Thank God It’s Thursday News Report 04.03.03

Hey all. Thanks for stopping by. Welcome to the first Thank God It’s Thursday News Report of the month of April. Bryan Berg here to bring you the latest in the gaming world.

I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for last week’s column on two accounts. The first being that it sucked. I’m really sorry about that. The real world is my worst enemy right now. Secondly, it appears that I got one of my facts wrong. I spoke about legislation that would require the presence of a parent for a child to purchase violent video games. I failed to mention that this legislation was only implemented in the state of Washington. Thanks very much to the considerably in-the-know Andy Cliver for this information.

All the e-mail I got agreed with me that even with this legislation, there are still too many loopholes that will enable the kids to get their hands on these games. The solution isn’t clear, but the problem certainly is. Hopefully the powers that be can think of something, and pretty quickly, too.

So, some news for you today…

Def Jam: Vendetta
The most hyped wrestling game not to feature real wrestlers has indeed shipped. It should be available now or very shortly (gotta love that “shipping” system) at your favorite game store. Go to GameStop and piss off Lee.

The game’s considerable buzz comes mostly from the fact that it’s being developed by AKI, the group responsible for such classics as Wrestlemania 2000, WCW/NWO Revenge, and WWF No Mercy. Gamers who enjoy rap will enjoy the opportunity to wrestle as DMX, Method Man, Ghostface Killa, Scarface, and many more. Why you’d want to is beyond me. In any event, the game is just about assured of being a huge hit, so you might want to check it out.

College Game Life Tour
Coming to college campuses all over America in April will be the College Game Life Tour. The tour, featuring many games from different companies, kicks off at Temple University on April 4. A full schedule can be found here.

Acclaim has followed the established trend of ripping off 411 Games writers. This time, the target was… me.

Using All Star Baseball 2004, the bastards at Acclaim simulated the 2003 season and posted the results. Sound familiar? Anyway, their results are quite troublesome to me. The Almighty Yankees have finished first (again), had the MVP and Cy Young, finished first in the AL East, and probably were the AL All-Star Team. But they lose to Boston in the playoffs! The Mets, on the other hand, suck in the game just as much as they do in real life, though they do have the Rookie of the Year in Ty Wigginton (see what happens when you actually use one of your OWN guys instead of signing a veteran?) Everything sounds like it could happen, though. You can look at what they came up with here, but don’t be surprised if you like The Box Score better.

I realize that Acclaim didn’t really rip me off. But wouldn’t it be cool if they did?

Speaking of the Box Score, it should be returning in time for the NHL and NBA playoffs. I’m still iffy on the format, though.

April Fool’s
There were plenty of April Fool’s stories posted on various websites in honor of the great holiday. Most of them were really crappy. There were a few clever ones, though. GameSpot had this one where John Madden became the new Sega Sports cover guy… for all sports. Not NFL analyst John Madden, mind you, but John Madden, center for the New Jersey Devils. Others weren’t as good and some were just terrible. Overall, there were far too many fake stories and not enough real ones, which is why our reports seem like they have nothing to do with video games sometimes.

As I age, I begin to see how utterly worthless April Fool’s pranks/jokes/fake news stories are. Am I alone in this sentiment?

As said last week, Bebito Jackson was a shoo-in at Gold. And his column did not disappoint in the least. The new “free reign” Bebito era began on Tuesday with the Rumor Down-Lo, and if this column was any indication of where Bebito’s work is headed, we’re in for a real treat.

This week’s first loser is Lee Baxley’s Hump Day Okatu News Report. This is Lee’s finest work yet – his columns get better and better each week. Hopefully you’ve read it by now. If not, go read it. If you have, read it again.

Scoring Bronze is Alex Lucard’s Retrograding. He goes in-depth on the Shining Force series again, this time including Shining Force 2 on Genesis. Any time you talk about the Genesis, you score points with me. Alex discusses these games in a really cool way that makes me wish I played them the first time around. So please do give him a read.

Elsewhere on 411, The Scotsman does a review of another wrestling promotion-type game called Promotion Wars. He slams the game, so it’s really funny. We also have the uber-excellent SimColumn by Ron Yip, who deserved a medal this week but it just didn’t work out. Sorry, man. Joseph Stanley’s Weekend Wipe-Up was also medal-caliber, as is most of the output we get from our writers in the Games Zone. I need to add new medals or something.

As usual, there are tons of reviews for your perusal. Added this week are fellow guitarist Quentin Fraser’s review of The Wind Waker, Matthew Cress’ take on Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven, and a review of a game called Apex done by Michael Blaszkowski. I used to have an Apex jacket back in middle school – my parents were too cheap to buy me a Starter. Ugh.

Lastly, there is a preview for Wrestlemania XIX for GameCube posted by Ashish. Will the game suck? Probably. No matter how much hype is produced for these games, people always wind up complaining about them anyway. So I’m jumping on the “Wrestlemania XIX will suck” bandwagon. Feel free to join me. After all, the real thing did pretty much suck.

Non-411 Link of the Week
As long as I keep correcting last week’s shit column… I screwed up last week’s link. You don’t know how badly I’ve wanted to link to my band for the longest time, only never doing it because I didn’t want to seem shameless. The one time I try to do it… I mess it up. It’s like when Shawn Estes threw at Roger Clemens and missed, but even worse.

So the correct link is here. Please visit the site and provide feedback if at all possible.

Also, I copied Ron and felt the need to create my own IGN game list. I know you don’t care, but you might be impressed with the million hockey games I’ve owned. This, by the way, is no means comprehensive, but is just what I could come up with in an hour or so.

CD of the Week
A new feature, the CD of the Week is the CD that got the most play in my car this past week. I’m sure none of you care in the least about this.

This week’s winner is AFI – The Art of Drowning. Probably their most well-developed and complete, not to mention darkest, work. Essential for any fan of punk or Misfits-influenced rock.

Honorable Mention – Bee Gees – Their Greatest Hits: The Record. A two-disc retrospective of the Bee Gees, without question the most unappreciated band in history. Disc 2 has all their disco hits, but don’t overlook the solid Beatlesque Disc 1.

Honorable Mention – Michael Jackson – HIStory Volume 1 – Greatest Hits. How, how, HOW did the media overlook all of this great music when they set out to ruin his life? This is the best the 80’s had to offer. The music itself is surprisingly good – it’s easy to see the Motown roots of Michael’s music.

Commentary of the Week
I wrote this whole long retrospective of the past year of being a 411 writer, but it sucked and so I deleted it. I don’t know… it’s just been really fun and thanks to everyone who has made it that way. You guys know who you are. Some people I did want to mention, though – Jonathan Hurtado, who hired me; Bebito and Ron, who helped me transition from crappy reviewer to crappy news reporter and helped me to get over my “stage fright”, and every other staff member who told me my stuff didn’t suck. Thanks also to anyone who took the time to write to me – getting feedback is the best part of this gig. So hopefully many more years to come at 411, and thanks to everyone for being so supportive.

To be completely serious, it has always been a dream of sorts to write for 411. I’ve been a big fan of the site since about 1998, and it’s always been one of those things where it’s like “God, that would be cool, but you never think it can happen. Through luck and fate, it’s happened. And that’s awesome. It’s a pretty lame “dream”, but this is something I enjoy and every writer will tell you that. Just keep reading our stuff and writing to us and we’ll write as long as you’d like.

As for an official “commentary”, I really don’t have one this week. Random Thoughts are getting old and, to be honest, I’m really run down. So the creative juices aren’t really flowing too well today. I apologize for that. In lieu of any original content, I present to you an old survey that was e-mailed to me. I love doing surveys. Seriously, send them to me and I’ll do them right away. They are the highlight of my life. So I got this one in like October or so and I just re-did the answers to reflect current events or whatever, so here you go.

> name: Bryan
> age: 21, which is way too old
> favorite radio station: Probably one of the classic rock stations, except when they play new music to try and sound cool
> newspaper of choice: Newsday.
> magazine of choice: That magazine which I happen to come across on the way to the crapper.
> worst commercial on tv: The god damn Herbal Essences commercials where the f*cking whore girls have orgasms from washing their hair. Bitches. Next time, stay in the kitchen.
> favorite sports idol: Michael Peca
> favorite fruit: Strawberry… Pop Tarts.
> greatest film of all time: Rocky
> greatest director of all time: Alfred Hitchcock
> celebrity you admire the most: Probably Mike Piazza. He’s got the coolest job in the world… AND he gets to hang out with ALF!
> greatest on-screen villain: Norman Bates or Michael Myers
> favorite flower: The cheap ones
> favorite number: 19
> favorite word in the english language: Incendiary
> favorite word in a foriegn language: Molto Bene
> yes/no:
> Is George W. dumber than Gore?: YES
> Does Britney Spears’ voice make you want to fill your own cavaties?: No. It makes me want to jump into a bus that is moving at a very fast rate.
> Do you believe Britney is a virgin?: No
> Do you think Opie and Anthony should have been cancelled?: No. Just suspended.
> Would you rather be watching Adam West Batman right now?: YES.
> Do you think that Barney can reproduce?: No because Barney’s a guy
> Should there be legal restrictions of procreation?: yeah
> more dumb questions…
> nickname that makes you mad: “Ice-Berg”. “Ice” is fine, but Ice-Berg isn’t.
> friend you wish you still spoke to: Sheal
> favorite comedian: Chris Rock and Eddie Murphy
> favorite beatles song: Happiness is a Warm Gun is their best, my favorite is probably Michelle or Nowhere Man. Depends on the day, really
> profession you should have taken up: Porn
> stupidest thing about yourself: That in spite of the fact that I have a lot going for me, I still choose to look at things from a pessimist’s point of view.
> coolest religion on the planet: Bergism
> person you most want to murder: Anyone that walks through the front doors of Greenfield’s ShopRite in Plainview with the intent of purchasing groceries.
> why: Because they deserve it for coming onto my line
> ready for this shit to end?: Not really.

Thus ends another chapter in the Thank God It’s Thursday saga. I hope you liked today’s stuff. A bit eccentric, admittedly, but there’s just too much going on right now. I’ll get there, I promise. So I’ll see you next time. Have a great week!