Secret Valentine: Brought to you by Adventure Rules!

Happy Valentines Day from Games with Coffee!

Ian from Adventure Rules had initiated a fun way to celebrate the occasion: Writing about a Secret Valentine! A bunch of us bloggers signed up and were given individuals in the blogosphere to write up about.

On today’s edition, I’ll be sharing my secret valentine, who is a mother of two, twin toddlers, and has shared her experiences and struggles to become a mother, along with advice to new and expectant mothers – Debi from Womb 2 Cradle n’ Beyond!

There are but a few posts on her blog, but they are all very meaningful and can help with couples struggling to conceive. I can somewhat relate with this; it took us quite some time for us to have a baby of our own, partially due to wanting to wait until we were ready and partially due to unexpected problems while trying to conceive. Today, our little baby bean is now over a month old! I have not had any proper sleep for a month and I’m thrilled about it! (Thank the Gods for Coffee!)

Below are a few posts that you guys should take a look at, especially if you’re thinking of bringing in a Lvl. 1 Human into your party!


One post lists the several causes of infertility and what both men and women can do to help boost fertility. The post is very informative and the advice given can be applied to both men and women alike. (it takes two, remember?!)

Another notes the top 10 myths about pregnancy and miscarriage. I wish I read this list earlier, since my wife (who, as a lettering hobbyist, is damn good at making words look pretty), is obsessed with pineapples and papayas and abstained from eating them throughout her pregnancy, fearing that she wouldn’t conceive or she would give birth prematurely if she ate it. She has indulged in eating copious amounts of papaya on a daily basis since giving birth. Fortunately, that myth and others listed in Debi’s post have been debunked, including myths that pregnant women should not work out or drink coffee of any amount.

Finally, she has a post about how to manage commonly occurring ailments during pregnancy. It’s super helpful for both men and women, since they can take the steps listed to alleviate some of the common status effects pregnancy can inflict on their favourite person, like backaches, heartburn and the like.


These are but a few, but great, examples of the stuff Debi has on her blog. If you get a chance to, check her site out and drop a line!

And Debi, please keep doing what you do; your advice is helpful to a lot of people! Keep it up!

Well, that’s all for today. Join me for the next edition, which hopefully will come soon (or whenever my little buddy gives me chances to write!)

This has been Ryan from Games with Coffee, wishing you all a Happy Valentines Day and reminding you to Keep Gaming and Keep Brewing!

Answering Big Questions: A Favourite Game for Every Year of My Existence

Another day, another edition of Games with Coffee! This one’s brought to you by the Mage who wields magics of black and white, wears red all over and is a shining paragon of good, long-form video game journalism – The Well-Red Mage!

His Mageliness (I’m fully aware that’s not a word) of the Well-Red persuasion has asked in a recent post: “What is your favourite game for every year you’ve been alive?”

An excellent question, one that I’m more than willing to answer! And because I’m actually overdue for a music post as well, I’ll even throw in a favourite song/remix, just to spice things up!

We begin this rollercoaster almost 31 years ago (based on North American release dates) on the year of my birth, 1987:


December 1987: Mega Man (NES)

Favourite song: Cut Man’s Theme

Original Mega Man was HARD! I only got around to playing it in my twenties, but wow, I found it difficult. I particularly hated the Yellow Devil.

So. Much. Hate…

What I liked the most was the music, particularly Cut Man’s Theme! Check out this fun Western-like remix in which Cut Man gets ROASTED! It’s quite enjoyable:


December 1, 1988: Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Favourite song: Dungeon Theme

OK, this is, without a doubt, my absolute favorite NES game! It was tough, but man I was obsessed with this title for years, until I beat it in my late teens. I still continue to play it to this day on either the Zelda compilation for the GameCube or through my Retropie. Even though it’s considered the black sheep of the series, it holds a special place in my heart.

The dungeon theme from this game is the most ubiquitous, having been featured in Super Smash Bros. Melee and onwards. I got here, like, a totally tubular surfer version of the theme, dudes. It’s pretty rad.


June 1989: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES)

Favourite song: Stage 2 – The Hudson River

I loved the Ninja Turtles! The first of three TMNT games for the NES, it was both unique and difficult, but still so much fun! Donatello was so overpowered…

Fun fact: the Konami code totally works for this game!

The Hudson River level was arguably where the game’s difficulty level skyrockets. The music, however, is really chill and nice to listen to. Check out chiptune remix of this awesome (but super hard) level!


February 12, 1990: Super Mario Bros 3

Favourite song: World 7 – Pipe Land

Honestly, this post can sum up how much I love this game. It was the first video game I have ever owned as a kid!

Here’s an awesome mix of the World 7 map theme to listen to! It’s a peppy and fun EDM track!


June 23, 1991: Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis)

Favourite song: Marble Zone

Ah, my good friend Sonic. He was one of my many heroes that I looked up to as a kid. This was the game that stated it all. Since then, Sonic’s had further successes in gaming, cartoons and comics and has become a household name across the world, thanks to his blistering fast speed, his strong sense of justice and his snarky, devil-may-care attitude.

Out of all the music from the Sonic series, my absolute favorite is the Marble Zone. I have no idea why I love it so, but alas I do. Here’s a mix that I’ve recently gotten into; it’s a jazzy, funky rendition of the theme!


November 21, 1992: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Genesis)

Favourite song: Chemical Plant

And back again with some more Sonic! This one introduced Tails, Sonic’s two-tailed sidekick, the seventh Chaos Emerald and the Super Sonic mechanic. This was the first Sonic game I’ve ever played and, by far, my favourite of the retro Sonic games.

Chemical Plant was one of the more creative stages of the series with a killer theme to boot! The remastered version from Sonic Mania by Tee Lopes is my go-to favourite out of all versions of the level’s theme.


March 1993: Star Fox (SNES)

Favourite song: Fortuna

Star Fox, the pseudo-3D, on-rails starcraft shooter starring the team of the same name blasted its way into our screens in 1993. I really adore this game – I spent many a night trying to clear the first (and easiest) course as a kid, to no avail.

However, I did attempt the second course and really enjoyed the theme music for Fortuna. The One-Ups covered this theme in their signature sound; it’s smooth and funky, which I hope you enjoy as much as I did!


January 1994: Mega Man X

Favourite song: Opening Stage – Highway

1994 was a hard one – So many good games came out that year! Ultimately, Mega Man X, released in January of 1994, won in the end, simply because the character is so close to my heart, which I talk about here.

The opening stage music sets the tone of the game and the series itself. It’s gritty and tense, underscoring how grave the situation is, but is full of energy, with a great, pumping tempo and an excellent beat. It’s a stark difference to more peppy and happy tunes in the original Mega Man series. Featured here is an electronica/DnB mix with a jazzy saxophone added in, just to give it some flavour. It’s awesome!


August 11, 1995: Chrono Trigger

Favourite song (besides Corridors of Time): Chrono Trigger

One of the all-time greats, Chrono Trigger, the memorable, time-travelling RPG was released in this year. I don’t need to explain how amazing this game is; it’s well-documented. It’s even given a special distinction as one of the games featured on the AmbiGaming blog for the “Year of the RPG.” You can check out my contribution to this event here.

Now, I’m not going to share yet another Corridors of Time remix (because, while it’s an AMAZING track and my personal favourite, honestly it’s been remixed by everyone and their dog); instead, I’ll go to my next favourite: Crono’s theme from Chrono Trigger! This mix is a britpop-inspired, gorgeous version of the main theme; check it out!


September 9, 1996: Crash Bandicoot

Favourite Song – Title Theme/N.Sanity Beach

Oh man, Crash Bandicoot! I got so many good memories of my bros and I going through this game together. I used to stay up all night playing it and even tried to squeeze in a level before going to school in the mornings! I even wrote/illustrated a sequel of sorts to the game for my fourth grade creative writing class… needless to say, my teacher didn’t appreciate a story about a video game character, so I ended up with a pretty bad grade…

The title/first level theme for the game is the memorable one for me; just hearing it lights up my face like fireworks on Canada Day. I especially liked the remastered version of the theme – the folks in charge of the remaster modernized it while retaining its zaniness, which I appreciated.


January 31, 1997: Final Fantasy VII

Favourite song: Opening ~ Bombing Mission

(A third of the way through! Woo!)

I knew this list wouldn’t be complete without me mentioning at least one Final Fantasy game, let alone the best of the bunch (My personal opinion!). I’ve already waxed poetic about how this game and it’s protagonist inspired me, so check it out here.

Honestly, it was hard narrowing down a favourite song, but ultimately, Opening ~ Bombing Mission won out. It’s such an epic and intense track that sets the tone for the whole game, especially when it’s orchestrated, as demonstrated on the Distant Worlds soundtrack.


November 23, 1998: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Favourite Song: Hyrule Field

Quite possibly the greatest game ever created. Well I say that about a lot of games, but this one is certainly a contender for that title. This title, I feel, also expanded greatly on Link’s character as an altruist (based on player input, of course). You can read my thoughts on that here.

As for my favourite theme, it has to be Hyrule Field. It instills a feeling of adventure and intrigue that’s just waiting to happen! I have before you the 30th Anniversary Concert edition of the theme; it sounds majestic and makes me picture Link travelling the vast, rolling plains of Hyrule with his faithful steed Epona. Give it a listen!


September 9, 1999: Sonic Adventure

Favourite song: Welcome to Station Square

09/09/99 – Those numbers live in infamy as the North American release of Sonic Adventure for the Dreamcast. I remember playing this at a Blockbuster (remember those?) around the first time it came out and I was blown away at how awesome Sonic and the gang looked in 3D.

A tune that really stuck in my head for the longest time was the theme to Station Square. It sounds so inviting and makes Station Square a real chill place to kick back and hang out.


October 24, 2000: Mega Man Legends 2

Favourite Song: Mother Zone – Library

While the first Legends game focused on the events of Kattelox Island, including the mysterious Master System and Mother Units, the second expanded on Mega Man Volnutt’s story, including his origins as a Purifier Unit. It cumulates into a final clash at the very end between himself and Sera, the Mother Unit that wants to fulfill her programming and activate the Master System.

My favorite song from this game is the library in the Mother Zone on Elysium, right before the final confrontation with Sera. It’s haunting, and it has a real “about to enter the final battle” feel to it.


December 3, 2001: Super Smash Bros. Melee

Favourite Song: Great Bay

Man, 2001 was a stacked year for gaming! Final Fantasy X, Jak and Daxter, Rogue Squadron II, Metal Gear Solid 2, and the list goes on! Ultimately, my pick for this year has to go down to Super Smash Bros. Melee. I have so many good memories of this game: particularly one where, back when I was in high school, a bunch of us set up a TV in an unused classroom during lunch, hooked up a GameCube, got four controllers and set up some EPIC tournaments! Those were good times…

Presently, Melee is still one of my go-to games to play during game night with friends. Of all the stage music that exists, my absolute favourite is the Great Bay stage music. It’s a fantastic, orchestrated version of the Legend of Zelda Overworld theme! I can honestly put it on repeat and listen to it over and over again, it’s so good!


September 17, 2002: Kingdom Hearts

Favourite song: Hikari (Simple and Clean)

2002 was also the year I upgraded to a PS2! My first game on it was Kingdom Hearts and much like when I first played Final Fantasy VII, I also didn’t have a memory card to save my game with at first! Regardless, I love the series, with its emphasis on friendship, teamwork and never giving up on someone, even when they’re at their lowest point (ie. corrupted by darkness).

Hikari is my personal favourite from the Kingdom Hearts soundtrack. I consider this the secondary main theme alongside Dearly Beloved, the game’s title/official theme. It’s uplifting, bright and makes me feel hopeful, which sounds a bit corny, but still. I found a track that mixes the two aforementioned themes in a groovy, jazzy motif, with the focus on Hikari. Check it out!


March 24, 2003: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Favourite song: Dragon Roost Island

Ah, Wind Waker. With its eye-popping cel-shaded visuals, robust story and gameplay and expansive, ocean-based world, this game quickly became a favourite of mine. I especially loved the sailing aspect; it’s just Link, the open sea dotted with tiny islands and his magic talking dragon boat.

Image result for wind waker boat meme

Oh, and underwater castles in magic bubbles. Can’t forget those.

The best theme from this game has to be Dragon Roost Island. It’s catchy and fun to listen to. In fact, it’s so good, they remixed it for the Rito Village in the latest installment, Breath of the Wild. Check out this version done by the London Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the Greatest Video Game Music concert!


November 24, 2004: Metroid Prime 2: Echoes

Favourite song: Temple Grounds

I remember picking up Metroid Prime 2 the day it was released. I was still in high-school then, bought it on my way home, plopped down on the couch that very night and was blown away at how different it was from the original Metroid Prime. Every aspect of the game was improved, and I really liked the new ammo-based beam system; it made playing through the game much more dire, since you have to manage your ammunition carefully. Last year, I read an incredibly detailed review on this game by one Red Metal from Extra Life, in which I learned that Retro had all of three months before the holiday season in 2004 to complete the game, when they were only 30% done! It’s surprisingly amazing, given that the final product hardly looked like it was rushed at all!

I really like the Temple Grounds theme. The grounds are the main hub throughout Samus’ adventure and it has a chill, calm, almost hopeful atmosphere to it, like you’re helping our favourite bounty hunter make progress in saving the Luminoth from the Ing. Check it out.


October 12, 2005: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Favourite Song: Turnabout Courtroom – Trial

The first entry in the Ace Attorney series, I actually played this game and its sequels through my university years. Its visual novel style, which focuses on investigating crimes and presenting evidence in court, was something I enjoyed a lot.

My favourite tune is the Trial theme, right before the trial starts up. I feel psyched up whenever I listen to it – it’s like I’m ready to face the world, present evidence and yell Objection! I found this amazing hip-hop track that uses the theme as its base, the lyrics are great and the flow is smooth like butter. Give it a listen.


August 15, 2006: Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus

Favourite Song: Counteroffensive

Part of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, Dirge of Cerberus stars everyone’s favourite former Turk-turned-immortal experiment, Vincent Valentine. It clears up a few plot holes from the original game, but opens up a whack of new ones, particularly revolving around the mysterious Genesis…

Image result for dirge of cerberus genesis

Most definitely mysterious…

Dirge’s gameplay also differs from the traditional Final Fantasy structure, in that it’s an over-the-shoulder, third person shooter with RPG elements. It was a bit odd, but I found it to be quite fun and different! The additional post-game missions were a plus too!

Counteroffensive is a great track; it’s the kind of track you want to put on when you know you got things to do. It’s a damn good jazz/orchestra* fusion with a crunchy electric guitar in the background in the first bit, before going all out with the orchestral elements while adding a few extra touches with the guitar. Bottom line, it’s pretty good.

*Who here bets they know my favourite genres of music by now? I mean, c’mon, I’m a coffee guy! Coffee & Jazz are a match made in heaven! And who really can hate orchestrated music?


August 14, 2007: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3

Favourite song: When the Moon’s Reaching Out Stars

(Two thirds of the way through!)

Persona 3 is a heck of a fun game: it’s part dungeon crawler, part dating sim and all classic RPG goodness with a great story and interesting battle mechanics (I mean, the characters shoot themselves to summon their Personas, how crazy is that?!). I lost hours of my life trying to max out my social links; The most stressful thing about this game isn’t the tough fights or boss battles, but worrying about running into and upsetting one of your friends because you’re hanging out with another friend. I mean, it’s ridiculous, but a great time nonetheless.

When The Moon’s Reaching Out Stars is probably up there on the list of oddly named song titles, but it’s real catchy, even if the lyrics sound slightly depressing. It’s bubbly, J-Pop-like beats really capture that after-school feel, when all you want to do is skip homework and head to the mall, the arcade or the local cafe for your caffeine fix.


March 24, 2008: Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII

Favourite song: Under the Apple Tree

Zack! While most found him annoying, I found him to be quite endearing, mostly because he’s as hyperactive as I am at times. It was nice to see firsthand how he fits into the whole narrative for Final Fantasy VII, including how he met Aerith and Cloud, how he inherited the Buster Sword, from his honor-obsessed mentor, Angeal, and his interactions with pre-crazy Sephiroth. Also included was Genesis, introduced in Dirge of Cerberus (See 2006). Whereas the DoC version was mysterious, Crisis Core Genesis was a prat with a penchant for reading and endlessly quoting “Loveless”. One good thing about him though is that he makes a mean dumbapple pie.

Speaking of apples “Under the Apple Tree” is my favourite from the soundtrack. It’s a simple, yet soulful acoustic theme, of which I consider this to be Zack’s theme.


October 27, 2009: Tekken 6

Favourite song: Edge of Spring

One of the two fighting game on this list, I spent an ungodly amount of time playing this game, practicing and trying to beat my cousin, who rocked as Jin and Asuka. I mained Raven and Hwoarang, my two favourite characters in the series and my favourite stage was the Mystical Forest, mainly because of the stage theme, Edge of Spring. It’s such a peaceful, uptempo track. It also works as a great workout track!


March 9, 2010: Final Fantasy XIII

Favourite song: Blinded by Light

The thirteenth installment of Final Fantasy garnered a mixed reception – you either loved it or hated it. I personally enjoyed the frantic battle system, the characters and its story, which the majority of it surrounds the protagonist, Lightning, and her sister, Serah and spans two additional games in the series. Lightning herself is a badass; her no-nonsense attitude, strong will and determination to achieve her goals being an inspiration to many, including my good friend, fellow Canuck and Lighting’s #1 fan, LightningEllen (who you should definitely check out; she’s awesome!)

As for my favourite track, it has to be Blinded by Light. It’s one of the best battle themes in the series, in my honest opinion. I’ve taken a shine recently to the Dissidia 012 version of the theme, since it also mixes in a bit of Defiers of Fate and makes it sound quite epic.

Oh, speaking of Dissidia…


March 22, 2011: Dissidia 012

Favourite song: Reform

The second fighting game on this list, I got Dissidia 012 the day it came out. I remember that I wanted to get both this and the original, thinking that 012 was a completely different game. Imagine my surprise when I was told that the original Dissidia (013) was unlocked by playing through the 012 scenario. To top it off, an additional scenario could be unlocked after playing out the 013 scenario. Seriously, this game was chock-full of content!

The song, “Reform” always makes me smile – it’s the theme that plays in the menu when you start up the game. It sounds powerful and majestic and really makes one envision that they’re about to enter an arena to participate in a great battle. At least, that’s how I interpret it!


September 18, 2012: Borderlands 2

Favourite song: Short Change Hero

I really like the Borderlands series. It combines RPG and FPS mechanics and ties it into a humorous and over-the-top story with fun characters. Its sequel improves on the original’s formula, with a new cast of characters, a crazier story, new status effects and guns (LOTS of guns!), among other things!

The song that plays on the opening, Short Change Hero, has been featured in several other games (Arkham City) and movie trailers (uh… that one with The Rock in it?). Nevertheless, it’s a great song to start your adventure on Pandora; it really sets the scene, know what I mean?


July 9, 2013: Metal Gear Solid: Legacy Collection

Favourite Song: “Metal Gear Solid”: Main Theme

I got this compilation series, spanning the 25 year history of Solid Snake from my wife (We got married in November of 2012) for my birthday! I didn’t even ask for it; her co-worker recommended her to buy it for me, so that was awesome! Metal Gear is one of my favourite series, so it was a great birthday present to get!

The main theme from Metal Gear Solid is my choice track for the whole compilation. I mean, there’s not much to say about it – it’s the main theme and it’s awesome! Y’know what would make it more awesome? A jazz remix (surprise, surprise…). Check this mellow piano version of the theme.


February 11, 2014: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

Favourite song: Luxerion

Another year, another Final Fantasy! I got this as a Valentine’s day gift from my wife, also on recommendation from that same co-worker. It was nice to see Lightning and Serah’s story end on a happy note – they suffered for too long.

Luxerion is up there on my list of my top RPG town themes of all time. It gives off a relaxed, European town vibe and makes you forget that the world is ending in seven thirteen days.


May 12, 2015: Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (PS4)

Favourite song: Battle Theme

I feel this is the superior of the available remasters of Final Fantasy X and X-2, simply because you can switch between the original and remastered soundtracks, while enjoying the updated graphics and extra content available.

I personally enjoyed the updated battle theme music. It sounds so much more intense than the original version, thanks to the addition of that crunchy electric guitar (which was a controversial move if you check the YouTube comments…).


November 29, 2016: Final Fantasy XV

Favourite song: Galdin Quay

I’ve been eagerly anticipating this game for quite some time and, honestly, it was well worth the wait in this writer’s opinion. I loved the setting, the main characters, the battles and the music. And while some of the secondary characters ended up being too underdeveloped and the endgame sequence could have been reworked to make it less rushed, I’m still of the opinion that it’s a great game and a well done effort by Square-Enix.

There’s lots of good music by veteran composer Yoko Shimomura, but my favourite is Galdin Quay. Something about it reminds me of going on vacation. It could be the soft acoustic guitar when you’re out on the beach area or the swanky piano that starts up when you enter the restaurant, I’m not sure, but damn is it good!


March 3, 2017: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Favourite song: Temple of Time

Who here would have thought the Nintendo Switch would be such a big hit? Not me, that’s for sure. The majority of the credit for succeeding so well goes to the 2017 Game of the Year, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It has forever changed how I look at Zelda games. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Because the soundtrack was so minimalist, it’s hard to pick out a favourite theme. In the end, I picked the Temple of Time theme. The haunting, slow piano really showcases how ruined and decrepit the once glorious temple had become in the 100 years since Link’s slumber. Naturally, I’ve found a remix to it; a slick trap version. The vocal samples may throw you off, especially if you hated the English voice acting, but overall, it really plays with the minimalist style while adding some sick beats! Check it out.


Finally! The list is done! Shoutouts to Wikipedia for helping me with NA release dates, OC Remix for the dope tunes and YouTube, because why not make a playlist to coincide with the post? Also, a big shoutout to the Well-Red Mage for asking the big question in the first place!

As for 2018, I’m not sure what my favourite game will be? I guess I’ll have to find out as the year progresses!

I hope you enjoyed this romp through gaming history! Drop a line if you agree or disagree with my choices, or if you’re enjoying the tracks I’ve selected. And stay tuned for the next few editions, where I continue to celebrate the Year of the RPG by downing an Espresso Shot over one of the grandaddies of the JRPG genre: Dragon Quest (or Warrior here in North America)! And speaking of our erstwhile Goddess of Wisdom’s RPG event, it seems that a good friend of Koffi’s might have a letter for her as well! What could it be about? Keep it locked here to find out!

Oh, and one last thing; I’m about to get involved in something BIG (writer-wise – I’m already in deep with my little baby boy, who’s now a month old! He’s so adorable!). I can’t reveal anything yet, but come around mid-March, some sorcery will be afoot. Stay tuned…

With that, this has been Ryan from Games with Coffee, hoping you’re enjoying the tunes I’ve selected (over a cup of your favourite brew, of course) and reminding you to Keep Gaming and Keep Brewing!

Path of Exile Playthrough: Dealing with Bandits

Greetings fellow Exiles and welcome to another edition of Games with Coffee!” May the dark content of your mug bring you good fortune on the battlefield of life.

Today, I continue my playthrough of Path of Exile. Check out the following to get caught up:

  1. First Impressions/Part 1
  2. Part 2
  3. Part 3
  4. Part 4

The Decision

When last I left (See part 4), I was making the agonizing decision to choose whether to either align with one of the Bandit Lords and kill the other two, or kill them all to receive a skill point or two from Eramir. After considering my options, I decided to side with Oak, mainly for the health recovery benefits.

With that, Oak tasked me to kill the other two Lords and bring back their amulets so he can combine them with his to do something. It might have something to do with this place.

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So, I set off to put a couple of Lords on ice. Before that however, I met a very interesting individual.


A Master of Death?

Leaving Oak’s compound, I ran into an odd floating woman with an ethereal white glow about her. Curiosity piqued, I spoke to her. She revealed that her name is Catarina, an artist obsessed with death. She pointed to her latest work – a sculpture made up of corrupted corpses – and asked (demanded more like) me to help her add to her collection.

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A master of the dead indeed…

I found my targets in an encampment nearby; a bunch of corrupted Bone Birds.

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Defeating each (and they’re quite tough, especially when they gang up on you) will make them your minions for a brief period of time until you return them to Catarina, who will reward you with reputation and an opportunity to purchase her unique wares. She specializes in crafting Staves, Daggers, Wands and Belts.


Intruders in Black

Back in town, Greust, the local strongman, made an interesting observation: a score of Blackguards from Oriath were heading for the Chamber of Sins, near Kraityn’s territory. Seeing that I was heading in that direction, I decided to investigate and find out why they were here in the first place.

Inside the dilapidated building, I was met with the animated remains of corpses, along with a plethora of Necromancers. As I descended to the second level, I noticed three things: Another Trial of Ascendancy was found on this level, Catarina had another mission for me and I bumped into my old ‘friend’ Piety, who left yet another cryptic message before disappearing. Deciding to deal with Piety’s mess first, I ended up meeting a woman named Helena, an ex-Blackguard, begging me to help kill a creature called Fidelitas whose been on a murderous rampage.

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I bested it and its minions and was rewarded with a Regal Orb: a rare currency that upgrades any Magic item into a Rare item!

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Examining the strange machine next yielded a Baleful Gem, which I kept until I returned to town.

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Meanwhile I took on Catarina’s latest mission – find two more corrupted creatures and return to her. I ran into a pair of Rotting Mummies and delivered them to her.

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She then told me to meet her back in town to discuss further matters.

I then took on the latest Trial of Ascendancy, which involved the use of switches to open locked doors and deadly buzzsaws that leech your health as obstacles. I quickly ran through the trial and earned my next mark towards Ascendancy!

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I finally plumbed the depths of the second level, killing a few rare enemies and picking up a sweet Rare Quartz Wand that was an upgrade to my current weapon.

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My business at the Chamber of Sins completed, I used a Portal Scroll and returned to Helena in The Forest Encampment and handed her the Baleful Gem, who offered her gratitude and information about Dominus‘ (Piety’s boss) plans. She next told me to find an item known as Maligaro’s Spike, to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. Silk then revealed to me that he once found the Spike, but lost it near the Western Forest – Alira’s territory. I also spoke to Greust, who rewarded me with one of four skill gems! I took the Herald of Ice gem.

Yeena also provided an optional quest for me; to retrieve a hand of “a good man” in the Crypt south of the Chamber of Sins, in Kraityn’s territory. And finally, Catarina had some new goods to sell to me after completing her last mission, one being a Mage’s Vestment that would be perfect for Rhuki… except she was nowhere near the level required to use it.


Battling Bandit Lords Taking on Optional Quests

Onwards to Bandit Lord slayings! After that brief interlude, I decided to take on Alira first. I headed to the Western Forest, battled through her followers and busted into her encampment. After refusing her offer to switch allegiances, she proceeded to attack, using spells just like my Witch!

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In the end, Rhuki was the better mage and I acquired her amulet.

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Since I was in the area, I decided to check out the blocked passage leading back to Lioneye’s Watch. I ran into a bunch of Blackguards, whom I dispatched easily and retrieved a Thaumetic Emblem, used to open the way back.

Thaumetic Amulet.png

I took a detour to see Bestel and Nessa, who rewarded me with a Book of Skill and Support Gems respectively for opening the way forward! I picked up the Elemental Proliferation Support.

Book of Skill.png

More Skill Points!

Next, I headed for The Broken Bridge to take on Kraityn and retrieve his amulet. As I ventured through the area, I stumbled across another Corrupted Area. Deciding to take another detour, I ventured through the area where monsters poison on hit and got to the end where I received a Vaal Fireball after taking on a very tough monster. I had to get up close and personal in order to deal damage.

Tough Monster 2Vaal Fireball

With that out of the way, I finally took on Kraityn, who was lightning-quick and wielded two swords.

Vs Kraityn.png

Using my trusty Area-of-Effect skills, combined with my Lightning Tendrils and Detonate Dead skills to clear the floor around me, I defeated him and took his amulet.

Kraityn Spoils

Returning to Oak and handing him the amulet pieces, he combined them to form The Apex and granted me my bonuses!

Apex Obtained.png

Next, it looks like I’ll have to go through the tree at the back of the Wetlands to enter the Vaal Ruins… perhaps the Baleful Gem and Maligaro’s Spike have some connection with it? I’ll discuss this and more on the next playthrough!


Tips about Strongboxes

I’ve mentioned Strongboxes before in a guest post, but did you know you can use currency to modify them?

If you see an unidentified Strongbox, you can use a Scroll of Wisdom to identify what it is and its requirements for opening it. You can also use currency items such as the Orb of Transmutation to upgrade it from a Normal into a Magical Strongbox, or use an Orb of Chance to randomize the properties of the Strongbox, which can potentially yield better items when opened.

Strongbox (Rare 2) reward.png

After opening it and unleashing the hordes within, Area-of-Effect skills are best suited for taking out the enemies. Traps and support Totems also help prevent you from being overwhelmed by the horde. Once defeated, reap the rewards!


Looking for Regal Orbs or other items? Then be sure to check the PoE Items store on the Playerauctions.com website! They have a wide variety of items to choose from at a reasonable cost, and all transactions are safe and secure.

Until next time Exiles, this has been Ryan from “Games with Coffee,” wishing you good fortune on the battlefield and, as always, reminding you to Keep Gaming and Keep Brewing!

Koffi Trigger – The Journey Begins…

Good day gamers and welcome to another edition of Games with Coffee! My friend, Athena, has declared this year the to be the “Year of the RPG!” To celebrate, she and BadgersAndBowties have picked a bunch of iconic games and asked the community to contribute and show some love for this amazing gaming genre! Learn more about it here!

The first on this list is the much-beloved Chrono Trigger: a game I’ve played to death! Throughout their journey, my characters will be writing in about their experiences as they adventure onwards. With that, let’s begin!


Dear Athena,

I had an odd dream where someone was telling me to write a letter to you. Weird huh? I wasn’t going to at first, but that voice was pretty insistent. Or maybe it was my mom telling me to wake up? God, I overslept…

So, since I’ve already started writing this thing, let me start with my name: it’s Koffi. Like coffee, but with a K. If my name doesn’t make it obvious, I’m also a coffee addict. Can’t get my day started without it. I also practice swordsmanship, and I’m told that I got some talent in it. Must be from my father; he was supposedly a great swordsman or something. I dunno, he’s not here anymore. Whether he’s dead or disappeared, no one knows or asks about it… I wonder why?

Hm, what else… so, I’m a firm believer of doing the right thing, but at the same time too, I’m a bit of a rebel. Call it a byproduct of my training and a lack of a proper male role model, but I aim to be chivalrous and honorable and all that stuff to live up to my dad’s supposed ideals, and I also want to get out, see the world and experience all that it has to offer and maybe make a few new friends along the way. Mom says I’m too young to leave home; please, I’m 16! Four hundred years ago, guys my age were sent into the battlefield to battle some magic dude and his demons! If they can go do that, I can definitely travel the world on my own!

Anyways, today is the first day of 1000 AD and the kingdom is celebrating by holding a big fair in Leene Square. No big whoop. Except it looks to be an all year kind of thing, at least according to my friend, Perks. Seriously, does the monarchy really have the money to hold a year round event like this? I dunno… I bet they’re selling off items in the Royal treasury to pay for it! That has to be it!

Oh, whose Perks you ask? Well she’s my closest friend here in the village; her real name’s Lucca, but I call her Perks, since she gets all perky and weird around machinery. I joke that she should marry whatever the heck she’s working on, which always gets me a dirty look from her. Heh, classic.

Anyways, Perks is super smart, ambitious and headstrong, and is always making new inventions with her father, Taban. She wears glasses – that has to be a sign of super smartness, right? (Is that even a word?)

It just so happens that her latest invention is making its debut today at the opening of the fair. I hope it goes better than the last time she showed off an invention – it took me four months to regrow my eyebrows.

She invented something called a”flamethrower,” which she claimed it could be used as both a tool to aid ironworkers and a weapon to defend the kingdom, or something like that. She decided to use me as a guinea pig, which backfired spectacularly, giving me the name “No-Brows Koffi” until they grew back. Seriously, the people here have no originality…

Anyway, this letters becoming long-winded, so I better get going; Perks’ll kill me if I don’t show up on time. But first, coffee!

You know, this actually is kinda fun! Maybe I’ll keep writing to you? Though I’m sure it’ll be boring; nothing exciting ever happens around here, except when Perks’ experiments blow up to smithereens.

I’m sure today will be no different.

Later!

Koffi

The Unique Blogger Award!

Good morning and welcome to another edition of Games with Coffee! May your day be as joyful and as full of flavor as the brew in your cup.

Today marks a bit of a milestone for the blog – it just so happens that yours truly has been nominated for the Unique Blogger Award!

uniquebloggeraward.png

(Insert Final Fantasy victory theme)

Apparently, there are specific rules, which I shall list below:

  1. Display the award. (See above).
  2. Thank the individual(s) who have nominated you and include a link to their blog. A little promotion for their blog is also welcome.
  3. Answer the questions asked by the individual who has nominated you.
  4. Nominate an arbitrary number of bloggers and have them answer three questions you put forth to them.

I was awarded this nomination by the gracious YahariBento, who is a fan of anime, manga, light novels and video games and writes about such topics. Thank you so much for this honor! Now, onwards to your questions!

YB: If you reincarnate as a spider that you need to survive in the cruel fantasy world and poisonous monsters are everywhere, when you level up and there are two choices for you to choose (Poison Skill or Poison Resist) which one you want to pick?

GwC: Hmm, I’d have to say Poison Skill. I’m a stalwart believer that the best defense is a good offense. Having a stronger venom than an enemy’s, combined with the spider’s natural affinity for stealth, would make for a very dangerous arachnid. A sneaky bite here, an injection of potent poison there and whatever monster looking for me would be as dead as a doornail.

YB: If you are a spider, you want to befriend other monsters (social) or want to hunt them (savage)? (You can choose one only).

GwC: I believe the key to survival in a cruel fantasy world such as this would be to befriend other monsters and strike up an alliance of sorts. As a spider, I would probably rely on social interaction between myself and others to avoid being either eaten or squashed.

YB: Assume that you can choose colour for your body (of course you are a spider again), which colour you want to paint? (You can choose more than one colour.)

GwC: I’d probably stick with blending in with my surroundings and hiding in the shadows, so I’d go with a dark brown or black. Although if I’m being honest and if I wasn’t concerned for survival, I’d like my body to be coloured dark blue with white markings.


*Equips Summon Materia*

Now, I summon the following individuals to be nominated for the next round of the Unique Blogger Award!

  1. LightingEllen
  2. The Well-Red Mage
  3. Drakulus
  4. Extra Life
  5. The Shameful Narcissist
  6. Athena – AmbiGaming
  7. Astro Adam
  8. retroredress
  9. NekoJonez

To the above, I’d like you to answer the following three questions. Answer in as much or as little detail as you’d like:

  1. What qualities or characteristics in a villian from your favourite game or series do you admire and why?
  2. If you could choose any character from any video game to become for a day, who would you choose and what (with their special abilities or powers) would you do in that timeframe?
  3. In your mind, what constitutes a Mature, Distinguished Gamer?

Get cracking friends, I paitently await your answers!

PSA: See stolen content from content creators? Content theft!

NekoJonez's Gaming Blog

Today, I had an unpleasant surprise this morning on the train to work. I found out that two websites actually stole my content! This was such a let down since the amount of content that was stolen from me is more than just one article. It’s almost all my articles from December. While I was working on contacting other sites and blogs that got content stolen, a good blogging friend of mine Drakulus wrote this article. And it’s actually a great lesson to learn. 

What do you if you come across stolen content? Do you ignore it? Or do you do something about it? What if the stolen content you come across is yours? 

WordPress is a great place to publish content of all sorts. Some people like to use it as a diary. While others, like myself, us it to express their love for gaming by reviewing games, writing…

View original post 857 more words

The Year In Review

Good evening and welcome to the first year-end edition of Games with Coffee! We’ve come to the close of 2017 and, while the jury may be out on whether this was a good or bad one, it was definitely a year to remember, both for the gaming industry and for myself in general. Let’s review a few highlights:

Gaming

Probably the biggest news that dropped this year was the release of the Nintendo Switch, which heralded the Big N’s to mainstream status after the failure of the Wii-U. I’ve written about my impressions of the console here. Along with the Switch was the release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” which just recently obtained The Game Awards’ coveted “Game of the Year” award, beating out such contenders as Persona 5 and Horizon: Zero Dawn. Breath of the Wild’s break from the traditional Zelda mold, something which Nintendo is attempting to do with many of its IP’s in order to remain competitive, was perhaps one of the many factors that accounted for this achievement, which I feel it’s earned. But again, the jury’s out as to whether or not it’s deserving of its title; despite us being mature and distinguished about these matters, we gamers still have strong opinions on what game released this year truly earned that award. Anyways, I digress.

2017 was also a good year for female protagonists: Horizon: Zero Dawn and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, introduced this year, are but a few examples of games with excellent female leads. My friend LightingEllen has written about both Horizon:Zero Dawn’s Aloy and Hellblade’s Senua herself. You should check them out, they’re great reads!

Indie games also had a somewhat of a breakthrough year, thanks again partly to the Switch. Indie-ish title, Sonic Mania, released to great fanfare (of which I wrote a glowing review for) and Axiom Verge, a Metroidvania with a deep, rich storyline, rereleased for portable play. Another new friend of mine, The Well-Red Mage, wrote an excellent writeup regarding this game and its mindbending story, go check it out!

The real indie star this year was the critically acclaimed Cuphead, which won several awards, including best action game, best independent game and best visual design. It’s on my list of games to get into next year.

We also got plenty of high profile releases this year, beyond the ones I mentioned above: Nioh was released at the start of the year – great game if you enjoyed Dark Souls. Destiny 2, Bungie and Activision’s popular shooter, also released to great fanfare. Call of Duty: WW2, another shooter by Activision, returned the series to its roots. Remakes were aplenty with the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy and Doom leading the pack. Resident Evil also returned to form with its seventh installment. Also released was the hotly anticipated Assassin’s Creed: Origins title – another on my must-play list. Wolfenstein 2, rated Best Action Game, continues from the first installment in a world where the Allies lost the Second World War. Uncharted: Lost Legacy, a side-story to the main Uncharted series, showcased the stories of several secondary characters (say that five times fast!) in an open world setting. And finally, all these crazy Nintendo releases, like the Metroid 2 remake for the 3DS, Mario + Rabbids, which made for am odd yet interesting strategy game for the Switch, Splatoon 2, the kid-friendly, ultra-competitive shooter and Super Mario Odyssey, quite possibly the best Super Mario platformer since Super Mario 64.

Regarding gaming for next year, I’ll be continuing my write-ups for Path of Exile. If you’ve been following me for some time, you’ll know that I’m obsessed with this game. Seriously, now is a great time to get into it and I’ve detailed the reasons why here. Along with that, more reviews shall be coming, along with the possibility of Video Reviews and Let’s Play’s as well! I can’t guarantee when exactly they will strike though, because my time going forward will start to get a bit limited. I’ll explain the reason why further below.

The Quest

As I mentioned half a year ago, I’m on a Quest for personal growth. As the year closes and I reflect, I’d have to say that I accomplished a lot of what I wanted to achieve, except for my workouts. A basement renovation and another important event that happened mid-year, stymied my efforts to maintain my schedule. Nevertheless, I’ve celebrated many highlights this year, one of which includes starting this very blog in March! If you’re a new reader looking to see what I’m all about, start here and be amazed. I’ve also made so much progress in my story writing, more than I have in years; finishing the rough notes for the first installment in my long-standing fanfiction and preparing notes for an original story of my own. And finally, I started a brand new opportunity in November, where I adopted a beginner’s mindset and let go of the preconceived notions I’ve obtained throughout my career.

Going Forward to 2018

2018 will not be more of the same; as the year turns, so to, do the people. I’ve picked up a capture card that I’ll be experimenting with this year and hopefully put up the aforementioned Let’s Play’s and Reviews.

As for personal goals, I plan on continuing on from my Quest last year, with a few tweaks. For instance, thanks to Google, I’ve migrated my fanfiction and my story notes to both Docs and Keep respectivly. I’ve found that I have more freedom to write, thanks to the ability to access documents anywhere, so long as one has an internet connection. I’ve done the same with the infrastructure of “The Quest,” hopefully making it easier to track my progression.

Beyond “The Quest” lies one other, major personal thing. I’ve alluded to it here and there, but now’s a good time to drop the news.

My wife and I are expecting our first child in less than four weeks from now. It’s an exceptionally exciting time for the both of us, since it marks a huge transition in our lives. I’m looking forward to this! It does mean that I’ll be stretched for time writing on the blog, but no worries: content will still be coming! It’ll just be a bit delayed, that’s all.


So, there you have it, another year gone. What are your plans for the New Year? Any Quests of your own you guys looking forward to tackle? Let me know in the comments below!

This has been Ryan from Games with Coffee, wishing you all a Happy New Year and reminding you to Keep Gaming and Keep Brewing!

The Games with Coffee Guide to Last-minute Christmas Shopping!

Another day, another edition of “Games with Coffee,” and what a great edition it will be! As of today, Christmas is a little less than a week away: are you ready for it? Or have you run right out of ideas for what to get for your favourite gamer? Or perhaps you’ve put Christmas shopping to the very last minute and don’t know where to start?

Well, God rest thee merry gentlepeople, because I got you covered! Below are a few ideas that you can either quickly run to the store and pick up, if you’re up north here in good ‘ole Canada, or order online: chances are, you’ll be able to get all of the below by Christmas (barring a few additional charges for expedited shipping). I’ll have plenty of links available to access, so no worries. So, keep that itchy trigger finger ready on your mouse and let’s make some magic happen!


Game Ideas

Well besides the obvious items on a gamer’s Christmas list (new systems, latest popular games, everything Nintendo, etc.), here’s an idea for you: how about trying something a little outside of the norm?

Stardew Valley, Axiom Verge, Cave Story+ and Shovel Knight are excellent choices to buy: all four are great games with retro-inspired graphics, poignant storylines, excellent controls and are available on all current generation systems, with the exception of Cave Story+. Check below on where you can find these games:

Stardew Valley:

Shovel Knight:

Axiom Verge:

Cave Story+


Gaming Apparel and Accessories

Graphic T-shirts: for the individual who loves to show off what they love.

Who among us used to hate getting clothes for Christmas? Well, with these selection of men’s, women’s and kid’s game culture T-shirts, your favourite person will hate you a little less this year.*

*Results may vary.

Men’s T-shirts:

Women’s T-shirts:

Kid’s T-shirts:

Ugly Sweaters: for the gamer who wants to rock this year’s Christmas party.

Ugly Sweaters are all the rage these days! Why not get something that reflects your favourite person’s gaming passion? Whether it’s Mario, Sonic or any of gaming’s famous faces, you’ll definitely have some heads turning at your next Christmas gathering! Here’s a few examples:

Satchels, Bags, Cardigans and Scarves: for the lady with a love for fashion and a passion for gaming.

If you’re looking for a great gift for an even greater gal in your life that enjoys gaming, check out these choice selections from EB Games (Canada) and ThinkGeek (everywhere else):

These aren’t limited to just gift-giving alone; ladies, in the words of an almighty master: Treat yo’ selves!


Toys and Games

Nerf Rival Guns: for the individuals who dreams of LARPing a Call of Duty scenario with their good friends.

With a variety of guns available, free-for-alls have never been so much fun! There are plenty of guns available, bit my personal favourite is the Artemis – a shotgun. Check em out!

Funko Pop’s, Nendoroids and Amiibo figures: for the consummate collector.

It figures that figures would be a great gift to give! From the highly collectible Funko Pop’s, to the picture perfect and adorable Nendoroids, to Amiibos that combine collectibility with function, there are plenty of options available! Now, there are too many for me to link, but check the stores; there’s bound to be plenty available!

Board Games: for those looking to game offscreen.

Want to bring the family together without resorting to playing Mario Kart? How about a few board games? Some of gaming’s biggest names have been associated with board game classics, like “The Legend of Zelda” Monopoly and Clue. Others, like Mega Man, have their own board games and there are even some video game inspired tabletop and card games, like Boss Monster. Finally, games like Settlers of Catan are a perfect gift for those who enjoy games like Civilization.

MegaConstrux Pokemon: for the kid or kid at heart.

If you’re kid’s like any other kid, they have vivid imaginations, a desire to build anything their minds can conjure up and a love for all things Pokemon. How do you combine the three? Easy: get them a Pokemon they can build themselves! MegaConstrux has several Pokemon related figures kids will go nuts over, especially Charizard and Gyarados! Heck, I’m a grown man and I want those for myself!

A Raspberry Pi, a Pi Case and the SNES30 Bluetooth Controller: for those who enjoy retro gaming as much as they love building things from scratch.

Ah, the good ol’ Raspberry Pi, giving you the ability to access all the games you used to play as a kid in a device the side of a credit card. If you got a tinkerer on your list who also loves dropping rounds of Super Street Fighter II Turbo on the SNES, then this one’s for you!

For gift ideas, I would go with the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 kit, available on Amazon; it has everything one would need to get started. Alternatively, if you have time and resources to spare, you can buy the board, a case and an SD card and really personalize it for the recipient. I highly recommend the Smraza case, again from Amazon: it’s a case divided into seven layers that comes with two heat sinks, a fan to plug into the GPIO on the Pi and a power supply with an on/off button! It’s a great little package!

But you can’t just the Pi and not get controllers? PS4 and Xbox One controllers work with Retropie, but if you want to give that real old-school feel, I recommend the 8bitdo SNES30 Bluetooth Controller. Easy to set up and use, this is the controller of choice to delve into old-school gaming! Here’s where you can find it:


Stocking Stuffers and Other Small Gifts

Books: for those who appreciate a great story on and off screen.

This might sound odd, but books are an awesome gift to give. I say this because some of the best presents I got, besides video games, were books. I’ve gushed many times about the Mistborn series, it’s perfect for those who are obsessed with RPG’s, magic systems and a deep, immersive world full of lore and legend.

Another book I recommend is Red Rising, a science fiction/fantasy set on a colonized Mars. This might sound a bit spoilerish, but I feel that the story is somewhat analogous to God of War, with Kratos’ struggles for revenge, mixed in with undertones of power and politics a la Games of Thrones. My description doesn’t really do it justice, but fans of the God of War series may enjoy it.

Finally, Ready Player One is the perfect book to give a gamer, either young or old. The younger generation will appreciate the plucky protagonist’s journey from rags to riches, while the older ones from the late 80’s and below will fall in love with the heavy retro gaming and pop culture influences that are scattered throughout the book.

Gaming Ornaments: for those who want to combine Christmas with Gaming.

Ornaments make for great stocking stuffers! Check out a few here:

Journals and Notebooks: for those who want to write the story to the next big blockbuster game.

I got this Legend of Zelda journal as a present from my wife and I’ve yet to stop writing in it. In fact, I picked up a second one for my birthday this year. There are plenty of others available, check out below:

Gift Cards: for when you’re truly stuck on what to buy this year.

If all else fails, there’s nothing wrong with giving a PSN, Xbox Live or Nintendo e-Shop gift card. Unlike most other gift cards, the receiver will definitely appreciate it. Bonus if you get them a year-long subscription to PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold: you’ll be appreciated all year round!

If they’re a mobile game lover, an iTunes or Google Play gift card will also go a long way!

Coffee Mugs: for those who literally want to have their Games with Coffee.*

Didja see what I did there? Didja? Eh, I digress, coffee mugs make for excellent stocking stuffers: they’re statement pieces tailored to that person’s particularly favourite game or series and they can drink coffee out of it! Win-win. Here’s some examples:


And that’s that! Hope this helps with your last minute shopping. Today (at least up here in Canada) is the last day you can order online for it to reach before Christmas! (Additional shipping charges will be required…). So get cracking!

As for the next edition, I’ll catch up with you all near the end of the year, where I’ll talk about my Quest status in “The Year In Review.” Of course, I’ll be working on a few Espresso Shot Reviews, which will come in the new year, along with something else. What that is, you’ll have to stay tuned to find out!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and hoping you’re spending equal time with loved ones and cherished games this holiday season, this is Ryan from “Games with Coffee”, reminding you to Keep Gaming and Keep Brewing.

The Hcman Gaming Keyboard: An Inexpensively Reliable Mechanical Keyboard!

Hey everyone, welcome to another edition of “Games with Coffee!” Continuing where I left off with the G502 Proteus Spectrum Mouse, I’d like to talk about my next acquisition: a mechanical gaming keyboard! This thing ain’t no Razer, or a Logitech Gaming Keyboard by any means, but it lights up, has that special, clicky mechanical feel, has various configuration options and all for a fraction of the price of the more high end keyboards available! This is the Hcman (HOW do you pronounce that?!) Mechanical Gaming Keyboard!

20171028_170554


Backstory

I have an ASUS Transformer laptop. It was the perfect unit to type stories and blog posts on due to it being compact, lightweight and easy to use. Well, it used to be perfect because only a few months ago, my keyboard dock started to fritz out on me and I lost the ability to type the ‘C’ and ‘S’ keys! I looked up solutions, applied BIOS updates and generally mashed the keys to force it to work once more, but it was no use: the keys were toast and are currently not working at all. So I had to find a new solution.

I first tried a wireless keyboard with a USB input. Things were going good for the first month until it ultimately crapped out on me. Anything I connected the USB reciever into – laptop, Raspberry Pi, etc. – the device couldn’t recognize the keyboard, so it became a useless paperweight that I bought for about $20…

Learning from my mistake, I decided to get a gaming keyboard with mechanical switches. They’re durable, the back light makes it easy to work in the dark and the clicking sounds they make were oddly satisfying to me. I didn’t have the scratch to plonk down for a high end keyboard, but I also didn’t want to cheap out either. After doing my research on Amazon, I settled on the Hcman keyboard, which (and I may be biased here) was an amazing purchase!


The Keyboard

For a roughly $40 keyboard, the quality is not that bad. The top has a sandblasted aluminum finish, with the company’s logo milled onto the surface between the arrow and page up/down key areas. It gives it a nice, upscale look. The bottom is plastic with rubber pads on the corners to keep it from moving when on a surface. r Each row has its own coloured back light; from top to bottom, orange, white, green, violet, blue and red.

20171216_104415_HDR

Look at those colours!

The keyboard actually quite compact: measuring in at about 14″ long by 5″ wide (355 mm x 127 mm for the metric folks). There’s no number pad on this board, hence why it’s smaller in size compared to other keyboards. There are a total of 87 keys on the board.

They keyboard has an anti-ghosting or NKRO (N-key rollover) feature, which allows a user to press multiple keys at once; perfect for gamers who need to press multiple keys to accomplish various actions.

The keys have a nice, clicky feel to them and look extremely durable. They’re a bit noisy, but I feel in a state of zen whenever I type on it. The noise, however, may annoy others around you; My wife hates whenever I use it and she complains that it’s always too loud.

The keycaps can be replaced, thanks to the included key removal tool, so it’s easy to customize the keyboard to however you like.

20171028_170806

I think the coolest part about this keyboard is the multiple lighting effects! There are nine in total, including pulsating, wave, scrolling and ripple, among others. Another neat feature included on the board is the capability to customize your key back lights for various games! There’s a built in RTS (real time strategy) and FPS (first person shooter) configuration, which lights up only the keys that you would use for those games, but there are three additional profiles that can be reprogrammed to suit your specific game. For instance, I have one specifically tailored to Path of Exile and another for emulation. Customizing the board is extremely simple; select the empty profile by hitting FN + 1, 2 or 3, hit FN +Esc to start recording, type the keys that you use for the game you’re playing and then hit FN + Esc to end the recording and save it to the board!

Performance-wise, I’m very pleased with it. The keys are very responsive and connecting it to my laptop was incredibly easy; just plug in the braided USB cable and you’re set!   I’ve put it through its paces by writing posts and my fanfic and I’ve had no problems doing either. If you’re a writer or enjoy writing, I recommend that you pick up a mechanical keyboard over all others. There’s even a back light setting specifically tailored for the office. It doesn’t do anything for the noise however…

I think the only complaint I have about this keyboard is how people complain how noisy it is. I love the sounds myself, but again, the noise may drive others crazy… Others may not like the fact that the number pad is not included with the unit, but I personally don’t miss it.


Right now, you can pick it up on Amazon for $39.99 CAD with free shipping, which I think is a great price for a mechanical gaming keyboard. If you’re looking for a great gift this Christmas, either for your favourite mature, distinguished gamer, or for yourself (because you gotta treat yourself at times!), I highly recommend this.

Stay tuned for the next edition coming very soon: Christmas is next week and if you’re looking for some last minute gaming gift ideas for your favourite person, then I have a few ideas for you!

Once again, this has been Ryan from “Games with Coffee,” reminding you to Keep Gaming and Keep Brewing. See you next time!

 

The Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum: Great for Gaming and For the Consummate Professional!

Good day and welcome to another edition of “Games with Coffee!” Holiday season is upon us, so now’s the time to finalize your Christmas shopping! However, if you’re looking for a gift that your special someone can use both for the gaming and professional worlds, then look no further than the Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum RGB Tunable Mouse!

20171028_162348_HDR.jpg

I got this mouse when I started my last position as a mechanical engineering designer, and it was perfect for the job! With incredible tracking accuracy thanks to its advanced optic sensors, the G502 is extremely precise, whether you’re battling for online supremacy, or using computer aided design (CAD) software to create world changing designs or products.

The mouse can be calibrated for multiple surfaces and has the option of setting up to five different DPI settings, from the lowest, where the pointer moves like a snail, to the highest where it moves quickly across screens with but the lightest of touches. This fast movement is great for project managers, engineers or architects who read large Gantt charts, schedules, drawings and project spreadsheets.

The G502 has a great, molded ergonomic feel to it and feels comfortable in my right hand. It comes with six 3.6g metal weights that can be installed on the bottom of the mouse (just remove the bottom plate) to adjust the weight to your needs.

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The G502 has eleven keys that can be programmed with custom command macros, like setting the DPI or CTRL-C, or keystrokes in a specific sequence. This is highly useful for when you want to use common keyboard shortcuts or commands in programs like AutoCAD with one hand, which can really help improve efficiency at work. Additionally, if you program one of the keys as a G-Shift, you increase the amount of programmable keys to almost double! This is because when you hold down the G-Shift key and press another key on the mouse, it executes a different macro or command. It’s an extremely useful function.

The scroll wheel also has multiple speeds: a toggle switch on top of the mouse allows for speedy or precise scrolling. Great for when you need to scroll through maps or online documents.

In order to program the mouse, you’ll need the Logitech Gaming Software. It’s an easy to use tool that helps with setting surface calibration, DPI settings, key command allocation and even RGB colour options. The logo and DPI setting indicator can change colour depending on the settings, which is really cool! The mouse holds up to three different profiles which is great if you play different types of games, or if you used a variety of programs for work purposes.

The G502 Proteus Spectrum Mouse is available for purchase through the Logitech website. It’s currently selling for $119.99 with free shipping. So if you’re thinking of getting a gaming mouse, whether for work or play, this is the one I recommend the most!


Stay tuned, because tomorrow, I’ll be talking about an inexpensive mechanical keyboard that I recently picked up and fell in love with! It’s a great gift to give to your favourite mature, distinguished gamer for Christmas! And speaking of the holidays, I’ll be sharing a few gaming-themed ideas that I’m sure will level up your gift-giving game! Keep an eye out for it!

Once again, this has been Ryan from “Games with Coffee,” reminding you to Keep Gaming and Keep Brewing!