Fourth Coast Entertainment -

By Dr. Anthony Betrus
FCE Contributing Writer 

Phoning It In


Last updated 5/2/2016 at 3:01pm | View PDF

This month I would like to talk about gaming on Smartphones. In particular, I will be referring to Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, which I have been playing for the last month on my iPhone. I am taking a big of a chance this month, and I am hoping that you the readers will appreciate that I am really just filling space and taking up your time, banking on the fact that you have nothing better to do. The form of this month’s column mirrors that of the game I am covering. Again, to be perfectly clear, I am writing a lot of words, without really saying anything, much like the game took a bunch of my time, but I really got nothing out of it. At least you readers can get some sadistic pleasure knowing I had to put up with this freemium steamer for the last month.

So let's talk qualities, positive and negative. First, the good: it partially occupies me when I am sitting somewhere with nothing in particular to do (likely the same reason why you are reading this right now). And also like the game, there is a vague sense that it is going somewhere, you just don't know where. So I pushed past the first few days, hoping there would be something, anything really, beyond the aimless gameplay and cookie cutter character leveling. I did find a glimmer of something: the variety of characters you encounter is vast, from across the Star Wars Universe. That said, you have to either pay ($1.99 or more) or play for a bajillion hours to get a new character on your team. While initially free to install, the freemium model really is poisonous, transparently and shamelessly slowing you progress to a slow trickle, allowing you to speed things up with small payments (micro transactions). Sadly, this model has been wildly successful, so much so that the mobile gaming market has eclipsed console and PC games sales combined. Freemium is here to stay.

(Give yourself one point for making it this far). The catch here is that the games are as addictive as they are formulaic. You find yourself doing the same thing, over and over and over again, not really sure why, but doing it nonetheless. Take this paragraph for instance, if I were to mirror the gameplay from Galaxy of Heroes, you should re-read this paragraph. I mean it, go back to the beginning and read it again, and see how many points you build up before you give up. No skimming, you need to read each word to earn your point. Don't like it, give me 2 bucks then and I'll give you 100 points.

Now wasn't that “fun?” Maybe not fun, but there IS a vague sense of accomplishment when you finish, isn't there? Aren't you kind of proud of your points? Want to go get more points… it AGAIN!

This month’s article was written (poorly) on my iPhone. Do you feel cheapened and used, yet with just a tiny morsel of satisfaction, leaving you wanting more, against your better judgement? Do you find yourself reading it again later, hoping there is something deeper, something more? Well that's exactly how I feel about Galaxy of Heroes. But instead of wasting 20 hours of my life, I've only wasted 5 minutes of yours. So keep this article around, and the next time you find yourself “phoning it in” (playing some horrible freemium game on your smartphone), read this article, conjure up your courage, and once and for all delete it from your phone. I literally just deleted the Galaxy of Heroes (and all data) from my phone. Sure, it stung for a second, but now I am free.

Your welcome,

Dr. Anthony Betrus

The Game Connoisseur


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