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Monday, April 8, 2013

Life is a series of subscriptions

It used to be you had a few recurring monthly payments:
Rent / house payment
Utilities (gas, electricity, water, sewer, land line phone)
Car payment

You probably got your TV over the air. There was no internet and without that no such things as multiplayer games that were fee based.

Now you might have had some self imposed recurring fees like a monthly comic book store stop, new miniatures to paint for DnD sessions or something similar.

Today we have added:
Cable or Satellite TV including DVR rental
Internet provider of some type, bundled or otherwise
Cell phone including data plan
Online gaming subscriptions
App purchases
Netflix, Amazon or Hulu type service

We probably dropped:
Land line phone

It all seems so simple. What is another $20 here and there. Sure, get HBO and add data to all the kids phones and up the internet connection speed. Chuck on $3.50 for cell phone insurance, $14.99 to monitor your credit score, etc. When you look at it all - boy does it add up quickly. I cringe every time I think of adding another monthly fee.

I feel I would really enjoy playing WoW but I don't want to pay for a game then play every month to play it. I worry I would eat up too much time playing the game or feel like I had to play it to get my monies worth that month. I don't need a second job that is a game. I know I am generally pretty cheap. I don't buy new releases, I wait until they are sale usually on steam. I like to get Gold editions or multi-packs. When I play an RPG I generally finish it and I feel I get my monies worth out of it. I really enjoyed the Gothic series, Divine Divinity, the original Diablo (later ones became too multiplayer specific, still enjoyed them but not as much as the first), Might and Magic. Boy my wife was sick of MM6 by the time I finished it. Could only have done that before kids.

I enjoy a good FPS and have played through many of the single player experiences more than once. As weird as some of the Delta Force games were I have enjoyed them over and over through the years. Adventure games are fun to play with others helping you. Monkey Island and the Broken Sword series come to mind.

So far I have never signed up for a monthly fee based game. I have never made in app purchases. I did not buy fancy armor for any of the Elder Scrolls series. I like games that I buy, play at my own pace and play through more than once generally with years between the play sessions.

A lot of that is coming to an end. I play games on my phone that last just minutes a session. That is all the time I end up having. At best I try to carve out time each day to do crossword puzzles for a little mental challenge. I miss having an RPG story to return to a few nights a week spread over multiple months. I was gifted Torch Light 2 which was hack and slash and less RPG which I had fun playing and finished with multiple character types.

My son and I had a blast playing Portal 2 especially the co-op mode. We need to fire that up again for another play through. My wife had to keep the door to the computer room closed as we were laughing to hard for her to get any work done. We both have upgraded computers for this go round and it should be a really good time again. Sure, we will remember some of the tricks of the levels but there is a lot of timing involved and a lot of stupid ways to die. We need more co-op games.

We keep thinking computers will make our lives easier. They do remove some of the grunt work but they also make our lives harder. Keeping the wireless network up to snuff, adding new devices to the home network, print, scan, copy, collate, update drivers, new Android OS, new iOS, change the data plan, fix the NetFlix streaming issue, adjust the clock for DST and reboot you freaking car! Good thing I am in the tech field and can usually deal with the issues in a timely manner.