I have predicted and discussed much of what is happening today in virtually every category over the last 4 years. Some listened, most didn’t. For those who didn’t—hopefully you learned your lesson and will in the future. However, for me, which has been the case all of my life, humanity has let me down. People do not aspire to be what they should, and the times are often regulated and maintained by the laziest of our species. This is why I often turn to mythology for inspiration, because the Wall Street Journal doesn’t offer much inspiration—just raw news. Contemporary real-life characters fall short of my expectations—so I don’t even bother. Thus, my love of Star Wars and the reason I discuss it so much—especially lately is because it provides such motivation. It is the creation of minds in need of something bigger than the human race is currently offering. So I often vacation there to recharge my own batteries. As such, it should come as no surprise that I had a viewing party at my home for the new Disney television series Rebels, which premiered with an introductory movie on Friday, October 03, 2014.
To celebrate I spent the day in the world of Star Wars in one fashion or another. My wife and I played the Old Republic’s Galactic Starfighter online—which is always fun. I then spent the morning playing X-wing Miniatures which is of course my latest passion. I rounded out the time between those events up until the airing of Rebels playing a new game downloaded for free onto my iPad called Star Wars: Commander. My brother texted me excitedly about it recently and after a few weeks of prodding, I finally downloaded it. I didn’t give the free app much though because I didn’t think it would be any good—that it would be a kid’s game. Let me say that it is far from a kid’s game—it is a wonderful war simulation of resource management and I have been wonderfully consumed by its contents.
Years ago—way back in the 90s I once spent an entire week playing an old game similar called Armada 2000—or something to that effect. One of my nephews introduced it to me and it required the building of fleets by mining raw materials and going to war to conquer planets. The graphics were rough, but the game content was wonderful. Around that same time I started enjoying the various Sim City games which developed into a game called Outpost, which required you to terraform an entire alien planet by using the resources there to build a civilization. I have also been a fan of the various Civilization games over the years including the most recent introduction. Those are endlessly fun games of strategy and construction that are designed for those with a keen eye for productivity. Never before in the history of the human race were such tools of resource management available to so many people. The new Star Wars: Commander is all of those games wrapped up into one. It is incredible—especially for a free app. It’s a whole new age that we’re living in where such a thing is offered as a simple download. I can’t recall a time when I enjoyed blowing stuff up so much.
Star Wars: Commander lets you as a player pick a faction—either Rebel player or the Empire and build a base that must maintain an economy through your credit vaults while continually mining alloy for the construction of everything from factories to starships. You have to build and maintain troop strength, engage in research and development, and deploy defense strategies as your base will constantly be attacked by other player’s bases looking for credits and alloy, and shield generation. It is fairly involved for a game designed to be played on the go—anywhere and everywhere. I’m used to playing those types of things on a PC locked in my room and not dressing for days. This ability to put such a thing on a computer device that I carry in my jacket pocket is unreal to my previous generation eyes.
On that note as I have been playing Star Wars: Commander all week diligently—everywhere that I can really, in restaurants, in shopping malls, in the fabric stores as my wife shops for supplies for the many blankets and craft items she makes, I have been fascinated by how portable this new age of ours really is. Commander is really a game that must be played against other players so it requires interaction. The brilliance of the game is that the designers created the basic template, but most of the way the content is used is created by other players—leaving players to essentially let the game evolve through competition. But it is the portability that I find so strangely interesting. While shopping at Kenwood Mall with my wife and daughter at the Eddie Bauer store, I stood outside across from the Apple Store and marveled at how busy it was at 7:30 PM on a weekday evening. Business was thumping inside and a line requiring service was outside the door. It was amazing. People were very active in looking at the various Apple products—everything from iPads, iPhones, to new computers.
I’m a huge fan of the iPad as I use mine everywhere for everything. I use it primarily for maps, and for processing data on spreadsheets. It is a remarkable device—there is no question about it. I’m not so keen on the iPhone as I like to separate those two functions. But Apple and its innovations are game changing aspects to human civilization. Most of the people shopping in the store were there to pick up devices to allow them to have more versatility in texting their friends or updating their facebook accounts. They weren’t looking for performance as much as being fashionable. But, their interest is driving the market in new directions regardless of the quality of their desires. It is largely because of that swarm in the Apple Store that Disney put out the new game Commander. It’s the perfect game for a touch screen device.
The new game only enhanced my Star Wars day experience leading me up to the Disney Channel airing of the new Rebels cartoon—which was fabulous I might add. I’ve been talking about it for a year now—and it was worth the wait. Cartoons like that and content on the Apple products like what Commander is certainly elevates the expectations of entertainment. But what’s more important is the reason people like Star Wars so much—as I’m far from alone on the topic. Star Wars offers hope and expectations on human potential that is higher than it otherwise would be. And Apple is there to provide a format to further the mythology into ways that were unfathomable a decade ago. Star Wars: Commander just seven years ago would have cost $50 dollars for a PC title sold in a store like Gamestop. Now it’s a free app. The game makes its money off the impatience and mismanagement of its players. For those who don’t know how to manage resources, they will pay extra for crystals to build up their defenses or increase their offensive mobility. Many of the upgrades take several hours to implement, especially shield generators and alloy depots—but they can be sped up through the consumption of crystals and Disney sells them by the bag which I’m sure is generating millions upon millions of dollars. I typically launch an attack from my base every three and a half minutes—and I have yet to meet the same player twice—that’s how many people are on the game. I would say that it’s a successful enterprise.
For those who want to play, you can look me up when you arrive by typing in the name of Cliffhanger—the character from my first novel The Symposium of Justice. Of course you know—I’m playing for the Rebels.