Gamer’s Hangover News Report 10.06.03

Morning all you happy people. Shake off that headache, pour yourself a nice tall mug full of concentrated caffeine and let’s settle in to deal with the fact that it’s Monday and you won’t see your precious Xbox for at least 8 hours; and put away that GBA you keep in the desk drawer. If you’re going to waste time on the company dime at least waste it here. You don’t need to embarrass yourself by having your boss discover the copy of WarioWare Inc. in your desk drawer. Just hang out with me, and remember the ol’ Alt-Tab trick.

Quasi-random thoughts:

First a rebuttal to my colleague Bryan Berg:

Read this. It’s the twenty rules for being a True Fan, set forth by ESPN’s Sports Guy, Bill Simmons. He does make allowances for “Temporary Fan” status, but otherwise the rules are cut-and-dried. You get ONE team per sport. Now, I don’t believe Bryan is actually in violation of the rules; because we all have teams that, even though we’re not die-hard fans of, we like to see do well. The Cubs and Red Sox fall into this category for me, as do the Spurs, Avalanche, and any NFL team that’s been historically bad and/or ridiculed, which meant Tampa Bay up until this year.

However, I think it’s okay to have a number of HATED teams; teams that you like to see lose no matter who they’re playing. Here’s my list of hated teams by sport. “Secondary” means teams that are annoying right now, but aren’t necessarily permanent members”¦.yet.

MLB: Yankees, Braves. Secondary: AL Central teams not named the Royals, and the Giants.
NFL: Raiders, Broncos, Cowboys, Raiders, and Raiders. Secondary: NFC East teams and the Raiders.
NBA: Lakers, Sixers, Knicks. Secondary: Bulls for a couple of years more.
NHL: Canadiens, Rangers, Devils, and Red Wings. Secondary: Stars. (Hull was IN THE CREASE!)

I was going to talk about Rush, but everybody else already has, and you’re all just waiting for Szulczewski anyway, so let’s move on.

By the way, Congratulations, Eric. If you don’t understand why, go up a couple of paragraphs.

I don’t normally side with Scott Keith, but he is right about one thing: Joe Schmo may be the best thing on TV right now”¦.or WAS until the new season of Angel started last week. Seriously, they’d better do something really freakin’ nice for this guy at the end. I’m not just talking the money; I’m talking the money, a party, a date with the actress playing Molly, a threesome with Molly and Ashleigh, something special. The guy deserves it.

*singing* The Chiefs are 5 and 0, the Chiefs are 5 and 0, hi ho the dairy-o, the Chiefs are 5 and 0″¦.

And for the record, Chris Berman it’s FOO-JEE-TAH, not FOO-HEE-TAH. He blew up a Bronco receiver short of the first down mark to ice the game for the Chiefs, and he even has his own celebration maneuver now”¦.fist in palm”¦and bow.

Speaking of Chiefs celebrations, for those of you who miss Scotty 2 Hotty, Johnnie Morton did the Worm in the endzone after his touchdown on Sunday.

And one more thing about that game: The Broncos got every lucky bounce (Literally, Mr. Butterfingers Portis) they could ask for and they STILL lost. But we can’t keep asking Dante Hall to save our cans every week”¦..unless he wants to. I’m guessing that on Tuesday he will officially be the four-time, four-time, four-time, four-time AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.

News: Game and Otherwise
Just assume I got it from and you’ll do okay.

Supply, Meet Demand —or— Capitalism At Work!
Nintendo Co. Ltd. is about to boldly go where they have never gone before: in the red. It looks like they’re going to post their first-ever (interim) loss for the period of April to September. The blame for this is falling on bad foreign exchange rates and soft GameCube sales. Reuters is reporting that they’re forecasting a net loss of about $27 million, which compares to the May predictions of a $135 million dollar profit over the period. They’re also lowering expectations for the fiscal year (which, for Nintendo ends in March 2004) and are now forecasting a net profit of about $540 million U.S. Yeah. They’re about out of business.

However, in case you missed it, Nintendo of America is reporting that the drop in GameCube price to $99.99 has resulted in a quadrupling of sales. No actual sales numbers were released, but GameStop prez, Dan DeMatteo was quoted as saying, “Our sales of Nintendo GameCube have increased more than fourfold. We are currently increasing our shipment requests for the system throughout the holidays.”

Add to this the news that Nintendo is planning price cuts of the Cube in Europe and Japan. Starting October 10, the console will drop in price to 79 pounds ($132) in Britain and 99 euros ($115) throughout the rest of Europe. In Japan, the Cube price has dropped to 14,000 yen ($126). Here’s to hoping the price drop has the same effect in the rest of the world as it has in the U.S. If so, they may beat that $500 million profit margin by a good chunk.

For Those Of Us Without Emulators — Wink Wink
Mailing a couple of shorties in due to time, but I make it up later in the column.

MumboJumbo, a subsidiary of United Developers, will release Activision Anthology: Remix Edition for the PC in early October.

The title will contain over 75 Atari 2600 games, including Pitfall!, Kaboom! and River Raid, while also featuring a selection of licensed music hits from the 1980s. 15 types of enhanced game play modes can also be unlocked, such as Ricochet mode, “in which the game screen bounces around the television screen” and Cube mode, “where the game appears on each face of a rotating cube.”

Activision Anthology: Remix Edition has been rated “E” (Everyone) and will carry an MSRP of $29.99.

“Ricochet?” “Cube?” These are selling points? No, Activision goodness is the selling point. Then again, maybe SOMEBODY could put these challenging new game modes to use”¦.

Pinch Hitting For Voldo: Knightmare
Major League Gaming (MLG) has added a pair of videogames to its tournament lineup—Soul Calibur II on the Xbox and Gran Tourismo 3 for the PlayStation 2.
Both titles will appear in MLG’s entire 2003-2004 season, beginning with its first event in New York on October 25-26.

Are there SCII commercials for the Xbox? I haven’t seen any, and I think the Xbox may have the coolest exclusive character.

And Why Not Airline Tycoon? Maybe TWA Could Get Some Pointers.
Activision Value and Airborne Entertainment have announced an agreement between the two that will see a trio of Activision Value titles go mobile.

Tough Trucks, Skateboard Park Tycoon and Cruise Ship Tycoon will be the first issued (no dates given), followed by “many more” titles down the line.

I already made my joke and I’m sticking with it.

Weekly Rentals — This Week, With Comments!
The Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA), on behalf of Home Video Essentials and Rentrak Corp., has announced a preliminary list of the top renting games for the week ending September 28, 2003.
Here are the top 10:
1. Madden NFL 2004—PS2

Softening the blow for Jets, Jags, and Bears fans alike.

2. Soul Calibur II—PS2
Proving there’s no accounting for taste.

3. NCAA Football 2004—PS2
Softening the blow for K-State, Notre Dame, and Penn State fans alike.

4. Enter the Matrix—PS2
That wouldn’t be because the Revolutions trailer came out? Nawww.

5. Midnight Club II—PS2
Damn, WHAT is the DEAL?!

6. Madden NFL 2004—Xbox
I’m already looking forward to Dante Hall’s stats for Madden 2005.

7. ESPN NFL Football 2K4—PS2
Comin’ at chu like Billy White Shoes, baby! Ya scared o’ me?!

8. Soul Calibur II—Xbox
Maybe the coolest proprietary character, thanks to Todd McFarland.

9. Cabela’s Deer Hunt 2004 Season—PS2
Whut the HELL?! —or— Proof that PS2 is the platform of choice for rednecks the world over!

10. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic—Xbox
Deserving better than this.

Courtesy of, some news that made me smile all week.

OAKLAND, Calif. — Raiders linebacker Bill Romanowski could be contemplating retirement after missing the first game of his 16-season NFL career Sunday because of a series of concussions.

According to a report in Monday’s San Francisco Chronicle, sources within the Raiders organization don’t expect the 16-year NFL veteran to play again.

“Based on what we’ve seen, I’d be surprised if he ever plays again,” a source close to the team told the Chronicle. “This is the cumulative effect of a number of small concussions over a short period of time. He’s taking all of that into account.”

Romanowski had played in 243 consecutive games — the fifth-longest streak among active players at the start of the season. He had started 131 straight games, but was scratched for the Raiders’ 34-31 overtime victory over the San Diego Chargers.

“I’m evaluating the situation, that’s all I can say,” Romanowski said Sunday after the game. “I’ve had a few concussions this season, and it’s something to be alarmed about. Otherwise, I would have been out there.”
Romanowski got a concussion in the Raiders’ season opener against Tennessee, but he played in two more games before team doctors held him out of Sunday’s game. He had 20 tackles in the first three games after being Oakland’s second-leading tackler last season.

Romanowski wouldn’t give the total number of concussions he has endured this season, but it’s clear the durable performer took his latest setback seriously. Romanowski spoke somberly and deliberately about his future.

“Eventually, something is going to take you out, whether it be your desire, whether it be the organization,” Romanowski said. “This is one thing” that could do it.

According to the Chronicle, Romanowski said he has consulted with several of the “best [doctors] in the country,” including a group from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine which, in 2002, compiled a detailed study on the cumulative effect of multiple concussions in high school athletes.

Romanowski will consult with several more specialists and the Raiders’ doctors before making any decision on his future. He doesn’t know if he’ll be able to practice until he finishes a series of tests.

While playing for four teams and appearing in five Super Bowls during a highly successful career, Romanowski has been known both for his fanatical physical preparation and his mental lapses.

He made headlines last month when he punched teammate Marcus Williams in the face during a fight in practice, breaking Williams’ orbital bone and putting him on injured reserve. It was the latest episode in a long line of bad behavior by Romanowski, who missed just one day of practice after the fight.

For years, Romanowski has adhered to a strict diet and a training regime that’s among the NFL’s most elaborate — but no amount of physical preparation can protect even the toughest players from head injuries.
“I’m not going to sit here and whine and cry about it,” Romanowski said. “We’ll evaluate things and see where I’m going from here.”

Really, I’ve been dancing”¦.DANCING around the office this week. Although my buddy Cris has his own opinion of how this should go (he’s also a big Sports Guy fan):

Although if he continues to play, he’ll soon have enough drool to spit in other people’s faces…that’s if he’s lucid enough to spit.

He’s a dream scenario. Romo keeps playing, until his constant concussions leave him with the Aikman Face for the rest of his life. The Aikman Face on speed? It’s the same, only with a larger vein sticking out of his forehead.

One downside if Romo calls it quits now…football analyst. I don’t think I could handle that. His voice could crack mirrors (that’s if his fist hasn’t already). It’s like listening to Mike Tyson calling an equestrian match.

I’m hoping Romo toughs it out, gets a few more concussions under his belt, and calls it quits after the inevitable stroke that will leave him looking and talking like Larry Flynt. And who wouldn’t find that funny?

That would work too. Actually, HERE’s the dream scenario: Monday Night, Chiefs at Raiders. The rout is on, and Romo is reeling. Chiefs on the Raiders 15, they line up in the Ace, Tony G staring right through his nemesis. The snap and Tony plows right into Romo, a la Ed McCaffrey. I mean runs right over him. Then fades right, and catches the TD pass untouched in the end zone with Romo still lying on the turf. They help him up, off the field, and out of the game forever. Chiefs win, Romo’s gone, and all would be well with the world.

It really doesn’t matter to be if Romo ended up a TV analyst or not. I turn on the radio for audio during Chiefs games anyway, and it would be fun to see him gradually get fat from his new desk job. And considering his speaking voice resembles a post-toke RVD, any time he talked would be an opportunity for sublime comedy. I predict he’ll eventually sound like Eugene Levy’s character from A Mighty Wind, only without the poetry.

Deconstructing Matt Wong
With thanks and apologies to the guys at Best Brains, I’m in total rip-off mode this week. My guest stars are none other than Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo, and our target is one of our FAVE columnists over at ESPN Gamer, Matt Wong.

Now, I want everyone to know that I don’t hate Matt Wong. Really. I’m sure he’s a fine upstanding guy who loves his mother and donates time to the United Way. What I am is INSANELY JEALOUS that he gets to play brand new sports games (EA titles, I might add, and NOT ESPN/Sega titles) with actual pro superstars. I’m also PERPLEXED at how he got this gig when it’s clear that he’s really not that big of a gamer. I mean, how did HE get to play Madden with Mike Vick when he hadn’t played video football since the Sega Genesis? Why is HE playing Vince Carter in NBA Live when”¦. wait”¦we’ll get to that soon enough.

Anyway; Matt, don’t take it personally, but you suck.

For the sake of space, there are no host segments, so let’s join our regularly scheduled column in progress:

Blame Canada

Crow: I am STILL peeved that didn’t win “Best Song.”

By Matt Wong

Crow: So, do two Wongs make a Wight? *snickers*
Tom: I think it would take at least four Matt Wongs to make a Paul Wight.
Cory: Oh Lord, please. I’ve SEEN Paul play basketball.
Tom: I’m guessing he wasn’t much for the fast break, eh?
Cory: If we’d known what he was going to do after college, we would’ve called him “The Big Slow.”

Vince Carter is standing on the left wing, ball in his hands.

Cory: Oh, wait”¦.guys, I think they mean BASKETball.

One head fake and he’s off, down the baseline. He’s elevating, floating, levitating. Finally, he decides to throw it down …

Crow: “¦with his eyes closed”¦

on two defenders …

Cory: “¦while being fouled”¦

with his left hand.


“Man, I’ve never seen you throw it down with your left,” I say after collecting myself.

Cory: So what do you think is the going price for a mint condition Matt Wong?
Crow: Well, Beckett’s Guide To Copy Editors has him at 25 cents”¦
Tom: Huh. He must have upgraded to Word 2000.

“Yeah, I think I’ve only done it twice in my life,” Vince says.

Crow: *grizzled coach voice* That’s pathetic! Son, if you want to catch Wilt Chamberlain, you’ve got to get out there and start hitting”¦.
Cory: Crow”¦.

And now once in EA’s NBA Live 2004. He’s smiling, admiring cyber Carter’s emphatic flush. Me?

Tom: I wet em.

I’m shaking my head, just like I would after any other ‘real’ Vince Carter highlight.

Cory: *cheesy* That wacky Vince!

Just like when he dangled off the rim by his elbow, when he scissor-legged it over a helpless 7’2″ French dude,

Tom: “¦when he shot a man in Reno just to watch him die”¦

and even when he — understandably — threw on a cap and gown despite a playoff series on the line and the media on his case.

Crow: Curse you, Vince Carter! Curse you and your “college education!”
Cory: So, are you going to walk, Vince?
Tom: *Vince* I dunno. I got this NBA Playoff game I’m s’posed to work”¦maybe they’ll let me off.

The man leaves an image to behold, and the same holds true when he’s hooping it up on the virtual hardwood — on the screen or in front of it.

Tom: Methinks he’s being a little TOO generous with the praise, if you get my meaning.
Crow: I wonder if he has fantasies with Vince in a gladiator’s outfit”¦
Cory: I’m beginning to wonder if YOU do.

He’s sitting three feet away from the TV as I take my place beside him for our head-to-head matchup.

Crow: Not that there’s anything wrong if he does. Who am I to judge if he wants to challenge Vince Carter to a little “One-on-One”
Cory: *snaps around to Tom* You sing Hall and Oates right now and I will toss your dome out the airlock!
Tom: Grump.

His stare and black Blue Jays cap are pointed in the same direction.

Cory: Which is good because otherwise it would mean his skull cap would come off.
Tom: *cheesy* Oh, those kids”¦wearing their ball caps the right way”¦what’ll they think of next?

He’s slightly crouched, head tilted upward, legs shoulder-length apart.

Tom: Eyes squinting.
Cory: Teeth polished.
Crow: Skin glowing.
Tom: Muscles tensed.
Crow: Booty licious.
Cory: *growls*

New Toronto coach Kevin O’Neill would be proud of the defensive positioning and even more impressed by his star’s faithfulness to his team.

Tom: I hear he and the mascot are going steady!

Although, he should know Vince was about to play using the Spurs, until I questioned his allegiance.

Cory: *Robin Williams* You’re not a woman, you’re a man!
Crow: *Nathan Lane* You BASTARD!!

“Fine, I’ll take the Raptors,” he said somewhat reluctantly.

Crow: *Vince* I WAS going to go easy on you”¦.

Why wouldn’t you, I thought.

Tom: Why would you live your life as a lie?

Wouldn’t you want to be yourself, especially when being yourself means being a dunking machine with an outside shot — an unstoppable combo?

Cory: Maybe it has something to do with being second-fiddle to an NHL team.
Tom: Ah. The Expo Effect.

“I like that automatic scoring power down low,” Vince says, referring to Tim Duncan.

Cory: Yet more proof that nice guys get the chicks.
Tom: Yeah, Cory. Especially when they’re nice NBA All-Stars with championship rings on their fingers and millions in the bank.
Cory: So he’s got some help”¦.

My take?

Crow: A brand new basketball shoe! Provided I could get it dislodged from where he stuck it.

Some athletes have such an intense desire to win at anything that they look for any advantage they can get, in this case the NBA champs, even if it means putting team loyalty on hold.

Cory: *takes deep breath* See also”¦.
Crow: Karl Malone”¦
Tom: Jason Kidd”¦
Cory: Dennis Rodman”¦
Crow: Half the Lakers’ roster”¦
Tom: Hey, are we limiting this to basketball?
Cory: No.
Tom: Deion Sanders”¦
Cory: Roger Clemens”¦
Crow: Wayne Gretzky”¦
Tom: Ray Bourque”¦
Cory: Jason Giambi”¦
Crow: Deion Sanders”¦
Tom: John Gruden”¦
Cory: Half the Yankees’ roster”¦
Crow: Shannon Sharpe”¦
Tom: Dominik Hasek, and”¦
Cory: Just to name a few.

I was looking for a team that would be a challenge both to him and myself.

Cory: I think “All-Stars West” would be a nice balance there for Matt.

A mediocre lineup.

Tom: “All-Stars East?”

A group of underdogs.

Crow: The Indiana Pacers?

A squad that could double as an excuse if I lost.

Cory: Ah. The Boston Celtics.

I took the Knicks.

Cory: Whaa”¦?
Tom: “Mediocre” is not the word I’d use to describe the Knicks.
Crow: Especially when they’d probably lose a hard-fought game to Marquette.
Cory: Hey, don’t give away my sleeper NCAA picks already.

Vince immediately took control.

Crow: I feel a Penthouse Letters section comi”¦.er”¦approaching.
Cory: Oh, no”¦.

“Hit the X button,” he says, not taking his eye off the screen.

Crow: “X button.” Huh. So THAT’S what they’re calling it nowadays.
Tom: And I wonder which “eye” he has”¦
Cory: Stop.

I hit it.

Crow: *Matt* From way downtown”¦..BANG!

“Hit it again.”

Tom: He begged me”¦

I hit it again.

Crow: This time his knees quaked”¦.

There was no time for small talk, it was time to ball.

Tom: He played rough, but I was “in the bonus.”

No problem, I was ready.

Crow: I RIPPED off my warm-up pants and tossed them to the side”¦

I even prepared the night before, playing Live with my brother.

Tom: Okay, that’s just SICK!
Cory: That’s it. It’s the firewall for you two web-junkies.

Unfortunately, the only version I found lying around was ’99 — back when KG had Steph, Grant Hill had a future, and EA had Antoine Walker on the cover!

Cory: I’d like to point out, once again, that this person seems a little behind the game times, for an editor at ESPN Gamer.
Tom: Oh, but Cory, he owns a copy of NBA Street 2, remember? There’s his street cred, yo.
Cory: Yeah, I have a feeling I know how far his “street cred” will get him.
Crow: About 40 points in the hole?

But it didn’t matter, I just needed to refamiliarize myself with the controls.

Tom: *Matt* What are these strange, round, pliable things on this”¦.
Crow: *Vince* Those are BUTTONS.
Cory: *Matt* Your ways are strange to me.

I had a lot to prove after getting schooled by Mike Vick in Madden 2004.

Cory: Ah, good times. Is the restraining order still in effect?

But with Vince Carter confessing he was better at football games, and with hoops games being my thing, I was confident the outcome would be different.

Crow: Maybe he’d let me play an ENTIRE game!

And it was … for about a quarter.

Tom: Then his agent hit me with a taser and it was “The Michael Vick Story” all over again.

The Raptors, wearing their new alternate red jerseys, won the tip. And before you could scream “Fire Layden”, Vince jammed in the game’s first points to the delight of the crowd at the Air Canada Centre.

All: Woo! Go Raptors”¦”¦EH!?

After a Howard Eisley turnover, Vince nailed a three and I was well on my way to politely putting down the controller and walking out the door until Allan Houston, thankfully, swished home an 18-footer.

Crow: Was he talking about a basket or a doobie?
Cory: No, that would’ve been Lamar Odom.

“Who was that?” VC says. “Houston? He’ll hit that every time.”

Tom: Matt, completely missing the obvious hint, takes Houston out at the next dead ball.

We traded a few baskets, with most of his buckets coming from Vince and most of mine coming from the line.

All: Granny shot! Granny shot!

Raptor rook Chris Bosh picked up his third personal when he hacked Kurt Thomas in the act of bricking home a three-pointer from the same spot LJ did back in ’99.

Cory: “bricking home”? How does one miss and hit at the same time?
Crow: Is that like, “what is the sound of one hand clapping?”

Bosh took a seat, Thomas completed the four-point play and, somewhere on the floor, Antonio Davis was having severe flashbacks.

Tom: *cheerily* “¦clawing at his eyeballs and screaming, “Get the badgers off of me!”
Crow: Badger badger badger badger “¦.
Cory “¦badger badger badger badger”¦.
Crow: “¦badger badger badger badger”¦.
Cory: “¦mushroom mushroom”¦.
Tom: Funny how that kinda came full circle.

“Man, you’re gonna foul out all my big men,” VC says, frustrated at his team’s lack of discipline on D.
The score at the end of one: Raptors 21, Knicks 13.

Crow: D”¦.Defense? They play defense in the NBA?
Tom: Not since the ’89 Pistons.
Cory: That wasn’t defense; it was scorched earth.

With the offensively-challenged Knicks managing 13 points in a quarter, the Raptors frontcourt in foul trouble and me not even having fully grasped the new controls yet, I was excited.

Tom: I was manic.
Crow: I foamed at the mouth.

I was confident.

Cory: I was in denial.
Tom: I had overdosed on my Prozac.

I was about to look him in the eye and tell him in vintage Vince, hand-motions and all, “It’s over.”

Crow: I was a moron.
Cory: I was doing my best to never get this gig again.

I was down 38-19 by halftime.

Tom: I was pathetic.
Crow: I was an editor at ESPN Gamer who hadn’t played a new copy of NBA Live in this millennium.

The saddest part wasn’t that I only scored six points in the second quarter or that Houston was my leading rebounder,

Crow: It was that I never learned to play the piano.

but the fact that every time down the floor Eisley would chuck a 20-foot floater thanks to the new button configuration and my reflexes still stuck in ’99.

Tom: Huh. And Vince thought he was just a Rick Pitino fan.

The square button no longer triggers a cross-over move but now initializes a dunk or short-range shot. So Eisley would come down the court looking to get into the paint, but instead of a little shake and bake at the top of the key, the result was a nasty-looking tear drop, since dunking from 20 feet out isn’t allowed.

Cory: Uh, you might try PASSING.

I should’ve pulled Eisley, like Riley should’ve pulled Starks in ’94, but I stuck with him. He went on to reward me with a 2-for-20 performance.

Cory: Is he SURE he didn’t take the Celtics?
Tom: Antoine Walker, ladies and gentlemen! Antoine Walker!

With no Spree or even Mark Jackson, who might’ve hit a few long-range heaves, I stuck with my entire starting five in the second half.

Cory: *singing* Indecision”¦.clouds my vision”¦.
Crow: I think Matt’s been “Falling to Pieces” for a while now.

I sure didn’t want Maciej Lampe’s first minutes to be against a guy who might have a thing for embarrassing seven-foot foreign-born Knick draftees.

Crow: Now THERE’S a fetish for ya.

Vince, on the other hand, showed confidence in young Bosh, putting him right back in. “I like this kid,” he says. “He’s got some talent.”

Cory: Translation: “I’ve played with his stats a bit. I hope you don’t mind.” *snicker*

For most of the second half all you would hear was VC talking to his players, Marv Albert and Mike Fratello calling the game, and me muttering.

Tom: *Matt* I wonder where Marv gets his garter belts”¦

Vince is yelling at his team to play D, cheering his team after a good sequence, and even tossing a little trash-talk my way.

Crow: *chanting* WONG picked THE Knicks”¦
All: *clap, clap, clap clap clap*
Crow: *chanting* WONG don’t KNOW sh”¦.
Cory: “¦HEY!!
All: *clap, clap, clap clap clap*

He’s calling his shots, he’s making the referee signal for a charge right in my face.

Tom: Everyone knows they stopped calling that when Shaq entered the league.

And after his lefty finish, even virtual Vince shows me up with his famous pose — hands pointing in the air as if he was shooting an arrow.

Crow: *singing* Ooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhh”¦join up with me, so joyous and free”¦.”

With the game well in hand now, VC stops rubbing it in.

Cory: *Minnesotan* Which was only the humane thing to do, after he fell to the floor sobbing like that.
Tom: *Minnesotan* Oh, yaa.

He’s giving me credit for a sound rejection or tough shot. He’s showing me how to perform an alley-oop. He’s complimenting me when I execute one.

Crow: He’s”¦.
All: *singing* “¦every woman in the woooorld to meeeee”¦.

“Oooh. Nice.”

Tom: Why, thank you!

“Thanks,” I say, hiding the fact that it was pure luck.

Cory: I ate the rabbit’s foot, just to be on the safe side.

“I think I’m finally getting the hang of it.”

Crow: *Wesley Windham-Pryce* I THINK WE’RE WINNING!!

He wins 79-49. I lose all self-respect.

Tom: *weakly* Call me.

I suggest we check out the stats, just for fun, to further my humiliation.

Cory: *John Clease pompous* I believe the Germans call this “Schadenfreude.”
Crow: If that means “masochist,” I’m right with you.

“Hold up,” he says. “Lets see who the Player of the Game was.”

Tom: “Allen Iverson?” What the hell?
Cory: Must be a playoff game.

And much to his amusement it was him, Half-Man Half-Amazing, scoring 41 points on 16-for-24 shooting.

Crow: Darnit! I picked the Over!
Tom: Three minute quarters.
Crow: Oh.

“Solid,” he says. Three blocks. “Solid.” Three steals. “Solid.”

Cory: Two rebounds, liquid. One assist, gaseous.
Tom: I guess that would make Matt’s stats plasma.

He scrolls through the next screen. He’s delighted to find that both Bosh and AD put up double-digit rebounds: “I like what I see from my big men. This was a total team effort.”

Crow: Translation: “The guy in the Raptor suit could score on you.”

Then he’s on to my stats. He’s in awe of Houston’s double-double and Eisley’s 11 boards and can only say, “Now that’s impressive.”

All. Awwwwwww”¦.
Cory: I think Matt’s found a friend.
Tom: And learned an important lesson about life.

But what humors him the most is Keith Van Horn’s 2-for-15 Knick debut. He smiles, “You know who was guarding him?”

Crow: If we’re talking about the same Keith Van Horn, probably no one.

I look at him. And all I can do is shake my head.

Cory: Okay”¦.let’s play FINISH THE THOUGHT. Crow. GO!
Crow: Uh”¦okay”¦, “”¦because he cut out my tongue!”
Cory: Servo. GO!
Tom: Uh”¦uh”¦, “because I’m in awe of his beauty!”
Cory: WRONG! I’m sorry, but the answer is, “because I can’t believe I’m this lucky to be playing with Vince Carter.” “Can’t believe I’m this lucky,” is the answer we were going for. Sorry.

Something About Plugs. And Email.

Lucard plays standard-bearer this week.

As a result, Pankonin has more headaches than he ever wanted out of us. Poor guy. Give his wrestling news a read. Send him an e-hug.

Bryan is getting all warmed up for NHL season, and we get daily reminders that, if we ever needed someone to handle the business side of 411 Games, he’d be the hands-down choice. His prognostication of Nintendo’s strategy is scary good.

Lee has been getting heat of his own, but not from us.

I admit when I screw up, and I did so again last week. It’s Fred Badlissi, not Fred Badlassi, although I think my spelling better illustrates the badass that he is.

Williams is settling into the groove in the Tuesday spot. If you read me regularly, you know what I think of Alex, so that means you already read him regularly too.

Someday I will tap into my inner LiquidCross. I only hope I don’t kill somebody when I do.

And a man who is guaranteed ANOTHER week of big tips and happy customers, Chuck. Ride that winning streak, baby!

For those of you that e-mailed me this week, I’m sorry I haven’t gotten back to you yet. I will.

Including this guy, Eric, who shares my pain in Raw 2.

Hey, your review was pretty much dead on. I myself have been feuding with Torrie freakin’ Wilson for approximately 8 months now, in Season Mode time. That title thing happened to me also – although I got a title shot earlier than you. At one point I held the SmackDown title and then got a shot at the RAW title. I beat Austin for the RAW title, got back to the main menu and found that the SmackDown title had been given to… wait for it… Randy Orton. Yeah. Anyway, my question is this: aren’t you supposed to be able to increase your CAW character’s skills, attributes, etc. as time in Season Mode goes by? If you are, I haven’t found a way to do so. Many thanks for any help you can provide and keep up the good work.


P.S. I’ve had FOUR sworn enemies jump into the ring and beat the tar out of my opponent – just weird. I keep hoping it’s some sort of reverse psychology to make my guy look weak or something.

Additional points for character creation ARE unlocked during the game, but the hell if I know exactly what triggers them. Go back periodically and check. As for the sworn enemies, the only advice I can offer is to stay the hell out of their way as much as possible. That way, they’ll take up less of your valuable time in grudge matches. If anyone has something a bit more enlightened to say about it, I’d love to hear it. And Eric, thanks for reading!

Next week, whatever the news may bring, and whatever joy comes across my desk. Check out the rest of the 411 news guys this week, starting with Alex “Wunderkind” Williams shakin’ his thang in the News News Revolution tomorrow.

Until then, get some sleep