Skip to main content


Today was definitely a day for geektastic news. In addition to the arrival of a much-anticipated new video game, I also finally received some very good news on the smartphone front (hint: it has something to do with an iPhone trade-in and a shitload of money from same).

First and foremost, today was the launch date for Borderlands 2, the sequel to the surprise-hit Gearbox shooter from 2009. Although I originally had no interest in the first Borderlands, after playing it, I was sucked in by the massive loot-collection mechanic and the arsenal of guns aplenty. Based on the approximate 90 minutes I’ve spent with the sequel, it looks like Borderlands 2 is more of what we all loved from the first game, but with an even more epic layer of polish slathered on.

My favorite part about the game so far is its generous helping of humor, heaped absolutely everywhere throughout the experience. Whether it’s the goofy stuff the other characters say or the hilarious quest descriptions and challenge names, Borderlands 2 had me literally laughing out loud on numerous occasions, just within those first 90 minutes. I can’t wait to see where the rest of the game takes me. I’ll have a more detailed review here after a few more hours of play.

The other big news of the night is that I finally heard back from Amazon regarding my storied iPhone 4S trade-in. Much to my excitement, they approved the trade in “Like New” condition and doled out $455 worth of Amazon credit. That’s over $150 more than I paid for the thing new, since I got it under full contract subsidy at the time. I’d like to offer big props to my friend from work, who submitted the trade-in through his Amazon account and paid me cash in exchange for the store credit. That’s going to enable me to pick up an iPhone 5 sooner rather than later!

Of course, since I missed the iPhone 5’s late-night preorder session last week, actually getting one of these phones for myself is going to be a little tricky. I could just put an order in now and wait the three weeks for shipment or whatever Apple’s backed up ’till now. But like a gambler who risked it all, then nearly lost it all, and finally won that big payoff in the end, I’m cruising on endorphins and ready to take another chance. Specifically, I’m thinking of rolling out of bed early on Friday and waiting in line at one of the local stores for my chance at an iPhone 5.

In truth, I almost did this in 2010 when the iPhone 4 launched, back when we were living in Florida. I figured that the overwhelmingly elderly population of our town would mean few early-morning technophiles in line at the local Apple store. But as iPhone 4 units began to deliver unexpectedly early and the Antennagate scandal started hitting the press, I got spooked and bailed on my plans to queue up on launch day. So in a sense, I cheated “death” on that one and am thinking that it might be my time again this year.

I’m not one of those crazy hoons who will sit outside for a week, though. In fact I’m not going anywhere near an Apple store. I figure my best chance is to hit one of the four local AT&T stores — all of which are far better than the po-dunk AT&T outlet we had in our Florida town — and try to snag one there. If that goes bust, then I hear it’s also possible that I might be able to get one later in the day after the initial rush has died down, as that has worked for people before. And failing all that, well, there’s always our upcoming trip to Michigan and the inherent 2.25% sales tax savings that state offers!

And yes, in the end, I did decide to go with the iPhone 5 instead of an Android device. A pretty good summation of my reasons for this hit me earlier tonight as I was upstairs in the game room, installing Borderlands 2. In a sense, the iPhone vs. Android debate is somewhat akin to the Xbox vs. PS3 debate. PS3, like Android, is the more hackable console, filled with more eclectic and “adult” games, with a more customizable UI and is generally regarded as the geek enthusiast’s choice. By contrast, the Xbox, like iPhone, is more consumer-oriented, offers a well-integrated package that cooperates well with multiple consoles in the home and also works admirably as a media center, especially if you’re willing to buy into the ecosystem.

I’ve always been an Xbox guy; my entire game library is Xbox-based and I’m leveraging the multi-console thing to the fullest. I really don’t use any of its media center features, but I don’t really buy stuff on iTunes either. It’s the choice I’ve settled on, it works for me, and while I own a PS3, I don’t use it very often. I’ve just gotten more comfortable with Xbox, just as I’ve gotten comfortable with iPhone. And I see no real compelling reason to upend that, just for the sake of it — not when doing so comes with such a price tag attached. So I’ll keep on using what I know and enjoy.

That’s all for now. Look for more Borderlands 2 impressions soon.