We can all agree that since the first cell phones were introduced almost 15 years ago, life has been, well... fantastic. We have virtually unlimited access to a world of information, music, navigation and entertainment. Awesome right? Well not so fast.
1. The lost art of just not knowing anything.
Okay, here's a question for you. What is the Capital of Australia? Without Googling it. Clearly it's Melbourne, right? No way, it's Sydney. Well ya know what, unless you either had a globe, an Atlas or Encyclopedia Britannica lying around, you would never really know that the answer is actually Canberra. You thought you knew, sure, but you never really knew. The great debates around Christmas and Thanksgiving about whether Burt Reynolds was ever married to Loni Anderson (he was). The problem is, Uncle Tony calls bullshit on that, and thinks Uncle Bob is full of crap. Uncle Bob takes offense and calls out Tony for being a horrible Father. This would go on for years, the same stupid argument, until one day, Bob pulls out his phone and Googles "Is Loni Anderson married to Burt Reynolds" and suddenly his argument is immediately invalid. I remember I thought for about 10 years that the Hartford Whalers were a football team. How the hell was I supposed to know that they were a Hockey team? It wasn't like I watched the news. Sure I heard of the team in passing but I legit spent 10 blissful, oblivious years thinking they played football every Sunday. Nowadays if I even had an inkling of suspicion they may not be, i'd type "Hartford Whalers" and be able to see the entire history of the goddamn franchise.
2. What happened to all the cool, geeky looking shit?
Would you look at that stereo receiver. It's a thing of goddamn beauty. I bet 80% of people have no idea what the hell those knobs and switches even do. It didn't matter though. Why? Because it looks cool, that's why.
Nowadays everything is the same. Shopping for things in the 70's, 80's or even to some extent, the 90's, sometimes functionality took a back burner to just looking cool. When I would look in the gold standard of shopping directories, the Sears Catalog, I wouldn't be circling the ones with the best sound, I'd circle the one that would make me look like a BAMF'r when I put it on top of the bureau in my bedroom.
With cell phones you pretty much have 2 options, Apple or Android. Seeing as everything is on your cell phone (more on that in the next section) you now only have choice A or choice B. Both are equally as dull as the other and to make matters worse, everyone else has the same exact thing. What's the fun it that?
3. Jobs! You're stealing all the jobs!
I'm not sure if most people really, truly understand, just how many industries that the cell phone wiped off the map. Think back to say, 1995 and you needed a camera. Film camera's were still a thing back then. This meant that not only was someone making the camera itself, but they were also making the film for that camera. Someone then had to ship the cameras to the store and when you were done taking your pictures, well, someone had to develop that film.
The only reason I have a home telephone is because stupid Comcast told me it would be cheaper to have something I will never use. My bill is $15 less because I decided to do the bundle package. How many times have I used the Garfield phone sitting on a table across the room from me? That would be a grand total of ZERO times. I have my cell phone, why would I walk over to the phone and then have to dial a number? Have you ever thought about the people that used to make all those phones though? The people who used to have 9-5 jobs are now sitting around cursing their cell phones, thinking about the good old days. You also have an entire industry of phone technicians, operators, installers, that are all gone. Sure you have some of these things, they don't just disappear, but it's shifted in a way that it's pretty much been absorbed by the cable company and you guessed it, the cell phone companies.
4. Music! Need I say more? Okay, I will.
Man do I miss the days of tapes and CD's. I loved actually holding a physical copy of my music, it was mine. Having 10,0000 songs digitally on my phone just doesn't feel as important. I can't sit back and look at the album cover, reading the lyrics they printed on the CD jacket. Sure it's great nowadays, you hear a song and viola, download it onto your phone. The problem with that though is I'm not listening to anything other than what I've heard on the radio or elsewhere. Back in the day, if I liked a song, and they didn't have a single I had to buy the entire album, which pretty much forced me to listen to all the songs.
Also gone are the days where I could like a song and just tape that shit right off the radio. The art of making a mixed tape of songs you spent hour after hour sitting in front of your radio listening for your favorite song to come on Your thumb and index finger ready to hit play and record. Then having the goddamn radio announcer ruin everything because they all talked through the entire intro to the song. I'm telling you, as much as that sounds like a pain in the ass, that shit was fun.
5. Games! Games! Games!
I truly believe that we live in the golden age of video games. Forget about all that fancy schmancy talk about virtual reality. The future is now damnit.
I don't know if gaming on cell phones particularly started the IAP(In-App-Purchase) craze, but it certainly moved it to the insane place where it is today. There are literally a handful of games that don't have IAP in them. Some games, you will, legit lose, unless you pay Take for example the game clash of Clans. I have heard stories of people paying upwards of $100,000 on IAP. ARE YOU CRAZY!?!? What the hell happened to normal games? Granted there are some games that use the IAP troupe to help you along. Take for example Candy Crush Saga. Some people have gotten to level 1,000 without paying anything. I don't know who these people are, but I'm afraid of them.
The other problem with mobile gaming (if IAP's weren't enough) is the copycats.
Take the two games above for example; Flappy Bird and 2048. Both games are super popular on the Apple App store. Both are super fun games, but with fame comes a problem. Copycats. The second a game becomes popular, you have another 800 games that attempt to be clones of said game. Sure there are no rules to say competitors can't emulate a popular game but they don't emulate: they trick. The creator of Flappy Bird took his game off the app store (supposedly he was making too much money... sad I know) people were already copying the game, but it took on a life of it's own once the original was gone. Flappy Hero Go: Jumpy wings bird, Flappy game: the classic original, Faby bird.... really!?!?!!? FABY BIRD??? I give up!
Shawn McGovern grew up on a farm 15 miles from Toledo OH. His life long dream is to one day visit that magical city and tell all of his friends about it.