Excitement... Rising...

Although I normally don't enjoy playing PC games, I have to admit that I'm getting really excited thinking about Anarchy Online, the futuristic online RPG from Funcom. Despite the horrendously embarrassing name of "Funcom," which immediately conjures images of clowns juggling puppy dogs and chocolate basketballs, everything seems to look completely amazing in this upcoming title. I've been waiting for a good, engrossing online RPG for quite a while, and judging by the screenshots coming out from the current beta test, I think Anarchy Online may finally satiate that need. Let me explain why I haven't been able to get into any previous online RPGs, particularly Everquest.

Now, I don't want to sound wishy-washy or impartial here, but I fucking HATE Everquest. If the game of Everquest was an actual physical entity, I'd like to anally assault it with a spiked oven mitt while injecting Liquid Plumber into it's neck via a rusted hypodermic needle the size of my microwave oven. The entire game is like going into the world's most tedious job and performing the same task over and over and over until a giant beetle kills you. Leveling isn't looked at as something "fun" and "exciting"; it's viewed as a chore, hard work, and a pain in the ass (and for the most part, it really is a pain). I don't want to play a game that constantly frustrates and annoys me to no end. I don't enjoy titles that force feed monotony down my throat all day. Most of all, I don't want to be around the vocal EQ players.

Let me get this clear: there are a lot of Everquest players who are normal human beings, playing occasionally to just have a little fun. However, there are also the hardcore EQ addicts who spend their entire life online and have a greater emotional attachment to their level 58 Wood Elf than they do to any living relatives. These are the kind of psychos who spend 23 hours a day playing EQ and the remaining one hour bitching at Verant on public messageboards. If Everquest had never been invented, these are the guys who would be featured on "America's Most Wanted" for sexually defiling the largest amount of corpses in American history. To them, every single minute aspect of the game is a crisis. If anybody at Verant decides to slightly alter an item or quest, the EQ nutjobs get all up in arms and start comparing the Verant staff to the Third Reich. They have an inner pit of self-hatred which constantly fuels their unquenchable rage against this company, allowing them to write rambling, grossly incoherent 67-page rants against every single modification to the game ever made. They're never happy and if Verant somehow finds a way to make them happy, they bitch to Verant about the time it took them to make it that way. No, I don't want to group with somebody who says things like, "WTB SoW PLZ at PLT / PCP / TRD 4 1HS or 2HB NBA OCP FYI LOL." No, I don't want to join a guild of some guy who wept for nine hours when their character was killed by a Rabid Ice Giant Poodle. Games are supposed to be fun, and when the vocal part of a game's community is populated by such nonstop raging bitch-fests and people out of touch with reality, the game gets a hell of a lot less fun. Luckily for me I never found Everquest to be enjoyable in the first place, so I can't say that the EQ Nutjobs ruined the game for me.

I've got no idea what the community of Anarchy Online is going to be like. If I had to take a guess, I'd probably say it might be less mature and younger than the EQ audience, as kids seem more attracted to shooting things than posturing with a flaming sword and role-playing like a flaming idiot. There will probably be the same amount of bickering, complaining, and whining as EQ. However, I can easily overlook that if the game is enjoyable. I'm a huge fan of apocalyptic sci-fi and futuristic stuff, so it makes sense that Anarchy Online would interest me. Hell, I even sent the people at Funcom about 10 emails and applications, begging to be a part of the AO beta session. Obviously they weren't interested in letting some unskilled hack webmaster beta test their game, as I got no response. Regardless, I have a very strong feeling that I'll get addicted to Anarchy Online the moment it comes out and become one of the people I laugh at and make fun of. Yes, I will become an Anarchy Online Nutjob. Prepare for the worst.

For more information and screenshots on Anarchy Online, check out these sites:

If anybody out there can sneak me into the current beta test, I'll give you my firstborn child (assuming I'm ever told how to make babies). Yes, that's right, I'm begging!

Deathmouth Football

It seems as if the normally sedate, laid-back, quiet XFL audience is beginning to get a bit rowdy.

Rowdy XFL fans toss paraplegic to Coliseum floor - Rowdy XFL fans tossed a paraplegic from his wheelchair head-first to the concrete floor six feet below at the Los Angeles Coliseum, leaving him in a puddle of blood and beer with a gash in his head. Brawling fans at Saturday's XFL game between the Los Angeles Xtreme and Chicago Enforcers pushed him to the floor in the section below his area in the handicapped section. Trevino recalled hearing his head crunch against the floor, then lying face down, his head covered with blood. His 13-year-old nephew, Eddie Cardenas, rushed to his aid and wound up covered in beer and his uncle's blood as fans lobbed brew in his direction, Trevino said.

Hey, you can't write "EXTREMELY LIFE-THREATENING HEAD INJURY" without "EXTREME", now can you?

In this particular situation, I'm not really sure who to blame. I mean, I can't pull a Colonel Grossman and blame the football game for turning the audience into violent, bloodthirsty zombies bent on world destruction, because XFL games don't seem to have that much violence. I've seen about four games so far, and 99% of the match is either:

Somebody running 35 yards down field to catch a football, then realizing the quarterback was either sacked or accidentally threw the ball into the Gatorade dispenser,
Cheerleaders' boobs.

I can't make an immediate connection between incomplete passes and beating up the crippled, so I think this is one of those mysteries that mankind was never meant to solve. Sure, the XFL tries to get fans all riled up by providing lots and lots of beer. And yeah, maybe the audience that attends XFL games are the exact same people who support shows featuring fat white guys in tights smashing each other over the head with folding chairs. But these are all non-issues here - if the media and media advocates have taught me one thing, it's that there's ALWAYS a direct link between entertainment and violence. I suppose I blame the quarterbacks for having the throwing accuracy of a blindfolded senior citizen. If they would complete more passes, the crowd would get up and cheer more. And if the crowd cheers more, they'll spill more beer. And the more beer they spill, the less beer they have to drink, so the number of drunken brawls should diminish considerably. I don't know, at this point I've really grown sick of writing about the XFL and the liquor surrounding it, so I'll just leave it at that and resume thinking about Anarchy Online.

Your ROM Pit, Sir

Please welcome the newest star-spangled addition to the ROM Pit, a review of a particularly noxious piece of garbage entitled Kid Kool. Yeah, it's that bad.

Kid Kool has two weapons in this game. The primary is his feet, which he can use to stomp enemies into the warm inviting earth, thus freeing them from having to be in this game. You can also get a red tribble that vaguely resembles that unholy creature from a certain webcomic about a bunch of poorly drawn assholes who use Linux and aren’t funny. The tribble appears when you run by a random bush or other background object, so getting him is really more an issue of luck than anything else. Once you have him you can chuck the little moron at enemies, after which he’ll call upon his dark master Satan to fly him back into your loving arms. Other than that, he’s the only thing that lets you live after getting hit, but only if he’s in your aforementioned loving arms at the time. Other than that you don’t have jack shit to save you. Controls are pretty much the same as Super Mario Brothers, which is about as surprising as the fact I’ve spent barely an hour outside of my room in the past week.

Have a look at it and be grateful that you never bought this game. Well, unless you actually DID buy it, although nobody in their right mind would admit to something that ludicrous.

– Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka (@lowtax)

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