Confessions of an Editor-in-Chief IX: Married, Mobile & Ministering

I’ve undeservedly enjoyed many blessings throughout life. The ongoing [and hopefully life-long] latest is Christine, my most wonderful and beautiful wife. Let that be an encouragement to you male readers; even guys who love gaming can woo a special young woman. It can happen to any of you, plain and simple.

Yet it goes without saying that my life will never again be what it was pre-marriage, or engagement even, and that’s the way it should be. This change, and the object of my faith have taught me that our hours here on Earth can be pitifully wasted. While there’s inherently nothing wrong with the fun of gaming, it can very easily tear someone from reality in a way that isn’t at all healthy. You miss out on real relationships, the reward of hard work, the beauty of our created world, and the joy and privilege of giving to others.

To be transparent, I despaired much prior to entering my one-flesh union about the idea of possibly giving up playing videogames entirely. My wife isn’t a gamer, which is perfectly OK. We’ve still managed to humorously enjoy some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II (NES), Wii Sports, Wii Party and somewhat of Mario Kart in recent months. However, building a stable relationship based on our beliefs with her is of utmost importance and more valuable than anything I might accomplish on the couch with controller in-hand. Even so, I’d be lying if I said the thought of continuing to dominate complex console experiences wasn’t attractive to me.

Will our relationship ever be perfect? No, of course not. We’re imperfect beings. Are we expected to be? No, thankfully not. Regardless, it’s an interesting challenge…making choices to rebalance my life so I can still enjoy playing games, but regard the higher priority of giving myself to my wife, church and others.

Thus why I’m thankful now for mobile gaming. Though the HTC Thunderbolt isn’t the most high-end or reliable device, it’s afforded me the enjoyment of surprisingly sophisticated virtual experiences. I appreciate especially how wallet-friendly it is to dabble in these creative and challenging titles. I’ve easily spent less than $50 on over 200 games since this summer. It’s not easy to play every genre, shooters particularly, with just a touch screen, but it’s better than nothing. That’s why in recent weeks you’ve seen reviews for games like Robo Defense, Game Dev Story and Modern Combat 2. Ideally I’d review these games closer to their actual release, but since I happily carry the COE burden alone, it’s not a big deal. After all, mobile games I think enjoy a different kind of longevity since the smartphone market is drastically different than the console, and even portable scene. Newcomers are still downloading Angry Birds, for the matter.

Lately I’ve had a blast with fresh and somewhat older Android games. Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation, Dead Space, N.O.V.A. 2, and more. You can expect critiques of each in the future, and I’m excited to bring such content to COE. Solo gaming on the major platforms just isn’t sustainable for me anymore due to my marriage and church-related responsbilities, but the mobile option has helped me stay on board. I’ve no complaints, not to mention our organization has never covered mobile gaming before. If it expands our readership and attracts more industry companies to us, then wonderful. I’m also in the midst of saving up for a tablet, and am looking forward to possibly purchasing one next summer. If you have any suggestions on which offers a quality gaming experience, I’m happy to receive them.

So what about you? Own a smartphone or tablet? Do any gaming on it, casual or hardcore? What are your favorite titles? Are there any you’d like to see me eventually cover? Any thoughts about mobile gaming in general? Please sound off in the comments!

To finish, and sign off for 2011 (Happy New Year!), enjoy watching me looking like a total scrub playing the first mission of Modern Combat 3 below.

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