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Title : Spaced Out with Probed Out - Edition 2: Spaced Sequel
Date Added : 2004-05-13 10:56:31

Well, well, well. Look whose back. Technically I don’t know if it’s you or me, but anyway here’s the second edition of Spaced Out.

As the sequel to my column (or our column, as I like to call it), I figured we should stay fairly close to the term “sequel” in this follow up. What is a sequel? What does it consists of? Is the essence of the sequel the content, or the previous build-up? We’ll take a look at the differenced between Hollywood sequels and gaming sequels.

Over time, movies evolve. The day of romantic love stories is sadly dying, the hardcore action movie is being trimmed down and I swear horror movies are relying on action to keep audiences entertained. But one thing about the movie business is that there should/will always be sequels. There are several types of sequels in Hollywood, from the “This movie has nothing to do with the first, but the title.”, which encompasses a completely separate movie with the same genre and title, using it to bring crowds in. Similar to that are the “Continuous movie” type movies. Like Lord of the Rings and The Matrix, they tell a story that spans several movies, money and time restrictions being the main reason for this. Can you image how much money Peter Jackson and co. have made from DVDs, movie milking and the separate release times? They’ve kept audiences for three years, and wouldn’t have probably have half the success if the movies were either released as one, or at the same time.

But then there’s the “You’ve seen the first, now see the second of Admiral Von Chickenpants’ adventures”. This basically gives us a series of action and adventure. Much like the Terminator, Harry Potter or the Scary Movie series, these movies usually focus around the title of the series, with little numbers or sub-title names to compliment them, and to help you tell the difference, and always make the sequel(s) look better. But then the question comes up, what makes video game sequels different from movie sequels. Let’s look at this by comparing two popular sets of sequels. The Matrix (Movies) and Ninja Gaiden (Games). This is assuming that Team Ninja decide to release two more Gaiden games as they did with the cute (yet deadly) little originals (Hey, in Australia we might get them before the next ice age). Let’s look at what’s on the line for both sides, where the money can be lost, gained and of course, the fortunes made.

The Matrix
• Like any other movie, box office is the biggest thing. If the movie costs more than it makes, obviously the end is near. Establishing the first one means that people will want to see the next to, and of course the movie will rely on its super cool name to make box office records once the first one gets good reviews.
• Runs on a good idea, like anything. You obviously need something that will attract people to the first one, and something that will continue to excite. You don’t want definite endings. If you do something like that, you may turn people off (after all, any complete ending leaves a complete opinion). If you really make an ending people don’t like, you could jeopardize your whole franchise (hehe, it almost rhymes). Leave the ending open and like science, the goal is to end with more questions than you began with. The ending of the final must be good too, as to give people an ultimate ending impression. People should want to buy the DVD to watch all three endings in the magic build-up to a perfect ending. All doors closed? The Matrix didn’t do that, but it certainly put the series to a rest. Hiatus or permanent sleep? Unknown, but that could be good or bad, depending on what direction they take if there is a fourth one.
• Like I will mention in the Ninja Gaiden section, culture is a big part. Both are very similar as they add action to a specific culture. Science in the case of the Matrix, Eastern enlightenment and the way of the Ninja is the goal of Team Ninja in NG.
• The Matrix also has another goal. For sequels, they do have to maintain a level of quality. Not only to keep their earned respect, but to sell DVDs and merchandise. Although, DVDs might sell if you gimmick them with special features or just for the fact they’re the continuation on from the original. But honestly? Can you image how much all those CDs, cases and printing will cost? You lie everything on the line when you make a sequel in Hollywood. It is truly a game of chess.

Ninja Gaiden
• The first piece of information I’d like to share with you is that there were previously three Ninja Gaiden games. They formed a pretty good trilogy. This is assuming that Team Ninja show us the same determination and bring us an even better one. C’mon Team!
• As I mentioned earlier, Ninja Gaiden is based on delivering what everyone loves, action, mixed with a dosage of another world they want to introduce us to. The Way of the Ninja.
• Team Ninja steps out of its fighting genre and takes to a platformish action game, much like that of Prince of Persia. I’ve been watching this game intently, as it is rumoured to be near perfect. I can’t wait.
• Team Ninja nearly have as much on their plate as The Matrix did. They have the opportunity to promote all their games, and with a new one coming out mid-year (Dead or Alive: Ultimate), you can be sure that Team Ninja has succeeded in planting their seeds in the minds of young and old alike with NG.
• Unlike what happens regularly with the movies, game reviews are dealt with by readers as simple facts. Usually technical faults come to surface in game reviews, not personal nitpicks. A stellar game is necessary to continue the series, and keep the makers’ reputations in the clear.
• Apart from reviews, a major power granted to the people comes into play here. When you step through the door to see a movie for the first time, you have no idea what it’s going to be like. No way can you know the movie, without having to see it. Perhaps the biggest difference in this ongoing comparison is the fact that when a game is released for purchase, it is also available to rent. You deliver a less than stellar game, you can lose out on millions of purchases (in the end it catches up to the movies on DVDs)

In the end, I am not a financial analyst, nor am I an experienced entertainment wiz, but I think both sides not only take major risks, but make major steps towards the audience for support for their sequels. So why do they take such risks? Money. Simple as that. There is also the fact that they love to entertain mankind, but you can’t tell me that Team Ninja and the Wachowskis aren’t living it large right now. BTW, I will personally make Team Ninja rich if they keep up the quality games they’ve put out. I will personally fuel their cars if they bring out a Ninja Gaiden movie, too.

Well that’s 1,231 words according to the future rulers of our homes, Microsoft. More or less from last week? Who knows? Actually, I think it’s more. Hey, I’m up to 1,257. No it would be 1,261. Wait…are forget it, I’ll just type these bonuses for you while I’m working it out.

Fantasy Fight
OK, this is a new section I forgot to mention last week. This is for forum members only. Basically you can PM me with the result. This will be a fight between two characters from the gaming universe that will go one on one maybe sometimes even more than that) to decide which one everyone thinks will win. Here are today’s participants:

Ever since there was a company called Nintendo, there have been two characters that always will stick out in my mine as the heroes if this company. The first is a man from out world. How many of you have wondered what happens in a plumber’s life? Can’t say I have, but wouldn’t you wonder if he mysteriously disappeared one day? That’s what happened to Mario Mario of the Mario Brothers Plumbing company, which was a family business. Being sucked down some drainage must have been scary, but image the red and blue clad Mario when he landed in a place like the Mushroom Kingdom? It is there that Mario went from average Joe, to superhero, saving the Princess Daisy from the clutches of the then evil Cranky Kong (called Donkey Kong in his prime). The two had great battles, but it was Donkey Kong Jr. who went in and rescued his father from the clutches of Mario.

Donkey Kong Jr. officially became Donkey Kong when Donkey Kong Isle became his. DK beat Mario that one time, and they never met again. Mario realized what he did was wrong, so he forgave DKJ for ruining his plan to beat Cranky Kong forever. Cranky became jealous that his son was more of a hero than him at birth, which is constantly brought into the Donkey Kong Country games. A trilogy of games that in my mind, revolutionized gaming. Not only was DKC2: Diddy’s Kong Quest, my first played and favourite game ever, but the gameplay was phenomenal. Using two characters at one time, the Super Nintendo used the full quality of what it had available to make this game multiplayer and great. You could swap characters, and use them as weapons. The boldest feature of all in this game though, was that in the second in the series, Donkey Kong wasn’t even playable. Who would play a game without the lead hero in it? Well the people that wanted to live the story about two unlikely heroes stepping up in time of need, to save there friends and family. DKC3 followed this, but the ever experienced Dixie Kong could easily fill in for a hero here. If you want to read more, I’ve done a Donkey Kong Story review, so look around for it on this site if you want. The DKC series really got to me, and delivered top notch unglitched gameplay.

Super Mario vs. Donkey Kong Jr.
The now what would be a 90 year old Mario will face what would be now an incapacitated gorilla, but the power of Nintendo is what keeps this young fruits fighting. And that is what these two will be fighting for. Who would win? The Mad Mario that climbed up the ladders to rescue Princess Daisy from the clutches of Cranky Kong, and did something similar defeating the Koopa, Bowser, or the super adventurous gorilla that collected casual Vitamin B in golden bananas and currently stands against Mario 1-0? The giant crocodile K. Rool could also testify to Donkey Kong’s unique skill and power. If both villains teamed up, we would be in trouble, but since there is the game either schelduled or out now on GBA, Mario & Donkey Kong, I think it is only fair that we have these two biggest icons in perhaps gaming history go one on one.

BTW, my vote for this is Donkey Kong.

Trivia Challenge
1. What does E3 stand for?
2. Name three games Midway plan on releasing this year.
3. What is the name of the woman who first came forward and claimed David Beckham (soccer player) had an affair with her?
4. Which Russian artists where portrayed as lesbians in one of their music videos (2003)? I’m looking for both, not just what they were called together.
5. Which current show on television features the character “Luther Rains”?
6. How many seasons (at least) will The Simpsons have all up (from start to finish), according to their new contracts.
7. Which resident Australian TV skit show airs on Channel 10?
8. What is the new flavour of Doritos recently released in Australia?
9. Eidos delivered us two FPS games called the _____________ series?
10. Who has now picked up the _____________ series?

PO’s Question to Make You PO’d
1. What movie features the character “Jack Colt” and who played him?

Anyway, it’s been great. Next week I’ll do my update on the ongoings of E3, which is part of the trivia, so I won’t give it away. Email or PM those to me. I won’t count any that are attached to the document. Anyway have a good day, and don’t stay up too late.

BTW, 2,131 words.

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