Thursday, August 29, 2013

What's a birthday without a gift? CoffeeWithGames turns 4!

CoffeeWithCupcakes...coming soon? Maybe in my stomach.
Coffee Beans
What's a birthday without a gift? If you have been wondering if my coffee supply ran out and I went into a deep sleep because of it and that's why I haven't been posting, I can say that has not been the case! I have been doing some CoffeeWithGames related things behind-the-scenes, even though I haven't been posting.

At the end of June, I decided to get all of the Nintendo Channel data I had recorded during the final week (EVERY. SINGLE. WII. GAME!), before Nintendo took the Nintendo Channel offline, into a nice spreadsheet form. I spent my spare moments doing that for about 3 weeks, from late June and into July.

I have enough game-play data recorded from Wii games, that I could continue doing the Nintendo Channel data stories for another 10 years, at my usual pace. While I can tell you the Wii's most played game in the United States, as well as the Wii's least played game in the United States, I have decided to refocus and change the type of consistent content I deliver.

Instead of focusing just on past Wii games, CoffeeWithGames will now focus on more current games and systems. Here are a few things CoffeeWithGames will be doing on a more regular basis now:
1) Reviews! Reviews will now be happening on a more regular basis, and game reviews will have a slight twist from the normal method most sites use when reviewing games today.
2) Interviews! I have done interviews randomly in the past, but not on a regular basis. There will now be at least one interview a month (that's my goal), either from developers, publishers, or people within the industry.
3) Videos! I enjoy creating and editing videos. I'm a bit detail oriented (see: OCD) when it comes to things though, and can spend way too much time editing and creating content (not just game related). So, I will now do more standard gameplay videos now of games I'm currently playing, and/or that the Beans are playing like what I did with Mutant Mudds Deluxe.
4) Opinion pieces! I don't do these often, but I am looking to change that. An example of what these may be like, would be what I wrote about and wished for the first Wii U update to fix, before the first system update was released.
5) Coffee Shop! I browse pretty much every single day, for a number of reasons. One, is checking for any incredible deal I might not be able to pass by, another is more data related. So, I will be doing more Coffee Shop posts to share games deals, at least once a week.
6) CoffeeWithGames Game Nights! I enjoy playing games online. Call of Duty: Black Ops II is my most played Wii U game because of the online multiplayer. Instead of just playing by myself though, I will now try and schedule at least on CoffeeWithGames Game Night a month, and announce what game I'll be playing and when about a week in advance. Hopefully, this will make it easier for some of us game together, and of course, recording the footage and doing a video of it might be possible as well.

While these things should provide a decent amount of content each month, there will also still be the random pieces from time-to-time like the "Critics vs. Customers!" pieces, Sales Ranks Analysis pieces, and maybe even the random Grounds for Celebration! piece(s) will make an occasional return.

Now, what about that birthday gift? Hit the jump and keep reading to find out!

The Brew
While I mentioned in the section above what I plan on doing moving forward with CoffeeWithGames, here is some history and things about (and, because of) CoffeeWithGames that have happened over the last 4 years since I started it:

  • Including this post, I have published 716 posts on CoffeeWithGames in the last 4 years. Considering reviews and general news haven't been regular features around here, I don't think that's too shabby for mostly original content. It works out to be about 180 pieces a year, and about 15 posts a month on average.
  • I believe I have typed every, single, word written in the posts on CoffeeWithGames, and not done a "copy/paste" of them. When I originally started using Blogger, trying to "copy/paste" text would mess up the font type and size in posts, and so 4 years ago I just started typing each and every post fresh, and have continued. I do use other posts as examples, but never copy/pasting actual text. I'm still not sure if the "copy/paste" issues have been resolved, as it's not something I even try now.
  • Almost every single photo, in every single post I have done for at least the last 2+ years (maybe longer), was edited and/or created by me in some fashion. I try to not only keep the content original, but also the images when I can. This means I have probably edited and created well over 200 images for the site that have been published, and many more that have been edited or created, but never used.
  • Because of my coverage of one game in particular, not just on CoffeeWithGames, but a number of sites, I was contacted by the developer/publisher and asked if I would be interested in helping them when they were porting the game to the mobile platforms a few years after it originally released. Not only was I able to provide them feedback and help provide them footage of particular things they needed, I was also fortunate enough to get my name put in the credits!
  • When I originally started doing the Nintendo Channel data stories, I would take the pictures of the data by standing in front of my television with a digital camera. I originally bought a video capture device, not to actually capture gameplay video, but instead to use it for recording the data from the Nintendo Channel. Data nerd? The image quality definitely changed, for the better though, and I have enjoyed using the video capture devices.
  • I have been contacted by developers because of my coverage on certain games and topics, sometimes "off-the-record". Even when the discussions haven't been "off-the-record", I rarely published them, as I enjoy communicating with developers and enjoy them not having to be concerned about a site flaming out something they did/didn't say.

Now, what about that birthday gift? As many birthday gifts probably are (and should be!), this one is a surprise, and I'm giving it away. What do you need to do though, in order to to be entered to receive this birthday gift? Simple, join the party! Do so by leaving a comment on this post and let me know what you have (and, perhaps haven't) enjoyed on CoffeeWithGames over the last 4 years, and what new features you're looking forward to the most!

I'll give this post about a week for comments and feedback, and then draw a winner who follows the guidelines later next week.

Did any of you do a double-take when you saw this post pop-up, and then the new look for the site?



  1. Congrats!

    4 years... that is nothing to sneeze at, but additionally it is great to see you're alive and kicking - and properly caffeinated. Sounds like you have some new ideas ready to roll - I'm looking forward to seeing them.

    What do I like? Just about everything, frankly. The channel stuff was always an interesting read - especially since I haven't seen anyone else using the data the same way.

    What do I dislike? When you go MIA :P

    Here's looking forward to your next year - and beyond. :)

  2. "What do I dislike? When you go MIA :P"

    Just think of it more like, an invisible football player, and that I'm not really missing. Instead, you don't necessarily see them, but you know they are there...SOMEWHERE. Waiting for some random comment/post to show up! :)

    Thanks for the feedback, and stopping by! Did you pause Madden to do so? You did, didn't you...

  3. Well done on reaching the four years mark, Coffee.

    We've had our disagreements in the past (the fact you insist on putting my title in quotation marks - "professional" journalist will always be a point of contention between us, I suspect), but I've certainly always appreciated how original your content is, and that data stuff was genuinely helpful to my own work.

    I hope that Nintendo opens up a similar service in the future so you can start doing data for Wii U or 3DS games! :-)

    But I'm sure even if you don't you'll find an interesting way of generating interesting content :-)

  4. LOL, it's not YOU I'm doing it to, but I do lump the majority of them in one big pot. It's kind of crazy actually, as I noticed again today my second post on CoffeeWithGames was an "open letter" to somebody in the industry, on the journalist/reviewer side.

    On the data, the one thing I do think would be cool at the very least, if not providing ALL the data, just providing the average hours played "Per person". They wouldn't have to include the other data that could be used to do the simple math of "how many" have played it, but the average by itself would be good.

    I honestly don't think Nintendo will ever open up the data for Wii U and 3DS games in the exact same way as the Wii though, because with it you can actually start getting a decent idea of how many units were sold, using some pretty standard industry averages.

    Thanks for the comment and feedback!

  5. Oh, I certainly agree that the games journalism side of things needs work - it's getting worse, not better. Just hard to not take that stuff personally, is all :P

    Yeah, I don't think Nintendo realised just how much information that data would give people, and how it's not really ethical for businesses to share sales data of partners - that's really something that should be up to the individual company. Perhaps Nintendo saw your site and got scared, Coffee ;-)

  6. Nintendo did send their PR company after me, but it wasn't data related. I did have developers comment on the sales information though in emails, which was always interesting.

    As for games journalism getting worse, not better, I think it's media in general honestly.

  7. actually... yes, I quite literally did. I had Madden going as I was checking out gaming blogs last night, so you are 100% correct in that I had Madden paused while I was writing that comment! :)

  8. I think there's a lot of truth to that last statement. I've never tried to think of myself as a video game journalist in the traditional sense - amusing since I actually went to college for a degree in editorial journalism. Instead my whole focus since I created my site and began surfing others like this was simply to find other video game enthusiasts such as myself.

    That being said, I do think that journalism and media are getting worse, but I believe it's due to just how easy it is to 'be heard' nowadays. Ten years ago we had free website creators like Geocities, but prior to that there was really very little you could do to 'be heard' if you weren't part of some professionally funded company. Flip that around now to where everyone and them mom has access to video creation tools, audio recording, blog, website creation, the ability to easily be indexed on search engines... now everyone has a way to get their opinions out there - even if they probably shouldn't (maybe maybe included, lol)

  9. "Instead my whole focus since I created my site and began surfing others like this was simply to find other video game enthusiasts such as myself."

    Yeah, I wanted to concentrate on content and community, because I enjoy discussing the industry and things in it. Which is why I try to include a question or two in almost every post, and do my best to reply to every comment and have tried since I started the site.

    I originally was doing the data stories for another site just because, and Coffee Shop type related posts as well. Then after Bean 1 was born, I thought, "Well, why not create a FREE blog and at least that way I can have a easy place where all my data reports will be."

    Then Keith of RespawnAction kept telling me to make CWG an official .com, so I finally did.

    I think a big part of it though is that many of the larger sites and even magazines, thought they were in protective bubbles. They didn't care if they upset readers, didn't have to reply to questions by snail-mail, and kept thinking, "We're doing just fine."

    Then with low cost websites and email services, and the explosion of social media, it created another venue of access to the news outside of those places.

    It's why sites like IGN have had to fire many in the last few years, and long time IGN staffers like Matt Casamassina left his post and ran to Apple. Then his long time friend Mark Bozon left (I think he got inside word another round of firings was about to happen), and went elsewhere. It is a starving artists industry now for most though, which is why I say do it for the fun of it, not for the funds of it.

    Last, can't believe you mentioned Geocities! I had one of those in the late 90s/early 2000s (sometime in there). Enjoyed it, when I was using it.

  10. Wow - awesome reply, that's what comes to mind. I knew a bit about the IGN staffing, but admit it's not something I followed all that closely. I had to mention Geocities - I had one there too, lol!

    I do agree with a lot of your statements though, about how paying attention to posters and visitors is important. Like you, i try to engage anyone who leaves a comment on my site - a lot of good conversations come of it. :)

  11. Congratulations on four years Coffee! I've come here routinely for the past 2 years or so and have enjoyed every minute of it. Sadly, I'm out of coffee puns so don't expect anything from me. That said, could a potential CWG slogan be "Games Coverage Espresso To You"?

    Geez, that was awful.

  12. I have come up with a few slogans outside of the "Drinking coffee, playing games..." but never used them regularly (think I've mentioned a few in comments and conversations casually in joking fashions):
    Probably my favorite that I don't really use often (ever) is, "Keeping news fresh, like coffee in the pot!"

    Thanks for the comment and congratulations, it's appreciated!

  13. Geocities? Next thing you'll say is something about angelfire or similar...

    Good to see you posting again coffee, you had me worried. maybe a mystery bean 3 was being born we didn't know about... :)

    The monthly game/coffee/beverage roundups are my favorite as it's nice to see everyone's volume and variety all in one post.

    Also sounds good on the game nights. I remember we got a few rounds of 007 in a few years ago which was fun. You're trying to make us get a WiiU eh?

  14. AT LEAST Angelfire is still around...and actually in a functioning manner. When you said it, it actually cast doubt whether it was Geocities I had originally used, or Angelfire...maybe both?!

    Never know about the Beansmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    *edit: All those ms above were typed by Bean 2, as I left the keyboard unattended to get Bean 1 more food...

    Never know about the Beans though, and if there will be more. Maybe enough to have a baseball team eventually?

    Kind of funny you mentioned the GoldeneEye matches, as I was clearing out some HDD space, and found some old clips from those matches.

    As for the monthly roundups, there should be one either later tonight or tomorrow actually, covering the last several months.

    And yes, YOU WILL get a Wii U....YOU WILL get a Wii U. YOU WILL get a Wii U. See how that works? I mean, if you haven't gotten a Wii U yet, it could at the very least help keep you more incomplete...especially considering the console bundle in September will come with a game.

    Thanks for the comment and feedback!

  15. Welcome back, been a short while! In answer, I was initially attracted by your Nintendo Channel posts, then stayed for your interesting writing style and commentary...

  16. Thanks for that! Hopefully the new commentary and opinion pieces on varying topics will keep you interested!

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