Gaming Zen (8/24/05)

Greetings all. I’m Tom Pandich and you haven’t seen this column in, oh let’s call it six weeks. I’ve been in a million and one moods and figured that it’ll be a good time to start writing columns again considering that the semester has started and my Mondays and Wednesdays are brutal. They start at 10 a.m. and end at 8:45 p.m., and between those two times, I’ve got a good an hour and a half of not being in class. That’s what I get for taking 18 credit hours in two days. There’s lots to cover this week, so let’s get too it.

Who doesn’t love a $400 launch price?

The big news of the past week or so has been that the Xbox 360 has been announced for $300 for a base unit and $400 for the hard drive package. Besides the hard drive, the HD hook-ups, a wireless headset, and a wireless controller rather then a wired controller. It’s not a bad package if I do say so myself, and I can see why there’s a price jump. Granted, the base unit is probably a bit too rich for a few gamers, especially when the backwards compatibility will probably be a hard drive only thing (with the exception of Halo 2).

The story that is kind of lost in the shuffle is the pricing of Microsoft’s controllers. The wired controller will cost $40 and the wireless will be $50 in case you missed that. What’s even more upsetting is the fact that Microsoft is charging anyone to put out any sort of 3rd party peripheral. We’re look at controllers running around 30 bucks at very least, and those will be crap. This is really a bit of bad will on Microsoft’s part.

What all of this boils down to though is one game and an extra controller will put you over $500 before tax if you pick up the HD pack, which is too much to spend on video games period, even at a launch, and even if the Xbox 360 can do a million other non-video game things. I just don’t see the majority of gamers picking up the 360 HD pack without some sort of game included, even if it is a rehash of something like Halo 2 with slightly prettier graphics (as was rumored some time back).

$100 for a system I already own? Where do I sign?!?

Ugh. In another bit of stupidity, Nintendo has put the Game Boy Micro price at $100. Where as there was a need for the SP over the GBA because of brightness issues, there is absolutely no need for the Game Boy Micro. The GBA probably won’t see another great game, and the Nintendo DS is just $30 more. The only way this could possibly make sense is if Nintendo decides to do a very limited release in the United States and focus the launch of the GBM in Japan. The Japanese appreciate a super small, super compact, super customizable gadget, where as Americans appreciate value, power, and price. The SP can be picked up at one of the big retailers for $80 usually with a couple of games (good ones too). This just seems like an incredibly dumb move on Nintendo’s part.

Speaking of dumb Nintendo moves…

This week in releases we’ve got five major Nintendo DS releases (Pac n Roll, Advanced Wars, and the three versions of Nintendogs). The week after we’ve got a Yu Gi Oh game. The next DS game after that comes out…three…weeks…later. I love my DS and I love Nintendo, but the way they’ve handled the release schedule for games has been pretty moronic. They have consistently stacked their big releases within a week or less of each other, and then there is literally nothing out for the DS for another three weeks. Before this week, we had Madden, and then another month of no-DS games. Break up the goddamn release dates Nintendo. Besides Advanced Wars and Nintendogs, they did it with Kirby and Meteos too.

What’s even more frustrating is that a game like Pac n Roll which probably has some playability in it, will be completely ignored for the other games. The exact same thing will happen with Dig Dug because Lunar is being released on the same day. It’s just so damn frustrating that potentially good games will be ignored due to a poorly constructed release schedule. Thankfully, come October, Nintendo has some pretty consistent releases for the DS so hopefully we’ll see an end to this bullshit.

$#*%@$@# Nintendo!!11111

In another “god damn Nintendo” move, Nintendo has delayed quite a few “big” titles. Both Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Metroid Prime: Hunters have been pushed back to 2006. This is what killed Nintendo with the N64. They kept pushing back big games, which ended up pissing off their fanbase. Sure, this was compounded by the fact that Rare was developing a sizable amount of their games at the time, but honestly, put a release date down and make sure you get the game out by then.

Nintendo’s word for release dates has been shot to hell time and time again and it’ll turn around and bite them in the ass unless they change their ways soon. For example, the Revolution was “promised” to not be the last system out of the gate. Now they tell us “it’ll be out by Spring 06”. I, for one, will be shocked if we see the Revolution in stores by August. Additionally, my money is on the Game Boy Super Advanced (scheduled to be out in time for next Christmas) will slip back to May 07. If this is the last chance for Nintendo on the home console wars and they end up dead, the reason will be a lack of solid release dates (and no 3rd party support).

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!!1111 Still, I’ll try to pick what game sounds the most interesting this week. Releases are picked from what Misha says so if the winning game isn’t out this week, it’s his damn fault. Oh and this will be console games only as you’ll probably end up downloading the PC games anyways.

The winner of this week’s game of the week award is….*drum roll*….. Pac n’ Roll. It was picked because Nintendo is a bunch of dipshits for releasing it in a week where there’s four other big games, and it will sell three copies. Additionally, Pac Man games are like Star Trek movies. The last Pac Man game, Pac Man Pinball, was eye explodingly bad so this one should (hopefully) be pretty decent. Plus it sounds pretty interesting considering you control Pac Man with a trackball. I probably won’t be getting it right away, but I’ll certainly put it at the top of my list of games that I’ll buy if I get a hankering to play something new on the DS in the f*cking month ahead where nothing comes out.

If you’re looking for a game to rent this week, I’d say pick up the new Hulk game. It probably won’t be very deep, but you’ll be able to destroy a ton of shit, and that’s always fun. Also, if you’re an anime fan, you may want to check out the Inu Yasha fighting game. Again, let me emphasize the “may” part of what I just said. If you’re completely retarded, Big Mutha Truckers 2 is the game of the millennium for you.

I love Alan Spencer thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiissssss muuuuucccchhh

A while ago I started working for a website called Inside Pulse. I started with the game staff, but have also drifted into movies and tv every once in a while. As part of the movie staff, we get a pretty sizable amount of DVDs to review, I claimed a movie called “Hexed” on a whim. I watched it and hated it. A few weeks go past and I get this e-mail from Alan Spencer. Alan Spencer directed “Hexed”. The following is a series of e-mails between the two of us over the past few weeks.


Subject: Dear Tom Pandich
“Hey all. If you’re looking here one of two things is happening in your life.

1. You find me irresitable. If that is the case, send me a naked photo of yourself, your number, and some sort of payment, and I might just get back to you.

2. You’re very bored. If that’s the case. I feel your pain. Poor you.”

You offer this shit and you think I’m unfunny?

You poor guy. You can’t even spell which means you voted for Bush. Get back to your joystick.

Alan S.

(Note: He was quoting my writer profile on the website that all of about three people read)


Subject: Re: Dear Tom Pandich

Wait, what? You go into my site profile which I wrote in two minutes
and haven’t looked at since I started writing to nitpick about my spelling and lack of humor because I didn’t like your film? Good lord man. I’m sure there’s lots of better things you can do then to go after a reviewer for a relatively small internet website. Just take a step back and look at the fact that you were able to create a successful television show, get a movie made that has enough of a
following to get it out on DVD years after the genre its parodying is dead, and get into one out of any given ten 20-30 year old’s panties by saying “I wrote Ghost Writer”.

Also, you’re hitting me with a Bush joke followed by a masturbation
joke that also relates to the fact that I write game news too. Come on Alan. Please if you’re going to zing me because I say your jokes are unfunny and outdated, it isn’t the best idea to zing me with a
frigging Bush joke. Seriously man, what the f*ck? You have to have
better stuff in you then that. At least make a comment how my penis is small or how you’ve had sex with my mom or if you want to stick with the Bush route, you could say how I’ve had sex with Bush. Hell, you could say between leaks to the press, Karl Rove was banging me up the ass to be more current.

As to the point of your e-mail, I’ve fixed my spelling error. I
appreciate the fact that you pointed it out to me as I’ll be able to


Subject: Howdy A-Hole…

Dearest Tom:

Of course, I could have let loose and said that you’re the product of inbreeding between two mongrel canines and that you weren’t traditionally born… but shitted through a colon by a pair of kinky Republicans.

Certainly, I could have said that your birth was the result of a Dirty Sanchez gone wrong and that your entire existence is due to the fact that your adult carcass is being harvested for stem cell research.

Surely, I could have talked about how I hope to live to see your death and enjoy your burial in a pet cemetery next to an aborted Chihuahua.

I didn’t, because I’m better than that… and the fact that your imbecilic hide can’t even spell testicle properly, since you don’t possess any, speaks for itself.

You masturbate to old videos of “Clutch Cargo” and aren’t even worthy of typing my name… you dickless, brainless, failure of a homo sapien.

Please… blow your brains out and spare the world another Columbine type tragedy before you decide to act out on your revenge fantasies against anyone who can stand to take a leak.

Fuck you, asswipe.

Is that better?


P.S. Your mother gives lousy head, f*ckface.

Subject: Re: Howdy A-Hole…

That’s what I’m talking about. Thanks Alan.

Just so you know, I can spell “testicle” right as the teaser for the film review was “the cinematic equivalent of a kick to the testicles”. I sent him some self-deprecating e-mail after that, but he blocked anything coming from my address. I’d just like to apologize in advance to the boss Widro for the fake lawsuit that he will now be threatening the site with.

That’s all for this week. I’ll be back maybe…..maybe next week…. maybe. It all depends on whether or not I decide to blow my brains out to prevent another Columbine tragedy from happening.