Gamer’s Hangover News Report – 03.29.04

Quasi-Random Thoughts

Possums have pouches like kangaroos.

Reflecting on what, exactly, I’ve done with the first 30 years of my life, I came upon a revelation of sorts. You see, there have been a LOT of bad fads in my day. I mean BAD ones. And I discovered this week that I had survived almost every bad fad and foolish social status symbol that our society tried to foist on us over the last 30 years. True, I fell victim to G.I. Joe and the Transformers, as well as the pantheon of Star Wars figures (but only through the first three movies. Once I stopped playing with them, I stopped buying “¦ for the most part), but these pale in comparison to some of the trends I was forced to endure throughout my formative years. Now, a lot of these are functions of the demographic of people I hung around with “¦ namely high school nerds (AND PROUD OF IT) and college types, but I think most people of suitable vintage would recognize or at least identify with the struggles I had against these Pointless Wastes of Time.

So, to cut to the chase, here is a list of things that I’m glad are gone:
– Broadway musicals being something other than a way to drop $200 really fast.
o At this point, I’d love to lock Andrew Lloyd Webber and Stephen Sondheim’s corpse in a room with Henry Rollins, Gene Simmons, and a fully armed Ted Nugent. And I thought listening to that stuff would get me laid way back when. I was an idiot.
– “Alternative” rock.
o Otherwise known as “Playing Techno Will Get My Ass Kicked.” Folks, this started WAAAAY before Nirvana. At some point in the mid-80’s college music changed from punk to this whiny, synthesizery, androgynous mélange that confused the hell out of me back in the day. Robert Smith is sexy? In what race? One word: Morrissey. You want to plant your foot in his ass right now, don’t you?
o Now, Techno is fine by me. There’s some days where nothing will hit the spot like a little New Order or Depeche Mode. Then again, even the Techno musicians were more assertive than the indie-rock schmucks we had to listen to back then.
– “Grunge”
o It’s not punk. It may be the half-assed, heroin-fueled, stepson of punk but it’s NOT PUNK. Punks do not blow their own heads off with shotguns. They have the police do it for them. Right as I’m going into college, it suddenly becomes the fashion for women to dress like dumpy guys. I swear that I didn’t see cleavage (in public, not in private fortunately) for three straight years. I want a refund on my early 20’s, dammit. At least Goths will show some skin.
– The Cowboys/Niners Super Bowl Days
o I KNEW there’d be some glee to be had on the backside of those runs.
– Corporate Woodstock
o The prostitution of a historical event, and she didn’t even swallow. Save for the assaults (of every type) that occurred, all of which were deplorable, that “institution” got what it deserved when it was burned to the ground.
– Mega-Concert Summer Tours
o These are still in their death throes, but nothing original enough music-wise to give a half a turd about has come out in the last five years. Certainly nothing that self-respecting teens/20-somethings will travel three hours and spend $100 a ticket on. I never did the festival thing, but I did get suckered into attending two of the big tours back then: The Jimmy Page/Robert Plant Tour, and the Pink Floyd “Division Bell” tour. Quick, name a song from “The Division Bell.” I couldn’t either and I own the damn thing.
o Notice that most of these deal with music.
– Communism
o Just keep telling it to yourself, Fidel. You know, I know, and the rest of the world know that the day you keel over, there’s going to be a mad dash of real estate developers and cigar buyers swimming from Miami; and plenty of good Cubans waiting to embrace what you’ve sought to eliminate. My guess is that there’ll be an MLB franchise in Havana within five years of your death.
– The “Mad About You/Seinfeld/Friends” Unholy Triumverate
o Na na na na “¦. Na na na na “¦hey hey hey “¦

And you know what, I’ve outlived all of these abominations to human civilization. I never have to worry about the Red Menace or Lollapalooza or pretend I’ve seen “Miss Saigon” ever again. And soon, our long national nightmare of being subjected to the single most clueless AND emasculated man in TV history will be over. Cripes, Jack from “Will and Grace” is manlier than David Schwimmer.

I’ve got one more thing to bitch about in terms of 80’s music. Have you ever heard the song “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel? No “¦ scratch that “¦ have you ever LISTENED to the song “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel? By “listened” I mean “heard the song and NOT immediately played that cheesy-ass stop-frame animation video in your head.” That video was the single worst thing to happen to that song, because if you actually LISTEN to it, you discover what I did a scant couple of years ago. I was driving around, flipping stations and I came in on the middle of this really hot soul song. I mean these guys were in the pocket all the way. The strutting, trashy beat, the horns, and the singer who was keeping it under control, really feeling the song instead of trying to upstage it; the song was amazing. It took me a full freakin’ minute to figure out that it was freakin’ “SLEDGEHAMMER.”

“Sledgehammer” is a rip-it-up soul masterpiece. I’d love to hear James Brown (in his prime) cover this song. Problem is that 99.9% of the population can’t separate the song from that corny video. I’ve even had to fight tooth-and-nail against the reflex to immediately think of that video, but it’s begun to pay off.

Okay “¦ game stuff “¦ once again, been having problems focusing on the games I’m supposed to review. I can’t blame all of it on their lameness, though. Part of it is that we’re having too much fun with Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix right now. The boy loves it, and as such I get a ringing endorsement to play it from Veronica.

Wednesday: If you’re not wanting to read any of my bitter rants, you might want to skip down a bit.

So there goes the Nicole Ohlde era at Kansas State. Of course, why the Cats, as the 2 seed, had to play 7 seed Minnesota AT MINNESOTA is beyond me “¦ although the same scheduling people see fit for 1 seed Duke to play their first two games AT HOME and their next two games a three hour drive or 1 hour flight from home. That and apparently fouls in Minnesota are called by voice vote of the fans. I can’t talk any more about this, or I’m going to say something that I’ll regret later.

But I hope Nicole kicks Diana Taurasi’s ass in the WNBA.

Also, Tim Pickett, you are a bastard.

You have the game of your life against Wichita State, and then you have the audacity to go 1-13 from the 3-point arc AT HOME against Iowa State. I knew it was going to happen. Walking out of the arena last Wednesday, I told my buddy Shawn that you’d blow it in the next game, and you did. Hope you’re proud of yourself. With a Florida State education, I hope doors open for you at the 7-11. Like that first-team all-ACC spot is going to buy you anything with NBA scouts. They’re too busy checking out high school players.

And, by the way, the 1st round NIT game at WSU sold out the 10,496-seat arena. The second round game at Florida State, 8,065 out of a possible 12,200. You people make me sick. If the late, great Dick Howser hadn’t come from your pathetic little burg I’d call in some favors and perform a little urban renewal in Tallahassee.

I’m calming down listening to the WSU fight song, picturing how badly we’re going to kick your ass the next time we meet. 8,000 for a post-season game. Poseurs.

POSEURS.

Back to my normal light-hearted jabber.

Sadly, there is no more light-hearted jabber this week. I had to do something pretty heavy yesterday. So heavy that I’m not going to even go into it. Don’t worry, everything’s fine. It was just one of those things that life makes you do that sucks the big one.

News

For Those With Fear Of Commitment:
credit: Gamedaily.com
Home Video Essentials, a product of Rentrak Corporation, has released a preliminary list of the top renting videogames for the week ending March 21, 2004.
Here are the top 10:
1. Mafia—PS2
– We’re takin’ over, see “¦.
2. James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing—PS2 – All right! I’ll rent the damn thing! Enough already!
3. Ninja Gaiden—Xbox – Still impressive, given that there are about a billion more PS2s than Xboxes out there.
4. Need for Speed: Underground—PS2 – THERE IS NO “¦ oh forget it.
5. NFL Street—PS2 – 1 0wnz j00. 1 r0x0rs.
6. True Crime: Streets of L.A.—PS2 – “But dear “¦” “No.” “But you’re the good “¦” “No.”
7. James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing—Xbox – I ALREADY SAID I’D RENT”¦ grrrr.
8. Tony Hawk’s Underground—PS2 – *singing* If I die before I wake “¦.
9. WWE Smackdown! Here Comes the Pain—PS2 – And the famed Eric S. “two-week pop” enters the video game world as well.
10. Mafia—Xbox Yeah, see “¦

Proof That There’s No Originality in PC Games Anymore
credit: Gamedaily.com
NPD Techworld has released a list of the top-selling PC games for the month of February, 2004.
The top 20 were:
1. EverQuest: Gates Of Discord Expansion Pack
– Add-On.
2. Call Of Duty – Squad-Shooter Clone
3. The Sims Deluxe – Retread.
4. Zoo Tycoon: Complete Collection – Retread.
5. The Sims: Makin’ Magic Expansion Pack – Add-On.
6. Age Of Mythology – RTS Clone.
7. Delta Force Black Hawk Down: Team Sabre Expansion Pack – Add-On.
8. Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: Century Of Flight – Retread.
9. The Sims Double Deluxe – Repackaging of an Old game.
10. Hoyle Casino 2004 – Retread.
11. Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic – Port.
12. The Sims: Unleashed Expansion Pack – Old Add-On.
13. Battlefield 1942 – EA Non-Sports Game, Squad Shooter Clone.
14. Halo: Combat Evolved – Port.
15. Lord of the Rings: Return Of The King – EA Non-Sports Game, Port.
16. Final Fantasy XI – Port.
17. The Sims: Superstar Expansion Pack – Old Add-On.
18. Sim City 4 Deluxe – Retread.
19. Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 2004 – Port.
20. Warcraft III Battle Chest – Old Retread.

Yawn.

First One’s Free “¦
credit: Gamedaily.com
I know this already got reported on, but since my buddy Cris has already decided to take the leap and get an Xbox, I figured I’d just help push him in a little faster. For those that haven’t heard, the new line is that the Xbox price drop (to $149) could come as early as TOMORROW. As in, March 30th, 2004. This is according to a research not published by an analyst for Piper Jaffray. (On a completely unrelated note, there was a gal I knew in high school named Piper Green who was INCREDIBLY hot. How many of y’all knew Pipers growing up? Show of e-mails.)

The estimate is that an Xbox price drop could drive a Nintendo-esque sales boom of four or five times the current sales, but they also said, “We doubt a $149 price point will be enough to drive (calendar 2004) hardware unit sales above 2003 levels.” Well, maybe it would have, if Xbox 2 leaks weren’t already making the rounds.

Now if I can get Ken to get an Xbox, my plan of world domination will be complete. *wrings hands menacingly*

Free Speech Strikes Back
credit: Spong.com
For all of the shizzle we give other game sites for how crappy they are, we are all in the same business of speech, and what’s good for free speech is good for all of us. So, color me tickled that HardOCP is deciding to sue Infinium Labs for defamation over statements made by the *cough* hardware *cough* *hack* manufacturer after a HardOCP article entitled “Behind The Infinium Phantom Console.”

Suffice it to say that the article was less than flattering to Infinium and founder/CEO Time Roberts. Following the article, there was much legal chest-beating by Infinium; so much so that HardOCP decided to call them on it.

“HardOCP.com filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit against Infinium Labs to establish its position that there was nothing improper, untruthful or defamatory about its September 17, 2003 article Behind The Infinium Phantom Console. The lawsuit was filed by this firm in the name of KB Networks, Inc. the owner of HardOCP.com. The lawsuit was filed to clear the air and terminate the flurry of demands, allegations, and defamatory Internet posts directed against HardOCP.com, by Infinium Labs and law firms representing Infinium Labs and its CEO, Tim Roberts. The lawsuit was filed under the Declaratory Judgment Act, which permits a person or entity being threatened with lawsuits from another party to force the issue to be decided, rather than having to operate under a cloud of uncertainty and intimidation. HardOCP.com stands by its article, and we believe that the Federal Court will conclude, as HardOCP.com believes, that all relevant facts in the article are true.”

“We look forward to a decisive vindication by the Federal Court of HardOCP.com’s credibility, integrity, and right to free speech.”

For those not versed in legalese, this translates almost literally to “put up or shut up.”

I’ll bring you the joy as it evolves.

The Least Anticipated Sequel Since Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo
credit: Spong.com

The following was an official invite to the Spong guys from “¦. Nokia:

“You’ve heard the rumours… N-Gage invites you to join them on Wednesday 14 April. You’ve heard the rumours. You’ve read the hype. Now, see the reality. N-Gage invites you to join us on Wednesday 14 April to be one of the first to see into the revolutionary future of 21st century mobile gaming (no crystal ball necessary!).”

Sweet Lord’s Mercy, they’re going to make an N-Gage 2.

This wasn’t a complete surprise. Ray Haddow, head of product marketing and business development at Nokia told the Spong guys back in November, “I will say that we are constantly upgrading products and evolving successful lines, just look at our mobile phone output. We are aware of the feedback after the launch of the original. Nokia constantly releases upgrades to its products and N-Gage will be part of this process and will see a successor.”

Personally, I’d love to just see a press release from Nokia that reads: “N-Gage 2: We F***ed Up The First Time.” With that sort of honesty, I would’ve given the thing at least a look out of respect.

Pimplicious

Misha, repeat after me: Vapor. Ware. Doom 3? Half-Life 3? Halo 2? Even if these WERE out, I think I’d rather play Unreal, anyway.

A fond farewell to Lee, as he removes himself from the dreaded “conflict of interest” and gives up the Hump Day. Lee, I understand completely, and I’m just glad you’re not bailing on us. Kliq 4 Life.

Fellow Bronze Member Bryan Berg turns his uncanny powers of prognostication towards the PS3. Okay, Bryan, who’s your NCAA Tourney winner? (PleaseletitbeOklahomaStatePleaseletitbeOklahomaStateDaddyNeedsANewBigScreenTVPleaseletitbeOklahomaState”¦.)

L.C. talks NES sequels that should be. You’d think he’d list all of the sequels that SHOULDN’T have been, but Widro’d have to install a new hard drive or two to list all of those.

AAAlex, I just wanted to let you know that I got five steps away from my first AAA this weekend. Will continue the quest tonight. See you online.

Szulczewski, did you see the whole Bush slide-show’ at the Correspondents’ Banquet? He might be a bastard, but the man has comic timing coming out of his pores. As for the killjoys that are on him for even making the joke, I refer them to Peej’s treatise on seriousness from Give War A Chance: “Seriousness is stupidity sent to college.” A-men.

Next week, maybe I’ll get those reviews done … and maybe I’ll find something from ESPN Gamer to make fun of … and maybe I’ll diary my first online game with Cris … or maybe not.

Until then, get some sleep.

-Cory