411 Games Rumor Down-Lo 06.17.03

411 Games Rumor Down-Lo 06.17.03

*Backstage at 411 Games Headquarters, Bebito Jackson paces back and forth in his own Green Room. His head is down, his eyes are closed, and he looks unusually worried. The Down-Lo would be starting in just a few moments and Bebito just didn’t seem mentally prepared for it. Knowing that he had to go through it regardless, he slowly makes his way towards the exit. Just before reaching for the door handle however, 411 Games’ own Alex Lucard dripping with what appeared to be a cross between ecstasy and insanity, burst into his room staring down at his Game Boy Advance.*

Alex Lucard: It’s evolving! It’s bloody evolving!

Bebito: !?

Alex Lucard: It’s finally evolved into a Charizard! And do you know what that means?! You know the new Pokemon game for the GameCube, right? It’s the only way for the Ruby/Sapphire Pokemon to fight the 100+ Pokemon not in the GBA games. You can have Groudon vs Charizard and Mewtwo vs Rekuzza!

*Having no idea what his friend and colleague just said, Bebito cracks half a smile and casually looks over at Alex’s GBA.*

Bebito: That’s great man.

*sigh*

Alex Lucard: Huh? What’s wrong, Bebs?

Bebito: Well… Perhaps I’m a bit too self-critical. Or perhaps I’m on a downer or something. But I just don’t feel up to the standard that guys are setting around here. You in particular. I don’t think my stuff is good enough anymore.

Alex Lucard: You paranoid nut. You’re easily the best guy on the team and you know it!

Bebito: Thanks, but I don’t FEEL that way. I dunna know. Maybe it’s my gimmick. Ya know, the whole “I suck” thing… hopefully I’m not actually buying into that stuff.

Alex Lucard: Something I learned from wrestling: You always start to live your gimmick man. No matter what anyone tells you, if you play a part long enough you become it.

Bebito: Hmf. You’re probably right. I started with that whole thing because I thought it was funny. That’s probably no longer the case. Maybe it’s time to change gimmicks.

Alex Lucard: I think your role should be ‘Hoochie, the snakehandling cannibal clown with a fanatical devotion to the Pope.’

Bebito: *half laughing* What?

Alex Lucard: Man, I’ll totally give you a dollar if you have the handle on your next column be ‘Hoochie the snakehandling cannibal clown with a fanatical devotion to the Pope.’

*Finally a full smile breaks out onto Bebito’s face. He stares off into space for a few seconds denoting that he’s in slightly deep thought, and a little while later his usual demented look emerges back into his eyes.*

Bebito: Dude, there’s no way I can do that! That doesn’t even make any sense when taken out of context! What are you, on crack or something?

Now make it five and we have a deal…


411 Games Quote of The Week
Tomb Raider… One of the features they want to include is voice recognition, where you can tell Lara what to do. While many teens would buy the game to see if they could tell her to “get naked”, I’d rent the game just to see if I could say, “put the gun in your mouth and pull the trigger”.
— Lee Baxley (Hump Day Otaku News Report 06.11.03)

(411 DOWN-LO ONLINE 06-17-03: BEGIN TRANSMISSION…)

And now a word from Bella Jackson:

“My husband has told me all the get-well wishes you have sent to him in my behalf. Thank you very much for all the support. We appreciate the time and effort put into your thoughts. Thanks again!”

Send Get-Well Wishes To Bella Jackson

Hi, I’m Bebito Jackson, and thank you all for being so nice to my Bella. Didn’t know you cared.

For those not up to speed, last week I revealed that the reason for my 2-month hiatus was due to physical illness my wife was suffering from. While not life threatening, it did occupy most of my time and with me it’s family first so there was no Down-Lo. Well, the outburst of support for my family has been heartwarming and surprising and we most certainly appreciate it. If you’d like to say a few words to Bella directly, you can via her email address above. Again, thanks.

Let’s get right into it people! Behold the “Dark Overlord” Edition of the Down-Lo. As always the higher the DLR, the higher the chance the rumor is the real deal. Enjoy. I do.


This is the Down-Lo.

GAME BOY: THE LEGEND WILL NEVER DIE
We start off lazy this week, with information on Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance successor quoted directly from the source at Spong.com. Call it laziness, or call it… well laziness, but here’s the entire untouched story with my comments spliced in here and there for good measure:

Nintendo has applied for a patent of what seemingly is a new transition in the life of its indestructible Game Boy series, focusing on greatly expanding the connectivity offered by the machine.

The patent talks of a “portable handheld game machine which includes a capability to download and execute code from a source such as another game machine,” spurring talk of a Game Boy video games jukebox.

What? Did anyone understand any of that?

The application continues, “The portable game machine enters a download mode in which it is receptive to receipt of executable code downloaded from the source. The portable game machine stores the executable code in an internal random access memory, and executes the code out of the memory. Successive downloads can be used to download an application that is larger than the internal memory capacity of the portable game machine,” seemingly confirming the jukebox status of the device.

To reiterate. What??

The patent was filed under the names of Takao Sawano and Tomohiro, both technical staff based at Nintendo’s Kyoto headquarters.

That was the first full sentence I’ve understood from this entire rumor.

Seemingly, Nintendo aims to deliver a Game Boy console with writable media, which will then be filled with game data from another console, or direct from a centralized provider.

It denotes, “a portable game machine adapted for receiving an information storage medium in receiving portion thereof, and further including readable/writable storage, said portable game machine selecting between (a) process to start, in response to application of power, execute code stored in said information storage medium when said information storage medium is received by said receiving portion, and (b) a process to request another game machine to transfer executable code thereto for execution when said information storage medium is not received in said receiving portion.”

Nope. Sorry. Didn’t understand a word of it, and I’m tired so I’m not even going to try to explain it. Yes, yes, I know that 411’s own Eric S. warned columnists to never come across as ill informed, but that’s never been a problem with you guys before! *audience starts to boo* Oh, alright already!… I’ll figure out what the heck this is all out. Allow me to read over this a couple more times to see if I can get the sense of it.

*two days later*

Ok. I think I’ve got it. Nintendo seems intent on delivering something of a portable hard drive games player. Interesting, no? The patent mentions several times that cartridges will NOT be needed for certain types of gameplay, including multiplayer gaming. Notice this particular part of the patent where it says, “[the] portable game machine that can be placed into a “download mode” when no game cartridge is inserted into the portable game machine. When operating in the “download mode”, the portable game machine is capable of receiving executable code written to it by a data source (e.g., another portable game machine, a home video game machine, a personal computer, a network, etc.) The portable game machine writes the received executable code into an internal working random access memory and then proceeds to execute the code. In one example arrangement, this download capability permits multiple players to play a common video game on multiple video game units using only a single cartridge or other storage media.”

Got all that? Pretty high tech stuff they’re tinkering with. Should make for an awesome machine. Just make sure to make the thing backwards compatible, ok guys?
DOWN-LO RATING: 8

WHERE’S OUR SONIC CD!?
No Down-Lo is complete without a story on Mario or Sonic. And since I’ve got nothing on Mario…

Many interesting tidbits were revealed during a conference call with Cord Smith, Sega product manager in charge of the upcoming GameCube release of Sonic Adventure DX Director’s Cut. The most interesting among them was that there seemed to be a general consensus with everyone involved that Sonic CD was the best Sonic title of the series. Well, duh! So the question was levied, why wasn’t it in the Sonic Mega Collection for GameCube? Good question!

“There are some issues we can’t really speak on,” said Smith, but he expressed a hope that he would personally love to see Sonic CD standalone as a bonus for a future Sonic game. Ah man, that’s a complete copout!

At least he did say he’d like to see Sonic CD hidden within a future title. And with that statement, the rumors started flying. It’s speculated that the upcoming Sonic Heroes may have the aforementioned classic as a bonus egg hidden within the game. Nothing else has come up to support this, which is unfortunate. But I suppose in the meantime we can all dream, can’t we? What the heck, as long as we’re dreaming, let’s go for the whole piñata and hope that they put back in the Japanese music and get rid of that Americanized rubbish.
DOWN-LO RATING: 2

IS IT OR IS IT A TRICK?
See that highly convincing picture to the right? No? Ok, then the link must be broken. But if you CAN see it then behold the new “logo” for the PS3. Or at least what was rumored to be the new logo. This picture recently began sweeping the Internet, claiming to be the logo for Sony’s PlayStation 3 console, reportedly taken at the recent Elpida conference. The logo does look fairly convincing. It’s all pretty and what not.

Part of my duty as your local rumormonger is give you an idea of what rumors have potential and which are more fake than Pamela Anderson’s boobs (not that there’s anything wrong with fake boobs; but I digress). Well everyone hold your breathe in shock people, because the photo here is a complete fabrication! *gasp of shock from audience* I know, I know… everyone please settle down.

Sony Europe confirmed that, far from being an official PS3 imprint, the logo is a mock-up done for a magazine several months ago.

Remember everyone. Don’t believe the hype.
DOWN-LO RATING: 1

YU SUZUKI LOVES YOU
One of the few members among the top echelon of game developers to actually put the fans first when creating games, Yu Suzuki is a man after my own heart. In a world where Yuji Naka refuses to release a successor to his mind-bendingly popular Saturn cult-hit NiGHTS and Shigeru Miyamoto goes against the grain of popular gaming community opinion by making Zelda cel-shaded, Yu Suzuki stands out as a breathe of fresh air. Please do not get me wrong; Naka went on to produce other masterpieces such as Sonic Adventure, Samba De Amigo, and Phantasy Star Online, while Miyamoto’s latest Zelda adventure was hardly a letdown by any sense of the word. But these two legendary men far too often let their innovations and visions overpower their loyalty to their own fan base. Not so with Mr. Suzuki who seemed to always have a balance between the two. Daytona was a hit and people wanted more. He made another Daytona, simple as that. Virtua Fighter 3 didn’t live up to fan expectations. Suzuki listened to feedback and lowered the learning curve a bit, got rid of a useless character, took up the speed a notch, removed that retarded “Evade” button, and out popped the magnificent VF4. The man listens. We benefit.

Recently Suzuki, president of Sega-AM2, held a question and answer session on the company’s website. Vague as always, he did comment on some of his plans for the future. When asked about whether another installment in the excellent Shenmue series was in the works, Suzuki said that he was not content with stopping at Shenmue II. That’s code for, “Don’t worry. A third game is coming. But this Sega rep behind me is holding a gun to my ribs so nothing will be officially announced as of now.” This comes as great news following several reports that the franchise was to die a horrible premature death. So while it’s not exactly a release date and gameplay details, it’s a gimmie that something is in the works.

To close out, Suzuki also said that the opinions of the general public and the fans weighed very heavily on their decisions to develop certain games. He encouraged players to continue showing their support of the series.

I told you. The man listens. We benefit.
DOWN-LO RATING: 7

BILL GATES IS PARANOID!
Geez man. Where is he? Hope he didn’t caught. It’s not like him to be late like this. *pacing back and forth* Just calm down Bebito. He’s a professional. He’s done this a million times. Get in. Get out. Simple. There’s nothing to worry about. But man! I just can’t help but… *Rumor Monkey taps Bebito on the shoulder* Monkey! Thank goodness. You’re late. Did you get it? *Monkey hands Bebito envelope* Perfect. Good job, my homey. *Rumor Monkey swings away* He’s a good monkey.

Through an “anonymous” source I have received a recently leaked email from Xbox chief Steve Ballmer. In it, he shows just how seriously the software giant perceives the threat posed by the open-source penguin of justice Linux, among other things. Let’s a read a few excerpts from it.

“Over the long term, I’m optimistic about our growth opportunities. But we face significant challenges in the near and mid term,” said Ballmer in the mail. “Non-commercial software products in general and Linux in particular, present a competitive challenge for us and for our entire industry, and they require our concentrated focus and attention,” he said. “IBM’s endorsement of Linux has added credibility and an illusion of support and accountability,” Ballmer continued. Microsoft is planning to rely heavily upon Longhorn, its next version of Windows software, which is slated for 2005.

Hmm. Sounds like the Gates family is a little thrown off their game here. Or dare I say it, scared? Well as interesting as all that stuff is, what will probably be of particular interest to game players is what Mr. Ballmer said next.

Ballmer continued on that in order to manage its costs and increase growth without employee layoffs, it was making plans to reduce the cost of goods sold in its MSN and Xbox divisions. When talking of Xbox specifically, Ballmer stated that the firm has “aggressive plans to reduce both the cost of manufacturing the machine, as well as the point of sale price, both for hardware and games.”

My, my, my. Price drops? In its Xbox divisions? Isn’t that just peachy. One would assume that with Microsoft recently dropping the price of the Xbox to $179, that this would mean the software price point will be dropped as well. But I’m going a step further and saying that not only will they drop price of games, but they’ll drop the Xbox price AGAIN down to $149 fairly soon. It’s a bold move, but one that I believe they’ll take. Especially from the “aggressive” tone of the email.

Heavy stuff. I’ll keep you in the know.
DOWN-LO RATING: 6

And that’s the Down-Lo.

Thanks to Spong.com, GamesAreFun, Spong.com and GamerFeed for today’s stories.


THE DOWN-LO SPOTLIGHT
Welcome to the Down-Lo Spotlight. What the blood clot is that you ask? It’ll be here that I interview my favorite writers from around 411, talk videogames, and get you all familiar with their work. Rest assured that if you see them here and you’re even remotely interested in the Zone they work in (Games, Movies, Comics, Figures, Wrestling, Music) then these people are required reading. With a lineage of interviews going from Hyatte to Claire Flynn Boyle to Jay Bower, how could you not be interested?

(DOWN-LO SPOTLIGHT IS ON DARON KAPPAUFF: 411 COMICS)

This week we’re rebooting the series with the talented and funny Daron Kappauff from 411 Comics. He’s the semi-head Editor over there, a Chris Pankonin of the Comics Zone if you will. Well, actually if Chris had a sidekick that did all of his work, then he’d be the equivalent of Daron. Nice guy Daron is. Strange, but nice. You’ll see what I’m talking about as we get going because I’m sure you want to know what games my fellow writers like to play just as much as I do. Check it out:

This is the Down-Lo Spotlight.

Bebito: Hey Daron. How are you doing?
Daron: I am good. I welcome the chance to speak openly to the people of your world, but if this interview is going to proceed you will address me with my given title: Daron the Dark Overlord, or your Lordship. Are we understood? Good!

Bebito: Err… ok. So where you from, Mr. Dark Overlord, sir?
Daron: Originally…A dark alternate Earth in which I ruled with an iron fist. That is until some militant rebels staged a coup, set up a makeshift democracy, and voted me out of office. I now reside in your dimension in a little place called St. Louis, Missouri.

Bebito: Right. And is everyone in St. Louis as delusional as you?
Daron: Are you trying to infer that I’m not the one true master of my dimension, and that I suffer from fits of untreatable insanity? Would you dare insult the Dark Overlord when you sit in his very presence? I hope not Word Monkey…for your sake.

Bebito: So how old are you Dark Horn?
Daron: DARK LORD! Get it right, Jackson. I’m in no mood for your infantile games… and my age is not on your list of approved topics for discussion. All you need to know is that I was banished and have been amongst you plebeians for 26 years. But with the help of this website (the integral instrument in my plan for reclamation) I shall take back my throne and conquer this backward dimension as well!

*Daron slams his fist down on the desk.*

Bebito: Whoa, settle down there buddy. So how’d you end up working for this um, integral instrument in your plan for reclamation?
Daron: Well, I was “cruising the information super highway” as you natives say, searching for mindless morons to enthrall and make my minions (there seems to be a plethora of them there), when I saw a message on a message board “Calling for writers.” It seemed that 411mania was adding a Comics section and needed a slew of writers to get it off the ground. I realized quickly that this website would be the perfect vehicle from which I could launch my campaign for world domination…so I created my penname (Daron Kappauff), emailed Ben Morse, and asked for a column. The rest as you say is “past tense.”

Bebito: “History.” The rest as you say is “history”.
Daron: Do not presume to correct my speech, Jackson! I’ll have you know I hold a Masters in Evil Genius Monologues from Pinky & The Brain University.

Bebito: Whatever. Let everyone know what exactly you do here at 411 Mania.
Daron: Ah! The infamous “trick the evil genius into revealing his plans” scene. Not so subtle are we, Jackson? Let me tell you this, better than you have tried and failed. Daron the Dark Overlord is not so easily deceived, Bwaaa Haa Haa Haa Haa!

Now, where were we? Oh yes… As I stated earlier, my first job with the site was writing my column: Missing The Boat. It usually focuses on titles that I think the tasteless people of this dimension should be reading as well as other related topics, and of course each one is chock-full of subliminal brainwashing messages.

Not long after my column started, Ben Morse (the editor-in-chief of the Comics section) came to me, unsurprisingly, and asked me to take over the editing reigns of the Review department of the Comics section. This on top of my more recent promotion to 2nd in command of the entire Comics section has helped solidify my foothold in this dimension. I’d say at this point, it’s only a matter of time before world governments begin to crumble, and my rule begins.

Bebito: Of course, because the key factor in obtaining world domination is being the number two guy at a comic book fan site.
Daron: Exactly…I see you’ve read my book, How To Take Over The World With a Watch, a Thumbtack, and a Comic Book Fan Site.

Bebito: *rolls eyes* Yeah, I read it every night before I go to bed. So how much are you into videogames?
Daron: I guess about as much as any other would-be-world conqueror/editor.

Bebito: What systems do you own?
Daron: Well back home, there was the Milky Way and Antares Galaxies, and this nice little binary system just on the far side of a black hole that I had a time share on (it was real quiet). But I haven’t had much time yet to start collecting here. Conquering whole galaxies takes a lot longer than you might think.

*Bebito stares at Daron slant ways for a good five minutes.*

Bebito: Dude, video game systems. What video game systems do you own?
Daron: Oh you’re referring to a brain box; those little machines you hook up to a television with which you can control the minds of countless millions and play those cute little games on? Yeah I have one of those. A modified PS1, I think you call it. In the past, I’ve also owned a NES and a SUPER NES. And I currently have about a half dozen PCs (it takes a lot of computers to take over the world.)

Bebito: What’s your favorite system out of all of them?
Daron: I’d have to say the one I lost on a bet to my brother’s best friend’s room mate’s cousin’s father…you never forget your first conquered star system. She’ll always be in my heart…if not under my boot heel.

Bebito: Please forgive my continuous slips of the tongue that leave out small details not normally needed when speaking with sane human beings. I meant what’s your favorite VIDEO GAME system?
Daron: Why are you so hung up on these VIDEO GAME systems? I haven’t actually even gotten to the stage of my plan that involves them yet. And to be honest I don’t have much time to mess around with them, myself. When I do feel the need to kill some brain cells, I will usually play a game on one of my PCs.

Bebito: What games are you playing now?
Daron: Wow, that’s a good question. Let’s see, there’s “trick your writers into thinking they’re doing a good job only to later reveal to them how bad they actually are, thereby crushing their hopes and dreams.” That’s a fun one that never gets old. There’s also “make Ben think the site will be okay while he’s gone for most of the summer.” I’m really looking forward to see how that one turns out. To be honest, I’m in the middle of so many I can’t even keep track of them all anymore.

Bebito: Heh. Alright as frustrated as I’m getting here that was actually kinda funny. But just to remove all confusion, let me rephrase the question in such a way that even a child could answer: You know those things you put in your video game systems? Those are video games. VIDEO GAMES. This is the VIDEO GAMES ZONE. That’s why we’re talking about VIDEO GAMES. So I want to know, wait for it…………. what VIDEO GAMES you’re playing??
Daron: You know, Jackson, you should really get out more…there’s more to life than video games. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve played a Video Game in over a year. The last one I played though was Freedom Force, I believe.

Bebito: Over a year? Man, I didn’t know people could go for that long. After all that time, I’m sure you’re looking forward to playing something soon. Which games coming out, are you most looking forward to their release?
Daron: What’s the point in letting other people design your games and such? That’s half the fun of being and evil genius… coming up with your own evil schemes and overly dramatic traps.

Bebito: Forgive me again Mr. Overlord. Which VIDEO games coming out soon, are you most looking forward to their release?
Daron: Well before all of my plans involving the web site sprung into motion, I was looking forward to Star Wars Galaxies. (I was planning on using it as a precursor to figure out how to conqueror this dimension.) But now that all the pieces of my plan are falling into place, I don’t really need it, nor will I likely have much time to play it.

Bebito: Truly sorry to hear that. SWG was supposed to rock. Anyway, in your humble opinion, what is the greatest… (let me be careful here) VIDEOgame of all time?
Daron: Final Fantasy 8…hands down.

Bebito: Finally. A straight answer. Moving on… Whoa, hold the phone! You said FFVIII, not VII? You need to explain that one to me, Darky. I could understand if you said Final Fantasy VII; that game holds historical importance as a major breakthrough for console RPGs into the mainstream despite the fact that the thing basically lead you by the hand all the way through (or because of that fact perhaps). But Final Fantasy VIII was just an overproduced, over bloated, pretentious, sappy love story. Even the Japanese of “this dimension” found the thing disappointing notwithstanding the fact that they hypocritically went out and bought it anyway. Why do you like FFVIII??
Daron: First off, it comes as no surprise to me that the people of this dimension can’t appreciate FF 8, considering the fact that it had a plot. If you people have to think for more than 5 minutes about a subject your brains shut down and you have to take a nap. The simple truth is FF 8 had an intriguing complex story, as well as some amazing cinematic visuals, and a killer soundtrack. What’s not to like about it? Sure it had a sappy love story, but what story doesn’t? Every good story has a love story at it’s heart…even I, the Dark Overlord, can appreciate that. Maybe if you people turned off the television more and read a book every once in a while, you could appreciate a work of art when you saw one. Anyway, let us move on from this line of questioning, it’s beginning to perturb me, and you won’t like me when I’m perturbed.

Bebito: Ok. Now we all know that when videogames and comics come together it’s synonymous with crap. With that in mind, what’s the crappiest comic book related game you’ve ever played?
Daron: Why would you suppose that I’ve ever had anything to do with something that could be labeled as “crappy?”

Bebito: Based on your performance here today, I have no idea.
Daron: Good, I’m glad we’re on the same page. Next question.

Bebito: I’m going to regret asking this, I just know it. Back in the day on the Sega Genesis there was a mystical game called Toejam & Earl. I’m sure you’ve heard of them. They’re back out on Xbox, and I want to know: Do Toejam and Earl still got the funk?
Daron: I have absolutely no idea what the hell you are talking about. Are you trying to confuse the Dark Overlord? So far you have not offended me to the point where I’ll have to destroy you, Jackson. I would suggest staying on my good side.

Bebito: It’s almost over Bebito. Just keep saying that. It’s almost over…

WORD ASSOCIATION TIME:
I say a word, and you tell me the first thing that comes to mind. Ready?

*****

(Videogames) – A great platform to integrate subliminal messages into to enthrall the youth of the world.

(Nintendo) – A smoking pile of ruble…like all those who cross me.

(Sega) – The most annoying marketing department of any business I’ve ever seen. Genius…pure genius.

(Xbox) – I have no experience with this infernal device.

(PS2) – I like the older modifiable version better.

(Grand Theft Auto) – A fun way to spend an afternoon, plus the jail time is pretty light.

(Sonic The Hedgehog) – Did that little bastard end up getting banished here too? I wondered what happened to him.

(X-Men) – Great movies…decent comics.

(Spawn) – Pure and utter crap, move on!

(Superman) – Needs a creative overhaul.

(Spiderman) – I would really like to see him reach his potential. Sarcastic wise-cracking is an integral tool in any Despot’s arsenal.

(Widro) – A great man to work for. I couldn’t ask for a better boss. (What, you didn’t think I knew how to kiss ass, how did you think I got to be a Dark Overlord?)

(Ashish) – See above.

(Bebito Jackson) – A very brave, if not all that intelligent, man from this dimension. Not many individuals who lock wits with Daron the Dark Overlord live to tell about it.

(Daron Kappauff) – A great penname to write my columns with and thereby mask all of my plans for world domination.

*****

Bebito: Well in case you haven’t figured it out, this is a rumor column and that just doesn’t apply to video games either. Thus I make sure to dig up something about each of my guests that come aboard. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. Anything you want to confess to before I continue?
Daron: My crimes are well known and documented…do your worst.

*Bebito looks at notes.*

Bebito: Oh… I had that you’re embarrassing secret was that you actually liked Final Fantasy 8. Sorry. I didn’t expect anyone to admit to that.
Daron: As I stated before, it comes as no surprise that the people of this dimension can’t appreciate it. It’s like your independent movies. Only a select few of you can appreciate, or even understand them. It’s the same thing here. If the plot of any story is more complex than Green Acres and isn’t filled with mindless violence, you people are lost. So if you consider liking this amazing achievement as embarrassing, I’ll take it as a compliment.

Bebito: Alright Darky, this is where I allow you to plug yourself. Tell everyone why he or she should read your work and how great it is and all that jazz.
Daron: First and foremost, they should be reading Missing The Boat because when my reign over this world begins everyone not reading it will be severely punished. Besides the threat of impending doom though, people should read it because it’s unlike most columns out there. It’s entertaining, and the wide variety of topics I discuss should interest most, and if not…well as I said, I’ll deal with those nonconformists later.

Bebito: Thanks for joining me today Daron. One more question and I’ll leave you alone to your evil devices. There’s a running gag here at 411 Games (one that will be dying very shortly) that I supposedly suck. Honestly though Daron, for the last and final time, do I suck?
Daron: Only as much as everyone else in this God forsaken dimension.

Bebito: Thanks. I shall take that as a “no”.

What did you expect from someone who works in the Comics Zone? A coherent interview? Bah. That wouldn’t be any fun now would it? When he’s not in “take over the world” mode, Daron’s Missing The Boat clocks in with some of the best comic banter this side of Marvel. Pissed that the SpiderMan clone saga got botched as bad as it did? Wondering how the death of Superman could have been handled better? Then Mr. Kappuaff (how the heck do you pronounce that) is your man. He’s well informed, funny, and highly opinionated. All key qualities needed for a good column. Do yourself a favor, and don’t miss the boat…

You can email Daron Kappauff: DaronK411@hotmail.com
And you can check out his latest column: HERE.
Daron: And make sure to check out this one as well…or else!

Keep it right here, because there are more Spotlights to come.

(THE DOWN-LO SPOTLIGHT IS OFF)


MY READERS ARE AWESOME AND I’VE GOT PROOF!
Reader mail is great, but it’s even better when my audience is as demented as I am. Makes reading the old in-box funner and funnier than ever. Let’s see what we’ve got this week:

Good To See You
heyy. just have 2 say thats its great that you back your column is my fave games column over at 411. the opening paragraphs had me laughing and i never thought id ever see the line “impressed monkey noises”. glad u managed to take care of your business and could grace us with your presence once
again.

— Al Francois

Thanks. I’m glad to be back too. Missed writing as much as you missed reading.

Mario Must Be Worshiped
Nice to see you’re alive. Couple of things:

– I think I’m the only GameCube-owning person who wasn’t po’d at Nintendo for E3. Why? MARIO FUCKING GOLF. Let’s put it this way: my apartment actually went through three copies of that game, basically melting down two of them during repeated rentals from Blockbuster. We killed an N64 from playing sixteen straight rounds (two shifts). And I still fire up the… er, ROM… every couple of days for a playthrough. It’s the great overlooked masterpiece of the N64 (and the GBC game is *even better* – I think it made EGM’s Top 100 list), but all the RPG fanboys who haven’t left the house in two years are all whiny because it’s taking Camelot away from Golden Sun. Idiots – the sequel doesn’t look as perfect, since it’s going a bit into the goofy territory of Mario Kart, but as long as Luigi’s eagle taunt is in there I’m going to be happy.

– “My games require the power of Xbox.” God knows it must be tough to run all those boobie-bouncing functions. And people WONDER why gamers are looked down on by everyone else in society?

– Total agreement on Pilotwings 64. If nothing else, I didn’t like it because, well, it wasn’t Mario 64. Hell, just about every game made ever since has disappointed me a bit because it hasn’t been as good as Mario 64. I never figured that putting out the best game ever (outside of CivII) as your console’s launch game would be a bad thing, but, hey, Sony brings the low-grade stuff and people snap it up.

[That being said, the PS2 NBA Street is the best game I’ve played all year not named “Wind Waker.” Just perfect.]

– I don’t get why someone would get an X-Box over a decent PC. I just don’t understand it. Between the ‘Cube and the PC, I can play pretty much everything that comes out. Including GTA, which I’ll have had for… oh, about seven months until the X-Box version comes out.
— Sven Mascarenhas

Agreed on the whole PC over X-Box thing, except for the fundamental problem that has plagued gaming for ‘all of eternity’ and ultimately separates console players from PC gamers: While the PC may have the variety, flexibility, and power, consoles have two things that the PC, no matter how much you try to deny it, just don’t have. First of which is ease of use. On the PC you have to install GTA and perhaps even troubleshoot a little before you finally get to reap the rich rewards of that piece of gaming nectar. Compatibility issues have never been a problem with consoles on the other hand and they never will be. The second obvious difference is price. So for those out there who rich enough or aren’t technically savvy enough to deal with computers (although granted the age computer literacy sets in for people is getting younger each year) they have the easy choice with consoles. And if they like PC like games but don’t like the PC, well, that’s why Bill Gates created the Xbox. It sure wasn’t to make money.

And yes, Mario Golf rules it all. I suppose my N64 would have been destroyed by MG marathon sessions as well, if it were not for a well-timed power outage. Thank goodness for flimsy electric distribution systems.

CHA-CHING!!
Allow me to be amongst the last to say “WELCOME BACK BEBITO!!!”

Rumor Monkey is cool, but without Bebito he’s just hanging out with Chester, smoking blunts behind the local Wawa *Jersey reference that no one else will get, cha-ching!!!*

And no Sonic news? BEST DOWN-LO EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously though, glad you’re back, buddy

— In North Jersey, with no Wawas. :(
— Jim Moore / Down-Lo Devotee

Actually that’s a double hitter: A Jersey reference no one will get AND a Sifl & Olly reference no one will get either. Two points!

There weren’t any Sonic rumors left to tell you the truth. Once Sonic Heroes was unveiled and verified that I was right about EVERYTHING, there’s no further need to rant on about the subject. Until today that is! Hey, you have to admit that Sonic CD news is exciting! You can rest assured that as more rumors come up pertaining to the most awesome videogame character of all time, I’ll be sure to dish on it just for you Jim.

Eh, Is That All You’ve Got Bebito?
Hey Bebito,

In your return article, you kinda did a good job, but I agree with you in saying that it’ll take a while to get the gears rolling again. Soon we’ll see Mr. Jackson pulling stuff out like he did before, an example would
be that you said that a NEW Sonic game that would have nothing to do with Adventure series would be announced, and lo and behold “Sonic Heroes” will be among us soon. Glad to have you back, and by the way.

*411mania’s Game Zone WILL be the top gaming site on the internet, so say goodbye to pay-site ign, sayonara to Gamespot, and all the other non-important gaming sites, because the Game Zone will lower the BOOM on all of you!*
— Tack Angel / Down-Lo Devotee

Thanks for the pro-411 enthusiasm, but I can always count on my readers to rain on my parade if I get begin to think too much of myself. Bleh. Ah well, guess you guys are expecting more out of me lately rumor-wise, eh? Heh. We’ll get there Tack, don’t worry.

Ron Jackson & Bebito Yip
Nice comeback.

It’s crazy though, that you and Yip would come out with a column on the same day.
— greydragon / Down-Lo Devotee

Get used to seeing this guy people! This is my absolute favorite reader, greydragon. We go waaaay back, so whenever you see his name in my column I want you to take out Sisquo’s first CD (you know the good one) and hit the track “Unleash The Dragon”! There you go, grey. You have your own theme music.

With the whole SimColumn showing up on Tuesday thing, it had me baffled too, although not in the way you’re thinking. I knew that Ron Yip would be returning but the plan was for it to be on Monday. The guy apparently had a long day at work so by the time he got the column in and 411 Games Editor Chris Pankonin had a chance to post it, it was nearly Tuesday anyway so why not just make it for Tuesday. Made sense to me. I got booted off the Games site front page a day early because of it, but I can let it slide because it’s freaking Ron Yip! Expect SimColumn V.2 to be back to Mondays for your regular viewing pleasure in the future. And you better read him too…

Mario Must Be Castrated
[ecwarena] WEL-COME BACK! WEL-COME BACK! WEL-COME BACK! [/ecwarena]

Good to see you and the monkey gracing everyone with your presence again. Especially the monkey… *drools* er, um… yeah! Thanks for the heads up on the return… not only did I get that old feeling of
anticipation back in my tummy, but now, as an official member of the Down-Lo Devotees, I feel even more special than the doctors tell me I am. *holds up his newly weaved basket* ^_^ Anyway, you may be
wondering why my new email address has “411” in it. Well, I needed to fill up the void you left in my life, so I started doing GI Joe reviews for the figures section.

[self-pimp] If you like, you can check em out here (dry-as-dirt give-me-a-job tryout) and here (slightly more colorful but still too wordy). Dunno for how much longer though… there’s only so much creativity I can squeeze into that kind of thing. *shrug* [/self-pimp]

As for games… I can safely say that you’re part of the problem now. Baxley and I agree: there’s too damn many Mario games. And all but one of your rumors featured Mario in some way! You know, you might not know this, but Miyamoto reads you, and not just for the monkey. Stop providing him with pretext for populating the planet with his portly plumber pal, please! “Those folks at 411, they sure talk about Mario a lot. Maybe I’ll tell Silicon Knights to hold off on Eternal Darkness 2 and tell them to start developing Mario… *checks his list of yuppie sports* Polo. Yeah, Mario Polo… that’ll be a hit, I’m sure of it. People love horsies.” And that’s the real reason everyone’s ticked about GS3. It’s not that there’ll never be one, it’s that we have to wait until those precious Mario sports titles that nobody will buy are done. As many times as we’ve seen Nintendo shoot themselves in the foot lately, it still doesn’t get any easier to watch. No more Mario in the Down-Lo! If you have to, make stuff up. Here’s some rumors I’d personally like to see:
Development of Parasite Eve 3 nearly complete Bandai and Capcom team up to make a 2D Gundam fighter that doesn’t suck Eternal Darkness 2 in the works Advance Wars 3 to add online play via GB Player (or link cable) and GC Network Adapter Bandai contemplating eliminating monthly fee for eventual .hack online game as a compensation to the poor schmucks that let themselves get snookered into buying all 4 games Nintendo readies adult-oriented game; tentative title “Peach’s Peaches,” or “Peach’s Peachfuzz” Congress passes new law: cheating in online gaming now punishable by death etc.

But anyway, pipe dreams and Mario issues aside, it’s good to have you back. *raises his glass* Here’s to Bella’s good health, and to weekly doses of the Rumor Monkey… oh! and Bebito, of course ;-) *downs his
drink* Lata!

— Matt Hardin / 411 Figures

Contrary to popular belief, “Down-Lo Devotee” is NOT the highest-ranking title you can obtain around these parts. Nothing has more prestige than then the label of 411 Writer. They receive all rights and privileges of the Devotees (they get their letters printed EVERY time they write among other things) along with some additional perks in the form of a bit of mutual co-worker admiration, and in his case PIMPS! My home biscuit Matt is promoted from Devotee to 411. Welcome to the staff bro! Too bad you’re over there playing with toys and not over with us playing with err, games.

To start off, I’ll refer your comments on the Mario Sports titles to Mr. Sven Mascarenhas up above. You two have fun.

Your wanna-be rumors intrigued me however, so I looked them up for you. Take out a pen and paper and be sure to copy all this down: Parasite Eve 3 is coming along nicely, but it’ll a be alittle while. Bandai and Capcom teaming up to make a 2D Gundam fighter that doesn’t suck will never happen. There is definitely an Eternal Darkness sequel in the works. Doubtful Advance Wars 3 will allow online play via the GB Player if it even comes out at all, but a GameCube version is supposedly in the works that will include its own online mode. “Peach’s Peaches” sounds like a fun game but is unlikely to happen, but not as much as the Gundam game. And I’ll be calling my local Senator today about that online cheating punishable by death law. We need to push that one on through.

The Gangs All Here
Welcome back, Bebito.

Lucard posted. Berg has been posting. Hell- I even dropped a column on May 14th. But I sincerely believed that in your absence, 411 wasn’t the same place. So to you I drop a full-fledged, sincerity laden “Welcomeback.”

Also, many thanks for the kind words in the comeback section too- t’is a great group of motley-yet-enlightened-gaming-cats that will be the new/old/yet-quite-new face of the 411 Gaming Channel, and even greater a pleasure to be part of it. But if you were thinking otherwise, don’t count me out yet (I couldn’t really decipher the idea from the syntax)…

Next edition of the ‘Conscience’ should be ready by next week. Until then, and once again, it’s f*cking great to see the Down-Lo in full effect once again. Now, I’ve got an Arabic final to take down. Until the next time…
— Frederick Badlissi / 411 Games

No way was I counting you out man. I knew you’d get back around to throwing out the Gamers’ Conscience when time permitted. Thanks for the kind words. And I hope you kicked butt on that final. Man, Arabic? My prayers are with you bro.

Happy Fellows
You know, after reading your column, all I can say is, ‘People are going to think you and I are gay.’ And not gay as in lame or happy either… :-P
— Alex Lucard / 411 Games

Why, because I’ve showered a bit praise towards your general direction in my last column? There’s nothing wrong with that. You’ve done the same with me before too. We’re colleagues. Just because two guys professionally admire one another’s work, doesn’t mean their sexuality needs to be in question. Besides it’s not like we’re ALWAYS gushing over each other.

*Rumor Monkey taps Bebito on the shoulder.*

Wha? Oh hey monkey. What’s up?

Rumor Monkey: (*Look at this monkey noises.*) *hands Bebito piece of paper*

Ok, let’s see what you got here.

Wow man. I just read your most recent review for 411 and man… let me tell you. It was fantastic. I felt like I was reading my old GameFAN magazine from back in the day. I felt like ECM was heralding the brilliance of shooters from yesteryear all over again. Brought a tear to my eye. Brilliant.. Knowing that, I’m having a severe inferiority complex. I believe that your writing is so far above quality wise that it’s just scary. It makes me honestly NOT want to write, because my work feels trite and contrived. Again, brilliant.
– From Bebito Jackson / To Alex Lucard
– (Retrograding Mailbag 06.12.03)

And there’s nothing wrong with me writing him that either! That’s a low blow monkey. That’s a really low…

Rumor Monkey: (*And look at this monkey noises.*) *hands Bebito another piece of paper*

Hey man, just read your last Lo-Down. Thanks for the kind words as always, but you’re leaving? NO! WHY? Are you really ill? That sucks worse than having to watch Buff Bagwell matches on a daily basis! I hope it’s just the lack of sleep in me that missed some sort of joke or faux nature at the end of that! You’re the best thing on 411 Games and it’ll be weird not being able to kiss up to you!
– From Alex Lucard / To Bebito Jackson
– (411 Games Rumor Down-Lo 01-07-03)

So! What are you trying to say??

Rumor Monkey: (*You guys are gay monkey noises.*)


THINGS I FOUND THAT MAKE GREAT COLUMN FILLER
Boomtown.net has reported a portable Dreamcast showing up around Hong Kong. Take a gander at it:

This is the Treamcast. It’s built with original Sega Dreamcast parts and modified to fit into a small case. On the top of the Treamcast you’ll find a built-in LCD screen (like the ones you can plug into a PSOne), which is backlit. There’s a brightness regulator and a volume regulator as well. The Treamcast also comes with speakers and a headphone jack. But wait! There’s more! When you buy one of these puppies, you’ll also get:

  • A big zip-around nylon bag
  • Two Treamcast marked fighter pad style controllers
  • A remote control for VCD/MP3 Playback mode (this feature is implemented in the system)
  • A ‘PS LCD Monitor Electronic Adapter’ w/ US plug, Input 110-220V, Output 12V
  • A Car adapter for long road trips

Pretty neat, eh? So when’s it coming our to our shores? Pfft… sheah right! Don’t hold your breath there buddy. This isn’t what we like to call… legal. This thing violates more Sega copyrights and patents than those ROMS you kiddies like to play of all the games you don’t actually own. Still, it’s a sweet idea and has nice execution. Even though we’ll never see it, I agree with Boomtown.net when it says that it gives them a good feeling knowing despite Sega officially abandoning the DC, some people are still devoted to continue developing it. “Long live dead systems.”


THE DOWN-LO CONTEST
Two columns in, and I’m already doing contests? I must being trying to distract you from bad writing or something. What’s on tap for this time? As you may have figured out by now, I’m tired of my old gimmick. Let’s be honest. I know I don’t suck. YOU know I don’t suck (and if you think so, why are you reading this?). Heck, nearly the whole 411 staff knows I don’t suck. Frankly the joke wore thin long ago, and it’s time to beat something new into the ground. And who better to decide what to beat than my own creative audience? *cough* So this time round people, I want you to CREATE MY GIMMICK!

The Rules

It’s very easy and all that’s required is a bit of imagination and an ounce of time. Simply send in your gimmick idea by clicking my email address at the bottom of this column. The only criterion is that the overall idea of the gimmick must be summed up in one concise sentence. Outside of that, everything’s fair game. Word of advice though, I wouldn’t submit things that are in-line with my actual personality. You can submit stuff like ‘Shining Force fanatic’ or ‘Sonic The Hedgehog junkie’ or ‘Hornily obsessed with his wife’s hot body’ if you like, but that probably won’t be a winning entry. A good example would be something like: ‘Hoochie, the snakehandling cannibal clown with a fanatical devotion to the Pope.’ Now there are a lot of ideas in that one, but it has some sort of cohesion and could be very amusing. (Don’t send that one in by the way.) Here’s another: ‘Believes he’s the smartest gamer alive.’ Not quite as crazy as the last one, but the simplicity of it could make for great execution. Think about how the whole “I suck” thing worked. I was able to show you my true personality for 99.9% of the column but then I could throw in a jab about me sucking here and there. Thus gimmicks that require large amounts of time/space for me to get across to my audience may not be the best choices. Ok, got an idea of what to send in now? Good! Here’s what you get:

The Prize

Since the grab bag is empty, I’m going to give out an old standby. The winner gets to have my column to rant about anything you want that’s video game related for 1000 words or less! And if it’s good enough as decided by the readers, they may have a permanent spot here as a regular columnist at 411 Games! Of course I didn’t clear any of this with my “boss” Chris Pankonin yet, but if the guy is willing to let me write here I’m sure he’ll hire anybody. Doh! Sorry… forgot I’m done with that gimmick. Got to remember that.

Anyway, aspiring Games writers listen up. Even if you only want to do a one-shot thing for the Down-Lo or if you want to go for the full monty, now’s your chance. Send in a gimmick now, and it just might be you.

The Fine Print

411 Games employees are ineligible, but the rest of 411 Mania (Muisc, Wrestling, etc.) and everyone else out there are welcome to enter. Doesn’t matter whether you’ve won a previous DL Contest before or not. I’m wiping the slate clean. One winner will be decided via vote by the entire 411 Games staff. The winner definitely gets a one-shot column in the Down-Lo, but is not guaranteed a spot on the 411 Games staff. The cut-off date for submitting an entry is 06-19-03 (oh! that’s close!). Wish you guys the best! Have fun!


THE DLV OF THE WEEK
Ok, I couldn’t get the whole ‘video downloading as you read the column’ thing down with this one. Why? Because this week, I want you to see the E3 Trailer for Halo 2. There’s a bunch of red tape you have to go through to see it, but better I link and direct you to this one than just pre-downloading some other piece of crap you couldn’t care less about. It’s a thing of beauty people. A true thing of beauty. Behold:


(DLV OF THE WEEK: E3 TRAILER – HALO 2)

Lee Baxley is up tomorrow. The best anime guy at 411 Games! *cough* This is Bebito Jackson, gimmickless unless YOU do something. Peace, I’m out.

(411 DOWN-LO OFFLINE: END TRANSMISSION…)