So, I have a bad back right now. It's been documented elsewhere on this blog, so I won't waste valuable Internet resources whining about it again now. It is what it is---to use one of the stupider phrases currently in vogue. (Yeah, I know it is what it is--that's why I said it.)
Anyway, so yesterday I had one of them bad back flareups. It was bad enough that I knew I was gonna need to stay home from my fabu job at EA and lay horizontal. Every time I moved, I hurt. Not fun.
So the first thing I did was make another dent in Erickson's Deadhouse Gates. Honestly, I'm geeking out on this series (which started, errr, as a D&D campaign--which is how low I've sunk in my reading), but the man does know how to spin an epic tale. Plus, he went to the Iowa Writer's Workshop! Which is my defensive, English-majory way of saying, yes I know this is pulp fantasy, but it is written by A Writer, so leave me alone.
But I can only take so much of Erickson in one jaunt. He is dense. And every other paragraph has some kinda hifalutin jibjabbery nonsense about the High Warren of Barf'Vomitia Shadow Magic or somesuch shit, and there's only so much of that that one man can take. Even though I like it.
So that left me with one other entertainment option: My Magic Device, the iPhone. Seriously, there is almost nothing this thing can't do. I got over my Apple love years ago, and was actually an active Apple Hater for awhile, but good god is this thing awesome. Just last night I discovered I can schedule TiVo shows from it. That's in addition to every other dang thing I can do--read the New York Times, catch up on podcasts, listen to my iTunes library, search for and buy movie tickets, do research on Wikipedia, find the nearest gas station, find *myself* when lost via the GPS (which I did twice recently when lost on my motorcycle, totally saving me from freaking out)....the list goes on and on.
But yesterday, flat on my back, in need of entertainment, I downloaded two games. The first, just to prove what a shameless corporate shill I have become, was Simcity for iPhone. And, just to prove what a shameless corporate shill I have become, I'm here to tell you that it is great. Seriously. I'd tell you that even if I wasn't a shameless corporate shill. Plus, I don't work with those people at all and don't even know if it was even developed at our studio. But SimCity fans, this is the real deal. It's the full game. It's basically SimCity 3000, and while, yes, of course, not EVERYTHING is here (I miss the traffic!), the city simulator is mostly intact in all its robust, addictive glory. The touch screen is used smartly and intuitively (touch on a building in Query mode to get the lowdown on it), and even the controls for laying down items work *way* better than I had anticipated. I don't know when the next "official" PC SimCity game is gonna be made (AND HERE'S MY OFFICIAL PUBLIC PLEADING TO BE ON THAT TEAM WHEN IT COMES), but, in the meantime, this port is far, far better than it has any right to be, totally satisfying my city-building jones---especially because I can play it flat on my back.
The other one I got, just to prove I'm not always a shameless corporate shill, is the ever-popular Fieldrunners, which made a bunch of Top 10 lists this year, and which Curt Schilling apparently loves, because you can't avoid seeing that fact everywhere, because I guess it's important that a baseball player loves this game. Whatever. The fact is, I agree with Curt! I've admittedly kind of avoided the "desktop defense" subgenre until now, so I can't honestly give you a competitive analysis. But I can tell you that I played this game until my iPhone battery wore out--twice. So ridiculously addictive. And the more I played, the more I realized that actual strategy and planning will--surprise!--actually yield better results. Rather than haphazardly and frantically laying down towers everywhere and spending all my money all at once. The game encourages endless experimentation. What seems beyond butt-simple at first reveals itself to be so much more than that--which towers to emphasize? Upgrade, or add more towers? Front load the entrance, or play defense at the back end? All this with bright and shiny graphics and some nice sound design, and you have a total winner of a game. (One thing that bothers me though: what's up with the military planning of the enemy? You gotta feel sorry for all these poor little soldiers, marching endlessly out of the same port, only to get mowed down over and over and over. Maybe the next game, or novel, can be told from their point of view.)
Okay, I'm getting my sore carcass into the car now for a 6 hour drive to LA---just what the physical therapist didn't order!! Hopefully I will survive the journey to blog again soon! If not, hey, it's been real! Byeeeeeeee!