Thank God It’s Thursday News Report 02.27.03

Hello all, and welcome back to this third installment of the Thank God It’s Thursday News Report. I’m Bryan Berg. By now, you know what to expect – bad news written poorly. Enjoy!

Def Jam: Vendetta
Because the people demanded it, Electronic Arts has finally finished its Def Jam: Vendetta game. It will be “dropping” on March 18 for Playstation 2. The game allows players to choose from their favorite Def Jam recording artists and duke it out. Obviously, the game will include music from said recording artists.

I can’t decide which game is the worse idea – this one or WWE Crush Hour. Where do they come up with this crap? Who comes into work and says “Hey, I’ve got a great idea! Let’s take all these rappers and have them WRESTLE! It’ll be the biggest thing since Jesus!” Give me a break.

America will now take it upon themselves to prove me horribly wrong and buy this game in droves.

Metroid Prime
European gamers will have the pleasure of playing Metroid Prime for the first time when it is released on March 21. Nintendo has come up with a clever promotion for the game. For 199 euros, European gamers will receive a black Cube, Metroid Prime, and a Metroid Prime nameplate. The plate will go over the circular portion of the disc drive, where the GameCube logo is normally found.

For all of its troubles, Nintendo knows how to promote. This Metroid Prime bundle is another good idea on Nintendo’s part. I doubt the nameplate will help to sell any systems, but it’s pretty neat and might entice some on-the-fence people to splurge for the Cube. Now, if they could only get some decent third-party games out there…

BackYard Wrestling
Eidos Interactive has announced that they will be using the services of the Insane Clown Posse and their Juggalo Championship Wrestling promotion. The game will feature music from ICP, and gamers will be able to play not only as the Insane Clown Posse, but from a wide range of JCW superstars as well. “This is the final piece of the puzzle for Juggalo world domination”, claims Violent J of ICP.

Logically speaking, does having professional wrestlers appearing in a backyard wrestling game make any sense? Isn’t the whole premise of backyard wrestling that it’s independent? Anyway, if Eidos thinks this will sell them more games, it probably will. Even though ICP sucks, they have a very loyal following. It also alienates people who hate their guts (and there are plenty). So overall, does the game look any better now? No. So it is probably a waste for both sides.

The Hobbit
Inevitable Entertainment is producing a Hobbit game for GameCube. The game is said to be a Zelda-type quest that is inspired by the J.R.R. Tolkien book of the same name. The game will be coming out this fall on Playstation 2, GameCube, X-Box, Game Boy Advance, and PC.

I’m not an “IGN Insider”, so I don’t really know anything more about it than that. The one picture they show looks pretty sweet, though. With Lord of the Rings being the movie franchise it is, look for this game to make a pretty big impact this fall.

Konami, they of the most famous code in video game history, is looking forward to the future. As a symbol of this, they have changed their logo. The new logo is nothing more than the word “Konami” in a different font. A second logo, meant for marketing purposes, is similar but with the color scheme changed. You can view the new logos here.

Why tamper with a classic? Ugh. It seems like every day, companies are changing their logos, or merging, or doing something to alienate the nostalgic fan. Why should Konami be any different?

According to Strategy Analytics, the GameCube is in serious trouble. While it was even with the X-Box at the end of 2002, Strategy Analytics claims that X-Box’s sales will rise 12 percent in 2003, while GameCube’s sales will drop four percent. A major factor at play in this, according to the report, is X-Box’s online strategy. Nintendo’s plans for online expansion are not so clearly defined, or even existent. Strategy Analytics go on to say that Nintendo should follow Sega’s footsteps and become exclusively a third-party developer.

The news could not have come at a worse time for Nintendo, who has just lost another third-party developer in CodeMasters. Customers have every reason not to believe in the GameCube at this point, and third-party developers are becoming increasingly hesitant to create games for the Cube. Can Nintendo survive like this?

I don’t know, but I think they need to. I think the gaming world needs as much competition as possible. Look at what has happened to the WWE since their major competitors went out of business. Besides, it wouldn’t be right playing Mario or Zelda on a non-Nintendo system.

Capcom has decided to cancel its previously announced Capcom Fighting All-Stars, which was slated to be released in Arcades and for Playstation 2. The game was to be 3-D based and include characters from Final Fight, Strider, and Street Fighter series. Its interestingly complex fighting system, which was to include basic attacks that would cancel each other out and breathtaking finishers, will not see the light of day.

Can gamers really be too disappointed in this news? It seems like every Capcom character has been in ten of these games. Still, the fighting system did sound very interesting. Hopefully that will resurface in another Capcom fighting game (and you know there will be more) somewhere down the line.

Alex Lucard gets the Gold this week for his excellent interview with Todd Gardiner, who is the Game Evaluation Lead for X-Box. What exactly is a Game Evaluation Lead? Read to find out! It’s a very interesting look at the side of video gaming we don’t normally see.

I wanted to give Bebito the Gold so badly, but the interview ruled. So, The Rumor Down-Lo goes Silver this time around. The column is its usual great self, but this week, Bebito shares with us a true sign of his greatness – he got ripped off! Some hack stole his entire premise of a column. I wrote Bebito to congratulate him on this, and he responded with this gem:
“Perhaps he didn’t really rip me off, anyway. I suppose it’s possibe for someone to come up with a rumor column that’s similarly formated to mine without it directly being copied…

Ok, no. Not really… I can’t back that up.”
Bebito threw the first shot in the “Who Thinks They Suck More” contest. He gets hate mail. I don’t get ANY mail. From ANYBODY. So THERE. I really don’t know how this contest is supposed to work, but we both think we really suck, and in his case, he doesn’t.

Anyway. Yip gets the Bronze because he was right about Nintendo losing money. I talked with Ron last night and he made me realize that the CodeMasters thing was actually quite significant. Ron deserves kudos for that. The SimColumn is always full of well-written insight and it should be read by everybody.

The rest of the best… Joseph Stanley weighs in with his Weekend Wipe-Up. The wolves are back… and they’re hungry. Chris Pankonin welcomes Mike Tyson fanboys to 411 Games with his 411 Games News Report. He also provides us with some interesting hints for Ocarina of Time. Matthew Cress comes back with a fine second effort in his review of Vexx. Jason Masters is dead.

Non-411 Link of the Week
“DarkBond”, also known as Bebito’s biggest fan, writes “DB’s Rumour Round Up”. Clever.

If anybody owns, or has played, or has any insight regarding the Gibson SG Standard guitar, let me know. As in, don’t let me blow $1200 on this thing if it’s not worth it. Thanks.

If you’re going to Raw at Nassau Coliseum this Monday night, feel free to drop by Section 210, Row D, Seats 5-6, and say hi to myself and my buddy Shaun. If not, I’ll understand.

Commentary of the Week
I had a lot of trouble trying to figure out what I was trying to write for this. Then, I went to the Olive Garden with my loving girlfriend Cory. There, I realized that I might be able to use space to be of service to some people. With that in mind, I present…

The Tipping Scale
Have you ever encountered a circumstance where doubling the tax just wasn’t going to cut it? Maybe you got extraordinarily great service and weren’t sure how much extra to give. Or the guy sucked and you didn’t know the proper way to screw him over. In any event, it’s a tough situation.

The Tipping Scale attempts to alleviate such a situation by clearly defining certain waiter/waitress activities in terms of dollars and cents. In this way, you’ll always know how much (or how little) to leave.

Let’s begin!

Before the Food Comes
If the waitress is hot – Add $1.00.
If you had to wait for a table – Deduct $0.05 per minute waited.
If they take their sweet time before taking your order – Deduct $0.35.
If you get your beverages in a timely fashion – Add $0.40.
If appetizers/salads come out right away – Add $0.30.
If waiter brings extra breadsticks without you even having to ask for them (especially at the Olive Garden) – Add $2.00.
If you are brought an extra Coke before having to ask for a new one – Add $0.45.
If waiter/waitress takes your order without writing it down – Add $0.10 per order they don’t f*ck up.
If you’re bullshitting on your cell phone when it’s your turn to order – Add $0.50, you prick.
If waitress states she is having a bad day before she begins with you – Add $2.00 regardless of her performance.
If you leave the restaurant within 15 minutes of closing – Add $1.50.

Food-Related Matters
If they f*ck up your order – Deduct $2.50.
If your food comes out burnt/cold – Deduct $1.00 and eat it anyway.
If you send your food back – Add cost of your dish to tip. People like you are what’s wrong with the restaurant industry.
If they give your item to the wrong person – Deduct $0.15.
If they don’t needlessly ask “Is everything okay?” – Deduct $0.20.
If they needlessly ask “Is everything okay?” every ten seconds – Deduct $0.25.
If you have to ask for a new fork, ketchup, or anything else that requires effort on the part of your server – Add $0.25.
If you’re given your check in the middle of your meal – Deduct $0.50.

Now, realize this list is far from complete. In fact, if you have any additions, please feel free to e-mail them to me. Also, you have to start with some sort of flat rate that can be added to. Say, $2.00, and then you can add whatever you want onto that. And, if you’re going with a bunch of friends, you have to agree on this beforehand. No matter what happens, you, the reader of this column, will always get stuck leaving more than you have any right to because your friends cheapen out.

Let it be known that I’m a very generous tipper. On said Olive Garden meal, I left $11 as tip on a $33 meal. It was something like four times tax. It’s very difficult to determine the proper tip denomination, but hopefully this guide will serve as some sort of universal indicator. And if not, hopefully it wasn’t too boring.

So this is goodbye. Until the launch of 411Mania on 03.03.03, that is. What we have in store, I have no idea, but I bet it’s pretty neat. Make sure you come back for that. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for Chris and Saturday for Stanley. Enjoy the rest of your week, and Thank God It’s Thursday.