Hump Day Otaku News Report 12.17.03

It’s another week, which means another one of these stupid columns! Yes, that’s right, it’s the column you love to hate and the column to hate to love. The one, the only, HUMP DAY OTA-


What the f*ck? The Hump Day Otaku is dead! Somebody killed it! Who killed the f*cking Otaku? Oh yea, it was me.

It’s true, it’s true. I’ve killed the Otaku. Why? Well, I’ve got another column now. In case you didn’t see, I’ve got a column over in 411Black titled Burraku Kin’youbi Anime! Every Friday, I have the latest anime news and stuff. Both columns will soon have more flair and pizazz than this one ever did. I want to make the columns more fun and interesting. So read this one, then read that one. And this outta make the guys bitching about me having anime in the column SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Oh, and I still haven’t thought of a name for the column yet, to replace the deceased otaku (no anime in the column, and that’s half the reason it was called otaku to begin with). I’m wanting something that is RPG related, preferably. So shoot me a mail with some ideas. And whoever gives me the best one will have a chance to say whatever the hell they want to in this very column! Hey, it always worked for Bebito, right?

Anyway, let’s get on with the news before I get fired or something.

Gaming News

Xenosaga Freaks and New Character Details
Last week, I talked about how Namco had trademarked two names, Xenosaga Freaks and Xenosaga Extra. Well, we now have details on what Xenosaga Freaks is all about. Apparently, it’s a disc that has a demo of Xenosaga Episode II, a database of information called Encyclopedia of Xenosaga, as well as a puzzle title called Xenopittan. While it has yet to receive a release date, it’s unlikely that the disc will ever be released in America.

Namco has also released some info on a new character featured in Xenosaga Episode 2. Well, it’s not a lot of info, but it is said that the character is a Realian named Canan. That’s all that’s known thus far.

Final Fantasy XII Character Details
Information has also come out on two characters featured in Final Fantasy XII. The first is Fran, a Viera, and the other is Balfrea, a member of the Sky Race. Both have previously been seen in screenshots that were released.

Tales of Symphonia Date Finalized
Though it had previously been given an “early 2004” release date, Namco has given the game a specific date of June 30, 2004. Though it’s sad to know we have to wait that long, it’s nice to know that it is definitely being released here. This is definitely one game that a lot of the guys here on 411Games are excited about.

Full Metal Alchemist GBA
That’s right, not only is Square Enix releasing a PS2 game based on this (still unlicensed) anime, but they are also going to make a Game Boy Advance game as well. While the PS2 game is considered an action RPG and has a completely original story, the GBA title will be more of an adventure RPG (a la Zelda?) and will combine elements from the anime and manga with an original story. Sounds good to me. I liked what I’ve seen of the manga and anime, so I hope that Squenix cranks out a couple of rockin’ titles here.

Famitsu Rates Front Mission 4 and Growlanser IV
Famitsu, the gods of video game magazines, have rated the fourth games in two different series. Square Enix’s Front Mission 4 received 32 out of 40, and Atlus’ Growlanser IV received a 31 out of 40. Both are great scores, and both look to be quality games.

Christian’s Crazy Game Releases
Keep in mind, these are ship dates and are not set in stone. Game companies LOVE to push stuff back at the last minute, so don’t blame us if it’s not right. Also, since it is a ship date, it may take several days to arrive at your favorite store, depending on what it is, so please call before rushing over to pick up a game that may or may not have arrived.

Dec 14
MS Gundam: Encounters in Space (P2)

Dec 15
Gotcha Foroce (GC)

Dec 16
Funkmaster Flex Digital Hitz Factory (P2)
Sims: Bustin’ Out (GC, P2, XB)
Ten Pin Alley 2 (GBA)

Dec 17
Peter Pan (GBA)
Metal Slug 3 (P2)

Dec 19
R-Racing Evolution (GC)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (XB)

Release dates courtesy of Christian at Game Crazy. MVP Members! Trade in a PS2, Cube or X-Box title between Christmas and New Years and receive 20% off selected new titles! Some of our hottest sellers! See your nearest Game Crazy for more details!

Christian’s Comments: Again, not much as we ramp into Christmas. The biggest is Sims: Bustin Out by far, but for those who like a little old school, Metal Slug 3 looks to be good too. Now, to digress for a second. I made a bad joke a couple of weeks ago about Pokemon Channel. After reading the review by Mr. Lucard, I have to agree with him. I am an idiot. It shows just what looking at the back of the box can do. I apologize to all, and urge everyone to read the Pokemon Channel review and to go pick up the fun looking game.

Lee’s Comments: I agree there. This is a pretty slow week, with nothing that interests me at all, with the possible exception of Metal Slug 3. And who knows, R-Racing Evolution may be a decent racing game, but I wouldn’t know.

Hump Day Commentary
Ok, since there is no anime material in this report anymore, I’m going to have to make it up with some commentary. I hope you guys don’t mind. And if you do, too bad! I’m the boss around here!! HAHAHAHA!! Ummm, sorry, I need to take my meds.

Anyway, I’m here to talk about silver lining. What is that, you say? Silver lining, for the unaware, is seeing the good in things. That’s something that a lot of us have been having problems doing as of late. I myself have been a part of rampant negativity as well. Take a look at all the bashing I’ve done lately of Square Enix. Why was I doing it? I’ll get to that in a second.

What prompted this whole thing is Liquidcross’ latest Angry Gamer and Alex Lucard’s latest Retrograding. Liquid talked about why the Final Fantasy series sucks and should be buried, and Alex talked about bandwagonism and journalistic integrity. And I realized that I’ve been bashing Square so much lately because it’s the “cool” thing to do. Everybody else is doing it, so I should to. Then I said to myself, “Fuck that shit.” I’m my own person, and I don’t need to be doing shit like that to make myself popular. I mean, it didn’t work anyway, so what’s the point.

What I’m getting at here is that I’m going to stop bashing stuff just for the sake of bashing them. I’m going to try to be more constructive in my critisism and try to look at the good in things, rather than the bad. Maybe that’s too happy shiny of me, but that’s the way I feel. I realized it the other day when I was playing a game. I was over analysing it and not having any f*cking fun. I was sitting there picking out things they could have done better, when I should have been picking out things that they did WELL. That’s how I used to be. Why did I change? Because I suck.

I remember back to the earliest days of my gaming “career” when I LOVED playing games. I would wake up early just to be able to play Zelda or Metroid. When at school, I would swap stories with my buddies about how far I was in Super Mario Bros. 3. So what happened? Did I grow up? Or did I just become an asshole? I don’t know, but I do know that I hope to become better, to not be so cynical about every game I play, and to find the good in everything. I’m sure damn near every game out there has something good about it. Even the Tomb Raiders and Resident Evils of the world have SOME part of them that is good.

I guess what prompted this of me was the relentless bashing that LC did to games that I enjoyed playing. I mean, I have nothing against him, and he’s entitled to his own opinion, but bashing a game just because it has Final Fantasy in the title seems so popular these days, and I don’t understand why. Even FFX-2. I HIGHLY doubt he even played it. And he’d probably hate it if he did, but that’s because he’d expect it to suck, and in his mind, it WOULD suck. It doesn’t matter much, because Square Enix is no longer putting all its emphasis on the FF titles. Front Mission is going to be one of their marquis titles now, with the revamp of Front Mission 1, the re-release of the first 3, Front Mission 4 and Front Mission Online. I think this is a good thing, because though I love the Final Fantasy series, I also think it’s good to have broader horizons.

Oh, and two points to make since I’m already likely pissing people off (though I doubt they read this column anyway). What is the big deal with Dragon Quest VII? I just didn’t get it, and it had nothing to do with the graphics. The story was mediocre at best, the job system, while cool, didn’t come in to play until halfway though the game, the menus were tedious and the gameplay was EXACTLY the same as the first Dragon Quest. I will admit, the casinos were a lot of fun (my wife’s favorite part, the addicted gambler she is) and the job system WAS very cool. But I just don’t understand why so many people think it’s an incredible game.

My other point is on Brian Clevinger from 8-Bit Theater. After reading his article, I’m rather confused. He seems to want role-playing games that are actual role-playing games. Fallout, System Shock 2 and Planescape: Torment are his examples of types he’s looking for. What he never mentions is that those are the standard types of RPGs for PCs, which typically either do not work well on consoles, and by and large aren’t as popular to console gamers. I’m not saying those types of games shouldn’t BE on a console, but they just haven’t been in the past, and I don’t know if that’ll change. Knights of the Old Republic is the closest so far, but it still FEELS like a console RPG to me.

I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I DO want companies to try new things once and a while. Then again, when they do, people will deride it as being crap. Look at Grand Theft Auto 3. I thought it was a fun game, and liked Vice City as well, and I didn’t get a freebie or anything. But all the cool people bash it. Yea, they were buggy, but it didn’t mean that they weren’t fun.

Ok, I’m done with this. I’ve rambled way to much. It certainly was not my intention to piss anyone off, but I probably did it anyway, so I’m sorry for doing so.

Links to the Past

Thank God It’s Thursday News Report – Bryan Berg
Berg is happy, and he wants to see your ID.

The Angry Gamer – Liquidcross
The Good/Evil that is Square.

Encore Extra Stage News Report – Alex Williams
Haikus rock. And so does he.

We Want Our Tea Back – Misha
Small column from Misha, but it was at least a column. I just thought it’d be funny if his column was titled We Want Our Teabag. There’s nothing wrong with teabagging.

Retrograding – Alex Lucard
Don’t forget his mailbag, which is KINDA like teabag.

Gamer’s Hangover News Report – Cory Laflin
Poor Cory. I worked in the bathroom too, but it was cleaning it. It was fun.

The Gamer’s Conscience – Frederick Badlissi
Fred needs your help. And would it surprise you that I didn’t really suggest Xenosaga?

Simcolumn – Ron Yip
The Yipster has returned! About f*ckin’ time!

Clap Hands, It’s News Happiness Time! – Chuck Platt
Chuck rocks. Chuck’s titles rock. But he couldn’t think of one for my column. Lee’s sad.

The reviews:
Mario and Luigi: Super Star Saga (GBA) – Alex Williams
ESPN NBA Basketball (PS2) – Ron Yip
SSX3 (Xbox) – Cory Laflin

Ok, so I know this wasn’t the best column ever, but it’s going through a transitional phase, and it didn’t help that I’m nearly comatose right now. At least it’s done and I can laugh at it later, but you can just laugh at me. So go ahead, laugh at me. Done? Ok, well, enjoy the week and read me on Friday over on the Black.