Gamer’s Hangover News Report — 04.05.04

I’m changing things up a little this week, partly because the QRT runs a bit long this week, and partly because I’m just bored. Don’t worry, it’s all the same content, just in different places.

News

Oh For The Love Of Pete “¦
credit: Spong.com
I think I’ve mentioned before that I would rather live in a free country than a secure one.

*sigh* The FBI has made a request to the FCC to force manufacturers to make easy access to all forms of internet communication, including Xbox Live and PS2 online servers, AND voice-over-IP, AND instant messengers.

“The importance and the urgency of this task cannot be overstated. The ability of federal, state, and local law enforcement to carry out critical electronic surveillance is being compromised today,” is the bullshit line being spewed forth in the written proposal, sponsored by the “¦ get this “¦ The Department of Justice and the DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION. No, they’re not wanting to h4x0r your Project Gotham Racing 2 game because of fears of another 9/11, but because they think you’re setting up drug deals! Where the Completely-Superfluous-Department-of-Homeland-Security in all this?

Anyway, if they get their way, then all US-based Internet Service Providers will have to jump through hoops to provide back-door listening capabilities for the fascists in charge.

Sony Reveals Marketing Plans, Dares Nintendo To Knock Chip Off Shoulder
credit: Spong.com
SCEE COO David Reeves had some interesting things to say about the upcoming PSP and PS3.

First of all, there may be different PS3 versions, “…there might be a normal PS3 for gamers, who just want to play the movies and have better games.” He also discussed a “home server” version, with “all-singing, all-dancing features with maybe a hard disk drive.” Translation: The price point for the full-up PS3 is starting to get prohibitive.

Shifting to PSP talk, Reeves said, “Games will probably come out with no regional coding.” And half of the 411 staff just discovered that they need a change of trousers. He also made comments about the possibility of PSP movies “¦ although this columnist is skeptical of that talk, since new media storage formats aren’t the fastest things for Hollywood to pick up.

Hey, We’re Gonna Be At E3 Too!
credit: Spong.com
Nintedo Exec VP of sales and marketing, Reggie Fils-Aime, told CNN, “Comment on [our new home console] will come from the highest levels. The focus and commitment we have on this will be shown at E3.”

Yes, a news story around one, semi-garbled, line of info. Bite me.

He also addressed the skepticism surrounding the already-announced Nintendo DS, “The gamer needs to see it, to see the games, to see the full functionality of the machine. That’s why we’re reticent to give details until we can show it. If I was a gamer and I only saw bits and pieces of a platform, I’d be sceptical too.” Oh, and apparently the name is changing too, expect that at E3.

Going on, he said, “…early adopters who are looking for more complex gameplay and the gamer who has a little more money to spend.” Translation: We’re planning to alienate our core market share with this. Okay, maybe not. Maybe they’re just trying to put together a real competitor for the PSP that’s up to Nintendo standards. Although, for my money, you can’t beat the NES GBA-SP. Retro chic at its finest.

Anyway, keep your eyes peeled for Yamauchi or Iwata doing mic checks at E3.

Say It Ain’t So, Christian!
credit: GameDaily.com
My boys at Hollywood Video are being named in a class-action lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges “that Hollywood’s directors breached their fiduciary duties in approving the proposed merger and that the consideration payable to Hollywood’s shareholders in the merger is unfair and inadequate.” They are, of course, talking about the merger with Leonard Green & Partners L.P. that they announced last Monday.

I’d hate to think a company as cool as Hollywood Video would mess with their investors like this, but if they did, then they need to own up. Considering that there are signs of separate but similar lawsuits coming down the pike, they may have to own up quite a bit.

So, What Do They Play in Japan?
credit: GameDaily.com
Media Create has once again passed along its weekly list of the top 10 selling console software titles in Japan.
Here is the company’s full report, covering the week of March 22-28, 2004:
1. Dragon Warrior V—PS2—Square Enix**
– As Lucard falls into convulsions of pain.
2. Dragon Ball Z: Bukutou Gekiv—GBA—Banpresto** – 20X6!!
3. Full Metal Alchemist: Stray Rondo—GBA—Bandai** – “Full Metal Alchemist?” If it stars Vincent D’Nofrio, I’m buyin’!
4. Dynasty Warriors 4: Empires—PS2—Koei – *yawn* Seen it.
5. Pro Baseball Spirits 2004—PS2—Konami** – Also known as the heaven/hell baseball game.
6. Konjiki no Gashbel!!—PS2—Bandai** – I have no idea what this means, but it has TWO exclamation points, so it must be funny.
7. Famicom Mini: Super Mario Bros.—GBA—Nintendo – Awww yeeah”¦
8. Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol.11: Fist of the North Star—PS2—3D-AGES** – “You’re already dead.” “aaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH *ker-SQUISH!!” I love that flick.
9. Monster Hunter—PS2—Capcom – Would that be POCKET Monster Hunter?? Hmm??
10. Necchu! Pro Baseball 2004—PS2—Namco** – To be released in this country as Giants vs. Yankees: Barry Bonds vs. Godzilla.

Pimplicious

Little different tack this week. I have a pretty big library of music I listen to at work, and I thought I’d try to match some of the tunes to my fellow staff writers. What “¦feels like a Chuck Platt song, and so on. Of course, I have such a big library that I couldn’t just limit people to just one song, so we have B-sides as well.

Not that I need to tell you this, but lyrics don’t necessarily apply to the people in question. It was really a feel thing, although some are more obvious than others. Enjoy.

Lee – “What I Got” by Sublime. —and— “Pour Me” by Trick Pony. The A-side is for Lee, the B-side for his “Bad Guy” persona “¦ and because he’s from Oklahoma.

AAAlex – “Cool Like That” by Digable Planets —and— “Down” by 311. The A-side because of his beatnik-esque Van Dyke. The B-side just because.

Bryan – “Set Your Goals” by Civ —and— “Hurt Me Badly” by Accidental Superhero. The A-side because he’s a driven individual. The B-side just because.

Misha – “One Vision” by Queen —and— “Dude (Looks Like A Lady) by Aerosmith. Okay, that one was gratuitous, I admit it. Not the Queen though. My admiration for the late, great Freddie Mercury is well known.

LiquidCross – “Bulls On Parade” by Rage Against The Machine (what else?) There is no B-side. If I had the song from “Transformers: The Movie” or the lame-ass version done in the movie “Boogie Nights”, that would be the B-side.

Chuck – “Days Of The Week” by Stone Temple Pilots —and— “Still Frame” by Trapt. — Both of these because, well, they both just seem to fit him. I suggest you read his last couple of columns while listening to these songs. I think you’ll get where he’s coming from.

Szulczewski – “Frontier Psychiatrist” by The Avalanches. —and— “Battle Without Honor Or Humanity” by Tomoyasu Hotei. A-side: Gratuitous, but not completely. B-side: If there’s ever a sequel to “Six-String Samurai,” I think Eric should be in it.

Bebito – “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” by Fishbone – It’s corny, and happy, and bitter all at the same time. I could see Bebs totally grooving to this song.

Lucard – “Attitude” by The Misfits —and— “Karate” by Tenacious D. A-side, the creators of the modern Goth movement. The B-side “¦ just because. It’s my column.

I’m sorry Matt, but I just don’t know you well enough yet. I’ll still pimp ya though.

Quasi-Random Thoughts

Tuesday: Okay, it’s time to go off the deep end again.

If hoops fans know one thing, it’s that the NBA is corrupt. I’m not going to mince words here. Playing coy isn’t buying me anything or protecting me from anyone, so I’ll just say it. It’s almost as fake as professional wrestling, and the season is almost as long. (On a side note, when is the NBA going to just completely go pro wrestling and make the night after the deciding NBA title game into the first preseason game of the next season? Maybe sometimes have a rematch for the NBA Title LIVE “¦ ON THIS VERY COURT “¦ IN “¦. CINCINNATI!!!! Hell, it works for RAW, it’d probably work for the NBA just as well.)

So the NBA is corrupt. In the Fuhrer Stern era, this is a given. There actually was a great, only half-joking piece by Eric Neel on ESPN’s Page 2 that outlines the next great NBA conspiracy: Making sure Carmelo and LeBron both make the playoffs. Most of us just watch college hoops and be done with it, but I’ve noticed that this trend may be leaking over to the NCAA too, and I don’t like it one bit. Especially since the most obvious offenses are taking place in the WOMEN’S tournament.

Here’s the dilly-yo: Check out the scheduling for this year’s NCAA tournament. The women’s tournament still uses the practice of using one of the team’s home courts for the first and second round games, since a lot of the good neutral-site arenas are already taken up by the men’s tourney. Fine. However, they don’t do it for ALL of the first and second-round games, just SOME of them. Examples:

– Duke’s women’s team got to play their first two games AT HOME, in Cameron Indoor Arena. To be fair, all of the 1 seeds got to play at or close to home.
– However, of the 2 seeds, only one of them got to play at home: Uconn. Vanderbilt got to play fairly close to home, traveling from Nashville to Chattanooga, but remaining 2 seeds Kansas State and Purdue had to play in Minneapolis and Ames, Iowa, respectively.
– For the second round games, Duke had only to travel three hours up the road to Norfolk, VA. UConn had to walk across the street from Bridgeport, CT to Hartford and the 1-seed, Penn State, had to come to them. 1-seed Texas had to travel all the way to Seattle, but remaining 1-seed Tennessee got a relatively short drive to Norman, OK — someplace the Longhorns would’ve preferred to play.

Now, figure in the finish to the Tennessee/Baylor game, where several key fouls by Tennessee were ignored and a highly questionable loose-ball foul was called on Baylor with 0.2 seconds left of a tie game. I think the conclusions are simple to arrive at: Tennessee WILL be in the Final Four, along with Duke and UConn, and from the way things are shaping up (and the way the entire sports media in this country has kissed Diana Taurasi’s ass), I’m pretty sure the fix — of a UConn/Tennessee national title game — is in. The Duke/UConn semi is just ratings icing and a big set-up for the finish. They probably didn’t care about the West seed since there wasn’t a big’ enough women’s hoops team there and just decided to ship the lot of them up to Seattle and see which one jet-lagged the least; winner gets to be the sacrificial lamb to the almighty Tennessee.

These are just the gross offenses. I’m sure there were finer, more surgical cuts by the NCAA in the games so far, and you know what that mechanism is for such cuts: the officials; the one group of people accountable to no one but the NCAA itself.

And lets not forget the men’s side of things. Now, they can’t get away with the scheduling chicanery that they can on the women’s side, mostly since the arenas are lined up way before Selection Sunday, but they still have control of the refs. Witness the K.U./Georgia Tech game, a game where Keith Langford fouled out on a completely erroneous charging call. When I mean erroneous, I don’t mean that the defender wasn’t set; I mean there was NO/ZILCH/NADA contact between the players. It was the penultimate ghost foul’, and it knocked one of K.U.’s leaders out of the game. The fix there: To get media darlings Duke and UConn into the Final Four. Stanford showed their colors early, and St. Joe’s luck just must have ran out “¦ although that puzzles me since St. Joe’s making the Final Four would’ve made for the perfect story “¦ or it would have if they hadn’t already lost in the conference tournament. That’s probably when the NCAA gave up on them.

Before you all start sending me tinfoil hats, you should know that Ref Conspiracy is a required course at Wichita State.

I’m just wondering who on the NCAA Illuminati Board that makes these decisions, is the Minnesota alum that got their so-so (7-seed) team home-court for the first two games and a trip this far up the tourney chain.

Is this true? Eh, probably not. At least not all of it, but with some of the crazy stuff that goes down come tournament time and what we already know about the NBA and you have to wonder about it.

Wednesday: Okay, so I was wrong about the Duke women’s team, unless it’s just a set-up for the aforementioned UConn Tennessee final.

Cripes, what the hell does Minnesota have over the rest of the NCAA? Get to start at home, now they get a win over Duke and a trip to the final four, and they all look bored out of their skulls at the press conference. At least Alana Baird was showing some emotion up there. The Minnesota girls were all acting like this was business as ususal. They’re a damn SEVEN-seed. Something’s up here. I know it.

As a nice change of pace, check out the final fours in the NIT tournaments: Men’s: Rutgers, Iowa State, Oregon, and Michigan. Women’s: Creighton, Richmond, UNLV, and Iowa State. Other than perhaps a little palm-greasing by Iowa State, a decent blend of regions and conferences I think.

Of course, not everybody shares my view of the NIT:

The NIT is a big deal for you mid-majors or in witchita states case near mid-major, no one else cares about it. I wish Notre Dame would have lost in the first round rather than hang around till the game before the final four. The NIT is like going to prom with your mom, sure you get to go, but it’s embarassing as hell.

Know a piper my friends sister.

Brian

And that Notre Dame education just shines right through, doesn’t it?

Now, I don’t like to go off on my readers. I’m just happy that they actually take time out of their busy week and read my stuff, and I really don’t like to go off on the people that go that extra step and write in, because they care enough to respond.

But given the circumstances of this particular e-mail (the particulars of which I’ll soon delve into), I simply can’t let this slide.

Now then “¦.

Brian,

I’m sorry that the Law of Averages finally whizzed in your Wheaties and neutered your once-great football program. However, that doesn’t give you the right to belittle my alma mater, let alone misspell its name. And Notre Dame students/alum/sycophants should be the LAST people berating another schools’ conference standing; partly because, as good Catholics, you should be able to look past such superficial nonsense, but mostly because your own school has gone out of its way to avoid the trials and risks of conference athletic play for most of its existence. You think Notre Dame would still have whatever traces of football mystique it has if it actually had to play in the Big 10? How about the Big 12? SEC? I think that 5-7 mark from last year would be optimistic if teams could actually prepare for you from one year to the next. Personally, I’d love to see it happen, but the high and holy heads of your fine University are so paranoid about losing the Notre Dame FootballTM brand name that they’ll purposely avoid any real and regular competition by whoring themselves out to any and all open schedule slots they find. You, sir, have no idea what conference play is all about, although you should be applauded just for knowing that there are other sports out there.

As for basketball, maybe fair-weather fans like you don’t care about the NIT or the WNIT, or any of the NCAA tourney games except for the last one, or the Home Depot Insight.com Nokia Tostitos Aloha-Independence Bowl, but please don’t try to speak for sports fans everywhere, if they hear you they’ll just beat the shit out of you “¦ again.

Oh, wait “¦ you were talking about the Notre Dame MEN’S basketball team. Boy, did you even realize that the Notre Dame WOMEN’S basketball team made it to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAAs? Did you even know you had a WOMEN’S basketball team? They’re getting to do all sorts of things now, like vote and stuff. You should check it out.

Real sports fans are happy to see their teams play one more game, just one more game each season. If they get to keep playing on through March, that’s frosting, baby. Cripes, you got THREE home games to watch in the NIT. THREE. You got to watch the Notre Dame men play basketball AT HOME almost all of the way through March and you’re bitching? Spoiled-friggin’-brat.

Personally, I will cherish the memory of the W-I-C-H-I-T-A State / Florida State game, a Wichita State LOSS, until the day I die, because it was the single most exciting basketball game I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes; and even my brother, ACC alumnus that he is, admitted that Charles Koch Arena was as loud or louder than any ACC game he’d ever attended. You want to think that nobody cares about the NIT? Come say it at center court of Koch Arena next November, through the PA so every one of the 10,500 maniacs in the stands can hear you. I’m not sure if they’ll beat you up or just laugh at you.

And how, pray tell, would you know how it’s like to go to the prom with your mom, unless “¦. Well, judging from your superior simian intellect and social skills, I’m pretty sure I know why Piper didn’t accompany you, no matter how much candy you offered her. Or is it money? You didn’t specify if she was younger or older.

And THANKS FOR READING, BRIAN!

I just wrote an entire page ranting about a five-line e-mail.

I *am* an Internet Writer now, aren’t I?

Notre Dame fan making fun of Wichita State “¦. Yeah, I could’ve coached at Notre Dame, but I didn’t meet the MUST-LIE-ON-MY-RESUME qualification.

Punctuation must be a graduate-level class at Notre Dame.

Okaaaaay “¦.

Oh, and before I go on, if any of you smart-asses out there feel the need to remind me that Wichita State doesn’t have a football team, I’ll just send you a picture of the plane crash memorial on campus and make you feel like the total s***heel you are, so just don’t bother.

Now then “¦.

I’m sorry, folks, but I have a lot of old, pent-up aggression towards fair-weather fan morons like that to deal with. I certainly don’t want to offend any of the decent and humble Notre Dame fans out there (both of you) but that guy was asking for it. He should just consider himself lucky that he didn’t mention the Dallas Cowboys or the L.A. Lakers in his e-mail. That would’ve contained so much bad sports karma that I would’ve had to put it all in a separate column.

Show of e-mails: Who is the WORST fair-weather fan you’ve ever seen? I want all the worst details; the slimier the better. We’ll make this the HUAC for fair-weather fans. “Mr. Lucard, are you or have you ever been the owner of a Dallas Cowboys jersey?”

Games “¦ games “¦ what about games “¦ well, I’m now onto the usual parade of baseball games; buoyed by a decent Royals season last year. Be sure, the ratings that I give the baseball games I review will be directly related to how strong their Royals franchises are. Carlos Beltran = Derek Jeter = Game-of-the-Year candidate as far as I’m concerned.

So I’d better tell you about what happened last weekend, eh? Well, long story short, my Grandma got put in a nursing home. She’s almost 84 and she’s battling against Alzheimer’s and my parents just couldn’t take care of her any more. She’s lived with them for the last three years, and they’ve been taking care of her daily for the last 10 and it just got to the point that they couldn’t anymore. It was too dangerous for her. Dad’s pissed that he has to do it. Grandma’s pissed that she has to do it. The rest of us are just pretty bummed out.

Maybe that’s where some of the venom above came from. If that’s the case, then I’m sorry, Brian. Wait “¦ let me go back and read “¦ nope “¦ nope, I meant everything I said. Sorry for the false alarm there.

More games “¦ AAAlex already talks about DDR “¦ nope “¦ nothing “¦ nothing “¦ oh, wait! Cris got an Xbox! He got an Xbox and ESPN College Hoops 2K4. You know what that means: Anybody feeling froggy on XBL just look for Cory411 and JhawkGrad. We’ll take ALL challengers. Won’t we, Cris? Cris? Cris?

We need to resurrect the “Meet the Kliq” Night idea. Another show of e-mails: (Yes, I know. It’s just a shameless attempt at getting more mail. Hey, that one above was the ONLY one I got this week. Can you blame me?) Who out there would like to participate in some 411Games Xbox Live goodness? What games do ya got? Let’s get something rolling here.

Thursday: Don’t trust people, they’ll only hurt you. And laugh at you. Oh, how they laugh at you.

Friday: I’d love to say that the aftereffects of Annual Drive Cory’s Blood Pressure Up To See If We Can Give Him A Stroke Day have subsided, but I would be lying if I said that they had.

While the insecure, embittered part of my personality would love to go on at length about what transpired on April 1st, I’m afraid that I’ve already reached the limit of column inches that I can give that part of me already with the rant above against Bryan. Suffice it to say that yours truly should just know by this point in his life to keep his freakin’ head down on April 1st. If the world is still burning on April 2nd, THEN I can do something about it. So if any of you fell for the big one last Thursday, crack open a cold one and toast with me. You’re not alone.

Sunday: UConn vs. Tennessee. I hate to say I told you so, but “¦.

Next week, I have no clue.

Until then, get some sleep.

-Cory