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Tuesday April 13, 2010 1:09 pm

Gaming gear I wish I had on this 12-hour flight

As I write this, I am squeezed into a coach seat on a 12 hour flight from an undisclosed location in the middle east to New York City. Once I get done with this, I have another 6-hour jaunt to Los Angeles, and the memory of my last 2-hour flight here fades with every drop of overpriced airline beer. In these trying times, a man needs to keep entertained. My DS is charged, but alas, I have completed Castlevania already.

There are three - no, four crying infants on board. The man to my left has clearly not showered since the Reagan administration. If I don’t survive, let me leave you with these thoughts of what could have been, if only I had taken this frightening possibility into deeper consideration.

Hit the jump for my last coherent thoughts before the chilling onset of complete madness.

A New Macbook Pro + Steam

MacBook Pro Core i5 i7

At the time of writing this, the rumors heavily point to the imminent release of a new line of Macbook Pros (Edit: Yup! New MacBook Pros!); Stronger, faster, thirty-three percent more cheese flavor, and a longer battery life - 9+ hours, on some models. Given, this flight is about 13 hours long, but you could knock off a good chunk of that, now that OS X has a native Steam client. Of course, we have that little problem of internet connectivity, but if you have Wi-Fi on your flight - which more and more airlines are offering with regularity - you can spend your time on the Orange Box instead of formatting spreadsheets for fun.

Fun story - Since I have no games on my PC, I attempted Chatroutlette on the connecting flight, which offered in-flight Internet. It was about the third time that the people next to me were suddenly treated to full-screen images of vigorous genital manipulation that I decided to retire the practice.

An iPad with Remastered Games
iPad gamesThough I fully intend to wait until Apple releases a version with cameras and USB ports 4 months down the road, I have to admit that an is a machine designed for distraction. A nice, big screen with multitouch gaming? Hell yeah. Developers are now optimizing their games for the system instead of just blowing up their existing games into pixelized messes. You have not experienced a time-sink until you’ve tried Plants Vs. Zombies on a multitouch tablet screen. Or hard drugs, those take up some time as well. They would frown on me doing that in the lavatory, though.

PS3 Slim with Hori LCD Screen

PS3 hori display

If your plane offers outlets, thank your heathen gods for the bounty you can partake in. Hori recently debuted this LCD screen for the PS3 slim for around $280, due in mid-May. You WOULD be “that douche playing his PS3 on the plane,” but with an outlet and a good set of headphones, no screaming baby on earth will be able to distract you from some beautiful Uncharted action at thirty-thousand feet.

Some Good Old-Fashioned Reads
Splinter Cell NovelWhy not go old-school with your game entertainment? There are plenty of options if you’re not into classic literature. If you like full-fledged novels to occupy your brainspace on a flight, there are plenty of books that expand on your beloved game universes, like the Halo and Gears of War novels. For my money, the best game novels are the Splinter Cell books that do a great job of entertaining, intriguing, and building on the games - and it can’t hurt with Splinter Cell: Conviction on the shelves.

If your attention span is not quite up to snuff for lengthy literature, the Penny Arcade compilations from Dark Horse are good for tiny nuggets of momentary distraction and insight, with extra commentary from Tycho crammed into every page.


Jam Sessions + Traveler Guitar

Traveler Guitar

Why not spend time on a plane bettering yourself? There’s a glut of self-instruction games on the market - cooking, raising babies, cooking babies - but there are some that can help you hone your musical inclinations, like Jam Sessions on the DS, which can teach you some basic guitar progressions. And to complement this, you can always pick up a Traveler Guitar, TSA-approved for flights, and try replicating your in-game orchestrations in real life using a pair of headphones. Just try not to piss off the guy next to you by doing windmills or playing Nickelback or something.


Nintendo DSi XL
Nintendo DSi XLWe did a preview of the Nintendo DSi XL, and man, could I use that extra screen real-estate right about now. My eyes are bleary from from an hour or two of half-sleep, and having a solid handheld like this with another Castlevania game can easily keep me absorbed for 15+ hours at a time. There are even e-books available for it, if you don’t have a kindle or, well, a book with you. What the hell is wrong with you? You suck.


A Flight Attendant With Whom to Get Into the Mile High Club
A man can dream, right? The ones here are prudes, but they smile at me when I order a Fresca. That must count for something.



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