Gamer’s Hangover 08.09.04

Greetings everyone to the new site for video game news, reviews, and opinions on the Web: Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m the InsidePulse resident sports game expert (other than Bryan â┚¬Å”Five for Fightingâ┚¬Â Berg), engineer, 30-something, resident of Wichita, and host of the Monday news, Cory Laflin.

And for those of you who watched last nightâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s The Simpsons, you can open a bar in Kansas, you just canâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t open a liquor store on Sundays. Slight difference.

Letâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s get to it.


And Here Comes The Next Round
credit: A.P. and Yahoo.

Just in case you hadnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t heard, CNN and Fox (proving that all media whores think alike) have begun referring to the brutal bludgeoning murders of six people in Florida as â┚¬Å”The Xbox Murders,â┚¬Â due to the currently held belief that the theft of the Xbox of one of the murders was the motive behind the killings.

The more accurate story is that the murders were the culmination of events which began when one of the victims went to her grandparents house (they were on a trip to Maine) to go swimming and discovered six people, at least one of the murderers among them, squatting in the house. The alleged ringleader of the attacks, 27-year old Troy Victorino, had spent 8 of the last 11 years in prison and had prior convictions for battery, burglary, theft, auto theft, and arson and had been arrested Saturday for a probation violation. Upon kicking the squatters out of the house, 22-year old Erin Belanger (believed to be the sixth victim, but a positive identification has not been possible yet) received a threat from them that â┚¬Å”they were going to come back there and beat her with a baseball bat when she was sleeping,â┚¬Â according to her brother-in-lawâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s account.

After Victorino was arrested for battery on July 29, his stuff had apparently been boxed up at the house. When he got out and picked the stuff up, he apparently discovered that his Xbox and some of his clothes were missing. So he rounded up a posse of 18-year old accomplices, broke into Ms. Belangerâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s house, and killed the six people inside by bludgeoning them with aluminum baseball bats.

This is a horrible, horrible crime, masterminded by someone who has been a career criminal since age 15, and the last thing I want to do is lessen the magnitude of this, but I fear that THAT is just what the media is about to do by attaching the Xbox tag to the story.

The tag may be nothing more than a mnemonic, but with the current political climate in this country, this sort of association could be damaging to the industry. I know, itâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s stupid, and the talking heads are always quick to attach antisocial behavior to corporeal and usually corporate entities: video games, movies, music. But I guarantee that sometime in the next week, Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢m going to hear one of the media whores trying to make the connection between violent video games and first degree murder. The only question is who it will be. My guess is Bill Oâ┚¬â”žÂ¢Reilly, and thatâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s because I stay as far away from Bill Maher as humanly possible.

And Tomb Raiderâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s Savior Is â┚¬Â¦ A MAN, Baby!!

So youâ┚¬â”žÂ¢re Toby Gard, founder of the recently closed Confounding Factor game studio. Your companyâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s only game, Galleon hasnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t gone over too well (which is why the studio is closed). What do you do?

Fall back on what you know. Thing is, what he knows best is something most of us have only dreamed of knowing, albeit in a different sense: Lara Croft.

Toby is the creator of the Lara Croft character, made famous in the original hit game Tomb Raider and the subsequent sequels that have become decreasingly successful. Toby is going home â┚¬Â¦ actually heâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s moving to the U.S., to work as a senior designer for Crystal Dynamics, developers of the upcoming Tomb Raider VII.

The reason for hope among the TR faithful isnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t just that Toby is Laraâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s creator, but that this is the first TR game he will have worked on since the original. He had left to form Confounding Factor after the first game hit it big and spent the next seven years â┚¬Â¦ on Galleon, which may bode so well for TR fans if you think about it.

This Just In â┚¬Â¦
credit and

— THQ has agreed to continue making so-so movie-based games for Pixar now that Pixar and Disney are cutting their creative relationship. Since most movie-based games suck horribly, this story doesnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t deserve much more than this. But, just for the record, I still love the Smackdown series.

Intellivision Lives! the compilation disk of over 60 old Intellivision games, will be released for the GameCube sometime in late 2004. The game is already available for the PC, PS2, and Xbox.

— MMORPG addicts in Europe only need to wait until September 16. That is when Final Fantasy XI will ship across the pond.

— I didnâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t realize that I had ripped off The Daily Show for this section until just now. Will come up with something more original for next week.

— The Nintendo DS might be worth picking up just for Atlusâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ new game Caduceus, a surgical simulator.


Being the first day of the new site, I honestly donâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t have anybody to plug here yet.

But â┚¬Â¦

There are a couple you should read.

If you dig movies, dig Cris Muphyâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s Warped Thoughts column.

If you want to know more about the nuts and bolts of some of the more spectacular moves in professional wrestling, read (Matt Nute column, The Finish Line. Check the archives (at the bottom of the page) for most of the moves youâ┚¬â”žÂ¢ve heard of, and lot of really cool ones that you havenâ┚¬â”žÂ¢t.

Quasi-Random Thoughts

Why is it every time I watch an M. Night Shyamalan movie, I need a few days of therapy to get back to normal?

Still, â┚¬Å”Signsâ┚¬Â did have a slight problem, which Cris Murphy summed up nicely to me last night: â┚¬Å”Having water as a weakness is like having the color yellow as a weakness.â┚¬Â

I have my reasons for being critical of EA Sports games. Case in point: This weekend while playing Tiger Woods 2004, I shot a 47 at Pinehurst. 47. Thatâ┚¬â”žÂ¢s TWENTY-FIVE UNDER PAR FOR THE ROUND. I had 11 birdies, 6 eagles and a hole-in-one.

In comparison, the round of golf I shot at Pine Bay public course just outside beautiful Derby, KS on Sunday: 129 with two almost-pars and about 10 balls lost.

Possums have pouches like kangaroos. (Name that TV show)

I certainly hope Emmitt Smith sent Barry Sanders a present for his HOF induction ceremony. At least a thank-you card, although Iâ┚¬â”žÂ¢d rather see him offer up a burnt ram carcass.

Next week, more from the world of game news.

Until then, get some sleep.