Gamer’s Hangover 08.25.03

Ugh. Once again the GH is late; and, as usual, it has to do with an actual gamer’s hangover of my own, from a weekend spent playing Madden 2004 online waiting for the 411Games tourney pool to fill up. It didn’t.

However, for the bargain price of $40, I remembered why I don’t play online games. See the Q-r-t for more on this.

Just a warning for all of you parents, I’m a little bluer than usual this week. No F-bombs, but a smattering of unedited others. Viewer discretion is advised.

And, for the record, last week’s column never happened.

Quasi-random thoughts:

It looks as though ESPN Gamer has fallen off into the left-side menu bar of obscurity, down with fishing and sports business.’ All is how it should be.

While doing the Madden 2004 review, I realized that we had all been cheated out of a football video game with Dennis Miller doing color.

As the Mitch Michaels fallout continues, I wonder why music and wrestling and games columnists think that people want to read their religious views in columns that are supposed to be about music or wrestling or games. I’m just as guilty as everyone else, and even I think it’s a bit of a downer. Still, I chime in yet again this week (see below), but I hope this is the blow-off to the topic for me.

My vote is for Albert Pujols for NL MVP, if only because Barry Bonds is the biggest prick in baseball since Ty Cobb (another reputation he’ll never even touch).

That being said, I still offer condolences on the loss of his father. I may not like the guy, but he deserves at least that much.

December 28: NFL Week 17, Chicago Bears @ Kansas City Chiefs.

In a completely unrelated’ note, Eric Szulczewski will be filling in for Bebito tomorrow here at 411 Games. Bebito is no doubt hitting it like Jeter as you read this.

Frankie Kazarian and Chris Sabin need to form a tag team called “Future Perfect.”

Those of you that had July 20 on the “when will the Roadmap to Peace get ripped up” please collect your winnings at the ticket window.

Linux may be great, but the GNU C compiler sucks. (at least until I get my data structure issues straightened out with it).

Things I remembered that I hate about online play, which I remembered after playing Madden 2004 online all weekend:

1. Knowing that there is a person, sitting in their home, possibly in their underwear, commenting out loud as to how bad you suck.

2. Getting hammered four times before realizing that you can turn the “ranked game” option OFF.

3. People who read your request to play a non-ranked game, and then go ahead and challenge you to a ranked game.

4. Assholes that run up the score, including calling a timeout with 5 seconds left, when already up by 28 points, just so they can score that one last touchdown.

5. Assholes that use cheats (look, I know the Madden cards are known things, but they’re still chickenshit things to do to complete strangers).

6. Assholes that dive offline (to absolutely NO penalty) as soon as you take the lead in a game.

Look, I took every one of my losses like a man. Six of them I took. My record online is 0-6-1, and I suffered through every second of every loss. My performances ranged from abysmal to just not quite good enough, but I stuck it through (with only a few cheap shots in on the opposing teams’ kicker). No less than three times did people quit the game on me when I had either jumped out to an early lead, or stuffed them on a 4th down in their own territory. Apparently, you can dive out of ranked games without any repercussions whatsoever, which means that all of you ranked players in Madden 2004, the people who may be really, really good; YOUR RANKINGS MEAN SQUAT. Since you can drop out of any game that you’re losing, then losing is itself meaningless. If losing is meaningless, then winning is meaningless, so if anybody ranked in the top 100 wants to show me something, my screen name is Cory411. Just a reminder, I don’t play ranked games anymore.

One exception (and the first guy to take me up on a non-ranked game, and killed me 66-22): “Black King”. He kicked my ass while giving me pointers the whole way. He was honorable about it, and I won’t forget that. I’m finding the pocket a lot better now, dude. Thanks.

QUESTION: What is YOUR online gaming horror story? Tell me. We’ll commiserate.

NEWS

GameDaily.com gives me the news, but I tenderize it and marinate it to give that “special” flavor.

G4, and it’s remora-like attachment to Madden 2004
G4, the videogame network that few have a fewer know about, has attached itself parasite-like to the juggernaut Madden 2004. G4 will follow Madden 2004 as Electronic Arts, drudging up support for its imminent war with Quebec (see last week’s GH) takes the game on a 23 city tour to find the best soldier . . . er . . . player in the nation. (Of course, they do it this way because just looking at the online rankings is MEANINGLESS”¦.ahem). G4 is shooting for being able to fill 530 hours of time with their “Destination Madden” programming. I could break it down by which shows will be featured, but I don’t get G4, and they won’t be likely to be rolling into Wichita, Kansas anytime soon, and I’m still bitter about my online play this weekend, so sod em. If you seriously want some information, check out G4’s website, assuming they could afford the dial-up bill this month. (Okay, that was a little below the belt. I’m hurting, and it’s rubbing off. Let’s move on.)

GBA gets ports of games that inspired the technological breakthrough of 8-bit consoles.
(mailed in from GameDaily.com)
Aspyr Bringing Atari 2600 Titles to GBA
Aspyr Media Inc. will publish an Activision Anthology of Atari 2600 games for the Game Boy Advance in October.
The Anthology is Aspyr’s second GBA release and is the first title the company has internally developed. 55 games in all will be included in the compilation, including such titles as Pitfall 1 & 2, Freeway, Keystone Kapers, Seaquest, River Raid 1 & 2, Spider Fighter and Fishing Derby.
The game has been rated “E” (Everyone). Aspyr licensed the content from Activision, Inc.

But can the GBA capture pitfall in all it’s low-res goodness?

Three people you’ve never heard of paid lots of money by EA
Electronic Arts has begun it’s infiltration of the European socio-economic system by enlisting three prominent soccer, or “football”, players as “spokesmen” for EA’s upcoming FIFA Soccer 2004.

The cover art will feature the three players: Arsenal’s Theirry Henry, Juventus’ Alessandro Del Piero, and Barcelona’s Ronaldhino. The game itself is due out in October for the PS2, PS1, Xbox, GameCube, GBA, PC, Phantom, cell phone, and neural implant. This year’s version includes minor tweaks like including Latin American teams. The game, in total, will feature 18 leagues, 450 teams, and 15,000 players, none of which will be recognizable the majority of U.S. Citzens.

VidTrac Results
The Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) has announced the top renting games for the week ending August 17, 2003.
Here are the top 10:
1. Madden NFL 2004—PS2 – Duh.
2. Enter the Matrix—PS2 – Double Duh.
3. NCAA Football 2004—PS2 – Triple Option Duh
4. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Island Thunder—Xbox – WTF? Something beat Madden for Xbox?
5. Madden NFL 2004—Xbox – Duh.
6. Midnight Club II—PS2 – Must be something special.
7. Downhill Domination—PS2 – Most racing fun since SSX:Tricky.
8. Silent Hill 3—GC – On GameCube? Little kids LIKE being scared? Can we blame this on Bebito and Platt?
9. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic—Xbox – Travesty. Sheer travesty.
10. Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour—GC – Assuredly better than Tiger Woods 2003.

The latest Madden videogame iteration earned an estimated $0.40 million in weekly rental earnings on the PlayStation 2 side, and another $0.18 million on the Xbox platform.

NON-GAME NEWS

I defer my choice to the Plugs, Pimps, and Thanks section (when you get there, you’ll see what I mean).

NOT-SO-DAMN-SERIOUS-NON-GAME NEWS

Something neat for all of my space-program-groupie homies out there, check out Mars tonight or tomorrow night. Thanks to the eccentricities caused by big bro Jupiter, this is the closest that Mars has been to Earth in recorded human history. Under a modest 75x magnification (a gimmie for most telescopes), Mars will look as big as your average full moon. Check out the canals and the “ice caps” for yourself. Go out at 10 or 11 at night for the best viewing. Sometime on Wednesday we reach the closest point, a scant 34.6 million miles. Get those lawn darts ready.

PLUGS, PIMPS, THANKS, and REBUTTAL

Oh, boy. Let’s get this out of the way first.

Hey man, thanks for printing my quip about the Oklahoman Mass Quad Tears. Always nice to receive a tidbit of Internet fame. Anyways, onto the real meat and potatoes…

Proof positive that I own you (either that, or we’re long-lost twins with latent telepathic abilities): below is the email I sent to one Eric S. on Thursday of last week, post-column reading. Recognize the scripture? Great minds think alike, my friend. Glad to know that I wasn’t the only one who immediately thought of Paul’s scathing commentary of the Roman lifestyle.

Kudos for the reference, and God bless.

Jason

He sent Mr. Eric an email featuring Romans 1. For the sake of time and tedium, I’ll only include the paragraph following that caught my attention.

This is the primary thought that comes to mind concerning the condemnation of homosexuality (and, in the same breath, the altar-boy pedophilia that’s rampantly sweeping through our pious Catholic “brethren”). Utilizing the Levitical laws is rather murky, as most people have major issues understanding Old Testament teachings as is. However, I do believe that Paul (not a Saint by name; only for those who believe they need more figureheads within the faith than Christ) is fairly cut-and-dry about the doctrinal position, enough that all who should read this passage should have no problem deriving this. That’s just where I would have gone, though…

I’ll admit that last week wasn’t my finest effort in proofreading, but I have no idea how Jason came up with this conclusion about what I wrote. Of course, I may be dead wrong about the conclusions he came to, so if I am, sir, please accept my humblest apologies. However, assuming I’m NOT wrong:

Let’s be very clear on this point: I don’t believe homosexuality, in and of itself, is a sin. Now, homosexuality has been connected, unfairly, for a long time with a certain mode of operation that one could consider sinful, but that sort of behavior goes on with both heterosexuals and homosexuals. Conversely, the loving, monogamous relationship occurs in both groups as well. Don’t bother showing me everything Paul wrote on the subject. I’ve read it all already.

Now, for the longest time I was probably as stout an anti-homosexual Christian (read: goober) as existed. However, the Lord worked in my life to show me that things are not as cut and dried as they seem. The most notable two events I’ll describe for you here, just so you know where I’m coming from.

First was a lesson in how religion can be misused, even by “God-fearing Christians.” When I was 15, I had friends who invited me to an all-night skating party hosted by a regional Christian youth organization which was purportedly non-denominational, but in practice was primarily Baptist. Under the promise of near-unlimited food and drink, skating, and flirting, I went. The “unlimited” food turned out to be one slice of pizza and about 6 ounces of pop (anything extra you had to buy), and every 2 hours, the organizers made all of the kids stop skating, sit down, and listen to a sermon; fire-and-brimstone, you-ARE-going-to-Hell stuff. We weren’t allowed to lay down on the floor or lean on anything or anybody else during these sermons. By 2 in the morning, people were starting to get pretty f***ed up emotionally, myself included. When I finally got home at 7 the following morning and told my Mom all that went on, she almost called the cops. Between the fatigue of skating all night; the denial of food, drink, and sleep; and the heated rhetoric; the whole lot of us had just had a lesson in Basic Brainwashing; and had it not been for my exceptionally intelligent and caring (Lutheran) mother, I might have been messed up for life.

The second story illustrates how the anti-gay Christians are full of shit. When I was in my third year as an undergrad, I moved in with a couple of friends of mine. One of them was a music performance major, and was one of the best tenors in Wichita State’s opera program. While we were roommates, he came out of the closet. (My friends couldn’t believe that I didn’t know already, and I told them that I didn’t think that much about his sexuality. I was far too busy try to satiate my own.) As time went on, I found out that covering this up for so long had taken quite a toll on him. He was very overweight. He had tried to buy friends when he got to college, thinking that because of his “urges” he was some sort of unlikable monster, and he had rung up a string of bad debts; bad enough that the F.B.I. was investigating him for fraud (no bullshit, they talked to several of our friends about him). His parents took his coming out particularly hard, being from rural Kansas and not understanding what he was going through. When he came out, he told me that if he could turn himself straight he would do it in a heartbeat, because nobody in their right mind would put up with all the trouble if they could simply choose. I eventually moved out, for reasons unconnected with all of this. Some months later, my girlfriend of a couple of years dumped me. The day, the very DAY that it happened, he called up just to see what was going on. We hadn’t talked in months, but I told him what had happened and he told me to meet him downtown for lunch. In the middle of all of the trouble he was trying to deal with, he bought me lunch and listened to me blubber on about this girl and told me that everything was going to be okay. This was in March. In October of that year he committed suicide.

You may or may not (and I really hope it’s not) have heard of Fred Phelps. He’s the Calvinist minister from Topeka, Kansas that has made it his life’s mission to point out to anybody and everybody that will listen that homosexuals are going to Hell. Although, Calvinists believe that God has pre-ordained those that will get into Heaven and everybody else can only try in vain, so why he only seems to focus on homosexuals is beyond me. I can’t pin my friend’s death on Fred, but I can try to pin it on those like him. The anti-gay Christian crowd may be the single worst example of people being stuffed with the letter of the Law and completely empty of the Spirit. These are people who seem content to stand in public and denounce the way other people live their lives (“Judge not, lest ye be judged”) without any sort of acknowledgement of their own sins. Moreover, they apparently feel like they can be as cruel and insulting as possible, and have their venom and ill will sanctified by God. Because homosexuality is apparently a sin (and show me where in the Big 10 that’s a no-no) they think they can blast away with absolutely no regard for a person’s feelings. The only group of people that can possibly understand that level of religious maliciousness are the women who need to be literally escorted through crowds of demonstrators to get into an abortion clinic. Serial killers get treated nicer.

People like this don’t help. I guess that’s what they think they’re doing; maybe they think God sees them and rewards them for trying to enforce the Law. What they end up doing is alienating people, either hardening them such that faith is no longer a viable option for them, or completely stripping them of all hope so that faith is no longer attainable. Either way, they’re hurting the Church more than they’re helping it. My experience with the youth group could have screwed my religious life up irreparably, if some true wisdom and kindness hadn’t intervened. I could have been driven away from Christ, or worse; I could’ve become a mindless religious zombie as well, and that was just one night. Imagine getting hammered on pretty much every day, from all sides, for the rest of your life.

My friend was worn down by that shame. It caused him to do more harm to himself than any sexual behavior he might have exhibited; and let’s be clear, it wasn’t shame from God, it was shame from men. These people should have accepted and embraced him regardless, since all sin is equal in the sight of God, but instead they pushed him away and pointed at him and called him names. They told him he was going to Hell and then went home and beat their children and surfed for porn on the Internet. Personally, I wish I could have had his timing, and called him before he gave up, and told him it would all be okay. He did that much for me, for something as trivial as a breakup. He deserved to have someone do that for him.

So, for those of you that still think homosexuality is a sin, my request is to drop the hypocritical bullshit. Treat gays just like you’d treat anybody else. Invite them to church if you want, don’t act like a goober if they actually come. Accept them for who they are, because face it; on the great sin leader board, we’re all tied up. You’re just as screwed as they are, and as I am, so why make the distinction? Remember, Jesus hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes and did his work by treating them like normal people, not by looking down on them. Even Paul said that salvation comes through faith alone. If they have the faith, then the works will follow, and maybe being gay isn’t such a taboo after all in the eyes of God. That’s His call, not yours.

And if you’re still convinced you’re right in your persecution, don’t do it within earshot of me.

Now something a little lighter, if a little more inflammatory:

I’ve seen “Only the Strong,” and although it is a horrible movie, I nothing against Capoeira, which is the fighting art used in the film. Having said that, Eddy is the cheapest character in fighting game history. Please don’t rant on fighting games unless you are a serious fan. Anyone who can mash buttons can “master” the art of Eddy.
Look at me jkfldsa;jfklasd;jfklas; I’m playing as Eddy niopwguydsghklei

After my completely off-the-cuff remarks about VF last weekend, I decided to give VF4:Evolution a rent and see if I was completely off base. I wasn’t.

By the way, the cheapest character in fighting game history is Jacky from VF4; and NOW I can say this with some experience.

I don’t know if I put a fine enough point on it the last time I brought it up, but Alex Williams, Kid Wonder over there, is a friggin’ GENIUS. I don’t care if you’ll never play any of the games he talks about, read his Cheat! column NOW

Bebito assured me that he didn’t mean to sound that”¦well”¦mean in his monologue about me in last week’s Down-Lo. Right. Gotcha. No hard feelings. All’s fun-and-games here at 411, even though Mr. Jackson probably wouldn’t know a meia lua compasso if it walked up and bit him on the ass. He probably thinks Drunken Monkey Technique is a party skill at your average fraternity.

He told me to cut him good this week to get back at him. Well, this is late, and I’m tired, and I just ran out of wit with the monkey comment, so Bebito, bite me. Hope you’re having a nice anniversary/vacation/drunken monkey technique seminar.

Bryan Berg. Just the name generates hits. How many? Well, let’s just say the Kansas City Royals could really use his help right now. And by the way, I know I blew this last week, so here’s the make up: The Mike Sweeney Suicide Watch is down to 14. 14 wins and Mike Sweeney is the property of the Royals organization for basically the rest of his baseball career, which means the Royals will have a DL spot filled for the foreseeable future.

Lee Baxley provides you with oodles of game and Anime news. Reading that, I’m once again awed by how much information Lee passes on compared to me. What, I put three, four news items in, little ones at that, and he fills pages with game and video release information, personal reviews, etc. If I’m lucky, I find another writer to make fun of, and that’s the distinguishing feature of my column. Thank you, Lee. Thank you for showing me just how bad I suck.

Look, if you’re reading me, you’re already reading Lucard.

Chuck’s new Thumb is out tomorrow. Read last week’s to whet the palate.

LiquidCross is mad. He’s mad a game controllers; and I’ll bet he never had to deal with Odyssey 2 joysticks’ either.

Next week, news as it comes in, a Chiefs preview/411 Madden Tourney wrap-up, and more silliness.

Until then, get some sleep.

-Cory