Gamer’s Hangover News Report 01.20.04

Quasi-random thoughts:

Point of information for Nute: The accent you wrote is more a Deep South than a Midwestern Twang. Besides, everybody knows that most of the cattle mutilations take place in Wyoming and Montana. Just so you know.

Apparently, part of the mortgage of my house reads that I’ll need to replace EVERY SINGLE MAJOR APPLIANCE within the first five years of residence. This week’s victim: The microwave. Just to keep score, in a little over a year’s time I’ve had to replace: The dishwasher, the dryer, the washer, the icemaker in the friggin’ fridge, and now the microwave. I’m only hoping *fingers crossed* that the air conditioner makes it one more summer. Oh, and of course there was the bathroom renovation on top of that.

Hey, Chiefs get bounced, and I have to listen to an entire week of how bad they suck, some of it coming from people whose teams didn’t even make the playoffs, and I get a little cranky. Add to that my hereditary seasonal depression (you can set your damn watch by it. Thanks, Mom.) throw in some issues at work and the start of a new diet (it’s been six days since I’ve touched a cookie “¦ and only five more weeks to go!) and you should be happy if I say anything happy at all.

Well, other than the obvious singing and dancing that accompanies Greg Robinson’s resignation. I’d say don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out Greg, but if you coached the door it would’ve taken itself out of the play by the time you picked up your briefcase to leave.

The goal of this eat-healthy-or-die-trying diet is to get my girth down from Plattish ranges down to something more Lucardian. If it doesn’t happen, I’m driving up to Kansas City and holding the Cheesecake Factory hostage until I put myself into a diabetic coma. “There’s a bomb underneath the table. Bring two Key Lime Pie Cheesecakes now, and bring one more every hour on the hour or the Plaza gets another vacancy.”

Note: To any of Fuhrer Ashcroft’s cronies reading, that last paragraph is what is known in the biz as SATIRE. As of last week it’s still protected under the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. Yes, I know people keep gnawing your ear off about that document. Take a weekend and try reading it, okay?

Harry Truman becomes president and the nukes start dropping. John Ascroft becomes Attorney General and all of the sudden our rights go out the window. This is what happens when Missourians seize power, folks. And now Gephardt is running “¦ AGAIN? *shudder*

Is there anybody else out there that thinks that, with a weekend of preparation, they could sound more qualified for the job of President of the United States as Carol Moseley Braun? Seriously. I could ad lib better stuff than she had.

And who would pay money to see Al Sharpton on Prime Minister’s Questions? He’d end up killing some poor MP from Scotland before he got halfway through. THAT’S what reality television should be, kids.

As a conservative (NOT Republican, thank you) I asked myself, “If I HAD to vote for a Democratic Presidential Candidate, whom would I choose?” The answer: Joe Lieberman. My only turn off toward him is the fact that he’s apparently gotten sucked into the rhetoric-fest of campaigning.

Why not Dean: He’s a loon, and if recent reports are to be believed, not as LiberalTM as he’s trying to sound. Ergo, he’s faking it. Ergo, he’s dishonest. (I know. He’s a politician. Like I should expect any less.)
Why not Gephardt: See above. I’m not kidding. You get Missourians with political power and political idealism and you get Quantrill’s Raiders all over again. There’s a reason Kansans are a tad xenophobic, and that reason is Missouri.
Why not Clark: I get the feeling that he has absolutely no clue what he’s doing.
So I’m backing Lieberman. Hey, if nothing else, him being President will make the Israeli/Palestinian situation a WHOLE lot more interesting.

Okay, I’ve seen the Paris Hilton tape, and I have to say that I’m a bit disappointed. Look, when you’re the heiress of that sort of empire you don’t have to be submissive. She should’ve had the guy on his knees barking like a shih tzu, teasing him with rolls of hundreds the whole time. She probably could have gotten him to “¦ anyway, THAT would have been interesting.

Zookeeper-Wife Quote of the week: “Your hand doesn’t care about you.”

How the hell am I supposed to write without my chips and salsa?

The Hangover is light on the news this week. Not because there was no news, but because of a series of snafus with me putting this together, culminating in the fact that my company is getting really pissy about internet use. Fortunately, the “Super Troopers” feature is here, as promised.

NEWS

Games Our Folks Won’t Buy For Us
Home Video Essentials, a product of Rentrak Corporation, has released a preliminary list of the top renting videogames for the week ending January 11, 2004.
Here are the top 10:
1. Need for Speed: Underground—PS2
– Turbo-charged moles! Next on Croc Hunter!
2. True Crime: Streets of L.A.—PS2 – Proof that hizzle” and its ilk have officially jumped the shark. Heard the following phrase on a.m. radio last week: “My prizide and jizoy.” Kill it now.
3. Medal of Honor: Rising Sun—PS2 – Okay. Color me intrigued.
4. Tony Hawk’s Underground—PS2 – Ditto.
5. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2—PS2 – Look, I’ve already seen this game in cutout racks. What’s the deal?
6. Manhunt—PS2 – You know what superhero doesn’t get enough play? Martian Manhunter. Just an observation.
7. SOCOM II: U.S. Navy Seals—PS2 – I’d play this, but I’ve been fragged enough in my life, thank you.
8. The Sims: Bustin’ Out—PS2 – Girly might be a little strong “¦ or not.
9. Madden NFL 2004—PS2
10. Mario Kart: Double Dash!!—GC — Obviously Sonic Heroes wasn’t out on shelves yet.

b>2003 — The Year In Review — Featuring 25 Quotes from “Broken Lizards’: Super Troopers”

Comedy cult movies don’t seem as plentiful as they used to, but the Broken Lizards guys are trying to revive them. In the tradition of National Lampoon in the 70’s and 80’s (I’m not counting “Van Wilder.” Sorry.) and the Zucker brothers before that, they’re posed to become the new cult comedy masters for the early 21st century. Yeah, I know. Canned hyperbole, right? Naw. Give this a rent the next time you’re in a goofy mood. You won’t be disappointed. Oh, and for those of you that have seen in, their next movie is due out this year, so stay tuned.

1.Ramathorn: “You smell something, Rabbit?”
Rabbit: “Fear.”

First of all, I have to agree with my friend Cris that the first scene of “Super Troopers” should be required viewing for all Highway Patrol officers on how to mess with stoners heads. This obviously goes to the growing feeling of foreboding that Bebito Jackson and every other Sega fan on this planet has with the situation with Sammy.

2.“The snozberries taste like snozberries!”
The best example of the stupidity that can come out of drug use goes to the best example of that in the video game world in 2003: The Video Game Awards that were on Spike in November. Brutal. Absolutely brutal. The worst part was that Tony Hawk’s Underground won GOTY just so they could get their hands on an sneak peak at the next TH game. Of course that’s purely speculation on my part, but watching this mélange of MTV camera cuts, drunken extras in the audience, and boobs, you get the feeling that what I’ve guessed isn’t far beneath them. At all.

3.“I am all that is man!”
My personal favorite line, Thorny’s declaration of victory in the maple syrup chugging contest, goes to the console that made the hands-down best showing in 2003: The Nintendo GameCube. Some marquee titles, a well-timed price cut, and a surgically-placed Zelda compilation disk offer. PS2 may still be the king of the kill, but Nintendo brought it back to a three-horse race again.

4.“Oh shit! I got you good you f*cker!
Our introduction to Farva’s hate for the rookie Rabbit goes to that asshat Christopher Byron at the New York Post, for that hilariously late and overbearing piece of drivel he wrote against Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, disguising it as a financial column about Take Two Interactive. That piece was just like Farva’s soap-in-the-coffee prank; it was self-satisfying, it was sophomoric, and nobody cared about it other than Mr. Byron himself.

5.“Farva, your suspension “¦ continues.”
Hope springs eternal for some. For Farva it was the dream of someday being brought back to patrol duty. Of course, without exceptional circumstances, some goals just won’t ever be resolved. This line goes to the squabble of 2003, the one that has pissed off the most sports gamers and has no sign of being over soon: The pissing contest between Electronic Arts and Microsoft over Xbox Live.

6.“And that was the second time I got crabs.”
The non-sequitor line of the movie goes to the non-sequitor event of early 2004: The mysterious Nintendo hardware. No buildup, no announcements or press releases, just all of the sudden “we’re working on new hardware that somehow won’t compete with our existing hardware but I’m not going to tell you what it is right now, et cetera.”

7.“Where’d ya learn that, Cheech? Drug school?”
Farva’s dismissal of Rabbit’s basic inductive reasoning just because it’s Rabbit goes to Alex Lucard, who “tends to look down” on anything released by Square Enix.

8.“It’s really funny, cap. It’s Afghanistanimation!”
This goes to Baxley, the big lug.

9.“Spread it on.”
The mayor’s line, as he poses out with the cops in front of the reefer score for the photo op, rifle in hand (the entire movie is worth seeing for the stoner scene and this scene only) goes to the ESRB. They’re remarkably similar. The ESRB doesn’t actively fight censorship, but their existence makes it easier for folks like us to fight it. The free-speech advocate that I am, I love the ESRB ratings because it puts the responsibility for monitoring games in the parents’ hands, where it should be. And just like the troopers letting the mayor in their celebratory photo op, I’m more than happy to give the ESRB some love here.

10.“Look, kid. On any other day I’d show you how to step up and swing, but the car is stolen!
Just as Thorny put the kibosh on Rabbit’s first “¦ ahem “¦opportunity as a patrolman, this line goes to the kibosh of 2003/early 2004: SNK’s shift in focus away from video games and towards gambling machines. In the same way sad, but probably necessary. Sad, nonetheless.

11.“I told you I don’t touch Highway Hog.”
“Baby, I’m Sizzle-lean!”

The single best pick-up line in the movie goes to my favorite ad campaign of 2003: The Tracy Morgan spots for the ESPN games. “Straight outta your nightmares! A-hah hah hah!” Genius.

12.“Who wants a mustache ride?
The most disturbing proposition of the movie (yes, it’s what you think) goes to the “are you SURE there isn’t a code?” ad campaign for Final Fantasy X-2.

13.Foster: “You know, Rabbit, a good cop doesn’t really know why he does anything.”
Captain: “Disregard that, Rabbit!

This goes to Berg, Williams, and Pankonin. I imagine Berg as Foster, Williams as Rabbit, and Pankonin as Cap, just so you get the dynamic.

14.“For twenty dollars I’ll call em a chickenf*cker!”¦”
“License and registration “¦ chickenf*cker!”

Farva’s beyond-ham-handed attempt to be one of “the guys” goes to the most stupidly ham-handed idea of late 2003/early 2004: The PS2 Eye Toy network idea. This may be the proof that the Xbox is getting to Sony a bit. Xbox Live is easily the most cohesive online gaming service out there right now, and this really sounds like an attempt to match it “¦ but it’s doing it all wrong because nobody wants to be SEEN online. Heard, okay. Seen, no.

15.“Roger, holding the spit
The best line by a non-appearing role in the movie (some unseen guy in the back of the fast-food place) goes to the best “non-appearing” writer on the web: Bebito Jackson. And just like the line, I don’t believe Bebito’s done writing by a long shot.

16.“Just get a large, Farva.”
“I don’t want a large Farva, I want a goddamn liter a’ cola!”

The problem with Farva is that he wants to be one of the guys, and he wants to sound unique and intelligent, but he’s none of those things, and probably will never be. What he is, however, is hot-headed, and this is the set-up to the incident that gets him re-suspended, and ultimately sets up the major plot twist of the second half of the movie. Wow. I hadn’t actually thought of how this scene sets up the entire rest of the plot before. It’s really kind of cool, how a silly comedy like this can actually have a cohesive plot and be this subtle about everything. Therefore, this line goes to L.C. and Freddie, for being themselves, who really ARE part of the guys and can both blend raw emotion with complete forethought in ways that I have yet to even comprehend.

17.“What are you gonna do with that ten million, and you can’t say buy the Cleveland Cavaliers.'”
The only sports reference of the entire movie goes to the best sports franchise of 2003, which is no surprise to anyone who has ventured out of the EA hegemony the last few years: ESPN Games (formerly known as Sega Sports).

18.Captain: “You know, there was a time we’d take a guy like you out back and beat you with a hose; now you have your goddamn unions.”
Farva: “You know I’m not a union guy, cap!”

This exchange goes to the last three people who have graced the cover of Madden: Dante Culpepper, Marshall Faulk, and Michael Vick. Appearing as the Madden cover boy is maybe the single dumbest thing an NFL player can do right now. Of course, I believe that “Sports Illustrated” cost the Chiefs the chance to go to the Super Bowl by putting them on the cover before Week 11, so draw your own conclusions. Here’s to hoping that Priest Holmes (or anybody else in a Chiefs uniform “¦ save maybe William Bartee) doesn’t show up on the front of the box for the 2005 edition.

19.“Biker “¦ I’m an idiot.”
The single most obvious mistake in the movie goes to the single most obvious mistake of the 2003 gaming industry: The N-Gage. In the movie, Foster is supposed to meet his girlfriend and local policewoman Ursula disguised as a “Biker.” So when Ursula shows up wearing a leather jacket and spike heels, she finds him dressed like Lance Armstrong.

Much the same way that Nokia handled the N-Gage, if you think about it. They developed it and released it just like they release one of their cell phone models: with absolutely NO fanfare whatsoever. They developed what they thought was a slam-dunk game system (it wasn’t) and marketed it just like another cell phone. And then when they figured out they’d made a mistake, they rushed out those commercials that showcased the N-Gage’s complete lack of screen resolution, probably turning more people off to the thing than on. Good job, guys.

20.“Oh that little guy? I wouldn’t worry about that little guy.”
The set-up line of the movie (the line that sets up the next quote, actually) goes to the company that I think is just setting everyone else up — Sony. Nintendo and Microsoft both made price cuts and other deals to try and get market share over the big kid on the block, and both are touting new consoles that will be unveiled this year. Meanwhile, Sony has been relatively quiet regarding the PS3, the Eye Toy Network fiasco being the lone exception. I’m getting a very Pearl Harbor feeling about console announcements this time around, like the Dreamcast is going to happen all over again if you know what I mean.

21.Captain: “Bulletproof cup, huh? I invented this gag, Rabbit; only in my day the rookie got naked”¦..*BLAM*”¦..and we used blanks. You’re a sick motherf*cker, Mac.”
Mac: “Thanks, Cap.”

This exchange goes to Chuck, just because. I think he’ll appreciate it like Mac did.

22.“Excuse me! “¦ Bear “¦ Bearf*cker! Do you need assistance!?”
There’s nothing like pulling a gag over so completely as Rabbit pulled on the local cops here; so this line goes to the culprits of the GTA: Sin City/Amazon.com gag. Good job guys. Bravo. *claps*

23.“Farva’s number one!! Farva’s number one!!”
Farva spraying the room in beer, making a complete ass of himself (moreso than usual) goes to the single most gratuitous game release of the year: Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness. Seriously, who thought this game was a good idea?

24.“If you were my son, Mac, I’d have smothered you by now.”
This goes to Backyard Wrestling, for reasons that should be obvious.

25.“To the death of fun.
Originally, I was going to dedicate this line to the guy who killed himself after his EverQuest character died but I thought that would trivialize the matter somewhat. Look, folks. The problems that person had went far beyond video games. He was just trying to use games to fit in somewhere. A lot of gamers do that. Hell, *I* do that, and have since I was a kid. I wasn’t a very popular kid, and games were something I could do that was distinctly “me.” I could relax playing games. I could escape playing games, and when you grow up in Clay Center, Kansas, escape is something you desperately need.

It’s easy to say that this guy took it too seriously. That’s because that’s the Cliffs Notes version of what happened. But there’s more to it than that. He obviously had self-worth issues. Perhaps he didn’t have experience with grief. Personally, I’ve had a harder time surviving break-ups than I have had with funerals so far, and I don’t think I’m out of line saying so. I’ve felt loss at “stupd” things before; you have been reading me since the Chiefs lost, haven’t you? This poor soul obviously felt like there was nothing left after his character died. Whose fault is that? His? His family’s? His friends’? These may all be the case, but the one being that shouldn’t be at fault but seems to have carried some of that fault is the game itself.

I don’t want to start a whole tirade about how games are just games because everybody already knows this. Banning EverQuest because of this would be like banning T-ball because one asshole dad punched out an umpire. The game wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. The game was just supposed to be fun. It obviously ceased to be fun to that person; it became life itself, and not the escape from it.

PIMP-LICIOUS

Baxley gets the Pimp Coat this week for having the big ten-inch “¦ column chock full of game and anime with purty pictures and tables and “¦ all sorts of other html wizardry that leaves me feeling weak and impotent. Thanks. Thanks a lot, Lee. Jerk.

A-Will is back from rehab and gets the Pimp Stick this week. You know, you just have to admire his devotion to Dance Dance Revolution. I remember when I used to believe in something; when I had hope in my life. The days seemed brighter, the nights warmer, not like the dank and empty existence I live now. Perhaps my spirits will someday brighten “¦ someday “¦ in late July “¦ when the Chiefs head back to training camp. *snif*

Chuck should get more love from me than he does, so he gets hisself a pair of Pimp Boots for the week.

This week’s Ho Train:
Derailed this week, thanks to asinine corporate policies. Will return next week.

Ugh. What an ugly week. I’m sorry about the work and home snafus screwing with the column this week. I’m also sorry that my PGR2 review didn’t get out last week as I had promised. It was unprofessional to make that claim and not follow through. It will be out soon, though, or Panky will have my fingers cut off.

I’d love to say that I was torn away from my consoles by some life event, but in reality I was a moron. See, I went in to the video store Thursday night and came out with NFL Street and my fascination with bright, shiny objects took over and I didn’t do the five minutes of fact checking on PGR2 that I needed to do to finish up the review. Yes, I *am* a moron.

Next week, news. Really. Honestly. I’m not kidding this time.

Until then, get some sleep.

-Cory