Gaming Zen 1-9-06

Good morning, afternoon, and good night. I’m Tom Pandich, and I’ve been watching too much Jim Carrey. Well not really. So another column right. Yep it seems that way. We’ve got news, my views, your views (through mail), a return of Game of the Week, another top ten, and another new feature. Let’s start with letters though.

Letters

Let’s start with a movie letter about my top ten list. Mr. HugoKicksPuppies writes:

Sin City is an epic? Really?

Well here’s what I wrote on my top ten movies of the year list:

“Sin City” is a completely over the top neo-noir exercise featuring some of the cheesiest dialogue in the history of cinema. What’s even more shocking about what should have been a failure on par with the Hindenburg disaster is that it works. “Sin City” clicks in all the right places. It’s a fast moving epic with the most compelling characters ever in a comic book movie. Frank Miller’s epic was given a life on film that the graphic novel never had for me. The true tragedy of Sin City is that it’ll be far too long before the silver screen is graced by the dark black, surreal white, and blood red.

I think it goes without question that Sin City the graphic novel is an epic. Miller’s work on Sin City and Dark Knight Returns changed comics. As far as the film, here’s what I consider an epic. A film that’s story and message is beyond any single character. The latter is why I consider a film like Ben Hur an epic despite the fact that it focuses just on his story.

Sin City is a story that is greater then its characters. The important part of Sin City is the world of Sin City and the mood of it, not the players in it. I consider it an epic because the scope of the film is beyond the confines of the film or even the written work. I’m sure there are thousands of stories in the world of Sin City that never get told the same way the same is true of the world of the Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and the Marvel Universe. Of course there are exceptions to my definition, but I find that it is a pretty good working way to define the films I’m writing about and watching.

Next up is Terry:

I really enjoyed the column but it was sad to hear about you guys losing two writers. I had read stuff by both of them and liked their respective work. I hated to hear Lee left under less then favorable circumstances but sadly that is how it goes sometimes in every business/site/ect.

I agree with you about the dumb Xbox 360 stuff they have been pulling. I am still irked that they even bothered to make two kinds of systems much less that no one can buy them because of crap like this Wal-Mart story and also because they are launching in too many countries, too fast, with not enough product to satisfy demand.

Well, lets just hope it is true that the PS3 will let us play import games without a mod chip. It would seem to be a great business practise on their part as many gamers would gladly order some of the wacky games that only come out in Japan without the hassles of chips and whatnot to let them play them.

Anyway good stuff man.

First off, it does suck that Alex and Lee have left. With Alex, the writing was on the wall. He just graduated from college, is getting married, and they just put in a 5th Mix machine two blocks away from his house. I still pleaded with him to stay but it was pretty obvious that he needed some time off. Same thing goes with Liquidcross who left because of real life keeping him from fully committing to IP. The problem with Lee was Widro pissed him off and he pissed Widro off. It was over a pretty minor situation but Lee got pissed (rightfully so in my opinion) and caught Widro in the right mood that the usually calm and collected boss man got pissed. So that’s the last I say about that (until I get another letter about it).

The Xbox 360 launch is going to be considered a success. The problem with this is that history won’t record the missteps of the 360 launch or the lack of non-sports/FPS games the same way the PS2’s awful launch is largely forgotten as was the great Dreamcast launch (Soul Calibur, Sonic Adventure, NFL 2K, Power Stone, House of the Dead 2). Couple that with the fact that the idea of a launch has become less about the games (hence the advent of the launch window) and more about the lines and the hype about the system. The PS3 might be a step forward backs to games and away from the hype if we get something where regions don’t matter for the United States and Japan (which once again ignores Europeans who really are the future “must have” market).

The News

Only a few things to cover this week. The big news is that Take-Two apparently is hurting. Take-Two has made $1.2 billion in net sales less then last year. Granted, there was new Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas this time around. What is bad though is that according to Gamespot, GTA:SA still accounted for 7% of total sales in Q4 while newer games like The Warriors accounted for only 3%. The delay of Elder Scrolls IV and the more recent delays of Top Spin 2 and College Hoops 2K6 are certainly not helping either. There are a few big games on the horizon though. GTA: Liberty City Stories is getting ported to the PS2 which will no doubt hurt PSP sales but help Take Two along with the 24 game (also delayed to 2006) and the Da Vinci Code will be big hits.

The other news is really how well the Nintendo DS is selling. I’m obviously a huge supporter of the Nintendo DS (my system of the year) but the DS is doing some huge numbers. Apparently over 13 million systems have been sold worldwide. Mario Kart has sold over 2 million copies worldwide, Animal Crossing has sold out in many stores across the United States (also selling close to 2 million units worldwide without a release in Europe yet), and Nintendogs is a huge hit. In Japan, eight of the top ten selling games are DS games (the other two are Kingdom Hearts 2 and Front Mission 5). In short, the DS is a pretty successful system right now.

The problem with all of this though is that units are starting to become scarce, especially in Japan. It’s always a shame when a system sales slow solely because of a lack of units, especially when it’s a year passed the launch. It’ll be interesting to see if Nintendo is able to handle this situation.

The last bit of news is that Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting will be available on Xbox Live Arcade some time in Q1. Hopefully it’ll be a decent port this time around (enough that it won’t piss Lucard off). Then again, most things piss Lucard off. The price of gasoline. People without ambition. The entire Midwest. Sunlight. Furries. Cloves of garlic. And so forth.

Top Ten

For this Top Ten list I’ve been thinking a bit. I, like most people on the Internet, am filled with hate. Unfortunately, I realize that much of this hate is trumped up and irrational. So here is a list of ten popular games (or series), in no particular order, that I have a burning hatred for. Most of the time, this hatred is irrational and often times ridiculous, but it is, if nothing else, constant. Each and every one of the following statements is nothing but flamebait for fans of the respective games and it should be treated as such. In short, if I insult your favorite game(s) you’re just playing into what I want if you write me flame mail. I mean no intentional harm unless you really are that connected to a game. In that case, please get some sort of life. Without further adieu, here is the list.

Ragnarok Online

The ultimate of bad MMORPGs. You have to f*cking level up to sit down. What the f*ck is up with that? It’s buggy as hell and the Koreans who run it have actually gotten people to start paying for this shit? Unbelievable. This game appeals to hyperactive 13 year olds who write homosexual Gundam Wing fanfiction and the creepy 24 year olds who are trying to get into their Hello Kitty panties.

The Need for Speed series

Finally a game series that appeals to every ricer asshole out on the road. Now your real car and your video game car can have a twenty inch spoiler and giant ass rims while burning out your engine down my street in the middle of the night. Some of us can’t work twenty hours at Wal Mart just for car money and live in our parent’s basement when we’re 34. God damn retarded ricers.

Tomb Raider series

Here’s a memo to anyone who buys these games. You are a douche bag for buying into this T&A bullshit and keeping Eidos in business.

World of Warcraft

It’s not so much that I think WoW is a bad game as much as it is I think the majority of people who play it live bad lives. Anyone who can’t have a conversation without mentioning their guild is wasting too much of the world’s oxygen (not to mention pizza).

Final Fantasy VII

Shock and awe. An IP Writer doesn’t like Final Fantasy VII? Holy hell, stop the presses. In short, this game single-handedly ruined 3/4ths of the RPG market to this very day.

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

One of the most overhyped and slowest moving games I’ve ever played. Nintendo must have been pissed at how many gamers were buying the PSX when this came out and punished them with Navi. Honestly Nintendo, what the f*ck.

Tetris

As a game, I have no problem with Tetris. As a sentence such as the following: “Puzzle game X is the best Tetris clone to come along in years” Tetris pisses me off. Every 2D fighter is not constantly compared to Street Fighter 2, every turn based RPG isn’t compared to Dragon Warrior, and 2D platformer isn’t compared to Super Mario Bros. Why can’t the same distinction be made for f*cking Tetris?!?

Halo 2

Again, no problem with the game as much as the people who play it. There are other games on the Xbox besides Halo, Halo 2, and sports games. For the love of god, play some other goddamn game once in a while. It’s not a game you should base your entire life around.

Any Paintball game

Wait, you’re telling me you want to play a game about what is essentially the real life version of a pretend gunfight….

Pitfall

Can someone please tell me why Pitfall Harry just doesn’t stand still? He’s only running in a damn circle anyways. I mean what type of retard jumps over crocodiles and avoids pits with snakes in them to get back to where he started. Honestly…

What I’m Playing

Not too much new for the list this week. I went back to Bomberman DS, Advanced Wars DS, Samurai Western, and Mr. Driller DS. As usual, I’m addicted to my DS. There is a new game I got for it recently though.

Prince of Tennis: Crystal Drive 2005: Ah behold. My love of Prince of Tennis finally has an outlet. The tennis in this game is pretty solid but the super tennis moves, the AI in doubles, and the heavy amount of Japanese make it pretty much a “Fans only” title. Damn, apparently an Eyeshield 21 game is coming out for the Nintendo DS pretty soon too. I’m going to end up adding that to Prince of Tennis and Jump Superstars sooner rather then later, aren’t I?

Game of the Week

Finally there are some games being released again. This week, there are really only two competitors. Sure, Wild Arms 4 will probably be a fun game, but it’s not in the same dimension as these other two games.

This week’s game of the week is *drumroll*………Mega Man X Collection!!! Sorry Electroplankton but I’ve sort of had my fill with weird DS games for a bit. Mega Man X Collection though offers up six of the platformers and *cough* a cart racer. What I find sort of odd is that we still don’t have Mega Man Soccer getting rereleased in any of these packs. Sure, it was atrocious but it deserves to be there with all the other Mega Man games. Maybe we can get a Mega Man Legends collection with Soccer and Mega Man and Bass tossed on. Until then though this should hold all of you older then some school gamers over.

Cheap Ass Game of the Week

As many of you know by now, I am a Cheap Ass Gamer or CAG for short. I’ve decided to scan the ads and pull the best advertised deal each week for you. The best deal of this week comes from EB Games. In addition to offering the Doom 3 CE for just ten bucks during their winter sale, they also have the upcoming Warhammer: Mark of Chaos for $10 on pre-order (Release date: 10/01/06). While orders may be cancelled, its still worth a shot.

Well that’s all for this week. See you all again next week.