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December 02, 2003 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-12-02

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December 2, 2003

Ul £k aun





Death of the American arcade

merican arcades are in decline.
This simple fact should be
apparent to any gamer. Yet,
while you sit in front of your PlaySta-
tion2, playing some version of
"Tekken," you might not even remember
when Namco's classic fighting franchise
was offered exclusively by coin
machines. Pinpointing the causes behind
this fall is a difficult task.
The story starts 10 years ago when
videogame makers began to develop a
new type of hardware, one that, ironical-
ly, undermined the very arcades for
which these machines were built. Sega
and Sony created hardware for arcade
games that had been designed using the
specifications of their upcoming console
systems, the Saturn and PlayStation,
The similarity of these arcade games
to their respective console units allowed
for faster and more accurate ports.
Gainers could now enjoy high-quality
arcade games at home.
As great as this advancement was for
home gamers, it was one of the major
contributors to the downfall of arcades.
In fact, with the release of "Mortal
Kombat: Deadly Alliance" exclusively
for console systems, Midway gave silent
acquiescence to the fact that arcades in
America are on death's door.
Some may point to the interactive
dance craze of "Dance Dance Revolu-
tion" as a sign of resurgence. The
immensely popular Konami game -
there are 1,828 DDR machines in the
United States, including 69 in Michigan
- drew gamers back to the arcades with
its numerous mixes.
aHowever, the success of "DDR" was
a double-edged sword. Such high inter-
est prompted Sony to create a port for
the PS2, creating another challenge for
arcade owners to overcome. Certainly,
the release of "DDR" machines in
America's arcades brought gamers back

for a time, but the phenomenon, like so
many before it, is quickly being made
available in America's living rooms.
According to a study by the Entertain-
ment Software Association, Americans
spent $6.9 billion last year on
videogames for their consoles and com-
puters. The study also claims that 50
percent of Americans over age 6 play
video or computer games. With such a
large population of button mashers,
there exists potential for packed arcades.
What it all comes down to, though, is
this: Arcades in America just aren't cool.
The supply of gainers and the demand
for games exist in this country, but few
want to be seen skulking into or out of
any of these institutions. Take, as an
example, that establishment of most
esteemed prestige, Pinball Pete's. The
franchise once boasted three Ann Arbor
locations, but now sports just one site at
the dodgy end of South University
Avenue. Unless it was festooned with
paraphernalia for a Creed concert, it is
hard to imagine a less enticing locale.
Pete's is most crowded after the nearby
bars let out and people are too drunk to
realize they are in an arcade. Take away
the advantageous location of being in
one of the major bar areas in town and
Pete's would have nothing but screaming
10-year-olds left there by their parents.
If these businesses want to survive,
they must find a way to make going to
arcades more socially acceptable. They
must also find a way to make games that
cannot be ported to console systems.
While redemption games, those where
you get tickets which can be exchanged
for crappy over-valued prizes, are a pop-
ular solution to the problem, they are not
enough of a draw to get ganers back
into the arcades. Unless of course you
really, really want that pair of fingercuffs
for 70 tickets.
- Paradis can be reached at

By Justin Weiner
Daily Arts Writer
Did you hear? Disney made a movie based on
its popular theme park ride "The Haunted Man-
sion." You might find that amusing, but let me
assure you that nothing in "The Haunted Man-
sion" is humorous. "Man- ____________
sion" is neither funny, nor The Haunted
scary, nor even moderately
creative. It is a one-hour-40- Mansion
minute bore-fest rife with At Showcase and
worthless special effects and Quality 16
moronic overacting. Disney
Eddie Murphy, in perhaps
his worst film since "The Adventures of Pluto
Nash," stars as career-driven-dad Jim Evers. In
his relentless pursuit of clients, Evers unwit-
tingly leads his family to a cursed, ghost-filled
It's too bad Murphy is not as career driven as
his character; he might have chosen not to take
part in this awful Disney creation. Murphy
almost seems as if he has stopped trying to be
funny. His acting is so mundane he hardly elic-
its a smile, let alone a laugh.
The rest of the cast is not much better, but at
least they look like they are trying. Marc John
Jeffries ("The Tracy Morgan Show") and Aree
Davis are mildly cute as the Evers children. Wal-

Disney obviously poured all of its money into
only two features of this film: attracting Mur-
phy and creating special effects.
Plot and script were definitely lower priori-
ties. "Mansion's" story isas unimaginative as it
is boring. Evers must save his wife (Marsha
Thomason, "Black Knight") from a ghost who
believes that she is the reincarnation of his dead
fiancee. Meanwhile, the Evers children help
their bungling dad evade ghouls, skeletons and
a horribly unfunny talking head.
Were all of the funds used for special effects put
to good use? Unique special effects, after all, are
the core of Disney's famed ride.
"Mansions's" effects, however, fail to spark
the same imagination as those of the ride.
Maybe it is just less exciting to see the singing
busts or ghostly paintings on screen, but the
magic of Disney simply does not find its way
into this film.
It's a shame Disney chose to commercialize
one of its most famous attractions in this way.
The idea seems silly, but if "Pirates of the
Caribbean" worked as a film (see DVD review
below), there is no reason that "The Haunted
Mansion" could not have fared as well.
The movie simply has too little imagination
to be entertaining. My advice: Skip this film,
buy a ticket to Orlando and take "The Haunted
Mansion" ride. Hopefully, you will still be there
when Disney decides to make the film version
of "It's A Small World."

Gumby's scared, dammit!

lace Shawn ("Clueless") also injects some light-
heartedness into the film as a crotchety, old ghost.

Plenty of 'Pirate' booty
on 'Caribbean' DVD

By Katie Marie Gates
Daily TV/New Media Editor

Flawed 'FIFA' still fun
for fans of virtual soccer

"It's a two hour advertisement for
a theme park," laughs director Gore
Verbinski in his _...._..____
audio commen- PiteOfthe
tary on the
"Pirates of the Caribbean:
Caribbean: The The Curse of
Curse of the the Black
Black Pearl" Pearl
DVD. Though Disney
Disney might
seem self-serving in its adaptation
of the animatronic water ride, the
result is a clever plot that finally
narrates the Disneyland attraction.
With swashbuckling and sword
fights galore, Captain Jack Sparrow
(Johnny Depp) leads Will Turner
(Orlando Bloom, "The Lord of the
Rings") through the Caribbean in
search of his love, Elizabeth Swann
(Keira Knightley, "Bend it Like
Beckham"), who has been kid-
napped by a band of cursed pirates.
Also starring Geoffrey Rush (Cap-
tain Barbossa), the cast is an
impressive ensemble, but it is
Depp's witty, drunken pirate that
carries the film.
While amazing surround sound
and crisp picture make "Pirates of

the Caribbean" a thrilling adventure
to watch, the DVD special features
are just as entertaining. Since
everyone has something to say
about the film, audio commentaries
are presented by Verbinski, Depp,
Knightley, co-star Jack Davenport,
producer Jerry Bruckheimer and
several of the film's screenwriters.
Most of the narrations are boringly
typical, but the lively storytelling of
Knightley and Davenport shouldn't
be missed. Knightley's enthusiasm
is hilarious and informative,
although she often upstages Daven-
port's subtle humor.
The second disc is a treasure
chest of behind-the-scenes footage
detailing everything from make-up
to the unique movie premiere. Also
included are 19 deleted scenes, an
amusing blooper reel and "fly on
the set" footage, which shows sev-
eral days of filming. "Diary of a
Pirate" is a must see for a glimpse
into life both on and off the set.
Narrated by Lee Arenberg (Pintel),
this home video takes audiences
further behind the scenes than any
fabricated documentary.
One of the most interesting features
is an episode of "Walt Disney's Won-
derful World of Color" from 1968.'
The 30-minute program showcases
Walt Disney himself as he talks about
the plans for the ride "Pirates of the

By Bob Hunt
Daily Arts Writer
For years, Electronic Arts has been
the undisputed champion of soccer
videogames with its "FIFA Soccer"
series. With no real competition, most
gainers have seen "FIFA" as the only
place to go for a virtual game of soccer.
In response to _
the "Winning FIFA 2004
Eleven" series from
Konami, EA has GameCube, PS2 and
produced "FIFA XBox
2004," one of the Electronic Arts
most comprehen-
sive soccer games ever. A career mode
has been added in addition to more
teams and stadiums - even the lower
divisions of the most popular European
leagues are included.
The presentation is so professional
that it feels like watching the English
Premier League. After someone scores
off a set piece or a cross into the penalty
box, commentators John Motson and
Ally McCoist will diagram the play
using a telestrator. "FIFA 2004" also
delivers an outstanding soundtrack. It
includes more than 40 songs from global
artists, such as the Dandy Warhols and
Paul Van Dyk.
Massive changes have been made to
the game over the past two years, mak-
ing "FIFA 2004" the most realistic
"FIFA" yet. No longer can one easily
move up the field by stringing a few
passes together. Also, the ball no longer
sticks to your feet when you run, mak-
ing it much more difficult to control. A
new feature taken from the "NBA
Live" series is Off the Ball
Control."This lets you move another
player, allowing you to connect on lob
passes and through balls.
Another fascinating feature is career

Wow, Keith Richards looks great!
Caribbean" and details the making of
the attraction. Surprisingly, the pro-
gram features extensive footage from
inside the ride (a peculiarity for the
normally secretive Disney Corp.).
"Below Deck" is the driest of the
features, offering history facts
about pirates from a maritime histo-
rian. Luckily, an interactive com-
puter-animated menu makes the
educational experience more
After the DVD player is exhaust-
ed, both discs provide enhanced
computer features. On disc one, the
film can be watched alongside
either the script or storyboards
while disc two offers more back-
ground information on the attrac-

tion and a virtual tour for those who
have not been to Disneyland before.
However, these features are only
accessible with DVD-Rom drives
and will not work on Macs.
Unlike most DVDs, filled with
extras that repeat information or
bore audiences, "Pirates of the
Caribbean" offers a variety of fea-
tures to entertain and amuse every-
one. High-sea adventures with
Hollywood magic revealed, Disney
proves that its amusement park
attractions can become more than
we ever imagined.
Movie: ****
Picture/Sound: *****
Features: *****

Enrique gets risqu6 with racy new album

By Niamh Slevin
Daily Arts Writer

mode, in which you gain prestige points
as a manager by obtaining goals accord-
ing to the quality of your club. These
points can then be used to improve your
own players and attract others.
The game is fun if you are a fan of
European club soccer, but ganers who
like international play will be disap-
pointed, as just 35 national teams and no
international tournaments are included.
This is a drastic change from past
games, in which you could qualify for
the World Cup with any national team.
Another flaw of the 2004 version is
that it is sprinkled with mistakes, such as
Motson declaring a team the new league
champions after finishing not even half
a season. It also does not encompass as
much as the dynasty modes in other EA
titles. And no matter what club you con-
trol, you cannot play in any of the Euro-
pean competitions until you qualify for
them through a 40-plus game season.
Despite its shortcomings, "FIFA
2004" is still worth a try for anyone who
likes or ever wanted to learn more about
soccer. However, after playing for a
while, you'll wish you got a little more.

Enrique, sans his trademark mole,
has more than just a new image:

He's apparently



deeper apprecia-
tion of the booty.
With racier lyrics
and a largely
recycled style,


ground melodies are reminiscent of
good ole '80s pop rock. At times,
one expects to hear the screeching
tones of Boy George or Cyndi Lau-
per only to be presented with Igle-
sias' lulling drone. Still, the small
stylistic change is a slight improve-
ment on other songs, which seem
more like replicas of previous hits,
such as the overplayed "Hero."
7 bypasses the seductive love bal-
lads Iglesias is known for and
instead dives right into booty music.
With lyrics like "Have I told you
how good it feels to be me when
I'm in you?" from "Addicted" and
"You're more than just a one-night
stand / And girl with your permis-
sion / Baby you can give me your
hand" from "The Way You Touch
Me," Iglesias tests uncharted waters
with his modest listeners.
The new album should fare fine

Iglesias' upcom-
ing album, 7, will surely win the
hearts of club-going groupies and
budding teen hormones alike. Yet its
overstated emphasis on the overtly
sexual kills some of the old Enrique
Throughout the album, certain
guitar riffs and synthesized back-

in the dance scene. The music
undoubtedly has a luring beat,,'
which seems perfectly designed for
club action. Despite its lack of orig-
inal content, 7 makes a decent, if
not wholesome, attempt to catch the .
listener's attention. After all, if a ° '
few dirty lyrics can win Britney
back her popularity, why shouldn't
Enrique get in on it too?
The University of Michigan College of Literature,
Science, and the Arts presents a public
lecture and reception
Between Commitment
and Consumerism:
Art in Postwar
Europe and America
A ex Potts _
Max Loehr
Collegiate Professor
of History of Art
t. .

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