Gamer’s Hangover – 05:03:04

Welcome to a surprisingly early evening for writing the Hangover here at that cozy bungalow we call Chez Laflin. You see, most of the time I flesh out the report little by little during the week, adding QRT here, doing a little news analysis there, seeing who had the courtesy to pimp me that week, so that when it’s time to submit, I only have half of the actual news done and have to make a mad dash to finish it before Misha’s column goes on up Tuesday. Tonight, as luck would have it, I’m way ahead of the pressure curve, so I think I’ll go take a nap unto midnight or so.

“¦

There. That’s better.

NEWS

Hey, Put Usher In. Getting Beat By Him Would Emasculate Anybody!
credit: Gamedaily.com

And here is the “official” name of the upcoming sequel to EA Sports Big’s Def Jam Vendetta: Def Jam Vendetta: Fight For NY.

(BTW, when did Usher start growing facial hair? I happened across a couple of his videos this weekend while waiting for Skinemax to start and he looks like he finally hit puberty. Go Usher!)

That is all.

A Real-Time Strategy Game!? Based On World War II!? Brilliant!!
credit: Gamedaily.com

Stormregion and CDV, obviously on their way to have their wool sheared, have released a demo for their upcoming WWII-based RTS game Codename: Panzers. 100 distinct unit types “¦ 50 historically accurate vehicles “¦ yadda. Excuse me while I yawn in excitement.

Look, I don’t want to sound this arrogant, but damn, wasn’t this played out with StarCraft? Command and Conquer, maybe? I know, it’s its own genre and I should respect that, and I guess I do, but it’s not one of my favorite genres, so don’t be surprised if I’m less than frothing about the game or it’s demo.

I mean, RTS games definitely have a place, and that place is at work, where I know a few of my group-mates (and a supervisor or two if I’m not mistaken) who spend their lunch half-hours trying to blitzkrieg each other into oblivion. And I liked StarCraft, just as I liked Warcraft II before it. But it’s getting to the point that the games of the genre are all copies of each other with different skin sets. I’ve seen it happen before with turn-based strategy games and first-person shooters. Make it as authentic as you can, but until you give me real innovation, I’m not going to go gaga over it.

Sega Goes All-In For E3
credit: Gamedaily.com

As a Sega fan, I’m torn between excited and scared right now. They’ve informed media outlets that an “explosive announcement event” will take place at the Sega booth on Wednesday, May 12 at 10 a.m. PDT. That is, reportedly, when they’ll announce their upcoming titles, but scuttlebutt says something bigger is in the works too. Given the problems Sega has had of late, I’d really pray to your deity of choice that they’ve got the goods to back the hype.

I think I should take this time to pimp the fact that some of 411Games’ top personalities will be in attendance at E3, and will (hopefully) have firsthand information on this and other big events at the show. Unfortunately, I won’t be part of that contingent this year owing to the fact that I’ll be spending the week meditating in preparation for both my graduation ceremony (Masters! Woo!) and the after-graduation party. I should give my regular readers fair warning, the 5/17 issue of the Hangover may more hung over than usual.

Bitch Wants Back In My Ride, She’d Better Like The Trunk
credit: Gamedaily.com

For those of you about to flame me about the title, find an old copy *hack “¦ cough “¦ MAME “¦. hack* of the KEE-LASIC Sega arcade game OutRun 2 and play it through a few times. You’ll get the joke.

Anyway, Sega is going forward with plans for an OutRun 2 port for the Xbox. However, Sega itself isn’t handling the port duties, but instead have farmed out the task to Sumo Digital (the company formerly known as Gremlin Interactive).

“OutRun2 is one of our most exciting games this year, and after months of speculation, we’re delighted to be able to announce its development for Xbox,” said Matthew Woodley, marketing monkey for Sega Europe. “OutRun is an all-time classic, and OutRun2 is perfectly positioned to build on this legacy and capture a big share of the racing game market. The title delivers a unique driving experience, which we are confident gamers will find hard to resist. The game is looking amazing on Xbox and we’re extremely proud to be able to showcase it at this year’s E3.”

They’re talking about multiplayer capability, which is implies other “improvements” may be in store for the late 80’s era racer. Hey, while they’re at it, why don’t they let me choose to drive the white Porsche instead of the Testarossa? I’ve always had better luck with Porsche products than Ferrari.

EA Continues Unholy Alliance With “¦ Everybody
credit: Spong.com

Electronic Arts, my favorite fat-cat game producer target, as announced its support of both the upcoming Nintendo DS and Sony PSP handhelds. They’ve also announced that support of the Game Boy Advance will continue all the way until March 2005! Wow, they are just LOATHE to abandon systems, aren’t they? Cripes, why didn’t they just break up with them with a Dear Luigi’ letter?

Interesting things to nitpick about; they mentioned that there should be four to six EA titles available for the PSP in FY2005 (which indicates that there’ll be some EA content available at the handheld’s launch), but “¦ NOTHING was said about the DS schedule! Intrigue!

And remember, gentle reader, I have a self-imposed ban from ever getting myself a handheld, so I’m giving this information to you simply because I have journalistic integrity to hold up. By the way, my Amazon wish list “¦.

Pimp-Licious

Yeager finally makes it into the News Reports box! Huzzah! He shamelessly gets hits by invoking the names Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. He also brings up Strawberry Shortcake, Spyro, and LOTR; the combination of which lends me to believe that he is, actually, a nine-year old girl. If so, s/he’s a hell of a writer! Good job, “Matt!”

Oh, I kid, Matt is a real live boy! In fact, I believe he’s playing Robin to Lucard’s Batman. Check out his review of Destruction Derby Arenas if you have some vicarious spleen-venting to do. (BTW Matt, you confused me with your tagline, because I was under the impression that wrecking actual cars ARE fun.)

Misha brings the Worms! The Super Sheep kicks serious ass. The Monty Python junkie in me wonders if that sheep is named Harold. To that list I would add the Heavy Barrel from the game of the same name; and, just to be different, the “on-fire” state of being in NBA Jam and its hellspawn.

But Bryan, you didn’t say whether or not ESPN NFL Football 2K5 keeps First Person FootballTM or not!! It only won my Game-of-the-Year award last year. I love the mully idea (actually, it sounds like something EA would do) but only if I could apply it to the actual Chiefs, preferably when going up against Deltha (goodbye and good riddance) O’Neal.

I’m doing an experiment. You see, every week, I listSzulczewski near the bottom of my Pimps section, and he reciprocates in kind. This week, I’ve moved Eric up a few spots, and will observe the effect on the reciprocal pimp (if there is one) tomorrow and/or Wednesday. For the record, I haven’t bought a TNA PPV in a long time, primarily because my favorite TNA wrestler, Frankie Kazarian, was on the shelf until just recently. Now that he’s back, I may start picking them up again from time to time. Why do I watch? Because they still have the freedom to do some crazy s*** on that show. Call it macabre, but I’ll put up with piss-poor production values for the possibility of seeing another Frankie Kazarian-folding-over-in-the-Styles Clash moment. That and I must be the only person in the known universe that actually LIKES Don West. Say what you want; the guy has energy.

Also, welcome, Mr. ZUUL-ZEFF-SKIIII to the great state of Kansas. Insert livestock related joke here:

I take a lot of shots on Lucard for his Pokemon feti “¦ infatuation, but I think the man has earned a bit of comfort after having to deal with turgid strategy games and the morons that defend them. I also want to take this moment to point out, for those of you new to the site, that an overall rating of 7.5 is equivalent to a B in the traditional letter scale. It’s good “¦ damn good. It’s not an instant classic, but it’s solid. We’re pretty stingy with the 10s around here, and personally, I think it’s a good thing. I’ve played very few “10” games in my life. The only two I can think of offhand are Cyberball 2072 and the original (arcade or Dreamcast) Crazy Taxi. Otherwise EVERY (other) game has flaws. We just don’t go out of our way to cover them up. In fact, we go out of our way to pick them out and reopen those sores. 411Games: We Pick Scabs.

Panks, were you high when you wrote that review? NBA Ballers is every bit as cheap as NBA Jam was an worse in some places. Yes, the graphics are spectacular, but the character creation module isn’t even half as good as those in THUG or Tiger Woods 2004. And there are nasty-long load times in the Xbox version too, which is unacceptable. Finally, I got my ass kicked by DARKO F***ING MILICIC. DARKO. Talk about embarrassing. Also, I want to see a version of NBA Jam with a Ghost team; a team comprised of the players who have been in previous versions of the game who are actually dead now. I’d play it, for no other reason than to have the long-range duo of Reggie Lewis and Drazen Petrovic (crosses self).

I’d just like to add that it’s a great gig where you can not turn in a review in almost a month and still be able to ask your boss if he was high in public. God bless 411Mania! (That review of All-Star Baseball ’05 should “¦ SHOULD be in and out this week.)

LiquidCross, I completely agree with you. The games world has been surprisingly free of that nonsense so far, and I have no desire for it to start now. Actually, with the advent of online services and pay-for downloadable content, we may have dodged that bullet for good. Yes, I *am* naïve. Thanks for asking.

Quasi-Random Thoughts

Some prepackaged (and largely hackneyed) Kansas jokes for Eric to prepare from.

“Kansas. Where the men are men and the sheep are scared.”
“Kansas. Where the men are men and so are the women.”
“Kansas. It’s not the end of the world but you can see it from there.”

Or, perhaps, you’d like MY creations:
“Kansas. We have nothing against evolution. We hope the state school board tries it sometime.”
“Kansas. Hey, at least YOU don’t have to LIVE with Fred Phelps.”
“Kansas. Our Governor is Hot.”

And, for the last time: Yes, I know Dorothy. I nailed her after the prom. Don’t ask what I did to the dog.

A lot of people (two or three) have asked when I’m going to do another MST3K on Monsieur Matt Wong from ESPN Gamer. Well, things have been remarkably quiet over there for a while; it’s the by-product of being the sports game off-season. Rest assured that when ol’ Matt sticks his head out again, I’ll be ready to take hacks at his neck with my butter knife of a wit.

So I caught this week’s “Penn&Teller: Bullshit!” on recycling to see what kind of information on the subject that I hadn’t heard. If they’re going to debunk something as pervasive and well-perceived as recycling, I figured they must have some pretty damning evidence. What I found was “¦ well “¦ pretty much bullshit.

First of all, they admitted that aluminum can recycling is economically viable, which I knew. Then they said that paper recycling was actually worse for the overall environment than making new paper, which I knew. As best as I could tell, those were the only two real bits of information used on the entire show. The glossed over plastic recycling, which I know is far more involved and effective than what they presented, and they never even touched glass, which should be one of the easier materials to recycle since it’s all fairly uniform in composition and can be simply melted back down. Now, if they’d come back with some evidence “¦ ANY evidence “¦ that this was economically unviable, I’d have put some thought into it; but they presented NO evidence one way or the other. They talked to the obligatory two people who were for what they were debunking, the obligatory two people who were against it, presented some extremely watered down and simplistic (and usually circumstantial) evidence and declared recycling to be Bullshit “¦ oh “¦ except for the aluminum cans, of course. In fact, almost half of the half-hour show was comprised of one gag they pulled on some unsuspecting people where they had to sort trash into a dozen different recycling bins as a part of some recycling “research.” They tried to pawn this off as evidence that Americans aren’t lazy when it comes to recycling (they didn’t mention how many people told them to sod off while looking for the two they exploited) but it was pretty obvious to me that it was simply show filler. And on top of that, the evidence was anecdotal and almost certainly skewed. It was, in other words, bullshit.

Now, those of you reading that actually saw the show and saw the previews for next week know what’s coming. “Cretin,” you’re probably saying to me, “you’ve just got your panties in a wad because they’re going to DEBUNK THE BIBLE next week.” You just can’t take it, can ya Christian-boy?!

First of all, if you could debunk The Bible in half an hour, somebody would have done it by now, and nobody with a sound mind would make it through the first year of seminary. Second of all, P&T are not going to say anything groundbreaking this week. They’ll have their obligatory two guys who are pro-Bible (maybe even the same schmucks they had on for the Armageddon show last season), their obligatory two guys who hold some sort of anthropology or history or literary degree who are anti-Bible, and after a half-hour of he-said/she-said they’ll proclaim The Bible as bullshit and roll credits. They’ll talk about how Genesis doesn’t jive with what we know scientifically about the creation of Earth. They’ll talk about Noah and the Ark. They’ll talk about J.C.’s miracles (they had one guy saying in the trailer that there wasn’t any miracles done that P&T couldn’t do as part of their act. I’d pay to see them cure leprosy onstage with a wave of their hand). They’ll talk about Revelations. One thing they WON’T talk about is the letters of the Apostle Paul. They won’t cover the fact that Revelations was written as a way for John to get a message out to his friends while he was in prison. (Yes, folks, The Beast was The Roman Empire.) If I may make a bold prediction, I’m guessing that they’ll actually wuss out and not say that God is bullshit (even though it’s well documented that they’re both atheists and that’s how they actually feel) but that The Bible is bullshit (presumably for having such stories as Genesis and Noah and so on).

Look, it’s their show, and they’ve had some pretty good stuff on there so far (the PETA show was maybe their best yet) so I don’t want to whiz in their Wheaties, but the recycling show was proof that some things they just miss. There was a dearth of facts and a maximum of filler. They actually had to make concessions mid-show that some recycling was economically viable, but then didn’t restate that while summarizing at the end of the show. And they didn’t even touch half of the things we recycle regularly. If they can’t get their s*** together for recycling, what in the hell makes me think they’ll have their story straight for The Bible? Grown men and better scholars than they have set out with the expressed purpose of using historical record to destroy the credibility of The Bible and become converted Christians in the process. But hey, they’re just trying to cash in on the shock value and the backlash from “The Passion” so I can’t be too hard on them. I just wanted to be above table with everything.

Now, back to the wall “¦.

Ugh. Games. What about games? Okay, don’t try Britney’s Dance Beat with a dance pad, unless you actually ARE a professional dancer. The first couple of levels are cake, but the learning curve goes asymptotic really quickly.

And, before you flame me, my friend Katie bought it out of the cutout rack at Wal-Mart and brought it over Friday night and that’s how I know. (And she got SERVED!)

Why is it that the games I call for review are the ones that never even hit the shelves at the Buster or Hollywood?

Quote of the weekend: “That’s why I don’t do crack anymore. I love what it does to me too much. I’d sell my stereo for crack. I wouldn’t sell my stereo for weed.” — Fellow partygoer I met this weekend that shall remain nameless for his own safety. An interesting look into the apparently instant psychological addiction to crack.

Quote of the weekend 2: “You know, apparently it’s strange to other people that I HAD to stay up for seven hours to get this one thing accomplished in a game. It makes such sense to people like you and me.” – Katie, at the same party. An interesting look into the apparently instant psychological addiction to a good game.

I was going to go on a rant on game clones, but the P&T rant ran long, so I think I’ll save it. Next week: news, and I’ll try to find something “¦ ANYTHING “¦ to MST3K on.

Until then, get some sleep.

-Cory