Thank God It’s Thursday News Report 10.16.03

Hey everybody! Welcome to TGIT, aka Thank God It’s Thursday. This is a column that will provide you with all the information you need to have an intelligent conversation about the gaming world (at least for today, anyway). Thanks for stopping by.

Hope everybody had a good week. Break up the Jets! They finally got one, in convincing fashion, over the fading Buffalo Bills. To say that Herman Edwards’ Jets teams have been second-half teams is the biggest understatement in the world. Could these Jets have a miracle up their sleeves? Methinks not, but don’t count the Jets out. Chad Pennington should be back by Week 9, and you never know what can happen from there.

With that out of the way, let’s tackle some news!

With Nintendo’s price cuts proving to be a rousing success worldwide, speculation has been perpetuated regarding a potential price cut by Sony. Rumor has it that the company is considering selling its Playstation 2 at $99 (the same price as the GameCube) as soon as November.

Now, this is where it gets interesting. Reports claim that a Target employee stumbled across Sony promotional items which state the new price of $99 for the PS2 as of mid-November. Keep in mind that Sony announced its holiday promotion, the Network Adapter bundle, way back in August.

Could it be that Sony is feeling the heat from Nintendo? It’s undoubted that Sony could have foreseen the Cube surge to the forefront as it has. That’s just bad, lazy marketing on Sony’s part. A drop to $99 is a sure sign of desperation and fear of Nintendo, and that would hurt Sony’s strong image and reuptation. And you can’t underestimate what impact this would have on Microsoft, because they’d be forced to lower their price, too.

One reason why Sony might want to lower its price: it has recently developed technology that allows for the creation of smaller PS2 chips, which are cheaper to make. With production costs lowered, a price cut wouldn’t mean as big of a hit for Sony.

It’s conceivable that we could have three systems available for under $100 this holiday season. This would be great for consumers, but bad for the industry. Each company would lose major profits on their current systems, which means they’d rush out their next-generation systems to clean up. The systems wouldn’t be as good as they could be and in the end, we’d all suffer. Sony has no real reason to participate in Nintendo’s price-gouging strategies, regardless of how well they’ve worked for the Big N. That being said, Sony needs to come up with something more enticing than the Network Adapter and games nobody really cares about as a holiday bundle. If they don’t, Nintendo might be number one for longer than just one week.

The X-Box versions of Grand Theft Auto 3 and Vice City will allow X-Box owners to customize their own game soundtracks with music downloaded to their hard drive. Why anybody would want to eliminate the awesome music and radio goofs in these games is beyond me, but it’s pretty neat that you’re able to do so.

The GTA Double Pack will be out in November, so X-Box owners, start thinking of what you want to listen to as you kill people now!

Kids and Violent Games
A recent mystery shopper test done by the FTC reveals that game retailers are getting the idea. They are becoming more stringent on who they sell their M-rated games to – but not much.

The study involved teenagers aged 13-16 attempting to purchase mature games. The numbers are encouraging, but again, not terribly impressive.

% Able to purchase game
2000 85
2001 78
2003 69

% Asked for age by retailer
2000 n/a
2001 21
2003 24

Well, it’s a start. This is something that the FTC/ESRB is going to have to monitor continously to continue progressing. If the ESRB thinks it’s going to get the job done by putting ads in stores, they’re mistaken. The problem is letting these parents know before they even get to the store what kind of games are out there. This way, a parent doesn’t avoid a scene by buying some M-rated game for their whiny kid just so the kid will leave Mom alone.

Nintendo has announced that it will be giving away copies of Pac-Man vs. with the purchase of select GameCube games in December. Beginning in December, if you purchase R: Racing Evolution, I-Ninja, or Pac-Man World 2 (which will soon become a Player’s Choice title), you’re entitled to a free copy of Pac-Man vs., a game Nintendo and Namco developed together.

As cool as this deal is, one must wonder why Nintendo is giving this game away for free. It sounds awesome! In case you don’t know anything about Pac-Man vs., it is a game that heavily features GBA connectivity. If you’ve got one, you can control Pac-Man while up to three others control the ghosts that chase Pac-Man! Who wouldn’t pay $20 to be the ghosts?

Regardless of the reasons for this promotion, it is shaping up to be a very successful one. Nintendo has been on a huge roll recently with its marketing, and this should be no different.

Who knew that anybody actually cared about the medals? While there hasn’t exactly been a public outcry for their return, our own Cory Laflin decided to adopt a modified (i.e. much cooler) version for his own column. Fine by me, man. As long as I get one. I always wondered how I’d stack up if someone else was doing the medals. Looks like we’ll find out.

Alex Lucard – Retrograding. Alex, man, I’d kill to have a company actually contact me to be a shill for them. Be flattered!
How can people not want to play a game involving an 80’s glam punk band made up of all girls doing battle with an EVIL all girl glam punk band.

Lee Baxley – Hump Day Otaku News Report. I really liked Lee’s column this week. This is a must-read if you’re into anime or games, and if you like both, it’s a really must-read!
Fuck you, Squaresoft. You aren’t getting a DIME from me on this game. You are obviously money hungry and need a serious swift kick to the ass.

Alex Williams – 411 MAX: News News Revolution. Alex would be happy to know that I actually considered playing Dance Dance Revolution at Jillian’s on Tuesday night. And my girlfriend actually played the game! Not bad, eh? By the way, Alex’s “fanboy” commentary might be the best thing he’s ever done.
I’m going to take every fanboy or anti-fanboy and group them into one category: Sheep.

Chuck Platt – A Thumb to the Eye. The demise of the Dreamcast led to one neat thing – its place as the leading cheap game system. Chuck details this and more in his latest work.
From Metal Slug X to the shockingly fun Poy Poy, my poor PS1 has seen more action than Nina Hartley.

Frederick Badlissi – The Gamer’s Conscience. Fred also discusses cheap games, though instead of giving us examples of games, he lists his favorite cheap sites. You may be needing these sites in a month or two.
In this case, the meek shall inherit the long lines and wait. And just because you’re going to be grabbing Mario Kart: Double Dash or Gradius V doesn’t give you any quicker of a wait than the idiot in front of you with Mariah Carey’s The Remixes album. Burn, baby burn…

Cory Laflin – Gamer’s Hangover News Report. Man, what a comeback for the Chiefs on Sunday! And I was quite happy with the defensive TD as well…
So Blockbuster, you have escaped my wrath one more time, if only because you were clueless enough a company to hire some managers who are actually competent at their jobs and realize that your checkout/billing policies are bullshit. Congratulations.

The Scotsman – Total Extreme Warfare News and Preview. I’m kinda bummed that they won’t have the real wrestlers in this game. But I guess that’s the way it goes when money gets involved.
The shooting statistic is used to determine who can win a legititmate shoot fight, which means that you will be able to book shoot fights in this game. Hmm…methinks I’ll have to do Bob Sapp vs Jim Ross in my first day on charge.

Lee Baxley – BAKA News Report. Lee posted a day late last week, so it falls within plugging regions. If you missed it last week, here’s your chance!
Anyway, I’m going to add some stuff, make some changes, switch some stuff around, and just overall make some changes for the better. I hope you like it. If not, I DIDN’T ASK YOU.

Liquidcross – The Angry Gamer. LC hooked me up this week and he hooks you all up with another great column! Make sure you give it a look.
Call him “kiddie” all you want; Kirby is hardcore. He literally eats his foes alive!

Commentary of the Week
Well, there’s not a whole lot to comment on this week. So the Commentary is on its Bye week. I had a bunch of ideas for this section this week, but none of them really worked. Rather than half-ass it, I’ll just leave it be and make next week’s even better. If you actually look forward to the Commentary, I apologize. Read Alex Williams’ commentary in the meantime – I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.

Thanks again for reading this column! Hope you enjoyed it. See you next Thursday!