Thank God It’s Thursday News Report 11.06.03

I’m 22 now. This bites.

A quick word about the Jets: everybody who’s blaming Doug Brien for the loss on Sunday is forgetting a few fundamental factors…

– First, there’s no way Doug Brien’s making a 51-yard field goal. Everybody knows this.
– Second, if Brien misses the field goal (and everyone knows he would have), the Giants get the ball at the spot of the kick, which would have been their own 40. By blocking the kick, the Jets actually benefited, as the Giants recovered the ball further downfield.
– Third, and most importantly, anytime you turn the ball over FOUR times and don’t create any of your own, you’re going to lose. Take away one of the interceptions or fumbles and maybe this game doesn’t go to overtime.

And with that, the New York Jets’ season is over.



PS2 Price Cut
It’s been rumored for God knows how long, but it’s finally happened… in Japan, anyway. Sony has reduced the price of the PS2 from 25,000 yen ($227 in US currency) to 19,800 yen ($180). A similar drop in price was seen in Network Adapter bundles as well. Also, Sony announced that they will be making PS2’s in a new color, “Midnight Black”, which is actually a semi-transparent black color.

In a showdown with Microsoft over who would lower their price first, Sony blinked. Its announcement of a price cut is, in effect, a confirmation of all the bad publicity Sony has received in the past month. Yes, sales are down. Yes, the company is struggling. The days of the PS2 as the leader and standard-bearer in the video game industry are, as of now, finished.

It’s a pretty bold move for Sony to lower the PS2’s price. It’s a sign that Sony doesn’t believe in the PS2 enough to get the job done alone, and that’s very significant. Since its release in 2000, Sony has resisted price competition for the most part, preferring to let the games and the hardware speak for themselves. Evidently, this hasn’t been a working combination for Sony recently.

With this news, one can’t help but wonder how this price cut relates to Sony’s PSX, which was recently unveiled in Japan and is slated for release by the end of 2003. Now, the person who buys a PSX is not necessarily the kind of person who would own a PS2 for reasons of prestige, class, and money. It’s very difficult to read where Sony is going here. Will they attempt to somewhat phase out the PS2 to maximize sales for the PSX? Or will these price cuts lead the way to a cheaper PS2, which will lead the average gamer to ignore the PSX completely? Does Sony even know the answers to these questions?

These are truly troubled times for Sony. The PS2-PSX dilemma reflects a company that has spread itself too thin. With declining sales, layoffs, and news of a massive company-wide reorganization that will be completed by 2006, Sony isn’t exactly creating the kind of consumer morale that tends to result in positive sales figures come Christmastime. However, money talks, and a price cut could prove to shut people up real quick.

Nintendo
When Nintendo announced its price drop to $99, it experienced an immediate boost in sales. Most figured the increase would be temporary and Nintendo would come back to Earth shortly afterward.

All of these people are wrong.

The company announced that due to the price cut, Nintendo’s market share has almost doubled, going from 19 to 37 percent. Nintendo now stands as a solid number two to Sony’s Playstation 2, with an eye for the number one spot as soon as the end of this year.

Could Nintendo really be number one before 2004? You never know. Sony’s sales are lagging so much that they cut 1/8th of its staff last week and Microsoft hasn’t done anything to distinguish themselves for the holidays. There’s a good chance that Nintendo will actually pick up even more steam as the season rolls on.

Nintendo’s going to unleash some bombs real soon. Mario Kart: Double Dash is due out November 17, along with the new GameCubes which will have the free pack-in of the Zelda Collection. Mario Party 5, while somewhat lost in the shuffle, is also due out soon. What does this mean? Basically, there are so many reasons to buy the Cube right now that it’s not even funny.

Picture it like this – you get a few early holiday checks that total $100. You decide that you want a new game system. Now, you consider the Game Boy Advance SP, but decide that maybe you’d like to get something for the home. So with your $100, you see that X-Box and PS2 are out immediately. But then you see the GameCube for $100 and you’re intrigued. Then, you see that the system includes not only a demo disc, but four Zelda classics for free! You can buy a system and actually play a game on it for under $100! Immediately, you snatch it up. After all, you could always pick up a Game Boy Player down the line and play the GBA games that way. In short, you can’t lose with a Cube this winter.

Now, the reality for Nintendo is that it’s losing a ton of money on each GameCube sold. Which is probably okay with Nintendo. Most businesspeople will tell you that they’d rather have a solid market share and be in the red than make a profit off of something that nobody’s really buying. That Game Boy Advance sales have gone up 25 percent this year is huge for the prospects of the GameCube.

Nintendo’s also doing something really interesting in Europe. They’re bundling Mario Kart: Double Dash and the Zelda Collection GameCube for 149 Euros. This is a very smart move by Nintendo. Assuming a perfect world where 1 dollar = 1 euro, Mario Kart costs $50 and the Zelda Cube costs $100, so you don’t really save any money by going with the bundle. But Nintendo has, in a sense, created value where there isn’t any, and that’s a good move by them.

Another good move by Nintendo – they’re making the Zelda Collection disc available to current GameCube owners through their web site. Registration with My Nintendo is required, a small price to pay for four great games.

(Thanks to Greg Schultz for sending the news in)

X-Box
With the sales of the X-Box absolutely abysmal in Japan, Microsoft has taken to the streets to try to improve its numbers.
It has brokered a deal with Aoki’s Pizza where people who spend over 2000 yen ($18.16 US) will be entered into a contest where 100 people will win an X-Box and 30 others can win an X-Box game.

The fun part comes in where Aoki’s Pizza will advertise the promotion. Namely, by television ads, pizza boxes advertising the X-Box and the promotion, and most importantly, pizzas shaped in an X!! How cool is that? Why doesn’t Microsoft do things like this over in America? Oh yeah, they actually sell more than 300 units a week over here.

It doesn’t sound like a lot, but this kind of deal could spread good word of mouth about the X-Box, which is probably all Microsoft is looking for here. It’s doing well to start off small and build from the ground up. Maybe it can salvage its Japan situation if they are able to do promotions like these on a consistent basis.

Given the similarities between the two situations, anyone else think that Nokia should partner up with Domino’s?

Are Games Addictive?
Yes they are, according to a scientific study unveiled at an interdisciplinary games conference in the Netherlands. According to the study, games stimulate the same part of the brain as alcohol and drugs. Therefore, they can be considered “addictive”.

We’ve all know that games can be “addictive” for a very long time. But can they really be addictive? You might be surprised if you think about it. Think of all the stories we’ve seen in the gaming world recently regarding violence inspired by video games. Remember the story of the woman whose kid died in a car because she was too busy playing Everquest. Add all of these up and the question is no longer if games are addictive; instead, it’s how are they NOT addictive?

Well, the survey claims the word “addicted” should be more along the lines of “heavily devoted to” as opposed to “dependent upon”. Still, that there was even a study about the addictive nature of games should raise some eyebrows as to whether some people are taking their hobby too far. It seems ridiculous that a video game could be seen in this light, yet scientific evidence proves that games do control our minds.

Weird, eh? Next time you stay up until 3 AM to gain another level in your RPG or set a new high-score in Tetris, think about your “addiction”. Then, realize that there’s no official “rehab” for people of your kind, so play some more!



Plugs
Liquidcross – The Angry Gamer. The man’s not that angry this week. That’s no reason not to read his column!!!
To top it all off, the Japanese got Playstation rereleases of all six original Mega Man titles, with all manner of added features. Why didn’t we get them here? Sony put the kibosh on that, while hyping up the Playstation 2. Fuckers.

Misha – We Want Our Tea Back!. The Rugby World Cup?!? Hey, maybe I should TRY to watch rugby more often! (HA!)
Admittedly, it’s possibleCore Design did it with Tomb Raider, but that doesn’t matter because TR doesn’t count. EVER. Except in Worst-Game polls.

Alex Lucard – Retrograding. Alex IS Halloween, and if you were too busy trick-or-treating to read his column, you owe it to yourself to do so now.
Fuck Nokia. I’m still pure as the driven snow.

Alex Williams – Encore Extra Stage News Report. The Halloween skit in here is HILARIOUS. You NEED to read it.
Pankonin: Oh. Well, I couldn’t decided who to be, so I just combined my first two choices!
Baxley: Oh lord, you don’t mean…
Pankonin: Yes! I’m Voodoo Vince McMahon!

Cory Laflin – Gamer’s Hangover. Matt Wong…. HAHAHAHAHA
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Any day the Raiders lose is a good day.

Frederick Badlissi – The Gamer’s Conscience. Sometimes, I think Fred is the smartest guy on the site. And when he writes a column like this, I know I’m right.
So, Geoffrey the Giraffe, it was with a heavy heart that I exited your temple, and with a heavy heart that I compose this letter.

Chuck Platt – A Thumb to the Eye. Words do not adequately describe the genius that is Chuck Platt. That is all.
Super Buckethead Guitar Adventure Number 1 would be a traditional side scrolling beat- em up, in classic 2- D style, much like the Konami and Capcom arcade games of the early Nineties. Except the boss fights, which would be executed in a slightly different style: one- on- one balls out guitar showdowns!

Alex Williams – 411MAX: News News Revolution. Take a look at Alex’s comparison between playing a video game and writing an essay. Remarkable.
You’ve probably noticed a huge lack of Eggplant Wizard this week. And for that, I apologize. He’s still feeling the effects of the Halloween party, and the massive chaos that ensued.

Cory Laflin – NBA Jam. This game ruled the world ten years ago. Now? Click the link…
I was very, very disappointed with this game. I know that I said that I never liked the original all that much, but it did carve out a big piece of nostalgia in my life. This didn’t even live up to that.

Alex Lucard – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The new TMNT is okay, but there’s no way it could ever match its late 80’s heyday. No way.
It’s too easy most of the time and a button masher at the core, but if you’re a fan of the original Turtles Arcade game, Dungeons and Dragons, Golden Axe, or Final Fight, this is your game people!

Alex Lucard – Disney’s Haunted Mansion. When the game’s creators e-mail you telling you how much they loved your review, you know you’ve written a good review. This is a good review.
Finally, before you even bother to read this I’m going to let you know the bottom line. YOU MUST GO OUT AND BUY THIS GAME! It is that good. That’s the review in one sentence.

WWE Smackdown: Here Comes the Pain. The game everyone’s been waiting for! Reviewed right here on 411!
This game just embodies the concept of the Little Things theory of excellence, and thats why I’m giving it so many points here.



Commentary of the Week
Yup. It’s Fantasy Football time.

My Team
Starters are in bold, reserves in plain text, injured players in italics.

QB: Matt Hasselbeck, Brad Johnson
RB: Marshall Faulk, Troy Hambrick, James Jackson, Warrick Dunn, Brian Westbrook
WR: Peerless Price, Jerry Porter, Anquan Boldin, Rod Gardner, Dante Hall
TE: Todd Heap
K: Mike Vanderjagt
DEF/ST: Kansas City, Carolina

Before Week 9, I traded Trent Green and Joe Jurevicius for Brad Johnson and Peerless Price. I thought I got a really good deal, especially since my trading partner is a divisional rival and Green was on a bye last week, which meant he had to start Marquez Tuiasosopo at QB. Heh heh.

I play in a 12-team league with CBS Sportsline, and it’s a 3-year keeper league. The scoring is mixed and the playoffs start in Week 16. I’m thinking of trading Carolina’s D for Michael Pittman. I had a tentative agreement worked out with the owner of Pittman, but I have some hesitations. For example, should I trade KC’s DST for a potential keeper? KC’s DST is averaging about 20 points a week, which is on par with the average points of the top RB’s in the league. Both KC and Carolina have had their bye weeks already, so I don’t need two DST’s. Tough call.

Right now, I’m thinking my three keepers might be Faulk, Hasselbeck, and Price. That could always change. I think I could swing a trade for another keeper RB or WR. I really have no idea how to handle the keeper situation since I’ve never done one before, but I’d like to go into the draft already having a solid nucleus at QB/RB/WR, even if most owners are going to leave their QB’s unprotected.

I’m opening up my mailbox to input as to what course I should take for the rest of the year. I’m 2-5-2 right now, but due to a ridiculously weak division, I’m only one game out of first place. The trade deadline is November 14. Should I go for another keeper? Should I shore up my relatively weak WR slot? Is Troy Hambrick a legitimate #2 RB? Should I start Jerry Porter or Anquan Boldin on Sunday?
These are the things I need to know. Send in your thoughts!



Bye
Done! Another TGIT finished and (hopefully) enjoyed by all of you. Be sure to check out the site every day, as we are always posting new content here at 411 Games. Thanks for reading. Have a great week!