Archive for November, 2012

Caffeinated Thoughts on the Wii U

November 30, 2012
How many beans can you count?

Coffee Beans
So, the Saturday night before the Wii U released on the 18th, I attempted to find a Wii U at a midnight release in town, but having no such fortune I ended up just getting our reserved Wii U system on Sunday as was originally planned.

I brought the Wii U home, but didn’t start setting it up until a few hours later (about 3:30PM), after making sure the Beans were down for their naps.

With almost 2 weeks with the Wii U system now, what do I think about it? Brew yourself some coffee, probably a whole pot for this post, and let’s take a look!

Caffeinated Thoughts
What’s a good way to go about my thoughts on the Wii U? How about the bitter, sweet, and bold!

Sad coffee face. 😦

Bitter
1) Initial Patch – While getting system updates is something I’m quite used to doing on the PlayStation 3, it’s not something I particularly like having to do. Hopefully Nintendo will start shipping Wii U units with the update already installed, so new Wii U owners can just plug-and-play on day one. I actually think having to patch the system as it is now, might keep the system from gaining popularity with the casual market the Wii initially grabbed. I know that my parents would have a time trying to figure out how to connect the Wii U to their wireless setting, so hopefully it is something that can be remedied quickly. My initial patch/update took about an hour, but I did use a USB Ethernet port to have my Wii U connected directly the internet.

2) Disc drive – The Wii U’s disc drive is constantly reading the disc when one is in the drive, even if the game is not being played and another system function is being used like Miiverse or Netflix. I think Nintendo might have patched the original Wii to solve this issue on that system, as I don’t believe the disc would be spinning when using Netflix on the Wii, so I’m hoping they solve the problem with a patch. As of now, I remove any game from our Wii U when it is not being played, but I know others don’t think it’s a big issue.

3) Poorly designed YouTube App – The YouTube App window, which is like the Netflix and Amazon Video Apps on the system, appears on the home page of the system. For whatever reason though, the GamePad is used in very minimal ways with the YouTube App. From my time with the app, the YouTube videos can’t even be switched to streaming from the GamePad, which is very odd. You have to basically be looking at the TV to search and use the YouTube App in any decent way. Fortunately, there is a better way to use YouTube on the Wii U, which I’ll get to below.

4) No NINTENDO CHANNEL DATA – Sure, I can still track Wii games on my Wii’s Nintendo Channel, but the Wii U does not provide averages played on games as the Wii does. The Nintendo Channel cannot even be downloaded to the Wii menu section on the Wii U, which means we are keeping our Wii. (Please fix this Nintendo, JUST like the Wii had it.)

5) Hard reset doesn’t hard reset – This is very odd and baffling to me. I have had my Wii U console freeze up on me twice now (twice too many!). Okay, not terrible I guess considering I have used it quite a bit so far, but still it’s a bitter experience when it happens. Your TV will most likely sound like a police car, fire truck, and ambulance sirens have gotten stuck in a high pitched squeal. But when you think, “Easy FIX! I’ll just hold the power button and get rid of that annoying sound.”, you are hit with a wall of disappoint and failure upon trying. Somehow, the Wii U made it out to the masses without the typical hard reset option working. Most of the time on electronics devices, if they freeze, you can simply hold the power button down for a few seconds and get it to turn itself off. Not with the Wii U right now. Nope. I have to crawl into the dungeon behind our entertainment system that is housing a 200-300lb beast (see TV), and unplug the system from what outlet. How in the world an electronics device got out without the typical hard reset option working, is baffling. Apparently though, Nintendo is going to patch that up for us in the next few weeks, which will hopefully make it a distant, if bitter, memory. I’m not holding my breath waiting on the patch though, because there is a lack of history from Nintendo with providing decent patches even on their games.

Happy!

Sweet
1) Finding Friends – If you own a Wii U, feel free to add me to your friend list. My Nintendo Network user name is CoffeesNintendo has improved finding and adding friends greatly over the Wii’s method. You can add “friends” directly from Miiverse, meaning just a random person you don’t know. You can search for new friends based on people you have played with in online games as well. The system’s ability to send messages to friends, and see what games they are playing (or app they are using) is a great improvement over what was offered (or not offered) on the Wii. There are some finicky things though, like my Mii not displaying the game I was playing to another friend for a while, and we’re not sure if it was on my side or his side of things (or Nintendo’s side), but overall adding and communicating with friends is a huge improvement over the Wii.

2) Video Chat – While only briefly trying this out one night with Brad, from WhoBurnedMyToast, it worked well when we used it and he was able to see the Beans (well, the older one at least) being super hyper right before their bed-time. He even spelled out “Coffee” on the GamePad and Bean 1 correctly identified the word. The drawing on the GamePad during video chat is something that I think could become a big hit with younger children and perhaps grandparents, and just doodling on the GamePad for fun during chatting as well. I guess if somebody figures out a way to do math tutoring with video chat on the Wii U, they can just do their math equations on the GamePad.

3) TV button on GamePad – This is an awesome little button/feature, and I have used it quite a bit in my time with the Wii U to turn the volume up and down in games. It works very well, though you do need to be pointing the Wii U GamePad at the TV when trying to use the TV controls; meaning if there is an object between you and the GamePad, or the GamePad is stored on top of an entertainment system above the TV as ours is, you will need to point it at the TV like a normal TV remote.

4) User Interface (UI) & Operating System (OS) – The Wii U’s UI is an updated version of the Wii’s with the tile boxes on the screen, but the OS behind it has had a good bit of overhaul to it, allowing for more features and functionality. Hitting the Home button during a game will pull up a menu, allowing you to jump to your Friend List, Miiverse, Nintendo eShop, Internet Browser, Nintendo TVii, Download Management, Controller Settings, or Manual for whatever game or app you are using. The ability to switch back and forth from displaying things on the TV to the GamePad with different apps like Netflix, Amazon Video, and YouTube within the browser is very nice. Bean 2 (the younger Bean) is now famous for finding the power button on the TV where we have it set up and last Monday night (the 19th) Bean 1 and I were sitting on the couch watching a cartoon on Netflix (probably Bob the Builder). Bean 2 found the TV power button and pressed it off, and what usually results in “Put him in jail!” from Bean 1, was instantly averted by switching Netflix to streaming on the GamePad we had on the couch with us. Bean 1 was surprised by it, but Bean 2 didn’t know any difference and went about pressing the TV power button.

5) Browser – The browser on the Wii U is very functional from my time with it, especially with the GamePad’s keyboard implementation. Typing with either the GamePad’s stylus or my fingers has worked very well for doing quick Google searches. My favorite thing about the Wii U’s browser though, is YouTube on it works incredibly well. You can choose to watch the YouTube videos on the TV, but use the GamePad to search and select more YouTube videos to play directly off of the GamePad. Or, unlike the App, you can actually choose to stream YouTube videos directly off of the GamePad. Also, this could fall under the OS and UI maybe, but if you are in a game and need help you can hit the Home button to bring up the Home menu. Then what? Well, if you select the Browser button, it will launch the browser for you and already have the game you are playing ready to be “searched” if that’s what you’re wanting. You can search, while the game is still paused, for guides on how to beat a boss, where to find an item in the game, or how many hours you can expect it to take you to finish the game. Or, you can even use the browser while the game is paused, go to YouTube and find a walk-through video on the game (if you do that) if you get stuck. The browser also has a little “curtain” that you can use to hide what you’re searching for from the TV, and I have found this actually pretty useful with keeping Bean 1 from requesting 20 different YouTube videos. After we watch one on the TV, I can put up the curtain, find another video, and hit play without him requesting a video that might not be really relevant, but the image on it just looks shiny and interesting.

6) Wii U GamePad stand/cradle set – These are included with the Wii U Deluxe Set, or can be purchased for the Wii U Basic Set for $19.99. I do recommend them, and if you are looking for Wii U accessories for your Christmas list and only have the basic set, these can be very useful. One of the stands allows the GamePad to sit in it and be charged, and while you can’t really play it like that, it’s a good place to store it and keep out of the hands of little Beans that might want it. The second stand is just a GamePad stand, with no slot for the charging cable to be plugged. I use this one quite often when sitting on the couch playing ZombiU, leaving the stand on the coffee table and putting the GamePad in the stand if I get up to go grab some more coffee, snacks, or just to check on the Beans in the middle of the night.

7) Games – So far, I have played three Wii U games. Those being Nintendo Land, Trine 2, and ZombiU.

  • Nintendo Land came with the system, and we have played it a decent amount. Bean 1 really enjoys the Mario Chase, Luigi’s Ghost Mansion, and Yoshi’s Fruit Cart mini-games the most. When you play the different mini-games, you are awarded coins and you can spend them in a Coin Game, where you have to aim the coins to fall in certain directions. If you complete the stages in the coin drop game, you are given gifts for your Nintendo Land plaza that help make it more lively, and Bean 1 enjoys the Coin Game and finding the gifts around the plaze as well. I think Mario Chase and Luigi’s Ghost Mansion are a lot of fun, and show the fun that can be had with asymmetric gameplay, and I particularly like Luigi’s Ghost Mansion the most right now. Takamaru’s Ninja Castle mini-game is a lot of fun from my time with it, but I haven’t put nearly enough time into Metroid Blast or The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest, and a few of the other mini-games to really have impressions of them yet.
  • Trine 2 is an eShop title, and the developers were kind enough to provide me with a code for it, even knowing I don’t do typical reviews on games. I have said it on a few other sites, but Trine 2 is the first Wii U game that really made me realize how dated our SD TV is. Why? Trine 2 looks incredible, and it plays on the TV and/or on the GamePad, but the game looks brighter, crisper, and just more vibrant in general on the GamePad than our TV. It made me realize even more it is time for a HD TV upgrade; which we are already looking  for (recommendations welcomed)! I have made it through the first level so far, and I am really enjoying the story-telling aspect of the game. The way Trine 2’s story is told, the setting for the game, and humor used so far remind me of the movie The Princess Bride; which is a very good thing.
  • ZombiU – I purchased this day one with my Wii U system, even knowing the “reviews” published by some sites were not positive. I have now completed the game, and I will say if you are wanting to play a survival horror title, even with some sense of terror thrown in, I recommend you pick this game up and give it a try. So yes, please ignore the early reviews on this game. What was my time with ZombiU? 24+ hours, I’m above average, I know! Seriously though, I am glad to see this game get developed and published, and I have had a lot of fun with it so far. Mrs. Coffee does not like zombies (in general), and would prefer to not play FPS games due to the controls. She did try and actually enjoyed ZombiU’s local multiplayer modes though, as she used only the GamePad while I was using the FPS controls with our Wii Remote and Nunchuk. If you can go into ZombiU knowing it’s not a perfect game with perhaps some glitches to be experienced, and you enjoy survival horror type games, you should find it well worth playing.
Trine 2, ZombiU, Nintendo Land.

Bold
1) The GamePad – While maybe not as revolutionary as perhaps the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combination, I think the GamePad has a lot of potential for fun and unique gameplay elements in games. The asymmetric gameplay in Nintendo Land, and even the different gameplay mechanics added in games like Trine 2 and ZombiU make me glad to see developers already using the GamePad in very different ways. I have been very impressed with how each game I have played, uses the GamePad and its features in unique ways. I really think it will be interesting to see which developer (if any) uses every single feature on the Wii U GamePad, in some fashion in a game. The speakers on the controller are actually better than I was expecting, and the volume output has been high enough from what I have experienced so far. The two little grips I wrote about from my time with the demo haven’t been an issue for me, and I have enjoyed not rushing out just yet to grab a case for it…though the Nerf GamePad cases look like they might provide the best protection from what I have seen. I really do hope that Nintendo is able to get the cost of the Wii U GamePad (and even console) down quickly, so that if Wii U owners break or experience any problems with their GamePads, they can replace them quickly and affordably.

2) Miiverse – What is Miiverse? Awesomeness. Think of Miiverse as a message board or forum, or even an ever flowing comments section for Wii U games and apps. This very feature will probably either create new jobs at some companies to help monitor Wii U owners in the game communities and help them with questions, or add a bit more of a burden to community managers at companies now that might need to start being active in the Miiverse communities. Each Wii U game and app has its own separate Miiverse community (at least of now), and I have used Miiverse in ZombiU several times; sometimes to answer questions, and a few times to get questions answered about the game. Instead of stopping the game and coming to the computer and searching, or using the Wii U’s browser option, I just hit the Home button and hop into the ZombiU Miiverse community, ask my question, hop back to the game, and check back a few minutes later to see if my question has been answered. I really, really, really like this aspect of the Wii U and that Miiverse is up and running on the system already is great to see. Miiverse allows users to use a standard keyboard input with ABCs, or hand written notes and drawings for messages using the stylus or your fingers. I have actually found the hand drawing aspect to be extremely useful in ZombiU when I got stuck somewhere. I was able to hop into Miiverse and draw a rough (very rough) map of the building I was looking at, and let them know what I was looking for. After a few back and forth comments on Miiverse, I was able to figure out what I had done wrong and continue with my game.

Overall, I have enjoyed my time with the Wii U so far, and if you have any questions about the Wii U that perhaps I didn’t answer or address here, feel free to ask in the comments below. I may have even forgotten a few of the “bitter”, “bold”, or “sweet” things I was going to include, and might be able to clarify some. If you have any questions about the games I have played so far, feel free to ask below as well.

Questions
Did any of you grab a Wii U yet, and if so what do you think about it so far? Do you agree, or disagree with any of my points?

Have you played any Wii U games you would really recommend others give a try? Are you interested in seeing any footage from the Wii U games we have right now, Nintendo Land, Trine 2, and ZombiU? If so, let me know what game you would like to see footage of in the comments below. Also, feel free to share your Wii U user name below in the comments.

Watch the Wii U game prices.

November 18, 2012


Coffee Beans
I went to the Wal-Mart closest to our house earlier tonight to see how their electronics section is handling the Wii U launch, and to see if by any chance they are doing a midnight release. They aren’t doing a midnight release for the system, but while I was browsing the video game section I spotted a few Wii U games already out, with prices listed for each.

If you are heading to Wal-Mart tonight (or this week) to try and grab a Wii U and are planning on picking up Scribblenauts Unlimited make sure to bring a price match ad from perhaps Target, or an online scan from Amazon.com. Wal-Mart had the game listed at $59.96, but Target.com, Amazon.com, and a Game Stop store tonight all have Scribblenauts Unlimited for the Wii U now with a list price of $49.99, instead of the $59.99 (or $59.96).

So, if you’re going out Wii U shopping this next week, make sure to watch game prices across a few different sites to make sure you are getting the best deals for your money.

If you haven’t seen the newest Wii U commercials for Scribblenauts Unlimited yet, here’s one of them:

Questions
Are any of you planning on buying Scribblenauts Unlimited with the Wii U, and if you have played the past Scribblenauts games, do you think a 3.5 year old would enjoy them?

You can see Scribblenauts Unlimited on Amazon.com below with the lower list price:

Caffeinated Thoughts on the Wii U GamePad (demo unit).

November 17, 2012

Coffee Beans & Brew
There have been Wii U demo stations popping up in Best Buy, Game Stop, and even Wal-Mart stores around the U.S. for the last several weeks. We ventured out a few weeks back, but didn’t find a Wii U demo station on our first attempt.

This past Monday afternoon, after checking Nintendo’s Wii U demo locator, I ventured out to a Best Buy to give one a try. Upon entering the Best Buy the Wii U demo station was easy to spot in the middle of the store with the Wii U logo being lit up on top, helping draw attention to the unit. The Wii U demo unit on display was the white Wii U console and GamePad, which I believe is the standard color for the demo stations.

What did I think of my short time with the Wii U and the Wii U GamePad? Brew yourself some coffee and read my thoughts on the GamePad, and even find out one thing I found to be uncomfortable about the GamePad!

Caffeinated Thoughts
Wii U GamePad Weight – When I picked up the GamePad, I was actually surprised at the weight of the GamePad, as it was a little heavier than I was expecting it to be. The weight of the GamePad wasn’t an issue during my time with the demo unit though, but it does make me wonder if young children like Bean 1 might have trouble holding it up after a while though.

Wii U GamePad Screen Display – I thought the screen on the GamePad was very nice, better than I expected really. It displayed text and images well, and the screen was very bright and crisp, displaying text and images well. The video streaming to it from Rayman Legends worked well, and I found the game content displayed on the GamePad to be very good quality.

Wii U GamePad Screen Response – I knew Rayman Legends was available to play on the demo, so I scrolled through the list of games, which worked extremely well via the touch screen, and selected Rayman Legends. The touching of the screen worked well on the basic menu selection, and the use of the touch mechanics in Rayman Legends I thought were put to good use. I was able to use my finger(s) to tap, tickle, swipe, and drag enemies and objects in one of the levels, and all the touch input from my finger(s) to the GamePad screen was recognized without issue.

Wii U GamePad Comfort – While I was trying out the Rayman Legends demo, I noticed something about the Wii U’s GamePad that I found to be uncomfortable. Take a look at the image below, to see the one thing I found to be uncomfortable about the Wii U GamePad while playing Rayman Legends.

Click for full image size.

I’m not sure if the little ridges are there to add a bit of a “grip” to the controller, or if they are there due to design specifications and the GamePad needed them to make it all fit together nicely without any issues; but I did actually feel them against the sides of my palms while playing Rayman Legends, and not in a comfortable way. I’m not too concerned with the ridges though, as we will be fitting our GamePad with a protective case of some sort (still debating which one), but if you notice the ridges as I did it may be a good enough reason to buy a protective cover.

General Thoughts – The volume on the demo unit TV was very low, and being that the game wouldn’t let me stream it only to the GamePad, I’m not sure how loud the speaker output would have been from the GamePad’s speakers. Also, I did notice that the Wii U demo station looks like every game listed has an option to be a playable demo, but only Rayman Legends is the current playable Wii U game to demo, which I do find very odd. Rayman Legends isn’t scheduled to release for nearly another 4 months (if Amazon.com’s date is correct), so why Nintendo chose to not demo an actual Wii U day one launch title I find odd. I think if Nintendo wants to improve the Wii U demo stations moving forward, having more than one game available to demo would be a great place to start, and choosing a game that allows the GamePad to stream it for hearing the speaker output would be great as well.

I have just over 24 hours left as of writing and posting this piece, until I’ll have a Wii U that I won’t have to worry with hogging on a store demo. With basically a day left, I’m still debating on which game(s) I want to go with, and it might end up being a last minute decision, but I’m definitely leaning toward ZombiU right now.

Questions
Have any of you tried the Wii U demo station, or perhaps demoed the Wii U at an event, and noticed the ridges I found to be uncomfortable?

If any of you are in North America, are you planning on going to camp out for a Wii U if you don’t have one reserved yet, but want one Sunday? If you have a Wii U reserved, what game(s) are you getting with the system?

Rabbids went home? Rabbids find a new home! Rabbids Go Home data report.

November 15, 2012


Coffee Beans
The Rabbids will be finding a new home this Sunday in North America, when the Wii U launches and they start invading the console through Rabbids LAND; but the Rabbids have had a home on the Wii for the last several years.

Rabbids Go Home was released on November 3, 2009 for the Wii, at a MSRP of $49.99. It was the Rabbids’ first comedy-adventure, according to Ubisoft, and players helped the Rabbids collect junk in their attempt to make a ladder of sorts, to the moon. The game was developed by Ubisoft Montpellier, and received an ESRB rating of “EVERYONE 10+” with “Cartoon Violence, Crude Humor, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Tobacco Reference” listed as content for gamers and parents to be aware of.

How many U.S. Wii owners have reported playing Rabbids Go Home, and how many hours have they reported trying to help the Rabbids get home? Brew yourself some coffee, and let’s take a look!

Data for U.S. Wii owners.

The Brew
Rabbids Go Home now has approximately 126,679 U.S. Wii owners that have reported playing the game, with 1,105 days possibly reported. The players have reported over two million total hours of gameplay, 2,109,568 hours to be exact, since the game released as the image above shows. The average play-time reported is 16 Hours 40 Minutes “Per person”, and the average time spent playing the game per day/time is about 1 Hour 41 Minutes.

Rabbids Go Home has the highest average hours reported “Per person” out of all the Rabbids Wii games with data reported, which means that if you’re looking to get the most hours of gameplay out of a Rabbids Wii game, this is probably the one to go with. (The other Rabbids Wii games with data reported are Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 and Rayman Raving Rabbids TV PartyRabbids Lab doesn’t have enough hours reported yet, so an average “Per person” does not show up.)

How was the Rabbid’s first comedy-adventure received by critics and customers? The game has a professional critic review score average of 79.02%, based on 33 reviews on GameRankings.com. It has a customer review score average of 71.37%, based on 51 reviews from Amazon.com.

Caffeinated Thoughts
I did play Rabbids Go Home, but I didn’t beat it. Back in January 2010, I started a game rental service through a local video game company that was open, Gamer Doc, and rented the game for about a week. School was just starting up and I didn’t keep it long enough to beat though, but I checked my reported time with the game and put nearly 15 hours into it before returning it. Based on my play-time with it and the reported overall average “Per person” I guess I was closer to finishing it than I knew!

If you have never seen what type of gameplay Rabbids Go Home provides, the trailer below should give you a decent idea.

I enjoyed my time with the game, even though I didn’t finish it. Being that I was (and am) a fan of the Raving Rabbids Wii games, I was glad to see Ubisoft try something new with the Rabbids outside of the mini-games/party games the Rabbids had become known for at the time.

The Wii U is launching in just over 2 days, and Rabbids LAND is still on my short list of Wii U games to buy day one, because we enjoyed the Rabbids Wii games so much. If you haven’t seen the a trailer for Rabbids LAND on the Wii U, the trailer below is one Bean 1 likes to play from the Nintendo Channel and will give you an idea of what to expect with the Rabbids using the Wii U GamePad.

Questions
Did any of you play Rabbids Go Home, and help the Rabbids complete their mission to go home?

Are any of you planning on joining the Rabbids when they invade their new Wii U home with Rabbids LAND?

Check out some Rabbids Wii, 3DS, and Wii U games below:

Call of Duty? Conduit? GoldenEye? Metroid? What is the most played FPS Wii game in the U.S.?

November 13, 2012

The Roast
The Wii has had a variety of first-person shooter (FPS) games released during the last 6 years, some of the more popular Wii FPS titles you can see in the image above. With more than 20 FPS games released for the Wii, at least 10 have had online multiplayer, while some have been more single player focused like Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and Red Steel 2.

What is the most played FPS game on the Wii in the United States, according to the overall total hours reported and the average hours reported “Per person” on the Nintendo Channel? Brew yourself some coffee, and let’s take a look!

Coffee Beans
Call of Duty: Black Ops is the Wii’s most played game from the Call of Duty series, according to the average hours reported “Per person” and also the total hours reported on the Nintendo Channel for all of the Call of Duty games, as well as all of the other FPS games with data reported through the Nintendo Channel.

Call of Duty: Black Ops was released on November 9, 2010 for the Wii, with a MSRP of $49.99. The game was developed by Treyarch and published by Activision, and received an ESRB rating of “MATURE” with “Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language” listed as content for gamers and parents to be aware of.

The data shown in the image below is for the gameplay hours reported from U.S. Wii owners, with 734 days possibly report.

Data for U.S. Wii owners.

The Brew
Black Ops now has approximately 200,601 Wii owners from the U.S. that have reported playing the game through the Nintendo Channel, which is about 23,428 more Wii owners that have now reported data for the game, since the data report in June.

The game’s reported average play-time is now 84 Hours 22 Minutes “Per person”, over 2 hours higher than June’s reported average “Per person”, and the average played per day/time is about 2 Hours 36 Minutes. This simply means each time a Wii owner sits down to play Black Ops, they are spending about 2.5 hours playing it each time. It could be zombies. It could be standard online multiplayer. It could be single player. It could be all of them, but whatever it is, the game is still being played a lot.

What about reviews for Call of Duty: Black Ops on the Wii, has anything changed since June? Well, the game still has a “professional” review score average of 81.47%, based on 17 reviews on GameRankings.com. It now has a customer review score average of 77.30%, based on 141 customer reviews from Amazon.com.

How most Black Ops 2 players are feeling after the last night of gaming?

Caffeinated Thoughts
Millions of gamers are probably playing Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 on their PlayStation 3s, Xbox 360s, and PCs as I’m typing this. While Black Ops 2 is not releasing for the Wii, as confirmed by an Activision representative in October, the Wii was home to every other Treyarch developed Call of Duty game.

I haven’t played my copy of Black Ops on the PS3 in a while, but I did enjoy the online multiplayer when I played it, and the zombie mode as well. I didn’t go out and get a copy of Black Ops 2 for my PlayStation 3, because I’m debating on grabbing the game with my Wii U this Sunday.

If you haven’t seen any footage of Black Ops 2, take a look at the launch trailer below!

I am surprised that Black Ops on the Wii has become the most played FPS for the system, in both the hours reported “Per person” and the overall total hours reported. I thought that Call of Duty: World at War would hold onto the most played according to “Total Hours” reported because of Modern Warfare 3 potentially getting purchased and played by Black Ops players, but the data just over the last few months shows Black Ops is on a steady increase each week.

I’m really glad to see Treyarch releasing Black Ops 2 for the Wii U, and while it’s unfortunate for Wii owners  that want to play Black Ops 2 but won’t be getting a Wii U soon, hopefully the game makes use of the Wii U GamePad in some innovative ways that might even help sell a few more Wii U consoles to Call of Duty fans.

Questions
Have any of you been playing Call of Duty: Black Ops on the Wii, perhaps while waiting on Black Ops 2 and the Wii U’s release next week? If you have played Black Ops on the Wii, do you know how many hours you have put into the game?

Also, did any of you go to a midnight launch for Black Ops 2, or are any of you planning on buying Black Ops 2 for the Wii U?

If you are interested in Black Ops for the Wii, or the newly released Black Ops 2, you can see links for the games on Amazon.com below:

Nintendo’s U.S. Wii U TV advertising. Marketing genius, or marketing failure?

November 9, 2012

Coffee Beans
There are now four official Wii U commercials for the United States. There is the official “Wii U Advertising Campaign Launch Video”, which is the only one minute Wii U commercial so far; and New Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo Land, and SiNG Party each have their own 30 second commercial.

The U.S. Wii U commercials have received mixed reactions from fans, and for various reasons: the music, the presentation, the information (or lack thereof). The video above is the slightly updated version of my original updated version of Nintendo’s “Wii U Advertising Campaign Launch Video”, that Nintendo of America revealed last Thursday.

Do the U.S. Wii U commercials do a good enough job at addressing the fact that the Wii U is a brand new console, with a brand new controller? Will the way that each U.S. commercial is worded be a genius marketing strategy, or a marketing failure? Brew yourself some coffee and hit the jump to take a look at the commercials, and specifically listen to the way the Wii U is talked about in each commercial.

The Brew
Here’s the first U.S. Wii U commercial, “Wii U Advertising Campaign Launch Video”:

The second Wii U commercial to hit Nintendo of America’s YouTube account was this New Super Mario Bros. U commercial, last Friday:

The SiNG Party Wii U commercial was originally released by the production company behind the dancers in the commercial, and then Nintendo added it to their YouTube account this past Monday:

The last U.S. Wii U commercial to be released, so far, is this Nintendo Land commercial that they released on Monday as well:

Caffeinated Thoughts
I don’t think the Wii U commercials do a good enough job of addressing the fact the Wii U is a brand new console, and instead I think they give the impression the “Wii U” is just a brand new controller that works with existing Wii consoles.

In the Wii U campaign launch video the line used is, “With the all new Wii U…”, and that’s it. Not once, in the entire one minute video are the words “console” or “system” spoken. I also think the commercial is lacking a few key details that would help clear up that the Wii U is a new console and not just a new Wii controller, and I added a few of those details in my video up top. Instead of just focusing on the Wii U console and the Wii U GamePad, they show people sitting around in the rooms participating in gameplay using Wii Remotes and Nunchuks as well.

What about the New Super Mario Bros. U launch TV commercial? It has the same issue. The lines are, “This is how you’ll play next. Using the all new Wii U GamePad controller…”, and it ends with “New Super Mario Bros. U, only available on the all new Wii U.” It lacks the specific words “the all new Wii U console” or “the all new Wii U system“. Like the Wii U launch video, they show other people playing with Wii Remotes in the commercial.

What about the SiNG Party Wii U launch TV commercial? Same thing! It’s a 30 second commercial, and the first voice-over line in the commercial is, “Face the crowd and get the party started with the all new Wii U GamePad controller.“, followed up immediately with the next line, “SiNG Party, only available on the all new Wii U.”

Nintendo Land’s commercial? Same thing. “With the all new Wii U, this is how you’ll play next.” There is no focus on the Wii U console by itself, and it shows other players using Wii Remotes (and Nunchuks) to play the game along side the GamePad.

The commercials all end with an image of the Wii U GamePad in front of the Wii U system, and the games being sandwiched between them (on the game only commercials). The problem with this? The Wii U console looks a lot like the Wii console. Hiding it in the back without ever showing it up close with the logo on it, and never showing the price of the two bundles (or that it comes in two bundles), I don’t think is helping customers/viewers understand this is an entirely new system. To see what the Wii would look like behind the Wii U GamePad, I edited the following image:

Also, while I understand Nintendo is wanting current Wii owners to understand their Wii Remotes and Nunchuks will work on the new Wii U system, I don’t understand why they are showing the Wii Remotes and Nunchuks being used for gameplay, instead of showing the Wii U Pro Controllers being used instead.

I really do hope I’m wrong and that the Wii U commercials provide enough information for your average consumer, but I fear for the retail employees that will have to explain to the customers showing up in stores expecting only to buy a new Wii controller, that it’s not just the controller but an entirely new system they need. Having worked in retail, and seeing how the U.S. Wii U commercials are worded and lack information such as price, I can see this being an issue.

Perhaps the commercials are worded the way they are to purposely get consumers thinking this is just a new Wii controller, and then when they show up in stores they will get to demo the system live hands-on instead? Maybe Nintendo is betting that hands-on with the system in stores will help sell it, and that consumers will also do the research before heading out this holiday season to buy a Wii U?

If the marketing strategy with the U.S. Wii U commercials is trying to get the mass market to think the Wii U GamePad is just a new Wii controller though, I think they are doing it the right way, even though I think it would be odd if that’s their goal. Maybe this will be the best way to get consumers to look up information on the Wii U, and I just hope that providing less information to consumers initially, ends up selling more Wii U consoles for them.

I don’t think the European or Japanese Wii U commercials have the wording problem that the U.S. commercials do, so I think it will be interesting to see which marketing strategy works out to be the best. Will more basic information equal more sales, or less basic information equal more sales? Is less, more? I guess we’ll find out within a few months if Wii U units are flying off store shelves in the U.S., or if Nintendo of America changes the marketing techniques.

Questions
If you have a cable TV or satellite TV subscription, have you seen any of the Wii U’s commercials? If so, do you think the commercials do a good enough job explaining that the Wii U is a brand new console, with a brand new controller?

Do you think the lack of information such as the Wii U being available in two bundles, at two different price points, and the wording in the U.S. commercials is a genius marketing strategy, or a marketing failure from what you have seen?

You can pre-order New Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo Land, and SiNG Party on Amazon.com below, as well as see the outrageous prices of Wii U consoles from third party sellers because Amazon.com is still not carrying the Wii U directly:

Coffee Shop – Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition for $9.99 (PS3, 360, PC)

November 9, 2012


Coffee Beans
If you have been interested in Fallout 3, but have never bought it, now may be a great time to grab it. The Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC is currently on sale for just $9.99.

The game is eligible for Amazon.com’s “FREE Super Saver Shipping” which applies to orders totaling over $25, and is also eligible for free shipping for Amazon Prime members.

If you have played Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, do you recommend one over the other?

You can purchase the Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition for the PlayStation 3, HERE. The Xbox 360 version, HERE. The PC version, HERE. Or, by clicking on their boxes below:

Coffee Bean Counting: Which launch Wii U Ubisoft game(s) are you interested in?

November 8, 2012

Coffee Beans
Which Wii U third party publisher will have the most games when the system launches on November 18th? From my count, Ubisoft. As of now, Ubisoft will have six games available to purchase when the Wii U releases, with a few more games being published for the system before the end of March 2013.

The last Coffee Bean Counting poll ended last week, and which Ubisoft Wii U launch title had the most votes? Brew yourself some coffee, and let’s take a look!

The Brew
This Coffee Bean Counting poll ran from October 23, 2012 through October 30, 2012. The poll question, games to choose, and results can be seen below.

Which launch Wii U Ubisoft game(s) are you interested in?
Assassin’s Creed III                               17.65%    (15 votes)
ESPN Sports Connection                        1.18%      (1 votes)
Just Dance 4                                         37.65%    (32 votes)
Rabbids LAND                                       8.24%      (7 votes)
Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013           2.35%      (2 votes)
ZombiU                                                 33%        (28 votes)

If you like charts, bar or pie, you can see the results in chart form below:

Caffeinated Thoughts
So, the results might have been slightly skewed, because the Just Dance series has a large following and my “What is the most played Just Dance Wii game?” post made its way to the Just Dance Facebook page, and I noticed shortly thereafter the poll had increased greatly on that game. While Just Dance 4 definitely got many votes after the post hit the Facebook page, ZombiU kept chomping at its heels and I thought toward the end that it might overtake it…perhaps if I had left the poll running through Halloween!

What launch Wii U Ubisoft games am I interested in, and did I vote for? I voted for Assassin’s Creed III, Just Dance 4, Rabbids LAND, and ZombiU.

I played and beat the original Assassin’s Creed, but haven’t played the series since that game, and the setting and time-frame for Assassin’s Creed III has me interested in the game. I have never played a Just Dance game, but seeing how Just Dance 4 on the Wii U uses the GamePad for certain modes I think could be a lot of fun for the non-gamers, and I like the fact you can stream the game to the Wii U GamePad as well. Rabbids LAND has me very interested, because of Ubisoft’s history of Rabbid games on the Wii, and I think Rabbids LAND could be the best “party game” for the Wii U’s launch, and maybe even a while after. I think ZombiU looks like it is making great use of the Wii U GamePad for different gameplay elements, and I’m really looking forward to playing the game.

As for ESPN Sports Connection, I have watched the trailer for it a few times, and it may be a game that I understand (and enjoy) a bit more if I have hands-on time with it, but there are a few elements that I didn’t quite understand what they were trying to show in the trailer, such as the use of the GamePad as a golf caddy and the drawing on the GamePad in the football game. While I understand how drawing on the GamePad in the football game can make sense, I’m not exactly certain how the football game in it will play out. I may have to try and rent this over a weekend, and see if perhaps Bean 1 and the rest of us can enjoy some of the games together.

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013 might be a game I should have voted for, especially if I eat a lot over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays! I haven’t exercised on a regular basis in a long time, even with Wii Fit in the house, so I’m not sure if a game will properly motivate me right now for it; but I am glad to see this type of game getting released and I do hope those that buy it get great use out of it, and potentially develop a healthy lifestyle with it.

Questions
Which launch Wii U Ubisoft game(s) are you interested in?

Are there any Ubisoft Wii U games that have been announced, such as Rayman Legends, but won’t be ready at launch that you are interested in; or even other Ubisoft games you would like to see make it to the Wii U?

You can see and pre-order the Ubisoft Wii U launch titles on Amazon.com below:

Vote? Don’t vote? Gamers vote? Everybody votes? Did you vote? Everybody Votes Channel Data Report

November 6, 2012

Coffee Beans
Today, November 6, 2012, is the general election in the United States, and many Americans will be going to cast votes for the next President of the United States, if they haven’t already.

The Everybody Votes Channel was released on February 13, 2007 for the Nintendo Wii and was (and is) available as a free Wii Channel download from the Wii’s Shop Channel. If you own a Nintendo Wii, you have the opportunity to participate in weekly votes through the Everybody Votes Channel. The questions are usually simple, such as one this week being something like, “Do you feel small when looking at stars?”, and they have been consistently updated.

How many hours have U.S. Wii owners reported voting through the Everybody Votes Channel with over 5 years of data possibly reported? Brew yourself some coffee on this general election day, and let’s take a look!

Data shown for U.S. Wii owners.

The Brew
The Everybody Votes Channel has approximately 2,840,592 Wii owners from the United States that have reported data, with 2,092 days possibly reported. The average “voting” time reported is 1 Hour 8 Minutes “Per person” as the image shows, which averages to be just over 5 minutes spent per time/day reported on the Everybody Votes Channel.

Caffeinated Thoughts
I enjoy politics, and it’s probably a lot to do with how I was raised. Whether it was running around as a young bean with my dad dealing with political yard signs, or running for Student Council in junior high and high school with my mom basically as my campaign manager, I have enjoyed political activities for a long time now.

I enjoy a good political debate. Not the debates on TV though, usually because I often find the questions and topics to be completely stupid; but I do enjoy throwing ideas around, and seeing which ones make sense and which ideas don’t make sense. I also don’t mind defending political positions that I have held, or candidates I have supported, in a civil manner. I do believe that if you are voting for somebody though, let’s say a presidential candidate, you should at the very least be able explain why you are voting for them, and it shouldn’t be “They are Democrat”, or “They are Republican”. It also shouldn’t be “Because the other candidate is terrible.” I think there needs to be a reason to vote FOR a candidate, and not simply AGAINST another candidate.

You might be wondering, “Coffee, are you voting this year?”

As for voting this year, sadly I don’t see a reason to vote FOR either of the main two presidential candidates touted to everybody voting by the media: President Obama or Mitt Romney. I see few, if any, differences between them on issues that matter to me the most (can neither of them produce a balanced budget their first (or second) term, seriously?), and I don’t feel like going out wasting my time on either of them this election.

As for the Everybody Votes Channel data, I think it’s interesting nearly 3 million United States Wii owners have used the channel to “vote”, or at least checked out the channel, since it released. I wonder how many of those Wii owners will be voting today in the general election, or have already voted? It’s a pretty high number that have reported data though, and is higher than Wii games like Mario Kart Wii and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The overall average “Per person” is slightly lower than I expected though, based on our reported time; but I think it shows Wii owners just hopped into the channel, voted, then hopped right back out.

Mrs. Coffee and I did use the Everybody Votes Channel pretty consistently after Nintendo released it, and we had a good number of votes racked up, but then we just stopped using it on a regular basis as there didn’t seem to be really point to voting. Bean 1 has found the Everybody Votes Channel in recent weeks, and changed out all of our Miis and even the language setting on it recently. I’m not sure what happened to our older Miis vote totals, but I hope they are around somewhere!

I am wondering if there will be Wii U Channels, and possibly completely new ones that make use of the GamePad in different ways. Perhaps a Wii U Art Channel? I hope Nintendo answers this in the next few weeks (in less than 11 days to be exact!), along with other Wii U details that aren’t yet clear.

Questions
Have any of you used the Everybody Votes Channel, perhaps every single week since it released, or did you use it early on and stop like we did?

Are any of you voting today, or perhaps already have? Are any of you not voting today? Do you think everybody should vote? Do any of you think, like I do, that the general election outcome either way, might have a negative effect on the number of Wii U systems that are sold? (A few million people mad/upset their candidate didn’t win the general election, may influence their buying decisions this holiday season I’m thinking.)

Feel free to share your thoughts below, keep them civil (no name-calling!), and if you want to try and convince me to go and vote today you can do so. If you don’t want to do it in the comments, you can always email me.

Nintendo’s U.S. Wii U Commercials, and updated Coffee "Launch Video" version

November 5, 2012

Coffee Beans
This past Thursday, November 1st, Nintendo showed its first Wii U launch video produced for the United States. They released a New Super Mario Bros. U commercial and a SiNG Party commercial, both Wii U games, last week as well.

The official launch video has received very mixed reactions. Some Nintendo fans think it’s okay, and that it will do okay with multiple viewings. Others think it’s pretty bad at conveying what the Wii U is and what the Wii U is about, and aren’t fans of the music chosen for it.

If you missed the new Wii U launch video an commercials last week for the U.S., brew yourself some coffee and hit the jump to see them below, as well as my updated version of the first official “Wii U Advertising Campaign Launch Video”!

The Brew
First up, the “Wii U Advertising Campaign Launch Video” which was the first one Nintendo of America released last week:

Next up, the “Wii U SiNG PARTY Launch TV Commercial” that was published and made public last Friday by JK Dance Productions:

Last up, the “Wii U – New Super Mario Bros U Launch TV Commercial” that Nintendo published on their YouTube Channel last Friday, November 2nd:

Caffeinated Thoughts
I personally don’t think the “Wii U Advertising Campaign Launch Video” does a good enough job of showing that the Wii U is a brand new console, and not simply a new controller that can be used with existing Wii consoles. Same with the New Super Mario Bros. U and SiNG Party commercials. Every main shot of the Wii U console in the videos is hidden behind the Wii U GamePad, which I think might lead to confusion for many being that the black Wii console and black Wii U console (same for the white versions) look very similar in appearance.

Also, it seems very “busy” to me, with nothing being explained as to what is happening and being shown. I don’t think the background music is a good choice if the ad will be used to target all ages of potential Wii U buyers. (Bean 1 enjoys the video a good deal, and Mrs. Coffee didn’t mind it, but she did know about the Wii U before watching it.) I do think the launch video would be better marketed at a younger audience, and not the “expanded audience” of older gamers that Nintendo picked up with the Wii and I think it will be interesting to see how/if Nintendo adapts the Wii U marketing strategy for different audiences.

Being that the “Wii U Advertising Campaign Launch Video” doesn’t say “Commercial” in its YouTube title though, like the two for the Wii U games do, makes me wonder if the ad will actually run on TV, or if it is perhaps just designed for the internet to kick things off?

Even though I don’t think the music is the best choice (and I lack the announcer voice), I decided to see if I could have some fun and re-edit the video using the same background music in the original, but make it a little bit more informative and help show viewers the Wii U is not just a new controller, the GamePad, but also an entire new system. You can see my updated, over caffeinated, version of the “Wii U Advertising Campaign Launch Video” below.

Questions
Are you impressed with Nintendo’s Wii U launch video and commercials for the U.S. market so far? Do you think they need to provide more information in them, as I do? If so, what information would you like to see in a general Wii U console commercial?

Would you prefer an official Wii U video that addresses and shows a little better what the Wii U GamePad is being used for, and that the Wii U console is entirely new; perhaps like my updated, over caffeinated, Wii U video?

You can pre-order New Super Mario Bros. U and SiNG Party on Amazon.com and check out the outrageous prices of the Wii U consoles from third party sellers, below: