411 Games Rumor Down-Lo 08.05.03

411 Games Rumor Down-Lo 08.05.03

411 Games Quote of The Week
I would like to open this week’s Commentary with a little piece about my comrades in the 411 Kliq (yes, it really does exist). It took me less time to pound down my #2 plain, Supersized with a Coke from McDonalds than it took to read the 26 e-mails from the other guys waiting for me in my Inbox when I got home after work (and I left early, too). You guys rule so much.
— Bryan Berg (Thank God It’s Thursday News Report 07.31.03)

(411 DOWN-LO ONLINE 08-05-03: BEGIN TRANSMISSION…)

Hi, I’m Bebito Jackson, and welcome to a very special edition of the 411 Games Rumor Down-Lo.

I’m so happy you all could be with me here today. Because today we honor a man among men. A man’s man. A man’s man’s man. The man that makes guys like Triple H, Bruce Willis, Rambo, the Orken Man, and Arnold Swartzenwhatever look like complete pansies. I’m sure you all know who of I speak. We’re here to honor 411 Games Head Editor, boss, sports gaming enthusiast, and just overall shwell guy, Chris Pankonin!

Yes, Chris Pankonin. Many of you may only know the Chris that writes over in the Wrestling Zone along side the rest of the old overly critical bitter writers. But there’s another side to Mr. Pankonin. The side you don’t get to always see. The side where he phones in a Games News Report instead of phoning in a Wrestling one. The side where he fires staff members indiscriminately to appease Ashish, and then rehires them under different aliases. The side where he openly tells reviewers that they’re wrong, don’t know what they’re talking about, and that their stuff is garbage so rewrite it from scratch you no-talent hacks… *ah-hem* That’s the side of Chris we know. The best side. And tonight we’re going to share that with all of you!

I’ve prepared a special video for you good folks! Showing off the best of our favorite tyrant and yours, Chris Pankonin! I worked long and hard on it too. Chris, I hope you enjoy this. This one’s for you. Hey, Rumor Monkey!

*Rumor Monkey runs over with an old fashioned film projector.*

Is everything set?

*Rumor Monkey nods.*

Good! Then ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the man, the myth, the legend… Chris Pankonin! Roll film!



*Fade to black.*

*Scene focuses in the jungle. Two monkeys are shown on the screen romping around in a… “precarious” position. At first glance they seem to be killing each other, but upon closer examination… they both appear to be, happy? Suddenly a strong Australian voice over chimes in.*

Australian Voice Over: The black and white colobus monkeys found in East Africa are magnificent forest animals that are easy to recognize once they have been sighted due to their incredibly over active sexual appetites. These little buggers have been known to go at it for hours without stopping to eat, sleep, or take bathroom breaks. Notice how the male shows his dominance by firmly smacking the female on the rear end as he…

*Film abruptly gets cut off.*



What in the @!&$ was that monkey!???

*Rumor Monkey grabs film and runs away.*

You sick freak!! Watch that crap on your own time! You better get the right film! You hear me! You dirty little… ugh…

I’m really sorry about that folks. Let’s get to today’s rumor goodness first, and then we’ll get back to the festivities a little later. Behold the “Tribute Special” edition of the Down-Lo. As all of you know, I have a DLRating that I use to…

YOU SICK LITTLE FREAK! GOT-SPAM-IT! AND WHO WATCHES THAT KIND OF STUFF ON A FILM PROJECTOR?! IT’S NOT RIGHT! THERE’S SOMETHING SERIOUSLY WRONG!

Enjoy. I do.



This is the Down-Lo.

ANYTHING YOU CAN DO I CAN DO BETTER!
Along the lines of rumors that almost nobody cares about but me, it has been learned from numerous car manufacturers that Rockstar’s third game in the Midnight Club series, Midnight Club 3, may feature all licensed cars and licensed aftermarket parts. Apparently, this is a case of monkey see, monkey do, as after seeing what EA is doing with Need for Speed Underground, Rockstar San Diego is trying to fill its game with licensed cars. The best part? Damage. On licened cars. Whether that pans out or not remains to be seen, but it would be pretty sweet if it did. Car mananufactures just don’t like seeing their babies all smashed up for some reason.
DOWN-LO RATING: 6

THERE’S NO WAY THIS THING EXISTS… IS THERE?
Here’s a tidbit for ya. Believe it or not people, the Phantom game console is real. Or at least if you believe the fine folks over at NewsForge it is. They recently had a hands on look at the thing and this is what they had to say:

“Let’s start by saying the console is real, not vaporware. I’ve seen a working prototype in action. Inside the spacy-looking case it’s just a PC running Windows XP that has no CD or floppy drive, and uses a proprietary encryption scheme for data stored on its hard drive.”

“The specs for the final, finished version that will be shipped to end users are still in flux, but at the $400 price point mentioned by Infinium CEO Tim Roberts while he and I were looking at a mockup hidden away at respected (but low-profile) Robrady Design in Sarasota, Florida, it ought to be no big deal to deliver a 2GHz Mini-ATX PC with a wireless keyboard, mouse, and cool-looking game controller.”

Infinium Labs announced that due to the postponement of the Ultimate Gamers Expo, the unveiling of its Phantom game console will take place online at midnight on Sunday, August 17th at www.phantom.net and www.infiniumlabs.com. I’ll believe it when I see it, along with the rest of you guys.
DOWN-LO RATING: 5

WHAT’S OLD IS NEW AND WHAT’S NEW IS NEW
Liquidcross is out of his blasted mind. There. Somebody had to say it. In his latest Angry Gamer he crosses the line in just his second 411 column! I agree with him that too many companies take the easy route to fast cash and shell out port after port after port. But some of the ports he brought up as examples should NEVER, EVER be criticized. Especially this…

…once the GBA came on the scene, we had Super Mario Advance…which ended up being nothing but Super Mario Bros. 2, albeit with new graphics, and an updated Mario Bros. arcade game thrown in. From there, it only got worse: Super Mario Advance 2, 3, and 4. Each time, ports of games we’ve already played, with a few extras thrown in for suckers. Not ONCE have we had an original Mario platformer…

What the blood clot is THAT about?? So what if they’re ports of games that came out in the early 90s? They’re AWESOME ports of AWESOME games that came out in the early 90s. It’s not like they’re porting Mario Teaches Typing to the GBA or some garbage like that. This is Triple A stuff! And the fact that they were made almost 10 years ago means that re-releasing it now and today is bringing it to a completely new generation of gamers. Just because my little cousin wasn’t old enough to own a Super Nintendo at the ripe age of 2 when these titles came out, doesn’t mean that he should be deprived of these Miyamoto masterpieces for the rest of his life. When I plop that GBA SP in his hands, throw in Super Mario Advance 2, and watch him play straight on through until the batteries conk out on him (which isn’t long considering it’s an SP, but I digress), it brings a tear to my eye. It really does! *tear drips from eye* See!

I can understand the whole thing about wanting an original Mario platformer though. After Super Mario Advance 4, which contains Super Mario Bros. 3, I doubt there are even any more Nintendo or Super Nintendo Mario games to port to the GBA anymore. With this in mind, it makes what I’ve been hearing sound even more plausible. Rumor has it that from this point on, we can expect brand spanking new, completely original Mario platforming adventures on the GBA. No, I’m not talking about the Paper Mario sequel-like Mario & Lugi rpg heading our way. This is 100% 2d old-school platforming, Mario style, in a completely new-fangled title. Word even has it that the Advance appendixes will be dropped to stress the new nature of series. No word yet if Miyamoto is directly involved, but odds are that can be taken for granted. If not hands on, at least in a supervisory role, like what was done when Nintendo handed out the duties of creating new GBA Zeldas to Capcom. Time frames are sketchy, but we should see the first fruits of something in the beginning of 2004. Can’t wait!

Hopefully this will make a certain writer around these parts that shall remain nameless happy. (Hint: His name rhymes with Dickwid Hoss.) And because I love and respect my newest Kliq member (Did I say Kliq? Ignore that.), I’ll refrain from making comments on his mentioning of Sonic MegaCollection along side the rest of the unnecessary ports of games that came out years ago’. *refrains* And it’s not easy to do, believe you me!

With all that said. Read The Angry Gamer. It’s a great column. *thumbs up, smile with teeth showing*
DOWN-LO RATING: 8

INITIALLY JAPAN ONLY
Ever hear of Sega Rosso? I’m sure you have; they created Sega Rally Championship. You’ve heard me rant enough about Sega Rally before, right? Good, then you know these are quality game designers, of racers in particular.

I bring them up now because they are the developers of the game based on the massively popular manga, Initial D Special Stage. What? Never heard of Initial D before? Can’t blame you unless you’re Lee Baxley. For the un-anime-ified, the basic premise is that of a young high school student that gets into the wild world of street racing with some coaxing from his friends know as the Akina Speed Stars. This student’s name is Tak Fujiwara, and the kid has got mad skillz! With some help and training from his father, Tak becomes the fastest racer around and he periodically takes people down in his Toyota AE86 Trueno of all things! That’s like me breaking fools off in a Honda Accord! Sega Rosso took the story and characters from the magna to create quite the arcade game racing experience using Sega’s obscenely powerful Naomi 2-powered arcade hardware, and now it’s headed home to the PS2 home console.

In only Japan that is. Isn’t that always the way?

There’s hope however because it has been learned that Initial D’s U.S. license holder, TOKYOPOP, is planning to release the animated series on DVD starting this September. Why is that important? Because once the anime comes to the states, the game can’t be too far behind. And thus the rumor is that TOKYOPOP I currently negotiating with several interested game publishers to bring the game Stateside. As a matter of fact, it’s almost a done deal! Just in case though, keep those fingers crossed people; I mean it’s made by freaking Sega Rosso (formely AM3) for goodness sakes!
DOWN-LO RATING: 9

And that’s the Down-Lo.

Thanks to Evil Avatar, GMR, and IGN for today’s stories.



THINGS I FOUND THAT MAKE GREAT COLUMN FILLER
Just as the Down-Lo went to presses, Square-Enix released these amazing screenshots of Dragon Quest VIII to the gaming public. There’s no way I could NOT show you these babies, so please stand back and enjoy as we let the screenshots speak for themselves.


And while we’re on a roll. Here’s some of the most recently released screens of Sega’s picture perfect brawler, the king of all 3d fighting games, Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution. If you own a PS2, like fighting games, and don’t own Virtua Fighter… please stop reading the Down-Lo. I don’t want you here.


Finally let’s conclude this little tour du jour with some screens of the hugely anticipated by Xbox-Live lovers, True Fantasy Live Online. This thing just may be worth getting a broadband service and paying for Xbox Live to play… Maybe…


Hmm… Perhaps I’ll make this a regular thing? I’m sure you good folks wouldn’t mind being kept abreast of what hot titles are coming down the pike. Easiest way to do so is to show you, right? When new shots of Gran Turismo 4, WWE Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain, Ninja Gaiden, Metal Gear Solid 3, Castlevania for PS2, and dozens more become available I’m sure you wouldn’t mind getting a taste of them all up close and personal. If enough of you write in, I’ll make this a standard feature along with DLV (Down-Lo Video). You ask, and we provide. Seriously. The way for us to best accommodate you is by writing in to and letting us know what you want to see. Remember, we’re a community. Let’s keep that going. Hear from ya soon.

Screens courtesy of Games Press and Games Are Fun.



SPECIAL: WWE SMACKDOWN! (PS2) vs WWE NO MERCY (N64)
For those that missed the Down-Lo last week… SHAME ON YOU! Don’t ever do it again.

The people who did tune in may remember that I had a difference of opinion with Sore Thumbs Editor Chad Thomas. Before I recap, let’s get something straight first. I don’t like wrestling games. I don’t like talking about wrestling. I don’t like the fact that we have one of the best game writing staffs on the planet and we’re still stuck with the stigma of being a bunch of wrestling internet junkies that simply play games now and then. It drives me insane, especially because a good amount of us don’t even WATCH wrestling.

So no… I don’t like any of it. But I DO like YOU guys. And since it’s obvious that my audience DOES enjoy wrestling I’m letting everybody have some fun here. Nothing wrong with that! Besides, while I do believe that most wrestling games are complete garbage (again, my opinion purely) I do unquestionably believe that WWE No Mercy for the N64 is the pinnacle of video game wrestling titles (the king of the garbage to be exact). That game, or more specifically that game engine which started with WCW vs NWO Revenge is still one of the greatest wrestling game engines ever released (yes, I know Giant Gram is better… I did say “one of”), and THE best ever released in the United States. Chad Thomas doesn’t agree. He thinks the latest Smackdown! wipes that games’ behind 10 ways to Tuesday. Thus started our little debate. And dozens of you joined in, picking a side with either me and my No Mercy or Chad and his Smackdown… A debate so big that only a couple of days after I mentioned so in the Down-Lo did a thread in the 411 forums pop up with people heavily and almost hatefully arguing over this very subject. So heated that I had to jump in myself to calm things down a little. Apparently the heat on this one has been building for some time. But now, finally, through you the readers, we’ll decide and finish this debate once and for all. Are you ready Chad?

Chad Thomas: Sure am!

Then let’s do this:

******************************************************

(Chad Thomas’) SMACKDOWN! VS. (Bebito Jackson’s) NO MERCY

Starting off we have the Pro-No Mercy Thad Martin that levies the first bomb at Smackdown players…

Whew….and here I was thinking that I was living in a Smackdown world with a bunch of Smackdown playing girls.

Glad to hear that not only the famed Bebito Jackson prefers No Mercy
over Smackdown, but apparently the readership of the famed Bebito Jackson does, too. Anyway, I can support your argument in 200 words, but it won’t take nearly as long. The bottom line is this…No Mercy (and Wrestlemania 2000 and WCW/NWO Revenge) feels like a wrestling match. In my mind, I’d think that a wrestling fan would prefer this game over Smackdown. Smackdown doesn’t feel like a wrestling game. It’s more of an epilepsy episode with buttons. I don’t feel any control over the wrestlers when I play and I never feel like I can re-enact anything I see on TV or wrestle any style of match I want to. I just never feel in control. Now with No Mercy…it just feels right. I’m getting gushy just thinking about it. I can wrestle a mat based match, high flying, brawling, fast paced….whatever I want to do.

Smackdown is stuck in one speed. “Seizure.”

Mr.Perfect6 also agrees that the speed hampers Smackdown’s gameplay compared to No Mercy’s slower more methodical feel…

No Mercy (and the other games using the “Aki engine”) actually FEEL like a real professional wrestling match. They have the same timing and the same psychology that actual pro-wrestling matches have. Wrestling matches have shifts in momentum, the wrestlers don’t take turns trying to sneak in a quick combo on each other. And they don’t move at 100 mph, even though “the faster the better” might improve a game like Mortal Kombat. The Smackdown games are nothing but fighting games that happen to take place in a wrestling ring.

Pro-Smack Ken Bradford makes a good case against everyone’s put-downs on Smackdown’s speed…

The speed of gameplay. Yes, I understand that this turns some people off, but the speed of play is perfect for newer players to get their button mashing fix in while rewarding the skilled player who can react and respond at this faster pace. It makes for some truly frenetic spotfests–and you gotta love those (from a game perspective, anyway). And counter moves abound for those with solid timing, making for some even more exciting wrestling exchanges…dodge a punch, roll around behind, go for the German but your opponent rolls over the top, grabs you but you elbow him to the face, then try your Smackdown! but have it countered*! (Every game needs this awesome finisher counter capability….it just adds a LOT to the game).

Claydude rebuttals bringing up an interesting thought on the Smackdown finishers that I’ve never thought of before…

Compare and contrast this. Matches that go way too fast sacrificing basic ring-logic such as SELLING, or a proper build up to a finisher. Last time I played a Smack! game, you could hit a finisher minutes into a back and forth match. Finsishers should be built up to, and better put you down for the 3 or damn close. Why would you want finsihers to not even get a 1-count or ‘chain finishers’? Sure, they may look cool, but the point of a finisher is just that- to finish of your opponent. Maybe 2 Smack! players could put on an entertaining match to watch, but No Mercy players could put on a WRESTLING match to watch, that is entertaining to play.

Da’Ron Wilson also believes that Smackdown is a no-selling machine…

Smackdown is shaped as an arcade game ,but its soo unrealistic.Falling off a 15 foot high cage ,and getting up immediately like nothing happened is preetty weak.

Indeed. Abear729 however brings up the amount of moves possible from the Smackdown series, and believes that’s key. He feels really bad about it, but he wants to put me in my No Mercy lovin’ place…

Sorry Bebito, I’ve been reading your column for a while now… but I’m going to back Chad up on the SD: SYM vs. No Mercy debate. Iused to love playing No Mercy back when it was a new / recent release, but i switched to Smackdown once Just Bring It! was released, and in fact decided to buy a PS2 based on the fact I extremely enjoyed playing SD: JBI on my friends’s console.

Why did I switch? Well, in terms of moves and match quality, Smackdown outclasses even No Mercy. Sure you could pull some sick moves with No Mercy, but the number of sick moves on Smackdown are at least quadrupled thanks to the thousands of moves (including at least 8 times the amount of tag moves), combos and match types available. On a recent playing session with a friend, We played about 10 different match types and made each one a MOTYC in quality. Just for example, in a hardcore match as a CAW Ultimo Dragon I hit an amazing Moonsault onto a miserably beaten Matt Hardy- from the second floor of the Boiler room DOWN TO THE BASEMENT BURNING STEEL GRATE! I mean, how sick is that??? You couldn’t do that in No Mercy! Chad mentioned a bunch of other sick moves, but it’s not all about the spots. With the SYM chain and reversal system and with the right wrestlers (any combo of Benoit, Michaels,Angle, Lesnar, RVD, Jericho, Booker, or CAW TWGTT, etc) you can have an all out WRESTLING classic. No Mercy had a decent reversal system but don’t tell me it beats the CHAIN system of Just bring it! or Shut Your Mouth. Smackdown outclasses No Mercy when it comes to the moves and matches available.

To the Pro-No Mercy Bret Brillante it’s all about the story…

I recently bought Smackdown and must Admit I haven’t been able to put it down. However, nothing compares to N64’s No Mercy. The main difference is in story mode. In Smackdown, there are numerous people to talk with and place to check out each week. However, once I hit the ring for my match and after the final bell rings, I’m aways left wondering what paths I could have followed. It gets tedious checking out the VIP area, locker room, and different backstage areas every week in fear of missing out on something. With No Mercy, every move is documented and once that journey is complete, you know where to make the change for a new story path. The story mode may not be as extensive, but there were definitely enough titles and paths to keep a die-hard wrestling fan like myself entertained for a years.

Chiming in with some classic Smackdown complaints and standard No Mercy praises is former 411er Myles McNutt

While Smackdown boasts better graphics, better sound, more wrestlers, more match types, and a more varied story mode, none of this ends up mattering in the big picture. It simply isn’t as easy to pick up and play.

WWF No Mercy is, without a doubt, the easiest wrestling title for first time players, such as friends, spouses, relatives, children, or burglars who recently stole your N64. It’s grappling system is nothing more than button presses. Its reversal system is simply a press of a button. Its Special system is perfectly implemented in its simplicity, and its different types of matches are varied and yet also accessible.

But, despite the fact that its simple enough for friends to jump right in and compete, it also has that level of strategy. Submissions, if used properly, can be a very affective tool, and knowing when to use your Special move and when not to can win or lose a match. Plus, there’s the Mae Young/Moolah factor. *cringe*

Gameplay for anyone who wants to play is what counts, and in the end, it’s No Mercy who shows…no mercy to Smackdown.

All good lines of reasoning. But in the end it was Matt Yagear that made the final point which cemented the argument against No Mercy…

And the Smackdown game doesn’t have a glitch that deletes all my save data.

Ah, the infamous No Mercy “save-data erasing glitch”. After all the hard work you put into the game, for the thing to suddenly dump everything you’ve done out of nowhere definitely sucks more than the Down-Lo pre-hiatus era. How can I argue with that? Game. Set. Match. As cheesy as it sounds for that to be the deciding factor in everything, there isn’t any substantial argument against it. Thus…

CHAD THOMAS’ – WWE SMACKDOWN! WINS

******************************************************

Congrats Chad. While I still maintain that No Mercy is superior, I can’t condone a broken game. You win.

And yes loyal readers, I know I said that I’d send the person that made the best argument for either side of the issue a special Down-Lo prize, but you ALL made very valid points. So Chad and I came up with this little idea.

Chad Thomas: I’m sending ANYONE (not just those who sided with me) who wrote in and is willing to give their mailing address a Smackdown: Shut Your Mouth cap courtesy of THQ. Enjoy!

How sweet is that, eh? Just for writing in this week, you guys all got something whether your comments were featured in today’s column or not. Thanks a lot to Chad Thomas for being a sport and playing along! I’ll be contacting all the writers-in sometime this week asking for their home addresses if they want the prize. Hope everyone had fun!

And Chad… I hope you have LOTS of those caps dude.



THE DLV OF THE WEEK
We’re doing the Down-Lo Video early this week, in hopes that it’ll give us time to get the Chris Panky tribute on schedule before column’s end. This time round we’ve got a video of Squaresoft’s GameCube debut, the much anticipated Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. I recommend for all Square junkies to at least firmly place their palms underneath their chins to care for the inevitable jaw-dropping that will ensue once this movie is viewed. And be sure to show this off to all of your fanboy-like friends who stop by your house once a week just to tell you how your GameCube is dead. It won’t illicit too much jealously, but believe me… it will shut them up.


(DLV OF THE WEEK: FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES)



411 DESIRE: CHRIS PANKONIN TRIBUTE
Do we have it right this time, monkey?! There’s not going to be any more screw-ups? Is there?!

*Rumor Monkey shamefully nods*

Ya sure? Because if you need to have some private time, NOW would the moment to say so! No? Good. Ok this is it. Special thanks to the entire 411 Games staff for helping make this possible. Without further ado, and hopefully for the last and final time… Roll film!



*Fade in.*

411 DESIRE

*POD’s “Alive” begins to play and we head into Chris Pankonin’s room early one Saturday morning.*

Chris Pankonin is seen in his bed sleeping, hugging onto a teddy bear. Seemingly unbeknownst to him, several ninjas dressed in black outfits carrying a variety of weapons sneak into his room setting him up for an ambush. The lead ninja hovers over Chris and takes out his katana. Slowly raising his blade building with the tension of the beat, the ninja prepares to strike. As the blade is swiped down, an unsurprised Chris stops the katana using only his middle and index fingers while staring coldly into the ninja’s eyes.

Everyday is a new day
I’m thankful for every breath I take

I won’t take it for granted
So I learn from my mistakes

Alex Williams: “Pankonin is the man. He brought me into 411Games, and allowed my talents as a writer to expand, and to be spread to the many that traverse the Net. He’s always there to answer my questions, and hasn’t given up on me yet. He’s an inspiration to us all.”

It’s beyond my control
sometimes it’s best to let go

Whatever happens in this lifetime
So I trust in love
You have given me peace of mind

Cory Lafin: “As the newbie, I don’t have anything terribly fun, but Panky gave me my shot at 411. The blood of every column/review I write will be on his hands, and for that I thank him and pity him. Although I don’t pity him as much as I will when I get done thrashing him in NCAA Football 2004.

He edits without hacking to pieces; he guides without pushing, he warns us without jumping down our throats. Chris Pankonin – 411’s own Omaha Stylee. Cheers, bro.”

I feel so alive for the very first time

Chris jumps up out of bed still holding onto the blade with his two fingers and begins fighting off the entire clan of attacking ninjas using only his one free arm.

I can’t deny you
I feel so alive

Everyone is bent in half. One ninja tries to limp away. Chris snatches him by his headband and powerbombs him through his sock dresser.

I feel so alive for the very first time
And I think I can fly

Chris jumps out of his bedroom window two stories up and lands gently on his feet in the backyard. Chris dusts himself off and walks away calmly.

Sunshine upon my face
A new song for me to sing

Tell the world how I feel inside
Even though it might cost me everything

Lee Baxley: I can’t think of all that much to say. But I do think he’s a great guy and does a great job for us, even if he doesn’t talk much whenever I email him. ;)

Now that I know this
so beyond
I can’t hold this

I can never turn my back away
Now that I’ve seen you
I can never look away

Alex Lucard: I remember this one time when I was in junior and this bully kept picking on me. I think his name was Jesus. He kept slapping me with one of his sandals and saying ‘Hey Bignose. Hey moneylender. Where’s your forelocks? Where’s your beanie. Turn the other cheek so I can bitchslap that one too.’

And Chris came up and pummeled the shit out of him for me.

That Pankonin…the only guy that dared to kick the shit out of Jesus.

I feel so alive for the very first time

Chris is shown at the 2002 Lo-Down! Awards, receiving his award for “411 Games Hardest Working”.

I can’t deny you
I feel so alive

The crowd is eating it up, as Chris gives his acceptance speech and raises his award in the air!

I feel so alive for the very first time
And I think I can fly

After walking off stage, Chris is seen in the back throwing his award in the garbage and then setting fire to the can.

Now that I know you (I could never turn my back away)

Frederick Badlissi: When one thinks of leaders, there are many names that can come up. George Washington. Colonel Sanders. Fei Wong Fong. And maybe P.Diddy. But here ’round these 411 parts, there’s only one name that personifies excellence- no, that EXEMPLIFIES just the reason that there is one who can score 40 points in every game AND cover his ass while running out the hotel room. A man whose updating skills leaves Yahoo!Finance’s automated system 3 days behind, AND STILL ASKS FOR MORE. Yes, friends, even a man who can walk away from 17 Taco Bell wrappers and smell wrinkle free and spring-time fresh.

This man, is Chris Pankonin.

Sure, when yours truely IM’ed him and inquired about E3 admission (since I live only 10 miles from the LA Convention Center), even though the committed(*) duo already had EVERYTHING covered, C-Pank didn’t hesitate to get one more man on the floor on behalf of the 411 Crew. Yeah- that’s right. C-Pank got the Conscience in E3, where he was able to bring all o’ you the awesome news that SNK Vs Capcom will see the light of day. Sure, they probably would have covered it if my ares wasn’t there, but still- all of it came out gravy. I’ve got- no, you’ve got- no, WE’VE got C-Pank to thank for that.

And also, there aren’t many peeps in a supervisorial copacity that show love toward functioning academics like myself. And for that, here’s mad thanks from me to you, Chris. Much appreciation from this corner.

(*) ‘Committed’ as in “We’re going to kill this stormtrooper if it’s the last thing we do” and not ‘committed’ as in “We the jury find the accused mentally unfit to continue with his testemony. Please excuse Mr. Knight from the bench.” Well, at least not yet.)

Now that I see you (I could never look away)

Bryan Berg: “My favorite memory of Chris would have to be completely destroying him in this year’s NCAA Tournament pool.”

Now that I know you (I could never turn my back away)

Bebito Jackson: Ya know, I give Chris a hard time, but honestly I think he’s one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. He’s always had my back, and was always there to take care of me throughout my entire 411 career. There’s nobody like him. I consider him a friend.

I remember there was this one time when some of the older no longer working here staff members were making fun of me. They’d put me down in their columns, tell the readers that I sucked, and were just generally horrible to me for no good reason. But then, I talked to Chris. Good old Chris. I told him what they were doing… and do you know what he did for me? Do you know what he did for Bebito??

Well he… wait. Come to think of it. He didn’t do anything. He was best friends with all the guys screwing me over, and just allowed them to continue!

He said “suck it up Bebito”! And the ragging on by the other staff GOT WORSE. And he just kept laughing at me whenever I complained to him about it! Then Chris would randomly send me emails that said, “You’re Fired!” and then a couple of days later he’d hit me back with, “Just Kidding. Bwa ha ha ha ha ha!” And he’d always tell me about how he kicked old ladies walking down the streets, and was beating up on this handicapped kid that was in a wheel chair who lived next door to him everyday before he left for college!!

You know what, SCREW YOU CHRIS! SCREW YOU AND THE UNHOLY HORSE OF THE APOCALYPSE YOU ROAD IN ON! SCREW YOUR BLACKENED HEART STRAIGHT TO HE…

Now that I see you (I believe no matter what they say)

Liquidcross: “Chris, who?”

I feel so alive for the very first time

Chris is in the ring with Kurt Angle as they have a stare off. The tension is so thick it can be cut with a butter knife.

I can’t deny you
I feel so alive

Angle spits in Chris’ face, and IT’S ON!

I feel so alive for the very first time
And I think I can fly

Chris is in the Angle lock… and he can’t reach the ropes! Chris’ ankle is broken in half!! But he refuses to tap! The man REFUSES to tap!!

I feel so alive for the very first time

Chris counters the Angle lock into the Crippler Cross Face! The crowd is on it’s feet!

I can’t deny you
I feel so alive

Angle makes the ropes! Chris tries to stay on him but… KICK, WHAM, ANGLE SLAM! Pankonin is laid out!

I feel so alive for the very first time
And I think I can fly

Angle with the cover… 1, 2, 2.99999…. NO! Chris kicks out! He starts hulking up!!! Angle is scared to death! The crowd is going NUTS!

And I think I can fly…

PANKONINMANIA IS RUNNING WILD! Big boot! Leg Drop! 1, 2,… 3!!!! It’s OVER!

And I think I can fly…

Chris stands up on the turnbuckle, as the crowd gives an ovation 16 times as long as when Triple H came back from his quad injury. Chris simply soaks it all in.

And I think I can fly…

And I think I can fly…

411 DESIRE

*Fade to black.*



Razor Ram… err, Lee Baxley is here tomorrow. I’m Big Daddy Coo… I mean, I’m Bebito Jackson, and I want to know… where’s Bryan Berg? He’s that spam good people! The man lives, breathes, and eats this business and don’t yall forget it. Read him TWICE this Thursday! Chris, I love ya man… I’ll be back next week with the answers to YOUR letters. In the meantime, peace. I’m out.

(411 DOWN-LO OFFLINE: END TRANSMISSION…)