411MAX: News News Revolution 11.18.03

“I’m going to punch you like a first grade teacher! Then I’ll make toast!” — My Battle Cry (apparently)

Greetings all, and welcome to my own personal hell week. That’s right, it’s the special HELL WEEK edition of 411MAX! Why do we call this Hell Week? Simple, fellow reader: I have about 17 projects for school that have to be done THIS WEEK! Well, maybe not that many, but I have a presentation to give and statistics problems to do, which should be done by the time you read this. (The key word being SHOULD.) That, and I have a gigantic paper to finish, which should be done once this week’s Encore Extra Stage goes up. This doesn’t even take into account the columns, reviews, and other stuff I’m doing for the 411. Therefore, I’m very busy, and I may reach burnout status sooner than I thought.

Anyway, this is why Cheat! is being pushed into Friday’s column this week. Time is of the essence as I try to get all my freaking work done.

On a side note, it’s VERY hard to register for classes over in Towson University. Your advisors don’t tell you anything, you need a ton more paperwork than you ever thought possible, you run around campus twice and back in 25 minutes to get everything sorted out, and then you end up with a 4-1/2 hour block of classes you didn’t count on for Spring semester. (Replace the second person with first person, and there’s my frustration right there.)

Anyway, enough with the whoopin’ and hollerin’ of a frustrated college student. You came here to read NEWS! And news you shall read. Therefore, ON WITH THE NEWS!
——————–
TOP STORY: DDR Ultramix SHIPS!

Yes, it shipped. That’s…really all that’s new on the DDR front. All that’s major, anyway.

In any case, Ultramix has 51 songs, with the ability to download more through X-Box Live (for a fee). In addition to the regular Game, Workout, and Edit modes, also included new Battle Modes, Challenge Mode, online play, a new-looking interface, and other odds and ends that should please even the most hardened DDR veteran.

Look for it in stores either today or tomorrow.
——————–
In A Related Story, An EXTREMELY Good Rumor

Many thanks to Christian, who clues Baxley in to each week’s game release dates, for the following information.

Looking through Game Crazy’s extended release calendar, he came across something interesting:

DDR Extreme-Apr 1/04-PS2

Ho…ly…Crap…

Could this mean that a US version of DDR Extreme is in development? This early?

And before we go on, yes, I see that the day listed is April 1st. Yes, there is a correlation between that day and pranks. However, I don’t believe that is to be the case here. It could be the release date isn’t finalized yet, and this is a ballpark estimate. Besides, it’s five months away. Why would Game Crazy April Fool someone in November?

Anyway, this is ALL I have to go by. An entry in Game Crazy’s release book. There has been NO official announcement, NO details released, and NO confirmation to this rumor.

But if this rumor is true…than YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST!

(Thanks to Christian for the information.)
——————–
It’s A Sad Day When Solid Snake Has To Beat Up Twin Bee To Prove A Point

But it’s fun nonetheless!

Anyway, it’s recently been announced that Solid Snake will be a playable character in the upcoming Hudson game Dream Mix TV World Fighters. For those who have been following the game’s progress, the game is a SSBM-type brawler that pits famous Hudson, Konami, and Takara legends together, such as Simon Belmont, Twin Bee, Master Higgins, Optimus Prime, and several others. It isn’t known yet if Snake is immediately selectable, or hidden.

All they have to do is insert Afro or Emi into the game as a hidden character, and I’m SO importing this baby!

(Credit goes to Games Are Fun)
——————–
We’re Making An Accessory For A Game That Doesn’t Exist Yet!

Man, these headlines are wordy. I better cut them down a bit…

Anyway, Nam Tai Electronics, the brains behind the Eye Toy, announced that Sony has given them the order to produce special USB microphones for an upcoming karaoke game they have under development.

The only problem is that Sony never made the announcement that they were developing the accessory in the fist place.

So, the cat’s out of the bag now. Now Sony is getting into the “karaoke” genre of gaming. But they’re going to have some competition. Karaoke Revolution and X-Box Music Mixer are already out and making big waves. It’ll be interesting to see how Sony plans to try and top them.

(Credit goes to Gamespy)
——————–
Now You Have A Reason To Buy Lords Of Everquest!

So, Everquest enthusiasts. Getting tired of slaying the same old monsters over and over again in the “old” Everquest worlds? Wish you could play the “new” Everquest II without waiting months and months?

Well, do I have good news for you! SOE has announced that if you buy and register the new Lords of Everquest game by 1/3/04, than you can participate in an Everquest II beta period! The beta will start sometime next spring.

Plus, if you act now by being a registered Everquest player, you’ll get a free 30 days tacked on to your account during the beta! Isn’t that GREAT?!?!?

Well? Isn’t it?

Hello…

Crap. They’re in a comatose state of euphoria. Just great. Now I’m gonna have to find some NEW readers…

(Credit goes to Gamespot)

And there’s your news portion for the week. I gotta keep moving here, so lets get straight to the…
——————–
Commentary: Spiking the SpikeTV Video Game Awards (Part 3)

Here we go with the last part of this excruciatingly LONG three part series. Just in case you missed me last week and a few days ago, I started looking at the nominees and categories to be used in the SpikeTV Video Game Awards. I’m also making predictions on what SHOULD win each category, and what probably WILL win each category. Let’s face it, guys. This award show will look at all the POPULAR games, and not the games that actually DESERVE to win. Their categories are already respective of that point.

I’d also like to point out that all these opinions are my own, and do not necessarily reflect those of 411Games or 411Mania. (For example, Lee Baxley wants Christopher Walken to win in his category, while I don’t want anyone to win. All a matter of opinion, I guess.)

And so, without further adieu (and because I want to get this the f*ck over with), lets look at the final six categories:

Best Online Game:
Anarchy Online: Shadowlands (Funcom)
Battlefield 1942: The Road to Rome (EA)
Everquest Online Adventures (Sony Online Entertainment)
Final Fantasy XI (Square Enix)
Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide (Atari)
PlanetSide (Sony Online Entertainment)
The Sims Online (EA)
Star Wars Galaxies (LucasArts)

I have to be honest with you. I’ve never really gotten into PC online games. The only one that’s really held my attention for a while is Ragnarok Online, and my free trial just expired. Anyone got $12 for a month I could borrow? Anyone?

What Should Win: Star Wars Galaxies (LucasArts)
I’m picking names out of a hat here. I’m going with a name I recognize, and the only one of these games I find even remotely interesting. For the record, E.V.E. Online was my first choice.
What Will Win: Final Fantasy XI (Square Enix)
Its not going to matter if the installation discs were bad, or that it takes 1,000 years to install, or any of that. It’s got the Final Fantasy name and logo on it. Therefore, it stands a good chance of winning. Duh.

Best Handheld Game:
Advance Wars 2: Black Hold Rising (Nintendo)
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (Konami)
Final Fantasy Tactics (Nintendo/Square Enix)
Iridion II (Majesco)
Mega Man & Bass (Capcom)
Ninja Five-O (Konami)
Rayman 3 (Ubisoft)
Sonic Advance 2 (Sega)
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell (Ubisoft)

Now here’s a category that I know a thing or two about! And I KNOW that SpikeTV was smoking pot when coming up with this list. Sure, there’s Sonic and Mega Man on there, and that’s fine. But where’s Mario? Mega Man Zero? Mega Man.EXE? DemiKids? Pokémon Pinball? Or any of that stuff? Sheesh.

What Should Win: Sonic Advance 2 (Sega)
Easily my favorite game on this list, hands down. It’s the most challenging handheld Sonic released in ages, has beautiful graphics, great control, and an awesome twist on the boss battles. A great, complete package.
What Will Win: Final Fantasy Tactics (Nintendo/Square Enix)
See above for the reasons why. In addition, it’s kinda like FFT on the PS1. Therefore, the huddled masses will flock towards this one and declare it their king. Yes, kids! Pen and paper RPGs championed by social outcasts are AWESOME!

Best Fighting Game:
Backyard Wrestling: Don’t Try this at Home (Eidos)
Bloody Roar 4 (Konami)
Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO (Capcom)
Def Jam Vendetta (EA Big)
Pride FC (THQ)
Soul Calibur II (Namco)
Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution (Sega)
WWE Smackdown! Here Comes the Pain (THQ)
WWE Wrestlemania XIX (THQ)

There’s actually a decent selection of things to choose from. Except for Backyard Wrestling. Why this game is nominated for ANYTHING is mind-boggling. And is Bloody Roar 4 even OUT yet?

What Should Win: Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution (Sega)
There’s a reason why this is on here and Tekken isn’t. VF4:E is perhaps the deepest fighting game to ever hit our shores. The Training Mode is SUPER extensive, the Quest Mode is incredible, and the replay value is nigh limitless. Very few fighting games EVER manage to pull this off.
What Will Win” Soul Calibur II (Namco)
Why do game companies think they can add a fresh coat of paint to something and call it a sequel? (I’m looking at YOU, Madden…) This is on the list solely because TEH L1NK R IN TEH GME! OMGOMG!!!!1111!!1.

Best First-Person Action Game:
Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons of WWII (EA)
Call of Duty (Activision)
Chrome (Strategy First)
Halo: Combat Evolved (Microsoft)
Planetside (Sony Online Entertainment)
Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield (Ubisoft)
Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War (Activision)
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Island Thunder (Ubisoft)
XIII (Ubisoft)

They had this category already. They called it Best Action Game. They don’t have differences in the nominees! SpikeTV sucks polar bear penis.

What Should Win: Too close to call.
It doesn’t even matter if I pick something here. I’ve never played ANY of the shooters listed here. The closest I’ve come is the original Ghost Recon.
What Will Win: Halo: Combat Evolved (Microsoft)
Like you’re surprised. I mean really. Did you expect something ELSE to be put here?

Best Fantasy Game:
.hack Part 1: Infection (Bandai)
Dark Cloud 2 (SCEA)
Everquest Online Adventures (Sony Online Entertainment)
Final Fantasy XI (Square Enix)
Skies of Arcadia Legends (Sega)
Star Wars Galaxies (LucasArts)
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (LucasArts)
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (Nintendo)
Xenosaga Episode 1: Der Wille zur Macht (Namco)

Interesting choices. This is as close as we’re EVER gonna get to a “fringe” category. They couldn’t even say RPG, could they? It’s FANTASY! WOW!

What Should Win: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (Nintendo)
It was a tough one, but I’ll give Zelda the nod here. Its easy to play, has some EXCELLENT dungeons, and plenty of secrets to uncover. The ending is a bit disappointing, but the experience is magical.
What Will Win: Final Fantasy XI (Square Enix)
There’s a reason why this category is mysteriously named “Fantasy” instead of “RPG”…

Most Anticipated Game:
Dead or Alive Online (Tecmo)
Doom 3 (Activision)
Driver 3 (Atari)
Fable (Microsoft)
Full Spectrum Warrior (THQ)
Gran Turismo 4 (SCEA)
Half-Life 2 (VU Games)
Halo 2 (Microsoft)
James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing (EA)
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (Konami)
The Sims 2 (EA)
Starcraft: Ghost (Blizzard)

Finally, we come to the end of the nominees with the most pretentious category of them all. That’s like calling LOTR: Return of the King the “Most Anticipated Movie” at this year’s Emmys, or Eminem’s next CD the “Most Anticipated Album” at this year’s Grammys. Its not released. No one has played or reviewed it yet. But it gets an award purely on hype alone. Sheesh.

What Should AND Will Win: Halo 2 (Microsoft)
This wins hands down. Why? Because it IS the most anticipated game. Not by me, but by YOU, the billions of fanboys who got fooled into thinking this is going to be the be all and end all of games. Well, I got a newsflash for you: FPS Shooters are NOT the best games! The only thing they’re good for are online death matches. And even THEN, there are too many out on the market right now! You want a shooter? Talk to Liquidcross. He has a whole RANT on them!

And there you have it. A ton of nominees, and the mindless drones that will win. It’ll be interesting to see how my predictions stack up, but I probably won’t watch the thing. It’ll be degrading on my intelligence, and I have lots of better things to do. Seriously, don’t watch these! I just saved you the trouble.
——————–
SPECIAL: Quebec – A Continuing Story

Once again, a Canadian reader sends in his input on the situation. His name is Myles McNutt, and he helps clarify a few things to put this issue in its proper context. It’s a tad wordy, but worth the read. Take it away!

Hey, Alex.

As a Canadian citizen who has only studied the situations in Quebec and have not experienced them myself (East Coast all the way), I can offer at least a little bit of light on the situation.

In 1982, Canada gained its own Constitution, the Constitutional Act of 1982. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau brokered the deal with the British Monarchy, essentially giving us our own set of guidelines, and not living under the British constitution. And, under this, Prime Minister Trudeau (If you fly into Montreal in a year or two, you’ll fly into an
airport bearing his name) included the Canadian Charter of Right and Freedoms, which essentially guaranteed the inalienable rights, such as Right to Life, Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Religion and Language Rights.

What wasn’t mentioned is that Canada is a Bilingual nation. We have two official languages: French and English. Government workers must speak both French and English. The only Canadian province like this is New Brunswick, where even workers in a McDonald’s are almost required to speak at least basic French. Two official languages, that’s the way it goes.

However, Quebec isn’t bilingual. Quebec is French. The official language in Quebec is French. Most recently, in 1995, Quebec has tried to separate from Canada through referendums, and in all cases the side wishing to split has lost narrowly, only because of the English speaking population of Montreal, which is densely populated with Anglophones.

The Charter of Rights and Freedom provides language rights; that any one person has the right to speak and use any language they wish. A case in the 1980’s involved a small business, selling wool and wool products. They were English-Speaking people in an English-speaking community. But, by Quebec law, they were forced to have French displayed predominantly on their sign in front of their store. Even among mostly English people, they had to have mostly French on their signs. This is the affect of Bill 101.

The owners brought this to a challenge of the Charter, saying that their rights were being infringed. And, they were, but through a loophole, it was legal. Chapter 33 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the Notwithstanding Clause, which, when put into place, allows a government to essentially violate someone’s charter right, and get away with it. It is supposed to have a 5-Year period of use, but can be renewed. This has allowed the right-infringing Bill 101 to stay in place, through this loophole, and there is nothing that can be done. It isn’t an issue of whether it is wrong, it has been proven to be so. But it cannot be stopped due to the use of the notwithstanding clause. No province but Quebec has used the Law, as they have not been so blatant in refusing the charter.

At the moment, a non-separatist government is in place in Quebec, but if they were to revoke Bill 101, the separatist movement would rally, and could start Canada on another path towards losing Nation unity. Your comment of “Canada, Unite” was quite ironic, because that’s just the issue. Bill 101 has existed since the mid 1980’s, but is only now being applied to harshly to video games. Why is unknown, and it is not a question of their policies, but of their complete and total lack of understanding of how the business works. Video Games is a business that doesn’t have quick dubbing times, and to expect what they are is a little unreasonable. But, it is nothing new.

I know I’ve written you an essay, but it’s a matter of understanding the history of Quebec, and the law itself. It may sound strange, and confusing, but technically they are using a loophole to destroy the rights of some people in Quebec. If the revoked the law, they face
losing Canadian Unity. If they make the law harsher, they move closer to alienating the English base. With online websites available (Future Shop in Canada has free shipping and a half decent selection), less than destroy the gamers, it will destroy the stores. They will suddenly find all English speaking gamers ordering online, or heading across the Border if they are close enough. Hull (Gatineau), Quebec, is just over the River from Ottawa. All it would take is a 3-minute trip, and you have no French whatsoever. In practice, Bill 101 is absurd, but in theory it makes sense in a French province. But, its infringement on rights isn’t good, and its ways of getting around it are more than a little bit unruly.

The situation in Quebec could become dire, quickly. The question is, what will be the eventual outcome? Only time will tell, but for now I’ll simply sit out on the East Coast and watch the fireworks explode.

Hope I could be of service.

Myles McNutt

And that’s the entire issue in a nutshell. Very interesting, no?

Now I feel kinda silly for saying “Canada, Unite!” last Friday. I completely forgot Quebec tried to succeed from Canada to begin with. So allow me to modify that statement to “English-Speaking Quebecers, Unite!”.

And if there’s anyone else who wants to write in with his or her opinions, my door is always open. I’m here for you guys!
——————–
Plugs & Shills That Pay The Bills

It’s early in the week yet, and most everyone else has been plugged already. So lets get down to who HASN’T been plugged!

News You Can Use

Encore Extra Stage News Report — Me, Myself, and I
I cover more news, a few SpikeTV nominations, add to the Quebec story from last week, and write some Prinny Haikus! Yes, I’m a shameless self-promoter. Yes, you can bite me. No, I’m not stealing this bit from that real popular guy in the Wrestling section.

Gamer’s Hangover News Report — Cory Laflin
Cory covers Nintendo’s put-up or shut-up situation, laughs at the lack of backwards compatibility between X-Box II and I, and goes through plenty of mail. So much mail, in fact, that I nearly DROWNED while reading it! Dude! You KNOW I can’t swim in a sea of paper, ink, and e-mail text! (The first person to decipher my point from this gets a cookie!)

A Column You Can…uh…Use

Retrograding — Alex Lucard
Proving he can beat ANY columnist here in quality on his worst day, Lucard talks about SVC: Chaos, as well as SVC: Match of the Millennium. He loves them both. (As if you were surprised)
——————–
Parting Thoughts

Before I go, I’d like to make a correction from Friday’s report. Mr. Garrison does NOT hold the copyright to “Jesus Tap-dancing Christ”. The true owners are Jake and Elwood Blues from the famous Blue Brothers movie. (The punishment still holds the same, though. I made sure to check my sources.)

And now, off I go to write a paper, notes for a presentation, and statistics problems. Goodie, goodie, good for me, I guess.

Until next time, pray for me that I don’t fail this semester! My parents will KILL me! I’ve seen the katanas…

Alex Williams