Gaming Zen- 6/8/05

Welcome one and all to the first ever, hopefully weekly, Gaming Zen report. I’m Tom Pandich, the slightly bitter yet lovable newsboard reporter, occasional reviewer, and general IP whore. This column will look at all of the aspects of games, pop culture, and dare I say, life!?! So let’s begin.

Microsoft likes it in the back (only sometimes)

The big news of the week is the update on how the Xbox 360 will be backwards compatible with single-layered Xbox games out of the box and some of the more popular multi-layered games with a patch. There’s a lot of good and some potential bad.

The good first. Microsoft cares it seems and isn’t blind to the requests of gamers. Even if the Xbox 360 has only some degree of backwards compatibility out of the box, it has something. Back when the PS2 came out, I was quite down on backwards compatibility since pretty much everyone buying a PS2 owned a PSX or PS1. Of course, I missed the point that it was really frigging nice to have all your systems in one convenient package. Additionally, it allows the eventual claim that “we will support the Xbox in 06” to hold a decent amount of water, especially if a game like Madden 06 doesn’t hit the neXt Box come Fall.

There is some bad though. One has got to wonder how Microsoft will deal with the issue of patching their multi-layered games. Issue #1 is will it be free? For a game like Halo 2 or GTA: SA, I’d think so, but perhaps not for less popular multilayered games. It’ll be a pain in the ass if the micropayment system comes to a game like Midnight Club 3 or DOA: Xtreme Beach Volleyball. The other potential issue is how big will the patches end up being. If you’ve got an Xbox 360 with a hard drive, it won’t be a problem, but if it doesn’t then you’ve got a memory card issue on your hand. Ok, so Microsoft has probably considered this, but still, it’s another question that we don’t have an answer to yet. As always, time will tell.

Going to the movies this weekend? Yes, yes you are…

If you are, for the love of all that is good, go see High Tension. It is by far the best horror movie I have seen in years. Even edited and dubbed, it is worth seeing. Run, don’t walk to see this movie if you like “scary movies”. It is brutal, it is unforgiving, and it is strangely beautiful. I really don’t want to say anymore but this movie will have you squirming in your chair. Go spend your money on it as the Frenchies show us how to make a horror movie. McCullar agrees saying that it is the best slasher movie since Scream. Agreed, 100%. He says its only a 9 though and I say the uncut version of the film I saw is easily a 10. I’ve seen 100s of horror movies, and this is on my top five favorite horror movies of all time. Seriously, f*ck J-Lo and Brad this weekend, and put Howl’s Moving Castle in the back seat with the kids with the windows up. See this damn movie.

Speaking of horror films… CONTEST

On the whole Top 5 Movies of the summer thing that we did in movies a month or so ago, Haute Tension was #2 on my list (as an FYI, Howl was #4 you crazy anime obsessed bastards). #1 was Land of the Dead, George Romero’s return to the zombie film. I’m driving to New York to see this early (I live in Daytona Beach FL as another FYI), and the fine folks at Universal have given me some swag to give away. I’ve got a poster, a hat, and a t-shirt to give out so let’s have a little zombie quiz to give these out. First three people to get these questions in to me with the correct answers wins with the first of the three getting their choice of the swag.

The Great American Zombie Quiz

1. George Romero is only one of seven directors to touch the Dead franchise in some way. Name four of the other six that have made films directly related (as either a remake, sequel, or prequel) to the Dead trilogy or acted in shaping one of Romero’s “dead” films by creating their own cut of one of his films. Extra points if you don’t go for the obvious answers, and just so you know, I’m not counting any directors from the Return of the Living Dead series of films. They were all based around the premise that Romero told the story of the living dead wrong.

2. The first three Dead movies were shot primarily in Pennsylvania, where was Land of the Dead shot?

3. What band scored the majority of the soundtrack for the original Dawn of the Dead?

4. Romero’s zombies eat living flesh, not brains. What film brought about the concept of zombies wanting to eat brains?

5. George Romeo isn’t the only director to make a zombie film. Name a zombie film directed by Wes Craven, Peter Jackson, and John Carpenter. Ok so John Carpenter’s film(s) is closer to a ghost film then a zombie film, but whatever, deal with it.

6. What is the religion that brought about the whole popular concept of zombies (of which I happen to practice a bit)?

7. If you were to be walking around and you ended up in the Forest of Resurrection, you’d be in what Japanese zombie film?

8. What 2004 comedy references Night of the Living Dead with the line “We’re coming to get you Barbra”?

9. There have been three video game movies prominantly featuring zombies. Name all three of them.

10. Finally, contrary to popular belief, 28 Days Later was not a “zombie” movie as the victims in that film were infected with “something”. What was the goofy name of the “something” that 28 Days Later says that its monster are infected with.

I’ll post the winners names here as I get them so keep checking this column to see if your name was one of them. Send your answers to final with the subject line “Zombie Contest”.

Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum

Remember the Dreamcast? I do. Good system, but you know there was a problem with it. Well besides the whole crushing marketing machine that is Sony. It was perhaps the easiest system in the world to pirate for. Sony has decided to fight this with the PSP, which is not only quite the powerful gaming system, but it also is an affordable portable video player. Well shit, pirates are eating this thing alive. Misha reported how the games are quickly becoming pirated, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. GBA games are on the PSP. PS1 games will probably soon be on the PSP if they aren’t already. The UMD format has been hacked and broken. Sony will sell a lot of PSPs because of this, but their software sales will suffer and it almost a given that the UMD format for movies will become obsolete and impractical by mid 06 at latest. If Sony decides to stay in the whole handheld market, they will have to go back to the drawing board probably before the end of the PSP’s lifecycle. Expect serious changes for the inevitable redesign of the PSP, and expect Nintendo to overcompensate when the Game Boy Super Advanced comes out next winter.

The Game of the Week

I have not played any of the games out this week yet nor do I plan to. I hate video games!!1111111 Still, I’ll try to pick what game sounds the most interesting this week. Misha’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to Game Releases is where I get my game list. If it’s wrong blame him.

The game of the week is *drumroll* Grand Theft Auto: San Andres for the XBox!!!

Fine I’m a dirty lying cocksucker. I’ve played GTA:SA, and I like it, a lot. Sure, I’m a racist because I like 80s music more then the height of gangster rap, but I can still appreciate running over a Latino, Black, Asian, or even White hooker with my jeep. Our colors may be different but all blood is red. Plus, I can always turn on subtitles to understand what you crazy (Canadians) are saying.


Well it’s been fun. Next week is Batman week at Inside Pulse, and wouldn’t you know it. I write a Wednesday column and Batman comes out on Wednesday. I’m your source for Bat nipples and George Clooney’s hot latexy ass. Mmm. Oh yeah, expect an ode to Christian Bale too, an actor who has played both Batman and Jesus. Ok, rather than an ode, let’s just have a good old fashion rumble. Batman versus Jesus, who wins? E-mail me your responses, and I’ll print your e-mail because, shit I’m desperate for content. Later gators.