Coffee Talk #340: Are You Ready For What’s Next in Gaming?

Gaming is at a crossroads. Big changes in the business are already underway and even bigger changes are on the horizon. What do you think of all the change that’s happening in gaming? Will you change with 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, Steven Tyler dropping F-bombs on American Idol, Dr. Dre defeating Death Row, or your favorite Zamfir performance, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Gaming is at a crossroads. Big changes in the business are already underway and even bigger changes are on the horizon. Epic Games’ Dr. Mike “Busta” Capps recently chatted with Industry Gamers about the changes happening in the gaming business. While they’re exciting from a gamer’s point of view, they’re scary to developers and publishers:

We have not been this uncertain about what’s coming next in the games industry since Epic’s been around for 20 years. We’re at such an inflection point. Will there be physical distribution in 10 years or even five? Will anyone care about the next console generation? What’s going on in PC? Can you make money on PC if it’s not a connected game? What’s going on in mobile?

Tons of really scary things… It used to be, ‘Well, of course PlayStation 3 will be successful because PS2 was amazingly successful.’ But can you say for sure that you know everyone’s going to jump to the next generation? I sure hope so — I’m going to try to make some great tech that will make everyone want to. But it’s scary.

If there’s anything that’s killing us [in the traditional games business] it’s dollar apps. How do you sell someone a $60 game that’s really worth it … They’re used to 99 cents. As I said, it’s an uncertain time in the industry. But it’s an exciting time for whoever picks the right path and wins.

Digital distribution, mobile gaming, and social gaming are challenging traditional game makers and publishers. These relatively new forces are also challenging traditional gamers. I’m reminded of friends in the ’90s that loved PC gaming, but couldn’t adapt to a console world. I’m reminded of friends that loved 2D fighting games more than anything, but couldn’t deal with the shift to 3D. These friends are no longer the gamers that they once were.

What do you think of all the change that’s happening in gaming? Will you change with the times? Or are you perfectly comfortable with the disc-and-console model? Will you resist change and hang on as long as you can? If you don’t like what the future holds for gaming, will you look for another hobby? As for me, no matter what happens in gaming, I’ll be like Jefe from The Three Amigos: “I’m still here El Guapo!”

Coffee Talk #339: Frame Rate and You

One of my coworkers at GameSpy was huge on frame rate. His eyes were not happy with games running at anything less than 60 frames per second. Some people at the office were amazed by…

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, T-Mobile releasing three interesting products this week, royal weddings, or Pia Toscana on Dancing With the Stars, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

One of my coworkers at GameSpy was huge on frame rate. His eyes were not happy with games running at anything less than 60 frames per second. Some people at the office were amazed by his ability to quickly detect frame rate, others thought he was obsessed over a technical feature that doesn’t contribute to the fun factor in games.

What are your feelings on frame rate? Is running at 60 frames per second important to you? Do you not care about the actual rate so long as it’s consistent? Does a smooth frame rate contribute to a game’s fun factor? Or is it something you don’t really notice or care about? Share your feelings in this filmic edition of Cofee Talk (running at 24p).

Coffee Talk #338: Gaming Franchises That Should Be Cancelled

Personally I’m against killing any established brand, even if it has been run into the ground. One of the things I’ve learned from comic books is that the right creators can revive any franchise. Hell, Kevin Smith made…

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, Victor Ortiz’ excellent win over Andre Berto, when CC Sabathia will get his first win, or Chris Klein confirmed for the next American Pie sequel, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

While I was listening to David Jaffe talk about Twisted Metal last week, a journalist mumbled, “Sony should just cancel this franchise.” I thought the comment was rude and inappropriate. I’m also positive that the journalist didn’t say that to Jaffe during his on-camera interview. That said, his words stuck in my head. Are there gaming franchises that should be given the Old Yeller treatment?

Personally I’m against killing any established brand — even if it has been run into the ground. One of the things I’ve learned from comic books is that the right creators can revive any franchise. Hell, Kevin Smith made Green Arrow cool — a comic book about a rich guy with an Errol Flynn fascination, bad facial hair, and no superhuman powers.

What do you think? Are there any videogame franchises that should just be killed? Any sequels that make you go, “Please! For the love of God just stop!!!”

Coffee Talk #337: Buying the Same Game Again and Again

2K has pulled a Nintendo on me. By that I mean that it has me on the hook for three versions of the same game. Hell, I don’t even remember how many times I’ve bought Super Mario Bros. for various…

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, Paul McDonald’s unfortunate exit from American Idol, Scarlett Johansson moving in with Sean Penn, or Manny Pacquiao possibly fighting Kermin Cintron, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

I’ve played more than a thousand hours of Civilization Revoltion for iPhone. I’ll play more than a thousand hours of Civilization Revolution for iPad. If 2K releases an Android version, I’ll buy that and play the hell out of it too. 2K has pulled a Nintendo on me. By that I mean that it has me on the hook for three versions of the same game. Hell, I don’t even remember how many times I’ve bought Super Mario Bros. for various Nintendo platforms.

Several of my friends have bought multiple versions of Super Mario Bros., Final Fantasy IV, Chrono Trigger, etc. From the originals to portable versions to digital downloads, it’s kind of astounding that we’ve bought the same game over and over again. How about you? Have you bought the same game multiple times? Or are you free of this madness? If you’re among the afflicted, please list the titles (and platforms if you can remember them) that you’ve bought over and over again.

What Are You Playing This Weekend?

I can’t stop playing Civilization Revolution for iPad…but I must. I’ve only scratched the surface of Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP and I really want to play more of it. The game is so clever and stylish. It brings me back to glory days of point-and-click adventures. I’d also like to play more Final Fantasy III on my iPad. Unfortunately, it’s only optimized for iPhone, so I have to double the resolution. It still looks pretty good…and job systems frickin’ rule.

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

Coffee Talk #336: Is Creativity Overrated?

People in the gaming business love creative games. Titles like Flower, Limbo, Braid, Swords and Sworcery, etc. are almost universally loved by people in the gaming the business. Some feel that…

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, getting busy signals when you’re trying to vote for Paul McDonald, Kobe Bryant’s unfortunate language, or BlackBerry PlayBook reviews, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

People in the gaming business love creative games. Titles like Flower, Limbo, Braid, Swords and Sworcery, etc. are almost universally loved by people in the gaming the business. Some feel that these games deserve every bit of praise they get. Others feel that insiders get overly enamored with games that are different, simply because they’re different.

I think both are true to a certain degree. I adore Flower for its originality and uncanny resemblance to several dreams I’ve had. I also understand that most gamers are of the balls-and-guns variety — Madden and Halo are way more important to them than some artsy game with flower petals that may or may not be the result of too many marijuana brownies. I can count on writing about a Madden game or a Halo game every year or so, but a game like Flower is more exciting to write about because it’s atypical.

Do you think the gaming business is guilty of overrating and over-hyping creative games? Or should these titles be lauded for being refreshingly different? Do you like reading about and playing unique games from indie developers? Or would you rather stick to balls and guns?

Coffee Talk #335: Gaming at Odd Times or in Odd Places

Have you ever played games at an unusual place or an odd time? I’m talking about something that others might find inappropriate. Look at the picture above, for example. Three of my friends whipped out their…

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 wrath of Xenu, your NBA playoff predictions, or your favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

Have you ever played games at an unusual place or an odd time? I’m talking about something that others might find inappropriate. Look at the picture above, for example. Three of my friends whipped out their Nintendo DS systems during a wedding. Some people would consider that rude. (To be fair, there was no alcohol at this wedding.) We honestly didn’t think anything of it, but the picture makes it seem a bit strange.

So how about it? Ever play games at a hopping bar or during a…I don’t know…a funeral? Perhaps you’ve interrupted a job interview to make a Scrabble move on your phone. Share your unusual gaming stories today (please)!