411MAX: News News Revolution 11.25.03

Hello, and welcome to the pre-Thanksgiving edition of 411MAX! As with every Tuesday, this is Alex Williams (or Alex2, as some of you might call me) here with the gigantic mish-mash of stuff that I like to call your Tuesday news report!

To begin with, if you didn’t read me last week, this is the only news report I’m doing for the week. Encore Extra Stage will be taking a back seat as I go home for Thanksgiving and just get away from 411 for a while. Of course, that probably won’t be the case, as I’ll most like end up churning out several reviews for several games that don’t have them yet. But that’s me, Mr. Obsessive-Compulsive! In any case, Bryan Berg will officially pick up the slack for me this Friday.

That being said, this column is going to be JAM PACKED with stuff. Not only do you get the standard News and Commentary you’ve come to expect from me, but you’ll ALSO get the rules to this week’s X-Box Live giveaway contest (complete with 411’s famous HAIKUS!), an extra mini-commentary, more Quebec talk, AND the latest plugs for the week! It’s like the DVD of this week’s column, complete with bonus features! (Never let it be said that I don’t care about the 411 audience.)

So, lets get right to the most important agenda item for the week. No, not the news yet. Instead, here we have…
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SPECIAL: X-Box Live! Giveaway: Week 2 Contest Rules

Last week, we gave away multiple copies Crimson Skies, and the response was HUGE. This week, we’re giving away multiple copies of Top Spin, so who KNOWS how many entries we’ll get?

Well, the game of the week changed, so the contest rules are set to change as well.

So here’s the deal. What follows is a set of twelve haiku riddles that I’ve penned myself. Each one obscurely describes either an X-Box game, or a character that’s appeared (or will soon appear) in an X-Box game. Your goal is to correctly guess as many of these riddles as you can. People who guess the most correctly (or if you got them all, whoever sent in their responses first), will win their very own Top Spin game for their X-Box!

Again, we have several copies we’re giving away, so its not limited to just one person. However, time is of the essence, so get your answers in soon! You have until Sunday night to do this, as winners will be announced and notified the following Monday.

Oh, and send all your answers here at games@411mania.com.

So, let the game begin! Here are your riddles:

1) Do not close your eyes
Or else you will this guy
Messing with all time

2) Some think he can fly,
But he does amazing things
Using just four wheels.

3) Bodily functions
Are part of both these guys’ lives,
Way back on launch day.

4) He was a coach once,
Now he will announce to you
All the play-by-plays.

5) Just like a blue blur,
Running across the whole world
Battling robots.

6) Free, expansive world
It’s your mission to be come
The Nerevarine

7) Lands across the stars
There, Light and Dark will beckon
You to join their side.

8) Take it to the air,
As you see the country’s own
Alternate future.

9) Move to the music
You’re fine as long as you Keep
Ya body movin’.

10) Last seen years ago,
This ninja is a legend
And will soon appear.

11) Infiltrate the base,
Not a sound, but if you’re seen,
Tranquilize the guards!

12) 2-D’s finest guys
Fighting against each other
For the second time.

There you have it. Some may appear obvious, others may not. Now it’s your turn to get cracking!
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And with that being over and done with, time to get to what’s happening in the world of gaming today! ON WITH THE NEWS!
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They Have The Internet On Computers Now?

Gotta love a Simpsons quote for a Simpsons-related story…

It has just been announced that The Simpsons: Hit and Run has been released for the PC, having been released on the consoles about two and a half months ago. And those who don’t have money are in luck, because the game will retail for $29.99.

That’s pretty much it, actually. It’s the same game, just for a different platform.

(Credit goes to Game Daily)
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New Downloadable Content For Midtown Madness 3

Much like the headline implies, there is new stuff available for download for Midtown Madness 3 via X-Box Live!. What is this material, you ask? Well, it takes for form of three cars: a dumpster truck, a blue “furious” roadster, and, and a beige “Carcia” roadster. More cars will also be available to download in the coming months ahead.

(Credit goes to Games Are Fun)
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Gaming Veterans Jump Ship

Sammy Studios announced that they’ve hired two new members to their team: Steve Ackrich and Tim Campbell. Ackrich is the new General Manager, and Campbell is the new Vice President of Business Development.

Both of these guys were previous employees of Atari Inc., and both had very stellar careers there. Ackrich helped Atari’s L.A. studio become a well-known publisher of licensed titles. With his help, he was able to bring in around $150 million a year for the company. Campbell helped Atari’s U.S. market grow in the beginning, as well as managing Atari’s properties like Warner Brothers, D.C. Comics, and others.

These guys should really provide a shot in the arm for Sammy in the future.

(Credit goes to Games Are Fun)

And aside from things going gold, and things shipping to stores, that’s all the really cool stuff I could find to fill this week’s news report. Things must be slow going into the holiday. Oh well.

So, lets get right into the oodles of bonus stuff, starting with…
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CHEAT

This week, we’re going to make the winners of the first week’s giveaway contest happy:

CRIMSON SKIES (X-Box)

Enter any of these codes during gameplay:

All Planes: Y, X, B, Y, Black
Big Time Guns: B, X, A, B, Black
Extra 10 Tokens: X, B, X, B, Black
Extra $5,000: A, Y, A, Y, Black
God Mode: Y, A, X, B, Black
Super Hard Difficulty: X, B, A, X, Black

(Credit goes to GameFAQs)

And as an added bonus, to continue the ongoing list from Friday:

DANCE DANCE REVOLUTION: ULTRAMIX (X-Box)

Here’s how to unlock the rest of the songs, including some updates:

MAX 300: AAA any song, OR clear MAX 300 if you land on it with Roulette.
Colors (For Extreme): Play 100 songs.
Orion.78 (Civilization Mix): Play 300 songs.

(Credit goes to DDRFreak)
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SPECIAL: The Ongoing Quebec Story (Conclusion)

Over the past two weeks or so, I’ve asked people to send in opinions, thoughts, or general ramblings on Quebec’s recent enforcement of Law 101 on the video game front. The cool thing was I actually got responses to this inquiry, and a lot of historical background to boot! People have been writing me ESSAYS on this subject, taking time out of their busy schedules just to inform ME about this thing! Plus the rest of the 411 Games audience, I imagine.

Anyway, this is the last column I’m devoting to this issue before I retire it. I believe a lot has already been said on the subject, and continuing it week after week will only beat the issue into the ground. That’s something that I don’t want to do, and you’d get tired of seeing it after a while yourself.

So to cap it off, we have two e-mails on the subject this week. The first comes from Sven Mascarehas, who has a slight rebuttal to Miles McNutt’s initial submission. Take it away, Sven!

Okay, long-winded history lesson (I wasn’t insane enough to go into Constitutional Law, thank you very much), but to sum up:

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is VERY tenuously applied in Quebec since QUEBEC DIDN’T SIGN THE THING. Trudeau got nine of ten provinces, which was enough to have it enforced, but he missed out on Quebec.

As much as insular people like Mr. McNutt (that HAS to be a handle, right?) would like to think otherwise, pretty much everyone under the age of thirty doesn’t give a damn about separatist issues anymore, since they all speak both languages equally well. The separation movement is dying as its supporters age, and as a result this type of thing isn’t that big a deal. Nintendo basically does everything necessary to pass the law, and they don’t even need to dub the games – they basically just print bilingual manuals for all games sold in Canada (they have to print different ones to begin with, as all the FCC regulations obviously don’t apply) and offer bilingual packaging. It’s been like that since the days of the NES, so I doubt many companies are going to be that affected by the rule.

That, and the law rarely gets enforced, anyway. This was just a little shakedown, and likely isn’t anything to worry about. The language police will be onto something else next year, and everything will be back to normal.

“Fireworks Explode”? Someone hasn’t been outside the Atlantic time zone in a decade or so.

Interesting. Apparently, it isn’t as big a deal as people thought?

Then again, he only referenced Nintendo’s willingness to comply with the bill. He didn’t mention the other 30-40 major companies out there who haven’t been using it.

Now we come to the second e-mail. Believe it or not, it’s from Miles McNutt! He sent me a follow-up to the last e-mail, taking into account the second essay posted. So, take it away again, Miles!

Hey, Alex.

Nice to see that someone actually from Quebec actually explained the logistics of Bill 101, because I’ll be completely honest…I couldn’t explain the real bill itself, only its general purpose. Mr. Levesque gets full props for that.

Just wanted to add something. I know that I first heard this story on a message board, to be exact. It was an employee of a Quebec Electronics Boutique (Now the hipper EBGames), posting on Gaming-Age Forums. Their exact title was somewhere along the lines of “F**K the Quebec Government. F**k them ever so hard”, and was essentially lamenting about the fact that, due to the new legislation supposedly passing, stores were having to remove much of their stock in order to comply. While there was no actual proof, the guy seemed pretty pissed about it. Essentially, I think storeowners are being more precautious than the situation may actually call for. In reality, I don’t see it being as big of a crackdown as we expect, and stores will be able to get away with a fair amount.

The real problem is PC Games, in my opinion. All those freakin’ Tycoon Games (Not RollerCoaster or Zoo, the reputable ones), such as Ski Park, Skateboard and Mall Tycoon, are not printed in French and are made cheaply in the States, with no real money at all. They aren’t going to take the money to print French boxes, and thus a lot of smaller developers are not going to bother with Quebec from now on. What inventory they have they may be able to sell, but any new inventory may not be accepted. The original account I read was fairly indignant that there was a lot of panic within the individual stores, as they were realizing the ramifications.

I can’t link directly to the account, since the thread is long gone and membership is required, but it seems that there has been some concerns in Quebec regarding the law.

Also, your printing of my letter has a bonafide chance of getting me bonus points in Political Science Class, so much thanks, and its good to see someone really opening up the door for the issue, as without this exposition, it simply could have been “Crazy French people Hate Video Games”. But, it’s become an intelligent issue, with an intelligent discussion. Great job.

And thank you, Miles McNutt, for writing in with your views and background on the subject. You really helped open the door for some intelligent discussions and debate in this column, and I thank you for it. And any time we can help you raise your grade, it makes it that much more special.

411 Games: We help you get As!

And with that, I’m closing the Quebec issue. Thank you to everyone who sent stuff in. I appreciate it.
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MINI-COMMENTARY: Spiking the SpikeTV Video Game Awards (Epilogue)

I’d just thought I’d throw this out there, considering it’s a pretty interesting turn of events.

If you’ve been following Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of my SpkieTV awards look/preview, you’ll notice I made all my predictions of what should and will win based on ALL of the nominees. And there were plenty to choose from, considering that any given category had upwards of 8-10 entries.

Well, it turns out that SpikeTV narrowed down the categories a bit. Now each one contains only three nominees. (Excluding the Human category, which has five, and the Most Anticipated category, which hasn’t been touched.)

So, imagine my surprise that in 14 out of the 16 categories listed, what I put for what WILL win made the top three.

Well, I can’t say that I’m surprised, really. I’ve learned how to read stupid people and the huddled masses pretty well.

When I originally heard the nominees have been whittled down, I was going to list all the categories I got right, but its going to be easier to list what I got WRONG instead:

Best Driving Game: Midnight Club II didn’t make the cut, but I blame that on my poor knowledge of the driving genre. Instead, the game that I picked for what SHOULD win, F-Zero GX, made it instead! Perhaps I’ll get some vindication out of these awards after all? Probably not, considering its going up against Simpsons: Hit & Run.

Best Performance By a Human: I didn’t really look at this category much, so I passed on it. In fact, I’m still passing on it, considering Christopher Walken wasn’t one of the finalists. I was going to stick it out for Lee, man! I was! But Spike had to go with moronic picks like Jenna Jameson? Please…

In any case, I’m sure that I’ll get at least 40% of my picks correct when the “awards” actually air. Until then, I’m not even going to look at this stuff again. Its a mockery of the industry, and insults my intelligence.
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COMMENTARY: What I’m Thankful For

Once again, it comes time to celebrate Thanksgiving. And this year, I have a lot to be thankful for.

Granted that the above sounds like your traditional corny introduction to a corny Thanksgiving-related section. But as corny as it sounds, its the complete truth. So allow me to self indulge myself into letting you know what I’m thankful for…

–I’m thankful for Nintendo, and their killer GameCube line-up.

–I’m thankful for Mario, and his expansive cast of characters.

–I’m thankful for Sega, and game, after game, after enjoyable game.

–I’m thankful for Sonic, and his adventures with amazing speed.

–I’m thankful for Microsoft, and the unmatchable Live! experience.

–I’m thankful for Konami, and for turning me on to the Revolution.

–I’m thankful for Atlus for helping me love a new breed of RPG.

–I’m thankful for Capcom, and their 2D-fighting goodness.

–I’m thankful for SNK, for coming back from the dead to produce games again.

–I’m thankful for Working Designs, and the wondrous localizations they produce.

–I’m thankful for Nokia for giving me something to rag on.

–I’m thankful for Disgaea, and the infinite replay value it provides.

–I’m thankful for Dance Dance Revolution, for keeping me in shape.

–I’m thankful for Tetris, who provided hours upon hours of mind-numbing enjoyment.

–I’m thankful for Lunar, the finest RPG series I’ve ever played.

–I’m thankful for Shining Force II, perhaps my favorite Genesis game.

–I’m thankful for 411Mania, and the opportunity I was presented.

–I’m thankful for my friends, who have supported me through thick and thin.

–I’m thankful for the 411Games Kliq, who helped me shine a bit brighter.

–I’m thankful for my family, and the closeness we all share.

–And finally, I’m thankful for YOU, the readers, who tune in each week for the news.

Thanks for allowing me to share a piece of my heart with you guys. Sappy stuff over now, onto the rest of the column.
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Plugs & Shills That Pay The Bills

Here’s stuff that came from Friday and Monday, just in case you missed it:

News You Can Use

Encore Extra Stage News Report — Me, Myself, and I
Probably not the best addition of EES, but serviceable. Included within are some haikus, a HUGE essay on Quebec, and plenty of plugs.

Gamer’s Hangover Report — Cory Laflin
In lieu of news that he couldn’t get to this week, Cory talks about the monotony of sports titles and answers some mail from his adoring fans. Plus, I get a pair of Pimp-Boots! I HAVE THE COMPLETE SET NOW! I can pimp with the best of them now!

Reviews You Can Use

Gladius (PS2) — Lee Baxley
Lee lets us know this strategy RPG just falls short becoming a good game and a classical experience. It’s kinda disheartening, though. I had been looking forward to playing the title for a while now. I guess I’ll just have to try it for myself.

Columns You Can…uh…Use

The Gamer’s Conscience — Fredrick Badlissi
Fred comes back to us after a week’s absence to let us know he’s finally going to play Final Fantasy VII, thanks to a deal with his friend. A quick word of caution before you head into this mission, dear friend: ignore the story as much as you can. Its way too confusing to actually sift through, and there are too many open questions to even try and justify responses to. That being said, the Materia system is one of the better ones I’ve dealt with.
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Parting Thoughts

This column probably had the most unique material out of any of my previous ones. Told ya I’d go out with a bang!

And by going out with a bang, I mean taking Friday off. Enjoy Bryan Berg in my steed!

Until next time, Happy. Thanks. Giving. Pick any one you want.

Alex Williams