Gamer’s Hangover News Report 10.13.03

Once again, I found myself in Hollywood Video, and once again I saw that there was an “available copy” of Halo. Once again, I rented it, took it home, put it in my Xbox, and . . . .

. . .What the hell? . . .

Okay, so there IS a Halo. As I’ve said numerous times before I’ll admit when I’m wrong, and I was wrong about Halo. Not only DOES it exist, but it is one of the better FPS’s I’ve played, and I’m still just playing Campaign mode. I’ve played two levels so far, and I must say that I find it fun; somewhat addicting even.

(Four hours later)”¦There is no Cory, only Halo.

So this is a Halo-induced hangover I have this week. Between this and the upcoming Zelda compilation disc for the GameCube, Veronica should be good and pissed off at me by Christmas. That is, if she doesn’t get sucked into SSX3 herself, which she will. *giggles*

I’m MORE than an enabler, I’m a PUSHER, and don’t you forget it. (Here you go, honey. First one’s free”¦)

Quasi-random thoughts:

Eric S., welcome to Nebraska. It’s not all bad. 311 is from Omaha, and you can get some killer steak there (assuming your vocation hasn’t completely turned you off to eating meat anyway).

Who else thinks that it’s cool as hell that the NBA might be expanding into Europe?

I send out truly heartfelt condolences to Packer fans everywhere for the stomach punch that HAD to be their loss to the Chiefs yesterday. Personally, I was emotionally drained afterward. My Packer fan friend Deb was over to watch the game and, at the start of the overtime, she remarked, “I’m going to need a cigarette when this game is over.” That, my friends, is why we love football.

Keeping in the spirit of the day, our kitchen today was “Barbecue vs. Brats.” If it’s a consolation prize to the Green Bay fans, the Brats won.

Painkillers? Cripes, Limbaugh. Pot is WAY more fun, and medicinal in California. Think about that.

Once again, I’m away from my home e-mail, but I’d like to give a shout out to Serge “Don’t Call Me Paul” Levesque, from Hell And Gone Away, Quebec. Serge admits to being an Expo fan, which makes him one of the coolest people in the world to me, damn my small-market allegiances.

Saw Kill Bill. I’m not sure if all the high-pressure spurting blood was supposed to be funny, but it was.

NEWS
Courtesy of our friends at Gamedaily.com. It’s a little thin this week because I don’t like reporting second quarter financials.

Major League Gaming Has It’s First Division. Boston Gamers Already Have Inferiority Complex
MLG is partnering with Game Time Nation to put on weekly videogame tournaments in New York City. The cleverly-named New York City Gaming League will start the first week of November. Games will be played at the Game Time Nation (the Kansas boy assumes that’s a game store chain) at 11 E. 12th Street. The season will run three months, ending in a January 2004 championship. Cash and trophies are the prize and Madden 2004 for the PS2 and Halo for the Xbox are the games.

NBC Is Broadcasting The Gravity Games?
Activision has announced that it is an exclusive sponsor of the 2003 Gravity Games, and it will provide NBC with a tool to illustrate street athlete performances using game engine technology from Tony Hawk’s Underground when the games are broadcast on October 12, 19, and 26. As part of the deal eight 30-second commercials for the game will be aired during the competition on NBC. Considering this, supposedly started yesterday and I haven’t heard word one about it, this tells you exactly how much of the NBC marketing juggernaut is behind the Gravity Games.

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like The Holiday Marketing Season
Jumping on the TV ad bandwagon, Capcom is going to start a North American TV marketing campaign for a new pair of Mega Man games. Mega Man X7, the new outing for the PS2, and Mega Man Zero 2, the new GBA game, will both start it’s media blitz on October 13. That’s today. The games themselves ship tomorrow. Parents who are fans of Mega Man should keep their eyes open for the spots as your kids watch Spongebob, Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon. Lucard, this last one means you.

What Did We Waste Our Money On This Week — Besides NWA:TNA?
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 October 5, 2003.
Here are the top 10:

1. Madden NFL 2004—PS2 – As more and more Raiders fans go into denial, we all know what they turn to. What is it about the Raiders and senility? Check the trend of Al Davis, John Madden, and soon Bill Romanowski. If I were doing Alzheimer’s research, I’d be camped out in the Raiders front office.

2. NCAA Football 2004—PS2 – As a fan of the old Big 8, I miss the days when beaning the opposing coach with a frozen orange MEANT something.

3. Soul Calibur II—PS2 – Th1s g4/\/\3 r0x0rs! I 4m SC2 1337!

4. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004—PS2 – A nice change from 2002 and 2003, even if it is hilariously easy (my best round so far: 53). And would it kill EA to get the rights to use the actual TITLES of at least the MAJOR tournaments? “Southern Major?” Yeesh.

5. Midnight Club II—PS2 – I finally rented this for the Xbox this week.

6. Enter the Matrix—PS2 – “Mr. Anderson, welcome back. We’ve missed you.”

7. Soul Calibur II—GC – OMG!! ROFL 1 0nz j00! L1nk 1s t3h 4w3s0/\/\3!

8. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic—Xbox – Okay, the only reason this isn’t higher is because people are keeping it overdue, right? RIGHT?!

9. Soul Calibur II—Xbox – I’m hoping that all of this SC2 business is just because it’s been rented out in the early weeks of its release and now the people that have been waiting are getting a crack at it. Otherwise, there’s a LOT of boys with a LOT of testosterone poisoning out there right now.

10. ESPN NFL Football 2K4—PS2 – Where’s the love?

NON-GAME NEWS

Well, this is KIND OF game news, but really game RENTAL news. Long-time readers know my ire for Blockbuster Video. I had suspended my boycott a few months ago for two reasons. 1. I’m a game reviewer now, and I can’t toss a resource to let me rent brand-new games to review aside lightly;and 2. The manager there had demonstrated to me that he possibly knew his ass from a hole in the ground.

Well, we have a new chapter to add. A couple of weeks ago, I had rented a couple of games. As I am wont to do, I kept them longer than the assigned time. (Of course, Blockbuster time is not equivalent to actual time. Einsteinian physics isn’t necessary to understand it though, you just have to realize that they’re actively trying to screw you out of your money.

It goes like this. The game box says “5 day rental, return by noon on the 6th day.” Now, the noon return is complete bullshit, because nobody remembers to bring games back in the morning. They’re usually too busy trying to get to work on time to detour over to the Ballbuster to return a game. Also, the “6th day” isn’t the 6th day. It’s not even the 5th day. I rented those games at 9:00 p.m. on a Friday. They were due back by noon on the following Wednesday. If you follow “actual time,” it goes like this:

9:00 p.m. Saturday — 1 day
9:00 p.m. Sunday — 2 days
9:00 p.m. Monday — 3 days
9:00 p.m. Tuesday — 4 days
9:00 p.m. Wednesday — 5 days, except we’re already late by 9 hours.

So that 6-ish day rental works out to just over 4 and a half days of actual possession. The thing is that Blockbuster considers that 3 hours that I had the game on Friday night to be One Day. If I had gone in at 11:59 p.m. and rented the games, that Day would have been 1 minute long. Whereas a RESPECTABLE rental place, say Hollywood Video, MEANS 5 days when they say five days. I will now return you to the primary rant.) Of course, with the bizarre rental times, I admittedly screw up exactly how much over the rental period I’ve kept them. I returned them last Tuesday morning. That AFTERNOON I received a bitchy letter from Blockbuster saying that, apparently, I had two games still out and would I please return them and my late fees were about $12. Fine. I had already returned the games, so I pretty much disregarded the letter. I went in this last Friday to rent another game and pay my late fees. I discovered that sometime between the time they SENT the letter and I returned the games (before I RECEIVED the letter), a billing cycle had passed and my late fees were now in excess of $25. Needless to say, I was feeling a boycott coming on. Fortunately for Ballbuster, the assistant manager, seeing my exorbitant late fee, offered to null it if I bought one of their Game Pass thingys that basically give me a running one-game rental for an entire month. So, instead of paying the $25 late fee plus another $6 for my new game rental, I paid less than $20 and got basically a month-long game rental.

So Blockbuster, you have escaped my wrath one more time, if only because you were clueless enough a company to hire some managers who are actually competent at their jobs and realize that your checkout/billing policies are bullshit. Congratulations.

Okay, so this wasn’t as much news as me ranting. So sue me.

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

For those of you that don’t know, you might want to mark December 16 on your calendars. About 100 theaters in the U.S. will be showing a three-movie marathon on that day. First reel will be the Extended Edition of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. The second reel will be the Extended Edition of LOTR: The Two Towers. The third reel will be the first showing of LOTR: Return of the King. Tickets have been on sale for a few days already, so those of you in major markets need to check to see where this is being offered.

Why am I bringing this up? Because the 13th Avenue Warren Theater, here in scenic Wichita, Kansas, is one of the theaters. I’m a little disappointed that the Old Town Warren isn’t getting it; I like ordering beer and food from my seat; but the 13th Avenue Warren has the balcony with the full service bar and wait service from the restaurant, so no big loss.

PIMP-LICIOUS

Well, Berg retired his medals this week. I might be the only one who misses them but I really enjoyed vying for them every week. I even won a couple in my short tenure here. Since he’s dropped the gimmick, I’ll pick it up, dust it off, give it a little of my own Trading Spaces Flava and serve it up here for all to point at laugh at.

The Pimp Coat goes to Lee this week for continuing 411’s long standing tradition of lashing out at our readers. The dumb ones, at least.
Otaku pride, bitch.

The Pimp Stick, goes to Berg for exposing the nasty secret of sports prognostication.
This preview is done with one notion in mind – there is nothing that makes a sports fan sound smarter than adding the phrase “Don’t forget” before any sports-related tidbit.

The Pimp Boots go to LiquidCross, who brings up some DAMN good points about a game’s supposed and actual fanbase. My name is Cory, and I’m a fan of the Mario franchise.

This week’s Ho Train”¦.
Chuck “¦sorry”¦.can’t”¦.stop laughing”¦..*snort*

Lucard runs over some subtle, but substantial changes that will be taking place at 411 Games. Nothing to worry about though. Really.

Williams has hopefully fasted and become right with God for another year on Yom Kippur.

Next week, maaaaybe that “Super Troopers” special edition I promised.

Until next time, get some sleep.

-Cory