Thank God It’s Thursday News Report 08.28.03

If you’re looking for video game news, look no further! Welcome to the Thank God It’s Thursday News Report. I’m Bryan Berg, and I have nothing original to write in this opening paragraph. So I’ll just start the video game news portion of this column and shut up! Of course, there’s nothing really to report, but that’s nothing new…


Survey Time
No, I’m not stealing a Lee Baxley trademark.

The ESA (Entertainment Software Association) researches the demographic information of gamers, and their recent report has shown some very interesting results. VERY interesting.

The first thing you won’t believe – the percentage of total gamers that are aged 50 and over is SEVENTEEN percent. When you consider that no games are marketed at any group near this age, the general fear of technology among the older guard, and a purported lack of video game knowledge in older people, this number is astounding. One in six gamers is over fifty. Who would have thought?

The study goes on to give some fascinating numbers on female gamers. 26 percent of all gamers are women over 18, another statistic you might not have guessed. Again, the trend in video game marketing is to go after the teenage male demographic. That females are finding these male-oriented games has to be a good sign for game companies. However, studies have shown that women tend to prefer the more “mature” games as opposed to the typical Barbie/Mary Kate and Ashley fare that most people believe these women to be playing. Girls aged 6 to 17 account for 12 percent of all gamers, which draws an interesting parallel to the 50-plus crowd, who actually comprises a larger percentage of the gaming population than the younger girls.

Not surprisingly, the largest percentage was males 18 and over, who are 38 percent of all gamers. Boys who are 6-17 account for 21 percent. Overall, the average gamer’s age is 29, which should defeat any notions that video games are for kids.

This is one of the more interesting statistical surveys to come out in some time. It proves that the face of the gaming climate is changing. Games aren’t just kid stuff anymore. Our parents are playing these games in huge numbers. Our girlfriends are, too. The industry-wide growth that we have seen in video games is nothing short of amazing, and it’s a credit to everybody involved that it’s reached this point. The scary thing is, these numbers can only get better – that is, more diverse and wide-ranging, which means more people get to enjoy these great games.

Electronic Arts
Count Electronic Arts among the companies who will be providing the N-Gage with titles when the handheld system is released this winter. EA plans to have games for the N-Gage available at the time of the system’s launch.

This is a decent coup for Nokia for two reasons. First, it lends some credibility to the system, as it has the world’s biggest sports game company making games for it. Secondly, it means that EA isn’t exclusive to the GBA anymore. That may put a dent in Nintendo’s sports game market share. Not that handheld sports games are huge sellers, but Nokia can use every advantage it can get in marketing its
N-Gage.


Plugs
Gold
Frederick Badlissi – The Gamer’s Conscience. Frederick Badlissi – the man who posts awesome columns, then disappears for two months.
While other game developers of the time put elements of plausibility into their works (arguably… because there is always a psycho-retentive contingent of sticklers out there) like Mega Man or Contra, the Big N really tossed all elements of realism into the air when the came up with the concept of a plumber saving a princess from a giant turtle. A GIANT FREAKING TURTLE.

Silver
Alex Lucard – Retrograding/Retrograding Mailbag. Alex Lucard – the man who loves the Dreamcast.
If the new systems aren’t good enough to release games on, then screw it and take it to an old one. Reward those that kept the older systems. You’ll still make money if you market it right, and you’ll please your core fan base.

Bronze
Lee Baxley – Hump Day Otaku News Report. Lee Baxley – The Bad Guy.
Well, if you want to download a 2-4 CD game on DIAL UP, you’re welcome to, but I for one know how long it takes to download a game of that size, and it takes a long ass time on broadband anyway.

Best of the Rest
Liquidcross – The Angry Gamer. Liquidcross – the man who craves control.
Anyone who says a controller shouldn’t have any impact on the game they’re playing is foolish. In many cases, the controller can make or break a game.

Rest of the Best
Jeff Watson – Friday’s Slice O’ News. Jeff Watson – the man who hates music games.
That is just how I feel. Give me a pathetic rehash if you must, but damn the music game.

Cory Laflin – Gamer’s Hangover. Cory Laflin – the man who hates playing Madden online.
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.

Chuck Platt – A Thumb to the Eye. Chuck Platt – the man who loves him some NES action.
Two buttons provided all the control you needed and they worked flawlessly. In the end, Tecmo Bowl, was the quintessential 8- Bit football game, if not sports as a whole, and made a plethora of great gaming memories.

Eric S. – Game News, Opinions, Etc.. Eric S. – the man who hates consoles.
Most game companies don’t deserve to survive anyway. If EA should close up tomorrow, I, for one, would be standing in line to piss on the grave.

Alex Williams – Cheat!. Alex Williams – the man who started school a week earlier than me (HAHAHAHAHA).
For those who are wondering, yes, I’m phoning in my performance this week. Literally, too.

Eric S. – Tron 2.0. Eric S. – the man who’s not even a Games writer, yet contributes more than half of the Games staff does.
Memo to software houses: if you want me to stop promoting piracy of your products, start providing me with review copies.

Jeff Watson – Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Island Thunder. Jeff Watson – the man who appreciates quality multi-player gaming.
Island Thunder offers a solid but short single player game campaign. What will keep you playing is the multiplayer modes. I would say this is a game to buy.

Alex Williams – Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution. Alex Williams – the man who convinced me to buy Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution.
This is the best fighting game you can find on the PS2 for twenty bucks. No, scratch that. This is the best fighting game you can find on the PS2 PERIOD.

Non-411 Games Link of the Week
I was surfing around some workout sites and came across this very funny column on gym stereotypes. You’ve most likely encountered most of these people in your lifetimes. Now, when you see them again, they’ll be even funnier! Check out the link, as it’s a very good read.

CD of the Week
Metallica – …And Justice For All. This album came in a period where Metallica was growing in popularity, but had just lost their bassist who died in a tragic auto accident. Metallica responded with …And Justice For All, a 9-song, 65-minute epic that features the band’s most complex songs and playing yet. When it was released in 1988, the album hit #6 on the Billboard charts… with no radio airplay and no video for MTV. Some would say that this was the last great Metallica album. They may be right, they may be wrong, but …And Justice For All was definitely great.


Commentary of the Week
This week, while preparing for a fantasy football draft, the first thing I did was eliminate any holdouts who missed significant camp time from consideration. Why any professional athlete would want to hold out is beyond comprehension. Yet, we see it happening today maybe more than ever.

Holding out hurts everybody involved. First, it affects the team in a major way. When you’re an athlete and you’re on a team, your goal should be to win a championship. It should not be to make money. So if you hold out, you miss time with your team, which makes your team weaker. How does that help you win a championship?

Perhaps even more significant is the holdout’s effect on the player holding out. Try to think of one instance where a player has had a career year after holding out. You’ll be thinking for a long time, because it never happens. Holding out not only means you don’t get to practice, but you don’t play in exhibition games, either. Then, you’re stuck into regular season games and everyone is running circles around you. This makes you look bad because you held out for all of this money and now you’re playing like crap. The fans turn against you because you’re not delivering after receiving your big-money deal. And once the fans turn on you, things can get really uncomfortable.

This offseason, we had a number of holdouts. A few of them were exceptionally ridiculous. Here are the ones that were most irksome.
– Duce Staley. You have a contract. You play for a Super Bowl contending team who has fallen just short the past two years. And now you’re going to jeopardize the chances of getting back there? That’s shameful.
– Byron Leftwich/Kyle Boller. Both of these guys are entering situations where the current quarterback is easily replaceable. What’s the best thing for them to do? Hold out, of course. Way to remove any chance of starting before December, guys.
– Willis McGahee. So here’s a player who got hurt badly in his final college game. He gets taken in the first round by a team that already has a solid running back. Then, he holds out. Could he have made any worse impression on Buffalo’s management? They went out on a limb to get him, alienating the solid running back, and this is how they’re repaid. ARGH.

It’s really frustrating to watch all of this transpire with no voice of reason. When the Jets opened camp this year, only four of the 32 first-round picks had signed. That’s just ridiculous. Players should WANT to sign. Isn’t it the dream of every player to go to the NFL? If so, why is there so much greed?


Bye
Before I go, I’d just like to wish the Jets the best of luck this season without Chad Pennington. Not that it can’t be done; it’s just not looking very good right about now. Hopefully, the Jets will find the answer.

I’ll be back on the NFL’s opening day (next Thursday) with more gaming insight/news. Till then, enjoy the rest of our fine writing staff and let them know how much you love them! Thanks for reading.