Hello, good morning/evening/afternoon, and welcome to The Hitchhiker’s Guide To Video Games. I’m your host, Misha Sumra. For those of you who’ve been away for a few weeks, I’m 411Games’ very own Davey Boy Smith (token British Wind-Up Merchant). I used to do the “We Want Our Tea Back” Euro-News column, but a slight rejig in schedules has landed me Tuesday News. The report title is a result of a reader vote, after my column title was deemed “not videogame-y enough”. And so, here it is…
mumbling comes from a corner
What? Oh, Marvin. Calm down, I was just about to introduce you…
*Yeah, suuuure you were
Look, half these people probably expected to see Chuck Platt here today. We’ve got to ease them in gently.
*Of course. So you leave me out….
No! Look, just let me get on with this, and it’ll all be sorted.
*Oh, alright. I’ll give you a chance to screw things up… you can’t make things too much worse…
*AHEM* You’ll have to excuse my friend. He’s not exactly the cheeriest of souls. His name’s QX-974/VKA (but everyone calls him Marvin; it’s catchier) and he’s a Reploid refugee from the 21XX era of Mega Man. Basically, he used to be a Maverick, but he went a bit… odd… after losing a fight to Mega Man X.
*Cheating bastard. If Dr Light had left me all those upgrade capsules, it would have been a different story
Look, it’s not as if YOU’RE going to be able to shake your apathy off long enough to tell the tale is it? So let me finish.
*Sure, like these people are going to give a damn anyway. Just summarise it.
ANYWAY. Long and short of it is, he got depressed, and wound up being too miserable for Sigma and the others to cope with, so they kicked him out. After wandering for a couple of decades, he got so depressed, he shut himself down. Then a few centuries after, a group of renegade drunken Time Lords on a Cosmic Pub Crawl turned up in a hijacked TARDIS, and decided to reactivate him. He hung out with them for a few days, before he got them down, too.
*Hah! One of actually committed suicide three times before the novelty wore off…
Yes, well; They decided to dump him in a random era, which turned out to be this one. Lucky for him, a colossal geek like me found him before anyone else did. So at the moment, he lives with me, hiding from potentially unfriendly time-travellers, and has voluntered to help me with the report
*Only because it’s slightly more interesting than counting the number of molecules in a bottle of beer
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Marvin. Co-commentator and Robo-Goth.
And with that, let’s get newsworthy.
Mega Man X: The RPG
At the Capcom Press Event in Las Vegas, shots were shown of “Mega Man X: Command Mission”. This is a new RPG-style, GameCube-only title, where players will control X, Zero and Axl, and take on some evil Reploids in a turn-based system. Current talk is of a “Cross Order System”, which allows for combination attacks between the characters, and sound suspiciously like Chrono Trigger’s Dual and Triple Techs… Screenshots courtesy of cube-europe.com
Misha: Well, Marvin’s not happy that X is getting another game. But I think the title sounds promising, and I’m sure LiquidCross will have PLENTY to say on the subject…
X-Box: Everything becomes clear
Plans are afoot for Microsoft to release a new, limited-edition translucent X-Box in the UK during March, to mark th scond anniversary of the console’s launch.
Marvin: Ho hum. another cheap gimmick. It’s bound to fail, you know…
Misha: Actually, Microsoft might be on to something here. Different coloured Gamecubes haven’t hurt the sales of Nintendo’s machine, after all. If it catches people’s attention, then it’s probably good.
Best reports suggest that Fire Red and Leaf Green, the two new-generation-compatible GBA remakes of the original Pokemon games, are selling like ice-cold drinks during a heatwav. Half a million units were reportedly sold… in ONE DAY!
Misha: See? There ar at least SOME other people who are as Poke-mad as me and Lucard!
Killer 7 going multi-format
In a move that surprises exactly no-one (after all, they’ve been doing it repeatedly for months), Capcom have announced that former Gamecube-exlusive Killer 7 will be getting a PS2 release. No date has ben confirmed as yet, however it is likely that the game will be published a few months after the Cube version’s “Early 2005” relase date.
Marvin: Oh dear. Nintendo losing yet *another* exclusive… It can’t be a good sign…
Pacman Vs EA
Pacman Vs is coming! Everybody’s favourite X-Box Live holdouts Electronic Arts have picked up the gam for a PAL release. Release date is expected to be 26th March, and will be bundled with EA’s own drive-em-up R:Racing
Misha: Well, Miyamoto finally had his wish: he’s always said that Pac-Man was the one game he’d like to have made. And now he has, and we in PAL-Land get to sample the fruitsof his labours.
This week, Marvin takes the commentary spot (because he was about to commit Silicon Seppuku unless he had something to take his mind off things). So, take it away Marvin!
Some people say that there’s a meaning in everything. That nothing happens in the world that people can’t learn from. Allegedly, even the shittiest things that life throws at you can give you some long-term benefit, if only you’re willing to look for it.
In case you hadn’t noticed, I take the above comment with a Metric Ton of salt. But a thought occurs to me… If it were true, then surely video games offer lessons in life? In that train of thought, I present: Everything I Needed To Know About Life, I Learnt From Playing Video Games. Let’s see what everybody’s favourite art form/entertainment medium/contemporary subculture/waste of time can tell us about life.
1) Every Woman Wants A Hero
It’s the standard Plot Device. From Donkey Kong to Viewtiful Joe, the “Save The Woman” plot, whether she be a Princess, or the Hero’s girlfriend, or some random female in trouble, has been used to death. If video games are to be believed, the way that a man can find the woman of his dreams is to save her from Evil Forces, and after that, she’ll be his eternally-devoted True Love. Forget flowers, chocolates and wedding rings, an act of rescue will save you thousands of pounds/dollars/euros (or, indeed, millions of yen) in Relationship Expenses…
2) Good Always Wins, Eventually
At the end, after fighting past seemingly insurmountable odds, the Good Guy/Gal comes out victorious. The forces of evil stand defeated. It may have taken a few save-spots, and more than a couple of Continues, but the objective is achieved; the Great Evil Power has been beaten, His/Her/Its forces annihilated by the “L33T S|<1LLZ" of the Forces Of Goodness And Light(TM). Maybe there were some Team Goodness fatalities on the way, but their noble sacrifies were not in vain, for the objective was achieved, and everything's peachy now.
3) Nothing Is Insoluble
There’s always a way around every situation. There is no such thing as an Insoluble Problem. Give it enough time, and enough retries, eventually, the solution will be found, and the Greatest Good will be achieved in a way to put the Hedonic Calculus into positive numbers of magnitude 10^6. All it takes is persistence, deep thought, and trial and error to see you home free.
4) Not Everybody Is All Bad
Often, when sides of Good vs Evil are drawn, some good individuals wind up on the evil side, whether it be through ignorance, imcompetence, stupidity, or genuine misunderstanding of motive. They’re simply BEGGING to be redeemed and shown the error of their ways. And then they’ll fight for the Forces Of Goodness And Light(TM), even sacrificing themselves in a deeply heroic and redemptive way, if necessary.
5) Setbacks Work In Your Favour Eventually
You just had the shit hit the fan? Something just racked your Forces Of Goodness And Light(TM) to its very core? Betrayal, backstabbing, blackmail, moral dilemma? Don’t worry. All it did was further emphasise who the baddies are, which will serve your purposes anyway because it’ll give you a clearer remit to SMITE THEM HEARTILY. And the git who betrayed you will probably get redeemed back to your side somewhere along the line anyway, just when the situation is critical. Hell, they’ll probably turn out to have been working for your team, “on the inside”, all along… Or come up with some “Enemy Mind Control” excuse, at the very least…
6) You Always Get A Second Try (And A Third… And A Fourth… Ad Infinitum)
Things didn’t go your way? No matter. Try again later. Use different techniques. Talk differently. Nobody will notice. Eventually, you’ll get your desired result, and then everything will be alright. And if you botch it, try AGAIN. And again. And again. Keep trying, ’cause nobody knows you’re trying to solve the problems of an entire world by trial and error.
7) The Gods Never Listen
Deities. Ultimately, they’re a bunch of petty bastards, only concerned with furthering their own interests. Sure, they might help you for a while, let you Summon them in battle, or grant you Special Powers… In the end, you’re always going to get screwed over, because once they’re sorted, they don’t need your worthless mortal carcass any more. So they drop you like a subtitute/replacement that they signed on a free transfer. And you’re left dealing with the consequences. This is the only time Point 5 doesn’t apply, because the Gods are above the petty rules of ordinary folks… Even ordinary folks who think they’re heroes.
8) Make It To The Next Save Point, And You’ll Be OK.
Maybe things aren’t going too well. That’s OK. Just get through to the next save point, and you’ll be able to restart from there later, better equipped to deal with the crap that’s coming your way. Find one of those beauties, and you can solve every problem you’ll ever come across by switching back to the Saved State.
9) If You’re Stuck, Find A Guide. Or A Cheat.
So, you’re doing your best, but nothing’s working. So what do you do? Go find someone who’s better than you. Someone who’s solved the problems, clocked the game, and decided to write down their comprehensive guide to help other do. the same. And if you’re still having trouble, find a way to cheat. Beat the odds by breaking the rules and being underhanded. Use the methods that other people are too noble to use, for whatever reason.
10) There’s Always The Sequel
So, you failed miserably? Flushed your destiny down the toilet and screwed up the fate of the entire universe? Eh, it’s no matter. just forget about everything you made a mess of. It doesn’t matter if you ruined other people’s existences, they don’t count. Just switch off, stop caring, and wait. Eventually, the same shit will resurface again, and you can try and WIN this time, using your knowledge of how you buggered things up last time. If neccessary, you can carry on repeating the process until things work out for you.
Bitter? Cynical? Moi? Surely not…..Whatever gave you THAT idea?
More pimps than Amsterdam
Cory gets the Jimmy Hill Award for coming up with a whole weekend’s worth of gaming news AND fitting his Superbowl ananlysis in too, all without breaking a sweat or missing a step in his diet. Goooooooo Cory!
Alex Williams has more DDR info than any one person has any right to provide. And he’s been cheating like crazy, because someone’s got to be there to help. All on what was supposed to be his week off.
Lee is *YOUR* definitive 411 source for all things anime. He’s so good, he gets free stuff. And he has copious amounts of RPG news. Also, he was bang on the money about the new W32-variant worm viruses that have gotten everywhere (I get about 5 or 6 of them in a 24-hour period).
Fred is getting musical (again). He’s always worth reading, but even more so when gets into tune.
Matthew Yeager is a new face around here. But he’s making a big splash with his debut review of Mario Party 5. And instinct tells me there’s plenty more good stuff yet to come…
LiquidCross wonders about the real issues surrounding Online Gaming.
Well, that’s the news. I’m Misha, he’s Marvin, and we’re outta here.