Thursday, June 21, 2012

The love that dare not speak its' name.

Apple are missing a trick, you know?

Their adverts show that the iPhone is a truly marvellous machine, able to answer all the queries that we already know the answer to ("Siri, who is my brother?"), as well as making it exceptionally easy for us to spend a small fortune on games we already played for free on flash websites. It does this because it is such an unobtrusive little device, a portal directly into our bank accounts that somehow manages to bypass all that messy "Should I actually be buying this?" malarkey that our brains usually bother us with. It has a hardwired connection to our pleasure centres, and once you get one in your possession it becomes borderline impossible to imagine life without one.

Where you once sneered that mobile games were no substitute for the real thing, you now celebrate the latest mini-masterpiece. All your friends are playing it, after all, so it would be rude to not join in. Be it flinging furious avians at porcine egg-thieves, escaping the clutches of some very nasty simians, or just building an aeronautical empire, at some point we have all found ourselves deep in the clutches of the kind of games that seemingly ONLY phones can provide. We play them at every spare moment; whilst semi-watching TV, or waiting for the bus. Or, in one other locale.

Of course, nobody ever mentions this last place. Nobody seems to admit to it readily at all. Everybody goes there, multiple times daily, and yet it as is this is some esoteric secret area, with ceremonies known only to the lucky few. I do it, you do it, and he does it. Yet, it as if nobody does it.

What the HELL are you talking about, Lee?

I'm talking about the toilet.

If you have had your iPhone for more than about 3 days, then by now you may well have succumbed to the temptation. It starts off innocently enough, at first. You are JUST shy of a new high-score, or 3-starring that level that has been bugging you all night. Even worse, perhaps you need to wait 3 more minutes to be able to build something else, but if you wait 2 more minutes you will make a horrible mess? Whatever the actual gateway is, sooner or later, you walk through.

And then, sheer bliss. Beautiful relief. Heaven in hand-held form.

It's not actually the phone, you know? It's that holding it in and the resultant adrenaline hit that is the real biggie. However, if this just happens to be combined with the dopamine hit from completing whatever task you just broke your personal barrier for, then the result is deadly.

For, now, you realise that you can just do this every time you go to the loo!

It's a slippery slope, my friends. A slippery, smelly, and sometimes sticky slope. Gone are the days when you went in, evacuated, and then left. They are replaced with a whole new routine. Suddenly, visits to the bathroom are that little bit more ... welcomed. They last that little bit longer. Before you know it, you are unable to go into the room without taking your phone, even if you weren't actually playing something already. You enter into a trance-like state, where you are no longer aware of the passage of time until your other half bangs on the door saying "HURRY UP, I NEED TO GO!"

Beware, mobile gamer, for this is an inevitability. This will happen to you, the same as it happened to everyone else. Pretty soon, you will start to plan around it. At work, you look at the clock and think "This is a reasonable enough time to nip off and get a couple of shots of Bejewelled Blitz in". And so, off you go. Because the phone is always with you, no pantomime is needed. You just go, and ... uh ... go.

Your colleagues all know what you are up to, naturally. But, a silent and unwritten pact has been entered into. We all stay quiet about it, possibly due to some mutual shame. We KNOW that when we read a tweet from any app that the person who sent it had their pants around their ankles at the time, but we never think of it this way. We may even realise that our latest Draw Something picture was done this way. (SOMETHING has to explain the sheer amount of penises.) But we block this behaviour from our minds, thus making it acceptable. Each and every one of us thinks it is their own dirty little secret.

Apple never mentions this on the ads. The App Store keeps it under wraps. Even your friends, back when they first started evangelising the phone itself, kept this one to themselves. The conspiracy of silence is so complete that you may not even be aware it is there at all. Which is odd, because when you think about it, it is pretty damn awesome that you can game whilst taking a dump. Even more awesome once you think about the sheer convenience of it, because if you grab your DS then everybody knows what you are up to, but your phone is so natural that even though everybody secretly knows, they publicly don't even suspect.

Yup. Apple sure are missing a trick. Ads that convey this idea. "Top Crapper Apps" lists*. As all-pervading as they now are, there are still sectors of society that look at anything Apple and think it is somewhat above them. But, if this cat were let out of the bag, well ... there would be no reasons left. How could you hate a company with that level of honesty?

Oh, and just in case you go this way, Apple; I accept cheques, BACS, PayPal, or even good old-fashioned cash.

*Angry Birds, unquestionably. Without the bathroom, I would never have gotten 3 stars on any levels beyond the first few.


  1. I show no shame in my bathroom gaming habits. My iPad comes with me!

    1. You are ahead of the curve! Just beware of the potential side-effect of suddenly needing to go to the toilet any time you pick your iPad up. That could get messy on a bus journey...