Encore Extra Stage News Report 11.14.03

Encore Extra Stage News Report (11.14.03)

Teaser: DDR Downloads, N-Gage haxo0red, award shows Spiked, and HAIKUS! In PRINNY FORM!

Time to wrap up the week here at the ol’ 411. And since I see no one else up to the task, I nominate ME to do it!

Anyway, here it is, the fourth week of this news report. I have officially matched Bryan’s prediction of being completely burned out. And I’m not yet! Hooray!

And I wish I had more of an introduction to go with, but I don’t. So, introduction: over. NEWS: NOW!
TOP STORY: Ultramix Song Pack #1 Revealed!

I swear, the Top Story WAS going to be about something else, but a DDR story JUST came up. Those are the rules, people.

Anyway, the first song pack for DDR Ultramix has been revealed, and is available for download. A full five days before the game is released! How’s THAT for commitment?

Anyway, the November volume has 5 songs, and will cost $5.00 to download ($7.50 Canadian). The songs to be included are:

Abyss – dj TAKA
Burnin’ The Floor – Naoki
Burning Heat (3 Option Mix) – Mr. T with Motoaki. F
in my eyes – ric
Mind Parasite – Tomosuke

Now THIS is one hell of a song pack! They’re all Konami Originals this go around, but we have plenty of good ones. Three of these we’ve seen in the US before, but we’re getting two exclusive songs! in my eyes is taken from Beatmania IIDX 5th Style in Japan, and is an incredible sounding trance song. Mind Parasite was reported here earlier to be downloadable, and lo and behold, here it is! The song itself came off of Dance Maniax 2nd Mix and is an interesting mix of techno and dance. (I’m not that good at classifying music into genres, so any corrections would be cool.) You could almost call this the “Bemani Best” song pack, because 4 out of 5 songs listed here first appeared in a version of Beatmania IIDX or Dance Maniax. Cool, cool stuff.

So come Ultramix launch day, for an extra $5, your song list is IMMEDIATELY pumped up to 56!

(Credit goes to XBox.com)
The N-Gage: Kicking Them While They’re Down

It’s just getting worse and worse for Nokia and their N-Gage. The $300 unit has officially been exposed as the piece of crud it really is.

A group of hackers managed to disable the copy protection of the system, and have officially made copies of N-Gage games, making them free to download if you know where to look. And no, I don’t know where to look, so don’t ask me.

The scary thing is that if you know how, you can download them to DIFFERENT Nokia phones, and play them without a problem.

Yes, other Nokia phones can play N-Gage games. Thus proving that the N-Gage doesn’t even have a unique operating system.

I’ve even seen pictures of Sonic N being run on a standard cell phone. It’s downright laughable.

This means that in a meeting about 18 months ago, Nokia sat down and said “Lets take one of our phones, modify it a bit, let it play game cartridges, and charge suckers $300 for it!” I swear, that’s probably the business proposal they worked with. It’s that damn bad.

And with that said, I’m retiring the N-Gage bashing from this column. Its become SO easy to make fun of these guys, its downright boring.

(Credit goes to Gamespot)
Singing Causes Cancer! Or Does It?

You know that new X-Box game X-Box Music Mixer? Well, in California, the microphone has a weird label on it. It warns the user that the microphone has chemicals that cause cancer and birth defects, and to wash your hands after you use it.

I know I wasn’t the first one to say “WTF” when I read this the first time.

However, the warning is required in California where there are ANY chemicals in ANY amount. There are apparently minute traces of such chemicals on the microphone cord, which are barely traceable.

So don’t worry, guys. You can continue to sing horribly in the comfort of your own home without worrying about a brain tumor. Just don’t play near the microwave.

(Credit goes to Gamespot)
Stop Screwing With Nintendo, News Media!

It all began when Nintendo officially announced it was in the red for the first time in a long time. It was then announced by several web sites that Nintendo would reveal their next generation console at next year’s E3.

I’m sure that pandemonium erupted all over the Internet…for a few hours.

Anyway, Nintendo has gone on record to say that they will NOT be revealing a next generation console at E3. They will unveil SOMETHING unique, but its not the GameCube’s successor. Which makes sense, considering it’s only two years old and has just received a huge boost from the price drop.

I was about to pump out an emergency commentary and everything…well, thanks Nintendo. You saved me some extra work!

(Credit goes to Gamespot)
Well, There IS This New Nintendo Console…

Yes, Nintendo DOES have a new console coming out.

…In China.

Nintendo will soon be releasing they’re Chinese-exclusive console: the I-Que. Its essentially a Nintendo 64, but condensed into a controller that connects directly to the TV screen. This easily makes this one of the coolest consoles I’ve heard of.

The console itself will retail for about $70, and come packaged with a Flash Memory card with five games recorded on it:

–Dr. Mario (Full Version)
–Zelda: Ocarina of Time (10 Hour Timed Demo)
–Super Mario 64 (7 Hour Timed Demo)
–Wave Race 64 (1 Hour Timed Demo)
–Star Fox 64 (1 Hour Timed Demo)

To get more games, players will need to download them onto these Flash Memory cards. They can download them from special kiosks, or the Internet for $6 a piece. The cool thing is that if you ever lose the games from the card, you can download them again without paying for it again. That, I like.

(Credit goes to Game Spy)
Encore Extra Stage Weekly Recap

Before we begin, I want to apologize for last week’s haikus. Why? Well, Eggplant Wizard informed me that one of them had…(gasp)…an EXTRA SYLLABLE within it!

Of course this cannot be, can it?

So, as punishment, I’ve been put under restrictions for this week’s haiku offering. I’m going to have to write…PRINNY HAIKUS!

A quick explanation to what the hell a “Prinny” is first. They are penguin-like creatures that explode if you throw them. They also say “Dood” at the end of every sentence. If you’ve played Disgaea, you’re probably up to your necks in them right now. Anyway, Priny Haikus follow a 4-6-4 syllable format, with “dood” at the end of every line.

So prepare for the hurting as I try to pump these babies out under incredible conditions…

Ultramix songs, dood!
Download them to your game, dood!
Comes out next week, dood!

Games in Quebec, dood!
They all need French covers, dood!
Or they’re no-sells, dood!

China consoles, dood!
PS2, and I-Que, dood!
Both coming soon, dood!

Lots of Eye Toys, dood!
Stepping up production, dood!
Fourteen times more, dood!

FF Online, dood!
Bad discs causing problems, dood!
It’s a bad batch, dood!

Action figures, dood!
Square is gonna make some, dood!
Milk those cash cows, dood!

Rockstar’s gutsy, dood!
First amendment killing, dood?
You’re stretching it, dood!

X-Box price cut, dood!
Only in Japan though, dood!
Sell oversees, dood!

Nokia’s pissed, dood!
The N-Gage was haxked up, dood!
Very funny, dood!

Bryan Berg goofed, dood!
Everyone makes mistakes, dood!
And he made one, dood!

(Sorry Bryan, dood.
That was just uncalled for, dood.
Please forgive me, dood.)

California, dood!
Microphones cause cancer, dood?
I blame Arnold, dood!

Media says, dood,
Nintendo’s new console, dood,
Is at E3? Dood!

Media sucks, dood!
Turns out that Nintendo, dood,
Had proved them wrong, dood!

Feeling confused, dood?
Check out the other guys, dood!
They got details, dood!

(Pant, pant, pant) Thank the Overlord THAT’S over with. I promise NEVER to goof on a haiku again.

Special: The Quebec Situation Revisited

Well, I asked all those out there in Quebec if they had anything to say about their gaming situation. And someone wrote in! He didn’t give a name, but lets see what he had to say:

I live in the province of Quebec Canada, Montreal more importantly, So far I’ve seen french manuals replacing main covers for such games, GBA, PS2, XBOX & the little Cube. I think it just plain sucks especially for us english only speaking Quebecers. I dont think the leaders in this province realize how stupid this really is, especially since English is the Universal language.

So far Quebec has been doing more harm than good. Especially for english business’s thats been around for decades & suddenly they need a HUGE French version of there sign displayed on top of the english sign. What ever happened to the right of free speech & freedom? This place is slowly becoming the old nautsy germany, & more & more Canadians are leaving this province to go out west. Quebec wonders why everyones leaving…

Whats next!?
Its illegal to be Jewish?

Wow…I never knew things were that bad in Quebec. My heart goes out to you, and everyone else out there.

And illegal to be Jewish? Perish the thought. Then both Alex’s from this site would be out of luck!

Anyway, I’m still accepting letters from any Quebecers who may be reading! Canada, unite!
Commentary: Spiking The SpikeTV Video Game Awards (Part 2)

If you joined me last Tuesday, you’ll know I looked at the first set of nominees for those Spike awards. If you didn’t join me, join me now just to make sure we’re on the same page.

And now, lets continue looking at what SHOULD win, and what probably WILL win…I need an asprin…

Best Game Based on a Movie:
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ubisoft)
Enter the Matrix (Atari)
Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup (EA Games)
The Hulk (VU Games)
Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb (LucasArts)
James Bond 007: Nightfire (GBA) (EA Games)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (EA)
Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rebel Strike (LucasArts)
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (LucasArts)
Tron 2.0 (Disney)

90% of games based on movies generally suck. Someone should have informed SpikeTV.

What Should Win: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (LucasArts)
Easily the best out these games. In fact, it wins by default. That’s REALLY dissappointing for a category.
What Will Win: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (LucasArts)
Easily the best…huh? A game that gets the actual props it deserves? Interesting…but then again, KOTOR isn’t really based on the MOVIE plots lines, is it? It’s got an original story for a time period that was never even looked at in the silver screen.

Best Music:
Def Jam Vendetta (EA Big)
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PC Version) (Rockstar)
Madden NFL 2004 (EA Sports)
NBA Live 2004 (EA Sports)
NBA Street Vol. 2 (EA Big)
SSX3 (EA Big)
Tony Hawk’s Underground (Activision)
True Crime: The Streets of L.A. (Activision)
Wakeboarding Unleashed Featuring Shaun Murray (Activision)

A category for best music, and there are NO music games to speak of. This is a travesty of major proportions.

What Should Win: Any REAL Music Game (Any Platform)
For cryin’ out loud, this category should belong to the likes of DDRMAX2, Amplitude, and Parappa the Rapper. None of them were nominated. Worse still, not one ORIGINAL soundtrack was nominated! Instead, all we get are licensed track lists. I officially change this category’s name to “Best Compilation of Licensed Music”.
What Will Win: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PC Version) (Rockstar)
Please. It’s a big-name game, with a huge list of licensed music. Of course it’ll win.

Best Performance by a Human:
Christina Aguilera – The Sims Superstar (EA Games)
Christoper Walken – True Crime: The Streets of L.A. (Activision)
David Duchovny – XIII (Ubisoft)
DMX, Method Man, & more – Def Jam Vendetta (EA Big)
Eve – XIII (Ubisoft)
Giovanni Ribisi – Call of Duty (Activision)
Jada Pinkett Smith – Enter the Matrix (Atari)
Jenna Jameson- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PC Version) (Rockstar)
Ray Liotta – Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PC Version) (Rockstar)
Snoop Dogg – True Crime: The Streets of L.A. (Activision)

Oh, sure. Lets give an ENTIRE category to famous people who just happened to do voices for a game. Jesus tap-dancing Christ…*

Who Should Win: No one.
No one. Pure and simple. I refuse to pick a winner for this category. Its just SpikeTV congratulating big-name talent and overlooking the people who actually DEVELOPED the game. Pretentious jerks.
Who Will Win: Someone.
Like I give a shit. SOMEONE’S gonna win. I just don’t care.

(*”Jesus tap-dancing Christ” is the property of South Park’s Mr. Garrison. Failure to properly credit Garrison will result in a house visit by Mr. Slave.)

Best PC Game:
Age of Mythology: The Titans (Microsoft)
Battlefield 1942: The Road to Rome (EA)
Command & Conquer: Generals Zero Hour (EA)
Freedom Fighters (EA)
Halo: Combat Evolved (Microsoft)
Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (LucasArts)
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (Rockstar)
The Sims: Superstar (EA)
Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne (Blizzard)

I’m not the biggest PC gamer in the world, so I’m not too well versed in the best and worst here. But I’ll take my best guesses.

What Should Win: Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne (Blizzard)
I like Warcraft III. Its one of the few online games you DON’T have to pay for, and its fun. Therefore, it gets my nod.
What Will Win: Halo: Combat Evolved (Microsoft)
The overrated FPS gets an overrated PC port. Therefore, it wins. Oy.

And there’s the second part over and done with. Tune in next Tuesday for the remaining categories, nominees, wishes, and predictions.
Plugs and Shills That Pay The Bills

News You Can Use

Gamer’s Hangover News Report — Cory Laflin
Cory didn’t get plugged in Tuesday’s column due to my crappy command of HTML. Not that I hate him or anything. Really! I don’t! He’s Kliq, so he’s cool!

411MAX: News News Revolution — Me, Myself, and I
I apologize to Quebec, and begin to make fun of the SpikeTV Video Game Awards. How can you NOT read me?

Hump Day Otaku News Report — Lee Baxley
Lee goes heavy on Square/Enix news and dealings, recommends you buy Utena on DVD (as do I), and offers ideas on what to buy for your X-Box outside of Halo or KOTOR. Me? I bought my X-Box just to play Tony Hawk games with a custom soundtrack. Yes, that’s my reason. Yes, Tony Hawk games rule. Yes, the skater himself is a bit overrated.

Thank God Its Thursday News Report — Bryan Berg
X-Box price cuts, PS2 stats, and TV movie thoughts litter this week’s offering. Fun fact: Bryan’s giving true/false fun facts about everyone here. And he likes to eat cereal upside down while wearing a tutu. And as soon as I get proof, I’ll prove it!

A Review You Can U…se

True Crime: Streets of LA (PS2) — Lee Baxley
This guy is a reviewing machine while guys like me are studying for tests and other life-related materials. And I thank him for picking up the slack. Anyway, this game is apparently pretty good. There’s lots of driving, fighting, and shooting going on. Way to appeal to the lowest common denominator, Activision!

Columns You Can…uh…Use

A Thumb To The Eye — Chuck Platt
Another hodge podge column this week, as our resident GENIUS starts an anti-fued with Bryan Berg, and offers his take on Disgaea. I too have this game, and let me tell you that I WISH I didn’t have to wait until the weekends to play it. Then again, I’d probably fail all my course work if I did.

We Want Our Tea Back! — Misha
Misha took my advise and fixed his HTML! His links work now! YAY! And he talks about rugby, and what makes a game a game. Highly entertaining Englishman here.

The Angry Gamer — Liquidcross
LC continues his History of Mega Man series by looking at the three games that comprised the Mega Man Legends series. Nice stuff, and provided me with info I never knew about these 3D incarnations.
Parting Thoughts

Wow, this column ended up packed!

You know, Lee Baxley’s probably on the floor laughing right now after the Prinny stuff. I heard that Eggplant Wizard might be employing them in the future. (Now there’s a combination I wouldn’t wish on the world.)

Tune in next week for news, reviews, weird stuff, and…perhaps something REALLY cool. We’ll see…

Until next time, cut down on those calories! You’re as big as a house!

Alex Williams