Gamer’s Hangover News Report 11.03.03

Had fun this weekend. Enjoyed the bye week for the Chiefs. Actually had some time to work on this, in between playing Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain (review out today) and buying materials to tile my bathroom. In the middle there I finally got a wireless controller for my PS2, and I have my eye on a couple of game programming books I need to pick up.

Quasi-random thoughts:

I spent Saturday in McPherson, KS doing my high school chess coach thing and after eight hours of dealing with kids I had a thought: Wouldn’t it be great if you could turn heel in real life? You know, say you’re trying to live right, trying to be the good guy; but life just won’t job to you and you’re not getting the pops you think you deserve. So, you pick a random moment where you smack somebody with a steel chair and turn heel for a while. I know, people actually do that, but the good part about this is that no legal proceedings ever come of it and when you turn face again you get huge pops, instead of distrust and ill feelings from everybody you know. Just a thought.

Does anybody else out there hate going into stores because of the music? I’m really sensitive to the effects of emotional music; that’s why I always try to keep a good selection of music around. But inside the grocery store is always a crapshoot. Tonight it was “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” I’m in the soup aisle thinking, “Oh, great. I’ll be hearing this in my head for the rest of the evening.” Good thing I had some Run-DMC and Beastie Boys in the car CD changer.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Any day the Raiders lose is a good day. Looks like the Marques Tuiasosopo era lasted all of three quarters. *snicker*

I wonder if Warren Sapp is going to shut up, now that his team is 4 and 4. Nah.

NFL’s best defense my ass.

Break up the Cardinals, they’ve won two in a row “¦ unlike the Bucs. (Yeah, I know I said the Bengals were streaking last week. Bite me.)

Why didn’t anybody tell me that Ray Allen is injured? This will seriously hurt my standings in the 411 Fantasy Basketball League.

Those of you considering vacations abroad, I’d like to suggest Costa Rica. That is all.

Yes, I coach chess.

NEWS
Gah. A lot of old game release info and 3rd quarter results. Here’s what I’ve got. Everything taken from GameDaily.com.

No Word On Whether You Can Play As JFK And Get Your PT-Boat T-Boned
EA has announced that Medal of Honor Rising Sun has gone gold and is scheduled to ship on November 11. This version of the WWII action game will focus on the war’s Pacific Theatre and will include a cooperative mode and support eight players online for the PS2 players. The game will release for all three nexgen systems. I’m guessing there’ll be some heavy HEAVY playing that’ll take place on December 7. I know I would if I owned the game.

Some Studios Just Don’t Know When To Quit
They’ve made a movie of House of the Dead. They’re making a movie out of BloodRayne. Now Boll KG has signed up to make a movie out of Dungeon Siege. Gas Powered Games have teamed up with them to bring the crappy to the box office. Filming will begin in late 2004 and will be directed AND executive produced, once again, by Dr. Uwe Boll. The estimated budget for them movie is around $50.0 million. SOMEONE’s got a pirated copy of 3D Studio, don’t they? Boll was quoted as saying, “Based on the success of House of the Dead, I believe Dungeon Siege contains major crossover protential because of its unique blend of action and fantasy, on the order of Lord of the Rings. Okay, when y’all stop laughing, please remember to clean the Coke out of your keyboards. Thank you.

Apparently Kurt, Scott, And Professor X Were Busy
In the next yawn-o-rama first person shooter down the pike, Strategy First and Techland have shipped Chrome. The game focuses on the mercenary-for-hire of the Department-of-Redundancy-Department Logan as he battles for that all important mineral of life itself: Chrome. Apparently there are vehicles, lots of weapons, and a DOZEN missions! There will also be EIGHT multiplayer maps and INTERNET game play modes such as Capture the Flag! (Brilliant!) Death Match! (Brilliant!) Assault Team Death Match! Team Domination! (Sliced bread?! Brilliant!) The game is rated MATURE (Oooo!) and has an MSRP of $39.99.

Dr. Boll SMELLS SEQUEL
Majesco is planning a BloodRayne 2 to be due out in October of next year. I smell MOVIE TIE-IN with the PS2, Xbox, and PC. It will, once again, be created by Terminal Reality and be powered by their Infernal Engine (I smell a developmental inside joke that management just never caught.) Among the new features will be pole combat (see also: “Skin Deep”), rail sliding, and “advanced” melee fighting with fatality moves. (Bloodrayne”¦.WINS.) The hottest vampire since Vampire Willow is back to hunt down her “wicked siblings.” Oh, if we all had that luxury.

What We Ditched Midterms For
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 26, 2003.
Here are the top 10:
1. Madden NFL 2004—PS2
– A Madden matchup you’ll never see: Danny Kanell vs. Marques Tuiasosopo.
2. Jak II—PS2 – Poor Daxter.
3. NCAA Football 2004—PS2 – Latest Victim: Northern Illinois
4. Enter the Matrix—PS2 – Two days, children.
5. NBA Live 2004—PS2 – I think the Celtics should trade for Gooden, Collison, and Hinrich and go for the set. Nobody could run with them if they did, and without Roy Williams coaching them, they might actually win a championship! (No, I’M not bitter.)
6. Freedom Fighters—PS2 – WOLVERIIIIIINES!!
7. Conflict Desert Storm 2: Back to Baghdad—PS2 – A big seller among the Al Qaeda types right now, I wager.
8. Simpsons: Hit & Run—PS2 – *singing* Homer. Homer Simpson. He’s about to hit a chestnut treeeeeee”¦..AH!”
9. Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try This at Home—PS2 – Please DON’T try this at home “¦ or in the store “¦ or anywhere else for that matter. In fact, if you actually rented this, seek counseling immediately.
10. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004—PS2 – I like the inclusion of knickers in the clothing store. God rest Payne Stewart’s soul.

MATT WONG: GAME REVIEWERS PUBLIC ENEMY #1

Remember last time when I said that I didn’t hate Matt Wong? Well, circumstances have changed.

I’ve always admitted to being insanely jealous of Mr. Wong because, just because he works for the lame-ass excuse of a game site that ESPN decided to put up, he gets to play new release sports games against the sports stars who represent them. While I am jealous of him, I haven’t really been angry because his first two efforts were on new release games. If ESPN Gamer feels like his half-ass writings about these phenomenal opportunities are net-worthy, I don’t mind because I know that whatever we put up here on 411 about the same games will be 100 times better, even without playing it with Mike Vick or Vince Carter.

Now, however, he’s crossed the line “¦ no. THEY’VE crossed the line. They apparently got, or at least got a chance to play, a full-up advance copy of EA Big’s NFL Street, which isn’t due out until the first of next year. So what does Mr. Wong do with that incredible opportunity? He writes exactly the same type of crap that he did before! He says precious little about the game, offers very few opinions on it, and spends most of the article talking about Shannon Sharpe trash talking him. Of course, it’s not like his column is long enough to adequately record Shannon Sharpe’s mouth or ego; 2 terrabytes of ASCII wouldn’t even touch it.

In my field, one data point is scatter, two data points are a trend, and three data points are damn near immutable law. From these three data points, I can divine the following truths about Mr. Wong.

1. Every Wong column is put together like this:

– I’m Matt Wong and I got to play video games against a famous athlete. I rok.
– He talked trash to me.
– I lost.

2. The guy is a shitty writer and a shittier reviewer. If I had the opportunities he had, I would’ve come up with three columns that would’ve headlined this site, and I’d have been pissed at myself if they didn’t. They would’ve been informative, they would’ve been funny, and I sure as hell wouldn’t have gotten blown out like ol’ Matt did. I might not have won every game, but I would’ve held my own. I would’ve at least known not to pick the Knicks in NBA Live. Yeah, I know. I would’ve, I would’ve, I would’ve, Mr. Sour Grapes here; bite me. Matt Wong got the Holy Frickin’ Grail of video game reviewing, an two-month advance copy and a famous spokesman to play it with, and he still mailed it in like Cliff Claven. Professionally, I’m justified in my ire.

3. Matt Wong is either the ONLY employee of ESPN Gamer, or is the biggest prick of a boss for taking all of the cherry assignments, especially when he blows the bunny like this, writing-wise. In fact, he MUST be the only employee, because if I was a writer under him, and I saw these columns after being denied the chance to write them three times, I’d quit or transfer or frag him in his cubicle.

Add to this all the fact that Shannon Sharpe is my second least-favorite football player of all time. The guy probably can’t orgasm without watching one of his own highlight reels. Billick probably ran him out of Baltimore because his magic mirror told him that Sharpe had the biggest ego of them all. And the guy talks more than Robin Williams on a coke bender. All of this and he always seemed to burn the Chiefs; that is, until this season, when he met the acquaintance of one Scott Fujita. I’m looking forward to the second game against the Broncos just to see Fujita smack him around some more.

So, for the love of God, I could NOT pass this up.

Takin’ it to the street
By Matt Wong
ESPN.com

Cory: Matt Wong sings the best of the Doobie Brothers.

The rumble was on.

[The cast starts singing the fight music from West Side Story.’]

It was 7-on-7.

Crow: “¦just another typical Oklahoma — Missouri basketball game”¦

Just fists and elbows.

Tom: *announcer* Introducing Bill Romanowski Football for the PlayStation2! Now with 50% more THG goodness!
Crow: *announcer* Pre-order now, for a FREE “Best of Grand Jury Testimony” DVD!!

It was a clean fight, until Shannon Sharpe threw some trash in my direction.

Cory: I countered with a steel chair to the teeth. The teeth won.

“This is what I’m gonna do to you right here,” he said with a wry smile.

Tom: I’m not sure “wry” is in his vocabulary. “Goofy,” “stupid,” “lost,” “arrogant” could all probably be used to describe his smile, but I think “wry” requires an emotional subtlety he doesn’t quite possess.
Crow: I’ll bet Sterling has it, though.
Bots: *snicker*

Not knowing what he meant by that, I let out a nervous laugh.

Tom: Wait, he didn’t purposely try to make that funny, did he?
Cory: No, my guess is that he actually thought Sharpe might rape him.

And that’s when the 6’2″, 230-pound Sharpe took the brawl to another level, revealing a weapon.

Cory: See what I mean?
Crow: Aren’t YOU the one that gets on my case whenever *I* use sexual innuendo?
Tom: His hooves?

With no warning, he sent a bomb into the air with a controller in his hands.

Crow: “”¦ bomb into the air with a controller “¦” it’s a bit forced, isn’t it?
Cory: I’ve read X-Men fanfics with more polish.
[Tom starts humming “Me And My Shadow” for some reason. Cory shivers.]

People fled.

Tom: “¦F-15s scrambled to intercept”¦

I froze.

Crow: “¦I wet em”¦

And a wide-open Rod Smith caught it, ran a few yards and strolled into the end zone for a touchdown.

Tom: Okay, I’ll guess Matt was playing as the Chiefs.
[Cory growls]
Crow: I’ll say “¦ the Cardinals. This is the guy who actually CHOSE the Knicks.
Cory: The Rams.
Crow: The Rams?
Cory: Jason Sehorn.
Bots: Ohhhh.

Sharpe? He exploded in gleeful falsetto: “Eeeee … I got him. I got him. That’s Rod. Yeah boyyyy. That’s Rod. Ha-ha-haaaa.”

Crow: So, how many points have you scored today, Shannon?
[Cory whinnies, stamps his foot 6 times.]
Tom: Sugar cube?

A healthy Jake Plummer”¦

[All laugh]
Crow: A healthy Steve Beurlein!
[All laugh]
Cory: A healthy Danny Kanell!
[All laugh]

“¦ had just delivered the battle’s first major blow with a TD pass to Rod Smith. And Sharpe, the Denver Broncos mouthy tight end, was letting the entire hotel know who actually orchestrated the drive as he and I played a game of NFL Street, EA’s new football title due out in January.

Cory: *darkly* Oh, how I loathe him.
Tom: So, now he’s actually getting to play ADVANCE COPIES of games with famous athletes?
Cory: Shut up, Tom.
Tom: Aren’t you still waiting for your promo copy of Celebrity Deathmatch?
Cory: Shut UP, Tom.

It was a different story five minutes ago, however. The seasoned trash-talker, wasn’t getting loud about his gaming skills. In fact, he was a little hesitant about our matchup.

Cory: What, did he think he was going to have to play with Brian Griese as his quarterback again?
Bots: Ooooooooo!
Cory: I call em like I see em.

“Man, you play all the time,” he said sounding as if he was walking into a trap. “I only play video games with my kids.”

Tom: You obviously don’t realize that this is MATT WONG you’re talking to here.
Crow: Just don’t tell him he’s holding the control upside-down and you’ll be fine.

But perhaps he was just hustling me.

Cory: But wouldn’t he want a challenge?

Perhaps this was his kind of game — a smash-mouth arcade-style football game that kept it simple and rewarded hard hits, flashy plays and lots of attitude.

Crow: Oh, my God! Did he “¦ did he just talk about “¦ the GAME for once?
Cory: Must’ve been a typo.

Or perhaps I had just underestimated him. Because, with the score now in his favor, there was a mischievous grin on his face.

Tom: “¦ehhh “¦ okay, I’ll let him have mischievous. He could probably do mischievous.

We were playing: first to score 36 points wins.

Cory: Fortunately, we got there after taking off Shannon’s other shoe.
Crow: SOMEbody’s in a mood today.

And like you’d expect from a game called NFL Street, there was no punting or kicking. Not even ‘going or throwing’. It was all about getting into the end zone. Just like a pick-up game in the schoolyard.

Tom: I’m thinking Matt didn’t play pick-up ball.
Crow: He was probably too busy taking pictures for the yearbook.
Cory: Or getting his lunch money taken away.

Players had to line up on both offense and defense.

Crow: So you can’t play as the Redskins, then?

There were no helmets, “¦

Cory: Making it easy for Vitual Romo to spit “¦

“¦ although players could sport a cap, visor or hairstyle any way they wanted.

Crow: I’ll take mine!
Tom: I’d take the Moochie Norris look.
Cory: If a ball gets stuck in your fro, does it count as a catch?

The fields ranged from grass to mud to sand, with trashcans sometimes posing as obstacles and out-of-bounds often the adjacent buildings.

Tom: Cleveland!

The only difference between this and a real “street” game was that instead of you and your friends pretending to be NFL players, emulating their every move, now you could be them. Even legends like Barry Sanders.

Crow: *beep* Hi. You have reached the home of Barry Sanders. If you’d like to reach Barry, press 1. If you’d like leave a message for the rest of the family, press 2. And if you’re in any way affiliated with the Detroit Lions, please press 3 for the pre-recorded laughter at your offer.

I wanted to be Steve McNair, “¦

Cory: But, really, who doesn’t?

“¦ a guy who could star on both sides of the ball. So I went with the Titans, who thanks to the exaggerated player features really looked like titans.

Tom: The fact that they dwarfed the surrounding buildings added to the feel of the game.
Crow: Release the Kraken!!

Naturally, Sharpe wanted to be himself “¦

All: NAAAWW!!!
Cory: Mirror mirror on the wall “¦

“¦ (although he was wearing an old-school Jim Brown jersey). So he took Denver and six other Broncos of his choice.

Tom: *Shannon* I’ll take “¦ Shannon Sharpe “¦
Crow: “¦ and Shannon Sharpe “¦
Cory: “¦ and Shannon Sharpe “¦
Tom: “¦ and Shannon Sharpe “¦
Crow: “¦ and Shannon Sharpe “¦
Cory: “¦ and Shannon Sharpe “¦
Tom: “¦ and Shannon Shar”¦oops”¦and Jake Plummer.
Cory: If Matt really wanted to beat him he should’ve had a team with seven Sterlings on it.

“I’ve been picking all little guys,” he said, having played the game twice before. “We can’t run ’cause they can’t block. They been killing me.”

Crow: It doesn’t help that Clinton Portis thinks he’s playing Australian rules football most of the time.
Tom: I don’t think Shaquille O’Neal bounces the ball as often.
Cory: Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t HAVE to dribble. It’s in his contract. David Stern even signed it.

Lucky for him, his passing attack was just as deadly.

Cory: “¦despite the hoof-and-mouth disease.

Sharpe went to the air on almost every down — which wasn’t a huge surprise, especially given the fact that even back in the day he would line up as receiver and have his brother, Sterling, play QB in the yard.

Tom: And Sterling would run quarterback keepers all day long.
Crow: *Sterling* But Shannon, you have to think about what’s good for the TEAM.

And with McNair playing DB, linebacker Keith Bullock playing safety, and Kevin Carter and the three-man line getting no pressure up front, he was completing down-field heaves all day, with his second score being another Rod Smith Hail Mary catch.

Cory: Co-dependence is a sad thing.

Sharpe was getting all high-pitched again.

[Cory whinnies and stamps his feet six more times.]

I was questioning his playcalling.

Tom: Son, you should be questioning YOURS.

“Man, you afraid to run Portis?” I said as boldly as I could for a guy who was just burnt twice by the same play.

Crow: Wouldn’t YOU be?
Tom: Come on, it’s not like he’s Corey Dillon or anything.
Cory: But he might be replaced by him if the price is right.

“You can’t stop it so I’m gonna keep on runnin’ it,” he replied.

Cory: Obviously that logic class at Savannah State paid for itself.
Crow: He went to class?
Tom: It’s better than the Mike Martz philosophy of, “It’ll WORK this time! I promise!!”

Apparently his verbal attack was also working for him.

Cory: Too bad his quarterbacks aren’t. *snickers*

But as you’d expect from any schoolyard fight, there would be no backing down from either side. At least until recess was over and the bell rang.

Crow: What the f”¦.?
Tom: Someone got a little carried away with metaphor.
Cory: Maybe he was just lost his lunch money again.

Sharpe was up by 12 after not converting the mandatory two-point conversions.

Tom: Do you think Jason Elam and Jack Elam are related?
Crow: Not any more.
[Cory crosses himself in respect.]

Then a seemingly re-energized Eddie George bullied down the field, bouncing off walls and breaking tackles for my first eight points. And Derrick Mason gave us the lead after returning an interception for a TD.

Crow: “Us?” “US?” I don’t see you lining up at nose tackle.
Tom: Nobody else would either. *chuckles*
All: Ru-DY! Ru-DY! Ru-DY! Ru-DY! “¦

Sharpe answered back with Trevor Pryce, who caught another lollipop-pass for a score, and even provided a little dance. Sharpe urged him on: “Do it to him like Billy White Shoes.” Broncos 18, Titans 16.

Cory: *Warren Sapp* You don’t play football.
Crow: *Tracey Morgan* Hehheheh Every day I do.”

Then McNair delivered the play of the game, a behind-the-back laser to Derrick Mason streaking on the left side, which even had Shannon Sharpe impressed and a little embarrassed.

Cory: No, I’m sorry. It’s in his contract. Mr. Sharpe is NEVER embarrassed. Please retract that statement before legal proceedings are necessary.
Crow: And the only thing Mr. Sharpe is EVER impressed with is himself.

That led to another George TD run and enough style points for a Gamebreaker, EA’s version of being “on fire” or “in the zone”. Sharpe looked at me and shook his head. He knew what was coming.

Crow: The Ralphie Treatment?

I activated the Gamebreaker on his next possession. He was passing again. CB Eddie George read it, plowed through cyber Sharpe, intercepted the ball, and ran it back for a TD — putting the Titans in the lead and putting on an even more impressive end zone celebration, much to Sharpe’s dismay. Titans 30, Broncos 18.

Crow: Why do I get a real Grady Little feeling about this lead?

But there would be no quit in Sharpe.

Tom: Was that supposed to be “quit,” or “quiet”?
Cory: I think the second is a given.

His Broncos were driving again.

Tom: *announcer* Thanks to the deal they all got at John Elway Mazda Hyundai!

He had completed a pass to his likeness and his cyber double was running down the left sideline, headed for paydirt.

Crow: *racetrack announcer* And they’re headed into the homestretch Shannon Sharpe has the lead ahead of Steve McNair by two lengths Rod Smith surging hard on the outside it may be a photo finish “¦
Cory: Remember it’s when the BALL cross the goal line, not his teeth.

“I can’t let you do that!” I said.

Tom: So I tackled him “¦ Right off of his seat. Hotel security was needed.
Cory: Don’t I wish “¦

Determined to prevent him from scoring, knowing full well that if he did with his own self, I might lose all sense of hearing.

Cory: *John McLaughlin* Next topic: Obvious joke. What do you think should go here “¦ ELEANOR CLIFT!!
Tom: *Eleanor* Uh”¦he’s a Black Beauty?
Cory: *McLaughlin* WRONG!! Patty Patty Buke Buke!!
Crow: *Pat Buchanan* I think something about a Bucking Bronco”¦
Cory: *McLaughlin* WRONG!! The correct answer is, “He’s feeling his oats!”

So with my whole body moving left with the control pad, I rammed Sharpe into the wall right at the goal line for the tackle.

Crow: Could be worse. Could be Gus Frerotte.

It was a sweet hit, but neither Sharpe seemed shaken. “I’m gonna score now,” said the one beside me.

Tom: Who does this guy think he is? Shawn Kemp?
Crow: Bow chicka bow bowwww”¦

“You know what I feel? he said, his voice getting insanely pitchy. “I feel Gamebreaker. I feel Gamebreaker. I FEEL GAMEBREAKER.”

All: THANK YOU SIR MAY I HAVE ANOTHER!

His Gamebreaker meter was flashing and seconds later Portis scored, and Plummer tacked on the two. Titans 30, Broncos 26. Knowing I didn’t have to score on my next possession, I was unfazed and decided to try out the game’s different style moves and plays.

Cory: *sarcastically* Uh-huh. Suuuuuure.
Tom: Why do I get the feeling that’s Matt’s way of justifying the fact that he sucked rocks for the rest of the game?
Cory: Because it is.

I ended up not scoring on my next two possessions.

Cory: And there you go.

“That’s what you get for wantin’ to show me up,” Sharpe would say later.

Crow: And The Ralphie Treatment continues”¦
Cory: Crow”¦

Sharpe, on the other hand, marched his team down the field twice more with another barrage of heaves. The last one tipping off Sharpe’s hands and right into the grasp of an injury-free Ian Gold right in the end zone. The Broncos won 40-30.

Tom: Bringing Matt Wong’s win streak to a blistering Negative 3!

Needless to say, Shannon Sharpe went wild, making noise in impressive fashion, laughing loud, shrieking high and smiling big — rubbing the loss in my face.

[Cory whinnies and stamps his foot six more times.]
Tom: *racetrack announcer* And Shannon Sharpe wins the Kentucky Derby by a tooth-length!
Crow: *Matt* Ah, go suck on a sugar cube.

His antics proved to be the knockout punch and, well, pretty hilarious.

Cory: Of course, Matt saw “Gigli” eighteen times, so there ya go.
Tom: Wow. He made up HALF of the gross from that movie!

Proving also that you can get a kick out of the game.

Tom: Uh “¦ what?
Crow: “can get a kick “¦”
Cory: He’s referencing the fact that you can’t actually KICK the ball in NFL Street, guys.
Bots: OH!!
Tom: What a knob.

Matt Wong is an editor for ESPN Gamer.

Cory: Again, not a writer.

PIMP-LICIOUS

Once again, I’m away from my fan e-mail, but I did get some this week. Actually I feel like a huge jerk because I got e-mail from another HUGE MST3K fan. This is somebody who actually has the same episodes taped off of TV that I do, and I CAN’T REMEMBER HIS NAME!!! I am SUCH a jerk!! Dude, you know who you are, and I’ll pimp you HARD next week. You’ll get a pimp-MOBILE next week. I promise.

Pimp Coat: Chuck gets the coat as part of the Kliq Mutual Admiration Society for using the term “gamer’s hangover” correctly in his column.

Pimp Stick: Goes to Williams, not just because he pulled a double again this week, but also because he asked for it.

Pimp Boots:Freddie gets some love from another guy who squeezes his gaming in when he can.

This week’s Ho Train:
Misha may not be a woman, but he’s still a Ho. He talks U.K. games, and how they fall under the radar when it comes to games. Not from me, my friend. I’ve played to much Worms.

L.C. talks Mega Man. Once again, he’s not terribly angry this week.

Lucard does some half-and-half for Halloween. Personally I doubt Stulls is the Hellmouth. They get poor cell phone reception.

Lee followed up on my song joke amongst all the rest of his awesome game/anime content. I feel a make-up Pimp Coat coming on for next week.

Bryan doesn’t deserve to be this far down, but I know he’s tough enough to handle it.

Next week, Browns at Chiefs, and whatever else I can come up with.

Until next time, get some sleep.

-Cory