Gamer’s Hangover 09.01.03

Quasi-Random Thoughts

As of Friday morning, the picture of Britney Spears and Madonna French Kissing had officially jumped the shark. When ESPN is using it, it’s overused. Besides, who wants to watch Britney Spears kiss a middle-aged Italian woman, anyway?

Wrap-up of the 411 Madden Tourney: There wasn’t one. Seriously. We got 13 of the 16 involved to log in, apparently couldn’t get the rest, and I guess the bleeding thing was called off. Apologies to those of you who signed up, if Pankonin hasn’t said that to you already.

Assuming the 2-year height rule works, and assuming his current rate of growth continues until his second birthday, my son should top out near 7 feet tall. He has his own curve on the height chart. I’m expecting scouting calls from K.U. this week, that is if the Lakers don’t talk to him first.

As of Saturday night, as I write this, the lead story on ESPN Gamer is one of their cookie-cutter reviews”¦.of two FISHING games. First big weekend of NCAA football season and they’re talking fishing games.

Picked up Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds this last week. Sweet. They really fixed the facial models, the action is slayer-ific, and the dialogue is still pure Joss Whedon. Also, for you Buffy fans out there, the game is worth picking up and playing just to unlock the extra interview segments alone.

In a similar vein, “Angel: Season 2″ is out on DVD on Tuesday.

Is there a more exciting play to watch in all of football than a blocked punt? The speed, the barely-in-control body mechanics, the chaos, it’s breathtaking.

If you’re like me, you watch an awful lot of Cartoon Network. There’s a spot for a Christian rock album collection that runs, oh, about 3,000 times per day on that channel, and every time I see it, I’m reminded of just why I don’t like Christian rock.

I don’t object to the message at all, let’s be clear there. What I object to is the complete and utter lack of imagination that goes into most Christian rock. Let’s put it this way, if the song bits they feature in that commercial are the best bits of the best songs, I have absolutely no desire to buy that record collection. The next time that commercial runs, listen to the lyrics. It’s like they opened up Psalms to a random page, stuck their finger down and said, we’ll just put THAT to music.

And as I write this, guess what commercial is on. I’m not kidding.

The upside, Cartoon Network is running an episode of “Toon Heads” featuring cartoons containing Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.

What will I be doing Labor Day, as close to nothing as I can, although that is going to involve hauling several hundred pounds of frozen beef from Clay Center to Wichita; and Eric Szulczewski stirs uneasily in his sleep.

News

Most of this stuff is from GameDaily.com. A name you can trust.

Aerospace Engineers Build Weapons, Civil Engineers Build Targets
Garage Games has announced it’s title Bridge Contrustion Set, which you may have previously heard of under the name Pontifex II, is available for purchase on their website.
The game, which comes in Windows and Linux-friendly versions, sells for $19.95 and allows users to build and explore (?) bridges in 3D. Coming soon to an engineering computer lab near you.

Halo STILL Doesn’t Exist
As I was wandering my favorite Hollywood Video store this week, I noticed that the box for the fictional game Halo actually had a rental behind it. I thought for a second, and decided that for the sake of journalistic integrity, I would drop the six bucks and rent it. When I put it in the Xbox, do you know what happened? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. The screen remained blank. The Xbox whirred and whirred. I pulled the disc out and examined the play side. It looked as though someone had used it to clean rust off of his or her bumper. Therefore, Halo still doesn’t exist; and I’m more convinced now than ever before.

Well, We All Know What Lucard Is Doing This Weekend
Nintendo has released Pokemon Pinball: Ruby and Sapphire for the GBA.

Rockstar Makes A Gritty, Street Smart Game? Go On!
Rockstar Games has up a website for it’s upcoming title Manhunt. due out November 19 for the PS2. The format of the website is mildly to moderately annoying, starting with a sort of grainy, TV-ish intro that you can’t fast forward through. The story reads like something out of “The Most Dangerous Game” with you being the prey in some sort of bloodsport. Neat idea. Not exactly what I’d be buying little Timmy for Christmas. Check out the site: http://www.rockstargames.com/manhunt/main.html . There are some impressive stills but I have to say the overall feel lacks the lighthearted fun of a GTA title.

Microsoft Obtains OK For Wireless Internet Adapter For Xbox. GPS Coordinates To Be Stored In Renton For “Security Purposes.”
Thursday, the FCC granted permission to Microsoft to produce a wireless internet adapter for the Xbox. A device Microsoft hasn’t officially announced yet. Apparently there are no details available, a launch date has not been set, and the pictures available of the “device” on the website are not real, anyway. Not at all. And there hasn’t been a final price set yet. Nope. Even though Cisco already produces a wireless internet adapter for consoles that retails for about $100. There’s no indication that Microsoft will use it’s marketing machine, draconian work culture, and predatory business practices to beat that price point into the ground. Absolutely none. No adapter, no pics, no price, nothing.

But the FCC approved it.

I Just Really Like This Title: Japan’s Takara To By 52% Stake In Broccoli
Japanese toy maker Takara Co. Ltd has announced that it would buy a 51.6% share of character goods developer Broccoli Co. Ltd.

“The investment in Broccoli, which is strong in developing unique characters, fits with our strategy to strengthen our contents business and to widen our business portfolio to areas that could see synergy with toy sales,” a Takara official said Friday.

Broccoli and Takara already have ties stemming from the development of the GBA videogame version of Takara’s Beyblade toy, and selling the toys at Broccoli shops.

I have a new slogan for them, “Kids Love Broccoli.”

Non-Game News

I’m mailing this in from ESPN.com, just so you know I’m not making this stuff up:

Romanowski Fined, Suspended For Fight
ALAMEDA, Calif. — Raiders linebacker Bill Romanowski was suspended from Monday’s practice and fined an undisclosed amount after punching and seriously injuring teammate Marcus Williams during a fight in practice a day earlier.
Williams’ left orbital bone was broken and his nose was damaged, coach Bill Callahan said. Williams reportedly lost a tooth, as well.
“It doesn’t matter who it is,” Callahan said when asked whether he was disappointed in Romanowski. “When it gets to that severity, I’m going to level a discipline. It goes beyond the game. Once it’s beyond the respect and dignity of a player, it’s a tragedy.”
Williams, who was a 14-game backup last year, will be sidelined four-to-six weeks, which puts the Raiders in position of reaching an injury settlement with him, ESPN’s John Clayton reports. Williams is scheduled to make a base salary of $300,000.
Williams’ agent, Lee Kolligian, told the San Francisco Chronicle that his client filed a report with Alameda police after the incident, but Alameda Police Lt. Jim Brock told the newspaper that his department would not pursue the matter after speaking with Williams on Monday afternoon. Following a phone conversation with Callahan on Sunday night, Williams told the investigator he did not want to pursue a criminal complaint against Romanowski.
“He said he kind of overreacted [by calling the police],” Brock told the Chronicle on Monday. “He said he wanted to keep it on the field. As far as we’re concerned, the case is closed.”
On The Dan Patrick Show on ESPN Radio on Tuesday, Kolligian did not rule out the possibility of Williams eventually pressing charges.
Williams underwent several tests at a local hospital before being released Sunday night.
“I believe we’re more concerned with Marcus’ health right now and how he comes out of it the next few days,” Kolligian told the Chronicle. “I’m hoping there isn’t any permanent damage to him. After that, we’ll have to see the extent of his damages and how he feels.”
Callahan met with Romanowski for three hours on Monday night after practice. Romanowski didn’t speak with reporters as he drove up to the team’s training complex.
Romanowski is entering his 16th NFL season and second with the Raiders, who signed him as a free agent before their run to the AFC championship last fall. He has appeared in five Super Bowls and played in 240 consecutive regular-season games.
He was second on the team in tackles last year while helping Oakland’s defense improve to fourth overall against the run.
But Romanowski has a long history of violent scrapes with opponents and others. One of his more well-publicized incidents came in December 1997, when he spit in the face of San Francisco 49ers receiver J.J. Stokes while playing for the Denver Broncos in a nationally televised game.
Romanowski was fined $7,500 by the NFL — one of several fines for his behavior during his career.
Williams is in his second year with Oakland after playing in 13 games as an undrafted free agent last season. He played primarily on special teams last season, but was trying to earn a more regular position this year.
“I talked about fighting on the first day of training camp,” Callahan said. “It’s an intolerable offense. I think everybody understands how I feel. I’m really disappointed. It was really an unfortunate incident that kind of took the edge off practice.”

Let’s look at Romo’s rap sheet, shall we:

1995 — Kicked Arizona RB Larry Centers in the head. Fine: $4,500.
1997 — Broke NYG QB Kerry Collins’ jaw. Fine: $20,000.
1997 — Spit on S.F. WR J.J. Stokes. Fine: $7,500.
1999 — Punched K.C. TE Tony Gonzalez in the head. Fine: $10,000.
1999 — Illegal hit on T.B. QB Trent Dilfer. Fine: $10,000.
1999 — Illegal hit on Jacksonville RB Fred Taylor. Fine: $15,000.
2001 — Late hit on Oakland TE Roland Williams. Fine: $7,500.
2002 — Ripped the helmet off of Tennessee RB Eddie George. Fine: $5,000.

Total fines: $79,500.

Three counts of blatant assault, three counts of either blatant assault or unallowably bad play, one instance of either attempted assault or unallowably bad sportsmanship, and one instance of proof that the man is just a jerk. The man has been fined more than me and my wife, combined, make in a year, and looking at the crimes, I think even that is a little light.

Other than this, Romanowski is so paranoid about losing his edge that he takes over 100 different “nutritional” supplements a day and pays somebody to analyze his feces to make sure his nutrition is optimal. I’m not kidding. He’s been tried (and, unfortunately, acquitted) of trafficking in controlled substances (diet pills) as has his wife. He’s switched teams several times, always just so he can get another Super Bowl ring, and every team he joins he intimidates the coaching staff and the front office so bad that he gets away with crap like this.

Oh yeah, and he’s a danger to everyone out on the field with him. Wait, not everyone. I notice there aren’t any offensive linemen on the victim sheet. Bully.

Note to any NFL offensive players: If anybody decides to cheapshot Romo bad enough that he gets put on the shelf for the rest of the season, I will start a fund to help offset the cost of the fine. I’m serious. Besides, you’d probably only get fined 5 minutes sitting “time out” in the corner for taking Romo out anyway.

I like to think that I have the proper perspective when it comes to sports rivalry. Yes, I hold grudges and a feed them and take care of them, but there’s nothing personal about it, at least when it comes to sports. I rooted for the Celtics for years, but I’d love to hang out with Magic Johnson if I got the chance. Great player. John Elway has been a thorn in my side for almost my entire tenure as a Chiefs fan, but I’d love to chat with him too. Outside of the game, I would almost any professional athlete with the respect I treat any other of my fellow human beings.

I say almost, Romo is a different case. If I ever met the man in person I’d be hard pressed to keep from working up the biggest, nastiest, food-particle-est, “F*** J.J. Stokes, this is for me” loogie and putting it right between his beady, soulless, unrepentant eyes. And if I did do that, I would hope that he would take a swing at me, because then he couldn’t hide behind a facemask and that childish “heat of the moment” bullshit. He’d be guilty of assault, and would go to jail, where he belongs.

This escapist fantasy brought to you by the start of the NFL season. Anyway, I’m none too fond of Bill Romanowski. Because of him, I not only wish EA would put the ability to injure players after the play back into Madden, but let offensive players do it to defensive players too.

Not-So-Damn-Serious-Non-Game News

I was going to do a Chiefs preview, but since the only person in Kansas City that I know reads me is Platt, I’ve decided to put a Games twist on it. Witness the first, and I believe only, Chiefs preview judged vs. their Madden counterparts:

QB: Trent’s knee is healed, and we have nothing to expect but more goodness out of Mr. Green, if Madden is to be believed. Easily the easiest time I’ve ever had passing in a Madden game. Although considering the Chiefs QB’s I’ve had to work with as of late, that’s not saying much. I’m sure that Real Trent can read safeties far better than I can, so I doubt he’ll have even half of the interceptions I’ve racked up. The only concern, whether playing Madden or watching in real life, is that he stays healthy, because your backup is Todd Collins, a man who has made a 7-year career, and been quite happy about it, warming up a particular section of the Chiefs bench. Advantage: Real Trent.

RB: Okay, I’m probably just the worst rusher in the history of Madden, but c’mon, it’s Priest Holmes! EA, you guys have him rated at a 97 overall, but I can’t manage to average any better than 2 yards per carry, and I have yet to break a big running play with him on the All-Pro setting. Matter of fact, the best plays I get out of him are passes. In that respect, you got things right. The man has hands. The thing is, he has feet too. Advantage: Real Priest.

WR: Smartest-Man-In-The-NFL-Eddie-Kennison over the middle? Check. Morton to the outside? Check. Boerighter being the secret weapon stud in the slot who catches all the TD passes? Check. I’m gonna like this season. Advantage: Push.

TE: Tony Gonzalez plays like a god in this game, and if he can get Romo out of his head, that should be just about right. Advantage: Push.

OL: Okay, I’ll admit to being a little shaky in the pocket. Not Todd Collins shaky, but just a little nervous. Still, if you have what is widely regarded as the best offensive line in the NFL, you’d think you’d get another second or to two to throw the damn ball! One thing they did get right, however: when something goes wrong, it’s always John Tait’s fault. Advantage: Real Chiefs OL.

DL: Nitpicking time. Vonnie Holliday is good and they made Eric Hicks more sprightly than they have any right to do, but no R-Kal Truluck. The guy is going to scare people witless with his speed on 3rd downs this year. Okay, so he was a practice squad flunkie until training camp, so they couldn’t have known. Their loss. Advantage: R-Kal Truluck.

LB: Another problem with the Madden 2004 Chiefs: Lew Bush is no longer with the team. This little fact gives me no end of joy, as Mr. Bush traveled at the speed of congressional debate. Barber on the strong side, Maz in the middle where he belongs, and my main man Scott Fujita on the weak side. Another thing, I think Fujita’s overall rating is 67, but his speed and agility are so high that he plays like he’s in the mid to upper 80’s. My prediction is that he’ll make his first Pro Bowl in this, his 2nd year. Advantage: Scott Fujita’s ego, for now.

DB: Ech. The safeties are shored up with the return of Jerome Woods and Glen Wesley returning to his normal position, and Eric Warfield has shown some brilliance both in the preseason (staying step-for-step with Randy Moss) and in Madden 2004 (making several interceptions for me). The big weakness, in both cases, is the other corner, William Bartee. The guy is physically gifted, but has the awareness of a jar of peanut butter. Still, with me controlling him he’s good at picking off the ball, just not doing anything else. All-in-all the pass defense is better. I’ve even been able to put some stands together with the nickel defense, and I’m not sure how closely that’ll approximate reality. Advantage: Video DBs. (barely)

K: Look, I don’t care how badly I screw up the timing. I should be able to be on quaaludes and make a 30-yarder with Morten Andersen. Advantage: Real Mort.

P: Kind of a crapshoot here, since nobody really could guess who’s going to be the Chiefs punter, and Araguz is actually pretty good when you put the mark in the little yellow box. You’ll have to forgive me, I’m still missing the salad days of Louis Aguiar. Advantage: Video Araguz.

P/KR: I’ve only broken one, ONE kickoff for a touchdown (instrumental in my FIRST online win), and most of the time I can’t get past the 20. I’ll admit that I probably suck at reading the coverage, but it’s Dante Hall for cryin’ out loud! He was a Pro Bowler last year! Maybe I should just let him drive himself. Advantage: Real Dante.

My prediction for the Real Chiefs: 11-5, just missing the AFC West title, but getting a wild-card spot. Beyond that I won’t touch. My prediction for the Madden Chiefs: 16-0 and a Super Bowl win, and I’ll keep resetting the game until that happens.

Plugs, Pimps, and Thanks

First of all, I’m going to break an unwritten rule of the GH and not post a couple of e-mails that I got on the rather serious topic I clarified my position on last weekend. It’s not that they were terribly biased or heated, quite the opposite. I received an e-mail in support of my position, and one rebutting my position, and both were very well written and very calm and collected in their manner. The problem is that of forum.

I don’t want this to become some sort of debate floor for that sort of deep, divisive topic. I know, I was perfectly willing to throw my own two cents in but I won’t let others have their say? Well, it’s really not like that. First of all everybody has their own opinion on the topic and most everybody is going to be unbending on that opinion, so rehashing the two sides serves no purpose (although in this instance it might by showing that people from both sides can state their cases calmly, intelligently, and with respect). Second, and perhaps more importantly, this is a game column. It’s supposed to be fun. You didn’t come to 411Games to read about social issues, you came to read about games, because life can be a downer and games are something fun to make your stay on Earth more enjoyable.

So thanks for the support even if that support was spirited debate. God bless, and let’s get back to the fun.

A little birdie told me that GameDaily screwed up last week with their weekly game lists. What was wrong? Apparently Silent Hill 3 is a PS2 exclusive release. If you remember, I made a big deal about SH3 being the most rented GameCube game, beating out Mario Golf. So it turns out that Mario Golf was, in fact, the most rented GC game of the week back then. Everything makes sense again. I’ll get off the roof now. Thanks to Polecat for the assist.

Berg got screwed out of some face time last week due to problems with our fearless leader’s computer. If you thought he took a vacation this week, he didn’t so read him now. He talks about the shift in gamer demographics, why EA may have saved N-Gage’s bacon, and the heartbreak of pro athlete’s holding out of training camp. I offer condolences to Mr. Berg on the departure, for the foreseeable future, of Jets QB Chad Pennington.

The only reason I didn’t pimp Freddie last week was because I hadn’t read him yet. I did. You should too, especially you incoming college freshmen (Williams) pondering the big questions of life like, “What was Nintendo smoking when it came up with the idea of Super Mario Bros.” Recipes aren’t included, but I’m sure Fred would provide you with some, if you’re serious about being a video game innovator.

Platt, Techmo Bowl is the yardstick upon which ALL multiplayer football games should be judged. Idiot-proof, but still remarkably flexible, it probably caused me to lose more sleep back in the day than any other NES game.

Baxley puts two and two together and comes up with some rather interesting news on some upcoming Square-Enix titles, and some retro-type reviews, all with Lucard’s blessing, of course.

Speaking of the other half of the Baxley-Lucard Transpacific Goodwill Association, Alex claims to have writer’s block, yet still comes out with a better news report than I can dream of. Lotsa news, great commentary, and some real emotion out there. I wouldn’t mind having one of Alex’s bad writing days.

Two words that will make you run out and read Williams this week and forevermore: Baboon porn.

I have it on good authority that LiquidCross has most, if not ALL, of the stuff he talks about in this week’s column. If that’s the case, then why is he so angry? He has all the toys, is he just filled with righteous indignation that nobody else can get the toys? Is he that socially conscious? No, because if he was, he’d be sharing the toys instead of saying, “Look what you can’t get (but I already have).” He’s gloating, I tell you!

C-Pank has his computer back in order and is kicking ass. Also, I’d like to welcome the feeling of self-worth back to ALL Nebraskans after their football team actually won this last weekend against a ranked Oklahoma State team. My guess is that suicide rates in the state will plummet (pardon the pun) for at least another week.

Bebito is back from the luv-fest, rested, relaxed, and ready. Strap in, folks. The Down-Lo returns TOMORROW.

Next week, a recap of the social event of the year in Wichita that’s not named the River Festival: Zoobilee! Also, if I remember, I’ll explain why Chiefs WR Eddie Kennison is the Smartest Man In The NFL. News and ranting always come standard. Check your warranty for details.

Until then, get some sleep.

-Cory