Interview: Ripstone on Pure Chess Wii U & 2DS/3DS release plans, cross-platform play, & more! (Part 2)

September 13, 2013


Coffee Beans
Last week, I published the first part of an interview I had with Ripstone’s Phil Gaskell regarding Pure Chess that will soon be heading to the Wii U and 3DS systems. In the first part of the interview, we covered whether Pure Chess has real-time online multiplayer, how many “Play By Mail” games the Wii U and 3DS versions will have compared to the PlayStation 3 version, and if either the Wii U or 3DS version would feature Trophies like what are in the PlayStation 3 version.

I also had the chance to ask what chess fans in general might enjoy about the game, and what features should appeal the most to them. You can read the first part of the it, “Interview: Ripstone on Pure Chess Wii U & 3DS – Trophies, Multiplayer, & More“, HERE.

Now, are there any plans on releasing Pure Chess outside of European and North American eShops, perhaps in Japan and Australia? Is there any plan to update the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita versions of Pure Chess to allow cross-platform play?

Brew yourself some coffee, and find out the answers to those questions and a few more, below!

The Brew
CoffeeWithGames (CWG): While Pure Chess is currently scheduled for release before the end of the year, being that Ripstone and VooFoo are both in the United Kingdom, will the game see a simultaneous release on both the European and North American eShops?
Phil Gaskell (PG): There are some internal processes that the games with go through at both NOE (Nintendo of Europe) and NOA (Nintendo of America) so we’ll be trying to keep the launches as close together as we can, but there may be a few days between.

CWG: Is there any plan on releasing Pure Chess Wii U and 3DS in Japan, or is it just currently planned for just Europe and North America (Australia too)?
PG: Right now the plan is to launch in Europe and North America. Translating the game into Chinese, Japanese, and other languages can take time so we’ll look at taking the game over into territories like Asia and South America later.

CWG: The pricing structure of the mobile version really offers chess players some awesome choices, will the Wii U and 3DS versions of Pure Chess have a tiered pricing structure like the mobile version, or will it just be the “COMPLETE GAME PACK” option when those versions launch?
PG: The Wii U version will feature a similar tiered DLC approach to the PS3 and PS Vita versions. So gamers can expect to get the basic fully-featured game for a great price, and will be able to download optional chess sets. We’re also exploring bundling options so we can offer the great value complete pack at some point too.

CWG: Is there any plan to update the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita versions of Pure Chess to allow cross-platform play?
PG: We thought getting the big console platforms to open up and agree to cross-platform play would be difficult. We actually found it incredibly easy when we spoke to Nintendo, but it’s going to be different from company to company. Sony are being equally open to the suggestion but as you can imagine, it’s a busy time there with the launch of the new console. We’re still discussing the feature with them and if they allow it rest assured we’ll patch it in.

Caffeinated Thoughts
While Ripstone is thrilled about the upcoming Wii U price drop and new 2DS system (as am I), I am glad to see Ripstone and VooFoo supporting both Nintendo systems with Pure Chess. The fact they approached Nintendo with the idea of cross-platform play, and Nintendo not only said yes to the Wii U and 3DS cross-platform play, but also yes for allowing it with the Android/iOS version I think is awesome and really surprised me. I have been hearing more of how Nintendo is really trying to change the way they work with developers on their systems and listen to feedback, and I think this is just one more big example of Nintendo moving forward in a positive way.

If you missed my Caffeinated Thoughts post on Pure Chess’ mobile version yesterday, you can read it HERE. While I will continue playing the mobile version, I do plan on buying the Wii U version of Pure Chess when it releases for the system, and I will probably at that point buy the Multi-Game Upgrade option for the mobile version.

If you want to enjoy the mobile version of Pure Chess until the Wii U and/or 3DS version releases, you can download Pure Chess for your Android/iOS devices:
App Store version, HERE.
Google Play store version, HERE.
Amazon App store version, HERE.

My Ripstone ID is CoffeeWithGames, for those of you that might enjoy playing chess matches online.

I would like to thank Ami and Phil at Ripstone for their time and helping me get this interview together. I hope that it helped bring some attention to Pure Chess in a fun way, perhaps even to some of you that didn’t know much/anything about it.

As always, if any of you have any questions about Pure Chess that perhaps weren’t asked/answered here, feel free to ask me in the comments below or by sending me an email at: Scott(@)CoffeeWithGames.com.

Questions
Are any of you surprised, as I was, that Ripstone found it “incredibly easy” when talking with Nintendo about getting the cross-platform feature implemented in the Wii U and 3DS versions?

If you haven’t tried out the mobile or PlayStation 3 or PlayStation Vita version of Pure Chess already, are any of you planning on buying Pure Chess for the Wii U and/or 3DS when it releases later this year?


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Coffee Shop! Humble Bundle & Wii U Game Deals – 20% off, or more…

September 13, 2013

Coffee Shop
Next Friday, September 20th, the Wii U is scheduled to receive a $50 price drop at retailers. This will be the Wii U’s first official price drop on the Wii U Deluxe Set, bringing its new suggested MSRP to $299.99.

Along with taking a look at some Wii U retail and eShop game deals in this post, I’ll also highlight the current Humble Indie Bundle 9 deal that is taking place. So, if you’re planning on buying the Wii U Deluxe Set at its new MSRP of $299.99 next week (or, perhaps already have it reserved and paid-in-full), or enjoy indie type PC games this might be a Coffee Shop post for you.

Brew yourself some coffee and see if any of the following game deals stand out to you, and if you would recommend any of them to your fellow gamers!

The Brew
First up, the Humble Indie Bundle 9 deal. Right now you can get Trine 2: Complete Story, Mark of the Ninja, Eets Munchies Beta, and Brütal Legend along with the soundtracks for Trine 2 and Brütal Legend for any price you want. You read that right. ANY price.

Now, if you’re not familiar with the Humble Indie Bundle deals, here’s the tagline for most of its indie sales, “Pay what you want. Support charity. Get awesome cross-platform games.”

The idea is to offer gamers great games, but let you choose the price you pay, even giving you the choice of how to split your payment. You can make your payment go 100% to the developers, you can make it go 100% for charity, or you can make your payment go 100% to Humble Bundle Inc. Or, you can do what many do and split your payment across the three options.

If you pay more than $1 for the games, you will not only receive the DRM-free direct downloads, but you will also receive a Steam key for the games as well. Humble Bundle also keeps track of what the “Average purchase” price currently is, and if you pay more than the average price, even by a penny, you usually unlock extra games. For Humble Indie Bundle 9, the extra games for paying more than the average are currently FTL: Faster Than Light and FEZ. What’s the average price right now? $4.60 at the time of this post.

Current Humble Bundle 9 games.

So, right now, for less than $5.00 you CAN get Trine 2: Complete Story, Mark of the Ninja, Eets Munchies Beta, Brütal Legend, FTL: Faster Than Light, and FEZ! Six games, with soundtracks for four of them!

Like many of the last Humble Bundle sales, I will probably end up buying this one at least once, if not twice to give one copy away as a gift here on the site! Based on my time with Trine 2 on the Wii U, I would say that game alone makes this worth buying, and I’m looking forward to eventually trying Mark of the Ninja.

If you want to see what the Humble Bundle is about, you can check it out at HumbleBundle.com, HERE.

For the Wii U deals, first up are five current Amazon.com game deals that are 20% off or more from their list prices:
Call of Duty: Black Ops II for $37.93*, with FREE Shipping, HERE. You save over 35%.
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for $46.00*, with FREE Shipping, HERE. You save over 20%.
Nintendo Land for $38.63, with FREE Shipping, HERE. You save over 35%.
New Super Mario Bros. U for $44.31, with free shipping, HERE. You save 26%.
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge for $43.46*, with FREE Shipping, HERE. You save over 25%.

*Look under the “More Buying Choices” on the right side of the page, under the “Add to Cart” area if you don’t see Amazon.com listed as the main seller. You can often-times now buy the games from a third-party vendor on Amazon.com for less, and if you have had good experiences doing that continue doing so, but I try to be cautious with higher priced games.

This week, there are currently two Wii U eShop games on sale I would like to highlight, both of them 30% off or more from their normal prices, and both titles that I already own!

Mutant Mudds Deluxe is currently on sale on the Wii U eShop for just $6.99, a 30% savings off its normal $9.99 price. Mutant Mudds Deluxe should be on sale until September 26th, according to its eShop page, which is good for those of you that might not be getting a Wii U until next week!

I can easily recommend the game at this price, especially for those gamers that enjoy the platformer genre. If you missed my post on the game a few months back, here’s a video of Bean 1 playing through the first level of Mutant Mudds Deluxe:

Toki Tori 2+ is the other Wii U eShop game on sale, and if you purchased the game when it originally released a few months back, as Toki Tori 2, your game will update to the newest version (automatically if you have that feature enabled). The game is currently on sale for just $8.99 until next Thursday, September 19th. If you’re wondering, that’s a savings of 40% off its regular list price of $14.99!

If you’re curious as to what is included in this new updated of the game, check out the Toki Tori 2+ Huge Update trailer below:

While I haven’t spent much time with Toki Tori 2 (now 2+) yet, I have enjoyed my short time with the game. Some of the puzzles I have already encountered really made me think, and the natural elements visual style reminds me of my backyard when I don’t mow the grass as often as I should! It has a very nice, clean, crisp graphical style, that has been easy on my eyes. I do like the fact that Two Tribes has continued working to improve the game, based on feedback from players now many months after it released, as the trailer above showed. Hopefully the new update and current sale price will help get the game onto many more Wii U consoles this next week!

Caffeinated Thought
If you have played any of the Wii U games listed, retail or eShop, feel free to leave feedback for them below. For those that might be picking up the new The Wind Waker HD Deluxe Set Bundle, I think that watching the price on Nintendo Land between now and Christmas might be smart, especially if you family and friends to try out the local multiplayer games in it.

Questions
Have any of you played perhaps every game being offered in the Humble Indie Bundle 9, and have feedback on them like my opinion of Trine 2 making it worth picking up?

Call of Duty: Ghosts Trailer – Updated Wii U GamePad Version

September 12, 2013

Coffee Beans
Earlier this week, Activision released an “Official Call of Duty: Ghosts Single Player Campaign Trailer“.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Call of Duty: Black Ops II on the Wii U, as you can see herehere, and here, and I’m looking forward to seeing how some of the changes, like sliding, in Ghosts might change up gameplay and strategy in online multiplayer.

While Call of Duty: Ghosts will be releasing for the PC, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on November 5th, I am most interested in the Wii U version of the game. Why?

Well, there are multiple reasons, but the biggest reasons are Call of Duty: Ghosts’ Wii U GamePad Off-TV Play feature, free online multiplayer, and the optional Wii Remote and Nunchuk controls for when my GamePad battery gets low.

I have updated the “Official Call of Duty: Ghosts Single Player Campaign Trailer”, to show how I will most likely spend the majority of my time playing the game, showing the trailer on just the Wii U GamePad.

Brew yourself some coffee, and watch my updated Wii U version below!

The Brew

If you watched the original trailer, and my Wii U version of Call of Duty: Ghosts’ latest trailer, you probably noticed I also updated the very end of it with some of the features Nintendo could use to help advertise the Wii U version of the game this holiday season.

While it is unclear still if Call of Duty: Ghosts on the Wii U will receive any DLC, being that I have never downloaded any DLC for any game (none that I can remember anyway), it isn’t a huge issue for me, even though I do hope Nintendo will help get any DLC for Ghosts to the Wii U as well.

Questions
Are any of you planning on buying Call of Duty: Ghosts when it releases this year, and if so, which version are you planning on buying?

Also, do any of you think Nintendo should use the Wii U’s “free online multiplayer” as a selling point for the system and games on it this holiday season, considering both the newer consoles will charge for online multiplayer?

You can pre-order Call of Duty: Ghosts from Amazon.com below, and get release day delivery by selecting “Two-Day Shipping” when checking out:

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Pure Chess – Caffeinated Thoughts (NOOK HD+ Tablet version)

September 12, 2013


Coffee Beans
Pure Chess recently released for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Android devices. The game has been developed by VooFoo and published by Ripstone. Last week, I posted an interview with Ripstone’s Phil Gaskell about Pure Chess coming to the Wii U and 3DS, and you can read the first part of the interview, HERE.

What’s the best part about the mobile release of Pure Chess though? It can be downloaded and enjoyed for an awesome low price of FREE.

You read that right, Pure Chess for iOS and Android devices can be downloaded for free. Is it worth downloading and using up the megabytes of required space though? In short, absolutely!

What will the free version of Pure Chess get you, as for choices of how to play a game of chess, and what does the Pure ChessComplete Game Pack” offer content wise? Brew yourself some coffee, and hit the jump to see details of what you can expect from Pure Chess now on iOS and Android devices!

How the Pure Chess main menu appears. 

The Brew
If you download Pure Chess, here are the features you will get in the basic free version:

1) Play Local – The ability to play one local chess game at a time on your Android/iOS device, against either a human or computer opponent.

    a) This offers two difficult settings if you want to play against a computer opponent. Monkey AI is the lowest difficulty, and well, it’s apparently like playing against a monkey. Monkey AI has been an excellent difficulty for showing Bean 1 how to play move different chess pieces around.
    b) For those chess fans that enjoy timed matches, you also have the option of using a game timer if you would like. You can select to have it do a time limit per move, or you can select an incremental timer option.

2) Play Online – The ability to enjoy one online “Play By Mail” chess game at a time on your mobile  device. This allows you to play other Pure Chess owners from around the world in chess matches, and I have already used this feature to play two online chess matches, against Matt and Chris from DigitallyDownloaded.net. It works extremely well, and even shows you the moves previously made in the match, so that you can remember what exactly was happening if you take a break from the game and come back a few hours (or, even days) later.

3) Chess Challenges – This area has two sections for players to use and improve their chess games: Bonus Games or a Tournament.
    a) Bonus Games are where you try and get checkmate in a certain number of moves. The Bonus Games start with “Mate in 1” and go all the way up to “Mate in 5”. With the free version, you have access to the first two problems under each one, for a total of 10 Bonus Games.
    b) The Tournament section will allow you to play in a Beginners Tournament in the free version, but also has a Challengers Tournament and Masters Tournament.

4) Chess Set Pieces – The checker based chess pieces (seen in the image above) are the set pieces in the free version, with three appearances to choose from: wood, metal, or plastic.

The basic checker based chess pieces.

5) Teaching – Under the “Learn to play” section there are 24 lessons which are very helpful for someone that perhaps has never played chess, or someone that has only played a few chess games and needs a refresher course. These lessons will show you the basic chess piece moves, and how to capture with the pieces as well. There are a few slightly advanced chess moves and rules not covered in the free version, such as castling, but you do get those extra lessons in the full version of the game, or even as a lower priced separate option if you’re just looking to learn chess.

Now, if you buy the Pure Chess “COMPLETE GAME PACK”, what will you get?

Well, for less than the price of a tournament chess set and board from Amazon.com, here’s an image with just some of what you will get:

Click to enlarge.

On top of the features in the image, you will also get these additional chess set pieces and locations:
1) Forest Game Pack – This includes a calm forest environment and classic Lewis chess set.
2) Temple Game Pack – This includes a temple environment setting, with an Imperial Roman army chess set.
3) Park Game Pack – This includes an Autumnal park environment, with animal based chess pieces. Think rabbits, owls, mice, and more!
4) Halloween Chess Set – Well, take a look at the image below and the screenshot on the left to get an idea of what you can expect from this spooktacular chess set!

The Pure Chess Halloween and Park Chess Sets.

5) Easter Island Chess Set – Have you ever been to Easter Island? If not, you can read about the island and the Moai that inspired this chess set, HERE.
6) Staunton Chess Set – This chess set has been around since the mid-1800s, and you can read about it, HERE. This Pure Chess chess set is shown below, in the left screenshot.
7) Battalion Chess Set – Shown below, in the middle screenshot.
8) Williams Chess Set – Shown below, in the right screenshot.

The Staunton, Battalion, and Williams Chess Sets. Click image to enlarge.

Caffeinated Thoughts
This is very simple. If you have ever enjoyed chess, or want to learn how to play chess, you should at the very least immediately go and download the Android or iOS basic free version of Pure Chess if you have a device that you can do it on:
App Store version, HERE.
Google Play store version, HERE.
Amazon App store version, HERE.

Pure Chess’ free basic version is like a coffee shop giving away a free small cup of coffee, and then charging a little for the extras. You can enjoy the deliciousness of the original brewed coffee, but if you perhaps enjoy your coffee drinks a little sweeter, you have all sorts of options.

If you don’t want to buy the Pure Chess Complete Game Pack, no problem. You can pay for just the option(s) you want to make your chess experience, just a little bit sweeter.

What if you don’t know much about chess and just want to learn more, without buying the full version? They give you the choice of buying just a Difficulty & Tutorial Upgrade, for $1.07. Want access to the extra checkmate puzzles and the harder, more advanced chess tournaments? You can buy the Challenge Upgrade for $1.07. Want the extra chess sets and locations? You can buy them individually.

Want to have the ability to play more than one local and online chess game at a time? You can buy the Multi-Game Upgrade, which only costs $1.07, allowing you to play up to 6 local and 6 online chess games without buying the full game.

If you want to go big though, and for example make your free small cup of coffee a large cup, you can certainly do so with the Pure Chess Complete Game Pack. While I am holding off for the Wii U version before making an initial purchase, I will go with the equivalent of the Pure Chess Complete Game Pack on the Wii U when the game releases.

Once I do get the Wii U version though, I will probably also go with the Multi-Game Upgrade option on the NOOK version I am currently using. Which, if you’re not aware of what the NOOK HD+ Tablet is, it is an e-Reader based tablet device from the U.S. book retailer Barnes & Noble. From my own personal experience of playing chess in a coffee shop, if I was Barnes & Noble I would try to get Pure Chess downloaded to every single NOOK HD+ Tablet before it’s sold, and help use that as a way to promote in store chess tournaments on their own device.

If you have Pure Chess downloaded already, my Ripstone account name is CoffeeWithGames. Feel free to send me an online match challenge, and I’ll accept it once my current match is over.

Questions
Have any of you been playing the new Android or iOS version of Pure Chess, and if so, what do you think about it?


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Coffee Shop! 3DS game deals – save 20%, or more!

September 10, 2013

Coffee Beans
The Nintendo 2DS is releasing next month at a suggested retail price of $129.99, $40 less than the suggested retail price of the regular Nintendo 3DS. It is probably what we will end up getting Bean 1 this holiday season for Christmas, unless there is some other shiny new toy that turns up between now and then.

There are already a few games on my list to get Bean 1 eventually, if not day one, and between now and Christmas I’ll be paying closer attention to 2DS/3DS deals. If you currently own a Nintendo 3DS, or perhaps are planning to grab a Nintendo 2DS this holiday season, below are some current Nintendo 3DS games that are at least 20% off their MSRPs or List Prices.

Brew yourself some coffee and see if there are any games that jump out at you, or perhaps that you would recommend to others!

What Bean 1 might be playing 3DS games on.

The Brew
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes for $16.87*, HERE. You save over 40%.
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon for $30.85, with FREE Shipping, HERE. You save 23%.
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for $29.99, with FREE Shipping, HERE. You save 25%.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 for $29.81, with FREE Shipping, HERE. You save 25%.
Paper Mario: Sticker Star for $29.34*, with FREE Shipping, HERE. You save 26%.
Super Mario 3D Land for $29.65, with FREE Shipping, HERE. You save 26%.
Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition for $14.42*, HERE. You save over 50%.

*Look under the “More Buying Choices” to the right of the “In Stock” section and under the “Add to Cart” and “Sell Us Your Item” boxes on the right, to purchase it directly from Amazon.com at the listed price.

Caffeinated Thoughts
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is at the top of the list I have for Bean 1, with New Super Mario Bros. 2 close behind it. Bean 1 demoed Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon for about 5 minutes at GameStop many months ago, and he still randomly requests to play the game.

I’m hoping that Nintendo of America and Amazon.com will get their systems situation worked out, and Amazon.com will start carrying Nintendo systems before this holiday season. Amazon does discount other game systems from time-to-time, and I think every penny helps. The $20 or $50 saved in the examples linked above would be enough to pick up an extra game or accessory.

Questions
Have any of you played and really enjoyed Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, and think that a younger child would be able to play and beat it?

If you own a 3DS and have played any of the games listed, are there any you would/wouldn’t recommend to new 3DS, or soon to be 2DS, owners?

The CoffeeWithGames birthday gift goes to…

September 8, 2013

Coffee Beans
Last week, I posted up the “What’s a birthday without a gift? CoffeeWithGames turns 4!” post where I talked about what I had done on the site over the last 4 years, and what I plan to do moving forward with it. I was also giving away a CoffeeWithGames birthday gift of sorts, if you left some feedback on the post.

Well, the winner of the gift was……………………..Robert!!!!!

(His name is there, you just click and drag your mouse around it.)

What did he win, you might be wondering? The Humble Bundle Weekly Sale: Paradox Games bundle, which included Europa Universalis III: Complete, War of the Roses: Kingmaker, Warlock: Master of the Arcane, Leviathan: Warships, Dungeonland, and The Showdown Effect.

Hopefully the games can help him remain incomplete to an even greater extent, and thanks to everybody that provided feedback on the post!

Dear Mr. Iwata, Please fix this Nintendo of America problem…

September 6, 2013

Coffee Beans
There are some people in the video game industry that like to place all the blame for Nintendo’s current financial and Wii U situation on Mr. Iwata, the current CEO of Nintendo Company and now CEO of Nintendo of America as well. Some of those people deny that employees and management in other regions for Nintendo, like at Nintendo of America for example, might actually be part of Nintendo’s overall problem as well though.

There is currently one Nintendo problem though, directly related to Nintendo of America’s region, that I don’t think Mr. Iwata made and might not even be aware that the problem exists. At least, I don’t think he would have made this decision, based on one of his own more recent comments. It is a problem that Mr. Iwata now as CEO of Nintendo of America can hopefully address and get fixed though, for consumers and Nintendo investors.

What problem do I think Mr. Iwata as CEO of Nintendo of America should fix? Brew yourself some coffee, and keep reading to see!

The Brew
Dear Mr. Iwata,

When Nintendo launched the Wii U this past holiday season, it was first available in the United States. I was the first person to pre-order the Wii U at my local GameStop the day they opened up pre-orders on the system, and I have enjoyed my Wii U system and the games I have played on it so far.

What I don’t understand though is why Nintendo of America has made the decision to not have the Wii U console available for consumers to buy DIRECTLY at its MSRP from Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer.

If more and more U.S. consumers are doing holiday shopping online and shopping online in general, I think that Nintendo of America would have wanted the Wii U to be available DIRECTLY from the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon.com, during its first holiday season. Unfortunately though, it appears that an employee at Nintendo of America kept that from happening.

Amazon’s website for the United Kingdom sold the Wii U consoles DIRECTLY at launch, and still does. Amazon’s website for Japan sold the Wii U consoles DIRECTLY to consumers at launch, and still does. Amazon’s website for France sold Wii U consoles DIRECTLY to consumers at launch, and still does. Even Amazon’s website for Canada sold Wii U consoles DIRECTLY to consumers at launch, and still does.

A picture says a thousand words? Sometimes, this one is an example
of the current Wii U Amazon. situation though.

Amazon.com was the only major online retailer in the United States of America to not offer pre-orders or online purchasing of the Nintendo Wii U system this last holiday season. Still as of today (09/06/2013), Amazon in the United States does not DIRECTLY carry and sell the Nintendo Wii U to consumers at its MSRP. The Wii U system is only available from third-party vendors on Amazon in the U.S.A.

Even the new The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD Deluxe Wii U Console Set is not available for pre-order or being sold directly from Amazon.com in the U.S., but Amazon in Canada is now taking pre-orders on it.

Nintendo of America has now missed out on almost a complete year of Wii U sales and advertising on Amazon.com. Giving up basically an entire year+ of sales on the world’s largest online retailer in Nintendo’s most important home console region, before the other consoles have even launched this holiday season, doesn’t make common sense to me, much less business sense to me.

It isn’t just the Nintendo Wii U Amazon.com doesn’t carry and sell directly though, as the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo Wii systems have not been carried and sold at their MSRPs directly by Amazon.com in the U.S.A. for almost the last 2 years. I doubt right now that even the new Nintendo 2DS will be carried and sold by Amazon.com when it releases next month. This also extends beyond just Nintendo’s consoles though, as Amazon.com does not even directly carry and sell the Nintendo eShop and/or Nintendo DSi/Wii Shop cards to consumers. What does this mean?

Sony has their PlayStation Network Cards and Microsoft has their Xbox LIVE  digital cards being sold on Amazon.com, and those digital cards from Sony and Microsoft have remained in the “Top 100” section of the “Best Sellers in Video Games” for more than a year now in most cases, helping both companies to sell digital content from their online stores. Nintendo hasn’t been doing that, for AT LEAST the last 2 years. Nintendo has apparently given up selling Wii U/3DS and Wii and DSi eShop cards to consumers on Amazon.com, and has therefore given up many digital sales that would translate from those cards being sold online.

Digital cards from Microsoft and Sony sold directly by Amazon.com ,
but not Nintendo eShop cards. Why?

Instead of grandparents, parents, husbands, wives, aunts, uncles, cousins, boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, etc., having the opportunity to buy Nintendo eShop cards as birthday gifts and holiday gifts for the Nintendo Wii U and Nintendo 3DS owners, Nintendo doesn’t give them a good option for that on Amazon.com. Instead of consumers being able to go to Amazon.com, finding a Nintendo eShop card at MSRP on somebody’s Wish List and buying it for them as a gift, Nintendo has completely given up that side of potential digital retail sales to its competitors, and that is very odd to me.

I think that Nintendo has seen how important digital sales can be, and how profitable they are as well. Which is probably why Nintendo is now doing many more Nintendo Wii U eShop promotions, such as the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD early Wii U eShop download starting on September 20th.

So, why wouldn’t Nintendo of America and Nintendo in general have the Nintendo eShop cards on the world’s largest online retailer for consumers to buy? I think just as importantly though, if not more so, is if Mr. Iwata does not want to publish Nintendo developed games on the other consoles offered by Microsoft and Sony, then Mr. Iwata should make sure to keep Nintendo’s own consoles in front of as many consumers as possible.

Again, why would Nintendo of America, or even Nintendo in general, not want to have the world’s largest online retailer selling Nintendo systems directly to consumers at their MSRPs? It doesn’t make any sense to me, especially if we are concerned about the long-term future and profits of Nintendo overall.

Which the last point is why don’t I believe that you, Mr. Iwata, made the decision to cut ties with Amazon.com and not sell Nintendo systems in the U.S.A. directly from the world’s largest online retailer to consumers at the MSRPs, in what has been Nintendo’s strongest market for home consoles in recent years.

Mr. Iwata, you recently told ComputerAndVideoGames in an interview that you didn’t want to concentrate just on Nintendo’s short-term profits, but instead you are responsible for the long-term future of Nintendo as well. I would agree, and that’s why I’m writing this directly to you.

If cutting ties with Amazon.com and not selling Nintendo consoles and eShop cards was a decision for the immediate short-term finances, it MIGHT make some sense, depending on the reason(s) behind the decision. But, if you are the Nintendo employee that has decided to not actively sell Nintendo eShop cards on Amazon’s sites around the world though, can you please explain that decision?

Does not having all current Nintendo systems and Nintendo eShop cards sold directly to consumers at MSRPs by the world’s largest online retailer make sense for the long-term future and profits of Nintendo? I don’t think so, unless you think that Amazon.com isn’t going to be around in 5-10 years, or that fewer consumers will be spending money on online purchases.

Whichever employee at Nintendo decided to cut ties with Amazon.com and not have Nintendo’s Wii U and 3DS systems, and even the Nintendo eShop cards as well, sold directly from Amazon.com at their MSRPs, I think has done more financial harm than good for the company.

It makes no sense to me, with more and more consumers making purchases online, to have your most important region in recent years for home console sales, the United States, not offering the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS systems (and Nintendo eShop cards) directly from the world’s largest online retailer at their MSRPs.

The current President of Nintendo of America, Mr. Fils-Aime, is aware of the Amazon.com situation, though he did not provide any details as to why the United States of America is the only country where Amazon’s website does not directly sell Nintendo systems and Nintendo eShop cards at MSRPs to consumers, when he was asked about it last year.

If you, Mr. Iwata, were the one that made the decision to cut ties with Amazon.com before the Wii U launched and apparently shortly after the Nintendo 3DS launched, can you please explain to investors why you think this is a smart decision for the long-term future and profits of Nintendo? If you weren’t the Nintendo employee that made this decision, can you please let investors know which employee made this decision and have them explain why it was made?

If you didn’t make this decision and are going to try and fix it now that you are aware of it, contacting Amazon.com’s CEO directly, Mr. Bezos, might be the best solution to finding out what exactly happened and why.

Mr. Iwata if you can fix the current Amazon.com situation in the United States and get Nintendo systems and Nintendo eShop cards on the site, I’m guessing there would be thousands of consumers (if not millions) to add them to their Amazon.com Wish Lists and/or purchase them this holiday season as gifts. Maybe you can even take it a step further, and allow developers to sell eShop codes for their games directly on Amazon.com, like what Nintendo has done for some Wii Virtual Console games in the past.

So, in short:
Dear Mr. Iwata,

Please fix this Nintendo of America problem with Amazon.com and get Nintendo systems and Nintendo eShop cards sold directly from the site at MSRPs, for consumers and Nintendo investors.

Sincerely,
Scott Mullins

Caffeinated Thoughts
I don’t understand why Nintendo of America has apparently chosen to burn its console bridge with Amazon.com, especially considering they had a new console release last year. While Microsoft and Sony both have been using Amazon.com to promote pre-orders for their new consoles and games releasing this holiday season, and their digitial promotion cards remain in the “Top 100”, it seems like Nintendo of America is happy with consumers having fewer places to buy and see their products.

So, Nintendo of America had the worst Wii U launch ads, had the horribly run Best Buy E3 Wii U events speaking from experience, and doesn’t have Nintendo systems and Nintendo eShop cards being sold at MSRPs directly by the world’s largest online retailer?

Why? Maybe they need more coffee at Nintendo of America? Maybe they need to hire more staff? Maybe the staff needs to work less, and perhaps could use some vacation time? Whatever the case is, something seems off at Nintendo of America to me, and I’m not sure how aware of the situation Mr. Iwata is, being that he just became CEO of Nintendo of America this year.

Hopefully though, this issue will be fixed before this holiday season, and hopefully before the Wii U price drop later this month. If this is an issue you would like to see Mr. Iwata and/or management at Nintendo of America address, feel free to tweet this post to @Nintendo and @NintendoAmerica.

Questions
Do you think Mr. Iwata was the Nintendo employee that made this decision regarding the relationship between Nintendo of America and Amazon.com, or do you think it was another employee at Nintendo?

If you enjoy shopping online, as I do, do you think Nintendo of America should fix the problem with Amazon.com before this holiday season, or at the very least explain to consumers and Nintendo investors why Amazon.com is the only Amazon site (that I’m aware of) to not directly carry and sell Nintendo systems at MSRPs to consumers, only having third party vendors that do it?


Links to some Nintendo items sold on Amazon.com, but not DIRECTLY BY Amazon.com:


CONNECT WITH COFFEE

Interview: Ripstone on Pure Chess Wii U & 3DS – Trophies, Multiplayer, & More (Part 1)

September 4, 2013

Coffee Beans
Last week, Ripstone’s Phil Gaskell told us how they were thrilled at Ripstone to hear about the upcoming Wii U price drop and new 2DS system. Ripstone is planning on releasing Pure Chess for the Wii U and 2DS/3DS eShops in the next few months, and Knytt Underground is looking like it will be an early 2014 Wii U eShop release from Ripstone as well.

With Pure Chess being the first Wii U and 2DS/3DS game from Ripstone, and being a big chess fan myself, I had the opportunity to ask Mr. Gaskell some questions about the upcoming release of Pure Chess on the Wii U and 2DS/3DS. I had not played Pure Chess before sending over the questions, though that has changed in the last week with the mobile version releasing on Android and iOS devices.

What Pure Chess features should appeal the most to chess fans? Will Pure Chess on the Wii U and 3DS offer the same number of “Play By Mail” chess games as the PlayStation 3 version, or has the number been increased or decreased?

Brew yourself some coffee, and find out the answers to some of these questions and a few more, below!

The Brew
CoffeeWithGames (CWG): For those, like myself, that enjoy chess, but might not be familiar with Pure Chess, what feature(s) do you think will appeal the most to them?
Phil Gaskell (PG): There’s three features I’m particularly proud of that I think you and other gamers will love.

The first one is the comprehensive tutorial. Of course it’ll teach you the very basics like how each piece moves, but it also takes you through more advanced rules like castling and en passant. It doesn’t end there though, it will also clearly explain more advanced strategies such as pins and skewers, and even explain some opening plays. We’re pretty confident there’s something there for everyone, from the novice to the more advanced players. My chess abilities certainly improved while working on the game.

The second is the cross-platform online play. By registering for a Pure Chess account Nintendo gamers will not only be able to challenge other Pure Chess players on Wii U and 3DS but also on smartphone and tablet devices! If you own the game on multiple platforms you can even sign in using your Pure Chess account and continue your multiplayer game seamlessly from device to device. When we listened to the gaming community this was probably the feedback we received the most, so we’ve taken it on board and delivered something even better.

The third is the most obvious really, and from the screenshots it’s the thing that hits you in the face. It’s so beautiful. Quite honestly it must be the most realistic looking chess game ever made!

How I will probably play most of my Pure Chess Wii U games, on just the GamePad.

CWG: Will Pure Chess on the Wii U or 3DS offer real-time online multiplayer chess matches?
PG: Strictly speaking no it doesn’t. The game is asynchronous in its very nature so real-time online multiplayer seems a bit unnecessary. However the game does play like a real-time online mode, but if you or your opponent disconnect for any reason the game carries on like a ‘play-by-mail’ game. So you get the best of both worlds!

CWG: The PlayStation 3 version has the “Play By Mail” system for up to 8 friends at a time. Does the Wii U version also allow 8 “Play By Mail” games to be taking place, or has the number been increased (or, decreased)?
PG: Both the Wii U and 3DS versions allow for the same number of play-by-mail slots.

CWG: Will Pure Chess Wii U (or, 3DS) feature Trophies like what are in the PlayStation 3 version of the game, in any fashion?
PG: These types of things are mandated by other platforms, but Nintendo allow things like trophies to be optional. So we decided not to include them and keep the game a very pure experience. This allowed us to concentrate on more important features like the online mode.

Caffeinated Thoughts
Again, while I had not played Pure Chess before sending over these questions, in the last week I have had the opportunity to try out Pure Chess on Mrs. Coffee’s NOOK HD+ tablet, and I have been very impressed with the game.

The online multiplayer, or “Play By Mail” system, has really worked well from my time with it, and I’m personally looking forward to the Wii U version of Pure Chess when it releases later this year. I was a bit surprised by the announcement of cross-platform play in the Wii U and 3DS versions with the Android and iOS versions, and it is something that I’m really excited to see Nintendo allow. I think it’s another sign Nintendo is willing to try new things on the online front, or at least allow a third party developer to try new things, and I’m glad that Ripstone and VooFoo listened to the fan feedback and have been able to get that feature in the game now.

If you own a Wii U and/or 3DS and are interested in Pure Chess, you can try out the Android or iOS version of the game right now:
App Store version here.
Google Play store version here.
Amazon App store version here.

Questions
If you own a Wii U and/or 3DS, are you looking forward to Pure Chess for those systems?

Also, are any of you surprised Nintendo is allowing Ripstone and VooFoo to do the cross-platform play with the Android and iOS versions of Pure Chess, and at least glad to see it happening?



CONNECT WITH COFFEE

June, July, & August Brewed! Coffees Consumed & Games Played

September 2, 2013

Coffee Beans
As I mentioned last week, I took July off from posting and worked a bit behind-the-scenes on a few things, as well as had some fun finishing up the Beans’ Star Wars May the 4th video from this year. If this is the first post you are seeing in a while, here are two posts from June and one from the end of August I want to highlight:
1) It’s Official – Wii’s U.S. Nintendo Channel, Forecast Channel, News Channel & more taken offline.
2) Dear Nintendo of America…
3) Ripstone “thrilled” about the Wii U price drop, and 2DS

While I didn’t post anything in July and just a little at the end of August, I did find some time to play games during those months and of course, I was consuming lots of coffee, as usual. Brew yourself some coffee, and let’s take a look at what games I have been playing and coffees I have been drinking during June, July, and August!

Coffees Consumed
In June and July, there was basically only one coffee we brewed up, and it was the Beaumont Coffee Classic Roast. I had mentioned in the “May Brewed!” post that this is the lowest priced coffee blend we have purchased, and we still find it enjoyable.

I did also consume a good number of the Keurig K-Cups in July, when I visited family and friends on a quick trip out of town. My mom has a Keurig Coffee maker, and lots of Keurig K-Cups that she keeps stored in a Keurig K-Cup Storage Drawer. I probably went through a 10-20 K-Cups on my trip, as well as having some regular coffee brewed as well.

In August, we brewed up two different coffee blends. The first blend was Maxwell House Gourmet Roast, followed by the Beaumont Coffee Classic Roast.

Games Played
Here’s the “Instant Coffee” list of games I played in June, July, and August: Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Mutant Mudds (PC), Trine 2: Director’s Cut, Kirby Mass Attack, Kung Fu Rabbit, Super Metroid, Mutant Mudds Deluxe, F-Zero, Kirby’s Adventure, Toki Tori 2, Donkey Kong, LEGO City Undercover, Super Mario World, and Pure Chess.

Instead of breaking down each individual game that was played over the last several months, I’ll highlight and talk about a few of the ones I spent the most time with.

Call of Duty: Black Ops II is my most played game on our Wii U, and will probably have the “most played” title for a long, long, long time to come. Why is it my most played Wii U game? Because of Black Ops II’s online multiplayer, coupled with the fact it has Off-TV Play. Being able to have a show playing on Netflix, while playing matches in online multiplayer on the Wii U GamePad is how I have played the majority of my matches in the game.

Mutant Mudds Deluxe released for the Wii U eShop on June 13th and I was planning on buying it the day it released, but was fortunate enough to win a copy of the game! If you’re wondering how I won a copy of the game, you can read about it and some of my thoughts on the game, HERE. If you have never seen any gameplay footage from Mutant Mudds Deluxe, the following video is of Bean 1 beating the first level using the GamePad’s Off-TV Play feature.

Kung Fu Rabbit was our first Wii U eShop game to actually purchase, and not one we either won in a contest or received directly from the developer. A few things were pretty ironic in the month after it released in early May. One of our family members actually had just gotten two rabbits as pets, and we didn’t know about it until late May. Then one day in late May/early June, my phone buzzed and it was one of our neighbors letting us know that there was a rabbit outside our house, and had been pretty much all day. I had known about Kung Fu Rabbit releasing, but didn’t really look at it until the two rabbit incidents. When I saw it was only $5, I decided to purchase it and give it a try, thinking that Bean 1 might enjoy it as well. While we haven’t beaten it yet, we have completed a good number of levels (I think two complete worlds), and Bean 1 is able to finish some of the levels on his own. If you haven’t seen any footage or gameplay of how Kung Fu Rabbit plays (it’s a platforming game), here’s the eShop trailer for the game:

LEGO City Undercover was one of the gifts to me from Mrs. Coffee and the Beans this year for Father’s Day. The opening cinematic I think is very well done, in typical LEGO game humor, and I have enjoyed riding and running around the city so far. While LEGO City Undercover doesn’t have any local (or, online) multiplayer that Bean 1 and I can try, Bean 1 does enjoy driving (and crashing) vehicles around the city, and he is learning to follow the pathway points to the next mission objectives in the game. From my early impressions of the game, I think this is a great choice for parents with younger children that might be looking for a more kid friendly/family friendly open world game. It also has at least one coffee reference in i

Pure Chess is scheduled to be releasing later this year for the Wii U and 3DS, but you can currently get it on the PlayStaton 3 and PlayStation Vita, and as of last week you can now download the game for “FREE” on iPhone, iPad, and Android type devices. Mrs. Coffee has an eReader tablet device and I downloaded Pure Chess to it last week, and have really been enjoying it. If you enjoy chess, or have ever been interested in it, I would highly suggest downloading Pure Chess.

So, from June until now, I have had four new games added to our Wii U library: Kung Fu Rabbit, Mutant Mudds Deluxe, LEGO City Undercover, and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate which isn’t even opened yet. Mutant Mudds Deluxe was the most played over the last few months out of all of those, though I have enjoyed my time with the other two new Wii U games. As always, if you own a Wii U feel free to add me to your Wii U’s friend list. My NNID is Coffees.

Questions
Have any of you purchased or had new games added to your video game library over the last several months, and if so, are you playing any of them on a regular basis?

Also, did any of you find yourself brewing up new coffee blends during the last few months, like I did with the Keurig K-Cups on my trip out of town?

Ripstone "thrilled" about the Wii U price drop, and 2DS

August 30, 2013

Coffee Beans
Earlier this month, indie games publisher Ripstone announced their plans to support both the Nintendo Wii U and 3DS systems. Currently, they are planning to release Pure Chess on the Wii U and 3DS eShops later this year, and Knytt Underground should be releasing for the Wii U’s eShop early next year.

After Nintendo made the announcement about the planned Wii U price drop and the new 2DS system earlier this week, I had the opportunity to ask Ripstone’s Co-Founder and Creative Director, Phil Gaskell, about it.

He said, “We were thrilled to hear the news today from Nintendo about the price drop for the Wii U bundle and the new 2DS console. It’s a fantastic move by Nintendo and again it shows they shouldn’t be underestimated. Pure Chess and Knytt Undergound will be available for new Wii U and 2DS/3DS owners this holiday season and early next year.

I agree with Phil and I think this is an excellent move by Nintendo. I hope the Wii U price drop and introduction of the lower priced 2DS system this holiday season will help get both systems in more consumers’ hands in a significant fashion, and hopefully in turn create an excellent environment for developers and publishers to continue to sell their games.

I have made comments on other sites, but not here, that Mrs. Coffee and I are now debating on grabbing Bean 1 (our oldest) a 2DS for Christmas, because of its lower price point.

As I mentioned in the anniversary post that interviews will be a more common feature now, early next week I will be posting an interview with Ripstone’s Phil Gaskell about the upcoming Wii U and 2DS/3DS eShop release of Pure Chess.

Questions
Are any of you that haven’t purchased a Wii U or 3DS yet, now more likely to get one of them (or, both) this holiday season because of the Wii U price drop and new 2DS system?

Do you agree with Mr. Gaskell’s opinion that the Wii U price drop and new 2DS system are a, “fantastic move by Nintendo”?