411MAX: News News Revolution 02.06.04

Welcome to the Friday News known 411MAX! For those who don’t me, the name is Alex Williams, and I’ll be your host as we get to what the hell happened during the course of this week! But before we begin ANYTHING, I’d like to address the Friday news spot. A “State of the Column” report, if you will.

To begin with, for the past four months or so after starting 411MAX, the column has had no real mission. I would report whatever news I felt important, offer some cheap filler in the form of cheat codes and haikus, and submit it to the site. It’s been a hodgepodge column as of late, but I want to change that.

Starting this column, and continuing into future columns, I want to set 411MAX on an actual track. Being the Friday news column, I’m the last guy you read before taking a break for the weekend. Therefore, you get no news until Monday. So, for the Friday news, I’ll be covering the week that was. I’ll be looking at news stories throughout the week, and placing them here in a nice, bite sized package. That is this columns mission statement: to present you, the reader, with a condensed look at news stories that happened throughout the week.

To do this, I’ll be trimming the fat a little. Gone will be the Cheat section, but only because I’ll be updating the “Hints” board at least once a day each week. So Cheat still lives on, technically. Also gone will be the haikus. As much as I love doing them, they are TOUGH to come up with on a weekly basis. I’ll bring them back on occasion, I’m sure. Just not as a weekly feature. Commentaries will NOT be going anywhere. If I have something to write about that’s opinionated for a given week, it’ll be here. You can count on it.

And now, to kick this thing into high gear! To give all you loyal readers a look at gaming goodness! (And badness, as the case may be.) ON WITH THE NEWS!


TOP STORY: DDR A Sport?

The following is something I’m not making up. Even if I TRIED, I couldn’t make it up.

In a recent article from BBC News, they covered the very first DDR European tournament. Within, they explain how popular the game is in various European territories, such as England and Italy. Also mentioned as Norway, which will soon register DDR as an official sport.

Yes, DDR will be an official Norwegian sport.

You know what that means, don’t you?

I’M A NORWEGIAN ATHLETE!

In America, I’m just a guy who plays a dancing game and looks silly! In Norway, I’m a JOCK! I KNEW my lack of athletic skills would work itself out eventually!

And hey, if curling can be considered a legitimate, competitive sport, so can DDR I guess.

(Credit goes to DDRFreak)


TOP RUMOR: DDR Extreme Song Speculation

With the US Version of DDR Extreme announced, speculation as to what the final song list will be is running WILD! While much of it is wishful thinking and flat out guessing, screenshots and other factors are giving us early clues as to what might be included. Keep in mind that NONE of these are confirmed, but are more likely than others:

Highs Off U (Scorccio XY Mix) 4 Reeel

From: DDRMAX: Dance Dance Revolution 6th Mix (JP)
Why It’s Likely: Apparently members of 4 Reeel reported that Konami recently approached them about using Highs Off U in an upcoming DDR mix, complete with music video. And apparently, they said okay.
Why It May Not: The cut of Highs Off U used in 6th Mix says the F-word twice. If Konami used it in a US mix, they’d have to edit the lyrics a bit.

The Reflex Duran Duran

From: DDRMAX2: Dance Dance Revolution 7th Mix (JP)
Why It’s Likely: In a screenshot on Konami’s website, someone matched a step pattern to The Reflex. This seems a logical choice for a U.S. mix, since Duran Duran is a recognizable name to our audience.
Why It May Not: It’s a licensed song. It isn’t known if Konami has the rights to it yet, so it’s too early to tell if The Reflex is a lock.

Higher NM feat. Sunny

From: Dance Dance Revolution 4th Mix (JP), Dance Dance Revolution Konamix (US)
Why It’s Likely: Someone recognized Higher’s steps from a screenshot. It may be a repeat, but like certain repeats in MAX2 USA, it has a Challenge remix to it. If Higher appears, it will bring the remix with it, which has NOT debuted in the US yet. Plus, the song will make its US PS2 debut.
Why It May Not: It already debuted in Konamix, and there are so many repeats a mix can have.

Again, this is all SPECULATION! Only A Stupid Barber, Can’t Stop Fallin’ In Love (Speed Mix), Mobo Moga, and Sweet Sweet (Heart) Magic are confirmed at this time. Plus, we have about eight months before the game’s release, so anything is possible.

(Credit goes to DDRFreak)


Sega’s Profits Increase? Wow…

In between last April and December, Sega’s profits went up! During this period, their sales were up to 7.66 billion yen ($72.6 million), which is a 92% increase over the 39.8 billion yen made during the last period. Sega’s sales can largely be attributed to their arcade division to the profit increase.

Unfortunately, consumer software sales are working against this incredible increase. We can put the blame squarely on the ESPN Sports line, which is selling sluggishly at best. Other games have been picking up the slack, at the least.

Sega’s fiscal year will end on March 11th, so it will be interesting to see what their final profits will be, which Sega estimates to be around 8 billion yen.

(Credit goes to Gamespot)


Uru Will Not Be Live. It’ll Be TAPED!

Yes, I know that was bad. You can sop booing now…I said you can stop booing!

Anyway, there was an online component planned for Uru: Ages Beyond Myst on the PC called Uru Live. The bad news is that it has been cancelled. Ubisoft and Cyan decided that the market for such an expansion would be too small for a wide scale release.

The good news that comes out of this is that there WILL be new content released for Uru later on this year. It won’t be online, but at least it’ll be new.

(Credit goes to Gamespot)


Here, Fishy Fishy Fishy…

Sega and Sony announced a new game for the JP PS2: Uo Nanatsu no Mizu Densetsu no Nushi (Fish: Legend of Seven Waters and Gods). This is going to be one interesting game from the sounds of it.

You’re this fish, see? And you’re going to need to survive in the big blue sea, see? So you need to EAT STUFF! But be careful, you have to AVOID BEING EATEN by things bigger than you! There are over 100 creatures to see/avoid, apparently.

Another interesting feature is that there are a bunch of lures around that can snap you up if you’re not careful. That is, of course, unless you’re strong enough. You can use your fishy talents to snap the lures right off the lines and keep them like trophies.

Now this game sounds interesting. I’m snapping up a copy if it makes it to the US…wait a tick…I have a JPS2! I can buy it whenever I want! YES!

(Credit goes to The Magic Box)


Nintendo’s Release Calendar

Nintendo of America released a list of upcoming games for 2004. Here they are, courtesy of The Magic Box:

Apr 5 – Wario Ware Inc (GC)
May 1 – Pikmin 2 (GC)
May 10 – Custom Robo: Battle Revolution (GC)
May 11 – Legend of Zelda: Four Swords (GC)
May 24 – Mario Vs Donkey Kong (GBA)
Jun 15 – StarFox 2 (GC)
Jun 28 – Mario Golf: Advance Tour (GBA)
Jul 13 – Tales of Symphonia (GC)
Oct 15 – Killer 7 (GC)
Nov 15 – Resident Evil 4 (GC)
TBA – Super Monkey Ball 3 (GC)

Mario VS Donkey Kong? Star Fox TWO? SUPER MONKEY BALL 3?!?!? YES, YES, YES, YES!!!!!!!! I LOVE NINTENDO!!!!!…(ahem)…

This looks like it’s going to be a good year for Nintendo software from the looks of it. I’m kinda skeptical about Wario Ware Inc. on the GC, but with additions like Tales of Symphonia and StarFox 2, I’m looking forward to what they can do.


Limited White X-Box Sold Out

Did you want a limited edition white Japanese X-Box? The one that they were only making 1,000 units of? Well, they’re sold out. Sorry.

What, were you expecting something else? They’re ALL GONE! What else can be said?
(Credit goes to The Magic Box)


Catch Jirachi!

Lucard owes me for this story.

Starting February 7th, the Pokémon Coliseum bonus disc becomes available to those who pre ordered the game. Among other things you can do with the disc, you’ll be able to download the hidden Pokémon Jirachi to your Ruby/Sapphire game packs! This marks the first time a super-secret Pokémon is made available to the masses instead of only through tradeshows and Pokémon Centers.

(Credit goes to Alex Lucard)


The More Ninjas, The Better!

Those who plan on buying Ninja Gaiden on the X-Box later this month are in for a treat. Along with the main game, all three NES games will be included on the disc for play as well! We get to kill Jaquio all over again! Just make sure he doesn’t bleed on the evil staff. Bad things happen if he bleeds on the evil staff.

(Credit goes to GameSpy)


Vivendi To Make A Bad Investment
The N-Gage hasn’t been bashed yet. Lets remedy that.

Turns out that Vivendi is going to release a version of Crash Nitro Kart on the Nokia N-Gage. That’s right, a third-rate mascot is headed to a fifth-rate system. I’m going to estimate that 50 units will actually be purchased, while 8,000 more will be given away to the poor, underprivileged children who don’t have Frisbees.

(Credit goes to GameSpy)

And there’s the news! With more to come in he coming weeks! Count on it!


PLUGS & SHILLS THAT PAY THE BILLS

The points system is great. Already I’m getting offers for extra points, and jealousy from those who don’t have as much. (The Kliq is playing RIGHT into my hand! BWAHAHAHA!) So we continue it this week and try to dig up more deep-rooted feelings of resentment!

News You Can Use

Gamer’s Hangover News Report — Cory Laflin
Cory hates the Patriots, likes Diet Rite, and proves to the world there is no Halo 2. At least until the Fall, when it’s pushed back into oblivion. And I think I got another pimp award!
Reward Points: 95 / Total: 595

The HitchHiker’s Guide To Video Games — Misha Surma
Along with officially titling his news report, he has also gained a LAST NAME! SURMA! (Well, it’s the first time I heard of it.) He covers the Mega Man X RPG, Killer 7 going multi-platform, and introduces alter ego Marvin. Great guy!
Reward Points:130 / Total: 430

Mid-Week Mid-Boss News Report — Lee Baxley
Lee thinks I’m stiffing him on points? How’d he know? Oh, er…um…I mean, I’m not stiffing ANYONE! (Besides, he stiffs me on plug space EVERY WEEK! ;) ) Lee still rocks. The combination of game/anime news and awesome graphics make him an awesome read on Hump Days. And Azumanga Daioh’s coming out stateside! YAY!
Reward Points:125 / Total: 540

Thank God It’s Thursday News Report — Bryan Berg
Bryan scratches my back with 100000000 gold medals, and I scratch his with 100 bonus points! He covers Nintendo’s lowered expectations, Take-Two’s downfall, and bitches to everyone who’s talking about Janet Jackson’s evil sun-pierced titty of DOOM! Parents, hide the children! It’s a BOOBIE!
Reward Points: 220 / Total: 700

Reviews You Can Use

NFL Street (PS2) — Bryan Berg
Wow, Bryan’s onslaught just won’t end! He’s racking up the points now! Although he gets less here simply because I don’t agree with some of the things he said about the game. Those thoughts will be made clear when I touch on the X-Box version. Still, an excellent read.
Reward Points: 70 / Total: 770

Sonic Heroes (GC) — Bebito Jackson
Here’s the most honest review of Sonic Heroes you’ll ever see. And I agree on many points. It’s got some of the coolest gameplay and innovative level design of ANY platformer I’ve seen, but has enough flaws and quirks to knock it out of classic status. But my sister and I still play the hell out of it, and it’s totally worth the time you spend in it.
Reward Points: 100 / Total: 410

Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance 2 (XB) — Alex Lucard
Dammit, why does nearly EVERY game Alex1 gives a good score to make me want to blow my budget and purchase it? ARGH!
Reward Points: 80 / Total: 595

Maximo Vs. The Army Of Zin (PS2) — Michael O’Reilly
One of our freelancers looks at the Maximo sequel. He likes it. Will you?
Reward Points: 45/ Total: 95

XIII (XB) — Alex Lucard
Lucard may have reviewed it, but I have no desire to play yet another FPS clone shooter. Even if it does have Adam West in it. Stop stealing his water!

Reward Points: 71/ Total: 666 (OH MY GOD!)

Columns You Can…uh…Use

The Gamers Conscience — Fredrick Badlissi
This week, it’s a mailbag. Has Freddie-Boy answered YOUR LETTER? Go and check!
Reward Points: 80/ Total: 475

Retrograding — Alex Lucard
Prepare for greatness. Prepare for something over a year in the making. Prepare for ten weeks of awesomeness that only Alex Lucard can give you. I’m even throwing him an extra ten points for all his hard work. (Points he almost begged me for!)
Reward Points: 114/ Total: 780

The Angry Gamer — Liquidcross
This week’s anger-induced essay involves dissecting what we know about the Nintendo DS, and whether it will be successful or not. In the end, we’ll all just have to see for ourselves, and not listen to the hype.
Reward Points: 80/ Total: 355

Absentees

Chris Pankonin
Quick! Someone give this guy a sports game to review! He needs more points! Other than his weekly kickback for being the boss!
Reward Points: 25 / Total: 250

Non-For-Points Pimps

Imprisoned — Me, Myself, and I
My first 411Black post. It’s a short story I wrote almost a year ago, and recently posted it. (Didn’t make a blip on the 411Black radar, but oh well…) Please read and send feedback!

And now, for this week’s

BONUS POINT CHALLENGE: Any Kliq member who refers to me as “The Norwegian Athlete” in their columns will receive 5 reward points per reference! Good luck!


PARTING THOUGHTS

This week begins a renewed commitment to 411Games. Not that I wasn’t committed already, but I’ll be even MORE committed than before.

The Sonic Battle review is DONE, and will appear next week. Intellivision Lives! is out as well, so I’ll review that as soon as I can.

Until next week, stop making games for the N-Gage! Don’t you know that’s practically like flushing millions of dollars in R&D down the commode? Seriously?

Alex Williams, The Norwegian Athlete