Monday, November 21, 2011

Nothing Gold Ever Stays

I got a blessed iPhone back in March. It really is quite a modern miracle. I don't regret for one moment purchasing the iPhone (as part of my 2-year agreement with Verizon, of which I also have NO complaints).

It has made my life infinitely easier and more fun. According to Apple, there are over 500,000 apps available for the iPhone and I'm sure the iPad will overcome that number in the near future. I just can't bring myself to drop $699 on an iPad (hey if you're going to get one, may as well get the BEST one; I mean DOUBLE the GB for $100 more? Hell yes). It looks so fragile and I have no where to put it. It's too big for my purse and would get destroyed in my work messenger bag. The battery doesn't seem to last very long either (but, then again, neither does the one on my phone). My sister's boyfriend has one, so I've actually seen and used one to make my assumptions.

ANYWAY. I've got a bunch o' apps on my phone. Most of them were free. I am really cheap, as you all know. I have purchased a few games, however, that were just SO stand-out great in the free versions that it was worth the couple of bucks. Like Peggle. I absolutely lurve this game. I think the app was normally $3.99, but I got it on sale for some reason for $1.99. And it looks like NOW it's only $.99! I also bought the "Peggle Nights" expansion as in IAP for $.99. We also purchased this game for the xbox360. Very fun, addictive game and great for everyone.

Fruit Ninja is another cool game. I bought this for only $.99. I think they've adapted this game for the xbox360 as well, but we haven't so much as looked sideways at our xbox in months.

Since about May, I've been playing a game called Stamp Art Fever. I actually have the PRO version, but I got it free, so I saved myself a whopping $1.99, which is what it costs now. Anyway, the game is, in a nutshell, stamp collecting. Sounds dull. But it's oddly fun and soothing. Or at least it USED TO BE. In the last few months my silly little stamp-collecting game has grown quite bloated and is moving in a direction that disappoints me so much.

Let me preface my rant by saying that I have actually carved out a little niche for myself in this game. I am ranked 12th world-wide of iPhone app users (I think iPad has its own list) on GameCenter's leader board---12th out of about 4000. Not too shabby. [Update 12/3: I am now ranked 9th!]

So it would be nice if the game's developers would pay some attention to the folks who have been playing this game for months (it was practically new when I started playing) instead of playing to the "band-wagoners" that stroke their egos every time they make some lame announcement or "improvement" to the game.

First Problem: The developers are Italian. Now, this itself isn't exactly a problem (hey, I'm Italian too). But they have a PAID app on the market that is gaining popularity and the number of grammatical and translational errors (presumably between Italian & English) is absurdly high. I really, really think they should invest in a native-English-speaker editor for everything they do before they commit updates to the app. I know they are making money on this app. How do I know? Well for one thing, the only way to have any success in the game, at least initially) is to invest some real money in buying in-app coins to buy stamp "blisters" in order to beef up your collections for trade or what-not. In the initial month or two of my playing SAF, I must have spent about $30 on in-app purchases either for coins or other options (I'll get to that later). This is A LOT for me (recall that I am both cheap and BROKE). Imagine someone who is not cheap or broke?

Example: There is a stamp in the Extra Rare book entitled "Eagle and the Darky Wood." DARKY? Really? Maybe Italians don't realize what an offensive term that is in the United States. Or maybe it's just a typo. Either way, someone should have fucking PROOFREAD it before it was released. What makes this even MORE infuriating is that there is another stamp in the same collection entitled: "Alone in the Dark Wood." Dark. See? Hire a goddamn proofreader!

Second Problem: Obsession with "cheaters." Look, people. It's frustrating when you create a fun little game and some jerkoff out there exploits the game's code and cheats. Or screws around with their phone's settings to change the days/times/countries in order to cheat. But you know what? It happens; so get over it. No, instead the game developers reduced the number of coins a person can send and receive per day to 40K (it used to be 100K). Now 40K might seem like a lot. But when you're dealing with obsessed people (and I mean there are some people who play this game that are INSANELY obsessed) they will pay upwards of a million coins for a stamp. At 40K a day it's going to take a while to complete a trade/purchase. The developers cited the reduction to 40K per day "to prevent cheating." Um, how exactly does this prevent cheating? Especially since the cheating is probably occurring at the code-level and not the game-play level. To add insult to injury the developers decided to offer the option of paying $.99 to be able to bring the send/receive amount back to 100K. And this is To punish a few "cheaters," 4000 iPhone app users would have to cash out another $.99. Seems like a money-making scheme to me. I resisted spending the $.99 but eventually broke down. And here's the be-all, end-all: it didn't work. I STILL can only send and receive 40K. I thought about complaining to the developers, but with the language barrier, I doubt they will even know what the hell I am talking about.

Third Problem: Hall of Fame. About every month or so the developers release an update that usually offers more stamp sets to collect and some improvements. With the version 10 release, the developers instituted a Hall of Fame collection to the game. Of COURSE, this had to be unlocked through an IAP for $1.99. I absolutely refuse to pay for this. It's stupid. When the information on the version 10 update was trumpeted on the blog, they never mentioned that players would have to shell out cash for this feature. It's very unfair. Moreover, because the Hall of Fame is only open at certain times and there are limited numbers of the Hall of Fame stamps, the same few people keep buying up everything in sight to gouge people later who can only buy the stamps from them them. I reckon that the players who can afford to spend hundreds of thousands of coins on these Hall of Fame stamps are the same CHEATERS that the developers keep trying to get rid of. The game has really been reduced to 75% Hall of Fame trading/buying and 25% complaining about cheaters. Also, the Hall of Fame stamps are kind of ugly. Which brings me to...

Fourth Problem (minor problem): Most of the "Art" in the last 3 updates is tailored for dudes. And dudes who fit into one of the following 3 categories:
  1. dudes who like cheesy velvet paintings of exotic, scantly-clothed women
  2. dudes who own a van and with cheesy airbrush art of skulls, hot rods, or more scantly-clothed women
  3. dudes who like gore, horror, listen to heavy metal, or watch the history channel.

Here are some prime examples:

This is called "Lilith" and she's in the Very Important Vampires set in the Extra Rares collection. Yes. There is a whole set of stamps devoted to VAMPIRES. Lame. This falls in ALL THREE of the "dude" categories I mentioned above.

This stamp is in the Autumn set from the Book 2 collections and it is called "Romance." Romance, really? Suuure. Again this one might be lost in the translation....

The "Al Capone" stamp in the Outlaws set of the Extra Rare collection. Totally uninteresting grouping of stamps. I couldn't care less about mobsters, gangsters, or crime lords...

...or the people that chased them. Here's "Eliot Ness" from the Officers set, also in the Extra Rare collection. They based a whole set of stamps on these no-name cops. Aside from Eliot Ness and possibly Donnie Brasco, the people on these stamps are way too obscure. Have YOU ever heard of Joe Petrosino? I didn't think so.

This is a "Water Witch" from the Elemental Witches set in the Extra Rare collection. Yes. A whole set devoted to elemental witches, whatever the hell they are supposed to be. Also? There is a witch in this collection (that I don't have yet) called "Death Witch." Since when is death an element?

"Stone Witch" from the same Elemental Witches set. This is both cheesy AND ugly. Nice job, "artists."

A common "Red Skull" from the Halloween set in the Book 2 collection. Yup. A whole set devoted to Halloween (my most hated holiday ever). By the way, this collection came out in the same update as the Vampires and Elemental Witches. Talk about beating a dead horse. No one fucking cares about Halloween that much. OK? Jeez.

"Nosferatu." Another day, another shitty vampire stamp.

Lastly, I give you:

"Silence." This is in the From Hell set also in the Extra Rare collection: stamps based on horrible and/or famous murders. So lovely. Another stamp in this group is called "Helter Skelter."

You know, I want to see stamps that are pleasing to MY eyes. Since all you dudes got more than your fair share of tits and gore, I demand that the next set of stamps feature nothing but hot photos of Matthew Fox.

Like THIS :

or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or, hell, I'll even take James Franco:



Donna said...

The rock witch bears a disturbing resemblance to Johnny Carson, with a smidgen of Anne Murray. And Tom Smothers.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Joe Petrosino is my great great uncle. He was an Italian NYPD officer who fought the mob. He went to Italy to bring home some big names in the mob and was gunned down by three men. Just a note I thought I would add...yes I have heard of

Gina said...

That is awesome that someone actually knows who Joe Petrosino was! Thanks for commenting!