Encore Extra Stage News Report 12.12.03

Greetings, salutations, and (RANDOM GREETING #6: FILE NOT FOUND)! It’s time for the Encore Extra Stage!

This report should be better (and longer) than the one on Tuesday. After all, I promised a look at the Spike Awards, and the Haikus are here. Plus, there’s going to be a SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT at the end of this thing. So keep an eye out.

That, and I’m going nuts with the DDR Ultramix online ranking. As of this writing, I’m in 8th Place overall in the Score Battle. For the most part, it was pretty easy to breeze through the rankings. (Most of the guys play on Light, and I have no choice but to AAA them to death). However, I’ve been trading wins back and forth with BPTX, the top guy on the list. For ONCE, I found a worthy opponent to test my skills against. But you better watch out, man! Once February/March rolls around, I’m gunnin’ for your title! (Thus ends the trash-talking portion of the columns.)

Anyway, lets get right to it. Introduction: over. NEWS: NOW!
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TOP STORY: Dance Dance Revolution Party Collection Ships!

Over in Japan, Konami has released their latest (and quite possibly last) DDR title. Entitled Dance Dance Revolution: Party Collection, it looks to be a “best hits” sort of title, including a wide selection of songs from 1st-4th Mix, a small amount from 5th Mix to Extreme, and five brand new songs.

Nonstop Mode and Oni Mode both make a return appearance as well. The interesting thing I noticed was that the names of most of the Oni Courses mirror those of MAX2 USA’s Nonstop Courses. The songs are different, of course, but it seems that MAX2 USA and Party Collection are pretty alike…interesting…

In any case, there are 47 songs in all, and also available in a special “Beginner’s Pack”. It comes with a game and a dance pad in a SHINY BUCKET!

This looks to be a very solid game for old and new fans alike. Heck, even I bought a copy, and I don’t even have a Japanese PS2!

(Release found out from Play-Asia)
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Dammit Sammy, I WARNED You…

Back on Tuesday, I pleaded with Sammy not to change a whole lot in regards to Sega. Well, I guess Sammy doesn’t read a whole lot of 411Games, because they want to do something I don’t necessarily approve of.

Sammy President Hajime Satomi is encouraging Sega to focus more on arcade development and less on home console development. They want Sega to select home releases more strictly.

Now, I ask you, while this might be a good maneuver for the Japanese market, what is this going to do to us American gamers? The arcade scene has been steadily declining these past years (as much as I hate to admit it), and Sega’s been putting out some damn cool home releases as of late. If Sammy restricts these in Japan, then we might not be seeing Sega as much as we’d like. ARGH!

(Unless of course I’m blowing this WAY out of proportion, and it won’t affect us American gamers at all. In THAT case…never mind.)

(Credit goes to Gamespot)
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Uhh…New X-Box Bundle in Europe?

Geez, finding news that hasn’t been covered yet is tough work. WHY did I sign up to do two news reports again?

So, over in Europe, Microsoft announced a Christmas bundle for the X-Box. For 129.99 pounds, you’ll get an X-Box, and a copy of Project Gotham Racing 2!

And…uh…that’s it. COOL, huh?

(Credit goes to Gamespot)
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Wait! Wait! Fatal Frame II Has a Website!

In a desperate effort to scramble for news, Tecmo has put up a website for Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly! You can find it here!

Well, go visit it! GO! Well, after reading this column. And everyone else here at 411. THEN go read it!

(Credit goes to Games Are Fun)
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And Now, A Retraction

Last column, I claimed that Sega made a “bonehead” decision by waiting to sue EA over The Simpsons: Road Rage Well, you loyal readers have officially yelled at me for it! Here’s an e-mail for proof:
Regarding criticizing Sega for the Crazy Taxi lawsuit…

One thing that you’re forgetting that a lawsuit is the LAST resort in cases like these. I can assure you that Sega has been in contact with EA regarding this game since day one. There’s the sending of letters by the lawyers back and forth, even possible discussion of a settlement. Once this whole process is worked through, if Sega finds that they’re not getting what they want, THEN you have a lawsuit. This is common practice, and you don’t have any reason to criticize Sega…so a favorite company of mine also is not as boneheaded as you first thought :)

Okay, I take back that they weren’t boneheads about this. In my defense, though, three different sources reported this as if Sega did this out of the blue. NOWHERE did they say “after two-plus years of litigation”. So I presented it as such.

As for the “no reason to criticize comment”…we have plenty of reasons to do that anyway. (See above, but it’s Sammy’s fault).
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Encore Extra Stage Weekly Recap

Time for some more HAIKUS!…or SENRYUS!…or whatever the heck they’re called!

Boulder Dash is now
Available thanks to phones!
Verizon: good job!

USO Program
Connecting soldiers afar
With the Live X-Box!

A website merger?
IGN and Gamespy? HA!
HA HA HA HA HA!

Sammy bought some stock
With Sega, and now they want
To make some changes.

A Pokémon bug
In the Advance games might lead
To some big problems.

Sega sued EA
Over Simpsons, but I know
They weren’t boneheads here!

Classic RPGs
By Squaresoft are Greatest Hits.
Well, it’s about time!

I LOVED Actraiser
Possible sequel coming?
More naked cherubs!

No more selling games
Rated M to under-aged
Kids. Good idea!

Rockstar will take out
That line that has offended
The Haitians a lot.

Mario is now
On display in wax format!
Replaces Neo.

Ys coming stateside?
Yet another really cool
Thing that’s nice to hear!

It’s time to party!
New DDR Japan game!
Can’t wait to play it!

Read the other guys!
They have AWESOME news reports!
Especially Lee!
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Plugs & Shills That Pay The Bills

The guys at 411Games are the greatest! Here’s all the proof you need:

Top Billing

Give The Sega CD Some Sweet Lovin’!
Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV. You MUST give it sweet lovin’! NOW!

News You Can Use

411MAX: News News Revolution — Me, Myself, and I
I’m sorry this column. I promise next week will be better!

Hump Day Otaku News Report — Lee Baxley
Lee covers some stuff I covered, as well as a possible Actraiser sequel! Let me be the first one to say it: if the game doesn’t have little naked cherubs that fire arrows at bad guys, then this is NO Actraiser game!

Thank God Its Thursday News Report — Bryan Berg
Even though I wasn’t required to read him this week, he still put out an awesome column. And he has X-Box Live now! All he needs is a copy of DDR, and I’ll be trouncing him every day of his life!

Reviews You Can Use

Lucard’s running the double bill this time plug-wise. Here they are:

Pokemon Channel
Onimusha Tactics
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Parting Thoughts

Okay, I’m sorry that I promised a commentary and didn’t deliver. I’ll have it done for next week, unless I come up with something even MORE brilliant. In any case, now is the time to officially announce some changes here at the 411.

As of right now, I’m officially going back to writing one news report a week. I’ll be dropping the Tuesday spot, and move 411MAX over to Fridays. Encore Extra Stage will be going on the backburner for a while, but the haikus will still be part of 411MAX. So don’t you worry about that.

As far as the Tuesday spot goes, who will be taking it over? I’m happy to announce that it’s my favorite 411Games writer…CHUCK PLATT!!!!!!!! (And you know he’s my favorite writer because of his over-HTMLed name. NO ONE gets that special treatment other than Chuck Platt!)

Platt is leaving A Thumb To The Eye behind in the upgrade, but I know he’ll do well. He’ll make you laugh, I swear it! Besides, I wouldn’t hand out the Tuesday spot to just anyone!

And that’s it! See you next Friday with a ton of stuff!

Until next week, I’m gonna take Cory Laflin’s advise and get some sleep.

Alex Williams