Thank God It’s Thursday News Report 03.27.03

Hey. Welcome to the “My Life Is A Complete Fucking Mess” edition of the Thank God It’s Thursday News Report. Bryan Berg here to provide what gaming news has come out of a very slow week. The other guys weren’t kidding – there is seriously NOTHING out there.

Feel free to read on, of course. And, where there is empty space not covered by news, I’m going to bitch about things. People say I’m funny when I’m in a crappy mood. Here’s your chance to judge for yourself.

The big news this week is the release of two highly significant Nintendo products. On Sunday (or maybe even earlier depending on where you live), the Game Boy Advance SP hit stores. Later in the week, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker came out. Both of these products were very sought-after, very pre-ordered, and, of course, very sold out.

Despite the high number of pre-orders, this writer gets the impression that not everybody who pre-ordered Zelda will actually be buying the game right away. Quite a few people plopped down $15 primarily for Ocarina of Time, with having a reserved copy of The Wind Waker just an added bonus. A week or two ago, the official number of Zelda pre-orders was over half a million. If a pretty good number of those people have already bought the game, there’s no reason why Zelda won’t debut at #1.

As for the SP, it’s a beautiful thing for those who never bought an Advance to begin with. Now they get a much cooler package (that titanium color looks awesome), a light, and a rechargeable battery. The only drawback is that you can’t really find them, at least not around here. Hopefully Nintendo can stay on top of things and sell as many SP’s as possible before the next big thing comes out.

It’s The Law
New legislation has been passed that requires proof of age in purchasing or renting “violent” video games. This is being done to prevent minors from obtaining games that they should not be playing. The legislation allows police to fine violators up to $500 for distributing these games to young people.

This is something I dealt with heavily in the old “Silent Majority” columns I used to write. They’re not up on the site anymore, I don’t think, but the message was basically that there’s no reason why a 10-year old kid needs to be playing Vice City. If said 10-year old kid wants to play Vice City, the kid’s parents need to get involved. Getting involved might be saying “no”, it might be watching the kid play, or it might just mean explaining that it’s just a game. And all too often, it seems that parents haven’t gotten involved.

So what this legislation is doing is basically removing liability from game stores and their employees, thereby forcing parents to get involved. You might see this as just another way for the government to control the system, but that’s taking things at face value. This is going to make people more aware of what’s going on. If the 10-year old kid wants a game, he’s going to have to bring his mom along to get it. When the mom asks why the 10-year old kid can’t get it on his own, he’s going to tell her that the game features violence. That’s when the mom has to make a decision. She’s never had to make a decision before because nothing was really enforced before. This creates knowledge of what kids are playing, and that’s something that’s needed.

Another point this legislation brings up is the uselessness of the ratings system. In the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the question is posited – what do stores do about games like Golden Eye, which is rated Teen? They really need to come up with something better than what they have now. I think there’s like three categories you can have a game in, and that’s not really enough. The movie rating system isn’t perfect, but at least it has cut-and-dry guidelines as to what constitutes, say, a PG-13 movie. In games, it’s not so clear. Not only would a clearly defined system help keep violent games out of the wrong hands, it will also help game developers keep in mind who the game is really for and contour the game to meet that age group.

And yes, that’s really all the news.

Ron Yip’s SimColumn was good as Gold (HA!) this week. Let it be said here – you want a medal? Get screwed out of one the previous week for a bullshit reason. I think Ron should be sick every Monday, because he writes more pissed off and when it’s a worthy target, the result is really impressive. Read his rant about the GTA backlash and you’ll see that he’s right – about everything. But Ron, do me a favor – if you’re ever in New York, don’t steal my car.

The Silver goes to Joseph Stanley and the Weekend Wipe-Up. Even though he f*cked up spelling my last name (of course, once Lee gets it, someone else loses it), he shed light on one of my favorite things – “scientific studies” that point out obvious bullshit that everybody knows already. The rest of it is funny, too. How can you not love a column that begins with the words “Wiping The Ass That Is Video Game News”?

The Bronze is a bit of a toss-up. It comes down to Lee or Bebito. Bebito is just about guaranteed Gold next week (April Fools’ Day AND free reign? Come on!), so Lee scores Bronze with the Hump Day Otaku News Report, a name which sounds less and less weird each week. It’s some good stuff in there, especially if you’re an anime fan. Personally, I’d rather gouge out my eyes than watch anime, but the rest of the stuff is good. One of the lowly Bag Boys at ShopRite is an Otaku, I think. The kid’s learning Japanese so he can watch his anime as it was intended.

There were some other really good pieces posted on the site. Obviously, Bebito’s column was excellent, and I’m really grateful he reconsidered. This site CANNOT function without Bebito. The same goes for Alex Lucard, who delivers another top-notch Retrograding. It sounds like he’s coming home, and I can only hope that his dilemma has been sorted out with minimal disruption to Alex’s life.

On the review front, Lee Baxley returns to his roots with a review of Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter. We get by with a little help from our friends at The Next Level in the form of reviews for Zone Of The Enders: The Second Runner, Colin McRae Rally 3, and Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc. Lastly, our very own Jeremy Peeples reviews WWE Crush Hour, a game with perhaps the most ridiculous premise in entertainment history.

Non-411 Link of the Week
Corpsicle. It’s my band. Check us out and let me know what you think – I fear that we might suck.

Commentary of the Week
Some Random Thoughts to start off with…
– People are WAY too excited over Meteora.
– Tonight’s “Chappelle’s Show” was funnier than last week’s episode. Which makes this week’s the best ever.
– I picked Butler to make the Sweet 16.
– I also picked Florida to make it to the Title Game. Whoops…
– No matter what happens, Pinkerton will always be the most unappreciated CD ever recorded.
– The media coverage of the war is absolutely sickening. Give our guys a break.
– Martha Burk needs to be shot. I don’t think people fighting in Iraq really care about CBS broadcasting the Masters in spite of your bullshit agenda. Come to think of it, I don’t think ANYBODY cares that women aren’t allowed into Augusta. Except, of course, for Martha Burk.
– Here’s hoping the MLBPA vetoes the home-field All-Star thing. It hasn’t been that publicized, but part of the agreement is that the format be changed from AL-NL to USA-World. There’s a reason why the NHL got rid of that. (I’ve only read this info from the Daily News, so if it’s wrong, blame them.)
– Speaking of the NHL, what happened to the quick faceoffs? What happened to no obstruction?
– Now that they’ve got Yashin going, I wouldn’t want to play the Islanders in the first round.

Today really sucked. With that in mind, I give you “A Day In The Life of Bryan Berg: Wednesday, March 26, 2003”.
6:30 AM – Alarm goes off. I set it for later.
7:17 AM – Alarm goes off. I set it for later.
8:08 AM – Alarm goes off. I set it for later.
8:35 AM – Alarm goes off. I throw on clothes, skip my Alpha-Bits, and head down to Hof$tra for another exciting day of classes.
9:09 AM – Walk in late for class – Marketing 140, aka Sales Management. Nobody cares.
10:00 AM – Class over. Grab a free Newsday from CV Starr Hall – the only free thing you get for $16,000.
10:10 AM – Time for International Business 150. The rest of the class learns how to research our upcoming paper. I get a good finger workout playing The Copter Game.
11:05 AM – Class over. Get the hell out of school as fast as possible and head home.
11:16 AM – Pass by Nassau Community College, my old school that is one block away from Hofstra and cost 8 times less. Why can’t NCC be a 4-year school?
11:40 AM – Home. Lunch. The free Newsday isn’t as much fun as home as it is in school.
12:30 PM – Take Mom to Dr. Blau’s office for some knee operation. This requires me to drive like a bitch and turn the radio down.
12:39 PM – Off to Jiffy Lube for an oil change.
1:01 PM – Jiffy Lube Guy tells me I need to pay more for extra crap done to my car. Whatever, I say. Blind Date’s on the TV and that show rules.
1:23 PM – Get my car back, $61 later.
1:25 PM – Circuit City. Finally got a printer. No longer will I have to e-mail papers to myself and print them out at school.
1:50 PM – A rare visit to ShopRite as a customer. I’m putting Dad’s old minifridge in my brother’s room, so it’s time to stock up on some goodies.
2:04 PM – GNC. I’m giving Xenadrine another shot and not telling anybody about it. I swear.
2:10 PM – At CVS, I see Xenadrine for $12 less than I paid for it at GNC. Fuck.
2:35 PM – Get Mom.
2:47 PM – My keyboard came! I won an E-Bay auction for an 80’s keyboard/synth thing. It cost $2.99. It rules.
3:01 PM – Time to make a review sheet for Management test tomorrow.
5:48 PM – Done.
6:20 PM – Cory comes over to go to the gym. We decide to eat dinner instead.
7:00 PM – Our food comes. My cheeseburger looks kinda pink on the inside, but I don’t want to be “one of those people” and eat it anyway.
7:35 PM – We’re done eating.
7:55 PM – Waiter FINALLY comes with our check. That’s minus $2.00 on the Tipping Scale.
8:07 PM – I go to Genovese to pick up a prescription.
8:35 PM – Prescription is ready, at long last. Cory’s asleep in the car.
8:38 PM – Cory and I “go upstairs”. It’s raining and I just realized I left the window in my room open – the first time it had been open since August.
9:01 PM – I’m off to the gym and she goes home.
9:16 PM – I get to the gym. Upon hitting the bike, I open my notebook to study. THE REVIEW SHEET ISN’T HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I want to kill myself.
10:09 PM – Home. I find the review sheet on my floor. I want to kill myself.
10:10 PM – I shit out that pink cheeseburger and study.
10:30 PM – Chappelle’s Show. My house could be on fire and I’d still watch Chappelle’s Show.
11:00 PM – Start writing this report.
12:21 AM – Now.

Things I haven’t gotten done yet:
– Study for Management.
– Start on International Business paper.
– Choose a topic for Marketing Research paper.
– Organize my group’s paper for Retail Management.
– Set up new printer.
– Kill myself.

Ironically enough, every time I pulled up to my house today, the same song was playing on my stereo – “There’s No Easy Way Out”. If you don’t know what movie this song is from, go jump off a bridge.

This column sucked. I’m really sorry about that. Please do come back next week, as I’ll be taking a look back on one whole year at 411 Games. It should be pretty exciting. If there’s actually any gaming news to report on, you’ll get that too. I’m going to Atlantic City on Sunday, so wish me luck, and then to Shea Stadium for Mets Opening Day on Monday, which is going to rule. So till then, guys. Enjoy your weekend.