Gaming Zen (9/8/05)

Wow, another week, another new column. How spiffy is that? Very spiffy dear readers, very spiffy. I’m Tom Pandich, but you can call me Al. Life is hectic as usual. As one of the younger members on staff, I still have to deal with the whole college thing. ÃÆ’‚Ԛ¡No me gusta Espanol! So let’s do it to it. I’ve got a Spanish exam to study for.

U’re oK, the PSP is ok.

The PSP launched this week in the UK… finally. Over 185,000 units of the PSP sold on the launch trampling the previous record held by the Nintendo DS, which in turn will be trampled by another system launch in the near future. The big hits right now are Ridge Racer, Wipeout Pure, and Virtua Tennis. Good for them for finally getting a system the rest of the world has had for over 6 months now.

Say what you will about the Brits, but why the hell didn’t Sony launch the system earlier? The PSP is selling well in the US, but not to the point where you can’t walk into your local Wal Mart and still pick up the value pack. UK gamers were clamoring for this system, and Sony not only didn’t launch the system fast enough; they also said “f*ck you” to them over the importing issue.

It seems like UK gamers are forgiving Sony this time, but how many Xbox shortages or delayed launches are they willing to deal with before giving game companies a big middle finger. I think it’s happening sooner, rather then later, and that sooner will be when somewhere around 150,000 units of Xbox 360s land in the UK and that’s it until after Christmas.

Speaking of the 360…

In what may become a big news story over the next few weeks, several independent sellers on E-Bay are promising to ship Xbox 360s to consumers as early as the end of this month. These pre-sale Xbox 360s are already going as high as $500 for early shipping for the value pack. Trust me, this will be a big issue by the end of the month considering how controlling Microsoft has already been with the launch. I’ll have more on this later as it becomes a real issue, but mark my word; the shit will hit the fan over this.

Doggone it

Hm, it appears the Nintendo DS has its first real hit in the US. The three versions Nintendogs sold over 250,000 copies in its first week. What’s more staggering is the notion that nearly 15% of DS owners bought this game in its first week. That’s a much bigger deal then what it sounds like. Here’s the situation. Nintendogs is the first real system seller for either the PSP or the DS and it will be the first original game for either system to sell a million copies (Super Mario 64 DS broke 1 million a little while ago, ((thanks for the info Myles)).

The stupidity of all of this is another potential system seller, Advanced Wars: DS got completely lost in the hype shuffle. There is not a damn thing out this week for the DS, and last week was just another Yu Gi Oh game. How can you be so stupid Nintendo? You don’t carpet bomb after dropping a nuke. You don’t order catering for a wedding party and then fire up a grill to make a few burgers. You don’t have the Beatles open for the Beach Boys. For the love of all that is good and holy, let this be the last retarded thing you do until there is the inevitable two-month drought of games after the Revolution launch.

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. Except Misha is too busy playing with his new UK PSP. Huzzah for games that have been out for six months finally reaching another English speaking nation! Oh and this will be console games only as you’ll probably end up downloading the PC games anyways.

In another close battle I’m giving the nod to… *drumroll* One Piece: Grand Battle for the Gamecube and the PS2. Ok, as usual, I kind of, sort of lied about not having played the game. I picked up the Japanese One Piece game that this was based on, One Piece: Grand Battle RUSH! It’s a good game if you’re a fan of the animated series, which I am. It plays a bit slower then Powerstone 2, and at times it can be awfully mediocre, but hell, I like it a lot. Give credit where credit is due. This game is a lot of fun and even though it cuts a decent amount of characters out (they won’t appear in the American version of the anime for another year and a half or so) it still manages to leave in a lot of the old favorites including the flamboyantly hilarious cross dresser Mr. 2 Bon Clay.

There is still a lot of good out this week. The new hockey games come out this week. You know, the NHL, the league that didn’t exist last year. Sure you do, you know it’s the sport with actual competition because no one has an exclusive license. There you go. Besides that, there’s also another Rainbow Six game out this week. Oh and Half Life 2 GOTY is also out this week. There’s a bunch of shit you can rent or buy so go, stop reading. Buy.

Well, I’ve got an exam to study for. Exams are so not righteous. Expect a few other reviews from the rest of the guys and me this week. Go and check out Tom N’s look at the new Hulk game. He’s a righteous chap. Same thing with MM who suffered through 187 Ride or Die. Lucard probably will post some crazy ass review this week to of a game where you sit in a dark corner and sob listening to the Cure while writing poetry about dead kitties. I think Williams also will have his Pump review up at some point. Just stick with us, and we’ll give you lots of good stuff to read.