Coffee Talk #22: Gaming in the Friendly Skies

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, Batman vs. Captain America, the upcoming fight between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto, or playing Dragon Age: Origins until 3AM when you have a 6:05AM flight, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

I’m writing this blog entry on United Airlines flight 84. It’s pretty rad that airplanes have WiFi now. I’m actually one of the few people I know that sleeps very well on planes (I can fall asleep on the flight from SNA to LAX). Most of my friends can’t catch Z’s in the air, so WiFi gives them another entertainment option.

Pokemon Platinum

I’ve flown a lot over the last 11 years, particularly to various parts of Asia. When I’m not sleeping like a baby, gaming is a huge part of helping me get through a trans-Pacific flight. I’ve had epic Pokemon training and breeding sessions in the air (does this mean my Pokemon are part of the mile-high club?). More recently, I’ve conquered the world again and again in Civilization Revolution for iPhone. From my GBA to GBA SP to PSP to DS Lite, portable gaming is just an enormous part of my in-flight experience.

Today I wanted to ask you about your airplane gaming habits. Do you play lots of games in the friendly skies? What kinds of games do you prefer for flights? Do you recall any epic gaming sessions you’ve had while flying? Since I’m going to be in the air most of the day, I’m hoping for some great stories!

Author: RPadTV

57 thoughts on “Coffee Talk #22: Gaming in the Friendly Skies”

  1. My wife can game on planes, but that's because she plays handhelds. I can't play those systems for the most part. The screens are just too small for me to actually be able to enjoy the game cause I can hardly see what's going on.

  2. whenever I fly I bring my laptop which is loaded with thousands of emulators. I like to game it up with NES, SNES, Master System, Genesis, and N64.

    I bring along an old wired 360 controller in my laptop bag and I'm good to go. definitely makes flying a lot better experience.

  3. @Nightshade – I'm trying to finish up Indigo Prophecy and Uncharted 2 on crushing before I dive in to Dragon Age. I just know I'm going to have to dedicate a lot of time to it. You managed to get through the first run pretty quick. guess it's almost review time? What did you think of your first play through.

    I've started on Human Noble (boring, I know) and I've only gotten to the Grey Warden initiation. so far I'm a huge fan

  4. @Shcokwave: I'm not writing the review on DA:O, but the game's so big I'll be helping the author by contributing to it. There's no way one person could realistically get all 6 origin stories and all 4 endings in and still get a review up in a timely fashion. But with two of us there'll be a more complete review. I'd say it'll probably be up later this week.

    As for the game itself, it's really good. I still prefer Mass Effect, but I'm more of a Sci-Fi guy than a Fantasy guy in most cases. The difficulty balancing could use a little work I think. Casual is too easy, but Normal can be infuriatingly hard at times. I beat it in something like 55 hrs, but I'm positive I missed a few sidequests along the way. I had a rare weekend where I didn't have to do other stuff and I could just lock myself in a room to game. That doesn't happen too often.

  5. Portable gaming at its best was me playing Phoenix Wright on long trips. I think my Iphone might have taken the lead from my DS now though. Pr0n, games,, it can do it all!

  6. I don't get the chance to fly to often, and have never been on a flight for longer then 2-3 hours.

    @Shockwave – how's Crushing going so far? I am pushing through a second playthrough on normal for treasure collection, and there are some parts I am dreading on the higher difficulties. Does it drop your health and increase the enemies? How hard does it really get?

  7. ok im gonna take a break from sucking at mw2 multiplayer

    batman would beat superman, only cause superman gave him some kryptonite "just in case"


    kareem diagnosed with leukemia today, but doctors say he should be ok

  8. @Nightshade386 I'm loving it — easily my favorite game of 2009.

    I disagree with your site's approach to the review on a few levels. There's no need to watch all six origin stories and watch all the endings to review the game. It's also a mistake to have multiple people contribute to a review. It just clouds and diminishes the opinion of the lead writer.

    @Everyone I started watching G.I. Joe during breakfast. Some of it looked really cool, but Duke and Ripcord suck. This movie did not need a Wayans brother.

  9. Houston – Germany

    14 hour flights of Final Fantasy Tactics battles, Chains Of Olympus and the occasional DarkStalkers thrown in.

    No movie EVER needs a Wayans brother….

  10. @Ray – it was a complete popcorn flick, and the most disappointing parts, especially for those of us that remember the original cartoon, are still to come. There were some cool parts, but they completely wrecked both Destro and Cobra Commander. In fact, the process of getting Destro into the "Steel" helmet was probably my least favorite moment overall. There were some veryc ool vehicle battles, and the accelerator suits weren't as bad as the trailers made them look.

  11. @Larcenous – when I first played the game on normal there were certain areas in the game that were very hard. As I played on hard and now crushing those same areas hold me for a good 20-30 deaths at times. I'm sure you know which parts of the game have that. It's usually a part where you have a ton of enemies surrounding you and you're trying to fend them off from cover. like when you're trapped in the train car at the train yard.

    I'm by no means a "beat the game on hard" type guy but I think Uncharted 2 is a challenge on Hard/Crushing without being impossible. I have no patience for constantly getting killed and when I get frustrated with a game on hard I'll often give up on it.

    I think Crushing is hard in that sometimes I'll die in half a second when I respawn. a couple of shots will take care of you. Enemy count seems about the same which is nice because with my third play I can predict where they are coming from. Turrets will take you down in no time and the big guys are very tough. especially the guardians. weapon selection is key I think.

  12. First off, I hate the Wayans bros.

    I'm off from work this week so I decided to go to my first midnight launch for MW2 last night since I don't have anything to do today. I got there at around 11:00 and there were just a few people there. By midnight the line was going outside the store and wrap around the building. There had to be at least 200 people. There was something that disturbed me though. I saw a lot of little kids in line with their mom or dad. I have 2 problems with that. #1. It's a school night. #2. Those little kids are too young to play it. What's wrong with those parents? They probably let those kids stay home from school today too. Those are the same potty mouth kids online playing COD. Sad.

  13. #LarcenousLaugh I actually liked what they were doing with Destro in the first 23 minutes of the movie. I like the M.A.R.S. arms dealer Destro from the recent comics. It's modern and makes sense. I'm they'll mess it up later in the movie though.

  14. Also, there was a guy in line complaining about not renewing his XBL subscription and not being able to play his games that he paid for and downloaded. Is it true that you can't play the games that you paid for and downloaded if you don't pay for XBL? If true, that can't be right. If you paid for it then it's yours. How can they deny you what you paid for?

  15. @shockwave – I might have to give it a try then. The one part that always seems to get me is the helicopter parts on the train. For some reason, there is a timing issue that I seem to miss, and I always end up getting shot and dying. But luckily, the game can be done in chapters, so I will have to see how that goes.

    I know in my second run thorugh, I am seeing a lot of things that I missed, like people I can take down without a fight, and different groups where one grenade will work instead of trying to shoot them all. Will certainly be interesting to see. Might try to tackle one of those this weekend.

  16. @Ray – Eccelston, for what he had to work with, really did a good job with the character. The Destro family background, as well as the played up neutral arms dealer parts are really well done. It quickly goes down hill though. And for some odd reason, the Scarlett/Snake Eyes relationship is mentioned, but then the Ripcord/Scarlett thing is played through the rest of the movie.

    Snake Eyes btw is the best thing the movie has going for it. Ray Park was ridiculous, and the few times he gets to fight with Storm Shadow are really neat.

  17. @RROD – if you downloaded it, as long as it's not a "play online" only type game, of which I can't think of any, you should be able to play it no problem. That's a really weird complaint to have.

  18. @RROD – I think those are the same parents who complain about not being informed about games as well. happy to buy their kids a violent shooter without knowing anything about the game. it's that lack of good parenting that is reflecting poorly on the gaming business.

    I never heard of that XBL issue before. guy could be stupid as many people are but I'd be willing to listen if anyone knew anything about it. I can't imagine them doing that but MS knows no limits.

    @Larcenous – that helicopter is pretty tough but I think you can manage. like you said it's about timing not skill at some points. I know how frustrating it can be when you die though

  19. @RROD – so did you decide to buy MW2? I heard the campaign is shorter than ODST pretty substantially. The average press rated that about 8 hours on the first try and MW2 looks like 5 at the most. I think that sounds like a rental to me. I can't imagine it has the replay value of a Halo or Uncharted 2. but that's my opinion.

    If IW wanted to make a MP only game they should have just done it. now I can only miss the days when multiplayer was the small add-on

  20. My rant for today:

    This media craze for MW2 is sickening. Most reviews criticized Uncharted 2 for not doing anything new but those same reviewers are giving MW2 a pass for not doing anything new. It's the same game with new maps yet the media is treating it like it's the best game ever. I haven't heard anyone criticize it for not doing anything new.

  21. I've never had the opportunity to fly with any kind of handheld to entertain me. Good thing my ADHD makes it easy for me to day dream. Plus, I can game while moving do to motion sickness. I can read, but not game. :(

  22. @Shockwave

    I bought MW2 last night. I play COD games for multi player mainly. I played MP in MW2 and haven't even touched the single player and have no desire to. I sure it's really short though. I just enjoy the MP.

  23. Watching some of the videos for MP MW2 on G4, and i have to say that being absolutely crap at FPSs makes me sad sometimes. I am glad that I don't have to spend money on it, and even happier that AC2 is coming out next week to drown my sorrows in. But damn, that MP does look pretty hot.

  24. @RROD

    My friend bought all of the DLC for Oblivion and Fallout 3 and he is now unable to use any of them because his account is screwed up and I called MS for him and they can't do anything about it. He lost 2,300 MS points and all of his DLC he bought, they told him he'll just have to create a new account if he can't verify the AOL account assoicated with his gamertag. We told them he has never had an AOL account and he has had the gamertag for 4 years without problem.

  25. If you can't log on to XBL you can't even see your DLC. Also he can't play his saved Fallout 3 or Oblivion games because it says they are an incompatible version and corrupted, because the saves include stuff that isn't available anymore.

  26. @Slicky – wow that blows. Do you have to be connected to Gold to see it? Makes me really question wanting to download anything now.

  27. @ Lacenous

    No You just need to be connected to XBL live to use DLC, Gold or Silver is fine.


    Thats what we called about. They told him he would need to create a new account with a different e-mail address because the one he was using for the last 4 years was associated with a different gamertag that they could not disclose. We made him a gmail account and they migrated his stuff over. He was able to log onto XBL for about 1 minute before it said his gamertag was no longer valid again. He hasn't called back since. he just quit using his 360 and wants a PS3 now, because I take mine to his house and we play games all the time problem free.


    I don't know, I hate them for everything they have done to the console market by shifting people's perception of what is acceptable. They burned me too many times for me to trust them anymore.

  28. That's interesting. I guess if means DLC as in episodic or added content to a disc based game is downloaded and then played on a machine without an internet connection, you are screwed. I never ran into that issue though. I used to bring my box to my gf's house and use her internet to download demos and arcade games. I never downloaded a piece of add on content though.


    So it just didn't work on add on content or any content he took from Live? There would be significant difference I think.

  29. I think if I lost my gamertag and legitimately couldn't get it back that would be the only reason I would stop buying most games for the 360. I'm too attached to my gamerscore and achievements to give it up

  30. Although if I were this kid I would be on the phone every day until they got me squared away. I don't give up on things very easily. Especially when I'm pissed off and especially when I've been paying 50 bucks a year for XBL.

  31. My friend is 38 with 5 kids and far too busy to call repeatedly and stay on the phone with them a lot. He was very attached to his gamerscore. I think him losing his gamerscore and gamertag bothered him more than losing the MS points.

    I know that if you aren't connected to XBL you cannot use some stuff. Demos still work, but my Halo 3 additional maps don't even show up if I am not connected to the internet. So far it is just content that was bought off of XBL that doesn't show up when not connected. I assume there is some online verification each time.

    My friend had 200+ hours into Fallout 3 between him and his kids and now they can't play it without starting completely over. Same with Oblivion. I told him he should have bought the disc based upgrades for Fallout 3.

  32. @slicky – all the more reason to call them back. if they've put that much time in to those games it's hard to be too busy to get your gamertag back. I could care less about the points but there's no way I would give up on my gamerscore/achievements. just my humble opinion.

    If he gets that gamertag back he should have access to everything. how many phone calls are worth it to get that back. a lot if it were me.

  33. Guys, please tell me that if you decide to stop using your Xbox that M$ will refund you your money from your left over MS points.


    If I were your friend I would raise hell until they refunded my money for those 2300 MS points. That point system is such a scam that only works in their favor. Just imagine all of the money M$ will rob from everyone when the next gen starts or when all of these people stop using their Xbox for whatever reason. If 30 million users only leave 1 dollar's worth of MS points then M$ will walk away with a free $30 million. Highway robbery.

  34. @Shockwave

    Are you kidding me? How could you not care about your money? I know it's not a whole lot of money but it's the principle of the matter. I say screw the achievements and give me my money back.

  35. @RRODisHere I agree with you on the MW2 reviews. Activision did a wonderful job on marketing and PR for this game. Sadly, it was too effective and a lot of critics have bought into the hype. It's one of the cases where they'll look back in six months and realize they made a mistake with their scores.

  36. @RRODisHere There are several examples, for sure. It's one (of several) reasons I don't like that side of games writing — too many people are doing it wrong and/or are working under a flawed system.

  37. @Raymond Padilla

    Also, I know you don't like Metacritic, but GTA4 sits up top as the highest rated game with a 98% average. I think we can all agree that GTA4 didn't deserve the scores it got.

  38. @Slicky

    What about arcade games he purchased if any? I was always able to play my arcade games w/o a Live connection.

    I'd seriously think twice about purchasing any add on content for a game though from now on.

  39. @RROD – I look at it this way. If someone stole my wallet with 200 bucks in it I would be upset. But I don't care about the money so much I just want my ID and credit cards back.

    If my computer broke I wouldn't mind so much paying to fix it or getting a new one so much as I would worry about all my pictures video and music.

    My achievements and gamerscore have sentimental value that can't be replaced

  40. Arcade titles still work it just seems like DLC doesn't. When he got his gamertag back for a minute he checked his DLC and it all needed to be I have no clue what the problem is

  41. @rpad or anyone who is playing dragon age origins right now.

    Does anyone know where to look for evidence that loghain is a douchebag in denerim? im stuck.

  42. @Rbee – To avoid spoilers on this site I'd just put in that question on google search. I'm sure you aren't the only one stuck there

  43. I don't fly (commercially) that much. Most of the time I spend in the air is actually flying the aircraft. Needless to say, the FAA frowns on pilots playing games on hand-held devices while trying to operate an aircraft. Go figure.

    Last time I flew (as a passenger) I played Chinatown Wars on the DS. That game has made me nostalgic for GTA 2. Ah, the memories.


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