Cloud taught me that surviving the ordeals of the past and pushing forward makes one stronger. He taught me how to rise above my own weakness and be a better person.
-Ryan from Games with Coffee
Not too long ago I decided that I would seek out the Mages across the globe, and bring them kicking and screaming to the interview table.
For my next interview, I’ll be talking with Ryan from Games with Coffee, though you might know him better as the Hyperactive Coffee Mage. In our thrilling chat we discuss what lessons life has taught him, what makes games unique, and of course what roast our extremely caffeinated friend prefers. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Ninja: First off, thanks for taking time out of your day to chat with me Ryan. These are usually pretty fun and I look forward into prying into your deepest and darkest secrets. Uh….I mean interviewing you.
Coffee: Not at all! Thank you for inviting me. If you’re talking about deep, dark secrets, I must confess: Tim Hortons coffee is superior to Dunkin Donuts. But neither are better than Starbucks. And I also drain an average of 20 oz of black gold a day. You can see why I’m so wired.
Ninja: Gasp! How dare you besmirch the good names of Dunkin Donuts coffee. Ok, so actually I have no idea, I don’t drink coffee. They could both be awful and I would never know. Considering you drain 20 oz of the beverage a day, and your site’s name happens to be Games with Coffee, I suppose it is safe to say you sort of like coffee. What is it about the drink that makes it so enjoyable to you?
Coffee: Like coffee? Dude, if coffee was a person, I’d marry it! Then again, I am married to someone who shares a slightly healthier obsession with the drink so, I guess that works out? To properly answer your question, it’s the taste that I enjoy. It’s a bit of an acquired taste to be sure, but I thoroughly enjoy the bitterness combined with the flavour notes that makes each roast distinct. Take for instance Blue Mountain Coffee, my absolute favorite coffee grown in Jamaica: it’s indelibly smooth and you can taste the hints of cocoa in every sip. It’s just so good. Coffee to me also represents simplicity – you don’t need the sugars, whipped creams and the fancy toppings to enjoy a nice, hot sophisticated and elegant drink. It’s much like working in your career; try not to be overbearing and overreactive with the extras and toppings, but keep things simple, keep a level head and above all, stay frosty. Coffee for anybody who gets that reference. Besides that, coffee is also literally the only thing keeping me awake during the day. grins
Ninja: You make it sound almost like something I’d want to drink! I wish I could bring myself to enjoy it. I certainly need something to help keep me awake during the day. So now the question becomes the site’s name: what connects coffee to gaming for you?
Coffee: So why Games with Coffee? Good question. Games represents the life lessons I’ve learned from the gaming characters I grew up with, like Cloud Strife, Link and Sonic. Coffee meanwhile represents the virtues I’ve developed in my career as an engineer: self confidence, maturity and competence. Combining the two together forms the basis of my story, which is about a responsible grown man who still takes time to play video games and listen to gaming music.
Ninja: So the name is really more of a touch point of what you identify as. I think that is a really cool way to come up with a site name, and certainly helps to encapsulate your ideals. You mentioned Link, Sonic, and Cloud being there as you grew up. What lessons have you learned from these games?
Coffee: Growing up, I had been bullied and picked on for my love of gaming and writing, which was why I gravitated towards those three characters. Cloud taught me that surviving the ordeals of the past and pushing forward makes one stronger. He taught me how to rise above my own weakness and be a better person. Sonic taught me to keep a positive attitude even when things looked bleak and to never give up, no matter what the odds are. Finally, Link had taught me to live generously, to live with courage and to adhere to my convictions of being an altruistic individual. I’d also like to add that I follow the sage advice from one Peppy Hare on Team Star Fox: “Never give up, trust your instincts!” So far as I know, my instincts have never proved me wrong yet! knocks on wood
Ninja: That is such a fantastic answer that I find myself inspired by it. As a gamer my whole life, I know that games have inspired me, taught me things, brought me closer to people, and provided me with great joy. Many people might say that video games are the frivolous past time of children, though you and I know different. What about games would you say allows them to provide these sorts of experiences?
Coffee: I’d say it’s the ability to become intimately familiar with the characters and their story as you continue to play. Mind you, the same can be done through books, movies and TV, but really, what other medium allows a person to physically have an effect on their characters growth as they play? Take for instance God of War (which you and I have discussed intently) and Kratos’ transformation from the embodiment of rage to a hardened, guarded individual who cares about his wife and son despite the dark secrets of his bloody past, to a father opening up to his son about said past and the mistakes he’s made, culminating in a plea for him to be better than he ever was. We’re not only visually seeing this, but we’re experiencing it with every Draugr we hack or every puzzle we solve. We have a hand in Kratos’ growth as we progress with the story and we grow close to these characters as a result. Another fantastic example is Final Fantasy X and Tidus’ story. Through the random battles, story events and sphere grid allocations, we see Tidus grow from a whiny brat to someone who seems to accept their place in life and helps to bring a better future, even if he ends up not part of it (until X-2 that is…).
Ninja: Right, it is that ability to physically interact with that world rather than just observe it that makes video games so intrinsically interesting to me. No other medium allows that level of interaction with it. Throughout all the years of games you’ve played what game would you point to as the embodiment of why you play video games?
Coffee: In Mimir’s voice Aye, you’re always asking the hard questions, eh brother? in normal voice I’m gonna take a feather out of the cap of The Well-Red Mage and pick three games spanning the 26 years I’ve been gaming, just because I can!
Ninja: A regular gallery of rogues we have here. Real maverick elements. Fire away!
Did you enjoy this post? Consider becoming a Warrior of Light and join us in restoring integrity and quality to games writing. We specialize in long-form, analytical reviews and we aim to expand into a community of authors with paid contributors, a fairer and happier alternative to mainstream games writing! See our Patreon page for more info!