anxious for pizza

pizzaslice

Ordering a pizza to your house is kind of an interesting concept when you suffer from even a little social anxiety.

Thanks to the glory of the internet, you can bypass at least one obstacle just by ordering online. No more awkwardly-phrased, poorly-executed orders over the phone with someone who keeps incorrectly repeating your order back to you. So that’s out of the way.

But then you go into waiting, where you have to allow time for the pizza to be made, baked, boxed and slipped into the delivery guy’s big, insulated shoulder bag. And then there’s travel time, with bonus wait time added on for when the delivery guy can’t find your house and calls you for directions, but then just gets more lost when you give him vague, unhelpful guidance. “Uhh, yeah, I’m in the house that has the lights on, and umm… there’s a mailbox.”

Finally – FINALLY – you see the headlights from the delivery guy’s car through the windows as he pulls into your driveway. At this point, the mood is like a mix of the dread and urgency that comes when the president puts the military at DEFCON 2 in anticipation of a declaration of war, mixed with the bated excitement that comes with the impending arrival of Christmas, the Super Bowl, a new Star Wars movie and other religious holidays.

Everyone’s running through the house, flailing their arms about and yelping cries of joy. The pizza hysteria sets in and you go from doing an awkward white guy celebration dance, shouting, “YEAH! PIZZA’S HEEERRREEE, BOYEEE!!!” to panicking and yell-whispering, “Ohmygawd, where’s the money?!” “We paid online!” “How much do we tip the guy?!” “We already paid the tip online!” as if the delivery guy has supersensory hearing and will drive off with your pizzas if he hears you talking about the money.

DING-DONG

And there it is. He’s here. With our pizzas. The delivery guy.

Maybe if we don’t move and stop talking, he’ll just leave the pizzas at the door and leave like UPS or something.

Nope, gotta be an adult.

So you casually open the door and act as if you’d forgotten all about that pizza you ordered until you heard the doorbell. So you say, “Oh, hey!” as if to imply, “You’re here already?”

Your ratty Simpsons t-shirt with the spaghetti sauce stain that won’t come out, and the “lived-in” look of your sweatpants really add to the casual, nonchalant attitude you’re trying to convey. It’s as if you just got out of bed, but hey, maybe you did. You can tell the pizza dude is impressed.

Then you make short, awkward conversation as he hands you a pen and a receipt, which you sign and then exchange for the pizza as if this is a hostage negotiation. Just hand me the pies and no one gets hurt!

Once you’ve made the hand-off and the pizza dude is walking back to his car, the last bit of paranoia sets in as you hope he knows you’re not stiffing him on a tip.

But now the door is shut and locked, and at last, you’re reunited with the love of your life.

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Pondering Nintendo ‘NX’ and backwards compatibility

nintendo-e3

Backwards compatibility.

PlayStation 4 doesn’t have it.

Xbox One barely has it. As in, only recently, a select few “Xbox Preview members” were granted access, and only about 20 titles are currently supported.

Wii U is the only current-gen system that’s fully backwards compatible with all games in its predecessor’s library. But as with all backward compatible platforms, Wii U doesn’t run last-gen titles natively. You have to boot into an “emulation mode” that functions exactly like the old console. So when a Wii U boots into Wii mode, it operates like a Wii in every way, meaning you have no Wii U functionality. This means you can’t check your friends list, view the eShop, see current downloads, etc. That could change with NX.

Before Iwata’s untimely passing, he stated, “We do not intend [NX] to become a simple ‘replacement’ for Nintendo 3DS or Wii U.” A month later, Reggie said, “We’ve said publicly that we are already hard at work on our next home console.”

For these reasons, and contrary to popular thought, I do not believe NX will be a handheld/home console hybrid. Reggie’s emphatic statement about a home console and Iwata’s comment regarding 3DS lead me to believe that NX is a home console, and only a home console. But Iwata also stated NX would not be Wii U replacement, either. And that’s where my thoughts on backwards compatibility come in.

In a 2014 investors meeting, Iwata stated, “It will become important for us to accurately take advantage of what we have done with the Wii U architecture. It of course does not mean that we are going to use exactly the same architecture as Wii U, but we are going to create a system that can absorb the Wii U architecture adequately. When this happens, home consoles and handheld devices will no longer be completely different, and they will become like brothers in a family of systems.”

Now, I don’t know squat about hardware or programming or any of that stuff, but to me, that sounds as though NX could natively play Wii U games. There wouldn’t be a “Wii U mode” where you play outside the NX’s regular environment. Wii U games would be treated as regular games, played right there in the same interface/environment as NX games. All your menus, screens and functionality would be accessible without having to jump in and out of a clunky emulator mode. This way, instead of abandoning the platform once the new console is out, Nintendo can continue to fully support Wii U titles.

Think of it this way. You can upgrade or build a new computer with better parts. You can even upgrade your Windows OS, but essentially, at its core, it’s running on the same foundation. In turn, that means all the stuff you were able to run and play before still functions the same, but you’re also able to do new, better things that weren’t previously possible with your old hardware/software.

Considering Iwata’s comments regarding Nintendo’s hardware being “brothers” in an ecosystem, and the discussion of a new, cross-platform account system, it seems quite feasible that if you purchased digital versions of Wii U games, you could potentially download and play them again, free of charge, on your NX, based upon the fact that your account purchased them already. If NX plays Wii U games natively right out of the box, then there’s already a solid library of great games to play, in addition to NX launch titles and the promise of more to come.

But if that’s the case, you’ll need a Wii U GamePad, right? It’s possible Nintendo might sell GamePads separately, something they don’t do now, for people who didn’t buy into Wii U. Or, going a step further, it might be possible to use a 3DS for GamePad functionality. This is something Nintendo already has experience with, as it’s possible to use a 3DS as a controller for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

With all of that said, I don’t believe the GamePad or any type of tablet-based controller will be what we see as the main, front-and-center controller for NX. I just believe the console will fully support that functionality for people who want to take advantage.

Beyond that, I wonder if Nintendo’s next handheld could potentially play Wii U titles. The 3DS is getting a little long in the tooth, and the New 3DS is nothing more than a stopgap (a stopgap I’m proud to own, thank you very much). While Nintendo won’t want to conflate talk of a new handheld with talk of NX, I have to imagine we’ll be hearing about new handheld hardware sooner rather than later.

Considering Wii U’s relative lack of power compared to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that a new handheld device could be just as powerful as Wii U. And with that new, cross-platform architecture and account system, and the fact I can’t see Nintendo abandoning the two-screen functionality in its handhelds, it really doesn’t seem that far-fetched to think you could play Wii U games on the go.

Last year I postulated what Nintendo’s next handheld might be like. Some of what I talked about doesn’t seem likely or relevant anymore, but some of it still seems just as pertinent. I could be talking out of my butt, although we won’t know for a while, but it all seems worth considering.