Thank Grog It’s Firday!
At the lofty old age of 65.5 years old (that .5 is important as you get older), I have come to realize that in my quest to remain young and vibrant, I have actually become weirdly entitled. I could give all sorts of instances, but as this is a blog about a mobile game, I will keep most of my comments to this topic.
More and more, I am beginning to feel like Grandpa Simpson, as almost all of the stories I tell my grandkids (the ones old enough to sit and listen without being bribed by an ice cream cone), are met with a look of incredulous wonder, as if I just told them that “cell phones are sucking your brain pan dry if you use them after 10pm.” Of course, most of those statements could be true…there just hasn’t been some Swedish study on the topic yet. But then again, they were wrong about bacon being bad for you, and eggs, and peanut butter… or was it nut butters with sugar added…I can’t remember…but, they were wrong.
However, what I know to be true, is that as more and more amazing technical advances are made every year, and we just grow to accept their existence and our habitual reliance on them, we forget the fact that most of the stuff that gives us real joy is actually FREE. Like TSTO. And updates in TSTO. And…well…you get the picture.
Are we too entitled? Have we become whiny brats who expect sprinkles (never call them Jimmies around Alissa) on EVERY meal?
Let’s look a the evidence…(before some Swedish think tank does).
The easy and obvious answer is…YES!!
The evidence is pretty clear…and has been discussed for months now (at least since the beginning of 2019, when regular updates became profoundly irregular…and no, I don’t want to hear some joke about needing more roughage in my game to keep it regular).
We have had a dearth of regularity, in TSTO. And yes, I used the word “dearth” correctly. It is one of those words that doesn’t sound like it’s meaning. While dearth, has a heavy, over-abundance of weight or content, it actually means the opposite. Kind of like “Freemium” or “Truthiness.” Now those are two words that were clearly made up by marketing departments or politicians. But, I digress…
The fact is, once something becomes a habit, and part of your regular daily routine (pretty much the definition of “habit”), you begin to take it for granted. You come to not only rely on it, but EXPECT it to be there…day in, day out, giving you what you have come to count on. Until it doesn’t. Welcome to getting old.
One of my favorite Little Feat lyrics comes from “Old Folks Boogie,” where they sing, “Well you know, that you’re over the hill, when your mind makes a promise that your body can’t fill.” And TSTO, due to our own sense of entitlement, and our own unrealistic expectations, is exactly like that. It simply can’t give us all that we think we are entitled to receive.
Let’s start with the reality that especially now, with a profusion of options to get FREE DONUTS, and loads of cash, playing the game is indeed, FREE.
But, like almost any “service,” that appears free, the fact is, there are huge investments being made by the providers of these services, and in the end, it really is THEIR choice how, when, and why the service exists.
The state of entitlement in the digital/freemium age was brought full circle in recent weeks, when a number of social media providers, de-listed or demonetized a wide list of bloggers, Vloggers, and social media “influencers” for breaking their user agreements on hate speech and bullying. While there was a huge outcry claiming they primarily targeted right wing content providers, I pretty much took the side of the Service Providers. They are making money from a service that is provided to them for FREE…by a company…not the government…and therefore, need to understand that like it or not, they are making money with the tools provided, “at the pleasure” of the service provider.
But I digress… kinda.
The fact is, less than 5 years ago, most of the terms like Vlogger, and blogger, and certainly “social media influencer” didn’t even exist. Ten years ago, if you told me that one of the most watched (and monetized) “channel segments” in video streaming, was people watching other people play video games, I would have laughed in your face. But of course, that was until I found my 10-year-old grandson glued to his screen, with headphones on, looking like someone who had been possessed by an alien who was giving him instructions on how to disable the armed guards at the Pentagon, so they could achieve world domination. And trust me…if an alien insurrection happens, it will begin with 10-year-olds being convinced to do stuff. Have you watched “Stranger Things??”
I probably should have expected the reaction I got when I pulled the headphones from his ears, and then let them spring back violently to “box his ears new millennium style”.
“Grandpa! What? What are you doing!! I’m watching this!!” he screamed, the spoon suspended in mid-air, dripping Honey-Nut Cheerios and milk onto the table.
“What is that you’re watching?” I asked. I honestly couldn’t make out what the commentator was screaming above the crowd noises.
“Jacksepticeye,” he mumbled.
I made him repeat it three times…because I thought that he had perhaps started having a game-induced seizure of some sort that had affected his ability to speak clearly. And when I made him take off the headphones and turn up the volume so I could hear…I still didn’t understand it. Jacksepticeye (Jack Septic Eye…get it? Get it?) screams at the the gaming action with an Irish accent. Perfect.
This made me immediate “Do the Goog,” and what I found made my head spin…and make me feel REALLY old, and out of touch.
So…depending on which article you read, Jacksepticey (his friends call him Jack…but his real name is Sean) is a 29-year-old Irish lad, who makes between $530K and $9.1 Million a year (apparently full income reports for Vloggers are slippery facts)…and he is listed as the NUMBER TEN income generator for YouTube on this list of “Top 15 Stars Crushing It on YouTube.”
This article was written in 2015…and Jack is supposedly now closer to Number 1 or Number 2…and doesn’t make his income public anymore. Go figure.
This is a video…from a very rich Vlogger who has decided to talk about himself. Go figure.
So…YouTube…which is owned by Google…which is the primary search engine, ad platform, free email platform, and overarching “most connected everything” in our lives….is now blatantly looking to capture the eyeballs and very souls of our kids and grandkids, and by proxy, everyone else in the coveted 18-35 buying demographic…and uses algorithms that control the news and information we see through AI, when we aren’t being sucked into the insanity of Facebook’s competing empire of disinformation????
There are loads of articles being written about the efficacy and morality of online gaming. And now, it seems that the games themselves have turned into political statements…being covered by these guys, with millions of followers.
My stomach turned a bit… I put down my iPhone.
“Hey…let’s go outside and play some catch,” I offered. He accepted. Thank God the kid is also obsessed with baseball.
Where was I going with this? Well…only to point out, that we of the TSTO Addicted” side, have come to demand GREAT CONTENT…better than the last, with every update. As we have discussed repeatedly, there are a lot of moving parts in this game, from Simpson’s writers, to programmers, to hosting, to server updates…and all of it provided absolutely FREE of charge…especially if you donut farm.
So, sorry…if this last update didn’t meet your lofty expectations. Tough darts.
After months of speculation about whether the game was actually over…whether we’d even SEE another update, to go back to the whine-fest about “this not being a very good update,” just feels entitled, and disingenuous.
By every measurement in the gaming world…this game is OLD. It has been around for 7+ years (which is like 70 in game years…which are a lot like dog years, but without the hip dysplasia). 70-year-olds just don’t have the energy to keep up with the demands of daily life, and keep “pumping out the joy” for others. Even Mick Jagger needed some work on his ticker…and he’s the “EverReady Bunny” of rock!
I’m old. I get it. And, yes, I do long for a day when all of the “fun” in the world for kids wasn’t attached to a screen. But that’s OUR job…to keep showing them that there is something else worth doing in life. And that excess…especially when something is being given to you for free…is simply not healthy. (You know who you are, with your 3,000% XP bonuses and your A,B,C,D games, and your $400+B in game cash).
And for that matter…the whining certainly takes the luster off of our “free service” here at TSTO Addicts. I’m not whining about the whining, mind you. But, a constant stream of “meh” does rub off after a while. Right?
Life has so much to offer…with so many options to give and receive joy…don’t let yourself become an entitled whiner whose very existence is tied to a screen, with the need to top the last free thing you were given.
Throw a ball. Even better yet…find someone who will throw the ball back to you. Unplug. Appreciate the “down-time” and realize that nobody (especially those in the Free Services world) owes you a damn thing.
OK… Grandpa Out. I’ve got stuff to do. I think there is some golf on TV.