Thank God It’s Thursday News Report 04.17.03

Hey all. Welcome to this religious holiday edition of the Thank God It’s Thursday News Report. I’m Bryan Berg, and I’d like to wish all of my fellow Catholics a Happy Easter. And to our Jewish brothers and sisters, Happy Passover.

War Exploitation
Kinda old news, but it deserves mentioning because I don’t think anyone else has. Sony and have joined Pivotal Games as nominees for Assholes Of The Year. Sony has trademarked the term “Shock and Awe”, and has done the same with “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. The assumption is that both will use these terms to create games based on the war.

Now, I’m all for the power of games to fulfill some fantasy that someone might not be capable of doing, and war is obviously one of those things. And enough movies have been made about wars and even previous games have done well. But you’ve got to question the morals of these companies for their blatant exploitation of this very serious conflict. It doesn’t matter if you’re pro-war or against it, the fact remains that this is just wrong.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but when Playstation 3 comes out, you can count me out. And I hope that when “Shock And Awe: The Game” is released, it’s panned by critics as the insensitive exploitation attempt that it is.

(Ironically enough, as I write this, “One” by Metallica is playing on Winamp. Probably 90 percent of my anti-war sentiment comes from seeing the video for this song.)

The Artist Formerly Known as Puff Daddy
I refuse to acknowledge that ridiculous other name. Can you believe that this guy even had a NAME CHANGING CEREMONY to make himself _. _____?

Anyway, Sean Combs is said to be working on a game about himself. The news comes from Chris Pankonin, who got it from the New York Post. One word about the Post – don’t believe a word they say. For every one story they break, they have 19 ridiculous “Post exclusives” that are just totally way off base.

In any event, gamers who (are stupid enough to) buy this game will encounter the challenge of becoming an “entertainment conglomerate”. We can only hope that you’ll get to choose which classic songs you’ll butcher as you build your name. There’s no truth to the rumor (yet) that the game will throw obstacles at you, such as gun possession trials or manipulative bitches running out on you.

All I can say is when this game is released, it’s definitely going to be rented by me. I’ve gotta see this thing. You can look for a review that will most likely rip it to shreds shortly after.

Radica, makers of the Play TV series of games, have struck an alliance with EA that will allow Radica to make Play TV games based on John Madden Football and SSX Snowboarding games. Radica’s Play TV line already features baseball, bass fishing, and boxing. The twist is that you actually get to PLAY these games with some sort of electronic apparatus (bat, fishing rod, etc) instead of a controller.

Radica’s games are probably aimed at kids, but I’m a proud owner of Play TV Baseball. It’s great! Definitely worth a try. It was pretty cheap too, if I recall. This EA deal will definitely help raise their profile, as well as broaden the experience of playing the same EA games we already love. The games probably won’t be out until next year, so start envisioning how cool they will be now.

War Exploitation, Part II
New revelations have come about in Sony’s quest to insult every person who has ever put on an Army uniform. Sony has evidently rescinded its patent application for “Shock And Awe”. Sony claims, according to, that it acted with “unsuitable judgment and a lack of understanding in the situation”.

You know when professional athletes say something really stupid or offensive and apologize the next day, and that’s supposed to make it okay? Yet still, you don’t forget that they said it in the first place? That’s kinda like this. Just like Jeremy Shockey hates gay people and John Rocker hates anyone who’s not white, Sony is still going to be perceived as money-hungry and insensitive to the plight of the soldiers in combat. It doesn’t matter that they saw the light, the fact remains that they tried to pull this stunt and it took almost a month before they figured it out. They submitted the application THE DAY AFTER the war began! Sony should remain accountable for its actions.

The easiest Gold decision ever made. Bebito, this one’s for you. Bebito doesn’t only write a hell of a column, he’s also a really nice guy, and best of luck to him in his personal endeavors. I’d also like to use the Gold Medal space to plug his awesome rant on that prick Joe Lieberman and his plans for game testing. Read it.

Funny story, real quick: Before, I found an e-mail in my Bulk (aka CRAP) mailbox from a Benito Johnson.

Onto the Silver. Lee Baxley returns to his reviewing roots with his take on Amplitude for PS2. I gotta admit, this game sounds pretty sweet. Can it beat PaRappa the Rapper as the best rhythm game? Probably not. But it might give ol’ PaRappa a run for its money. NOTHING can beat “Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind!”

Joseph Stanley gets the Bronze for his final Weekend Wipe-Up before it turns into the Monday… um… Mess-Up? Who knows. Joseph could have easily turned this Bronze into a Silver had he done the one thing I’m dying for him to that he has so far failed to do – Insert a Beatles reference into a bogus quote from Nintendo senior VP of marketing, George Harrison. Come on, man, you know you want to.

By the way, if I actually did wager any money on my playoff picks, my legs would be broken! Detroit in 4? Whoops.

Since nobody else posted ANYTHING this week, Lee gets the rarest of all medals, the Copper Medal. It’s all I could think of, sue me. Lee becomes the second person ever (and the past two weeks) to win two medals in one week, even if one is bullshit. But since nobody else did anything of note this week, he deserves it.

Non-411 Link of the Week
Hopefully you all masturbated for peace last week. This one’s a little more serious. Take a look at the Iraqi Body Count. Incase you’re interested how many civilians have been killed in “Operation Iraqi Freedom” (snicker), this site will let you know. We’re approaching World Trade Center levels here – so much for helping the people of Iraq, eh?

CD of the Week
The feature that’s so new, I forgot it last week, returns here. Enjoy.

Our winner for the past fortnight is Talib Kweli – Quality. Thank God (no pun intended) for file sharing, which has forced record companies to offer CDs at half their normal costs just to get people to buy them. $7.99 for the first modern rap CD I’ve bought since The Chronic 2001. This one didn’t disappoint, either. I first heard Kweli on Chappelle’s Show, where he stole the show. His CD is quite good, so give it a shot.

Honorable Mention: Death Row’s Greatest Hits. If you were a fan of West Coast Rap in the early to middle 1990’s, you need this CD. It’s got virtually every song you bumped to while pretending you were “street”.

Honorable Mention: AFI – Shut Your Mouth And Open Your Eyes. This is, perhaps, the angriest album ever recorded. Wow. While in the studio working on the album, singer Davey Havok had to hold cloths in his hands. Why? Because he was so into it, screaming so hard, that he’d make a fist and cut his palms with his fingernails. This is also easily the best workout CD in history.

Guitar Stuff
Thanks to all of you who helped me out way back with choosing a new guitar. I desperately wanted the Gibson SG Standard, but the finances just didn’t work out. So I’ve settled for an Epiphone G-400, which looks very much like the SG Standard and sounds great.

So my next question goes out to Line 6 fans. I’m looking at two items right now – the POD and the Guitar Port. Let me first say that I hate pedals. I plug right into my Fender Deluxe 112 (pretty comparable to the Champion 90). I’m looking for a distortion sound that’s kind of classic rock and British (Vox AC-30 is the dream) with a modern edge. I want something that’s going to sound good live and very non-pedal-like. If anyone could help me out with any of this, please do let me know. Thanks so much.

Commentary of the Week
It seems like talking about your job is the norm for news reports this week – Joseph Stanley’s getting laid off. Lee Baxley has to move to another state. Bebito Jackson gets funny memos about balls.

At ShopRite, there is no fun. When I’m working in the bookkeeping office counting money all day, it’s great. But on the register, it’s the most severe torture imaginable. Us cashiers say that instead of capital punishment, the government might want to consider giving convicted felons jobs at ShopRite to really piss them off.

So, this is going out to you people who shop at grocery stores. Please take these pointers into consideration before you make us hate you for life.

How To Piss Off A Supermarket Cashier
– Here are some ways to make me automatically hate you before I even begin your order.
– Ask me if I’m open.
– Interrupt me when I’m dealing with the next customer.
– Not use a divider and give me crap when I accidentally ring up your shit.
– Be fat.
– Tell me you have to go back to “get one thing”.
– Come on express with a significant amount more than the maximum posted.
– If you want to upset me during the actual order…
– Come on express with like 18 bottles of soda and claim that “It’s only one item”.
– Watch the screen like a hawk and ignore your crying kid.
– Bullshit on your cell phone.
– Ask me about every price that you weren’t paying attention to because you were bullshitting on your cell phone.
– Say the item’s price before I scan it.
– Tell me you forgot your ShopRite card and ask me to put one in for you.
– Give me coupons. I HATE COUPONS.
– Give me a coupon with the date cut off. I’m not that stupid.
– Give me a hard time when I’m talking to the person bagging for me.
– Fuck up the credit card machine, or just not know how to use it.
– Tell me your bitch wife is coming up with a few items, so hold on.
– Make fun of the way my name is spelled.
– Use stupid customer lines like…
– “That was a good year!” when the total is $19.42 or something like that.
– “Maybe it’s free!” when the item won’t scan.
– “It should be good, I just made it,” when I’m making sure your bill isn’t counterfeit.
– “That’s what the sign said,” under ANY circumstances. Don’t blame the sign for the fact that you can’t f*cking read.
– If you’re an old man, please don’t tell me any dirty jokes. You’d be surprised how much this happens.
– If you’re a fat bitch, don’t scar me for life by putting your money in your bra. This also happens more than it should.
– If you have kids and you plan on shopping late, KEEP YOUR KIDS AT HOME. People wonder why I’m so protective of young people, and it’s because I see so much f*cked-up stuff happening at work.
– Never, NEVER, come on my line complaining about how tired you are. I’m tired of hearing it.
– Every once in a while, buy something that’s not on sale, just to reaffirm my faith in the human race.
– If you say “They always do it for me,” expect me to give you a really bad attitude the rest of the order. “They always do it for me” means that someone else doesn’t know that what they “always do for you” is against the rules. So shut the f*ck up and deal with it.
– Common sense, but people don’t get it – if you come in at 10:55 at night and we close at 11, don’t expect super-duper service. We want to go home, too.
– Lastly, when you’re done shopping, and you want to stare at your receipt for 30 minutes trying to find some way I ripped you off, MOVE OFF OF MY LINE and go somewhere else to do it.

Realize that these rules don’t just apply to supermarkets, they apply any place where you’ll have to deal with people who hate you just because you want to buy things. Try to have compassion for us – as much as you hate coming to the store, we hate it more. And DON’T piss us off.

One time, this dude came on the 5 or less line with 7 items. The cashier told him he couldn’t take him. So the customer gets really pissed off and some f-bombs are exchanged. Next thing you know, the customer asks the cashier to step outside, and the cashier willingly complies. They went at it pretty good, and a new hero for all of us cashiers was created.

Obviously, the guy was canned the next day, but it was an inspiration to cashiers everywhere. If the customer is giving you crap, kick his ass. So watch your back if you want to complain about prices to me.

It’s been a fun week here at the Thank God It’s Thursday headquarters. As Spring Break winds down (and starts up for some people), there’s bound to be some great content on 411 Games. Just because Bebito is taking a leave, don’t you readers do the same! Not sure who’s going to be doing weekends, so come back to find out! Then enjoy Joseph on his new day, Ron on his new day, and Lee on Hump Day. Maybe you’ll even see Chris tomorrow. Till next week, thanks for reading, and Thank God It’s Thursday.