The last two weeks have been difficult for me. As many of you know I have renounced my old name of General Hardcore out of respect for the brave men and women who are fighting in Iraq. I am still in support of our troops, and am very proud of what they have done so far.
Just a few days ago Special Forces troops rescued one of our POWs, and to them I send a special commendation. These people should be praised for bringing one of ours back from captivity, and I wish that the peaceniks protesting all over the world would understand that. A word of advice, if any of you decide to do a "die in" in the middle of a road that I am driving on, I will not stop. You have been warned.
Not only did I have to deal with the war in Iraq. I also had to concentrate on doing my first annual baseball roundup. After achieving success with the football roundup for the past two years, I thought that making a decision for the baseball game to beat would be easy. Nothing could tell me how difficult it would be, as all three titles under review (MVP, World Series, and High Heat) are exceptional. I spent many long, arduous hours trying out each title to find out their strengths and weaknesses, not to mention how accurate each game is to the Majors. While I did pick out World Series above the other two titles that does not mean the other games are crap; they are equally good. It's just that World Series appealed to me over the rest.
Now I know there are those out there who want to send me hate mail regarding my not including All Star Baseball to the review. Well for one thing, I did not receive a copy for review. However, I will mention that I have never been a fan of the All Star series. Previous versions have been very buggy, have serious problem with corked bats, and at times does not play like real baseball. I had the opportunity to try out ASB 2003 last year, and every hit turned out to be a home run. Even pitchers were hitting jacks for crying out loud!
But what gets me is how many people (even my fellow critics) prefer this type of baseball. Look at how Game Informer decided to give ASB an 8.0, while they trashed WSB with a 6.75. The reason: they don't like the collision detection in the REPLAYS! Uh, excuse me GI. We don't play games for the replays; we play them for the GAMEPLAY. Sounds like your typical hatred of Sega to me. (4.75 for Test Drive Le Mans on Dreamcast, a game which is averaging 8.8 on GameRankings, sound familiar?)
Anyway, I am rambling on. I need to think about the new name that I will use. For a long time I have decided that I am going to stick with GIN HARDCORE. It will be a shorter version of the General moniker, but will keep the same attitude I have shown in the past. Plus I am well known in the gaming world by this name. I use it on my chat services, as well as on the PS2 version of Evercrack. And yes, I will be using the same name when I join Xbox Live (that's right, broadband will FINALLY be available here in the coming few weeks, so look out for me). Thus, the General is dead, and GIN HARDCORE arises!
Now, for my first complaint as GIN HARDCORE involves the awards results. While I agree with most of the awards that have been given out (Splinter Cell on the Xbox was a no-brainer and Vice City deserves the PS2 and Overall title), the final results for the GameCube award upsets me. Spider-Man beating out Metroid Prime? What are you readers thinking? Don't get me wrong. Spider-Man is a good game, one of the rare examples of a movie-based game done right (and Bruce Campbell does some of the funniest narrating I have ever heard, almost to the level of Lazlow from GTA3 and Vice City).
But look what Metroid Prime had to go through. We're talking about converting a 2D Nintendo classic to the third dimension, not to mention that a then-unheard of AMERICAN developer would be behind the project. This alone would have been a recipe for disaster, but Retro Studios not only shut up the naysayers, but they created one of the most intense, almost religious, gaming experiences I have had the honor to play.
However, the biggest problem that concerns me is the fact that Spider-Man IS NOT A NINTENDO EXCLUSIVE! In fact, it was available for all the consoles and PC. As far as I am concerned, for a title to win a console award, it should be an exclusive title for that system, like Metroid Prime or Zelda: Wind Walker. Yes, I know Splinter Cell is now out for PC, with the PS2 version to come soon, but when our awards were started, it was an XBOX EXCLUSIVE!
Activision and Treyarch did make a wonderful movie game and I give them their props, but it should not win an award for GameCube Game of the Year. Action Game of the Year, possibly, but not on a single console. I know the GameCube doesn't have many exclusive titles, as I have mentioned many times in the past, but come on! Is this how the awards are going to end up every year?