Encore Extra Stage News Report 12.05.03

Hey, I’m back! Miss me? No? Well, TOO BAD! I’m giving you Friday’s news anyway. Deal with it.

To start with, I’d like to point out that through some bizarre twist of fate, I’m kicking all sorts of ass in DDR as of late. Over on the PS2 side, I recently scored my second Heavy AAA in the form of Dream A Dream. (My first was Cutie Chaser -Morning Mix-, hardly worth mentioning.) On the X-Box. I’ve been breezing my way through the Ultramix online rankings. At the time of this writing, I’m #19 out of several hundred players in the Score Battle category (playing against others online), and currently tied for first place in the Top Light Scores (based on my offline performances). The cool thing about that is there IS a maximum score you can achieve for that category. By AAAing Ready, Steady, Go on Light (a 7-Footer), I’ve obtained it. So as of right now, I’m tied with two other people with the top score (despite what place I’m in.) And unless an upcoming Ultramix song pack has either Max. (Period), or an 8-Footer on Light, than my spot on the scoreboard is secure for ALL TIME!

Lucard says I should label myself #1 in the world in DDR because of these accomplishments (which is a lie, but still isn’t too bad), as well as calling myself something like Number 1 Good Time Zanzibar…something…something. (Damn AIM locking up.) Oh well.

In any case, introduction over. NEWS: NOW!
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TOP STORY: DDR Sales Reach 6.5 Million Worldwide!

It’s been a DDR kinda month lately, so lets continue on with some interesting news.

Konami has recently announced that 6.5 MILLION copies of Dance Dance Revolution (in one incarnation or another) have been sold around the world. The Breakdown (heh heh) is as follows:

–4 Million units of DDR sold in Japan
–1.5 Million units of Dancing Stage in Europe
–1 Million units of DDR sold in America

Now for a niche game such as DDR, these are some impressive numbers. Sure it’ll never topple stuff like Grand Theft Auto of Final Fantasy, but I’d GLADLY take these numbers over a five-year period. Way to go, Konami! Keep pissing Lee off by only releasing DDR and not more Bemani in America!

Quit looking at me like that, Lee! It’s only a joke!

(Credit goes to DDR Freak)
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Sony Pulls A Sega!

Remember when Sega launched the Saturn earlier than expected? While the system was awesome, it was a bad business decision.

Well, Sony’s officially one-upped them with THEIR early release of the PSX console in Japan.

The PSX was supposed to be a super-advanced version of the PS2, complete with some amazing features. CD Burning, DVD-RW compatibility, movie screenings, modem built in, etc. It was supposed to be more computer-like.

Well, Sony decided to release the sucker early. And wouldn’t you know it, the following features have been sacrificed:

–CD burning speed decreased. (Only 12x as apposed to 24x)
–Can’t read CD-Rs.
–Can’t read MP3s
–Can’t write DVD-Rs
–Can’t read GIF files
–Can’t show movies shot off Sony movie cameras

I love it. A system that can burn CDs, yet can’t read what was just burned. This is almost as pathetic as game developed for the N-Gage. (HI-YO!)

In a related story, Sega has earned the right to laugh at another company’s stupidity for once.

(Credit goes to Games Are Fun)
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It’s a Wonder(Swan) They Lasted This Long

Bandai has recently announced that they will no longer be developing gaming hardware. In a Sega-like move, they will be discontinuing any further production of the Wonderswan and Pippin ATMARK consoles. They will now be focusing solely on producing software.

When asked what the hell a Pippin ATMARK was, they stared at their shoes for about five minutes before announcing, “Hey, look over there!” The baffled press turned to the left while Bandai made their hasty retreat.

(Credit goes to GameSpot)
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PIKACHU!!!!!

There, Lucard. I said Pikachu! Are you HAPPY NOW?!?!?

And Pokémon Channel comes out tomorrow, if not already.

Pikachu, Pika Pika PIKACHU!

(That does it. I ain’t doin’ THAT again…)
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Special Edition Packaging. Kids Love It!

This is quickly turning into an all-Japanese edition of the Encore Extra Stage, isn’t it? Well, it isn’t gonna stop now!

On January 15th, 2004, Konami will release a special edition of Zone of the Enders 2 in Japan. It will include the game, special packaging, and a music CD with the opening theme, and remixed tracks.

As for the game itself, it has an improved versus mode, and the ability to go through missions over again.

(Credit goes to Games Are Fun)

And now, the staple of this column…
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Encore Extra Stage Weekly News Recap

You guys know the drill. It’s time to break out the HAIKUS!

Hey look, millions of
Copies of DDR have
Been sold as of now!

Someone broke the world
Record of DDR, and
Is very tired.

The Beatmania
2-DX series will have
New PS2 game.

Harpoon IV cancelled
Not a very tragic loss,
But it is still sunk.

PS2 price cut
Increased sales out in Japan
Woopdie-freakin’-doo.

That new football game
On the N-Gage really BLOWS!
HA HA HA HA HA!

Virtua Fighter
Is getting really dumbed-down
For their RPG.

Hyper SFII
Comes out in arcades as well
As the PS2

Digicube bankrupt.
Now the soundtracks for Square games
Will find new makers.

The PSX is
Released early, but very
Incomplete. Heh heh.

Stupid government.
Video games AREN’T TO BLAME
For all the violence.

Nintendo doth rule
The Black Friday gaming scene.
Lots of systems sold!

No more Wonderswan.
No more Pippin ATMARK, too.
Bandai’s software, now.

Want some more details?
Read the other news reports
For the week and see!

Ah, news in Haiku. You have never failed me once. Onward to the rest…
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COMING SOON

Here’s a section I just made up just this second! It’ll appear every so often when I have tons of stuff I need to catch up on. Here’s what you can look forward to from me in the next week or so:

–Mario & Luigi Review
–DDR Ultramix Review
–Tony Hawk Underground (XB) Review
–Spike TV Awards Synopsis (Next Tuesday’s Commentary)

Life is getting in the way of a lot of this, so bear with me if these don’t show up immediately.
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PLUGS & SHILLS THAT PAY THE BILLS

Some Grade-A content this week. But who wrote it? Let’s see…

Top Billing

WIN A FREE COPY OF MAGIC THE GATHERING: BATTLEGROUNDS!
Click here to find out how!

Behind The Game – Lowrider (PS2) — Me, Myself, and I
I got to ask questions to Jaleco about their new Lowrider game! I got to do another interview! I must be SO COOL!

News You Can Use

411MAX: News News Revolution — Me, Myself, and I
I report on the DDR world record, new IIDX, give codes for Mario Kart, and announce the answers to the Haiku Riddles for Week #2. A decent outing, if I do say so myself.

Hump Day Otaku News Report — Lee Baxley
Lee’s light on the news, but provides this week’s game releases and anime releases! He also comments on some rough times, and how he nearly quit the site. Well, I’m personally glad that he considers us all his friends, and I’m SUPER glad he’s decided to stay. Kudos to you, fellow anime-enthusiast!

Thank God It’s Thursday News Report — Bryan Berg
This is the only column I check the plugs on FIRST just to see what one-liners stood out to him. I always think that “Oh, what I just typed is SURE to be his favorite,” but he always chooses something else. And he called me the Haiku Master! Yay! The gimmick’s catching on!

Reviews You Can Use

Jak II (PS2) — Bebito Jackson
Bebito expresses an orgasm in words as he goes nuts over this game. Now I know what to add to my holiday shopping list. (Just in case I don’t get my number one thing…, which I won’t…)

Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (GC) — Me, Myself, and I
I loves me my Mario Kart! Or to be more precise, my SISTER’S copy of Mario Kart. It was her birthday gift this year from me, and we’ve been tearing it up on the tracks ever since. Although SHE’D rather play Mario Party 5…ingrate. (Kidding!)

Columns You Can…uh…Use

We Want Our Tea Back! — Misha
The resident 411Games Brit is back with a look at good gaming magazines gone by, and some info on past British mags. Also included are some UK release dates…without the dates. Must have missed something, then. Good column anyway! READ!

The Angry Gamer — Liquidcross
It’s the final part of his acclaimed look at the Mega Man series, with a look to the future. Tune in next week as LC struggles to find something new to talk about!

Special Plug

And Another Thing: The Taking of HHH — Chris Hyatte
Yes, yes, this isn’t the wrestling section. But you don’t have to write for the wrestling section to enjoy such wonderful piece of fiction such as this. It may be long, but I’ve enjoyed it on so many levels. It really shows how far Hyatte can raise the bar in story telling. And not just wrestling-related story telling either. Something tells me he’s got a bright future ahead of him away from us stupid net-folk, and away from wrestling when the time is right. So kudos to Hyatte for the wonderful story. I feel he deserves it.
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PARTING THOUUGHTS

Next week starts the busiest two weeks out of the year for me. I’ll be knee deep in projects, final exams, and packing up to move back home. But I’ll still be here to entertain YOU, my loyal fans! (All three of you! HI, MOM!)

Until next time, remember that SpikeTV’s decisions for the best games are stupid and ridiculous.

Alex Williams