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Welcome Back Message
2001-05-10 Erik

...before me was a throne...and the One who sat there had the appearance of jasper...From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder...Around the throne were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back...Day and night they never stopped saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come."

Terrifying excerpt from the Cthulhu Mythos describing a sunken or outer-space city whose name is a chilling, vowelless string of consonants and apostrophes? † Close.† It's the apostle John's account of Heaven from Revelation 4:2-8. † As far as I can tell - after a month spent in quiet Bible study and silent admiration of my own reflection - it's the only actual description of Heaven in the entire book.† Now there's no cynical prick on the planet or in near orbit who's more pro-Christian than me.† Or at least more anti-anti-Christian.† But I just gotta state for the collapsing electronic permanent record here that the final reward sounds like some spooky American McGee shit I'd rather avoid.†

Other than the fact that my abrupt religious conversion and subsequent John-fueled apostasy explains my month long absence, the only reason I bring it up is because of games about Nazis.† I love them.† I look forward to them with the same stubborn optimism that Christians apply to Heaven and John Carmack and Anna Kang apply to the time when Ayn Rand wills herself back from the dead to cleanse the Earth of crippleds and retardeds.† And like all the bewildered dead Christians who are now trapped for eternity with the four insane eyeball creatures, I always end up getting burned. ††

The most recent example of this trend is Valuesoft's WW2: Normandy. † True to form, I though it'd be great, I told people it'd be great, and it turns out it's terrible.† I'm still getting my sea legs back after my long hiatus, so I'm not going to attempt a strenuous deconstruction of it.† One point of interest, however, is that it was developed by Third Law, the people who brought you the "KISS" game.† I put KISS in quotes in much the same way that angry people will write things like 'The American "Justice" System' - I'm trying to bring to life for you the bitter irony of it all.† WW2: Normandy is a direct sequel to KISS Psycho Circus in the sense that they both share a common theme: no KISS.† On the other hand, Third Law has sort of betrayed the central tenet of their bait-and-switch design philosophy by not, as expected, setting WW2: Normandy in Austria during World War One. † But the major thing I don't like about WW2: Normandy is all of it.† And that's what I did on my spring vacation, and Chet was there too.† The end.

In other news, E3 is next week.† We're going again this year. † Since the only original-content game sites left on the Internet are us, IGN, and Gamespot - and IGN may be out of business before E3 finishes and Gamespot is switching to both a subscriber-model and an all-Spanish format - we're planning to cover the event in much greater detail than we did last year.† This year, our expanded coverage will include commentary on games.† We're even going to finally wrap-up our†E3 2000 report with an article called "E3 2000 part 2: E3 2001".

During my mysterious absence, I received a lot of mail from concerned readers whose main concern was that they hadn't called me a cunt much recently.† The other major topic was when were we going to review Black and White.† Chet and I each bought Black and White with every intention of playing it all the way through. † To quote the famous closing line from John Steinbeck's Orwellian nightmare novel, Of Mice and Men: The best laid plans of mice and men...† I didn't even install Black and White.† Neither did Chet.† Instead, we played Tribes 2.† I think I speak for Chet and, as always, id Software and the U.S Government, when I say that Tribes 2 is the greatest game ever.† Unfortunately, there's roughly a one in two chance that it won't run on your computer.† Reverse-unfortunately, that's better odds than you get playing forty bucks worth of scratch-offs.†

Things got so bad during my belated month-long observation of Lent that POE staffmember K. Thor Jensen actually started sending me content.† And in what can only be described as a happy coincidence, he submitted a review of Black and White!† But in what can only be described as a happy coincidence that takes place in The World's Scariest Places 2, he wrote a rap about it.†† We were as skeptical as you are.† Surprisingly, like many inner-city youngsters and 18th century homosexuals, it turns out Thor expresses himself best in rhyme.† So here it is.† See you tomorrow.

MC Missy Martin Luther Kang, Jr.

Like Beetlejuice, call my name I appear
Stick to linguistics, the master is here
An itching, a burning, a flame in your ear
Lyrically redeeming you binary queers
With MC's hand on this MC's controller
Kickin back whiskey and watching the bowlers
Explain it to you like a babe in a stroller
Classic hits simple like Lieber & Stoller
Game design orbits two different axes
Simple like Tetris or complex like taxes
Platforms dictate what sells to the maxes
Think of a Game Boy and designer relaxes
But a Pentium 8 or whatever the fuck
Designers feel they should fill up the truck
With bells, whistles, atomic missiles, and a 3D engine that excels in
mapping the bristles on your Momma's ass, and if there's any luck
Gameplay pokes it's head up and you make a buck
So Black & White, the new hit from France
Where you rub a cow's crotch and watch it breakdance
Takes 50 hours, but give it a chance?
Eat a cock, Molyneux, you big-headed nance.
Wagner James Au may be riding your dick
But your half-ass story arc makes my ass sick
A five-level game would be a damn shame
If you didnít make it so lame that the gameís frame
Is a jack-off exercise in unlocking subroutines
Rubbing crotches, fixing leashes and watching FMV scenes
Micro-manage a crowd of pixel-high beans
And if youíre lucky youíll capture some totally fly screens
My point that I'm making is that you shouldn't be faking
Like you're on some higher plane just because the earth is shaking
When you walk by or 'wave your hand'
You're not evolved because you memorized the keyboard commands
Better back up your savegame because I'm back up to lay blame
On your faggoty ass for your half-witted lame flame
About modern software being for geniuses with facial hair
Who have fifty hours and a Pentium to spare
Asses conforming to their office chairs, sucking up their blank stares
Making Frenchy Pierre a Goddamned millionaire
Fuck Lionhead, fuck Bullfrog, fuck France, fuck frogs
Your father fucks cats and your mother fucks dogs
Iíll pop forty caps in you infants of Prague
New York, Eastsiders, keeping it real
So go click your creature, teach it how to feel
Spend a few hours with your mouselook of steel
I'll be dunking Mr. Do like my name was Shaquille
And having a good time - and that shit is real.


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