411 Games Rumor Down-Lo 09.09.03

411 Games Rumor Down-Lo 09.09.03




Hi, I’m Bebito Jackson, and I don’t have time for this garbage. Not to sound like a whiny little punk, but crap happens and I’m having to deal with it. My home was almost broken into when I was away at work and while Bella was in the shower, a bank error completely emptied my bank account, and Harlem our cat ate our dinner making him very sick WHILE I was talking to the police about said robbery; all of this within the SAME DAY. So yeah! Fun, fun, fun! *Rumor Monkey pats Bebito on the shoulder*

But I’m ok. Trust me. *thumbs up, smile with teeth showing* And I’m here to entertain you! Not depress! You get enough reality at work and watching TV. Thus I’m providing you with an abbreviated Down-Lo this week with a little extra something, something on the side from a special guest. But first, a reader letter:


Woo, heya!

Long time no write, I know, but everything blew up on me in terms of finishing school and the holidays.

Anyhow, the cool stuff: I went to the Playstation Experience show in London on Friday, and it was most impressive. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of the PS2, but what was on display impressed me a lot. For a start, I got to play Sonic Heroes, and it’s finally put my mind at ease about the game. I know I should be slapped for doubting Naka’s genius, but there was something that was making me have horrible thoughts about the series losing all public respect. Thankfully, my fears were groundless and the game played really well – the teamplay element added an extra layer of depth that should quieten some of Sonic’s detractors. If they can sort out the bugs like they’ve sorted out the camera, the game should be a massive hit.

As for the rest of the show, the major thing for me was WWE Smackdown: Here Comes the Pain. I’d give the detailed stuff here, but my preview should be going up here soon, so I’ll let you all find out then. However, I’ll quickly say this: the game is a lot more strategic than the previous titles, thanks to the new location-specific damage and the copycat No Mercy reversal system.

Other games that caught my eye were Kya: Dark Lineage, which could well be a sleeper hit, and Amplitude, which isn’t quite Rez, but it’s good. As for Ghosthunter (one of Sony’s big guns), I liked it, but some of it looked very dodgy and the camera is nasty. Also, the lack of a better aiming system hurts it quite a bit. Soul Calibur 2 was great as expected, and is certainly one of the next things I’ll be buying (UK release: September 26th).

Other random thoughts: A new Shining Force? Cool… The wait for F-Zero GX is unholy (end of October, for anyone in the UK). Gran Turismo 4 is indeed looking good, and plays like the others from what little I got my hands on… They really shouldn’t use RPGs at large shows – the text in Unlimited Saga made it highly unsuitable. Billy Hatcher is looking sweet, and it seems Sonic Team have lost some of the laziness they’re recently being associated with… Border Down comes out for DC soon, so importing is high on my “to do” list. Finally, the UK may as well have not gotten Rez for Dreamcast – it’s cost is hideous (£69.99 new on Amazon.co.uk).

Have fun!

— Nik The Greek

First off. Yes. You SHOULD be slapped for doubting Naka’s genius. But since you’ve come around we’ll let it go this time. I’ve been telling you people forever now that Sonic Heroes will be the second coming of the franchise. Now finally a few of you dweebs are starting to listen. Good. Now don’t forget it. :)

And right quick, I HAVE to praise you for trying to keep the DC alive. I’ll always have a soft spot for that console. *wipes tear away*

It sounds like you had a fun time over there with all those games. Too bad you live in the UK and get games like 10 years after us North American gamers. I’m currently enjoying my F-Zero GX right now. And my GOD is it a site to behold. And play. So yeah, man… England must suck. You people never get to see the sun, you had to deal with being blamed for the spawning of the Spice Girls, AND you receive slow pickins with all the games. Why do you people even bother to LIVE there??

Poor twit.

Anyway, I’ve only got one rumor this week, but it’s an interesting one. Taken from GamesAreFun. Check it out:

Japanese gaming website Game Antenna has the first information on what could be a massive relevation at this month’s Tokyo Game Show – a remake of or sequel to Final Fantasy VII might appear at the event. Though it’s generally believed that Square Enix is set to show off Final Fantasy XII, since the game is still scheduled to be released by April 2004, rumblings out of Japan seem to indicate that the company may have one more ace up its sleeve: some new version of FFVII. While we can’t confirm or deny these rumors, it is an interesting thought and something that has been speculated by critics and hinted by developers for quite some time.

The Tokyo Game Show takes place in Tokyo, Japan, from September 26 to September 28.

There you go. No DL Rating. No nothing. But you HAVE to admit that it’s an interesting rumor and prospect. Especially because rumors are circulating that the title is supposed to be revealed for Sony’s new PSP as a launch title! The only way not to be excited about that is if your last name is Lucard. We’ll keep you updated with the rumblings as we get them.

Only other interesting bit of news is that 411 is being plagiarized now. 411 Games courtesy of Lee Baxley broke the story last week that GameCube had finally overtaken the PS2 in hardware sales over in the land of the rising sun. The only other media outlet to say anything about it in a reasonable time after us was Gamespot, and they basically had a word for word copy of what Lee said. Ok, Fine. BUT, they didn’t credit 411 Games. How weaksause is that? Even their pay to post forumers were talking about the story; saying something along the lines of, “Why do we pay for Gamespot when 411 is free-er, faster, and funnier.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Time for our main event. Since I’m pretty much out of commission for this week, I’ve decided to turn over my column to some new blood. His name is Misha, a regular reader whose so down with the staff around here that I just had to hook him em up. The poor guy’s from the UK where, as we just talked about, gaming sucks. So give the guy your undivided attention. He deserves it for putting up with that place. Take it away bro:

Greetings, everyone. I’m Misha, and I’ll be your Emergency Bebito Backup this week. The B-Man’s had a hard time, and instead of phoning it in himself, he’s asked me to do it for him, transatlantic style.

So, instead of Rumour Monkey’s dodgy home videos, you get random commentary instead with a UK flavour. This time round: Why original console-style multiplayer gaming is the definitive model of the art.

Online gaming is here to stay. That’s indisputable. Recently, even the mainstream press has been going mad over xBox Live, this ‘revolutionary new technology’ that takes consoles online (shame everybody except for 411 forgot about the Dreamcast, really, but there you go). But is the idea of taking consoles down the PC route *really* such a good idea? Let’s investigate….

I’d like to take you back to the latter half of the year 2000. The Milennium Bug is no longer worrying the world, 56kbps modems are finally hitting the mainstream computer market, and in a small basement off London’s Tottenham Court Road, a business venture known only as The Playing Fields is kicking up a storm on the UK gaming scene. LAN gaming is brought to the capital of England, and takes off like an F-14 from an aircraft carrier. The interesting thing that can be noted here is that, despite having more than enough bandwidth for everybody to get huge connection speeds, you could guarantee that the moment a LAN game (usually Counter-Strike) got started, everyone would quit their existing games and join up. Even if there were only a few people in the place, the shouts would always be “Which server are you on??” as people tried to locate their friends online. Why? Because no matter how much fun you’re having blowing up people 5000 miles away, it’s ALWAYS more fun if you’re in the room with your victims. It’s the classic Old-School style.

Back even further, in the days of 8-Bit gaming, when the Internet was only for military use, multiplayer gaming was defined by Multitap adaptors, because consoles only ever had two joypad ports. And there could be nothing more enjoyable than getting round a TV with the NES version of Gauntlet in 4-player mode. All the cameraderie, the banter, the occasional physical violence when the person next to you took the item that you REALLY needed… No matter how people chose to prejudge those who enjoyed it as “sad, lonely geeks”, it was every bit as sociable as going down to the park for a game of football (soccer).

Times changed, and technology matured, and the multiplayer phenomenon grew. Still nobody thought to make a console with 4 controller ports, but it didn’t matter. A multitap, 4 controllers, and a copy of Super Bomberman for the SNES was all that was required for myself and my fellow-gamers to while away endless hours that would otherwise have been unproductively spent doing schoolwork. It progressed to the stage of having a semi-offical local league, with players ever-striving to increase their position; and what made it so special was the fact that we were all there together, sharing the experience in real life, rather than competing across telephone lines. Pretty much anyone who’s gamed online can share with you their horror stories of bad experiences (a good example is found here, courtesy of Cory Laflin), but I can honestly say I have no recollection of anything like that during the sessions spent clustered round the TV; indeed, the very nature of the event ensured that so many of the bugbears of online play (cheating, unsporting play, abusive opponents, etc) never emerged. Furthermore, a huge part of the ‘geek’ prejudice stereotype comes from the idea of gamers sitting at home alone, only communicating with ‘friends’ online. Traditional multiplayer console gaming smashes the stereotype to pieces, leaving happy, well-adjusted gamers in its wake who will, at the end of the session, switch the machine off and go down to the local pub/cafe/meeting place, there to enjoy the company of members of the opposite sex. Don’t be fooled into thinking nit only applies to console games, though; 4 players clustered round a friend’s laptop playing Worms 2 during lunch is a wonderful sight to behold.

Don’t get me wrong; Online gaming can be a thing of great beauty. If you’re stranded in an area where there are no other gamers, then the ability to play over the ‘Net is a godsend (one day, I will be able to battle Pokemon online PROPERLY), as well as the option to play against people on other countries who *are* your friends. But when all’s said and done, I’d rather take the walk down to a LAN cafe with some friends to play Battlefield 1942, or whatever our game of choice is, rather than log onto the internet for a game. It might cost me more in the long run, but there are some things you really can’t put a price on, and a good gaming atmosphere has to be considered one of those things.

Well that’s all from me. Feedback can be sent to RagnarokCSP@lycos.co.uk… And if it’s positive comments, you can ‘cc’ it to Pankonin, too

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Man-and-Primate Gossip Team.

Thanks Misha! Did you like him? Did he suck worse than the Down-Lo used to? Did he leave you feeling dirty? Do him a favor and let him know. And heck… let me know too, while you’re at it.

Till next time. And maybe I’ll give you something worth reading from myself next week. Peace. I’m out!