Gamer’s Hangover News Report 09.29.03

Got your coffee? Pepsi? Mountain Dew laced with no-doze pills and chased with Krispy Kremes? If so, pass me a donut and two aspirin. I o.d.’d on Raw 2 and Simpsons’ Hit & Run this weekend. Also saw a couple of movies, and watched some football; so, of course, this column is late. As I asked Pankonin earlier this evening: If something comes in at a consistent time, is it actually late? Maybe he should just set my due time to 2:00 a.m. He could sleep easier and I could claim to be on time.

As the late, great Douglas Adams said, “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they blow past.”

Quasi-random thoughts:

One of these days I’m going to do a column completely based on quotes from the movie Super Troopers. Just so you know. “I am all that is man!”

Chiefs winning ugly on the road. Hmmm. A tight win on the road against the Baltimore defense. Yep. I’ll take it.

That clicking sound you hear is fantasy players all over the world checking to see if anybody in their league has Dante Hall.

Okay, I’ll admit that I thought that Christopher Guest and company were getting into a rut with their “mockumentaries” but then I saw A Mighty Wind. It’s far more touching than any of their previous movies, but just as absurd and funny and completely mad. Imagine Spinal Tap as a folk music group and you’ve got the gist.

The Rundown is absurd, overproduced, farcical, contrived, funny, and one of the most fun movies I’ve seen in quite a while. The Over/Under on how many more movies Dewey makes before he stops giving Vince McMahon a cut by using his wrestling moniker is at 2. I’m taking the Under.

Proving that there is some sort of divine being, the worst team in Major League Baseball history is STILL both in the National League, as it should be; and from New York, as it should be. Apologies to Bryan Berg for the above statement”¦..no, not really.

Note to Eric S.: Bite me. We’re both sitting at home hoping the Yankees lose now. At least *I* get to root for the Chiefs.

On a similar note: Mike Sweeney, hope you can get your lease renewed. You’re staying in town for a long, long time.

And one last note to the waste of oxygen who sent Chuck the virus: I know you’ve already been chastised by Chuck, Bebito, and Lucard but I just wanted you to know that intentionally sending a computer virus is a federal offense in this country, and I’m sure isn’t looked upon too highly in yours either.

You’re taking things waaaay to seriously when you’re sending viruses to people who write unfavorable reviews. Why don’t you put the controller down for a minute? Go outside. Get some sun. Relax. Talk to a girl. Get some perspective on life before you piss off the wrong people.

Matrix: Revolutions trailer. Hyperbole fails me. Cool? Uber-cool? Unbelievably cool? Awesome? “Revolutionary?” These words all pale in meaning in front of this trailer.

NEWS

Until further notice, the news is brought to you by Doublethink”¦er”¦.GameDaily.com.

And Thus The Yearly Quota Of Macintosh Games Is Met
You Mac users, both of you, will have something new to talk about on AIM. Aspyr Media Inc. will be bringing EA’s popular PC title Command & Conquer Generals to the Mac. i5works is doing the porting, so you know who to send your complaints to. No date was given, so assume it will come out the same time as Doom 3, or when I actually play a copy of Halo, or when hell freezes over. Whichever comes first.

Hopefully These Sequels Will Be Better Than Most Disney Sequels
Disney Interactive, a label of Buena Vista Games, Inc., and 411 Fave-O-Rite Square Enix have announced a pair of new Kingdom Hearts games. First up is Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories which will be released for the GBA in Nippon sometime in 2004, followed closely by the gaijin parts of the world. Next will be the actually much-awaited Kingdom Hearts II for the PS2, which has no set release date yet. Apparently, according to NPD Funworld, Kingdom Hearts was the EIGHTH best-selling console game in the U.S. in 2002. Being allergic to all things Disney, I have no comment.

EA Makes Racing Game. Cory Increase Inbox Size For Inevitable Flaming
Obviously not satisfied with just alienating the world from F1 racing, a truly fascinating sport, Electronic Arts and *takes deep breath* NASCAR have struck a deal to give EA the exclusive worldwide super-duper secret probation rights to develop, publish, distribute, fold, spindle, and mutilate racing games based on NASCAR through 2009. Yes, that’s SIX YEARS.

“While it is rare for NASCAR to enter into an exclusive licensing arrangement, Electronic Arts has truly stood out in the longstanding efforts to support the entire NASCAR industry,” said Blake Davidson, managing director, licensed products for NASCAR as his nose suddenly added three inches to it’s length.

Sierra Entertainment, publishers of the venerable NASCAR Racing series for the PC “chose not to renew” its NASCAR license, according to GameDaily. See also “rats”, “sinking”, and “ship”.

If I Hadn’t Played SW:KOTR, I Wouldn’t Believe This Was Real, Either
Halo “distributor” Microsoft has released a precious few details about the previously announced RPG-that-shouldn’t-suck, Jade Empire. Why shouldn’t it suck? Because it’s being developed by KOTR developer BioWare Corp. Also it has the uber-cool premise of being a martial-arts action RPG set in a historical/mythical China. Not meaning that China is at all mythical, but just that the setting is”¦.oh, you get it. Users will be able to choose from 30 different fighting styles (none of which will be capoeira, probably. Damn it.) to learn before they “embark on a perilous journey, stretching from the Land of Howling Spirits to the lush gardens of the Imperial City.” Once again, you’ll have the choice whether to be good or evil and your interactions as the game progresses will be affected by your goodness or badness.

“BioWare has been thinking about crafting a martial arts action RPG as far back as during development of Baldur’s Gate, over five years ago. We can’t wait to share this new world with our fans,” glowed Greg Zeschuks joint CEO and co-executive producer at BioWare; which probably means the whole thing is run out of HIS garage, but with the rep they already have, who cares? As always, no release date has been set.

I’m Sure Bebito Already Has The Trailer
Capcom Entertainment , obviously taking the ball and running with it after the huMONGous boost we gave their upcoming title Viewtiful Joe by putting it on top of the 411 Games’ Feature on the GameCube last week, is planning a national Tv advertising program for the game, leading to its release on October 7.

Expect the first ads out today. There’ll be both 30 and 15-second spots on network primetime and assorted syndicated and cable shows in the U.S. and Canada. In particular, viewers of Smallville (chicks), Smackdown (us),Adult Swim (all cool people everywhere), and Paradise Hotel (the all-important loser vote) should be on the lookout for the spots. There’ll also be print ads and the usual pre-order campaigns, and a sweepstakes that has a grand prize of a Viewtiful Joe Vespa Scooter. I have to ask: How can anyone appear badass on a scooter?

Welcome To the Weirdest Game Ever Made
Once again, I can’t do this justice. MAIL CALL.
Microsoft Game Studios has shipped its platform game for the Xbox, Voodoo Vince, to retailers nationwide.
The title will have players assuming the role of the “walking burlap voodoo doll” as he ventures through the streets of New Orleans in a bid to find his keeper, Madam Charmaine. Vince is armed with mire than 30 voodoo attacks, which he will inflict upon himself in order to defeat enemies.
Rated “T” (Teen), Voodoo Vince carries an MSRP of $39.99.

Evidence that truth IS stranger than fiction.

Same List, Different Week.
The Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA), on behalf of Home Video Essentials and Rentrak Corp., has announced a preliminary list of the top renting games for the week ending September 21, 2003.
Here are the top 10:
1. Madden NFL 2004—PS2
2. Soul Calibur II—PS2
3. NCAA Football 2004—PS2
4. Soul Calibur II—Xbox
5. Soul Calibur II—GameCube
6. Midnight Club II—PS2
7. ESPN NFL Football 2K4—PS2
8. Enter the Natrix—PS2
9. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic—Xbox
10. Madden NFL 2004—Xbox

Okay, if there are any wrestlers out there named Nate, I think we just found your catchphrase.

I’m sure those Soul Caliber fans are happy to see their game doing so well, despite the obviously biased and unfair opinion of 411 reviewer Chuck Platt.

NON-GAME NEWS

Courtesy of CNN.com, the worst nightmare of any zookeeper”¦.almost.

BOSTON (AP) — A restless gorilla broke out of its zoo enclosure Sunday injuring a 2-year-old and a teenager before it was sedated and recaptured almost two hours later, according to zoo officials.

The gorilla escaped from the Franklin Park Zoo minutes before the zoo was scheduled to close, according to Zoo New England CEO and President John Linehan.

The gorilla injured the young girl and an 18-year-old woman almost immediately after escaping, Linehan said. A witness told police she later saw the gorilla sitting at a bus stop on a street near the zoo.

“We’ve had a very difficult evening, and we feel very badly about the adult and young child injured. We don’t know the extent of their injuries, but we think they’ll be OK,” he said.

The 5-foot, 300-pound adolescent gorilla escaped from its section of the Tropical Forest exhibit in August, but did not leave the exhibit grounds.

Zoo officials installed electrified wires to keep the 11-year-old primate from escaping again, but on Sunday he managed to leave the zoo grounds entirely.

“Needless to say, until further notice, he is not going to be on exhibit,” Linehan said.

No shinola, Sherlock. I’d make an Over/Under joke on the number of people fired over this but it’s too damn serious to joke about. Animal escapes are the single scariest thing that zookeepers have to worry about. My wife’s department alone has a couple dozen different kinds of venomous animals to keep track of, including komodo dragons, cobras, gila monsters, and rattlesnakes. These are animals that make the stingrays under their care seem playful and harmless by comparison.

I guess my point is that zookeepers have a pretty big responsibility. Not only do they have to be educators and, in some cases, entertainers; they have to be jailors in the best of circumstances, and detectives in the worst.

Give a zookeeper a hug. There, I said it. (And yes, I am sucking up to my wife. Can I get a “hoo-rah” from the married men in the audience?)

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

This is a subject that is already very close to having been talked to death around here, and in true form, I will NOW put my 2 cents in. Guys, we’re not captains of industry here. We don’t decide which games live or die, as much as we like to think that we do. I mean, look at the latest Tomb Raider title. Us trying to stop that marketing machine is like putting up crepe paper in front of a Ferrari.

Now, industry DOES read us. This we know. And if our reviews can help shape the next generation of games in the slightest bit, we would be absolutely ecstatic. However, nobody”¦and I mean NOBODY”¦should be getting angry with us over a bad review. Reason: Nobody is going to pull a game off the shelves just because we gave it a bad review. If nobody is going to pull a game, then availability will not be a problem. And if availability isn’t a problem, then everybody who likes the game will be able to get it, whether or not we like it. So if we can’t affect game availability, WHAT’S THE BIG PROBLEM?!

Look, we can take being called names. We’re all big people here; and personally, I doubt anybody in this world could call me anything I haven’t been called ten times before. We can take, and sometimes even relish in, the flames we get. But when it gets more serious than that”¦.ANY more serious than that, the line of fun has been crossed.

We’re just regular schmoes who seem to have a knack for the written word, a passion for video games, and the luck to have a venue to talk about our passion and have people actually read it. Really, it’s maybe the best gig of ANY sort I’ve ever had and I love it. Our opinions aren’t law. In a lot of cases they’re not even fully formed, due to the constraints of practical reviewing. My review of Raw 2 is less than stellar, but that didn’t stop me from staying up until 4 a.m. Saturday morning playing it, now did it?

Games are supposed to be fun. If you don’t agree with something that we say, by all means, tell us so; but leave it at that, okay?

PLUGS, PIMPS, AND THANKS

Light on the mail this week. Maybe I need to say something to get flamed. How about “Soul Caliber II sucks!” That seems to work pretty well around here.

Along that thread, I’m going to pimp Chuck first, because the guy has had a hard couple of weeks and deserves it, poor guy. In fact, I’m giving Chuck the first ever 411Games Purple Heart for injuries sustained in selfless service of the website.

Lucard! Luuu-luuuu”¦..luuuuuuuuuCARD! LUUUcard. Lucard. Luuuuuuuu. Luuluuluuluuluuuuuuuuuuuulucard. LuuluuLUcard. All kidding aside, read this. This is a taste of what we go through. Of course, we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t love it, so don’t feel TOO sorry for us.

What sucks is that me and Freddie Badlassi release on the same day, so I can’t ever link to the current column. Except for this week. Ah, the benefits of running behind.

I always thought that Grand Theft Auto 3 was too good of a game to be limited to that small of an audience, and that someone should make something more universally friendly with that level of freedom. I’m glad somebody has, and I’m glad that Chris McCarver wrote such a good review of it that my renting it this weekend became a foregone conclusion (and a big reason why this column is, once again, late). Check out Chris’ review of The Simpsons’ Hit & Run.

Haven’t pimped the boss in a while, so check out his review of NFL Fever 2004 pour le Xbox.

Williams has got my back tomorrow, inheriting the old Down-Lo spot from Bebito. He was good before, and he’s only going to get better.

Next week, hell if I know, but I’ll bet news will be part of it.

Until then, get some sleep.

-Cory