Coffee Talk #676: Your Black Friday 2020 Wishlist

It’s that time of the year again, RPadholics — Black Friday! This year’s shopping extravaganza will be quite different from years past, since the BOSH COVID-19 pandemic will limit most brick-and-mortar retail activity. Still, online retailers have already flooded Black Friday 2020 with fantastic deals, with more to come. The question for you is this: What’s on your Black Friday 20202 wishlist?

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Coffee Talk #676: Streaming Services and Social Layers

I’ve been wishing for the confluence of streaming services and social layers for a long time. With new services like Scener and Netflix Party, it’s finally happening. Although it’s not quite what I was looking for, these services are a welcome addition to the streaming video experience.

Netflix Party, Scener, and You

Netflix Party and Scener are extensions that work on top of streaming video services. Both add video and text chat windows to video. Netflix Party works with Netflix (duh), while Scener works with a number of streaming video services. Scener also has the added distinction of being officially supported by HBO Go and HBO Now.

These services aim to offer an experience that’s akin to watching a movie or television show with friends, sans physical presence. This is especially welcomed during a global pandemic, when social distancing and stay-at-home practices are strongly encouraged. Video calls through Facetime, Zoom, etc. are great, but watching movies and TV with your nearest and dearest takes it to another level.

If you’ve ever dreamed of starring in your own version of Mystery Science Theater 3000 or you simply miss watching TV with your friends, Netflix Party and Scener are worth checking out.

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Wink Announces Monthly Subscription Fee, Promptly Has Service Outage

My home’s smart devices have been managed with a Wink 2 Hub since December 2017. Prior to that, they were connected to a Nexia hub. While all the devices that came with the house worked perfectly with the Nexia hub and the one-year complimentary subscription was a great way to get used to the functionality, the $9 monthly subscription was excessive.

After my complimentary subscription expired, I researched smart home hubs and settled on the Wink 2. While it didn’t work as seamlessly as the Nexia hub, it had broader and more powerful capabilities. Most importantly, it didn’t charge a monthly subscription fee…until now.

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Coffee Talk #675: How Much Time Should Elapse Before it’s Okay to Reveal Spoilers?

Last week I caught a bunch of heat on N4G. This article on Final Fantasy VII Remake discussed a major event from the original FFVII. The kids accused me of being the “spoilers!” guy. Initially, I dismissed it as Internet people being Internet people. Then RPadholic G-Iceman asked an interesting question in the RPadTV Slack:

“What is the appropriate amount of time that should pass before you can blurt out spoilers?”

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10 Thoughts on Final Fantasy VII Remake

Final Fantasy VII Remake is arguably the most anticipated RPG reboot in videogame history. The original was responsible for popularizing Japanese RPGs in Western markets. For many gamers, it was the first Japanese RPG they played and holds a very special place in their hearts.

As for me, I enjoyed the original FFVII, but not nearly as much as some of my gamer friends. At that point in my game life, I already loved Japanese RPGs, including a few Final Fantasy games. I liked it, but played better Final Fantasy games before and after it.

However, I came to love the world of FFVII through the outstanding PSP game Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and the great anime Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. They really fleshed out the world of FFVII, making sense of some things and expanding on others.

Like millions of gamers, I was thrilled for Final Fantasy VII Remake when the trailer dropped in 2015. Now that I’ve beaten the game and replayed several chapters, here are some random thoughts, using the trusty RPadTV binary system. [Time to equip your spoiler materia!]

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I Hope Aerith Lives in Final Fantasy VII Remake

Final Fantasy VII Remake has been an incredible success for Square Enix. The game has been acclaimed by critics and gamers alike. The company announced that it shipped 3.5-million units in the first three days of release. With worldwide acclaim and commercial success, it’s the perfect time for Square Enix to go all The Last Jedi on fans by screwing with their expectations.

Similar to how The Last Jedi is a modern take on Star Wars (1977), Final Fantasy VII Remake is a modern take on a beloved old game (1997). Even though “Remake” is in the title, it’s more of a reboot than anything else. That reminds me, if you haven’t finished the game yet, there will be light spoilers below. Please activate your spoiler-ward materia before you continue reading.

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How Do You Feel About WWE During COVID-19?

As much as I enjoy WWE programming, I feel guilty about watching new shows while the coronavirus is running wilder than Hulk Hogan ever did. All major sports leagues in the world have temporarily ceased operations, but the first name in sports entertainment soldiers on. More than ever, watching WWE has become a guilty pleasure.

It’s a good time to be introspective and ask myself — and you — the following question: How do you feel about WWE during COVID-19?

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Harry O’Fool, Ignorant Trump Supporter

There’s a guy that I met through the vaping business that’s an ignorant Trump supporter. Let’s call him Harry O’Fool. I don’t mind that we have different political and sociological ideologies. Learning from people with different opinions is one of the best ways to learn. I like learning. What I dislike is that Harry O’Fool’s opinions are mostly uninformed and backed by nothing.

Harry O’Fool has left several comments on my Facebook posts that disagree with my opinion. Again, that’s a good thing. I love to learn new information and evolve. Unfortunately, he never offers sources that back up his opinion. His reasoning consists of “because I say so” or “this is what I think.”

On a post discussing Donald Trump’s possible ties to pharmaceutical companies that manufacture hydroxychloroquine, he left this little nugget.

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The Best Game of Thrones Battle

One of the most outstanding aspects of Game of Thrones is its battles. The show set a new standard for television action sequences by blending superior choreography, effective storytelling, and riveting drama. With the final season of Game of Thrones just days away, it’s a fine time to bust out the retroscope and pick the best Game of Thrones battle.

This was a tough decision for me. I adore “The Battle of Blackwater Bay” from season two. After being conditioned to heavy use of CGI in swords-and-sorcery combat by The Lord of the Rings films, I was amazed by the heavy use of practical effects in “Blackwater.” It was also the first epic battle in Game of Thrones and despite what Prince said, the first time can be the greatest. While “Blackwater” will always be one of my favorite Game of Thrones moments, there’s one battle that’s undeniably greater.

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Random Thoughts on Shazam

Shazam is a delightful movie that’s full of joy and wonder. It has a lighthearted tone that’s deftly balanced by weighty consequences. It’s also the best film in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU).

Unlike previous DCEU efforts, Shazam isn’t hampered by dull moments sandwiched by great scenes (Wonder Woman). It doesn’t suffer from action that’s distractingly frenzied and Patrick Wilson yelling as if he graduated from Vegeta’s School of Melodramatic Screaming (Aquaman). The other DCEU movies…the less said about them, the better.

Shazam is funny, exciting, and captivating. It does very little wrong and does so many things right. You should see it. Now in the grand RPadTV of binary lists, here are some random thoughts on the wonderful Shazam movie. [Spoilers are about to strike like lightning. Preterite mode engaged.]

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