Coffee Talk #607: Your 2013 Game of the Year

The good news for 2013 is that I played seven games in hardcore mode. By hardcore mode, I’m talking at least 40 hours per game. That bad news (for the purposes of writing this column, anyway) is that five of them were for consulting jobs, so I can’t really state opinions on those games. In a year filled with peak games for the last generation of consoles and two new systems released at the tail end of the year, my favorite game was for…wait for it…continued

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The good news for 2013 is that I played seven games in hardcore mode. By hardcore mode, I’m talking at least 40 hours per game. That bad news (for the purposes of writing this column, anyway) is that five of them were for consulting jobs, so I can’t really state opinions on those games. In a year filled with peak games for the last generation of consoles and two new systems released at the tail end of the year, my 2013 game of the year was for…wait for it…Mac OS.

I’m talking about Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition, of course. As many of you know, I’m a huge mark for the old BioWare and this game in particular. When the original was first released, I spent hundreds of hours playing the game. With the Enhanced Edition, I spent dozens of hours reliving one of my favorite games ever, but with updated graphics, a pair of new characters, and updated gameplay features. And I loved every second of it. Yeah, it might seem totally dated to newer games, but for me Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition was sheer bliss. The writing, gameplay, and characters brought me so much joy in 2013 that it was easily my 2013 game of the year.

Naturally, I don’t expect any of you to have the same answer. That’s what makes us the unique snowflakes that we are. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear about your personal 2013 game of the year. I absolutely do! I’m excited to hear about the videogames that dazzled you in 2013. Kindly share your 2013 game of the year in the comments section.

What Are You Playing This Weekend?

I got back from Hawaii this week and it’s off to Asia next week. Unfortunately, I won’t have any time for console games this weekend. There’s too much work and laundry to be done before takeoff. I will be playing lots of Heroes of Dragon Age on my iPhone 5. Yesterday, I posted a link to an interview my buddy Paul Semel conducted with Heroes of Dragon Age producer Zoo Joe Lander. I urge you to download the game so that we can have a little experiment on RPad.TV. It’ll be a neat little project for all of us! Just in case you’re rocking an Android phone or tablet, here’s the Google Play link for the game.

So in addition to Heroes of Dragon Age, what’s on your weekend playlist?

What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Sadly, it doesn’t look like I’ll be playing much of anything this weekend, aside from mobile games. I’ve been having stupid electrical problems in my apartment. From Sunday night to Thursday morning, I didn’t have power at all. LADWP checked out my circuits on Wednesday and fixed things as best they could. It looks like the wiring in my place is shot. I’ll have power for two or three hours and then the circuit breaker will hit. I have to close all the circuits in my place, go to the electric room in the garage and reset my circuit there, flip back all the circuits in my apartment, lather, and repeat as needed. So yeah, this kind of sucks. It makes uploading video files extremely difficult. It makes long console gaming sessions impossible. It also means that I shouldn’t leave anything perishable in the refrigerator unless I plan on being around my apartment the whole time to babysit circuits. There are certainly worse problems to have, but this one is quite annoying.

So kindly cheer me up by letting me know what’s on your weekend playlist!

The Banner Saga Finally Gets a Release Date

Stoic Studio’s The Banner Saga was the first videogame Kickstarter project I backed. I made the decision to contribute $25 to the game’s development back in April 2012. The initial pitch said that The Banner Saga would be published in November 2012. Numerous delays, feature additions, mismanagement, and opposing lunar tides have caused the game to be delayed…several times…and several times more. Stoic Studio has finally committed to a hard release date for The Banner Saga and has announced it with a fancy launch trailer (embedded below). The Banner Saga is finally landing on January 14, 2014.

There are several takeaways from my experience with The Banner Saga. I’ve learned to be more skeptical of Kickstarter pitches. As a fan of creators (of all kinds), I went into the project with an extremely naive attitude. It never occurred to me that most of these pitches over-promise and under-deliver. I loved the romantic ideals behind these pitches and blinded myself to reality. Kickstarter was going to give developers freedom, unshackling them from publishers that stifled their wondrous creativity with monetary demands and obligations to shareholders. Unfortunately…

…most of these developers need to be shackled by publishers. There are a few independent publishers that are totally capable of making a game on time and on budget. They’re the minority. Kickstarter pitches have shown that most developers need a babysitter to keep them on track. When left to their own devices, most of these companies are behind schedule and/or over budget. While many creators yearn for freedom, the reality is that many of them need an overlord to keep them in check. While a lot of what I’ve written in the past has been pro-developer and anti-publisher, please don’t think I’m discounting the role and importance of videogame publishers.

All that said, I wasn’t really bothered by The Banner Saga’s numerous delays. I expected some of them and after a while I totally forgot that the game existed. I’m happy that it’s coming out next month and looking forward to playing it. As a fan of tactical RPGs like Final Fantasy TacticsDisgaea, and Ogre Battle, I loved the ideas behind this Norse-themed tactical RPG. I gave the developers $25 because I thought The Banner Saga would be a fun game to play and wanted to see it published. Sure, it took much longer than I thought it would, but I’m getting what I paid for.

What Are You Playing This Weekend?

In the immortal words of Mitch Taylor, “This is it!” After battling a slight cold, lots of video editing, and a side project, I’m finally — finally! — going to start Beyond: Two Souls this weekend. The timing is excellent. GDC Next and Blizzcon are right around the corner. I should be getting review units of the Nexus 5 and (thanks to a special favor — love you!) iPad Air next week. There’s even a small chance that I’ll snag a consulting job that’ll take me out of the country. All of those things would have gotten in the way of Beyond: Two Souls. Thankfully, the imperfect storm of activities won’t hit until next week. This weekend, it’s all about (hopefully) falling in love with Quantic Dream again.

So how about you? What’s on your weekend playlist?

What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Gah! This was supposed to be the weekend where I finally start Beyond: Two Souls. Unfortunately, I was a little sick after Vapetoberfest 2013 and am way behind in video editing. Part of it was from the germs that float around any convention and part of it was that I often had to yell because of the frickin’ speakers at the show. Ah, it happens. RPadholic N8R and I had a good time, and got a bunch of fun content.

Anyway, my goal is to finish all the Vapetoberfest 2013 videos by Sunday. Hopefully, I won’t be too tired to start Beyond…and won’t be too distracted by Eastbound and Down. *sigh* I’m not going to get to play the game until next weekend, hey?

So how about you? What’s on your weekend playlist?

What Are You Playing This Weekend?

RPadholic N8R and I are heading down to Long Beach later today to sip some gin and juice with Snoop Dogg cover Vapetoberfest. We had a great time at last month’s Electronic Cigarette Convention in Anaheim and snagged 18 video interviews. Hopefully Vapetoberfest will be similarly fun and productive.

While I’m at the show, I’ll be playing one of the secret games that I was consulting on. There are a few aspects of secret game that annoy the hell out of me, but I’m very much addicted. My excellent friend Paul (please read his web site!) gave me his copy of Beyond: Two Souls and I’m really looking forward to giving that game a whirl when I get back. Of course if Nate and I get some solid content from Vapetoberfest then I’ll be editing videos for at least a week, so I’ll just have to be content with staring at Beyond’s box. Ha!

How about you? What’s on your weekend playlist?

What Are You Playing This Weekend?

I recently finished two fairly involved consulting gigs, but I’m still playing both of the games for said gigs. Part of it is that I want to make sure that I didn’t miss anything and part of it is addiction. I’ve been playing both of those mystery titles hardcore and it would feel weird to quit them cold turkey. Hopefully my buddy Paul will let me borrow his copy of Beyond: Two Souls. I’d love to start that game. The reviews indicate that it has many of the elements that I loved in previous Quantic Dream titles. Aside from that, I have a ton of vaping reviews to catch up on…before I fall behind again due to the upcoming Vapetoberfest con.

So how about you? What’s on your weekend playlist?

Plastic Piranha Jason Brice Talks Rekoil

Watch Plastic Piranha president & CEO Jason Brice talk about his upcoming game Rekoil. This first-person shooter for Windows PC and Xbox 360 emphasizes skill and balanced gameplay. In the interview, Brice talks about Rekoil’s various modes and different weapons, as well as what makes the game stand out from the competition. While I enjoyed several deathmatch rounds of the game, one of the things that charmed me about Rekoil was the little details. For example, it has a capture-the-briefcase mode instead of a capture-the-flag mode and it has black barrels that explode instead of those deadly red ones we all fear. Those flourishes aside, a lot of hardcore shooter fans have been high on Rekoil. While Brice agrees that it’s a “pure shooter,” he also explains why it’s great for casual fans of first-person shooters.

For more information on Rekoil be sure to check out this excellent preview on

Rekoil Preview

Plastic Piranha Jason Brice Interview

Here’s a short interview with Plastic Piranha president and CEO Jason Brice. For those of you not familiar with the company, it’s the developer of the upcoming first-person shooter Rekoil. Going from movie marketing to creating a hardcore first-person shooter sounds like an odd career path, but that’s the one Jason Brice has followed. Listen to him talk about his coworkers recreating a Call of Duty level in the office to creating CoD maps to creating Battlefield 2142 maps to starting his own development studio. Due to his atypical and unique background, Jason Brice is particularly passionate about giving gamers powerful and robust mod tools for Rekoil.

Jason Brice Plastic Piranha Rekoil