it's boring to listen to someone talk exclusively about something that isn't relevant for you (because you don't own the platform in question). That's it.

This preaching aside, I thought I should end by saying that I don't have an iPhone, but I enjoy hearing about some of the innovating titles coming out for it. They sound interesting! I'd rather you guys talk about the games you find interesting--even if they aren't relevant to me, personally. So if we're weighing in democratically, I say keep ranting!

wordsmythe wrote:
interstate78 wrote:

I wish I had an iPhone for everything you can do with it but very little for the phone itself.

Sounds like you want an iPod Touch.

I've considered the iPod touch but I already got an iPod Classic 160gb and a Shuffle.

So if I want a Touch just for the games, is that expense really justified? I don't know of any 1-5$ game that would make me spend 200$ +

Whatever your on, I'll have two please !! Epic piece of writing, helped me through the dull old office squares and 9 to 5.. Thank you

philosofrenzy wrote:

As a general rule, it's not a good idea to tell people why they think something--especially if you're chalking it up to jealousy. "You just think that because..." sentences are generally untrue, and are rude and irrelevant anyway.

As a general rule: "Just" is a bad adverb.

As another general rule: Never assert why your audience does anything.

JohnnyMoJo wrote:
I watch, dumbfounded, and ponder for a second how The Internet always seems more attractive the further you are away from it.

You have never uttered a better line in your life. Ever. Feel free to Google it... ;-)

This was my favourite line from the article as well.

rabbit wrote:

5: I could actually care less about it as a phone. My average monthly voice minutes is under 100, and virtually all of that is to the same 4-5 people. To me, the device is effectively my portable browser/email system, and my default portable gaming system.

I get that this sounds like fanboi zealotry. But I feel like it's dismissed out of hand "because it's a phone" all the time, and I seem to be the designated defender (grin).

It's just like that for me. I don't like voice phone calls. I always prefer email or just going to see the person in person. For me, it's just a well made, very usable, always connected data device. One which excels at giving a screen that size a workable web browsing experience. That it has games is a bonus.

Although the lack of Peggle is maddening at times. Am I right, fellas?

I don't care about iPhone this and portable gaming that. But this description of the internet is awesome. Very well done Demiurge.

you mention 1 application in there and i go and download it.

**damnit**

I liked your reference to my long, alluring legs and swaying hips.