Apple’s mistake, Nintendo’s opening

Nintendo may have a hit on their hands with the Switch. It’s still early days but the sales of the new Nintendo Switch have been encouraging with a purported 1.5m units sold in just over a week of sales.

A main driver of the early success is of course the new Legend of Zelda game, the Breath of the Wild. According to SuperData, approximately 89% of Switch owners also purchased the game with their new console.

One of the potential drivers of future sales is the indie and retro market. E.g.

  • The Binding of Isaac
  • Shovel Knight
  • King of Fighters
  • Metal Slug 3
  • Ultra Street Fighter II

Apple could have had access to this market, in fact it does, sorta. Most of these games (e.g. Binding of Isaac, Street Fighter) are available on iOS.

But what Apple has failed to do is to execute on the idea. It boils down to physical controls. Not everyone is a leet gamer able to do amazing things via on-screen controls.

There’s been plenty of controllers for iOS devices but they are flaky. Either they don’t work well with iOS or the games don’t support it.

Apple decided on a heavy handed MFI (made for iPod) certification system which was expensive and not everybody signed up for it.

They should have just supported USB game controllers and made it easy and cheap to be certified.

So they’ve missed the boat as far as I’m concerned. They could have forced all developers to support USB controllers but they didn’t.

Now Nintendo has come up with an alternative platform that has mobile and home gaming applications with support for physical controls which can benefit from the demand for retro games (nostalgia) and indie games (non-mainstream gaming).

Apple could have done it for mobile gaming (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) and home gaming (Apple TV) but have dropped the ball. Too bad Apple. I would have loved to give you (more) money.

BSF Bible References for the Book of John (Lesson 4)

John 3:1-8; 1:14; 6:51-56, 6:63; Romans 8:5-9; John 5:24; Ephesians 2:1, 2:5; John 3:9-17; Isaiah 44:3-5; Ezekiel 36:26-27; 37:9-10, 37:14; John 1-2; 1:19-28; 2:13-25; Numbers 21:4-9; John 3:13-17; Acts 4:12; Romans 10:13; John 3:16-21; 3:36; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; John 3:18-21; 3:22-36

Arrival (2016) review

Arrival

Dr. Louise Banks: If you could see your whole life from start to finish, would you change things?

Just rented this movie from the Google Play Store, great movie!

The cinematography is great. And the spaceships remind me of the mother ship in Homeworld. 🙂

97968-homeworld-windows-front-cover.jpg

Staring  Amy Adams (who’s also in Nocturnal Animals) and Jeremy Renner it tells the story of how the world reacts to 12 space ships appearing on Earth. In particular it focuses on the American reaction to the one on their soil, in Montana. And even more specifically on the expert linguist that the American military uses to communicate with the aliens, Louise Banks (who is played by Amy Adams).

I feel there’s some political statements being made by the reaction of some of the American soldiers and also by the Chinese general towards the aliens.

It hits home for me in a few key areas.

*WARNING Spoilers*

  • language and the importance of precise communications,
  • the concept of prescience or deja vu,
  • the loss a child,
  • how fear can (almost) lead to catastrophic consequences, and
  • violins that play in the last scene (real tear-jerker!).

*END Spoilers*

Ultimately the movie ends on an optimistic, though bittersweet, note. Humanity its worse impulses and lives to help another sentient race.

Go rent it now!

BSF Bible References for the Book of John (Lesson 1)

John 1:1-5; Genesis 1:1; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2-3; John 3:19-21; 8:12; 12:46; 1 John 1:5-6; John 1:9-13; Deuteronomy 7:6; Luke 19:14; John 19:15; Romans 3:1-2; 9:4-5; 1 John 5:12; John 3:3-8; 6:63; Romans 1:16; 10:17; Ephesians 2:1-10; 1 Peter 1:23; John 1:6-8, 1:14-15; 1:14-18

 

Revelation – Seven Plagues and Bowls

We’ve had the seven

  • churches
  • seals
  • trumpets

Now we come to the last of the “sevens”. The seven plagues released when the seven bowls of God’s wrath is poured out, this is covered in Chapters 15-16.

Note that John himself refers to them as the last (15:1), “because with them God’s wrath is completed.”

Note also that “bowls” containing wrath is patently metaphorical. I leave it to you to decide if the “harps” held by those victorious over the beast are literal.

Interestingly, “what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire” could easily be the aftermath of a nuclear explosion in the desert.

1st Plague

The angel poured out this first bowl on the land resulting in ugly, festering sores breaking out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshipped its image.

Those who worshiped evil would be punished.

2nd Plague

The next angel poured out his bowl on the sea turning it into blood like that of a dead person, and every living thing in the sea died.

The life of a thing is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11). It’s as if the world has been stabbed, with pollution and neglect by man and now lies dying, bleeding.

With all the sea creatures dead those who make their living from the sea would be devastated (cf Revelation 18:17).

3rd Plague

Next a bowl is poured out on the rivers and springs of water causing them to become blood.

4th Plague

The fourth bowl is poured out on the sun. The sun was then allowed to scorch the people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.

The key point to note is that God’s punishment did not cause people to turn to Him in repentance. But it caused them to curse Him instead.

5th Plague

The third last bowl was poured on the throne of the beast causing that kingdom to plunge into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.

Again, people failed to repent and instead cursed God.

6th Plague

The penultimate bowl / plague was actually not a punishment but preparation for the final battle to be held at Armageddon.

It was poured out on the great river Euphrates causing the waters to dry up to prepare the way for the kings from the East.

In addition, three evil spirits performed miraculous signs to gather the kings of the world for the final battle.

7th Plague

The final bowl is poured into the air. There’s flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and the severest earthquake in history causing the Great City to split into three parts and the cities of the nations to collapse.

Babylon the Great was given the cup of God’s wrath. Island fled away, mountains could not be found. Huge 100 pound hailstones fell on people, and people cursed God for the hail.

The final “plague” is basically God dealing with Babylon the Great / the woman on the beast / the Great City that rules over the kings of the world (Revelation 17:18).

Babylon is split into three parts by an earthquake, the beast and the 10 horns will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire.

Addendum: The Final Battle (Armageddon)

The final battle is actually pretty anti-climatic as the Beast and the False Prophet were simply captured and thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulphur (Revelation 19:20).

The rest of the amassed armies were simply killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the Rider (Faithful and True, the Word of God) of the White Horse.

Rather gruesomely, all the birds gorged themselves on the flesh of the slain.

 

 

Revelation – the Seven Trumpets

The First Trumpet

Hail and fire mixed with blood was hurled onto the earth. 1/3 of the world was burned, 1/3 of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass burned up.

The Second Trumpet

Something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. 1/3 of the sea turned into blood, 1/3 of the living creatures in the sea died, 1/3 of the ship were destroyed.

The Third Trumpet

A great star, Wormwood, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a 1/3 of the rivers and on the springs of water. 1/3 of the waters turned bitter and many people died from the waters.

The Forth Trumpet

1/3 of the sun, moon and stars struck turning 1/3 of them dark. The result was that 1/3 of the day and night without light.

The Fifth Trumpet (First Woe)

A star that fell from the sky to the earth, and was given key to the shaft of the Abyss. That “star” opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it, darkening the sun and sky.

From the Abyss there came “locusts”, given power to torture people (excluding those who have the seal of God on their foreheads) for five months.

The description of the locusts are pretty fantastical. The leader of the locusts is the angel of the Abyss (Abaddon in Hebrew, Apollyon or destroyer in Greek).

The Sixth Trumpet (Second Woe)

The four angels bound at the river of Euphrates were released. They were given power to kill 1/3 of all people. They were accompanied by 200 million troops. They killed people through the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulphur.

The key point to note here is that despite the torture, the killing, people did not repent of their idol and demon worship, their murders, magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

The Seventh Trumpet (Third and Final Woe).

The nations are angry, and God’s wrath has come. Time of judgment of the dead, and for the rewarding of God’s servants, prophets and people who revere His name. And destruction for those who destroy the earth (cf we as God’s steward of the earth need to look after it, not exploit it, but this doesn’t mean we cannot benefit from it).

God’s temple in heaven was then opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm.

Revelation – the Seven Seals Part 2

Continued

The Fifth Seal

When this seal is opened, John saw a vision of the souls martyred because of their testimonies. They hungered for judgment and vengeance, instead of getting what they asked for, they were given a white robe and told to wait a little longer. To wait until the full number of martyrs would be killed.

How often are we who are living impatient! When we receive a small injury or slight, we get worked up and demand our rights. But God has his schedule, His timing. He will do what is right, when He determines the time is right.

It’s about doing the right thing in the right time.

The Sixth Seal

There’s a great earthquake, sun turned black, the moon turned red. The stars “fell” and the “heavens” “rolled back”. Every mountain and island was “removed”.

Is this passage figurative? Literal? Or are literal events being described in a figurative way? I believe it’s the last of the three.

There’s going to be calamity. Both on earth and reflected in the “heavens”, ie space.

People try to hide from the calamity. They are aware that this (coming judgment?) is from God Himself.

They know they cannot withstand the wrath of the Lamb but they’d rather cry out to the mountains and rocks (inanimate things) rather than fall at the feet of the Lamb and beg for mercy.

The 144,000

Prior to the final judgment, ie the seventh seal being unsealed, God’s people are sealed against the coming judgment.

12 x 10 x 10 x 10 is 12,000

12,000 times 12 tribes = 144,000

My interpretation of Revelation 7:1-3 is that ALL of God’s people, who are alive prior to the seventh and final judgment, are sealed.

This includes God’s Chosen people (ie the hereditary Jews / Israelites) and also the followers of Christ.

Revelation 7:4-8, to me, is an aside. To indicate the multitude, ie the number is symbolic not literal, of hereditary Israelites being saved.

Whether the number is symbolic or literal is not the point. The point is that God’s people are saved from the coming judgment.

I interpret the great multitude in white robes (refer to the fifth seal for reference to white robes) as those in Christ who have already died (they are before God’s throne so ought to be either dead or raptured). The great tribulation is probably the sixth seal.

The Seventh Seal

The seventh seal is somewhat anti-climatic because when it was opened all that happens for the first 1/2 hour in heaven is silence. Now only God knows how long 1/2 hour in heaven translates to.

But after that time is up, the Golden Censer is filled with fire then hurled onto the earth. There’s peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and (another) earthquake.

Then it’s time for the Seven Trumpets