My good pal, NekoJonez has some grievances about certain gaming topics that he needed to air out. I’m fairly certain that 99% of us share these as well. Check it out and pass it along!
My good pal, NekoJonez has some grievances about certain gaming topics that he needed to air out. I’m fairly certain that 99% of us share these as well. Check it out and pass it along!
Good morning and welcome to another edition of Games with Coffee! Let thy cup runneth full of beany goodness!
If the slight Olde English hasn’t tipped you off yet, today I’ll be talking about the very first RPG I’ve ever played: Dragon Warrior for the Nintendo Entertainment System! Also known as Dragon Quest in Japan, this is the first installment of the long running Dragon Quest series.
This game has many memories associated with it – every game I’ve played on the NES as a child was a challenge, but few have challenged me so like this one. But now I wonder, after almost 32 years since its original release and 29 years for the North American version, how does it fare in my eyes in the present day? Well, its the subject of today’s Espresso Shot Review! Let’s take a look:
Dragon Quest was released on May 1986 in Japan and in North America in August 1989 under the name Dragon Warrior, by Enix, a company producing RPG games before they merged with their rival, Squaresoft, in the early 2000’s to create Square-Enix. Dragon Warrior is considered to be one of the grandfather’s of Japanese RPG’s, setting the base template for all modern JRPG’s to follow.
I will be reviewing Dragon Warrior, released in August of 1989 for the NES, just over three years after Dragon Quest was released for the Famicom.
Dragon Warrior takes place in the kingdom of Aelfgard, a series of modestly sized lands with rivers, islands and the like. Many years ago, when darkness covered the land, a hero named Erdrick brought peace to the kingdom by slaying a great evil and using an artifact called The Ball of Light to banish the remaining dark creatures. He handed it over to the King in Tantegel Castle, ensuring that the kingdom would be protected.
One individual was not a fan of the Ball’s radiance; he was the Dragonlord, a man corrupted by evil magic and who could control dragons. He gathered an army, invaded Tantegel Castle and stole the Ball of Light, casting the kingdom back into darkness. He then went on a reign of terror, razing towns and causing generic havoc before settling down in his castle, Charlock, on an island surrounded by impassable waters near Tantegel.
Years later, a prophet proclaimed that a new hero will emerge – a descendant of Erdrick himself – to save the land. After the Dragonlord kidnapped Tantegel’s beautiful princess, Gwaelin, a man (the player character) arrives at the kingdom, proclaiming himself to be that descendant. The current King, believing him, instructs him to save his daughter, defeat the Dragonlord and bring the light back to Aelfgard.
As far as story goes, this is pretty cookie cutter: save the princess, defeat the bad guy, save the world. It was a common storyline at the time when the gaming industry was slowly transitioning to a more narrative structure as opposed to typical high score arcade fare. While common and accessible in its time, today, the storyline wouldn’t find as much traction, given that, in this writer’s opinion, older gamers yearn for more complex narratives. And yet, the simplicity of the story presented in Dragon Warrior makes this game a great, entry-level RPG for a child aged 7-10.
The most charming aspect of the story is the English translation’s use of Elizabethan (aka Olde) English. It gives the story and the dialogue a more Shakespearean, medieval tone and helps make the player feel like they’re in the middle of a fantasy world.
Dragon Warrior is a heavily text-based game. Every action, from talking to NPC’S, to searching for items and opening chests and to attacking and using spells, is controlled through several menu-driven options, accessed using the A button. Menu options include context specific actions like Talk, Search, Take and Door, along with traditional RPG staples like Item, Magic and Status. The interface was designed to be as simple as possible, given the limited number of inputs available to use.
On the field, opening the menu and selecting an action will execute that action in the direction the player character is facing. So, if you wanted to talk to someone or examine an object of interest, you’d have to face in that direction, otherwise you’ll get a notice saying no one is there. Also, to use the Door command, you’ll need Magic Keys. This is a bit irksome, since it would be easier to walk up to a door and press A to open it as opposed to opening the menu and selecting the Door command itself. Future installments, along with remakes, have addressed this, but it’s still a slight chore.
The field is separated into three types: Towns, the Overworld map and Dungeons. Towns are where you can obtain information for your quest from townspeople, buy items and gear and rest to recover HP and MP.
The Overworld is the area where most of the time is spent; players must travel to towns and dungeons to progress with the story. You’ll find random encounters with various monsters. Players will encounter stronger monsters or experience higher encounter rates depending on the terrain. An interesting thing about the hilly terrain is that there’s a slight pause as you walk across, making it feel like you’re actually crossing hills.
Bridges serve an additional purpose besides connecting landmasses, as players will see a clear difference in enemy strength once crossed. This invisible difficulty barrier helps players identify which areas to avoid until they get strong enough to go through without trouble.
In dungeons, players will encounter stronger monsters at an increased rate, but they will find rare weapons or items necessary to complete the game. Also, since these areas are shrouded in darkness, a torch or the Radiant spell are required to be able to see your surroundings.
When a monster is encountered, a different set of commands become available: Fight, Magic, Item and Run. Fight makes your character attack with an equipped weapon, with its effectiveness dependent on the players current strength and the weapon’s attack rating. Magic casts spells in your repertoire, like Heal and Hurt. Item allows the use of items in your inventory to use in battle and Run makes your character attempt to run away. You won’t be able to escape all the time; your success rate is based on how high your agility stat is. Upon wining the battle, you gain experience points and gold.
Regarding stats, they are easy to follow and keep track of. Besides HP and MP, strength, as mentioned above, relates to fighting prowess, defense is for taking monster attacks and agility indicates if you attack first before the opponent does, if you are able to strike without missing and if you are able to run away from the fight. Status effects are limited to falling asleep, being prevented from casting spells via Stopspell and being cursed by wearing cursed items; this is expanded in further installments. Compared to the intricacies and nuances of the modern RPG, with its various stats and ailments, Dragon Warrior simplifies it all, making it very accessible to newcomers.
If you die, either on the field or in battle, you return to the King with half your gold missing. It’s good in a sense, since you don’t lose progress in terms of leveling up, but if you’re trying to save up for the more expensive items for your quest, then you’re out of luck.
A few problems players could encounter are that the difficulty level ramps up quickly as you progress and that the only way to save is to return to Tantegel Castle and speak with the King. It’s wise to keep some Wyvern’s Wings with you, in case you’re knee deep in more difficult parts of the world, you’re out of magic and need to make a hasty retreat (or if you’re finished playing for the day and want to turn it off.). This archaic save mechanism continued to be a staple in later installments, (instead of speaking to a king, you’d confess in church), whereas other RPG’s settled for allowing players to save on the Overworld or save points within dungeons.
Another major problem is that, besides sleeping at an Inn or speaking to an wizard behind a desk at Tantegal Castle, there’s no way to recover spent MP. This makes conserving magic extremely important, as you can run out of it fairly quickly if you’re not careful.
Legendary manga artist and creator of the Dragon Ball series, Akira Toriyama, lent his artistic talents to the Dragon Quest series. He created the artwork for characters as well as monsters, the most famous being the Slime creature, the mascot of the series.
It’s interesting to see how his art style influenced the series over the years, especially Dragon Quest VIII, my favourite of the series. But we’re talking about the very first game, so let’s segue on back…
Graphics-wise, the 8-bit style hasn’t aged well. Colours and textures are very simple and conservative in nature, but in the present day, they look very dated. The overworld sprites, emulating the Chibi art style, look cute and animated.
My biggest criticism has to be the dungeon design. It’s very bland in nature. Only when you reach the last area where the Dragonlord lies is there any difference in how dungeons look.
The biggest strength to the game’s visuals is the monster art. Toriyama’s art style ensures that the enemies silly appearances belies their terrifying strength.
There’s very little music in the game, but some are quite memorable. One in particular is the title theme when you turn the game on. This title theme would go on to be used in all subsequent entries of Dragon Quest, making it a well-recognized theme.
I’m particularly fond of the overworld music. It gives off a medieval, I’m-crossing-the-land vibe and adds to the atmosphere.
What I found interesting is that the dungeon music drops in octaves as you descend deeper down the floors. It’s an unique approach to identifying which floor you’re occupying, since most times you have no idea which one you’re on in the first place. This has also carried on into later installments.
There are also a few jingles that either have carried over to future installments, like the music that plays when you level up or when an enemy is defeated, or stand out, like the death theme.
The rest of the music featured in game are simple and repetitive, yet pleasant to listen to.
In terms of post game content, there really isn’t any. Once you finish the game, you finish the game. This was standard practice at the time for early JRPG games; it was not until the mid 90’s where, as an additional challenge, optional bosses could be fought for great rewards.
The few things one could do would be to either grind for experience to max your character’s levels or to try beating the game at a low level. Both are a slog. The hardest thing someone could accomplish, however, is to speedrun the game. Yes, you read that right; Dragon Warrior can be speedrun. Check out the video below as this runner for Games Done Quick manipulates the RNG to complete the game in less than half an hour! It’s insane!
As I mentioned at the start of the review, Dragon Warrior is one of the original RPG’s in which future JRPG’s modeled themselves after. Positives for the game include its story. which is easy to follow, the pleasant music, the excellent enemy art done by Akira Toriyama, and the accessible, if clunky at times, menu interface. Negatives include the dated graphics, the bland dungeon design, the odd game save mechanics and the steep difficulty curve, which may throw new players out for a loop.
Overall, Dragon Warrior is a fun retro game to play and an excellent way to pass time. I give it:
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!
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:
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.
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:
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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…
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?
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.
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.
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!
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…
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!
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?
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.
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.
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…).
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!
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!
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:
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.
So, I set off to put a couple of Lords on ice. Before that however, I met a very interesting individual.
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.
I found my targets in an encampment nearby; a bunch of corrupted Bone Birds.
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.
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.
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!
Examining the strange machine next yielded a Baleful Gem, which I kept until I returned to town.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
In the end, Rhuki was the better mage and I acquired her amulet.
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.
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.
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.
With that out of the way, I finally took on Kraityn, who was lightning-quick and wielded two swords.
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.
Returning to Oak and handing him the amulet pieces, he combined them to form The Apex and granted me my bonuses!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
Apparently, there are specific rules, which I shall list below:
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!
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:
Get cracking friends, I paitently await your answers!
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…
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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:
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.
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.
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!
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!
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:
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.
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!
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:
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.
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