15 March 2013

Spring Is Nigh

Currently pushing: School of Thrones. This Game of Thrones parody, set in high school, is genius. "Prom is coming!"

When news hit that Google Reader was shutting down in a few months, I did what any sane person would: I panicked. I mean, I've been a huge fan of Reader for years and am always spreading the gospel of RSS, while constantly on guard against subscription bloat. Without Reader and my 600+ subscriptions, how was I going to keep up with the world? I cursed Google's good name, and just like everyone else, started looking around for alternatives…while simultaneously holding out hope that Google would reverse its decision. However, after reading a few articles, the decision was clearly a permanent one. On Wednesday night, I went to bed with a heavy heart, worried about the future of my feeds.

"Why, why, all you idiots who still visit web sites individually, it's all your fault! If only you had adopted Reader when I told you to, usage would not have declined! "

Luckily, morning brought clarity as my friend pointed out that with the RSS king abdicating his throne, a new and better reader would emerge. From here until July, it would be a giant battle for control of Middle Earth and the hearts of the dedicated geeks that live and die by RSS. In the twenty four hours since the announcement, the Internet has already gone through the grief cycle and now everyone is scrambling (even somewhat excitedly) for a solution.

I've tested out some of the options already but so far all are lacking. Feedly and Flipboard are pretty, but not for me. I need more power and don't care about an engaging interface. The Old Reader and Netvibes aren't even working right now, but I fear they won't be adequate either. I'm thinking that the true savior won't reveal itself until the programming community has had a chance to react. Meanwhile, I will await the prophecy and hold off on declaring my allegiance to a new king.

Sidenote: If Google somehow decides to shut down Blogger, I'm gonna turn on them so hard. I might even consider giving up Gmail. I mean, no I won't. That would be blasphemy! Ack.
A few months ago, I talked about how addicted we were to Clash of Clans. Well, no more. Now it's Hay Day all the way! Hay Day is actually Supercell's first game, before they created Clash. It's the farming game we've all been waiting for. Ever since the demise of Papaya Farm, my friends and I haven't been able to replace the vegetable sized holes in our digital hearts. Well, it's safe to say that we have found that replacement. My sister actually spent money to buy speed up diamonds the other day, a first for her.

While Hay Day doesn't bring too much new stuff to the table, it is very refined and the interface, graphics, and gameplay are all stellar. Plus there's a ton of amusing details embedded in Hay Day. Like when your pigs stand up and wave at you, while plastering silly grins on their faces. Hi-la-ri-ous! I can't wait to see what the horses do. A few things I wish the game had: a global stock market, a way to directly trade with your friends, and more social features when you visit other people's farms. But that's just nitpicking. For now, Hay Day has completely taken over my life and if you download it, it'll probably consume you too. Fair warning.

While reading around about Hay Day, I stumbled across this blog, Deconstructor of Fun, that does a wonderful analysis of monetized games. Their interview with Supercell's Timur Haussila about Hay Day is very interesting. And their analysis of what makes Clash of Clans so fun, with its talk of "core loops," is a lesson in constructed addiction. The blog is a must read for anybody who plays iPhone games. I'd say throw the URL into your Reader but well... Just bookmark it, I guess.