Coffee Talk #221: So Psyched for Portable Gaming in 2011!!!

I’m so excited for portable gaming in 2011. The Nintendo 3DS is coming in March. Several developers are working on games for the PSP2. Apple iOS, Google Android, and Microsoft Windows Phone 7 games are going to get huge. At the very least, it’s going to be chaotic trying to cover and understand everything. At best, we will be overwhelmed by the flood of excellent portable games.

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Intelligentsia’s Organic Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Adado, remembering to vote for WWE AJ Lee in the NXT poll, or if you’re going to see Wall Street 2, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

I’m so excited for portable gaming in 2011. The Nintendo 3DS is coming in March. Several developers are working on games for the PSP2. Apple iOS, Google Android, and Microsoft Windows Phone 7 games are going to be better than ever. At the very least, it’s going to be chaotic trying to cover and understand everything. At best, we will be overwhelmed by the flood of excellent portable games.

I realize that most of you RPadholics are home console guys, but I’d bet that most of you will do more portable gaming in 2011 than you did in 2010. There are too many capable platforms and too many potentially cool games. It’s going to be tough to ignore!

Are any of you guys and dolls as excited about the prospects of portable gaming in 2011 as I am? What platforms are you looking forward to? If you’re still not convinced handheld gaming is worth your time then I must ask you…why the hell not?!?

Coffee Talk #220: Classic Gaming Conventions That Don’t Fly in 2010

As some of you know, I’ve been playing Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light to review for another site. I’m mostly enjoying the game. It’s an old-school RPG with a job system — I love both of those things. Having said that, there are several aspects of the game that are acceptable to me as a longtime RPG player, but would probably irk the hell out of newer gamers.

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, the wonderful meats at M-Grill, the excellent Lodi Vineyards Rapture Cabernet P Andy shared with me, or if you’re going to see The Social Network, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

As some of you know, I’ve been playing Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light to review for another site. I’m mostly enjoying the game. It’s an old-school RPG with a job system — I love both of those things. Having said that, there are several aspects of the game that are acceptable to me as a longtime RPG player, but would probably irk the hell out of newer gamers.

For example, there are several dungeons that are a cakewalk until the boss fight. If you don’t have the right armor and/or weapons equipped then the boss fights are super challenging at best and irritatingly impossible at worst. You can teleport back to the nearest village to get the right gear, but then you have to slog through the entire dungeon again. With all the hand holding and linearity in today’s games, I think a lot of players will find this unacceptable. Stuff like this was fine in 1993, but I don’t think it works in 2010.

Have you had any similar experiences recently? Are there any games you’ve played in the last year that use mechanics that should have been left in the ’90s? Have you played anything that’s crossed the line between classic and antiquated? Now’s the time to whine about old-school videogame conventions!

Coffee Talk #219: Will Games Get Cheaper (with Expensive DLC)?

THQ CEO Brian Farrell told CVG that games will likely be cheaper in the future, but with more downloadable content. He believes that the initial version of the game will cost between $29 to $39, but more and more features will be downloadable add-ons. He told CVG:

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THQ CEO Brian Farrell told CVG that games will likely be cheaper in the future, but with more downloadable content. He believes that the initial version of the game will cost between $29 to $39, but more and more features will be downloadable add-ons. He told CVG:

I’m a big believer in monetising under the curve, so we capture that $29 to $39 user no matter what, and a person that wants to spend $100 on the product can do so as well. I think that’s the future of gaming — whether it’s this model or a take on the free-to-play model. It’s where our industry is going.

I’m not sure if this is where the industry is going, but I can see publishers experimenting with it in certain genres. I also see enthusiast gamers getting extremely angry about this practice…and doing nothing about it.

What do you think of this business model? Would you mind getting a stripped down version of a game for less money? Do you care that more features would have to be purchased online? Is this smart business? Or is it Kotickian?

Coffee Talk #218: The Case of the Missing Samsung Epic 4G

As some of you know, I’ve been having a devil of a time tracking down the Samsung Epic 4G that was sent to me for review. Hopefully one of you can use your Batman-like detective skills and help me figure it out. Now let’s rewind a bit. The phone arrived on August 23rd while I was in Asia. I have a FedEx door tag that says that the package was left with my building’s security desk. From there, it gets all kinds of fuzzy.

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Powerfox & Ponymane, using a Canon Eos 60D to film developer interviews, or if there’s any video editing software for Windows that’s worth a damn, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

As some of you know, I’ve been having a devil of a time tracking down the Samsung Epic 4G that was sent to me for review. Hopefully one of you can use your Batman-like detective skills and help me figure it out. Now let’s rewind a bit. The phone arrived on August 23rd while I was in Asia. I have a FedEx door tag that says that the package was left with my building’s security desk. From there, it gets all kinds of fuzzy.

The security desk, staffed by California Protection Security Services, has the package logged in as received. The security guards keep a woefully unorganized binder that sometimes contains package information. Unfortunately, the box wasn’t in the storage room where packages are left. I checked on five different occasions and none of the security guards were able to find it.

I called and emailed FedEx for assistance. A CSR contacted the driver that delivered the package. The driver wasn’t certain, but he thought that he left the box in front of my door. Yet the FedEx door tag clearly states that the box was left with security (remember, it’s also logged as received by security). If that was the case then someone had to sign for it. For some strange reason, the tracking number says that the box was left at my front door. I asked the FedEx CSR to explain why the door tag says that the box was left with security while the tracking information says it was left at my door. She said that she would investigate further, but I haven’t heard from the company since Friday.

The management at Wilshire Vermont Station Apartments wasn’t helpful either. The first time I brought up the matter, an older lady totally brushed me off and said that they had nothing to do with packages. The second time I went, a younger lady made an effort to look for the package. After she couldn’t find it, she said that there was nothing she could do and that I should call FedEx.

I’ve yet to contact Sprint PR about this because it looks bad on my part. If Sprint tracked the package, they would see that it was left at my door (who knows if that’s what really happened). The company might think that I’m trying to pull a fast one on them. Having said that, I’m probably going to call them today and explain the situation (I wonder if the PR rep will believe me). For now, I want to know what you think happened. Please vote in the poll and explain your case in the comments section.

[poll id=”71″]

Coffee Talk #217: Who’s Your Favorite Videogame Voice Actor?

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Intelligentsia’s El Salvador El Ausol Honeyed Pacamara, Golden Boy Promotions suing Top Rank Promotions, or how the lawsuit is horrible for (the already messed up) sport of boxing, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Today’s column was inspired by RPadholic bsukenyan’s wish for more Judi Dench in videogames. While I was terribly amused by his wish, I also wondered about your favorite videogame voice actors and actresses. At the very least, strong performances can cover up some weak scriptwriting. At best, great voice acting can truly bring a game’s story to life. As for my favorite, it’s definitely the legendary Cam Clarke.

I became a Cam Clarke fan from his work as Maximillian Sterling and (especially) Lance “Lancer” Belmont in the Robotech cartoons. As I started paying attention to acting in videogames, I noticed that his name popped up…a lot. The man has performed in more than 100 games! From Metal Gear Solid to Baldur’s Gate to God of War to World of Warcraft to Assassin’s Creed, chances are you’ve played dozens of games Clarke has acted in.

Now it’s your turn! Who are some of your favorite videogame voice actors and actresses?

Coffee Talk #216: What Was Your Favorite TGS News?

Tokyo Game Show 2010 is over and there were so many interesting happenings at the show. What was your favorite bit of TGS 2010 news? As for me, I was thrilled with Team Ico’s announcements. The new trailer for The Last Guardian is fantastic — I think I’ve watched it around 43 times already. I’m also super psyched that Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are being re-released in HD (not so interested in 3D though).

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, The Miz and Bryan Danielson putting on a refreshingly old-school wrestling match last night, “Sugar” Shane Mosley’s horrific fight against Sergio Mora, or The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Tokyo Game Show 2010 is over and there were so many interesting happenings at the show. What was your favorite bit of TGS 2010 news? As for me, I was thrilled with Team Ico’s announcements. The new trailer for The Last Guardian is fantastic — I think I’ve watched it around 43 times already. I’m also super psyched that Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are being re-released in HD (not so interested in 3D though).

Now it’s your turn! Was there anything at TGS 2010 that made you especially happy, excited, or giddy (special bonus if it made you all three!)?

Coffee Talk #215: Who Are Your Favorite Internet Writers?

Let’s be real — this can’t possibly be the only web site you visit on a daily basis. Don’t worry, I don’t get (too) jealous when you spend time reading other sites. Having said that, I’d love to hear about some of your favorite Internet writers. Whether it’s games, sports, tech, or whatever, let me know who some of your favorite scribes are. Here are some of mine:

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, J.Lo as an American Idol judge, WWE banning Soma (even with a prescription), or Britney Spears’ engagement rumors, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Let’s be real — this can’t possibly be the only web site you visit on a daily basis. Don’t worry, I don’t get (too) jealous when you spend time reading other sites. Having said that, I’d love to hear about some of your favorite Internet writers. Whether it’s games, sports, tech, or whatever, let me know who some of your favorite ‘net scribblers are. Here are some of mine:

  • Games: Christian Nutt (Gamasutra), Chris Kohler (Wired), Brian Leahy (Shacknews), and Dean Takahashi (VentureBeat) [Full disclosure: Kohler and I do a stunning karaoke duet of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”, Christian and I used to be roommates, and Leahy…well, most of you know.]
  • Tech: Om Malik (GigaOm), James Kendrick (JKonTheRun), MG Siegler (TechCrunch), and Fake Steve Jobs (FakeSteveJobs)
  • Sports: Bill Simmons (ESPN) and Doug Fischer (The Ring)

Now it’s your turn! Who are some of your favorite Internet writers?

Coffee Talk #214: Five Things I Can’t Wait to See at TGS 2010

I’m so bummed that I’m missing Tokyo Game Show. Part of it is that it’s always incredibly fun hanging out with writer, developer, and PR friends in Tokyo. Part of it is that the karaoke is simply the best (I’ve never seen so many Pixies songs available anywhere else in the world). Lastly, part of it is that my tastes lean towards Japanese games and the announcements are usually super exciting for gamers like me. Here are five things I’m looking forward to hearing more about during TGS 2010.

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, if Nokia’s new Symbian^3 phones will matter, Ricky Hatton’s cocaine use, or the impending demise of WWE NXT, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

I’m so bummed that I’m missing Tokyo Game Show. Part of it is that it’s always incredibly fun hanging out with writer, developer, and PR friends in Tokyo. Part of it is that the karaoke is simply the best (I’ve never seen so many Pixies songs available anywhere else in the world). Lastly, part of it is that my tastes lean towards Japanese games and the announcements are usually super exciting for gamers like me. Here are five things I’m looking forward to hearing more about during TGS 2010.

  1. The Last Guardian — I’ve been high on this game since E3 2009 and was totally bummed that it wasn’t at E3 2010. TGS does seem more appropriate for Team Ico’s next unique adventure.
  2. The 3rd Birthday — I’ve been trying to get you guys and dolls to pay attention to this Parasite Eve (not a) sequel, but it doesn’t appear to be working. It’s going to be cool! I really believe that.
  3. Nintendo 3DSObviously I have a professional interest in the 3DS, but after playing with it at E3 2010, I want it now! Honestly, it’s more “magical” than the Apple iPad. On a side note, Satoru Iwata and Steve Jobs need to fight over the “magic” in a steel cage.
  4. Shadows of the Damned — It’s Grasshopper’s Suda 51 and Platinum Games’ Shinji Mikami working together. That’s just sheer awesomeness.
  5. More Square Enix — Yeah, in addition to The 3rd Birthday, I’m starving for more on Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, Ogre Battle, FF Tactics for iPhone, next-gen engine — anything really. I love Square Enix games (especially the ones with Reona Rewis).

I’m sure there will be plenty of awesome news coming out of TGS 2010. What do you think of my list? What are you looking forward to hearing more about? Man, I’d love to hang out with some of you in Tokyo. If you haven’t been, I’m sure you’d totally dig it. Now get to shouting (not literally, Big Blak) in the comments section (please)!

Coffee Talk #213: My Biggest Gaming Disappointment of 2010

I’ve been meaning to write my (not a) review for the “Witch Hunt” DLC for Dragon Age: Origins since last Thursday. I’ve played it a bunch of times and I’m certainly familiar with it, but for various reasons I haven’t pulled the trigger on my (not a) review. Part of it is that I don’t have much to say about the game. Here’s the short version: it’s incredibly disappointing. Here’s the long version: the gameplay, graphics, and voice acting are what you’d expect from Dragon Age, but the story — which was purported to be a grand finale that dramatically reveals the fate of Morrigan — is a total letdown. There’s nothing grand about “Witch Hunt”; it’s just another piece of good Dragon Age DLC.

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Chad Ochocinco’s hosting job on WWE Raw, George Michael getting two months in the slammer for driving while high, or Oprah giving away the new Motorola Android phone, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

I’ve been meaning to write my (not a) review for the “Witch Hunt” DLC for Dragon Age: Origins since last Thursday. I’ve played it a bunch of times and I’m certainly familiar with it, but for various reasons I haven’t pulled the trigger on my (not a) review. Part of it is that I don’t have much to say about the game. Here’s the short version: it’s incredibly disappointing. Here’s the long version: the gameplay, graphics, and voice acting are what you’d expect from Dragon Age, but the story — which was purported to be a grand finale that dramatically reveals the fate of Morrigan — is a total letdown. There’s nothing grand about “Witch Hunt”; it’s just another piece of good Dragon Age DLC.

The other part is that I’m…uncomfortable being disappointed in BioWare. I adore the company’s games. Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk are fantastic people that I’ve been lucky enough to spend time with. Thankfully, I’m not working for a proper editorial site at the moment, so I don’t have to lie to you and pretend that these factors aren’t creeping around my brain. I just hold BioWare to incredibly high standards (perhaps unfairly so), so when the company releases a decent product that should have been more, it’s disappointing.

Anyway, I’m officially going to blame the whole not-writing-a-(not a)-review thing on jet lag. As for you, I want to hear about your gaming disappointments of 2010 (thus far). Shout it out (please)!

Coffee Talk #212: WWE NXT’s AJ Lee is My Ultimate Woman

Thanks to WWE NXT, I have found my new “ultimate woman” for the next decade — AJ Lee. She’s obviously a beautiful woman that wrestles, but I’ve learned that she loves comic books and videogames. I don’t see how you can beat this combination. She could beat the crap out of baby seals with a baseball bat she made from a tree plucked from a rain forest she decimated and I’d still adore her. She seems to be the perfect combination of beauty, brains, athleticism, and nerdcore.

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, NFL week one, your favorite MTV VMA 2010 moments, or the big HTC/Nokia events this week, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Thanks to WWE NXT, I have found my new “ultimate woman” for the next decade — AJ Lee. She’s obviously a beautiful woman that wrestles, but I’ve learned that she loves comic books and videogames. I don’t see how you can beat this combination. She could beat the crap out of baby seals with a baseball bat she made from a tree plucked from a rain forest she decimated and I’d still adore her. She seems to be the perfect combination of beauty, brains, athleticism, and nerdcore.

In case you were wondering (and even if you weren’t), Zoe Flower, my dearest BB, was my ultimate woman last decade. Now she’s an ultimate mommy. Given her new stage in life and the new decade, it seemed like the perfect time to find a new ultimate woman. May the reign of AJ Lee be a tremendous one!

Naturally, I want to know what you think of AJ. Do you have an ultimate woman? Is there anyone you can think of that can match AJ’s blend of beauty and geekiness?