Summary: Monday Morning. The reason that Monday comes after Sunday is so that the terrible evil of the first day of the week reinforces the lessons you got from church. Or something. To help things pass by quicker, the Bub has another humorous look at gaming with the second Beatdown on FS. Dare ye enter, mortals?
They Break the News, I Break it Again!
Welcome back to Beatdown. Another week, another couple bucks toward that Porsche Jakub thinks I have. It’s a Chrysler 300M actually, and I bought it with ill-gotten gains, not with game writing money. This week we see a slew of newly announced games, a bit of tech news, and Beatdown addresses a topic he’s harped on many times before. Yes, Baseball. Before we begin this week’s edition, I’d like to thank everyone who wrote me (using the email link at the end of the column and those who participate in the feedback attached to each article). I can safely say that I don’t know half of you half as well as I’d like; and I like half of you half as well as you deserve. Seriously, keep it coming.
Headline: Valve’s Many Games
In a press release Valve Software—creator of Half-Life and publisher of games other people made while using Half-Life—announced that they’re leaving Sierra for the rich green (money) pastures of Activision. Activision gains the rights to publish a retail version of the WWII classic mod, Day of Defeat. The press release doesn’t mention anything about Half-Life 2, Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, or the infamous vapor-ware known generally as Team Fortress 2, so those are probably going to be brought to you by Sierra. (Half-Life 2? Team Fortress 2? Um, don’t hold your breath there Sierra!). Since Sierra is owned by Vivendi-Universal, an evil French company, Beatdown wonders if this announcement has more to do with last week’s Newsmax ban on everything French. Nothing says America like Activision, after all.
“Wherefore are thou Freeman?”
SIDEBAR: ‘Ok, let’s do this by the book. Remember, they’re amateurs. Let’s show them how professionals get it done’ Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield
ANNOUNCED: Big Freakin’ Deal 1942
It’s no secret that Battlefield 1942 is one of Beatdown’s favorite games, he plays it daily, and he even enjoyed Road to Rome despite the tiny amount of new content for the price. Beatdown often haunts the Husky and Monte Santa Croce maps. But I have to wonder about the recently announced Secret Weapons expansion pack. It adds speculative weapons like a V-shaped bomber, a grenade launcher (like grenade spammers aren’t annoying enough) a (sigh) jetpack, and a jetpack. Sounds like BF1942 is becoming a Tribes game, doesn’t it? Anyway, new maps and more stuff sounds fine, even though Beatdown vastly prefers historical realism to science fiction. What the problem is is that EA is obviously trying to turn BF1942 into The Sims.
TECH: Xbox Under Fire
Apparently someone has finally come up with a way to hack an unmodified Xbox. The method used was to take advantage of the EA James Bond game 007: Agent Under Fire. CNet reports that the hacker, Xbox Habibi, accomplished this by exploiting a bug in the save/load file system. He is also apparently eligible for the $100,000 reward being offered by Lindows guru and CEO Michael Robertson.
SPORTS: Baseball. What year is it?
Sports games are weird, aren’t they? Not only do we have to buy a new edition every year, but also, every year, it seems like it’s the wrong year. Look at Madden this year. This year was called: Madden 2003. It was released in August 2002. “Ah, but Mr. Beatdown,” you say, to which I interrupt and say, “Please, why so formal? Call me Beatdown.” To which you reply “Thank you, Beatdown,” you clear your throat, “…it was the 2003 football season, was it not? Since the NFL season ended in early 2003 the Madden year is correct.” “Quite so,” I reply, impressed with your ingenuity. And we laugh and have a drink together….
Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons: See above!
“Mysteries of the Sith”
Rise of Nations: Beatdown likes to call it “Brian Reynolds’s Rise of Nations, a Brian Reynolds Design,” but the news is that it’s gotten a Big Huge delay to May 20th. I think that’s a good thing. The beta is playing great but any game this complex deserves as much time as at needs.
When you play games, it’s hard not to think about them while watching the news. Footage of an Apache attack puts one in mind of the Desert Combat BF: 1942 mod, or Jane’s old and sorely missed Longbow series. Beatdown was able to tell his wife what “pop-up” meant before Peter Jennings could (no jokes about Beatdown’s wife here, got it?). When one sees the overall battle plan on CNN, it’s easy to hearken back to games by wargame stalwarts like Gary Grigsby. Games can make clear why logistics are as important as morale, as important as tactics, and even as important as firepower. When we heard about the British Commandos going door-to-door in Basra, or of that daring raid of 500 Special Forces who rescued 19 year-old POW Jessica Lynch made us think about games like Rainbow Six. It’s not the same thing, of course, but the game colors the news reports and the news reports color the game in the mind of the gamer. The tactics make sense, the stakes become plain, and the tension evaporates in the face of understanding, and we can imagine some of what must have gone into such an operation. To my mind, that’s what simulations are for. Tango Down.
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