Coffee Talk #366: Your First Mobile Phone

Today’s Coffee Talk is a request from RPadholic N8R. He would like to know about your very first cell phone. Do you remember the make and model of your first mobile phone? Did any of you rock the…

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, your Wimbledon 2011 pick, the MLB McCourt drama, or George Clooney being single…again, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Today’s Coffee Talk is a request from RPadholic N8R. He would like to know about your very first cell phone. Do you remember the make and model of your first mobile phone? Did any of you rock the Zach Morris? Or did you have one of those classic Nokia candybars? Did any of you start out with the Motorola RAZR?

As for me, I borrowed my Dad’s Motorola StarTac a few times while I was in college (mostly to look cool), but the first mobile phone that was all mine was an Ericcson CF688. Hell, I don’t even remember what carrier it was on, but I remember being enamored by its slickness and form factor…which seems hilarious when looking through the retroscope.

Now it’s your turn! What was your first mobile phone?

Coffee Talk #365: The Angle of the Dangle

I’m reexamining my position on viewing angles and I’d love to have your input. I was talking to a few friends that review phones and they were dinging the HTC Sensation for its viewing angles. I just don’t…

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 emergence of Rory McIlroy, Floyd Mayweather not showing up to court, or RIM’s declining fortunes, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

I’m reexamining my position on viewing angles and I’d love to have your input. I was talking to a few friends that review phones and they were dinging the HTC Sensation for its viewing angles. I just don’t understand why they’re a big deal on phones. Mobile phones are generally used by one person looking at the device head-on. Certainly I can’t think of a case where my mobile phone experience was lessened by poor viewing angles.

My friends said that I was being contradictory for criticizing the Nintendo 3DS for its viewing angles. If you haven’t tried one, the 3D aspect of the handheld system is very sensitive to viewing angles. The 3D effect breaks if you view it from slightly off-center angles. In this case, one of the 3DS’ primary functions — 3D gaming — can be ruined due to the device’s viewing angles. I don’t think it’s the same deal as on a phone.

My reviewer friends weren’t able to change my mind, but perhaps you will. Please let me know how you feel about viewing angles on phones, portable consoles, televisions, etc.

Coffee Talk #364: Quick Time Events and You

I don’t know that gamers are clamoring for more quick time events, but developers are implementing them into more and more games. One explanation I heard is that developers…

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 Honduras La Tortuga, Heat bashing taking away from Dallas’ victory, or Jeter’s interrupted march to 3,000 hits, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

I was talking about the proliferation of quick time events with some industry friends. The trend is curious. I don’t know that gamers are clamoring for more quick time events, but developers are implementing them into more and more games. One explanation I heard is that developers like quick time events because they keep players engaged. During cinematic sequences, gamers interact with the scene instead of just watching it.

This doesn’t work for me for two reasons. Firstly, I’ve been conditioned to enjoy cutscenes as a reward. Cinematic sequences are a nice treat for finishing a level or a chunk of a game. Secondly, during quick time events I get so focused on the area of the screen with the button commands that I block out the rest of the graphics. For me it’s more enjoyable to sit back and watch a beautiful scene instead of pressing simple button commands to interact with it…

…but that’s just me. What about you? How do you feel about quick time events? Do you love ’em? Do you hate ’em? Or are they just kind of…there? What do you think of them being implemented into more games and more genres?

Coffee Talk #363: E3 2011 Takeaways

E3 2011 is over! Today I wanted to talk about general trends, random observations, and closing thoughts on E3 2011. Naturally, I want to hear about your thoughts on this year’s show as well. Let’s get to it!

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, seven-foot Germans crying tears of joy, taking your talents to South Beach and beating the home team, or LeBron being more Scottie Pippen than Michael Jordan, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

E3 2011 is over! It was a glorious show (as always) and my head is still overflowing with awesome games I saw last week. Tomorrow we’ll talk about the top games of the show. Today I wanted to talk about general trends, random observations, and closing thoughts on E3 2011. Naturally, I want to hear about your thoughts on this year’s show as well. Let’s get to it!

– A lot of games at E3 2011 featured quick time events. I was surprised by how many games — spanning all sorts of genres — implemented QTEs. I’ve never heard gamers crying out for more QTEs. I suppose this helps games reach more people since QTEs add a cinematic feel and simple controls.

– Microsoft and Nintendo are trading places. Microsoft emphasized the casual market with Kinect. Disneyland Adventures and Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster are not for enthusiast gamers, but I expect both to do monster numbers. Nintendo is going in a different direction with the Wii U. The company’s success with the original Wii was all about simplicity and accessibility. The Wii U controller is far more complex and geared towards a different type of customer.

– Developers have longer memories than PR people. I was able to sneak into several demos and cut quite a few lines thanks to people I’ve met before. A middling amount of PR people assisted me with this. The majority of help came from developers. It’s curious that a higher percentage of developers were more interested in me seeing their new game than PR reps. I realize that I’m one guy from a very small site and that my name isn’t as valuable as it used to be, but I still found it all…amusing. I do appreciate everyone that helped me check out games I wasn’t scheduled to see at E3 2011.

– Surprises are a thing of the past. Thanks to the aggressive nature of blogging and a tightly controlled PR cycle, there weren’t any huge game surprises at E3 2011. There were certainly a lot of great and good games, but all of them have been reported on before. For me, the only major surprise was the price of the PlayStation Vita. I only found out about that the day before it was announced, thanks to a developer friend from Japan. I expect this trend to continue in future shows. I expect that there will only be a handful of big surprises at the next few E3 events.

– Indie developers are getting more stroke. It was cool seeing Queasy Games get so much attention with Sound Shapes for Vita. The same goes for Supergiant Games with Bastion for Xbox Live Arcade. It’s brilliant that new platforms and delivery methods are making it easier for independent game developers to get some attention.

What trends did you notice from the outside looking in? I’m sure you have a cool and unique perspective on what happened at E3 2011. Please share your thoughts!

Coffee Talk #362: Random Pre-E3 Chatter

Yesterday’s E3 festivities were fantastic. I went to the excellent B4 party held by47 Communications and caught up with all sorts of groovy friends. Game Informer’s Andy McNamara dropped a…

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 villainous Heat stealing yesterday’s game in Dallas, the villainous Rafael Nadal beating the noble Roger Federer in another French Open final, or stupid PR agencies down the block from your apartment, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Yesterday’s E3 festivities were fantastic. I went to the excellent B4 party held by47 Communications and caught up with all sorts of groovy friends. Game Informer’s Andy McNamara dropped a ton of weight and looks fantastic. I’ve dubbed him Andy Mc Lite. BioWare’s Dr. Greg appears to be hitting the weights. His biceps were pretty impressive. Naturally, I accused him of using steroids and/or HGH. After the party some of my industry friends from Japan wanted to get a large American burger, so we went to The Counter. The gaijin portions kicked their asses.

Socializing aside, it was great confirming a bunch of pre-E3 rumors. Most of what you’ve been hearing is true. Some of the best stuff I heard about and two games that are supposedly awesome won’t even be at the show. It looks like those games/products will be Tokyo Game Show 2011 or E3 2012 announcements.

Since I’m going to be hopping around downtown Los Angeles all day, kindly chat it up in the comments section. Please let me know any hot E3 rumors that interest you and I’ll try to follow up on them. I’m also counting on one of you to keep me up to date with Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote. I wish I could be up in San Francisco for that as it sounds exponentially more interesting than Microsoft’s presser.

Coffee Talk #361: Stupid Crap You’ll Hear From E3 2011

The Electronic Entertainment Expo is the most amazing trade show in the world. It’s such a cool and unique spectacle. There’s really nothing else like it…but that doesn’t mean you won’t hear stupid…

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, Klatch’s El Salvador Orange Bourbon, Stuart Scott still bringing his A-game while battling cancer, or hot garbage you hear from PR people, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo is the most amazing trade show in the world. It’s such a cool and unique spectacle. There’s really nothing else like it…but that doesn’t mean you won’t hear stupid crap coming out of the show. Every year you hear about journalists whining and complaining about covering E3. They’ll write about how their feet hurt, how the food sucks, how they have too many appointments, etc. At the end of the day, they still get to see awesome videogames way before the general public. That beats the hell out of coal mining or shoveling dung at the zoo. For the life of me, I’ll never understand why journalists complain about going to an event that millions of people dream about attending.

One stupid thing I expect to hear over and over again at E3 2011 is how awesome the screen is on the Sony NGP/PlayStation Vita. I’m sure it will be a great screen, but I also expect a lot of writers to be all, “This AMOLED screen is amazing because it’s AMOLED!!!” A lot of videogame journalists can’t tell you the difference between TFT LCD, IPS LCD, OLED, AMOLED, Super LCD, Super AMOLED, and Super AMOLED Plus screens. They’ll rave about technology they don’t understand, simply because it’s new to them and the press release told them that it’s awesome (and they can’t be bothered to do research). I expect to read several articles that mention how awesome the Vita’s screen is, but don’t explain why it’s awesome and how it compares to other screen technology.

How about you guys and gals? What dumb stuff do you expect from E3 2011?

Coffee Talk #360: How E3 Has Changed Over the Years

E3 has changed a lot over the years. When it first started, console and PC games dominated the landscape. As the PC market declined and the console market boomed it became all about…

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, Justin Timberlake rumored to be dating Ashley Olsen, the underwhelming Windows 8 debut video, or dishonest PR people you want to smack, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

I’ve been to every Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) save for one (I was having too much fun in Thailand and accidentally stayed there). E3 has changed a lot over the years. When it first started, console and PC games dominated the show. As the PC market declined and the console market boomed, it became all about the latter. Journalists for enthusiasts videogame outlets were shocked by the emphasis on motion at E3 2010; all the casual games for Kinect, Move, and Wii had several people proclaiming that the unofficial theme of E3 2010 was “It’s Not for You!”.

E3 2011 has more changes in store. The popularity of Android, iOS, and Facebook games has changed the market. I was surprised by how many meeting requests I received from mobile and social game publishers. I understand that these segments of gaming offer the most new opportunities, the most growth, and new money, but I was still surprised by all the cash these publishers are dropping on E3 2011.

Sitting back in my rocking chair and smoking my pipe, it’s fun to think about how E3 has changed over the years. How about for you as a gaming enthusiast? Have you noticed any major changes in E3? How has the show changed for you? Do you still see it as the Super Bowl of gaming? Or have events like PAX taken away some of E3’s luster?