Review: Coffee Talk

Hey everyone! Yes you may be surprised It is me on the videogame crusade lately, but for once in a really long time I’ve had spare time to play on my PC or the Switch and try out a few games out there. So today I wanted to talk to you about Coffee Talk, a nice little independent game by Toge Productions. And just as a head up, depending how much of a purist of videogames you are, you may not consider this as much as a traditional videogame but more of a visual novel or interactive story. In any case, there is currently a free demo on the Switch, and the game only cost me like £8.00, and it is also available on Steam.

The premise is that you run a café that stays open until dark where people come and gather. You find out about their personal stories; you help them out with a hot drink of their choice (sometimes just whatever you want) and so the narrative develops. It’s all 2d animation, (pixel art) but the characters are very well distinguished, the colours are rather pleasant and it all conjures a sincere sense of familiarity and tranquillity – it also comes with a super smooth jazz playlist so, there is that! The game play is very basic. All the dialogue is straight forward, and you don’t have any choices to make in there (which is perhaps the one thing I wished was different about this game). You have some main ingredients which depending how you combine them you create this or that hot beverage based on coffee, tea, green tea, chocolate, or milk products. You don’t know more than a couple of basic recipes to begin with, and depending how you combine things along the way you learn more, which is handy because sometimes the main characters of this story will come and ask you for a drink by it’s specific name in the game and if you haven’t discover it yet, you gotta wing it. And why does this matter? Well, because if you get the drink wrong, it actually has an impact in the narrative!  The cool thing abut this is that you won’t actually know how it is impacting the game unless you start a new game again and try to avoid making the same mistakes, so here is some interesting replayability value if you are the completionist type and you want to know all possible permutations of these stories, I think it is a great idea. There is also a challenge mode, to try and get you to speed up with your drink orders, and an endless loop where you can discover new drinks without the pressure of the narrative – or if you are a clumsy person like me, you can practice your latte art, so that the characters in the game don’t criticise you for it (LOL).

But, without a doubt, as much as I love the chill concept of making coffee to help people with their struggles, the narrative is the best part. Every character has a specific viewpoint or relatable issue, and actually I must say now that the topics addressed by the game are actually quite hard hitting with current social issues. I have just forgotten to tell you that the setting or the game takes place in an imaginary alternative reality where Seatle in the current time, is a fantasy city with orcs, elves, vampires, etc, so this is a multicultural modern fantasy society. I really appreciated this not just for the freshness of the concept art, but also because it brings new light to the genre of fantasy, and it utilises this so effectively to approach current subjects which us humans should be better at handling. Just to give you a few examples, there are reflections and digs about racial profiling, xenophobia, interracial/cultural relationships, dating and dating apps, the videogame and pop culture industry itself, the lives of freelancers such as artists and writers, personal trauma, fighting ones own demons, class divide… and much more.

I was playing the demo, and just a few minutes into it, I was so taken by the characters and the stories that I bought the game, no regrets. If you are a Netflix nerd like me and like watching random things, this game has a similar feel to the Midnight Diner ( which if you haven’t watch and you have played Coffee Talk, I sincerely recommend, or if you like wholesome humane stories all the same, go watch it). It was a very welcome change of pace for a few hours, away from killing people, building empires or being an absolute hero, and catching them all Pokémon. Sometimes, we just need a little reminder of all the good we can do in the world by just being ourselves, and Coffee Talk definitely achieves that with a certain feel-good vibe about it.

My Comics about the Vikings: Getting Obscure

If you are reading this, chances are that you have come seeking further knowledge from my previous post regarding comics about the Vikings and where to begin, plus where to go next. If not, well, you are in for a triple bill and you can find the first part of this here: https://manaburnt.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/my-comics-about-the-vikings-where-to-begin/

And the second one here: https://manaburnt.wordpress.com/2017/10/13/my-comics-about-the-vikings-one-step-further/

Today, however, I will be discussing comics that talk about the Vikings and that perhaps fall under the radar for various issues – mostly the language barrier.

Saxo Grammaticus History of the Danes – Graphic Novel

If you didn’t know that there was a comic book version of the History of the Danes written by Saxo Grammaticus, do not be alarmed – I didn’t either until I stumbled across it at Kronenborg Castle in Denmark! It is two volumes, emulating the original source. The sad news is that it is, indeed, all in Danish. However, for a Danish noob like me, I found that with a little help from a  dictionary, and due to the fact that there is not a ridiculous amount of text, the images really help you understand what is happening so you can follow the narrative fairly well.

Continue reading “My Comics about the Vikings: Getting Obscure”

My Comics about the Vikings: One Step Further

If you are reading this, chances are that you have come seeking further knowledge from my previous post regarding comics about the Vikings and where to begin. If not, well, you are in for a double bill and you can find the first part of this here: https://manaburnt.wordpress.com/2017/10/09/my-comics-about-the-vikings-where-to-begin/

So, you have gone around reading about Thorsfinn, Sven the Badass, the reckless Siegfried and our daring Valkyrie and you have thought to yourself: I need more. I need that extra layer. Then, you are now part of the brotherhood and I shall guide you throughout this process. The next three pieces I present you with provide different looks on to Early Scandinavian society and the Viking Age. The vary in tone and style. But I think, above all, what they provide us with is a further degree of immersion. Now I appreciate Northlanders is pretty good for that…but I never said it was about better quality: this is just about the extra bits.

Gods of Asgard

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Interview with Emily Whitaker: author of Ladies of Market Street

Today we bring you an interview with independent comic book author Emily Whitaker. She will be unveiling the story behind her latest creation of Ladies of Market Street, a comic about “crime-fighting hookers”.

The comic is out for sale through amazon and you can find it here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01N37BQ3T

You can also follow Emily on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ee_whit

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So Emily, please tell us… We know you and Trey met at a local art show, and that is how you two managed to pull this off, because of your cool skills were like peanut butter and jam…But how did you come up with something as remarkable as crime fighting hookers?!

This is actually a story that has been with me for years now.  I elude to the fact that the Ladies are also Real-Estate agents.  I get into more of this in the next issue.  But they use the vacant apartments for parties and to entertain their Johns and such things!  And it is that Real-Estate Agency that first gave birth to this strange story.  In 2003 I worked at a Real-Estate agency in New York and all the people were young artists.  We would use the vacant apartments for everything… if we needed a bathroom, a place to change, or some privacy!!!  My roommate was in love with an apartment on the upper east side that wouldn’t sell because they were asking too much.  So every Sunday she would go there to paint because the sun would come through the windows just right!  I wrote our story at first, but it was about that time that I was coming face to face with facts of human trafficking throughout the world and in the city.  The only way I knew to fight it was to write about it.  And to create women who were strong enough and savvy enough to truly fight something so heinous.  So I put pen to paper and got to create these amazing women and  fight the war the only way I knew how.  It is a serious subject, but while I was writing it I felt I wanted to be friends with these women.  And that is the joy I hope my readers have as well.

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Revisiting GameDev Tycoon

I have always loved GameDev Tycoon. I remember when it came out, I spent and entire evening playing with my friends. We will make a studio and collectively make decisions about what we were making, how we were doing it, who we would hire, and the rest of the creative decisions you need to take during the game. But there has always been one thing that puzzles me about the game, and I think it is one of the reasons I keep coming back to it over and over.

Unlike with many tycoon games, if you find a winning strategy once, you just need to repeat it. But it doesn’t seem to be the case with this game (either that or my memory and capabilities are worse than expected). And that is because of the aleatory nature of the game: there are different trends, different platforms, different audiences, and combinations. So what may work once, may not work always. And, if you think about it, that is true of the video-game industry itself. Regardless of how similar games may be, not all experience the same success. So I decided to have a quick play through: just a couple of hours or so, and share my game with you.

So I started my little company called Valinor (yes, there will be lots of references in here…).

imag28081
Medieval RPG combo – first game so text-based…

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Videojuegos Indie – Mini Metro

Buenas tardes gentecilla. Hoy vuelvo al ataque, esta vez con un videojuego que tal vez no conozcáis y se os haya pasado de largo: Mini Metro. Yo, como creo haber comentado en mi otro post, tengo una cuenta en Steam – como la gran mayoría de los gamers de hoy en día. Es mis días de estudiante de grado de la universidad, tenía un peque ordenador (un Notebook para los demás) que evidentemente no tenía la capacidad de procesado que uno querría para poder jugar a cualquier videojuego digamos “molón”. Por aquel entonces solía entretenerme con cosillas bastante modestas (el juego de Magic de los 90, Game Dev Tycoon, Theme Hospital…). Un día, un colega me comento que bastante juegos que salen por Steam, tanto por su gama corriente como por Steam Greenlight, solían ser relativamente ligeros para un ordenador como el mío, y que tal vez me convendría echarles un vistazo. Siguiendo con la conversación, descubrí que muchos de estos juegos también eran los productos de diseñadores indie, y que normalmente eran algo más imaginativos, diferentes, y lo más importante: baratos…Si no tienes que pagarle royalties a gente como Bethesda o Blizzard, la jugada suele ser menos dolorosa para tu bolsillo…Total, que echando un vistazo – y gracias a las recomendaciones del ojo avizor de Steam basado en tu propia lista de juegos…- tropecé con Mini Metro. Mi querida madre siempre ha sido muy fan de los juegos de gestión, y cosas tipo tycoon, y por un par de libras, decidí probar suerte.

Así que aquí mismo os lo muestro y os comento un poco de que va el asunto – screenshots míos echando una pachanga en el mapa de Berlin.

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