411MAX: News News Revolution 6.18.04

Hello all, my name is Alex Williams, and I’m BACK! Um…AGAIN! YEAH!

Okay, quick explanation as to why I came back, then took off three weeks. It turned out that family obligations were huger than I expected them to be. My sister was graduating high school, I had several birthdays’ to celebrate (including mine), and I had a week’s vacation to Disney World with my fiancé. Therefore, I took some more time off to get things out of the way and put things in order. And now…I’m REALLY BACK! Seriously this time!

Sheesh, I go from one of the hardest working people on the site to a reoccurring nobody in three short months. Sad, ain’t it?

And you did read the above part correctly, I DID go to Disney World for the better part of a week. You know, to get away from the norm and from games for a while. To ignore the DDR pads and instead go ride the rides and greet the brave souls dressed as cartoon characters.

So you know what we did? We ended up at the indoor amusement park known as DisneyQuest, and spent all our time in the free-play arcades. And I spent most of my time there on the Pump It Up Exceed machine.

You know, to get AWAY from it all for a week.

*cough*

In any case, I’m going to assume you’re here for the news, assuming that you’re here for ANYTHING on Fridays in the first place. I know I’ve let you down before, but hopefully, I won’t let you down again. ON WITH THE NEWS!


Bethesda Softworks: Hiring For Next Elder Scrolls?

Recently, Bethesda Softworks circulated an e-mail saying they are hiring new people to join their RPG development team. They currently have three positions open: two game programmers and one world designer. Also, they’ll be helping develop for the PC, as well as future generation consoles.

How does this figure into the best selling Elder Scrolls series, you ask? Well, skills listed for two of three positions state that “knowledge of Role Playing games and The Elder Scrolls [is] a plus.”

Now keep in mind that a new game in the Elder Scrolls series has NOT been announced at this time. So we can either assume one of two things: (1)Bethesda is actively looking for new people to develop a new Elder Scrolls game, or (2) Elder Scrolls is being used as an example of criteria the new hires must know to gain a significant advantage. Either way, it should be interesting to see where this goes.

On another note, it’s kina funny to talk about a game developer that’s in the same state as I am. I could technically drive to Bethesda, MD, knock on their doors yelling “TAKE ME! HIRE ME!” and try to apply with my incredible stick figure masterpieces and my partial knowledge of Pascal. But I won’t, considering that would involve demeaning acts to myself and others, and I don’t have that much free time on my hands. Instead, I’ll just threaten random acts of violence until I obtain an interview with them. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

(Credit goes to Gamespot)


Nintendo: 1019 Problems

With their new memory card, that is. If ANY company had 1,019 problems, they wouldn’t be here very long, would they?

Anyway, it turns out that some games have incompatibility issues with the newly released GameCube Memory Card 1019. The following are listed below, as well as possible solutions to any problems. (These are taken from Gaming Age with much appreciation):

Backyard Football
When using an unformatted Memory Card 1019, the game will ask if you would like to format the Memory Card. Selecting “Yes” will cause the game to freeze. If you have an unformatted Memory Card 1019, and wish to save Backyard Football game data, you must first save game data from another game not listed as incompatible on this page. Doing so will automatically format the Memory Card.

Sonic Adventure 2 Battle
(1)If there are more than 999 free blocks on the Memory Card 1019, the game cannot display the amount of free blocks. With less than 999 free blocks, the amount of free blocks will display properly.
(2)While mathematically the Memory Card 1019 should be able to hold hundreds of Sonic Adventure 2 Battle game files, the maximum it can hold is 99.

Darkened Skye:
If multiple save files are created, the game occasionally will not allow any new files to be created, even though there are enough free blocks on the Memory Card 1019. Removing and reinserting the Memory Card 1019 when this happens should solve the problem.

And the following three games do NOT support the Memory Card 1019 at ALL:

WTA Tour Tennis
Disney Sports: Skate Boarding
Disney Sports: Soccer

All in all, this seems to be only a minor setback for Nintendo and their brand new memory card. I mean, there are less than ten games here that have issues. And it looks like Sonic Adventure 2: Battle is the only one people would be playing out of that list in the first place. Heh.

(Credit goes to Gaming Age, and to Misha for covering first.)


Nintendo: Help Us Decide!

In an interesting move, Nintendo has a survey up on their website regarding future editions of their NES Classic series on the Game Boy Advance. They want YOU to help them choose which new NES games they’ll convert into GBA cartridges and overcharge to you next! Huzzah!

Er…um…what I meant to say was…aw hell, as much as I like the idea of re-releasing old NES games, even I can’t stand paying $20…PER CARTRIDGE…when I can already buy the E-Reader cards for half of these games for $5, and play most of the titles on my Animal Crossing save, or my Zelda Collectors disc. The only one I picked up is the Super Mario Brothers cart, and that’s ONLY so I can have a complete set of 2D Mario console platformers on my GBA. That was a worthy investment. The rest…um…aren’t really.

Still, you can go here and cast your vote for nearly every NES game ever released. And I STRONGLY advise you to vote for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Battletoads. Trust me. You would even if I DIDN’T mention that.

(Credit goes to Gaming Age)


Nintendo: Pokémon Pre-Order Bonus!

The good news? Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen are hitting stores September 7th! The bad news? The games will be $39.99 a piece. It’s because of the wireless adaptor they’ll be packaging in them, but still, it’s a bit high.

Which is why Nintendo is initiating a free pre-order bonus! If you pre-order your copy of Fr/Lg starting August 1st at select locations, you’ll be given a free Pokémon Pocket Trainer’s Guide. The book itself will apparently contain Pokémon facts and information, acting as a field guide of sorts.

Something tells me Alex Lucard will end up with 7 copies of this book. Don’t ask me why or how, but he will. I can feel it.

(Credit goes to Games Are Fun)


Ubisoft: We’re In The Money!

With all the stories out there on how game companies are losing money, at least one publisher has something to cheer about.

Ubisoft has recently reported that they saw a 22.5% increase in sales over their past financial year, amounting to approximately 432 million US dollars. The French-based publisher’s good fortune can be attributed mainly to the Tom Clancy series of games, which includes Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, and Rainbow Six; all of which have sequels underway. Prince of Persia also helped contribute to their current financial standing.

In light of this, Ubisoft also announced that their projected 2004-2005 profit and income would fall between $46-$52 million and $21-$25 million respectively. Now even though these guys have a good, respectable franchise in Tom Clancy, and are doing rather well right now, I wouldn’t put my estimates that high just yet. I’ll throw this one to Bryan Berg and see if he has any insight next week. Bryan?

(Credit goes to Gamespot)


And with that, I’m officially out of news. Time to head to the FILLER…er…OTHER STUFF!


COMMENTARY: This One Goes Out To The One I Hate (Volume I)

You know, there are very few video games in this world that I truly hate. And when I say “hate”, I don’t mean “hate” because a game is too hard, or “hate” because a game has a lackluster story, bad graphics, shoddy voice acting, or other things that take away from the overall fun factor. These things I can usually look past for a while.

When I say “hate”, I mean that a game is SO incredibly BAD…so stupendously HORRIBLE…that it must be CELEBRATED in the annals of gaming history. Not many games fit into this category, mind you. They REALLY have to push the boundaries of good taste, and sanity to be as bad as they can be. It’s as if they applied themselves in the COMPLETE OPPOSITE DIRECTION of playability and goodness.

So why do I have to suffer the indignities of playing the crème de la crap alone? I’ve decided that every so often, I’ll share these nuggets of shi…er…JOY along with you. These are the games that I HATE with a passion. I’ll still play them from time to time, but only because I’m one to inflict torture on myself whenever possible. (I’m a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan, so I’ve grown accustomed to it.)

So here’s the first volume in what hopes to a semi-regular, ongoing series. So, without further ado, I HATE…

BIBLE ADVENTURES (Nintendo Entertainment System)

Now, perhaps I’m not the best person to comment about a BIBLE game, considering that I’m Jewish. However, I’m sure that you’ll all agree with me that if a game is THIS crappy, it can be considered crappy by ALL of the world’s religions. So you won’t find any religion bashing here. GAME bashing, well, that’s another story.

Here we have a little NES cart by the name of Bible Adventures by Wisdom Tree, a Christian-based developer. The game’s premise was to take three popular stories from the Bible, and use them in video game format to teach children about the “Good Book”. Apparently, the version of the Bible that Wisdom Tree used involved a bunch of people who like to throw random objects around, including, but not limited to, acorns, spiders, animals, guys with spears, and babies. Yes, babies. You’ll see in a moment.

Throughout the game, you’ll be able to pick up tablets filled with Bible quotes for health. I guess this is where “teaching about the Bible” comes in. Every time you pick one up, the gameplay stops, and the quote appears on screen. I never knew God said things like “Press A to Jump”, but hey, whatever works.

The first of the three tales converted was “Noah’s Ark”, which coincidentally, is the only story that has ANYTHING to do with its Bible counterpart. You play as Noah, and you’ll need to collect two of every animal in existence, and deposit them on the Ark. Of course, all the animals in the WORLD appear in the same area, conveniently around the gigantic Ark. And how do you transport them? By picking up over your head, and carrying them yourself, of course! Noah, a six hundred year-old man, displays nothing short of Herculean strength, and cheetah-like quickness as he leaps across the forest and climbs trees like they were nothing. Of course, every time you hold an animal and JUMP, the animal falls back to the ground, and continues on its merry way. So “Mr. Butterfinger’s” Noah has to run around for hours picking up animals and flinging them onto the Ark. And once you think you’re done…you get a whole NEW set of animals to hurl around. I swear, if this game were played out in real time, we’d all be living underwater by now.

Then we have David & Goliath. You remember that story, right? Where David brings down the mighty giant Goliath with only a rock and a slingshot? Well, you don’t get to do that. INSTEAD, you get to play Noah’s Ark again, by replacing “all the animals in the world” with “sheep”, and “Ark” with “sheep pen”. And instead of fighting giants, you’re going to have to avoid lions, wolves, and EVIL mountain goats. You’d think that David would have NO PROBLEM dealing with these things, but you’d be wrong again. It’s a religious game, where there is no “violence” against anyone. Well, except you. Evil creatures can pummel you, while the only thing you can do to THEM is “throw things at them to make them go asleep for a limited time”. FUN, huh?

Finally, we have the WORST of the trilogy, and probably the most offensive game I’ve ever played, called “Baby Moses”. Now as far as I know, the Bible tells you that Moses was placed in a basket and sent down the river to have him escape being executed. What the Bible DOESN’T tell you is that his mother had to run all across Egypt and the pyramids and away from spiders and spear-wielding thugs to get to the river. Now, there’s SO much wrong with this game that I don’t know WHERE to begin. At the start of every level, Baby Moses will be hanging out somewhere like the ground, or a ledge, or a building’s roof, or ANYWHERE outside of his mother’s care. And you control his mother.

Once you pick Baby Moses up from wherever you left him, you have to carry him OVER YOUR HEAD (probably exclaiming “HERE’S BABY MOSES!” along the way, painting a bull’s-eye on his diaper) across all sorts of pyramids. But watch out! You’re gonna be attacked by gigantic spiders, evil guards with spears, and even VULTURES that carry you away! But don’t fret! You can protect Baby Moses from these dangers by THROWING HIM across the screen! Of course there’s the minor setbacks of throwing him into water and drowning him, but at least he won’t be raped to death by spears, or injected with spider eggs! What’s a crushed skull in comparison?

And you know the best part? You can intentionally DROWN the future-savior of the Hebrew people and complete the stage WITHOUT him! And your only reprimand? “Good job! But you forgot Baby Moses.” Yes, the game congratulates you for killing your baby. “You drowned the one man who will one day lead the Hebrew people out of slavery! Excellent work! Now Charlton Heston has no competition!” There’s something you don’t see in GTA: Vice City. They just don’t hand you little children to hurl at smugglers, or attach remote bombs to them after shoving them in the trunk of a car. Shooting hookers pales in comparison to this, don’t you think?

So we have two games of throw animals in a concentrated place, and game where you can play as “Mother Of The Year” by flinging and/or drowning your child. And politicians haven’t put this on the same level as GTA: VC yet? Oh wait, it’s based on the BIBLE, and the Bible is the only SAFE thing to teach our children these days, so it’s okay! *cough*

Honestly, if there IS a God, WHY does he allow games this bad to happen?

And there’s a game that I HATE. Pure and simple. Find a copy if you must, but I warn you, you’re risking your general health and well being if you get anywhere near it.


PLUGS & SHILLS THAT PAY THE BILLS

Well, to start with, I’m sorry to say that the Kliq Reward Points are receiving an early retirement. The reason being that doing them adds plenty of time to my report. Going back through old columns, keeping up totals, etc, etc. I realize it’s a major favorite for the other staff members, but it’s become more of a burden than a fun thing as of late. Therefore, I’ll have to kiss it goodbye. (Sorry, Misha. You’re still recognized as one of the cool ones for the whole April Fools Day debacle.)

But still, everyone here is AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME! So read these guys! (And maybe they’ll start plugging me again! Please? I’ll be your friend!)

News You Can Uses

Gamer’s HangoverCory Laflin
Cory returns this week as well, covers Worms, Taiko, and cheaper ESPN NFL prices. He also has had his own crap to deal with in his life that prevented him from two weeks of columns. Therefore, he has more of an excuse for two weeks than I’ve had with three. Maybe some friendly PGR2 races will cheer him up just a little…

Hitchhiker’s Guide To Video GamesMisha
Misha returns this week (woah, deja vu) to cover Nintendo’s “Revolution”, the Memory Card 1019 problems, and puts to rest Halo GBA rumors. (i.e. No) He’s also been playing some games…two of which I’ve played and loved on the XBox! (It’s REALLY easy to see which ones I’m referring to.)

Casual Gamers News ReportMichael Yeager
Yeager returns this week (GAH! Did we even HAVE anyone writing last week?) and covers Test Drive, Infinium troubles, and adds a tiny bit more to his spot-on look at gaming awards. Excellent stuff from our resident Kliq rookie.

Thank God It’s Thursday News ReportBryan Berg
Berg is the only one of us NOT making a return this week, as he has been the steadiest one of us for a while now. Which is why he rocks the house so very, very much. He’s got his thoughts on Nintendo’s GameCube plan, as well as a nice commentary on the Video Game Dad. It helped bring back the fond memories I shared with my Dad every football season, starting ten years ago with Joe Montana’s Sports Talk Football ’93, which quickly went through NFL ’94, NFL ’95, Prime Time NFL Football, NFL Quarterback Club ’96, NFL Quarterback Club ’97, Madden ’98, Madden 64, NFL2K, NFL2K1, Madden 2002, and Madden 2003. Good times were had by all. Good times.

Views You Can Use

HAH! A new way to plug columns! And it fits the rhyme scheme!

The Angry Gamer — Liquidcross
LC, one of our other awesome regulars, is surprisingly…not angry! Instead, he goes into why Super Mario Brothers 3 is so great, and probably the pinnacle of gaming as we know it. If it were 18 months ago, I’d be inclined to agree with him. Yet, after playing Super Mario Advance 4, beating the WHOLE GAME in less than a day, and finding nothing else to do in it outside of buying additional level cards, my opinion differs a bit. Don’t get me wrong, though. SMB3 was a revolutionary title, and is a great game, but it was better ten years ago when I was a fledgling gamer and had never experienced it.

Reviews You Can Use

Mario VS Donkey KongMichael Donahoe

Custom RoboA.J. Angeloni

Outside The Box

Here’s where I plug stuff either off-site, or simply not in our section.

Thank you, Misha, for pointing me in the direction of the Anti-Bush Game. Easily the most political fun I’ve had in a long time. I tell you, if ANY of the information listed in the game is factual (and I’m sure most of it is), then I can’t imagine in the SLIGHTEST why Dubbya hasn’t been impeached yet. It only took four years to undo practically EVERYTHING Clinton helped fix in eight. Argh. Get RID of this man. PRONTO!


PARTING THOUGHTS

And there you have it. My REAL return into the world of weekly columns. I SWEAR this time! No foolin’!

Next week, will be very close (if not on the dot) to being one year since I started doing columns here on 411. I might be taking the time to reflect on my time here, I might not. Depends if I’m feeling “nostalgic” or not.

So, until next time, um…PLAY GAMES! Lots of GAMES! But not Bible Adventures. Not until it’s had its proper exorcism.

Alex Williams