Gamer’s Hangover News Report — 04.12.04

I like the layout I tried last week. I’m going to keep it for a little while.

News

Operation: Bored Poverty
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 April 4, 2004.
Here are the top 10:
1. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow—Xbox
– When did the U.S. State Department give up cool-sounding operation names and go to completely politically self-serving ones? Was it Desert Storm? I miss the stories of Operation Mickey Mouse.
2. Mafia—PS2 – You know, why hasn’t there been a Sopranos video game yet?
3. James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing—PS2 – Rumor is he’s closer to “nothing” if you get my drift. That’s why he needs all those gadgets from Q.
4. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3 Raven Shield—PS2 – How about Operation Non Sequitir’?
5. Ninja Gaiden—Xbox – Operation: Spinning Kirosawa.
6. Need for Speed: Underground—PS2 – Operation: Junked Transmission
7. NFL Street—PS2 – Operation: Smoking Hashmark
8. Pokemon Colosseum—GC – Operation: CareBear Combat
9. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm—PS2 – Operation: Saturated Market.
10. True Crime: Streets of L.A.—PS2 – Operation: Fo Shizzle.

Rockstar Expands To Corrupt Handheld Users, Thank God
credit: GameDaily.com
Rockstar Games, the fine people who brought us the Grand Theft Auto series, have announced the purchase of UK games maker Mobius Entertainment Ltd. Mobius mainly makes games for hand helds, such as Drome Racers, Pop Idol, and the GBA version of Max Payne. The company will now be known officially as Rockstar Leeds, and it is expected that the 30-people involved will continue to focus on handheld games, proving Rockstar may actually have a clue about good business.

Sam Houser, head monkey for Rockstar said, “They bring a uniquely progressive vision to the titles they develop and we believe this studio is ahead of the industry on next generation handheld development. We are proud to have them join the Rockstar family.”

Will keep the eyes peeled to see what happens now.

Maybe We Can Get Backyard Wrestling Cancelled?
credit: GameDaily.com
Nielsen Entertainment, auditors of all things demographically-based, has introduced a new program (along with Activision) to develop accurate demographic metrics for videogame companies. They’re claiming the project will “effectively measure everything from ad exposure to demographics to audience recall when it comes to video game use.” Of course there’s NO information on how, exactly this will work, so be afraid.

Also, the companies released the results of a poll they conducted: “Video Game Habits: A Comprehensive Examination of Gamer Demographics and Behavior in U.S. Television Households.” It was a poll that was taken by about 1,000 males (ALERT! ALERT! Audience Skewing In Progress!) between the ages of eight and thirty-four, supposedly taken from a representative sample of Nielsen TV households.

According to said results, a full 75% of Nielsen families (in the obviously skewed age group examined) own a videogame system of some kind. Here’s an interesting fact: Video game use isn’t apparently impacting the TV watching habits of 8-17 year olds, but the TV viewing of 18-34 year olds “appear to be slightly down.”

As for the insidious advertising information, a quarter of the respondents said that they remembered seeing ads in games in the last game they played, and one-third said that in-game ads had helped them decide which products to purchase at some point in their lives. I’ll just assume that they were talking stuff like shoes or golf clubs and not talking Domino’s Pizza.

And the “average” (read: skewed) male gamer plays five times a week, and at least 30 minutes each time. Duh.

And Now For Something Not At All Different
credit: GameDaily.com
Another media study, this one done by Knowledge Networds. I’ll just hit the facts.

– Console gaming usage in the male 18-34 demo accounts for six percent of their total “media usage time.”
– Using data from a study posted on Mediapost.com, this would place videogames fourth in that regard, behind TV, radio, and the Internet, but ahead of newspapers and magazines.
– In the 12-17 male sub-demo, usage spikes to 15.0 percent, closely trailing the internet and radio, which were at 16 and 17 percent respectively. TV still walks away with the title at 45 percent.

Cracks Appear In The Empire’s Grip
credit: Spong.com
President and COO of Electronic Arts, John Riccitello, has “resigned.”

He was responsible for global publishing and online issues among other things. His “resignation” is effective immediately; as soon as Captain Piett can call some Stormtroopers to drag the body away.

Riccitiello was one of the actual business-minded people there at EA, which explains why they got away with foisting the same games on us for the last three years. His nickname of Hatchetman,’ was probably enough evidence to Lord Vader.

“My time at EA was the best work experience in my life”, said Riccitiello. “Personally, it is time to do something different and I intend to start a private equity business. I’m leaving EA when the company is enriched with the best people, the best properties and a very bright future.” At that point Vader summoned the force to constrict his trachea, and that was that.

“I want to thank John for the tremendous contribution he’s made in the past six years,” said, Lord Vader “¦ er “¦ I mean Electronic Arts’ CEO Larry Probst. “His vision and leadership have been extremely valuable and he has built an outstanding team. I wish John the very best.”

Va “¦ Probst will assume Riccitiello’s responsibilities while a “replacement” is found; isn’t that right Admiral Piett?

Pimplicious

Misha gets the lead spot, because I haven’t given it to him in a while, poor guy. I scared Williams to Fridays, and Bebito right out of the news reports, but Misha, tough bugger that he is, is hanging in there. Fair play to Mr. Sumra.

LiquidCross is next because I’m discovering that we have more in common than I originally thought. Okay, so that amounts to our tempers and our love of Transformers. So what?

Berg continues his insightful prognostication into the next generation of console games with his deconstruction of Nintendo. Bloomberg should have this guy on to give video game industry commentary. Hell, he’s close enough to Wall Street.

Matt got shafted in his first week of doing the Wednesday news, as he got sidetracked into the Columns section. Not that there’s anything bad with that “¦ L.C. “¦ put the poker down “¦ I just wanted you all to know that it wasn’t his fault.

Lucard stops fellating Pokemon long enough to discuss some more RPGs. Apparently there’s a Square game in this group and that’s a surprise. Of course, the sports gamer in me would make the claim that those games are ALL square, but that wouldn’t be very nice so I won’t.

Chuck, sometimes you hit, sometimes you miss, sometimes you smack a line drive foul ball right into the right eye socket of that cute chick in the front row that you’ve been flirting with for the last three innings. It happens with writing as well as anything else. You still rock.

Lee is neither gone nor forgotton as he covers Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life. I could bring up the humor in how the person to review the farming game is the Okie, but again, that wouldn’t be very nice. I’m sure that Lee can get more to grow than red dirt, anyway.

Bebito reviews Firefighter FD18 and finds it wanting. I think we all want pictures of Bella at this point, but we must respect his privacy.

I’m going to beat Eric S. to the punch. Congratulations, Lefty. Now, maybe, I can find a golf shop that will HAVE something for my southpaw ass. Cripes, between him a Weir, I should be able to swim in the stuff. The last time I went into a golf shop, the staff treated me like I was a freakin’ leper, and it wasn’t because I was poor or hadn’t bathed. Those days were behind me. Anyway, for intelligent wrestling commentary and some healthy anti-establishment ranting (similarly intelligent), check him out. If you want to skip the wrestling bit and just want the anti-Junta bile, check him out on 411Black, and yes, this is a shameless attempt to try and get pimped by him in both columns. Hey, he’s got the hits and I don’t. Can you blame me?

Quasi-Random Thoughts

I’ve been reading the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Interesting stuff. There’s not very many funny things I can say about the book, so I’ll spare you, but I will share one particular thought I had while reading the book.

There is only one true response to the question, “Why don’t you understand?” And that is, “Because you suck at teaching.”

That is all.

This was on the menu today in the cafeteria: “Ham and Cheese on Jewish Rye.” Anyone else see a problem with this? I’m kidding, because I wouldn’t make such a lame joke up.

So I got this in my inbox this week:

funniest thing i’ve ever read, it didn’t even occur to me that you were going to use it in your column when you didn’t respond. I don’t like Women’s sports, call me a bigot or whatever, but I just can’t watch women’s sports, I went to the girls basketball games in high school but once you’re at the college level i want to watch players better then the guys i play with on the courts in the summer.

Now I’m one of the bigger sports guys you’ll make fun of in your column, my life is basically sports, work, and school, and yes the noticeable lack of girls in there isn’t a good thing, but what are you gonna do. So I’ll take your bashing for what it was, an upset mid major guy, still bitter about FSU coming in and taking your basketball season away. I’ve watched one NIT game in my life ND-Michigan circa 200 I believe and that just has to do with me hating Michigan so much.

I don’t exactly see how you can call me a fair weather fan from my comments about the NIT (I live in Detroit, Tigers, Lions, Pistons are back recently but I left the Wings bandwagon in 93, when I was 13, and never got back on). Notre Dame was expected to be in the tournament this year, they played awful basketball for about 3 weeks in a row and they didn’t get in, that’s fine with me now they should have done what the football team did in Lou’s last season (I think it was that year) and turned down the invitation, what does winning the NIT do for you. If I’m not mistaken Minnesota was in the final four of the NIT last year, and that obviously helped them this year.

I enjoy watching top athletes play, if a woman was good enough to play in the men’s game or the NBA i would have no problem with watching this, it isn’t against women it’s against their talent levels.

“¦

I don’t really feel the need to defend my fair weather fanness much more because I’ve been a ND fan since I was a 5 never jumping off the bandwagon, but thanks for occusing me. Glad I got an actual column out of you.

This is why I have the best readers in the known universe. You all know my pettiness, and accept it for the entertainment value it gives.

Also, he called me on the biggest logical fallacy of my whole rant: He never made any signs that he was a fair-weather fan. He just pissed me off and I ran with it. Hell, I can’t say anything about a lifelong DETROIT TIGERS fan. If there’s an acid test for true-blue fandom, I think that’s it.

Actually, I also assumed that he was a student at Notre Dame and that was a logically bad assumption to make as well. In fact, let’s just back away from any attempts to apply logic to one of my volcano-like spews of bile, okay?

So Brian, all is forgiven “¦ except for the fact that Notre Dame fans are traditionally jerks, but that’s not your fault. Witness these

Hey Cory, great column this week. Well, not so much games-wise, but in
any column where you can insult a Notre Dame fan I will consider an excellent column.

As far as fair-weather fans go, the worst person was a certain girl in the school that looked a bit like a skank. During the fallout of the Mariah Carey jersey dress, she had gotten a Los Angeles unlicensed jersey dress.

Not only did it not look a thing like the real jersey, but she was butt ugly. I believe she wore it to school once or twice, and each time she wore it, people ridiculed her left and right. Other fair weather fans might include what seems like damn near every black girl in the school. Now, I’m not racist or anything, but a lot of black girls in the school own jerseys of the current good teams. One had a Jerry Rice Raiders jersey back the last time they were half-way decent, and now I haven’t seen her wear it in quite a while.

“¦

Great Column, keep up the good work,
Jeff Patterson

P.S. Ok, you’re definitely not a Simmons clone, you’re producing better
content than he is at this point easily

Mr. Patterson returns, yet another fine reader that let me attempt to eviscerate him and came back for more. And Jeff, in my experience most Raiders “fans” are like that.

Hey Cory,

Loved the rant on fair weather fans. The best example I can come up with is during the 80’s the Packers SUCKED (there were some exceptions but for the most part they did). They were so bad I got made fun of at school (in wisconsin, 100 miles south of GB) for wearing Packer shirts. Then Reggie White got signed, I did a dance in the hallway, the team started to win and holy crap the rest of the state went bonkers. Seriously it was like living in the twilight zone until I got used to it.

I have to put a disclaimer on this story as this is not indicative of the people in Green Bay who live, sleep, and eat Packer football all the time. I could have conversations about the back up qb situation about the 88 Packers and nobody would miss a beat. When not in GB you will get many ‘ who the f*ck cares ‘ looks.

Also the NIT is great. I’m a huge supporter of Wisconsin college basketball. The state has four division 1 teams and all of them were pretty good this year (not as good as last year when 3 teams went to the NCAA with Marquette final four, Wisconsin sweet sixteen and UWM almost beating Notre Dame, hey those Notre Dame f*ckers pop up again I hate them). Wisconsin made it to the NCAA tournament and UW-M and Marquette made it into the NIT. Talk about a great experience for UWM especially. A young team who will be better next year.

Anyways keep up the good work on the gaming column. Especially with the weird government stuff with the FBI trying to go all 1984 on our asses.

Later

Gregg

It’s official. Two votes to one, Brian. Even with my abstention, Notre Dame sucks.

But, apparently, I also suck:

what is it with so many of you columnists on 411 and your sport there are many great writers on 411 and i appreciate the work you guys put into your columns but i come here to read about games and wrestling, and frankly as soon i see someone mention sport ( you aren’t the only one) i just hit the back button. Especially as i am from Australia and i don’t understand what the big deal is with college sport, and games like hockey, and baseball. Anyway I’m probably among the minority here and obviously you love your college ball or whatever crap you were rambling about so I’m sure you’ll keep doing it. I just thought I’d put in my two cents

Luke

Of course, letters like this were part of the reason I moved the News up to first in my column.

The short answer, Luke, is that if I just talked about my video game playing in the QRT, all of my columns would start to take on a Bill Simmons-esque diary quality:

9:31 p.m.: Boy and Wife asleep. I sneak down to play ESPN College Hoops.

9:35 p.m.: The Boy is up again and apparently wants to run laps.

9:36 p.m.: Wife makes me and the Boy run laps to tire the Boy.

10:57 p.m.: Boy now on mile 13. Dad about to require life support.

11:23 p.m.: Boy finally asleep. Dad goes back to game.

11:25 p.m.: Wife calls to have me “spell” her while she goes to the bathroom.

And so on. Nobody wants that.

And another thing Luke, you may not have caught onto this subtlety but I REVIEW SPORTS GAMES. That’s my gig here. Lucard and Baxley do RPGs, Bebito does Sonic, Williams dances a lot, and Berg and I do the sports games. So if I want to have any gauge whatsoever on whether a game hits the mark or not, I have to stay plugged in to the sports world. When EA comes out with Australian Rules Football, I’ll talk about that too.

Yes, I know. They already have a Rugby game. Misha talks about that though, and I don’t want to steal his thunder.

Next week, weirdness from the National High School Chess Tournament, and maybe some other interesting filler “¦ er “¦ stuff.

Until then, get some sleep.

-Cory