Mobile Matters

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For years I have said that I really did not think that gaming on my phone was really my “thing”.  It was a platform that I largely felt didn’t quite fit my lifestyle, because in part I felt like I either had access to PC and Consoles…  or simply didn’t have the ability to game period.  Recently however I have been eating the hell out of those words.  For the last week or so I have been getting used to a new phone, and at some point I will probably do a proper review of it.  Functionally I could not bring myself to spend $800 to $1000 on a new phone… and my Samsung Galaxy s5 had lots of problems.  This lead me to branch out and look into some other options… and I finally landed on the ZTE Axon 7 which is a very solid attempt at a Chinese flagship killer.  When I finally do a proper review I will get around to more about that, however suffice to say I am enjoying it.  There is a thing that happens with PC gamers…  when we get new hardware.  We go through this phase of installing everything that we have cared about in the past… and trying it out on the new setup to see what has and has not improved.  With this new phone being so much more powerful than my previous one…  I found myself going through this same routine and testing out things like the android Hearthstone client.  When I say the previous phone had issues…  it is because once upon a time I rooted my phone in an attempt to bypass the AT&T blockade against tethering/wifi hotspots on my current plan.  I still have one of those ancient grandfathered in iPhone unlimited plans…  and while they have raised the price there is no way in hell I am giving up $25 a month unlimited mobile data.

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While the S5 is technically no longer rooted, I seem to have tripped some anti-tamper seal of a sort on the phone and it fails the Google Safetynet test that app manufacturers have started incorporating into their apps.  This means that I was forced to stop playing Pokemon Go when they patched in this protection, and similarly have been unable to experience Fire Emblem Heroes, Mario Run or a whole slew of newer games that just do this check by default.  The biggest problem with me and phone gaming in the past however was the battery life, and the way that a few minutes of Final Fantasy Record Keeper could shave off 25% of my battery before I even realized.  With the new phone this seems to no longer be the issue that it once was… and either because the processor does not need to work nearly as hard…  or the fact that I have a 3250 mAh battery (instead of 2800 mAh) I can functionally play games and still use my phone for everything else that I want to.  As a result lately I have been heading to bed fairly early and then chilling out there and playing mobile games until sleep finally claims me.  Similarly while I am out and about I am starting to play a lot more Pokemon Go, but have not really gone out on catching jaunts like I did around the release a year ago.  I contemplated going out last night but it was still over 90 degrees outside after 9pm, so I figured I would leave that to a cooler evening.

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The games that have seemed to clamp down the hardest on my attention however are Fire Emblem Heroes…  which is a thoroughly charming tactics style combat game and of course Final Fantasy Record Keeper that I already played a significant amount of in the past.  This is the point where I admit that I have never actually played a Fire Emblem game in the past, and while I am sure the actual games are not terribly similar to this mobile title…  it does make me a hell of a lot more interested in them.  The premise is largely nonsense…  but it is the sort of nonsense that I find myself enjoying at the moment.  The biggest problem with these games is that I really have no clue what I am doing on a regular basis… and not even sure what the best way to do anything in game is.  I’ve been slowly working my way through the story in Fire Emblem, and in Record Keeper I noticed that they seemingly have gotten less sparing with handing you a bunch of characters.  I worked my way through most of a Final Fantasy XIV themed event dungeon… and picked up Yshtola, Minfilia, Yda, Papalymo, and Cid…  and started working my way through a similarly FFXII Zodiac Age themed one.  Much like in Pokemon Go… the excitement for me is in the collection of new characters and not so much in the leveling and battle.

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Lastly I have been slowly working my way through Final Fantasy V on the phone as an attempt to do things like play over my lunch break…  which admittedly has not actually happened yet.  I got completely wrecked last night by Garula, which means I am going to have to sort out a decent strategy for this one.  Of course I am not playing the game legitimately… and instead am doing the Four Job Fiesta…  which means I am attempting to take him down as a party of four Black Mages.  Its time to go figure out some strategery so I can get past him and get my next set of jobs.  I find the mobile FFV client a little wonky… and especially in mobiles where you need fine motor control…  that is not a thing the touchpad really gives you.  Getting through the poison plants at the top of the mountain was not really a thing…  so I simply opted to walk through a couple and take antidotes.  Regardless it works well enough for my needs and gives me a reasonable platform without really shackling me to a specific location for playing it.  I kinda hope we eventually get a version on the switch through either virtual console… or a release of this mobile port to it.  Whatever the case….  someone seems to have replaced me with a doppelganger that does not mind mobile gaming all the sudden.

 

Real Life “Mons”

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Garden Guardian

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Yesterday was an interesting day for a bunch of reasons… not the least of which was the massive gale force storm that blew through downtown Tulsa.  Over lunch yesterday I decided to go for a walk in Woodward Park in a vague attempt to catch some new Pokemon.  Unfortunately the entire time I was there it seemed as though the servers were acting up horribly.  The park is littered with a dozen or so stops, and most of them were not loading for me when I attempted to spin them.  So I roamed around a bit in the 94 degree heat and humidity and finally wound my way around to the Linneaus garden where I met the adorable cat above.  I am guessing it belongs to someone in the neighborhood behind the park because it is very much obviously a pet… and obviously one that has been tagged to roam freely.  This is also where I encountered what I believe were my first geohackers.  Pokemon Go has had a few unofficial releases as folks have modded it like the somewhat humorously named Pokemon Go Anywhere that lets you click to move.  This is obviously a one way trip to ban city because it will be relatively trivial for Niantic to determine these folks are running an unofficial release of the game.

However there is a whole other batch of folks that have installed fake gps tools on their rooted android phones, that allow them to essentially teleport to anywhere in the world.  This is the sort of behavior I think I was experiencing yesterday at lunch.  The Linnaeus Garden is a Poke Gym and is out of range of any of the nearby parking lots and streets.  As a result the only real way to go over there and check on it is to get out of your car and walk up to the path leading into it.  While I was there it was just me and this cat, and no one else within range of the Pokestop.  When I rolled up on it the stop was Blue so I opted to plop down in a bench and do some battling to increase its prestige levels.  The adorable cat came up and was friendly and I managed to add a few hundred prestige points before I got bored and wandered off.  As I was walking out of the garden area, the gym flipped from Blue level 3 to Red level 3 instantly… still zero people around.  So either someone was registering legitimately wrong on the GPS, or someone was actually geohacking to take over the gym.  This makes me wonder just how many gyms are being flipped by folks cheating like this?

After this incident I made my way to the car and was just about to leave the park, when I gave the app one last check.  While I had really found nothing of interest the entire time in the park, suddenly there was a Bulbasaur within a single footprint away from my vehicle.  So I hopped back out of the car, locked it and began the search.  There are lots of supposed methods to make tracking down a Pokemon easier, but I largely just wander around aimlessly until I find it.  Within a few minutes of going the wrong direction I finally doubled back and found it rather quickly.  After that it was a lot of wasted Pokeballs before I managed to catch the orange border critter and make the trip to the park not a complete failure.  I grabbed lunch really quickly and headed back to the office where I was greeted with this giant wall of evil looking storm clouds.  As I pulled into the parking garage the tornado siren was blowing… and in true Oklahoma fashion there was some guy out there live streaming the storm rolling into the downtown area from his phone.  When I got up to my floor everyone had been told to stay in the central area and away from the windows.  Shortly after that they called the all clear on the tornado warning, but the storm still raged on for two and a half hours.  From what I hear there is quite a lot of damage in various areas of town from the straight line winds, that can be just as destructive as a tornado.

Big Bunny Returns

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I’ve talked about my love of our backyard and all of the critters that show up there periodically.  There is one however that I love above all of the rest… and that is big bunny.  Yeah I realize it is kinda a stupid name for him, but he is literally a massive bunny as seen above in the phone.  After the storms blew through apparently he decided to hang out in our backyard for awhile.  A few months back he essentially called our backyard home for a few days… and since then I have seen him all over the neighborhood so I am guessing this is a shared phenomena.  Firstly I am shocked and amazed that any rabbit would survive this long in our environment to get that damned big.  Secondly… we’ve wondered if he is a pet that someone let loose because he seems super chill around human beings.  All of this said… I may or may not have walked over to the grocery store with no purpose other than to buy something to feed the Rabbit.  When I got back he was nowhere to be seen, but I set out a pile of lettuce leaves on the deck and then thirty minutes later or so I peered out the window and sure enough… he had chomped down on the pile.  Afterwards of course I was told that lettuce was a less than ideal and often times dangerous food for Rabbits so I will have to adjust that.  Nonetheless I keep thinking that if we feed him, he might hang out in our yard more often.

Past that I took advantage of the cool evening and went out roaming looking for “mons” with little luck.  It was quite literally seventy two degrees last night, so given how often I had walked in near hundred degree temperatures… I figured I could not pass up that opportunity.  After striking out in my own neighborhood I hopped in the car and drove to a few parking lots that I have had luck in the past.  Not sure if they were scared away by the storm, or if the servers were crapping out again… but I found next to nothing.  That is until I pulled into the Aldi parking lot on a whim and found the bane of my existence… the Oddish.  I had managed to find one earlier and after a single Pokeball throw it ran away on me.  So this time around I was hoping that I would be able to catch it and finally fill that hole in my Pokedex.  The truth is the most important part of this game for me personally is catching new stuff, and when I can’t do that I get a little flustered.  So I threw a ball and it landed really well…  and got two twitches, before the damned Oddish broke out again and ran away.  So another close call but still zero luck in actually catching it.  As far as new finds for the day I did alright racking up a Bulbasaur, Koffing and Abra taking my total to 58 caught and 61 seen.