Gamer’s Hangover News Report — 06.14.04

Yes, I’m back. No, I didn’t quit. No, I didn’t threaten to quit. You want details, keep reading; but first . . . .

News

Supporting My Diet Of Worms
credit: GameDaily.com
Sega Europe has made the best announcement in “¦ a while. The upcoming Worms title Worms: Forts Under Seige will have Xbox Live support. For those of you that have never played a Worms title, do yourself a favor and find an old version for your computer. Two words: Super Sheep.

Misha, you, me, online. It’s on, buddy. I got a Holy Hand Grenade with your name on it.

I Don’t Wanna Work “¦.
credit: GameDaily.com
October 19th has been announced as the release date for Namco’s Taiko Drum Master. I’m formally setting odds at 3-1 that one of my relatives buys it and the drum peripheral for my son for Christmas.

Down With Prices, Down With Madden
credit: GameDaily.com
The rumors are true. EBGames has started listing the price for the upcoming ESPN NFL 2K5 at $19.99. But don’t you believe that it’s going to be a ticky-tack game. Oh, no. As I am fond of saying, ESPN NFL 2K4 was my personal Game Of The Year for 2003. First Person Football ┞¢ is the single best thing to happen to the sports game genre since Tecmo Bowl. No, I’m not kidding.

The reason for the price drop? To put the screws to the Madden franchise, which has been taking heat (from me, if from no one else) in recent years for being the same game re-released every year with new rosters and other minor updates. I’m glad to see that Visual Concepts will not go gently into that good night, now that NFL Fever is on hiatus and EA has finally negotiated a deal to let it’s Xbox games function under Xbox Live. Dropping the price will hurt the profit margins, certainly; but it will also get more eyeballs onto what should be a fantastic football game.

I can’t wait for the carnage.

This Is Why Trade Deficits Are Evil
credit: Spong.com
Last week console sales in Japan:
PS2: 30,000 units
Game Boy Advance: 25,000 units
Gamecube: 5,000 units
Xbox: 574 units

Okay, so everybody knows that Xbox2 is just around the corner, and Microsoft hasn’t quite figured out marketing to Asians (other than the tried and true “You Will Be Assimilated”) but PS3 is coming just as quickly, and “¦ I’m sorry. I can’t keep going here without really pissing off an alienating some people.

“¦

Right. Like THAT’S going to stop me.

What people fail to remember is that, as a culture, it doesn’t get much more racist or nationalist than Japan. Ask the Chinese or the Koreans about that if you don’t believe me. Now, the realities of global commerce have blunted that nationalistic edge, in the sake of pragmatism, but the video game industry is a source of pride and you know what happens when somebody challenges national pride.

Or they may just all be enlightened and use Linux, in which case I’m sorry for the above statement.

Maybe the problem is that I just watched “Lost in Translation,” and the vibe that I got from that was that the sole purpose of outside cultures in Japan is to amuse them. Of course, being an American, that opens up WAY too many parallels for me to start on here, so I’ll throw that baton to Eric S. (and watch him dive from it like it was made of plutonium) and let it go for now.

And You Thought I Was Joking
credit: Spong.com
I love it when third-party people open their yaps.

Atari head Bruno (the magNIFicent) Bonnell had this to say about the price point for the upcoming Sony PSP handheld:

“$500 to start would be my guess.”

Five HUNDRED.

Now, he softened that up later in the interview with CNN, but he also voiced concerns about the kitchen-sink functions that it’s supposed to have; and he knows a little more than most exactly what’s IN the damn thing.

I’ve been saying all along that Sony is in danger of pricing themselves right out of the market. Look at the sales spikes after the console prices dropped last year and this. There were a LOT of people who wanted consoles, but couldn’t justify $300 for one. Nintendo, who has been fairly vigilant at keeping their Game Boy mutations around the $100 point, is probably laughing their asses off right now.

And if the PSP is going to be upwards of $500, just think what the PS3 is going to cost. And you wonder why I’m becoming an Xbox fan.

Pimp-licious

Misha has apparently been AWOL too, poor guy.

Matt, I personally hate awards shows. I even watch the Oscars with a large amount of disdain. But rest in knowing that however bad the E3 awards were, they’re still far more reputable than the MTV Movie Awards.

Bryan, the Take-Two/ESPN news is music to my EA-rejecting ears, and speaking of music I’m on a ska kick right now “¦ well “¦ even more one than usual.

L.C. doesn’t know of what he asks. Oh, I’m gonna hock up a goooooood loogie for him later this week.

Lucard is still on his RPG kick, even as I’ve been in purgatory. It appears to be wrapping up, but if you believe that, there’s a guy named Sisyphus who’d like you to hold his rock for him (that sounded better when I thought it).

Cris Murphy is my pal, a crack video editor, the next voice of Crow T. Robot (he wishes) and is the newest columnist at 411Movies. His flame-inducing piece chronicles why Michael Moore is the biggest (literally and figuratively) hypocrite in documentary filmmaking. Then he switches up to a lighter mode to review Buffy: Season 6 on DVD. THEN he reviews The Chronicles of Riddick. THEN he writes another column outlining his movie faves (one of which I know is complete bullshit. Guess which one).

Eric. You, me, Murphy, I’ll see if he can get us a tee time at Prairie Dunes. As for Reagan, I really didn’t pay that much attention to the funeral proceedings, having just come off one a bit closer to home. However, imagine when Clinton kicks off. Cheap motel, hookers, drugs, E! will be on the scene before CNN, it’ll be great! As for Carter, we all know the goober’s going to live forever anyway.

Ron Gamble, and that’s all I need to say; except that the column title sent me into flashbacks of engineering classes ad infinitum of my past. Thanks. Bastard.

Life’s A Bitch “¦ Session

Surfing Set and Shiva, this has been a @#$%ed up month. Those of you forgiving enough to have tuned in today probably remember that there was no column for the last two weeks. That was because I got a call two weeks ago on Sunday night that my Grandma was very ill, and Monday I went up to visit her in the hospital up in Clay Center. I come back home Monday night, and Tuesday afternoon, I get another phone call from home, and you can guess what that was. The funeral was the following Saturday.

Want some more? Well, the week before that I ripped the nail off my big toe again, while in Clay Center (the second time) the boy developed a 102-degree fever that fortunately broke without incident, and yesterday evening Veronica severely sprained her little toe so bad that we had to go to the emergency room (we thought it was broken). Oh, and last week the fan on my central A/C unit (the one outside on the coils, as opposed to the one inside blowing the air around the house, which I had to replace LAST summer) went out and cost me $400 to fix.

The point is that the last month has sucked; but I’ve finally achieved a sort of zen-like peace about it all. As long as anybody (else) doesn’t die, the vehicles move in the direction ordered, and the house stays somewhat upright, I’m okay with it. “Welcome to life,” seems to be the phrase of the month.

Maybe it’s the funeral. Funerals have that weird way of putting things into a perspective that you can’t achieve in your normal, hectic-yet-mundane life without the help of a lot of substance abuse and a badly timed Simon & Garfunkel listening session. Even though Grandma has been on the Reagan death watch for almost as long as Reagan, it’s still a shock when it happens. I had seen her the day before she passed. She was in pain. I held her hand and talked to her and kissed her head. The next day she was gone. A few days later all of the grandchildren got together, maybe for the last time. I don’t know.

The point is, it’s hard to be pissy about a skylight or a toe, or another toe, or an a/c repair bill in those situations. My Dad has, was, and is often construed to have a lax attitude toward money, but I think some of that is simply having his priorities in a little better position than most. The phrase, “it’s only money,” while damaging in many situations, is exactly the right thing to think in many others.

Anyway, we’ve taken The Boy out of day-care (we’re going to find a place closer to home that will let us do half-days, and Grandma can handle him until then), so that will save some stress. Nothing in the house has busted for over a week now. Everyone seems to be on the mend, and Joe Schmo 2 starts tomorrow night. Life is heading back towards “good.”

Quasi-Random Thoughts

Games “¦ games “¦ I picked up one of the $18 home controller games, you know, the ones that have a bunch of old games built into them and all you have to do is throw batteries in them and plug em into your T.V. I got the Namco one, so I’ve been working on my Pac-Man and Dig Dug skillz.

They need a Nintendo one. Seriously. They’re going to try and do an EA one (and I’m not quite sure how that’s going to work.) and another Namco one, but they need a classic Nintendo one. Just Donkey Kong games. Everything Kong-related up to SMB would be awesome. Too bad it’ll never happen.

Finally picked up Bringing Down The House on paperback last week. Good read, especially if you’re fascinated with gambling and/or probability theory and/or Las Vegas noir. Imagine a book on people who figured out how to beat the casino that makes you GLAD that you have a decent job and a mundane life. Okay, maybe not glad, but definitely appreciative. Relieved, anyway.

Re: Reagan. Liar? Probably. Bastard? Definitely. But he scared the sh*t out of the Russians, and I don’t think that was entirely a bad thing.

I am now a BIG believer in Internet Radio, especially the LaunchCast Plus that we get courtesy of being SBC DSL customers. The best part is clicking the little switch that says “Never Play It Again.” You can do this for songs, albums, or entire “artists.” So far, Stevie Nicks, Richard Marx, and most of the works of Bob Seger have been BANNED from my station. Meanwhile, I’m researching ways to crack into the LCP database so that I can get even more Fishbone and Sublime played. But the RIAA is even starting to bitch about that.

Just to remind everybody: Lars Ulrich is a little bitch.

Last night’s NBA Finals Game proved that Kobe is more likely to show up in court than on one.

By the way, Nicole Ohlde had another double-double on Friday night in a losing effort to the Sparks. Too bad they weren’t playing the Lakers. Hang around Malone and she could’ve picked up 10 blocks, easy.

Hey, what’s the difference between Roy Jones Jr. and Derek Jeter? At least poor Roy has hit something in the last month.

Okay, so we were watching Bad Blood last night, and Cris remarked that J.R. has reached the point where he can only speak in hyperbole. Of course that led us to thinking about the personal hell that must make his life:

“That was the BEST dry cleaning I’ve ever had done!!”
“My God! Look at “¦ look at the twisted metal and carnage of this so-called traffic jam!;”
“Honey, that was the GREATEST sex I’ve EVER had in my ENTIRE LIFE!!”

And so on. And remember that he’s the VP of personnel over at Titan Tower. Imagine trying to get through a weekly status meeting with him. Maybe THAT’S why Austin left.

Next week, a little more; easing back into the writing lifestyle. Maybe some light simile and/or metaphor.

Until then, get some sleep.

-Cory