Thank God It’s Thursday News Report 09.18.03

Hello, and welcome to the Thank God It’s Thursday News Report, the only real reason you have for waking up on Thursdays. I’m Bryan Berg, and I hope you enjoy what we have in store for you here. This should be a good one, so grab a cold one and let’s roll!


Radica
If you’ve never heard of Radica, perhaps you should get your hearing checked. They are the creators of the massively popular “Play TV” series that nobody really seemed to care about. These were pretty neat products that never caught on with the general public.

Anyway, Radica has formed a brand called Gamester that distributes video game peripherals. Their latest creation is a device that allows you to change Game Boy Advance SP titles without actually having to remove the game you’re currently playing! The Gamester Game Changer acts almost as a 4-CD disc changer would, storing three extra GBA games that can be swapped at the press of a button. The Game Changer will cost $9.99 and should be available as we speak.

While this certainly sounds like a neat apparatus, it would be easy to suspect that it negates the “sleek portability” factor that led so many people to buy SP’s to begin with. However, Radica made the most of this situation. The Game Changer snaps on the bottom of the SP and actually has rubber grips on the sides. What this means is that your hands have more room, which means you’ll be less likely to get hand cramps from extended SP playing. For that feature alone, some might find it worth the $10 investment.

With all of the features the Game Changer provides, along with the unbeatable price, this should be a sure-fire hit among GBA fans. You can be certain that you will be seeing many different variations of the same concept, and don’t be surprised if a first-party Nintendo game changer becomes available and kills Radica’s profits. Until then, though, don’t hesitate to give the Game Changer a long look.

Simon and Schuster
Book publishers Simon and Schuster, owners of Simon and Schuster Interactive, have decided to sell off their gaming company, citing that it is not a core unit of their business. As potential buyers line up, the Simon and Schuster Interactive will be finishing Outlaw Golf 2 and The Last Ninja, their final two games on the schedule before the sale takes place.

Recently, we’ve heard news about the rising costs of making games. Could this be one of the first reactions to this? Simon and Schuster is owned by Viacom, who owns about one-third of the entire world. Obviously, money’s not much of an issue for them. But perhaps S&S are trying to get out now before things become too costly. And if a company of this stature decides they don’t want to be in games anymore, and this is the REAL reason, we may see many more large companies selling off their gaming divisions.

F-Zero
On the heels of the successful US release of F-Zero GX, Nintendo is said to be working on a F-Zero title for the Game Boy Advance in Japan. However, this one will be a little different from the other F-Zero games we’ve seen. The new F-Zero will be based on the upcoming Japanese F-Zero Anime series.

How different the game will be from the previous installments of the F-Zero series remains to be seen. It seems as if the game will be nothing more than a launching pad for the marketing of the F-Zero anime series. Then again, the last time Nintendo made a series based on a game, it turned out pretty well…

Mega Man
Folks, we’ve been waiting for this one for a long time.

This week, Capcom announced that it will be releasing the Mega Man Anniversary Collection!!!! The Collection will be available next February for PS2 and GameCube.

So, what will be included? A LOT. Mega Mans (Mega Men?) 1-8 will be appearing, as well as two Mega Man games that we’ve never seen. They are called Mega Man: The Power Battle and Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters. Add that to the eight Mega Man games that we all grew up playing (not to mention various unlockables on the disc), and you’ve got a hell of a compilation!

The Collection is being done to commemorate Mega Man’s 15th anniversary, and it’s looking like the anniversary will be a very happy one. February is shaping up to be a gamer’s paradise, and now we have just one more reason to look forward to it.

X-Box
Last year, Microsoft packaged two games with the X-Box for the holiday season, keeping the price the same. This move helped the X-Box to become the #2 console in the United States. This year, they’re trying their luck again, this time with a little help from X-Box Live.

Microsoft is offering the X-Box, a two-month trial subscription to X-Box Live, Tetris Worlds, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars all for $179 (what it was going for with nothing free). This move comes in response to the announcement of Sony’s holiday bundle, which heavily features the PS2 Network Adapter. To further facilitate the proliferation of X-Box Live, Microsoft is marking down their headsets to $29.99.

Microsoft is very smart to focus on its strengths (i.e. X-Box Live) here. Not only does it negate any advantage Sony might have had with its online-heavy bundling strategy, it also shows off the best reason to own an X-Box. If the future of gaming lies online, Microsoft will certainly lead the way. This bundle is a great way to get people on the bandwagon.


Plugs
Gold
Liquidcross – The Angry Gamer. I’m so buying a Dreamcast once Payday rolls around.
Anyways, you can’t deny the staying power of the DC’s library, especially since countless titles have been ported to newer consoles; and badly, I might add.

Silver
Frederick Badlissi – The Gamer’s Conscience. This column contains what might be one of the greatest ideas ever had by anybody.
Call it optimism if you wish, but wouldn’t it be damned cool to see a gaming world with something like an art-house community of developers? How great would it be to see the gaming equivalent of Clerks, something so irreverent that most major studios wouldn’t even touch it, show up on a Saturn?

Bronze
Chuck Platt – A Thumb to the Eye. Forget about thanking God it’s Thursday. Thank God that you’re privy to the demented mind of one Mr. Charles Platt.
The ‘Plush Matrix System’ will allow you to play as fully 3-D puppets without the agony of strings and/ or sticks, having to be underneath said puppet to control it, and will enable you to do unpuppety things, like swimming. ‘Puppet Shading’ would be the wave of the future.

Best of the Rest
Lee Baxley – Hump Day Otaku News Report. Lee brings the content this week in a major way. This is what he can do when he’s able to focus his efforts on one thing, as opposed to reviewing every football game ever made. Excellent work.
Sure there’s Bomberman and Simon Belmont, but then there’s also Master Higgins from the Adventure Island series. I really don’t wanna play as a guy with a diaper and baseball cap who throws tomahawks around.

Rest of the Best
Jeff Watson – Friday’s Slice O’ News. Jeff throws in his two cents on the GTA shooting incident. But Jeff, the difference here is that the kids ADMITTED that GTA influenced them. It’s not implied anymore. It’s legitimate. THAT’S the difference between this and your average case.
Come on people, get a f*cking clue! Smack the dumbass in the head for even trying to blame video games and throw their ass in jail. Better yet, how about suing the parents of the morons, after all the parents should have had some clue as to what the little shits were up to. In this day and age, it is getting sad that everyone is looking to blame someone else for their own action.

Alex Lucard – Retrograding Mailbag. In this very special Mailbag, Alex discusses Soul Calibur 2 and the Underworld lawsuit, which he somehow got in the middle of. He also responds to your e-mails and insults you in the process.
Man I’m calling everyone bastards today. Sorry about that.

Cory Laflin – Gamer’s Hangover News Report. Dude, I’m from New YORK, not New Jersey! Actually, I grew up and live in the same town Billy Joel grew up in (Hicksville); we went to the same elementary (Fork Lane) and middle school (Hicksville Middle School), and had the same third grade teacher (Mrs. Grib). Pretty cool, eh?
I wonder if they’ll include the 91 Escort, and if they do if they’ll bother to model the alternator burning out every two weeks.

Jeff Watson – Aliens vs. Predator: Extinction. They’re still making these games? Wow…
With such a license as Aliens versus Predator, it is really a shame that more time wasn’t spent to correct the shortcomings of this game.

Chuck Platt – Soul Calibur II. Chuck got all kinds of heat for this review, just because he didn’t give it a 10/10. Chuck stood by his review, though, which earns him major points in my book. The controller bit might be the funniest thing I’ve ever read.
And as soon as the little red light on your GameCube goes out, you will have forgotten your time with Soul Calibur II. For all it’s beauty and all it’s skillful execution, this Soul has no heart.

Alex Lucard – F-Zero GX. The long-awaited GameCube F-Zero game ends up in the hands of HBK himself, Alex Lucard! See what he has to say about this one.
Do I like having to race gazillions of times to get enough tickets to unlock story mode bits? I’d rather get the clap from a she-male.

Cory Laflin – Downhill Domination. This game almost sounds like a cross between Mario Kart and ESPN Extreme Games (remember that one from the PS One’s launch?).
Even the cows looked great in this game.

Cory Laflin – ESPN NFL Football. Cory’s THIRD piece this week! Wow. Very Lucardian. And, of course, all three are excellent.
The first thing I thought of listening to the commentary was that they’d resurrected the speech pattern from from Joe Montana Sportstalk Football.


Commentary of the Week
Before I start the Commentary (you asked for it, Lee), here’s the usual football stuff. Sunday, we saw what the Jets offense CAN look like if it’s executed properly. You can blame the loss on a lot of people; Vinny Testaverde is not one of these people. The running game is terrible – again, Curtis Martin didn’t play in the preseason. He’s just getting started, and his team’s 0-2. That’s got to change. Either coaches have to actually play their guys in the preseason, or shorten the preseason so that coaches are forced to play them.

On the Fantasy front… in the Yahoo 411 league, I won again! I’m 2-0. As for Sportsline… that’s a different story. Here’s the scenario. It’s about 5 PM and I’m up by 6 or so points. Matt Hasselbeck is my QB, and Seattle is playing a very weak Arizona team. He’s already run for a TD. Upon checking out my team, I see that Hasselbeck has thrown for two TD’s of 55 and 66 yards respectively. However, I then see that I’m now losing the matchup by 10 points. Why? Hasselbeck threw these passes to Darrell Jackson, who just happens to be on my opponent’s Fantasy team! ARGH. I end up with the 4th highest point total in my league, but lose. That happens WAY too much.

By the way, I just found out that CBS Sportsline does actual previews for your games. I’m favored by 6 this weekend. I was favored last weekend, too, and obviously THAT turned out well…

———

This past month or so has been something of a Dreamcast Appreciation Month here at 411 Games. Most of our writers have touched on Dreamcast-related items, be it the 4-year anniversary of the system’s release, companies putting out Dreamcast games now, or what have you. In all of these commentaries, you’ve seen the Dreamcast referred to as a “classic system”.

Is the Dreamcast really a “classic system”? In the sense that it’s not being made anymore, yes, it’s a classic system. But can it really be placed on the high pedestal along with the Genesis, Super Nintendo, and NES? I’ll have to say “no” to that one.

The Dreamcast is the classic example of something that’s wholly underappreciated while it’s here, yet is revered upon its dismissal. So, how did the Dreamcast go from being the first “next-generation” system, to the system that had to be sold at $50, to the system that gamers have such reverence for?

This is a question I don’t know the answer to. I’m really curious to find out. So I will open it up to you guys to see what the story is. E-mail me your thoughts and next week, I’ll post responses and answer this question.


Bye
Another TGIT has drawn to a close, and I hope it’s been an enjoyable ride. Everybody should be checking in with their usual great stuff, so be sure to come back to 411 Games often to see what they’ve come up with. See you next week!