Let’s see if anyone catches that Pop Culture reference.

Busy week for HBK. I’ve got Curse, Beyond Good and Evil, I-Ninja, and Arx Fatalis all to review over the next coming weeks. I’m exceptionally addicted to Morrowind after playing it for the first time this Christmas, and have managed to turn my roommate into a Pokemon Pinball and Princess Maker 2 addict supreme. So it’s been a good week. And thanks to the dozen or so of you that emailed me since Monday night saying I should be the WWE champion and was screwed. I always enjoy getting those.

Update for you: My plan was to kick off my one year with a redoing of my top ten RPG franchises, but gearing it towards Hardcore gamers instead of an intro primer for casual gamers. But it’s become a hassle with trying to track down every game in the series and doing mini reviews on them. DO you KNOW how many SSI D&D games there are? Or Megaten games? It’s 85 pages long at this point and I may just move the entire feature to a book if I cam get Margaret McBride to bite on that instead of a redux of old RG columns.

Instead I think I’ll be taking a look at my ten favorite RPG’s of all time. Single games. Ones that don’t have loving families like Koudelka or Guardian Heroes or Valkyrie Profile. And get Kliq members who have played the games to include their two cents as well. Right now it’s sadly about what I should give away for free vs. what people would pay to read. And the redux RPG franchise thing is so long and informative and hopefully will have a lot of stuff from the creators that well…maybe this should be the book. After all, I have a problem with people buying what they can find on 411mania for free.

But I digress. Let’s hit your mail. It’s a short bag this week and more for fun than anything else.

Geez Alex. Can you believe Chris rejected this? I don’t see anything wrong with it, do you?

Hi kids! As you know, 411 Games has totally and completely sold out to Microsoft! That’s right, we’ve sold our soul to the devil himself, and apparently we couldn’t be happier about it! *thumbs up, smile with teeth showing* During this entire holiday season we’ll be shamelessly shilling the virtues of the XBox, and more accurately XBox Live online gaming. What does this mean for you, the discerning reader, other than tons of Microsoft related propaganda bleeding from our main page? Well you get to participate in the four weeks running 411Mania/Xbox Live Holiday Giveaway! Wooohooo!

So far we’ve given away tons of copies of Top Spin, Crimson Skies, and Magic The Gathering: Battlegrounds. If you haven’t won thus far… then you apparently suck. Those were some EASY contests we were throwing at you people. My freaking MONKEY won a copy of Magic The Gathering: Battlegrounds. I mean, for that last one all you had to do was fill out a form detailing your opinions on 411 Games and some of you twits couldn’t even do that right! Obviously, I’m going to have to dummy down this next one if any of our slower hillbilillish readers (majority of you) have a shot at winning. And you DO want to win this one because this week we’re giving away Project Gotham Racing 2.

If you want it, all you have to do is…

“Guess The #1 SegaCD To Give Some Sweet, Sweet, Lovin’!”

Ok. This is the easiest contest I could think of. Work with me here people. Up on 411 Games right now, even as you read this is the latest four-part 411 Mania Acclaimed Special, Give The SegaCD Some Sweet, Sweet Lovin’. We’ve gone all retrogaming on you guys this week, as the entire 411 Games staff is counting down what we feel are the top ten games to wax some nostalgia on the SegaCD. You can check out the first part HERE. Your mission is simple. Guess what the number one SegaCD is BEFORE we finish the feature this coming Friday and mail it in to Everyone who gets it right wins Project Gotham Racing 2 until we run out of copies going in order of entry.

Here’s the thing though, sure… if you’re confident you could email your answer in right now. But if you wait throughout the week as the feature progresses we’ll reveal more games on the list, and the field gets narrowed down! Part One is today, with games #10 – #8. Tuesday we’ll reveal #7 – #5. Wednesday #4 – #2. And on Thursday we’ll let you rest to get your final thoughts in, because that’s the contest cut-off date. No entries will be taken after 12/11 because the final part of the feature is on 12/12. Thus if you wait you’ll have a higher chance at accurately guessing the top SegaCD. But guessing correctly EARLY is the key, because you might miss out on the boat completely if we run out of copies by then (we have a limited supply). And since there’s only one guess per contestant, there are no second chances. Devilish. ;)

Yes, yes, yes. I know what you’re thinking. What the hell does guessing a SegaCD game have anything to do with Xbox Live? Absolutely nothing. We’re making this stuff up as we go along kids. But if it’s any consolation, Project Gotham Racing 2 for the Xbox kicks all kinds of ass. So ignore the inconsistencies and again, enter the contest at by 12/11 with the correct #1 SegaCD, and you may just win. Winners will be notified early next week. Have fun!
Cue Puff Daddy…

It’s Good To Play Together.

-Kevin “Bebito Jackson isn’t my real name, but then at least I’d don’t have two handles that people know me by, MR. HICKENBOTTOM” Nash

This is what it’s like via email for at 411games here people. Pity Pankonin and Widro.

i know you got a neo, so you prolly dont care, but this means that metal
slug 3, chaos, and sam showdown 5 are all gonna have no blood on ps2 and
thats gonna suck ass.

hell i hope they don’t release them in america cause its garbage without the
damn blood.

what the hell is snk’s problem?


Mike and I had a HUGE discussion about this that went into a dozen emails. And my reasoning is

1) I’ve got them on my MVS so I don’t care because I am TRUE NEO GEO FAN NUMBAH ONE!

2) Jesus Christ people, a while ago SNK was dead and buried and Capcom was going to butcher the KoF titles. Can’t you be f*cking happy SNK is back and gave you TWO KoF games for the price of one? Who cares about blood? The engine is fine! Iori, Terry, Mai, Yuri, and the gang are untouched. It’s just blood. Jesus. How can so many people get so worke dup over blood and call the game unpure because of that? SVC: MOTM on the NGPC had no blood un English mode and it’s STILL the best fighting game ever made.

I thought I’d show more of Mike’s emails just to show you how psychotic SNK fans can get. Hell hath no fury like a scary Neo Geo Fan scorned.

you should know better than anyone else that us hardcore fans go crazy when
things are changed from jap versions (just look at the SOnic CD thing in the
sega cd article you have now when peopl ewere very angry over the changed

im talking to ben herman (head of snk usa) right now and he had no idea the
japanese version even had blood or the other things that are censored.

i LOVE these games man, but i also want the real version

I should point out Ben will be talking with me in a few weeks about SNK and this whole drama filled wackiness. As well Mike and tried to figure out how this could happen as the KoF games are not MVS ports at all. And because Agetec edited the blood out of the KoF games they brought over as well.

One more BTW…

Dude, i just wanted to show you something you might find interesting

the ps2 censorship thread has over 14,000 views since slashdot linked it.

that means that at least 9000-10,000 different people wanted to know why the game was censored.

what do you think about it, and did you ever get a response from that idiot ben herman?

also, are you angry that the Samaurai SHodown 5/0 AES cart wasn’t translated
in english?

Scary, isn’t it folks? Instead of 10K people saying KoF for less than 200$ on a ten year old system that only Alexander Lucard is crazy enough to own 40+ games for’ they say “Where is the blood?” Right there I think sums up my big ass problem with American gamers and their obsession with violence like GTA and Manhunt and other games that are middling at best but get A+, 10/10, THIS GAME ROCKS, comments because of blood and hookers. Here’s a hint people: Golgo 13 for the NES. There is your GTA before there was GTA. And it’s SO. MUCH. BETTER.

And I love my SS 0 cart. Love it to bits. And I know Fred wants it. But it is MINE. MINE!

BTW SNK fans, write to Pankonin and demand SNK reviews on 411. I can’t do them without your support!

Like I said, I’ll talk with Ben about this and put it up in a future Retograding. But the bottom line is that I am ASHAMED to be associated with Neo Geo fans right now for their whining and bitching and moaning right now. Play the game and love the game. Lack of blood is a minor point at best.

Remember this?

psychotic, psychotic
put your knife all over my body


Yeesh. Sadly I do know what she’s talking about. But it’s not Retrograding related. See kids at home, being the Icon, the Showstoppa, the Main Eventah, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Goth Chicks? Sheesh…

Hi Again Alex;
I don’t think you’re talking to a decent sized chunk of your fanbase. I don’t consider myself a gamer, hardcore or otherwise, playing games is just something I do with my free time when I have any. My girlfriend reads your articles in much the same way. I know I can’t speak for everyone, but when you write something I know a friend will enjoy I send it to them. These are adults with lives and things to do, but when you talk about River City Ransom, there are alot of people who loved it and read it even if they didn’t give two shits about current gaming. Thats the reason I trust you so much with current games I haven’t played (which I usually don’t buy, though my enthusiasm for the concept behind Shin Megami Tensei games led my girlfriend to get me Demikids), the old stuff you like is from when I was a hardcore gamer, and your taste parallels alot of older former gamers. Besides, you write so well that even if you aren’t discussing the old 8 bit X-Men game, its usually worth the time to read. Sorry for the rant, just wanted to give you another perspective on some of your readership. By the way, where else do you freelance? Thanks, as always, for listenning. Oh, and any chance of that top 10 rpg’s for hardcore gamers you said you’d write for your one year anniversary? (a bit greedy, I know, but I had to ask)


Covered the commentary on the Top Ten List at the beginning of this column.

As for where I freelance? Truth be told, I’m not necessarily comfortable mixing my non video game audience with my Vg based one. Hope that’s cool.

Odd that in the past few weeks a lot of people have wanted to see my non RG stuff. If you want the VC old issues, you’re going to have find collectors or go to Disney Corp, as the latter owns the rights to all the back issues thanks to their generously hosting the site for free. Hey, I was young and it’s never been about the money. Just remember, if you want the most complete collection of occult and folklore articles in the English language, it’s in the hands of Mickey and Gizmoduck.

Other places you can find my work are within Chaosium, Eden Studios, and the unpublished Transformers RPG WoTC had me work on can be found online in various places. But usually it’s the twenty page demo game. Not the whole collected thing.

As for a lot of my political Essays, literary criticism and the like…you’ll have to do some research of your own. One Article I’ll be happy to point you towards is on by Professors Matt Senior and Troy Buckman’s invention of a new style of Literary Criticism which was developed and styled after my own unique way of writing. Only 21 and I had already had an entire form of critiquing works of literature created after me. Now that’s just f*cking cool.

Hey Alex, not sure if you remember me or not from ITSC. But I was writting
to see if you could pass on a request for me. I’ve been doing some work
for a small local Indy in Charlotte called ACW All Star Championship
Wrestling. I was wondering what we would have to do to get a spot on the
indies update on 411 werstling page. We run a show once a month the last
show was this saturday the next show is Jan 24. Let me know if I need to
e-mail widro or Ashish. If they need someone to give them result I can to
that after we take the ring down and I get home. THanks!

BTW- Picking up some Lovecraft for christmas hope he is as good as you say.
Just to return the favor you should check out Chronicles of Tao by Ding
Ming Doa, its a great story!

BTW 2- ITSC board is extremly slow now a days. Its Too bad I miss everyone
that left. I barely post anymore myself, not really worth the time
anymore. Its weird getting in the business has giving me a whole different
outlook on things. Scary and fun at the same time. Anyway thanks for any
help agian. Later!

Wu-Fei/Erik C.

Well, I promised that if it wouldn’t get posted in the Wrasslin’ section. I’d post it here to give an old friends props. What can I say? Indy wrestling still rocks.

And of course ITSC sucks wang. They screwed themselves royally. At the peak of ITSC, actually guys from WCW, WWE, and ECW would go there. Some under their real name. Some under pseudonyms. Not me of course. I’m Alexander Lucard, NOT Shawn Michaels. No matter what Big Daddy Cool tries to insinuate along with a grass roots conspiracy theory taking form. OR AMI? BUM BUM BUM!

But anyways, when a site gets pretentious and tries to work their own readers with stupidity upon stupidity? Well, then you have the broken shell of something that used to be great and now serves only as an object lesson on what NOT to do. Like Verne Gagne.

And now a letter from Lee’s shill at Game Crazy

Look at me, all full up in my bad self…

Arrogance kinda kicked in there, and I ain’t talkin’ Rick Martel…

No, I made a joke about laughing when someone wants Pokemon Channel.
And to focus on the Retrograding aspact, I use it because you seemed
fair and impartial about the game. You detailed its pluses and
minuses. So that’s why I used it…

In regards to gaming journalism, I refuse to take into account any
reviews from Game Informer. They will completely savage a game in
their writeups, but then give the game a 7. 7 is above average, and
you just told me why I shouldn’t buy this game! There needs to be
balance in a review, and the reviewing format at 411games helps promote
that so that no one aspect (no matter how bad) does not bring down an
entire game.

Anyway, I thought I’d send off a short note explaining that Channel

Have a good Christmas…

Just including this because Chuck, Bebito, and I have been contacted over the past year by Game Informer. Could you imagine if three of the Kliq had moved there?

And I’m glad everyone loves the reviewing system so much. Because it makes my ego EVEN BIGGER! MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

STILL getting emails about the Sega CD feature BTW. I think it was our most popular thing we’ve done at 411 yet. How insane is that?

Very entertaining article that brings back a lot of memories of the Sega CD. Snatcher better be #1!

Snatcher didn’t even make the list. Sorry. Only LiquidCross seemed to have a hardon for that game.

Hey there. My name is Mark Hudak from Halifax Nova Scotia Canada. Been reading your articles on 411 for the last year (been reading 411 for what seems like forever, 98 i think) and your article is always the first one i go for. Just wanted to congratulate you on a job well done.

Also, you mentioned your published? i did not know this. maybe you mentioned before and it pop right over my head. Well anyways the last 6 months i have been back on my reading habit (constantly reading book in my spare time, 2 or 3 books on the go at the same time) after a year or more of not doing much of it. What is the name of your book. i would like to pick it up and throw it in the pile. I realize i might like it, i might not. I am the kinda person who thurst for knowledge and enjoys trying to read something about everything.

Thanks man and keep up the great work.

Yep. My first book (actually a graphic novel) was picked up by Eden Studios in Fall 2000. I’ve covered the history of every occultist/goth/folklorist/vampire freak’s favorite nonfiction creation of mine enough since October to not repeat myself. Tons of papers and essays in assorted magazines, journals, and publications too. Verily, I am the Fraser Crane of 411Mania. And of course the upcoming RG book which I might just be overhauling and switching gears with, even if I can hear publishers and agents moaning in anger at me already. Suck it up fan boys…


NO way SEGA CD #1





Lol. All a matter of taste. I’d still prefer Dark Wizard myself but it was a Kliq decision. ;-)


I don’t usually send feedback after reading a column but after reading your piece on the Sega CD (in France, we called it the Mega CD since the Genesis was called MegaDrive), I felt like i had to write to congratulate you and everybody involved with this great column. I am a retro-gamer and I like that kind of subjects. You should do the same thing with the 32X or the Saturn (damn, I would have loved to play Saturn Shenmue) or in fact, any other console (I own 20 console, so I know my stuff).
Keep up the great work.

PS: I am French and I don’t hate America !

See, all around the world, the Kliq gets the respect it deserves.

A 32X list of great games huh? Damn…now that done be a challenge boy. As for the Saturn, it would have to feature SOTN: GOOD VERSION, Guardian Heroes, Shining Force 3, PDS, Dragon Force, and Sakura Taisen for me not to kill things. Can you imagine my write up on SOTN? Now that’s a lawyer involvement if ever there was one. ;-)

Hi Alex. I really enjoyed this series of columns on the Sega CD. I had a
friend who had this game, and we used to play it all the time.

I entered the contest and answered correctly. Should I assume that I didn’t
win if I haven’t heard anything?

Just curious,
Mark Whelan

If it’s good…like the Sega CD article. It’s because of me and my greatness. And usually Bebito’s. If it sucks, like not getting responses out to contest winners, it’s Pankonin and Widro. :-)

I’d have to say I completely agree with you.
I’m a HUGE pokemaniac and I’m exited about getting the game for Christmas. I’m doing research on it, and everybody says it sucks. They rate it 5.0 or lower. It’s sad. Desperately I try and look for a site with something good to say. I found your site, and I near jumped out of my seat. I’m going to start looking here before anywhere else. You seem to actually have the experience, where they seem like they don’t know a thing. Afterall, someone who’s not deeply involved in pokemon might not like it anyways.


Chicks dig the Pokemon. And chicks dig Alex. I had more girl gamers write in about my Pokemon review than I think I think any of the Kliq members has ever had. Unless you count Cory thinking Misha was a hot chick.

And as NoA let me know on Monday, when it comes to their favorite Pokemaniac, it’s gotta be HBK. After all, I’ve got Jirachi and a certain other Psychic Pokemon that shouldn’t be on my PokeRuby cart now and you don’t. Pika Pika! Great time to thank the Big N for the huge Pokemon package they sent me. Because if I’m going to suck up to any company for any reason, it’s going to involve PIKACHU.

Because I like picking on you…

“And on Dec 17, 2003…my first column went up”

Youve only been writing for about 2 weeks????



Usually I have an EDITOR to fix my typos. Sheesh. Hello! Paid International author here. Again, blame Pankonin for any typos you find in Retrograding. Not the fact I’m too lazy to edit my shit.

And I won’t make the joke about Nash letters as I think it’s been done once this column already.

And there we go. Another ten pages of your letters. And I’m off to get ready for New Years by wearing clothing made out of unusual fabrics. Trust me gang, PVC is warm and comfy on a MN winter’s eve.

-HBK out.