Thank God It’s Thursday News Report 2.20.03

Hello, and welcome to this extra-special “I Just Bought a GameCube” version of the Thank God It’s Thursday News Report. I’m Bryan Berg and I’ll be bringing you the news on what’s happening in the gaming world. And it isn’t much, to be perfectly frank.

First, I’d like to thank both of you who sent in positive feedback. Special thanks go to Mr. Ron Yip’s SimColumn, where I received a very generous plug. He also e-mailed me with many words of encouragement. So thanks for that.

On with the news!!!

This week, Nintendo’s pre-order plan for The Legend of Zelda – The Wind Waker went into effect. Those who pre-ordered and put down a $15 deposit received a special disc containing Ocarina of Time and a special Master Quest which is much more difficult than Ocarina of Time. Nintendo has limited the amount of discs, which also include videos for other games, to be distributed to 100,000. This plan, already a success in Japan and North America, will be implemented in Europe as well.

As ridiculous as it seems for people to clamor for a game they have probably already played and beaten, this is a hell of a promotion. Kudos to Nintendo for coming up with this. If you haven’t gotten yours yet, don’t hit Ebay just yet. If the local Game Stop is out, try a place like Target where hardcore gamers aren’t as likely to shop. Even my local Best Buy had a few left as of Tuesday afternoon.

Microsoft’s X-Box console is now the number two next-generation gaming console, according to a press release issued Wednesday. The X-Box’s holiday bundle (System and two games for $199) outsold the GameCube’s (System, memory card, and Super Mario Sunshine for $159) by a 3-1 margin. Furthermore, the GameCube only sold half as well as the X-Box in January. The leading catalysts for this, according to the release, are Xbox Live and Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball.

No wonder Nintendo is giving away its best GameCube games for nothing. Personally, I feel that the X-Box’s overall package is the weakest of the three, though this comes from someone who has no interest whatsoever in online play. It would appear that other gamers think differently. And I refuse to believe that a stupid volleyball game would inspire millions of gamers to run out and buy X-Boxes just so they could watch breasts jiggle.

McDonald’s and Sega have come to an agreement that will put Sega characters into Happy Meals. This promotion will begin over the summer and feature characters from Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Monkey Ball.

McDonald’s gives fat kids yet another reason to patronize its Happy Meals. In all seriousness, though, this is a really good deal for Sega, as it will cement into kids’ heads that these characters are “cool”. That is, until the kids sue for becoming too fat.

Conflict: Desert Storm
Conflict: Desert Storm has been announced for Nintendo GameCube. IGN says it will be released on April 9. You can read more about this game here.

Perhaps this is just me speaking from cynicism here, but isn’t this a REALLY bad time to be releasing a war game? Especially on the GameCube, the supposed “family-friendly” system? Here we have America on the verge of the most bullshit war in the history of the world, we have the government posting billboards in Times Square about how we’re going to be attacked, so let’s get ready, and then you’ve got this stupid company releasing a war game and expecting you to buy it. That’s crap. I’m sorry, but that’s some serious bullshit. Fuck these guys. NOBODY should buy this game. Shame on Gotham Games for pulling this shit on gamers. Who needs a game when someone we know is going to be doing the real thing very f*cking soon?

Sorry. I realize these companies have schedules or whatever, but sometimes people should just use common sense. We don’t need any more glorification of war when Bush’s main goal in life is to start a war and kill as many 20-something males as possible. In my mind, it’s deplorable to put out a war game at a time when people are as scared of a war as they’ve ever been.

While you can get a free GameCube game when you buy a new system, Game Boy Advance owners in Japan will be receiving free games just for owning the system. Kiosks are being set up in Japan that will allow gamers to bring their GBAs and download a game, which will be stored in the GBA’s RAM and deleted when the power is turned off. The first game to be given away will be Dr. Mario.

Nintendo’s marketing department strikes again! This is a setup with loads of potential. They could put Nintendo software and hardware for sale at these kiosks and make a bundle. Every time gamers come back, they’d have new games to give away and new stuff to sell. Now, this is only happening in Japan, but could very easily be implemented in the United States, whether it be in major shopping malls or as part of a tour-type thing. Remember, the Zelda offer was supposed to be Japan-only at first.

This week’s “Gold” plug goes to Ron Yip. Aside from said generous plug, his take on piracy and terrorism is a must-read. I agree with everything he said in that part. Don’t forget to e-mail him and tell him what game you’d most like to see remade.

Next, we have Mr. Joseph Stanley, whose Weekend Wipe-Up remains a must-read. A sample from this week’s work:
Rambling From the IVGC Community. . . has been cancelled, sorta.
That cracks me up for some reason. There’s tons more better stuff inside, though.

Getting the Bronze is Frederick “Bad Ass” Badlissi. His Gamer’s Conscious details a scenario some of you might know well – the transition from hardcore gaming nut to casual gamer to something in-between. It’s certainly something I’ve gone through, and it’s a good read, so check it out.

Two new reviews were posted this week – Jeff Ayers did a review for Devil May Cry 2, and Lee Baxley returns with his second effort, a review of .hack. .hack sounds like a really interesting game, while Devil May Cry has a dumb name and as a result I’ll never play it. On the subject of names, my good buddy Andrew’s nickname is Hack (His birthday gift last year was a New York Mets jersey with Hack #7 on it), so that’s kinda nice.

Anyway. The only other items posted to the Games Zone all week were Alex Lucard’s Retrograding Mailbag and Bebito Jackson’s Rumor Down-Lo, both of which are their usual excellent selves. Bebito also has a guest role in Claire Flynn Boyle’s column, found on 411 Music, which is full of excellent music information.

I must say that I’m upset with Bebito, if only very slightly. I wanted to enter Bebito’s contest, but since I’m a 411 Games staff member, I’m not allowed to. I’m being repressed! Seriously, I love Bebito, he’s a great guy. With that, I’d like to publicly challenge him to a “Who Believes They Suck More” contest. I have no idea how this could be done or what the rules might be, but it’d be a lot of fun.

Non-411 Link of the Week
IGN took a Game Boy Advance SP and compared it to other objects to demonstrate just how small the thing is when folded up. You can join in on the hilarity here.

Commentary of the Week
This is my personal soapbox where I’ll complain about an issue that’s bothering me, or I’ll lavish praise on a deserving subject, or what have you. I do this a whole lot on my Xanga site, but people actually read this column.

So as you might gather from my little rant on Conflict: Desert Storm, I’m pretty against the prospect of the USA going to war. I live on Long Island. Two of my closest friends were within five miles of the World Trade Center when it was attacked. I don’t need to see any more people killed for dumb reasons.

Think of it. What’s this supposed war all about? OIL. The Bush regime can say what they want about terrorism, but it’s a propaganda reason at best. See, while Mr. Bush “fights terrorism”, we’re all scraping pennies to get by, because he’s left the economy in such a sorry state. It will take years to undo what Bush has done. When I get my Bachelor’s degree in December, I’m going right into grad school because I know there won’t be a job waiting for me. The same goes for a lot of people. This is good for Bush, though – it’ll be easier to draft someone who’s unemployed than someone who’s working.

Next, we have the whole issue of security – that is, us Americans feeling safe. There is not one person I know who lives here that actually thinks our leadership actually knows what it’s doing. Nobody here feels safe. I work at a grocery store (ShopRite), and I see that there is NO water on the shelves. Why? Because everyone is panicking. Why? Because nobody feels safe, and that’s on the government. Instead of telling us to be ready in case of a terrorist attack, perhaps they should get off their asses and stop the thing from happening.

My last piece is this. If war is inevitable, fine. But as long as we’re not getting attacked and the government keeps pushing this war, why not let the people have a say? I’m proposing a vote. Just like we elected these people into office, a date could be set where people could go to the polls and vote. Whatever the people say would HAVE to be taken into consideration. It’s only fair to send people into combat if it’s what the majority wants, and this is a way to quantify public sentiment.

Have A Nice Day
This ends this somewhat depressing version of the Thank God It’s Thursday News Report. I hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far, and I urge you to continue reading this column as I inevitably forget who I’m writing for and lose my touch, perhaps regaining it and perhaps sucking eternally.

Pankonin skipped last week. Hopefully we’ll get to enjoy some of his work tomorrow. And, of course, Joseph Stanley, the only repeat “Plug Medal” winner in the short history of this column, on Saturday/Sunday. Enjoy those two.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next week. If we’re all still alive, that is.