The Gamer’s Conscience 02.03.04

Ha ha! the ‘big game’!

Be it the specter of responsibly, or my utter disdain for ethnic-food shaped balls, the semi-conscious abdication of my cultural duties as a US citizen felt good. Yeah- that’s right. Rather than watching Janet Jackson get exposed via Mr. Timberlake’s slick moves, I spent my day translating Arabic paragraphs having to do with pre-Islamic tribes and the peoples of Sudan. Was it more gratifying than chillin’ with the homies a few blocks away, you might ask? Well! suffice it to say! ‘I’ve had better.’ Hee hee hee!

Regardless of the ‘big game,’ we at 411 have bigger fish to fry! Rather, more important fish- like reader letters that have been coming in since the last edition of the Conscience from you, the illustrious gamer with good taste, the 411 Reader! As the columns come and go, with hypothesis and commentary to spare, it’s always the reciprocation of thought and dialogue that keeps the flame alive. And now, time to add fuel to the fire!

Way back this past year when I fell prey to the delusion that all students do, that finals are “over” (grumble grumble indeed!), I decided to let YOU choose which game I would take down after taking down Final Fantasy VII. You see, since stuff like the madness mentioned above appears that it will forever rule my days, I couldn’t bring myself to make an educated decision on which of the 15+ unopened games to play! You, the 411 readership, were the authority, and you played your part well. And based on these answers, my faith in that authority as strong as ever:
You got a lot of good choices, but if I was you I would chose Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.
I played this game and it’s serious fun. It has alot of FMV so you might not like it. But hey, it’ll get you ready for FFVII.


Tempting- but just as I was about to grab the game that made mullets respectable again, I got this in the inbox!

If you weren’t about to play FF 7 then I would say Xenosaga, it is a very good game. But since you are about to embark on a large RPG journey anyways I would go with Devil May Cry, killing things has never been so cool or fun. Plus the story is good and the ability to shoot as fast as your finger will go is very cool.

Interesting thing of note here: of the friends I discussed this dilemma with that are too lazy to click to the Conscience, this game was the surprising favorite. I mean, yeah- parading a guy that juggles zombies with his guns across quasi-gothic fixtures is nice and all, but who ever thought it would be that damned appealing? Hell- even our own Lee Baxley agreed! At least in part!

I have a simple solution to your quandry. You needn’t select only ONE game if you have a full week to spend on it. I would normally suggest Xenosaga, but I doubt you’d win it in one week, and it’s better played all at once. Unless you postponed FFVII, which I doubt you’d do.

I propose you play Metroid Fusion first. It’s a very short game, and shouldn’t take more than 5 hours to beat. Then I would play Devil May Cry (it is DMC1, right?). It was pretty short as well, and pretty fun. Lastly, I’d play Castlevania, if you have any time left. It’s pretty fun as well, though not as fun as the others.

Well, those are my suggestions. Hope you like.


Lee, you rock. Not only because you’re good at being the 411 Anime Czar, but also because you exercise a very real rationale in your judgment. For you see, you know that I wouldn’t be able to take down Xenosaga in a week, let alone 73 of them! All valid and credible picks, man. On that note, be sure to look for Fusion as the centerpiece of a future Conscience column- I’ve got big things in store for that one.

And just when I thought DMC was going to take the lead, a nod to Samus comes on through!

Hey there,
Read your latest Conscience article, and thought it was a cool idea so I figured I’d send you a recommendation. First off, congrats on finishing school up. Second, just to put my opinion in perspective for you here’s a little background on me. Grew up playing the NES, and played all the Nintendo systems after that. I also used to play the Genesis and the Sega Saturn to a lesser degree. Owned a PS1 and a PS2 for a while. I basically love all sorts of games so I fit somewhere in between “hardcore” and “casual” (whatever that means). That means I probably don’t have an appreciation for some of the games on your
list. So I’ll stick to what I know.

I have a real soft spot in my heart for the classic Nintendo franchises. I buy, play, and typically love anything Zelda, for example. To wit, my recommendation is for Metroid Fusion. I can’t begin to describe the chills I got when I first booted up the game and ‘Nintendo Presents Metroid 4’ appears on the backdrop of space. After years without a new Metroid game, the franchise is back in a big way. I’m not sure if you’ve played Metroid Prime, but regardless of your feelings towards it do not let that sway your opinion on Fusion. Fusion is classic Metroid all the way. It plays and feels a lot like Super Metroid.

The atmosphere is terrific. Fantastic graphics (easy to see on a standard GBA which is a plus), and the sound is wonderful as well. It really sucks you in. The controls are very responsive, and controlling Samus is a breeze. There are lots of the usual power-ups to collect, plenty of hidden spots to explore, and many fun boss battles to get through.

Probably the best part about this game is the SA-X. It’s basically a Samus ‘clone’ who you encounter from time to time throughout the game. While you have little to no weaponry at the outset, the SA-X is fully equipped. Entering a room and hearing only the SA-X’s footsteps is a sure ‘Oh Shit’ inducing moment. As you progress, you become more powerful to be sure, but you’re still no match for the SA-X. Really great stuff, and a fantastic addition to the series.

Now a few caveats (after all my gushing). The game is short. It probably won’t take you too long to play through. Also, there is a computer system that you talk to frequently throughout the game who basically tells you where to go and what to do next. Depending on your Metroid background this may be a turn off. Some people claim that it’s a deterrant and makes Fusion more linear than the other games in the Series.

Honestly, those are the only two things I can find ‘fault’ in with Fusion. The game is a blast while it lasts, and I certainly didn’t mind the computer helping along. There are plenty of areas it doesn’t mention or know about. All in all it’s a terrific addition to the series; good story, nice cameo at the end from Metroid II, classic Metroid gameplay, lots of Alien-esque mood and atmosphere. Metroid Fusion is hands down my recommendation to you!

Take care,

Aaron, you’re a thorough cat- and I salute you for it. I too have got a soft spot for the Nintendo franchises, as it appears we’ve grown up on the same games- love that Zelda, I do And Super Metroid is a game I’ve got lots of fond feelings for. One particular thing you mention, and I still haven’t had the chance to see it, is the start-up of Fusion detailing ‘Metroid 4.’ Man, I can’t help but reading in an old issue of Nintendo Power that they were going to keep the Metriod series a trilogy, but feature Samus in new arenas. My guess is that marketing stepped into a board meeting with some loaded firearms in tow and said “resurrect those ‘troids or we’ll shoot!” The computer won’t be a nuisance at all- for despite liking a good challenge, I wouldn’t shy away some mild help when it’s offered.

Then there’s the more direct approach!

Devil May Cry, easy. Then find someone who’ll buy Onimusha 2 from you so you can get your ten bucks back ;-)

Harsh, Matt. Harsh! Onimusha 2 can’t be that bad! Can it?

Well, as prophesized earlier in the prior column and other columns past, I had my heart set on Legacy of Kain: Defiance. No, that was an understatement. I looked forward to playing the latest installment of the series probably more so than having the opportunity to travel back in time and catch Alice In Chains play a live set either in Seattle or Japan. So when I ripped the thing open and got 8 chapters into the saga, I was pissed to high hell when A COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY AND CARELESS BUG NEARLY DERAILED MY GAMING NIRVANA!!!! Arrrrrrrrrrrgh. Well, at least one of you concurred:

With regards to Eidos, they are getting very bad at this kind of thing. Arguably the two biggest games releases of last year in the UK, Tomb Raider and Championship Manager 4, were released with an incredible number of bugs. I remember someone describing the official CM4 message boards as ‘comparable to the Battle of The Somme’ due to the sheer number of people who were having issuses.


Al can’t stand sloppy work, and neither can I. Hell- rather than Eidos putting something on the front of their website, confessing their mistake and perhaps showing some noble remorse, they bury the solution DEEP WITHIN THE LEGACY OF KAIN: DEFIANCE FORUMS (which I would have linked to the forums themselves, but they’re down at the time of this writing- just follow that link). Turns out that the whole thing is related to a defragmenter issue on the X-Box itself. That is, when you save on the same file over and over again, you can corrupt the file itself. Well, Eidos, don’t you think you should have looked into that a little BEFOREHAND?!?!?!?

Boils the blood just typing about it.

After the trauma experienced at the hands of some ineptitude, I decided to focus my energies into playfully pondering the question of social titles and deviant affairs in the Pac-Man universe. Ya know, I thought I had fun writing the thing. But the feedback, which is still coming in, assures me that you guys got as much of a kick out of it as I did. Some feedback was rather informative!

I don’t know why I feel the deep need to let you in on this, but… as told in Steven Kent’s _Ultimate History Of Video Games_, Ms. Pac-Man was originally named Pac-Woman, and was so called almost until the game’s release, when, for reasons the programmers couldn’t understand, some in the company started arguing that the name was sexist. So Pac-Woman became Miss Pac-Man, until someone realized that the scene you mentioned would seem to be encouraging premarital sex to impressionable youth or
something, and at pretty much the last minute they went with the nice-n’-indeterminate “Ms.” Remember that the reason some women go by this title is so they don’t have to define themselves right away by whether or not they’re married.

!and pensive!

“Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man are brother and sister”? Good thing you haven’t
seen Act Three yet…
(Actually, I know people who use “Ms.” followed by their husband’s name.)

(“In my day”, while I was attending a certain different UC campus that
switched from quarters back to semesters in 1983, playing Ms. Pac-Man meant
doing it 25 cents at a time, and the most often heard phrase was some
variation of “well, that pattern didn’t work” – mainly because, unlike its
predecessor, Mrs PM had a randomizer of some sort.)

!rather serious!

Hi Friend,

For your edification, “Ms.” is a title used by modern women who don’t want their term of address to be determined by their marital status. See Ms. Magazine. “Miss” is the title of address for unmarried women. So, the “Ms.” does not necessarily indicate that Ms. Pac-Man’s maiden name was Pac-Man.


!and increasingly so!

While I’m aware of the intended humour of your recent article about Ms. Pac-Man and her “incestual” relationship with Pac-Man, I’d like to clarify something which you assumed:

Ms. is the same as Miss

It has long been my understanding that Ms. was meant to be an equivolent to Mr., as in the fact that it does not denote if a person is married or not.

There are three different ways to address a woman; Miss, Ms., and Mrs. Miss denotes an unmarried woman, Mrs. denotes a married woman, and Ms. is simply a title which denotes a woman is a woman.

Maybe they instructed me incorrectly in elementry school, but that’s my understanding of it.

Just figured you could add that concept to your thoughts.

!but in the end, just as curious about the breakdown as I was:

I was reading your column and i must say something; You’re making the same
mistake twice. Just as you assumed that Pac-Man & Ms. Pac-Man were hitched,
you assumed she was making babies with Pac-Man. I mean there has got to be
more than just those 2 Pacs. I HAS been proven in more recent Pac-Man games
(Pac-Man World 2) that thre are other Pacs. I mean for al we know she could
be “sharing dots” with Pac-Dude or The Pacmaster. Though I’m sure that her
mama told her not to date guys whose first name is “The”, but I’m getting
off topic. Just consider this theory, aight?

Later, Dude.

Consider it done, holmes. All is well indeed.

Sadly there was nary a byte of feedback from the gaming soundtrack piece. However, if you’re looking for a decent discussion about nostalgia of the gaming soundtrack across generations, then I invite you to click the link above. The water is indeed fine.

Now, pertinent to the ONE GAME column mentioned in detail above, I received another e-mail from Aaron, who was wondering about the progress of the column itself:

Just wondering if you were still planning on doing a column about the “one game” as a follow up to the one you ran in December? I remember you posted several games for readers to send in their thoughts on and you’d pick one to play before starting FFVII. Sorry to bug you, just curious. Hopefully I didn’t miss a column. Keep up the good work!

Take care,

Aaron, don’t think for a second you’re bugging me! Your curiosity on the subject is both welcome and warranted. I appreciate the kind words, man. And no, you didn’t miss a column at all. But let me elaborate on why!

This previous winter break was somewhat of an enigma. It was a break, true, but lots of unforeseen stuff had gone down during it’s progression. And in the course of that progression, (personal stuff, limited academic stuff, etc) I nary had time to pick up the game that was voted on. In that respect, I feel guilty for letting ya down. As a columnist and as a gamer of his word, I should have had something come right off the bat as soon as the break closed up.

However, I’ve not forgotten about it at all. Sometime in the near future, God willing sooner than later, Final Fantasy VII and Metroid Fusion will get their just props and respect in columns to come, filled to the brim with what you’ve come to expect from the Conscience. It’s just taken a little bit longer of a time than I had anticipated. Rest assured though, it will be done. All I ask is that in the meantime, you stick along for the ride.

Remember- keep up the conscious gaming, and question everything behind the code! Heck- and after the 55 dollars go though, I’m almost certain I can prove that there’s some kind of link between SNK’s Samurai Shodown 3 and Iraq. I mean, come on! they’ve both got their own notable aspects, both named Basara! ;)

Keeping the wheels of thought turning as the thumbs keep pressing – that’s the Gamer’s Conscience.

And another one bites the dust! But don’t fret! Just like Freddie Mercury, this week at 411 Games will come correct with the news and commentary you’ve come to expect from the Kliq- the Champions, if you will (and how else was I going to make that Queen reference work?!?!?). Feedback on a mailbag? Yeah, I remain optimistic.

So until the next time!