Coffee Talk #3: Gaming Guilty Pleasures

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, celebrating Rocktober, when you expect to win a Nobel Peace Prize, Manny Pacquiao vs. Miguel Cotto, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Yesterday, I was incredibly pleased to have R.A. Salvatore’s The Ghost King arrive at my doorstep. His books about Drizzt Do’Urden and friends are one of my guilty pleasures. Some of them are pretty good (The Dark Elf Trilogy and Jarlaxle’s books are my favorite), but a lot of them…aren’t the best. Still, I read all of them — sometimes over and over again — and thoroughly enjoy them.

Britney's Dance Beat

This got me thinking about my gaming guilty pleasures. I’m sure you know what I mean — games that you know aren’t great (or sometimes not even good), but can’t stop playing. The two biggest offenders in my collection are Britney’s Dance Beat for PlayStation 2 and Wakeboarding Unleashed for Xbox. For the former, I should really just be playing Bust-a-Groove, but I love how corny the game is with Britney’s music. As for Wakeboarding Unleashed, it’s certainly not in the same league as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, but I may or may not have dated one of the girls in the game and it was always amazingly amusing to play as her.

Today I’d like to know about your gaming guilty pleasures. Are there any mediocre or bad games you can’t stop playing? Why can’t you shake them?

SwitchGames SoCal Game Trading Meetup!

Switch Games logoCalling all SoCal residents! The excellent people at SwitchGames are trying to organize an event where you can eat, drink, be merry, and trade games! Think of it as an evening swap meet for gamers. Here are some details:

DJ Sonic Pony spins the best indie rock, electronic, pop, classics and whatever else she feels like playing.

Food and drink will be available for purchase at the venue. All ages welcome. You must be 21+ to drink alcoholic beverages (ID required).

Plenty of parking (discount validation is available).

It sounds like a cool event. If my knee is cooperating, I’ll be there. It would be excellent to see you at the event! Even if you can’t attend this time around, be sure to sign up so that you can receive updates on future events.

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Nippon Ichi Software President Talks Life After Disgaea

Disgaea

Nippon Ichi Software (Disgaea) is one of my favorite developers. I love the deep and addictive gameplay in its RPGs. The company’s use of unique and quirky humor is outstanding. In a rare interview, NIS president and COO Souhei Niikawa gave Gamasutra an update on the company’s future plans:

Well, RPGs remain a popular genre for the hardcore audience, so I think that RPGs will still be a central part of our strategy.

Disgaea is certainly an important title for Nippon Ichi. We’ll continue to grow that game by doing what’s best for that particular series. Placing our fortunes on nothing but Disgaea wouldn’t be right at all. For example, we want to grow this new game in the same way that we’ve grown Disgaea. We want to make games that are different from Disgaea, of course, but sell just as well as that.

The market is getting harder and harder for small developers, so I worry about a company like NIS. I’m glad to see that it plans on expanding outside of Disgaea. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next! Hopefully it will still involve prinnies.

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Coffee Talk #2: Fantasy Games vs. SciFi 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, the Toy Story 3 trailer, the upcoming “Super 6” middleweight tournament, or Rob Schneider’s birthday, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Fantasy vs. SciFi — it’s a debate that will last an eternity. Most gamers I know enjoy both settings, but strongly lean towards one or the other. Some folks dig games with swords and sorcery, others prefer laser rifles and warp drives. Personally, I’m way more of a fantasy guy than a sci-fi guy. Space battles are cool and all, but I rather jump into an adventure filled with mystical spells, magic weapons, and cool frickin’ dragons. I liked Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, but I loved Baldur’s Gate.

Dragon Age Origins chicky

My reasoning is simple; fantasy settings are more ridiculous, ergo more imaginative. Science fiction — good science fiction anyway — is often based on…(get this) science. Sure, it might be theoretical, but in many cases it’s plausible and not a huge leap from reality. Even though a lot of sci-fi features alien races and futuristic weaponry, it’s just too “real” for me. At the end of the day I see science as cold and clinical (I’m sure a psychiatrist would tell me that I’m just afraid of death).

Fantasy is more fun for me. A sword of sharpness? Ludicrous. A bag of holding? Preposterous. A race of miniature creatures that live inside trees and bake cookies? Waitaminute…those actually exist. So many elements in fantasy games, books, etc. are just impossible. Call me a romantic, but I enjoy dreaming about the impossible.

I’d love to hear about your preference. Are you SciFi or fantasy? Pick a side and explain your choice (please)!

Squre Enix Taps Bon Jovi for Final Fantasy: Crystal Bearers

Square Enix + Bon Jovi = Awesome! To help promote Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, Square Enix has enlisted the help of the New Jersey rockers. According to Andriasang:

Square Enix announced today that it will be tapping none other than Bon Jovi for the new Wii Crystal Chronicles game.

Commercials for the game will make use of ‘We Weren’t Born to Follow’ off the band’s new The Circle album. The commercials will start appearing later this month.

Bon Jovi band

I love Bon Jovi and I love Square Enix games, so I’m thrilled by this partnership. I can’t wait to see the Japanese commercials online!

What do you make of the Square Enix/Bon Jovi pairing? Do you think Sega will try to get Cinderella to help them out? Maybe From Software will use Dokken. Also, isn’t this the same song MLB is using to promote the playoffs?

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Gearbox’s Randy Pitchford Equates Game Design With Magic

Borderlands

I have the utmost respect for game developers. They work so hard to craft the fantastic experiences that we all enjoy. The art of making games, to use some of Queen’s lyrics, “It’s a kind of magic.” According to Gearbox Software co-founder Randy Pitchford (Borderlands), game making and magic have a lot in common. The former professional magician (as opposed to the amateurs that cast spells in the Olympics) told Gamasutra:

A magician can create wonder by creating a set of logic, and then proving that the logic is impossible and false. Now if I repeat the same trick over and over again, as long as it’s still surprising, it’s fine. I’ve got you. But as soon as you start understanding how the trick works, you get bored and you lose interest. So, I’ve got to create a new trick. I’ve got to hit you with new magic.

I’ve always pegged Pitchford as some sort of sorcerer. I’m pretty sure he just admitted it in the quote above. I wonder what house he belonged to. Gryffindor? Hufflepuff maybe?

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Shigeru Miyamoto Speaks on New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Legendary Nintendo game creator Shigeru Miyamoto addressed a crowd of Japanese retailers to assuage any fears that New Super Mario Bros. Wii will be anything but a blockbuster hit. According to a Games Maya manager, Miyamoto said:

It’s a Mario that will continue selling even after one year has passed.

New Super Mario Bros

It’s interesting that Nintendo felt that trotting out Miyamoto was necessary. I can’t imagine the game doing anything but ridiculous numbers, but Andriasang’s Anoop Gantayat (hi Anoop!) feels that some retailers might be concerned with Super Mario Galaxy not selling as well as previous Mario games. I think those retailers should have their heads examined — New Super Mario Bros. Wii will be a fun game that appeals to gamers of all ages and skill levels. I will stand on my head if it doesn’t sell millions of copies.

Are you dudes and dudettes looking forward to this game? Or do you think it’s a case of Nintendo selling the same title over and over again?

Source via Andriasang

Dragon Age Origins Launch Trailer — Sacred Ashes

Okay, I’m pretty much a BioWare fanboy, so when the company says anything or releases new media — like a new Dragon Age: Origins trailer — I pay attention. Here are some official lines from the press release, followed by the video.

This trailer takes a look into a quest in search of the Sacred Ashes, where danger awaits the band of warriors in the glacial, jagged edges of a treacherous mountainside. Darkspawn assault the group, and pressed into action, the soldiers leap into battle. Using world-class skill, magic, might and outright brute force, the Darkspawn are being eviscerated; just when the situation appears to be under control, a massive Dragon – stunning in its size and might – swoops in and crushes everything in its path, threatening the very survival of the heroes. Check it out and let me know what you think (please)!

Jordan Mechner Talks Prince of Persia at GDC China

Prince of Persia The Sands of Time

Gamasutra has an excellent write up of Jordan Mechner’s keynote from GDC China. The Prince of Persia creator covers a wide range of topics. One of the tidbits I found interesting was him talking about his mindset going into Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Mechner said:

You really couldn’t find a better example of what not do than the first 10 years of Prince of Persia. The franchise was like a garden that I was neglecting. By 2001 Prince of Persia was really a dead franchise — completely and totally dead.

We really felt we were underdogs, because it was a dead franchise. We really felt we had to make an original game, as if nobody had heard of it.

And take a look at the franchise now, with Jake Gyllenhaal flashing his pecs as the prince. My, we’ve come a long way.

Seriously though, The Sands of Time was an excellent game and really brought the franchise back to life. While some of its sequels were not quite as good, the whole reboot is a fine of example of how to modernize a classic franchise. Hopefully someone will reboot a franchise so that Jake’s sister will bare her chest in a movie (again).

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PSA: Xbox Live Deal of the Week — Hasbro Family Games Night

Scrabble -- Hasbro Family Games Night

This week’s Xbox Live Deal of the Week has Hasbro Family Games Night titles on sale. According the Major Nelson:

Xbox Live Gold Members can save 50% when they purchase any of the Hasbro Family Game Night games.Normally priced at 800 points, this week Battleship, Connect 4, Scrabble, Yahtzee, Boggle and Sorry Sliders are 400 points each.

Most of these games should have been 400 points to begin with, but I love me some Scrabble and recommend it.

Hey…anyone interesting in getting some round robin Scrabble going?

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