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November 29, 2005


Chertsey, Surrey, UK – November 29, 2005 – Get ready to take your rage on the road … Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced that Burnout™ Legends has shipped to North American retailers for the Nintendo DS™ portable video game system. Burnout Legends sets the standard for on-the-go automotive anarchy, combining the series’ trademark speed, destruction and depth with new features, gameplay refinements and connectivity.

Built from the ground-up for the Nintendo DS, Burnout Legends uses the touch screen to allow gamers to control their car in spectacular crashes by employing “aftertouch.” The game also features nine gameplay modes, including crash, road rage, pursuit and white-knuckle multiplayer via Wi-Fi.

Burnout Legends delivers updated versions of the most explosive moments from Burnout™, Burnout™ 2: Point of Impact and Burnout™ 3: Takedown™, with new gameplay, new cars and new surprises.

The game is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB and carries an MSRP of $34.99.For more information about Burnout Legends, please visit http://burnout.ea.com or our press web site at http://info.ea.com

The Sims 2 Goes Gold for the PSP

Electronic Arts today announced that the The Sims 2 has gone gold for the PSP handheld videogame system and will be on store shelves by December 7th. With The Sims 2 for PSP, gamers can wirelessly delve deep into the mysteries of Strangetown and swap secrets with other PSP players to discover the unknown in this classic Sims 2 location. The full 3D world allows gamers to take their Sims through the adventures of Strangetown with five brand new neighborhoods and 20 unique locations custom-built for the PSP!

The Sims 2 for the PSP maintains the traditional and addictive gameplay that challenges players to keep their Sims happy, healthy and sane. Moreover, in addition to managing their Sims motives and wants, PSP gamers can fill their Sims homes with various exclusive, unique items available only on the PSP.

The Sims 2 is Everywhere!

When The Sims 2 PSP ships to store shelves on Dec. 13, the PSP version joins other console and handheld game versions on store shelves including The Sims 2 for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox video game system from Microsoft, the Nintendo GameCube, the Game Boy Advance, and the Nintendo DS. Fans can even purchase The Sims 2 Holiday Edition, a special-edition holiday-themed version of the world’s best-selling PC game of 2004, The Sims 2. Additionally, mobile versions will be available across all major carriers this winter. The Sims 2 is officially everywhere this holiday season!

The Perfect Gift for Anyone on Your List
The Sims 2 makes a great gift for all your friends and family. The Sims franchise is recognized for being one of the few game brands to achieve popularity across all ages and genders. This widespread appeal has resulted in incredible success, with a string of top-selling games and combined sales for the franchise exceeding 58M units worldwide.

For more information, or to find out how the game will play on your favorite platform, please visit http://www.thesims2.com

November 27, 2005

Nintendo's New Super Mario Strikers Kicks Some Serious Grass

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 30 PRNewswire -- Perhaps more people in the United States would be soccer fans if the field were surrounded by an electrified fence, players were armed with giant attack shells and goals were scored with explosive force. Rest assured, you won't find any boring scoreless ties in the new Super Mario(R) Strikers, which launches Dec. 5 in the United States, Canada and Latin America, exclusively for Nintendo GameCube(TM).
This isn't your usual Mario(TM) game. Up to four players can battle in aggressive five-on-five soccer matches that would elicit red cards from the most lenient of referees. Tackling and power shots are all part of the fun. If players gets in your way, just slam them into the electric fence that marks the out-of-bounds area. But such attacks come at a price: If you strike a player who does not have the ball, you reward the opposing team with a special Power-Up item that could be used against you.
"People have described this frenetic game as soccer meets Super Smash Bros.," says George Harrison, Nintendo of America's senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications. "Soccer remains one of the most popular sports in the world, and Super Mario Strikers gives players the tools they always wished they could unleash on their opponents."

Super Mario Strikers features classic Nintendo characters, but with some serious attitude. Players can battle against friends or work their way up through the rankings to unlock bonus features like new stadiums and hidden cheats. The game, Rated E for Everyone, will be available Dec. 5.

November 24, 2005


Score = 3 out of 5

I'll cut to the chase right away. If you're looking for the best hockey game on any platform, then NHL 2K6 for Xbox 360 is it. Unfortunately that doesn't say much.

The ice is a work of art. It starts off all wet, shiny and reflective, and slowly get scratched and less reflective. The puck casts a shadow. You can see the scoreboard reflected in the ice and it's beautiful. The crowd is more realistic and more 3D. They react when players get close to the boards or better yet checked into the boards. Players themselves are more realistic with better player models and better physics where players are now broken down into limbs and body instead of just body so they sprawl appropriately when checked. Because everything is more realistic and in better 3D it's possible to pick and choose holes to pass through and openings on either side of the goalie. One of the coolest effects is the whip of the stick when a shot is made, and the snow that flies when someone stops is pretty cool too. And the goalie animations are frighteningly convincing.

The Xbox 360 version plays exactly like the Xbox version in terms of pacing and precision control of players. The major addition is Crease Control, a Marty Turco idea. This allows gamers advanced control as they can switch to the goalie's point of view and alter their positioning based on where the puck is played. As the opponent shoots the puck, the game goes into a dynamic slow-motion action perspective where the gamer must position the goalie's save cursor in the right location to stop the shot. It sounds confusing, but it isn't. The end result is that this is the first hockey game where it is fun to play goalie.

OK, sounds great, doesn't it? The problem is that once you get past the cloth physics and pretty animations there are some really stupid aspects to gameplay. First and foremost is the lack of acceptable defensive AI; if you opponent skates past you it's as good as a goal because your computer defenseman won't do a damn thing except screen your goalie. I'll give 2K Sports a pat on the back for fixing the rediculous ease with which the wraparound could be scored, but there are still a ton of garbage goals. I can't remember the last time I saw the real Marty Brodeur skate away from the net and stand in the middle of the face-off circle until the other team put the puck in net. I'm not sure the real Marty has EVER done that. I've also never seen the real Marty gather the puck with his stick and put it through his own 5 hole and into the net. And while I'm talking about the Devils, Scott Gomez's stats are accompanied by Peter Elias's photo.

The commentary is just plain wrong most of the time. There are things like showing that a guy has 3 hits and then saying, "Look, he's playing very physical today with 6 hits" or the announcer gets the score wrong or says the wrong team is on the power play. 2K Sports, if you can devote the time to make the players' clothes ripple as they skate, then put the game through another round of QA and stop the announcers from saying inappropriate things.

If you're like me, then you need to play hockey. If that's so, then NHL 2K6 is the best there is. If not, then go shoot hoops and wait until 2K Sports fixes the bugs. Hopefully, we won't have to wait too long.

If you'd like to view the slideshow click here.

November 23, 2005


NEW YORK, NY - November 23, 2005 - 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), announced today that College Hoops 2K6 for the Xbox(r) video game and entertainment system from Microsoft is now available at retailers across North America. 2K Sports' highly acclaimed college basketball franchise returns to deliver the most realistic collegiate experience yet, featuring an enhanced Legacy mode, underclassmen recruiting, high school camps, virtual coaches and an unprecedented five in-game commentators.

"Fans love college basketball because it portrays basketball in its purest state; where solid coaching, strong teamwork and school spirit prevail," said Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. "College Hoops 2K6 incorporates this by introducing new features that make it the most comprehensive college basketball game, delivering the emotion and drama of the college experience like never before."

Bringing personality to the franchise mode are the coaches and multiple commentators. College Hoops 2K6 breaks new ground by featuring real college coaches, including Roy Williams, Tubby Smith, Jim Boeheim, and Lute Olson. College Hoops 2K6 gives gamers in-depth game coverage, enhanced by insightful commentary from Verne Lundquist as the play-by-play announcer, Bill Raftery for color commentary, Bonnie Bernstein reporting from the sidelines and Greg Gumbel and Clark Kellogg as tournament presenters.

"This is the first time that a video game company has obtained the licensing right to use a large number of college coaches within the body of the video game," said David Kirkpatrick, vice president of non-apparel marketing, The Collegiate Licensing Company. "We think that college basketball fans will revel in the opportunity to have top college coaches walking the sidelines."

In addition, College Hoops 2K6 showcases new features for the franchise such as Player Disposition, the Coach's Clipboard, the High School Camp and many of the elements that made NBA 2K6 a critical success, such as the Strip 'n' Rip System, Shot Stick and V.I.P. System(tm).

* Player Disposition focuses on each player's inherent set of attributes: consistency, focus, and confidence. By utilizing practice drills, scrimmages, and weekly meetings in the game, you try to raise these attributes to their peaks, so that you can heighten your Player Psyche and optimize your players' performances.

* The Coach's Clipboard feature captures the true collegiate atmosphere by stressing the importance of good coaching. The feature gives gamers the ability to give specific direction to their team during timeouts to help coach them to victory. Gamers have total control over individual zone replacements to make the necessary substitutions for improving zone defense efficiency and exploiting an opponent's weaknesses.

* The High School Camp feature lets gamers scout top performing high school players by visiting camps and observing or playing with the top prospects in the country to judge their performance in drills and scrimmages. This feature complements the underclassmen recruiting feature, in which gamers can now recruit high school players at any level and secure interest that will carry over from year to year.

Through the Xbox Live(r) online game service and PlayStation Online, College Hoops 2K6 provides gamers with the most realistic, interactive gaming experience with seamless head-to-head online play. The comprehensive online features also provide stat tracking, buddy list management and online leagues.

College Hoops 2K6 for the Xbox(r) video game and entertainment system from Microsoft is rated "E" for Everyone and available in North American retail stores for $29.99. College Hoops 2K6 for the PlayStation(r) 2 computer entertainment system will be available in stores in early December. College Hoops 2K6 for the Xbox 360(tm) video game and entertainment system from Microsoft is slated for release in early

Additional details and features will be available in the near future.

For more information, please visit www.2Ksports.com.

November 22, 2005

Streaming Music from PSP to Xbox 360

Right now I'm streaming Sonic Youth off my PSP onto my Xbox 360 to play in the background while I'm playing NHL 2K6. Now that's cool. If only I could get the 360 talking to Windows Media Connect on my desktop I'd have access to my many gigs of mp3s.

This is just one cool feature of the Xbox 360. It's big and ugly, but hell it can stream music from my PSP.


SAN FRANCISCO (November 22, 2005) - SEGA® of America, Inc. today announced that its upcoming first-person psychological thriller Condemned: Criminal Origins(TM) has shipped to retailers nationwide and is available for the Xbox 360(TM) video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. Described by Official Xbox Magazine as "suspenseful, scary, and downright twisted," Condemned: Criminal Origins allows players to experience a heightened level of psychological tension as they use their instincts, forensic tools, and melee combat to track serial
killers and bring them to justice.

"Condemned: Criminal Origins has been built from the ground up for the Xbox 360; this game could not be made on current-generation technology," said Scott A Steinberg, Vice President of Marketing, SEGA of America. "Photorealistic environments and strategic enemy AI combine to create a terrifying next-generation experience."

When played in 5.1 surround sound, this game is an aural assault on the senses. Gruesome weapons can be improvised by clever gamers - paper-cutter handles, wooden planks, and mannequin arms can be used to attack opponents. Enemies don’t merely run at the player; they find an appropriately powerful weapon to attack with, then hide in the shadows, waiting for an open opportunity to strike.

Condemned: Criminal Origins is rated "M" (Mature) by the ESRB and is available at retailers nationwide for an MSRP of $59.99. For more information about Condemned: Criminal Origins, please visit http://www.condemnedgame.com.

Project Gotham Racing 3 vs. Ridge Racer 6

Project Gotham Racing 3
Score = 5 out of 5


This is a must have for PGR1 and PGR2 fans; no questions asked just go buy it. The franchise just keeps getting better and better. This version looks great, sounds great, the cars handle precisely. I can't think of anything wrong with it, except that maybe it isn't enough of a simulation for those people who want a full simulation experience. It's enough of a simulation for me - any more real and it would start to become a hassle to maintain the car and everything.

PGR3 looks so good that sometimes I purposely lose the race because I'm driving around looking at things. Everything looks good: the buildings, backgrounds, parks, water. Racing across the Brooklyn Bridge is very cool because the views up and down the East River are amazing. According to Microsoft Game Studios there are as many polygons in the Brooklyn Bridge as there was in the entire city in PGR2.

The sound is also fantastic. Each car has a unique sound and this sound is modified by the surroundings and whether it is in front or behind you, closing or pulling away. So you can hear a car, recognize the engine sound and hear it pull up on your right, look at it and know you were right and then it's by you. PGR3 is immersive in every sense of the word.


The online community can suck you in too and then all of a sudden it is 6 hours later and all you've done is played PGR3 all afternoon You can have an Online Career using the garage from your Solo Career. The Online Career mode automatically matches you against other players of a similar ability. They use the new TrueSkill system for rankings which measures your skills over four or five races. Your race from you online career might even end up on Gotham TV. The whole premise of PGR3 online is this Gotham TV, with a Heroes Channel to watch the best racers in the world, a Friends Channel where you can meet up with your friends.

One crazy detail is the crowd. They respond to your driving and jump out of the way when you crash into a wall. There are about 4,500 different combinations of crowd members, all built up from hundreds of modular body parts. Most of them are Bizarre Creations or Microsoft Game Studios employees.

Ridge Racer 6
Score = 4 out of 5

I'll cut to the chase right out of the gate. Ridge Racer is a fun to play arcade style racing game but PGR3 is more fun to play because of its realism.

I like Ridge Racer. The panoramic backgrounds are absolutely gorgeous. Each one is a work of art. The cars are amazingly detailed. The lighting effects and reflections are something to see. Surround sound is realistic and you can hear cars getting closer to you. It's an arcade style game meaning that sparks fly as you battle with your opponents. The cars handle like sleds that get thrown around curves at high velocity. It's pure arcade racing fun - thrills and spills that will get your heart pounding.

If you'd like to view the slideshow click here.

There are 130 cars and 30 courses. There's a career mode that tries to match you with events that are your speed, so to speak. This is the first time that Ridge Racer goes online. Players can choose to compete in a variety of different modes for up to 14 players, with voice chat support, including Rank Match and Player Match. Rank Match is tied into the games's persistent leaderboard, allowing players to compete for World Ranking Points in a series of races that can be customized by the game's host. Players can enjoy more casual races in Player Match, with outcomes that are not tied into World Ranking Points and settings that are also customizable by the game's host.

November 21, 2005

Kameo: Elements of Power

Rating 5 out of 5
Firstly, this review has to start with a disclaimer. I have played Kameo for at least 5 hours a day for the past three days. I love it. It's beautiful. The animations are so fluid. Every surface has a reflection. When you talk to other characters you can see your reflection in their eyes. And who could object to the content? Giant weeds that beat up Trolls are awesome.

Kameo's parents ruled the elves and there was peace between the elves and the trolls. Then Kameo's evil sister kidnapped their parents and made a deal with the trolls. Now the trolls are trying to catch all of the elemental spirits that are worshipped by the Elves. Kameo must free the elemental spirits and use them to free her parents and her people.
Kameo morphs into 10 different elemental warriors on the fly. This makes the combinations of ways to fight a battle limitless. You can use Pummel Weed (my favorite) to box with the trolls. Or Major Ruin can run them over and impale them on spikes. Ash the dragon can blast them with flames. It's so much fun. You can morph in the middle of a battle, like use Rubble to shoot rocks at the distant enemy then morph into Pummel Weed to kick their asses when they get closer. Learning the combination of warriors it will take to fight bosses or maneuver through the land. Each elemental warrior brings something different to the action and throughout the journey, upgrades can be made on each character's attacks.

The thing is, Kameo just looks so good. Kameo represents the cutting edge graphics and gameplay that we should expect on 360. The vibrant graphics immerse you in Kameo's world. Rare battle scenes have you wading through thousands of enemy trolls. The backdrop are jaw dropping. Stopping while walking on a mountain road I gazed out upon the valley and saw the mountains on the other side, a river in the valley. And I could zoom in and see more detail or zoom out and appreciate the whole scene. In the garden, I could zoom in on a butterflies wings and see them fluttering in detail.
The game isn't all fighting. It's also heavy on the puzzle solving elements. You really have to figure out which warrior to use when. There are also levels where you morph into a ball (just like Metroid Prime) and you have to figure out where to go next sort of like a platformer.

November 20, 2005

Xbox 360 in the House

I'm just getting the word out that I've got PC Magazine's Xbox 360 and I'm playing a lot of games. I'll write reviews of the games shortly and post them on this site.

Here's a link to my review on PCMag.com

I wrote an Xbox 360 review that's running on pcmag.com. I'll post a link when the article is posted. Then they're going to run an excerpt of that article in print in January

Xbox 360 Arrives!

I'm so excited. It arrived on Thursday night and I've been playing PGR3 and Kameo almost non stop. The scenery in PGR3 is simply amazing. I love racing across the Brooklyn Bridge and looking out over the East River. And Kameo, I can't put it down. The worlds are unique and involved, the graphics are beautiful, and the concept is great. You play as Kameo who needs to free elemental spirits and then use their forms to free her family being held captive by her evil sister. The evil sister has made a pact with the Trolls and they're out to get you. As you take on these elemental spirites you get different attacks. So far the best is being able to play as a giant weed and beating up trolls to set other weeds free. You can also be a pile of rocks that shoots the rocks at enemies and then they roll back and become part of you again.

On the negative side, the damn thing has a power transformer that is bigger than a Yorkshire terrier. It's pretty close to the size of a can of tennis balls. Who wants that in their living room? Oh well, enough bitching.

Nina loves the 360.


it's so warm and makes a reassuring humming noise.

November 18, 2005

Legendo's The Three Musketeers playable demo - available now!

Gothenburg, Sweden, November 17th 2005 – Newly founded publisher-developer Legendo Entertainment today announced the demo release of its upcoming platform-action game, Legendo's The Three Musketeers.

The demo is available for download athttp://legendo.com/musketeers/downloads.htm (continuously updated with additional download locations). The following languages are supported (A-Z): Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Portuguese, Norwegian, Slovenian, and Swedish.

Legendo’s The Three Musketeers has recently been released in Scandinavia and Finland in partnership with Ubisoft Nordic, additionally a Dutch version is currently on sale in The Netherlands via a distribution deal with Ubisoft Benelux. Upcoming country releases include France where sales and distribution will be handled by Nobilis, Ecofilmes having signed up for Portugal, and even a fully localized Slovenian version that will be distributed by Colby. In addition, well-established Russian outfit Noviy Disk is set to publish the game in the former USSR. Legendo is actively seeking distribution partners for other territories, further inquiries should be directed to bizdev@legendo.com.

Story & Features

The Three Musketeers have been kidnapped! Well, almost - it's up to Porthos, famed member of the Musketeers, to save the day in the first game ever based on the world-famous novel by Alexandre Dumas.

In Legendo's story adaptation, Porthos, Aramis, and Athos are enjoying themselves at the Red Dove Inn, Paris, when young D'Artagnan suddenly bursts in. It turns out he's followed by the sinister Count Xavier and his evil lieutenant, the hook-handed count Orsini. The wicked pair of villains attacks the musketeers, and in the hullabaloo that erupts Porthos is knocked senseless! He wakes up shortly thereafter just to see his friends being hailed off in a prison cart!

Take on the role of Porthos, famed member of The Three Musketeers and save your comrades in this riveting run 'n jump romp, appropriate for adventurers of all ages!

* Prepare for a swashbuckling adventure as you encounter tons of enemies, puzzles, and traps. A clever control scheme allows for simple and accessible gameplay with tons of fighting, jumping, collecting and running!
* Convincing animated movie look made possible with superior cartoon 3D technology, backed up by jaw-dropping character designs inspired by the world-famous French-Belgian comic book style!
* More than 200 areas and rooms in 10 huge levels featuring übercool bosses and level environments, including lush forests, chilly dungeons, gigantic castles, a haunted Abbey, the town of Normandy, and more!
* The first game ever based on Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers!
* Features three different endings!
* Runs on almost any PC - RadGameTools' PixomaticTM technology ensures compatibility with older graphics cards!
* Family entertainment appropriate for adventurers of all ages!

PC System Requirements:
* 1 GHz CPU (Pentium® and AMD), 256 MB RAM, 330 MB free disk space
* Windows® 2000/XP
* Graphics card*¹ with 16 MB RAM, a sound card*
* 16x CD-ROM drive / 4x DVD-DRIVE (or faster)
* Must be compatible with DirectX® 8.1 or newer.
¹ Game runs on almost any graphics card in software mode.


Title: Legendo's The Three Musketeers
Format: PC CD-ROM
Publisher: Legendo Entertainment
Website: www.legendo.com
Category: Platform-Action
Players: 1
Age Rating: PEGI 7+ / USK Pending
Target Audience: Pre-Teen (7-12)
Release Date: Winter 2005/2006
SRP: Pending

SEGA Ships New Version of Award-Winning Worldwide Soccer Manager

SAN FRANCISCO (November 16, 2005) -- SEGA® of America today announced the North American release of Sports Interactive's Worldwide Soccer Manager 2006, a sports management simulation game that lets gamers control all team-related activities for their favorite professional soccer teams in the U.S. as well as 49 other countries around the world. The game features advanced artificial intelligence (AI) that simulates day-to-day events and decision-making, including actual gameplay, that occurs when running a team. A try-and-buy trial version of the game is available at http://www.sega.com/wwsm2006.

Created by UK developer Sports Interactive, Worldwide Soccer Manager 2006 features an award-winning game engine where gamers are responsible for overall team performance through the management of important franchise elements such as coaching, scouting, trading, training, human resources and finance. Simulated matches are played out using a top-down match engine developed with ex-Liverpool and Republic of Ireland legend, Ray
Houghton. With single-player or multi-player modes, soccer enthusiasts, fantasy sports, tycoon fans, and other sports fans can put their knowledge to the test by managing every facet of a soccer club.

Officially licensed by the Major League Soccer (MLS) in the U.S., Worldwide Soccer Manager 2006 features leagues from 50 different countries, so gamers can manage clubs from countries such as the U.S., Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, England, Italy and Spain. The game includes a player database of more than 270,000 players and staff from more than 5,000 clubs worldwide in more than 170 divisions.

"Sports Interactive's games have sold over 8.5 million units worldwide," said Scott A. Steinberg, VP of Marketing, Sega of America, Inc. "This phenomenal new game is a must have product for any soccer fan in this country."

Currently released as Football Manager in Europe, Sports Interactive's soccer games have retailed for over 10 years with previous versions of the game ranked as the No. 1 and No. 2 fastest-selling PC games in the UK, with five titles in the Top 10 list, and the latest version selling more than 100,000 units in its opening weekend.

"Soccer fans and sports fans question the performance of their favorite team or the decisions made by the head coach, and Worldwide Soccer Manager 2006 gives those fans an opportunity to see how they measure up!" said Miles Jacobson, CEO of Sports Interactive. "Because the game puts the entire soccer universe at one’s fingertips, gamers can turn any team in the world into a global superforce.” Jacobson continued, "The game has become a literal phenomenon overseas because it offers a deep-drilling, constantly interactive experience tha t extends far beyond the current limitations of fantasy sports."

Worldwide Soccer Manager 2006 is currently available via download at http://www.sega.com/wwsm2006 and in all major retailers in the U.S. with an MSRPof $29.99.

November 17, 2005


Redwood City, Calif – November 17, 2005 - Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS), today announced it has shipped its biggest launch line up of EA SPORTS™ titles to stores with four EA SPORTS branded games for the Xbox 360™. FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup™, Madden NFL 06, NBA LIVE 06 and Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 06 are all available for the new game system.

The most heralded franchises in videogames sports history arrive at launch offering consumers four different sports games to play when they take their hardware out of the box for the first time.

“As launch titles, our four EA SPORTS titles for the Xbox 360 will give consumers a next generation sports experience from the time they take the shrink-wrap off the games and the console out of the box,” said John Schappert, Group Vice President and General Manager EA Studios. “This first round of games is what the hardcore videogame consumer wants, and we’re delivering that with these EA SPORTS launch titles.“

EA’s four EA SPORTS launch titles for Xbox 360 are:

FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup

FIFA 06 Road to FIFA World Cup immerses players into the emotional intensity of next generation soccer. Utilizing the power of the Xbox 360, fans will be able to revel in the world’s most sophisticated representation of soccer. Experience a newly enhanced gameplay engine that delivers extremely responsive controls and greater level of depth. New physics and animations mean that players will now react more realistically to every tackle, shot or pass of the ball.

Madden NFL 06

Madden NFL 06 for the Xbox 360 has been built from the ground up to deliver completely redesigned gameplay and the most lifelike football experience ever created. Gamers will feel the true emotion and passion on the football field with incredibly detailed player models that come to life on every play, as well as lifelike stadiums and fans. With a full Franchise mode, in-depth online play and a new presentation style with a hometown announcer and new playcalling system, Madden NFL 06 for the Xbox 360 is poised to once again raise the bar for the authentic football gaming experience.


Live and breathe basketball like never before with NBA LIVE 06 on the Xbox 360. Rebuilt from the ground up and powered by next generation gameplay, players can see and feel the emotion and intensity of the complete basketball experience with NBA LIVE 06. Players jump to life with real-world physics and enhanced animations including sweat rolling down the players’ faces. With true-to-life details, major gameplay advancements, and unprecedented player graphics, the sport of basketball is elevated to a whole new level with NBA LIVE 06.

Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 06

With greatness comes pressure and in Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 06 on Xbox 360, players experience the intensity of competing in championship golf events. Thousands of fans line the fairways and pack grandstands surrounding the greens, watching every shot as players aim to become the world’s #1 golfer. Players have a shot at realizing their ultimate dream of earning a PGA TOUR Card through Q-school and climbing the ranks on the PGA TOUR by playing against nine of the world’s greatest golfers like Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Chris DiMarco. It’s that pressure and the challenge of competing against some of the world’s top golfers on intimidating courses that await you in the next generation of Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 06.

“We will continue to deliver games in the coming months that demonstrate why EA SPORTS is a beloved brand and that authenticity, competition and innovation continue to be what EA SPORTS branded games deliver to the consumer,” Schappert added.

FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup, Madden NFL 06, NBA LIVE 06 and Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 06 are all rated E by the ESRB. For more information about EA’s entire Xbox 360 launch line-up visit http://www.info.ea.com.


SANTA CLARA, Calif., (November 17, 2005) – Leading video games publisher and developer Namco Hometek Inc. announced today that Me and My Katamari™ (working title), the first portable version from the award-winning Katamari franchise, will be launching in North America and Europe in 2006 exclusively for the PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) system. Me and My Katamari is the third installment in the Katamari series and delivers more of the simple and addictive game play enjoyed in Katamari Damacy™ and We ♥ (Love) Katamari™, this time for the handheld platform.

“The mesmerizing appeal of the Katamari franchise’s game play continues to transcend cultural boundaries and receive critical acclaim,” said Yoshi Niki, Business Unit Director, Namco Hometek Inc. “We are excited to expand our offerings to the PSP system, so that our fans can play Katamari whenever and wherever they are.”

Taking a break from celestial construction, the King of All Cosmos takes the royal family on vacation to a tropical island paradise, where they become tasked with the responsibility of creating new katamari islands for homeless animals. An epic undertaking of this time, earthly proportions, the King calls upon his pint-sized son, the Prince, and all of his cousins for help.

New, exciting features found in Me and My Katamari include:

* Wireless play for up to four people on the PSP system;
* A cast of playable characters that includes the Prince and his cousins – a mix of familiar faces and new additions;
* A host of customization options for player characters, including new masks and headgear, as well as the ability to wear them on the head, face and body;
* A new island interface that highlights player options and the different stages represented by animals in need of a new homes.

For more information about Me and My Katamari for the PSP system, please visit http://katamari.namco.com.


SAN FRANCISCO – November 17, 2005 – Today Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announced that Dogz®, the first puppy simulation game to be available exclusively for Nintendo's Game
Boy® Advance, has shipped to retail and will hit store shelves this week.

Dogz is a pet simulation game that lets owners name, train and play with a realistic puppy. Players create and control a main character and choose one of 49 different dogs from 18 different breeds. As characters in the game, owners can take their puppies everywhere within the virtual environment, from through the house to around the neighborhood to visit friends.

Gamers will earn their puppy's love and loyalty by remembering to feed and groom it and reward it when it does things correctly. Owners can train the puppy to lie down, shake, fetch and perform many other tricks.

"The millions of Game Boy Advance owners around the world now have the opportunity to play a puppy simulation game made exclusively for them," said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing at Ubisoft. "Dogz offers great storytelling and addictive interactivity, and it's ready to go home with new owners today."

Key Features:

Three Mini-Games Available: Play Run Puppy Run!, Puppy Reversi and Puppy Quiz with a cuddly new companion.

Visiting Mode: By linking two Game Boy Advance systems, players can send their puppy off to a friend's house.

Always Together Mode: After players complete the game, up to three puppies data are saved through an included backup feature. In Always Together mode, players can load the data of one of their previous puppies and play with it anytime.

Dogz carries an ESRB rating of “E” (Everyone) and an MSRP of $29.99. For more information about Dogz, please visit www.ubi.com.


Santa Monica, CA – November 16, 2005 – Gamers can now wield the ultimate power on New York’s city streets with the release of Activision, Inc.’s (Nasdaq: ATVI) True Crime®: New York City. The game puts players into the role of Marcus Reed, a former gang member turned cop who confronts four of New York’s most deadly crime syndicates as he hunts down the murderer of his mentor, all while cleaning up neighborhoods from Chinatown to Harlem to Times Square. Mastering five fighting styles, advanced weaponry, special driving maneuvers and all-new interrogation tactics, gamers choose to walk the straight line and move up the police ranks or cross the limits of their authority.

“True Crime: New York City is the first game to deliver the ultimate urban drama set against a realistic version of Manhattan,” said Will Kassoy, vice president of global brand management for Activision Publishing. “The game’s deep and diverse gameplay takes players into the city’s neighborhoods, buildings and subways and lets them virtually experience the city in a way that has never been possible in a videogame.”

In True Crime: New York City players turn in or take out shady informants, cold-blooded killers and ruthless criminals as they navigate an authentic recreation of a dynamic, free-roaming present-day Manhattan, which includes landmarks, subways, interiors, GPS-accurate streets and real neighborhoods. If players allow crime to go unchecked in any of Manhattan’s dynamically changing neighborhoods, the crime rate will soar, the streets will fill with trash, potholes and unsavory characters, and buildings and foliage will visibly deteriorate. Alternately, if players clamp down on crime in a neighborhood, crime rates fall and visual improvements will indicate their progress as well.

The game features a voiceover cast of seasoned actors who lent their distinct voice talents to the game’s main characters. The cast includes Christopher Walken as FBI field agent Gabriel Whitting; Laurence Fishburne as drug kingpin Isaiah “The King” Reed; Mariska Hargitay as New York Police Lieutenant Deena Dixon; Mickey Rourke as New York Police Detective Terrence Higgins; Esai Morales as New York Police Organized Crime Unit Chief Victor Navarro; Traci Lords as madam Cassandra Hartz; Beetlejuice as himself; and up and coming actor Avery Waddell as former gangster turned cop Marcus Reed, the game’s main character and Isaiah Reed’s son.

Also appearing in the game is hip hop artist Redman as a secret character in his own unlockable level called “Red Gone Wild.” Redman created two original tracks for the True Crime: New York City in-game soundtrack which features over 80 eclectic songs from NYC raised or transplanted bands, spanning such diverse genres as punk, hip hop, hardcore and rock, bringing a true East Coast sound to the game.

True Crime: New York City was developed by Luxoflux for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo GameCube™ for a suggested retail price of $49.99. A Collector’s Edition is also available for the Xbox for a suggested retail price of $59.99 and includes a behind the scenes feature, level walkthroughs, voiceover talent featurette, Redman level overview, gameplay trailer, crime families dossier and city guide trailers. The game is rated “M” (“Mature” – Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, and Use of Drugs) by the ESRB.

FLOW: Urban Dance Uprising Launches

SAN FRANCISCO November 16, 2005 Today Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announced that Flow: Urban Dance Uprising, the first and only breakdancing and hip hop video game, has shipped to retail exclusively for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system. Flow: Urban Dance Uprising is rated T for Teen and has an MSRP of $39.99.

Flow: Urban Dance Uprising features classic breakdancing gameplay and a soundtrack of hip hop artists including the Sugarhill Gang, Kurtis Blow, and Eric B & Rakim. Gamers can compete against as many as seven other players and choose from a host of dancers that perform classic breakdance moves in one of 10 different urban settings.

Key Features:
• 50 urban dance tracks including tracks from famous hip hop artists.
• Six modes of play and three difficulty levels to choose from.
• 100 breakdancing challenges across all modes of play
• Up to eight players supported in three different party modes.
• 10 unique characters and 10 urban-flavored environments to choose from, with more than 100 distinctive dance moves.
• EyeToy™ USB Camera (for PlayStation®2) support.

DRAKENGARD 2 Announced

Drakengard 1 was a great game. I remember defeating entire armies while riding my trusty dragon. Hopefully the second will be as good as the first.

SAN FRANCISCO NOVEMBER 16, 2005 Today Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announced that it has signed an exclusive publishing deal with Square Enix to bring DRAKENGARD 2 to North America and Europe. Under the agreement, Ubisoft will distribute DRAKENGARD 2 for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system.

Ubisoft is expanding its prior collaboration with Square Enix. Last year Ubisoft published Star Ocean Till the End of Time for PlayStation 2 and distributed the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) FINAL FANTASY XI for Windows® throughout Europe.

DRAKENGARD® 2 is a role-playing action game featuring knights and dragons that builds on the scenario of the original title. Released in Japan last June, DRAKENGARD 2 became an immediate success, topping Japanese sales charts and selling more than 100,000 copies in its first week of release.

“We are very excited to be working with Square Enix to publish this highly anticipated RPG in North America and Europe,” said Jay Cohen, vice president of publishing at Ubisoft. DRAKENGARD 2 is a hit in the Japanese market, and we are sure that North American and European gamers will also be thrilled by this fantastic adventure title.

DRAKENGARD 2 will be available in Europe, North America and Australia in March 2006. For more information and updates on the game, visit http://www.ubi.com.

November 16, 2005

Shattered Union

Score = 2.5 out of 5
Review by special correspondent Old Timey Gamer

I’ll never forget my first wargame: Avalon Hill’s Battle of the Bulge. I was held spell-bound at the first sight of the game’s map, which was mounted on cardboard and superimposed with hexagons. By the end of turn one, I was in love. Back then, the Internet wasn’t yet invented and the Commodore VIC-20 was considered a first-class gaming machine. In this era before the floppy drive, games were available only on cassette tapes. While this format brought many engaging games, such as Attack of the Blue Meanies, it could not deliver a complex strategy game. To find that kind of gaming experience, one had to turn to the cardboard counters, paper-based combat results tables, and thick-rule books part of any Avalon Hill wargame.
Technology has taken some giant steps forward since then and, for the most part, has left wargames, in all their hex-board, turn-based glory, behind to die alone and forgotten. Of course, there have been a few notable exceptions. Both the Panzer General and Battleground series brought wargames to computers and consoles with varying degrees of success. Panzer General emphasized playability over tactical and historical accuracy, while Battleground chose a different path and attempted to deliver games that detailed the weapons and warfare of a particular period, from Napoleon to WWII. It wasn’t until Combat Mission that it was demonstrated, without a doubt, that technology could deliver a superior wargame: one tactically rich, deeply realistic, and, most important, a joy to play.
These days, there aren’t many computer wargames on the New Release shelf of the local gaming store. Whenever one does make its way into production and wide distribution, like Shattered Union, a turn-based game played on a hex-board map, there is a reason to celebrate. Unfortunately, once the initial buzz of this game’s release wears off, there’s not that much life left in this party.
Shattered Union starts with an interesting premise, imaging a future in which, for various reasons, America has once again descended into civil war. The country breaks into six different groups, from the New England Alliance in the north to the Republic of Texas in the south. The European Union even becomes involved and, in an attempt to restore stability, invades Washington, DC (and is a playable faction in the game).
A game of Shattered Union is broken into two parts: one strategic and the other tactical. On the strategic portion, players move across a map of the United States, able to attack adjacent territories as well as build and repair units. The majority of game play is in the tactical mode. After a player chooses to attack, or is attacked, turn-based battles are fought over particular states with victory determined by how many cities are captured, or defended. Each tactical battle is 14 turns long.

If you'd like to view the slideshow click here.

All in all, it’s clear that the designers made playability top priority and in this regard they have succeeded. At its heart, Shattered Union is an engaging game: the AI is competent, there’s a wide mix of units, and the graphics and sound are both good. However, the tactical map is somewhat of a muddled mess. Not only is it difficult to distinguish friendly units from the enemy; it’s very easy to lose them on the game board entirely. In addition, the learning curve is too steep for a strategy game that puts simplicity and playability over realism or strategic depth, and the manual is no help whatsoever.

Battles in Shattered Union are won based on the numbers and types of units one brings to battle and not on tactics at all. This was my biggest disappointment with the game. On the other hand, there’s a Skirmish mode that allows one to fight tactical battles in any region between any two factions. Playing the game in this mode versus a human opponent could be rewarding.

Microsoft Announces Xbox 360 Day One Launch Lineup

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 14, 2005 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that 18 Xbox 360™ games, spanning all the popular genres, and 13 Xbox 360 accessories will be available when the video game and entertainment system launches in North America on Nov. 22. Exclusive, thrilling racing games such as “Project Gotham Racing® 3,” sports games that hit hard with high-definition graphics and sound such as “Madden NFL 06” and “NBA 2K6,” action-adventure games such as “Kameo™: Elements of Power™,” innovative titles with multiplayer co-op gameplay like “Perfect Dark Zero™,” and intense action exclusives such as “Call of Duty® 2” contribute to the broadest and deepest retail launch lineup in console history.

The following Xbox 360 games will be available in North America retail locations on or before the console is launched Nov. 22:

· “Amped 3” (2K Sports)

· “Call of Duty 2” (Activision Inc.)

· “Condemned: Criminal Origins” (SEGA Corp.)

· “FIFA Soccer 06 Road to 2006 FIFA World Cup” (Electronic Arts Inc.)

· “GUN™” (Activision)

· “Kameo: Elements of Power” (Microsoft Game Studios and Rare Ltd.)

· “Madden NFL 06” (Electronic Arts)

· “NBA 2K6” (2K Sports)

· “NBA LIVE 06” (Electronic Arts)

· “Need for Speed Most Wanted” (Electronic Arts)

· “NHL 2K6” (2K Sports)

· “Perfect Dark Zero” (Microsoft Game Studios and Rare Ltd.)

· “Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie” (Ubisoft)

· “Project Gotham Racing 3” (Microsoft Game Studios and Bizarre Creations Ltd.)

· “Quake 4™” (id Software and Activision)

· “Ridge Racer 6” (Namco Ltd.)

· “Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 06” (Electronic Arts)

· “Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland” (Activision)

Xbox 360 launch titles from Microsoft Game Studios will be competitively priced, with standard editions of “Kameo: Elements of Power,” “Project Gotham Racing 3” and “Perfect Dark Zero” all retailing for $49.99 (U.S. ERP). A two-disc “Perfect Dark Zero” Limited Collector’s Edition will also be available this holiday season for an ERP of $59.99. Xbox 360 accessories will range in price from $11.99 to $99.99. More information on all these products can be found at http://www.xbox.com.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be a gamer,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of Worldwide Marketing and Publishing for the Home and Entertainment Division of Microsoft. “Xbox 360 will deliver mind-blowing experiences across multiple genres, no matter what your personal gaming preferences are. On Nov. 22, the next generation of gaming begins. From there, gamers will be overwhelmed with the pipeline of amazing Xbox 360 games yet to come.”

Xbox Live Arcade Launch Lineup

Adding to the already tremendous lineup of launch-day titles, Xbox Live® Arcade for Xbox 360 plans to offer between 12 and 15 bite-sized game titles on launch day one. With Xbox Live Arcade, casual and hard-core gamers alike will find a wide variety of game genres for download spanning action arcade titles such as “Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved” and “Mutant Storm Reloaded,” coin-op and retro classics such as Xbox Live multiplayer-enabled “Joust” and “Gauntlet,” puzzle games such as “Hexic® HD” and “Bejeweled 2,” casual sports games such as “Bankshot Billiards® 2,” light strategy titles such as “Outpost Kaloki,” and card and board games such as “Hardwood Backgammon” and “Hardwood Hearts.” Each Xbox Live Arcade game includes a free downloadable trial version so game players can try before they buy.

Xbox Live Retail Offerings

Also available on Nov. 22 are two Xbox Live retail offerings for gamers who want to up the ante on their online gameplay experience from the free Silver level of service to Gold membership. The 12-month Premium Starter Pack has an ERP of $69.99 and contains a 12-month subscription to Xbox Live, an Xbox 360 headset, a full version of the Xbox Live Arcade game “Bankshot Billiards 2,” a $20 (U.S.) game rebate coupon good for any Xbox 360 game title* and 200 points for use on Xbox Live Marketplace. The three-month Premium Starter Pack has an ERP of $39.99 and contains a three-month subscription to Xbox Live, an Xbox 360 headset, a full version of the Xbox Live Arcade game “Joust,” a $10 (U.S.) game rebate coupon good for any Xbox 360 game title* and 100 points for use on Xbox Live Marketplace. With nearly three-quarters of all launch games on Xbox 360 Xbox Live multiplayer-enabled, there’s never been a better time to get connected to Xbox Live.

In addition, to allow gamers to customize and enhance the Xbox 360 experience, 13 Xbox 360 accessories will be available by launch day:

· Xbox 360 Wireless Controller

· Xbox 360 Controller (wired)

· Xbox 360 Wireless Networking Adapter

· Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote

· Xbox 360 Faceplates

· Xbox 360 Hard Drive (20 GB)

· Xbox 360 Headset

· Xbox 360 Memory Unit (64 MB)

· Xbox 360 Play & Charge Kit

· Xbox 360 Rechargeable Battery Pack

· Xbox 360 Component HD-AV Cable

· Xbox 360 S-Video AV Cable (U.S. only)

· Xbox 360 VGA HD AV Cable


BURBANK, Calif. — (November 15, 2005) — The quest to save the enchanted land of Narnia has begun. Buena Vista Games, Inc. (BVG), the interactive entertainment arm of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS), brings gamers and Narnia fans an unforgettable adventure with video games inspired by Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media’s epic feature film, “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe,” scheduled to release in theaters December 9. The video games are now available at retail outlets in North America for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo DS, Game Boy® Advance system and PC, Buena Vista Games announced today. Players are thrust into a mysterious frozen world where they will play as four heroes -- Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy Pevensie -- to free Narnia from a cold, bleak eternity under the control of the evil White Witch.

“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe video games beautifully translate the film into an epic interactive experience,” said Andrew Adamson, film director. “They demonstrate the importance of having a film team that is involved in the production of the video games inspired by that film. Players will truly feel as if they have walked through the wardrobe doors and into Narnia, where they can control the destiny of the characters.”

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe video games take the classic story from the renowned book from C.S. Lewis to new heights by bringing the cinematic experience to life in a stunning interactive adventure. Playing as each of the four Pevensie heroes, gamers will battle the White Witch’s sinister minions in team-based, action-packed combat. Taking on a variety of creatures including Minoboars, Cyclopes, Werewolves and Ankleslicers, gamers must utilize each hero’s unique combat skills, weaponry and special moves to defeat hoards of enemies, solve elaborate puzzles and advance towards restoring Narnia.

“’The Chronicles of Narnia’ is one of The Walt Disney Company’s most highly-anticipated ventures this year,” said Graham Hopper, senior vice president and general manager, Buena Vista Games. “The Narnia video game represents collaboration between film making and game development at its best. The game immerses players into the land of Narnia and lets them experience an extensive adventure beyond the epic film.”

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe for PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube and PC is developed by Traveller’s Tales and is rated “T” for Teen by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). The PlayStation 2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube versions carry a suggested retail price of $49.99. The PC version carries a suggested retail price of $39.99. The Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance versions are developed by Amaze Entertainment. The Nintendo DS version has an ESRB rating of “E10+” for Everyone 10 and older and carries a suggested retail price of $34.99. The Game Boy Advance version is rated “E” for Everyone by the ESRB and carries a suggested retail price of $29.99.

About The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe video games
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe video games uniquely convey the classic story. The console and PC versions are action/adventure games featuring 15 levels of combat and puzzle solving game play. The game also features seamless integration of film footage with game play and includes extensive use of voice talent from the film. Included are numerous unlockable bonus levels and features that reveal secrets about the making of the game. Also, the console and PC versions include a two-player co-op “drop in/drop out” feature in which a second player can easily join a single-player game already in progress.

The Nintendo DS version is an action/adventure game with role playing game features. The Nintendo DS game, which includes 60 maps, utilizes the touch screen for game play options, including managing inventory, conversing with allied creatures, casting spells and controlling one of four possible characters in real-time combat. A wireless multiplayer mode allows up to four people to play simultaneously.

The Game Boy Advance version is an action/adventure game that includes 17 levels of game play inspired by the film. Players earn role playing game-based Nobility power-ups to defeat the minions of the White Witch. The game includes a two-player linked or wireless multiplayer mode (accessories sold separately).

About The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe film
Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media Present “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” is a spectacular live-action/CGI motion picture adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ beloved literary classic. The film marks the first live-action directorial effort for Andrew Adamson (director of the Oscar®-winning “Shrek” and “Shrek 2”), who also co-wrote the screenplay adaptation with Emmy Award-winner Anne Peacock (HBO’s “A Lesson Before Dying”) and scribes Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. The film is produced by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Mark Johnson.

Lewis’ timeless adventure follows the exploits of the four Pevensie siblings – Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy -- in World War II England. The children enter the world of Narnia through a magical wardrobe while playing a game of ”hide-and-seek” in the rural country home of an elderly professor. Once there, the children discover a land inhabited by talking beasts, dwarfs, fauns, centaurs and giants that has become a world cursed to eternal winter by the evil White Witch, Jadis. Under the guidance of a noble and mystical ruler, the lion Aslan, the children fight to overcome the White Witch’s powerful hold over Narnia in a spectacular, climactic battle that will free Narnia from Jadis’ icy spell forever.

America's Army: Rise of a Soldier Ships to Retail

SAN FRANCISCO November 15, 2005 Today Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announced that America's Army: Rise of a Soldier has shipped to retail stores for the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft. Ubisoft and the U.S. Army worked together to develop a new and unique experience for console gamers that features all the action-packed realism that players have come to expect from the America's Army game brand. With unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to the vast military expertise of the U.S. Army, Ubisoft created the most authentic military console game to date by incorporating true-to-life character progression via an all-new Career mode. The PlayStation2 computer entertainment system version of America's Army: Rise of a Soldier is projected to ship in Q1 2006.

"We are very excited to bring the only official U.S. Army game to consoles," said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing at Ubisoft. "Working firsthand with the U.S. Army to create this all-new title has ensured the deepest and most realistic military game ever to hit the consoles. Players will become immersed in the complete Army experience while learning what it takes to rise through the ranks in the all-new Career mode."

Built in partnership with the U.S. Army and developed by Secret Level, America's Army: Rise of a Soldier offers the most true-to-life Army experience, allowing players to create a soldier and lead him through the excitement of an Army career. Intense single-player missions and high-adrenaline multiplayer action progress the skills of a soldier as he rises through the ranks.

"Our collaboration with Ubisoft has resulted in the most authentic console game about soldiering in the U.S. Army," said Colonel Casey Wardynski, originator and director of the America's Army game project.
"America's Army: Rise of a Soldier emulates the real Army, allowing players to choose their own career paths. Players can focus on individual Army roles, like Sniper or Grenadier, or experience different roles in their goal to achieve Green Beret status."

Key Features

Unique Career mode: Unparalleled character customization allows players to create a soldier and take him throughout his career from recruit to Special Forces Team Leader.
1. Earn experience points in training and combat missions and use them to increase core skills.
2. Play as an integrated member of an eight-man fire team at first then progress to become a Fire Team Leader responsible for and issuing commands to a fire team.

The only official U.S. Army game on the console: Real active-duty Special Forces operatives consulted with game designers to ensure the highest level of realism in any military game in existence. Authentic weapons, equipment and combat situations come straight from the U.S. Army subject matter experts.

Play it your way: Rise of a Soldier has no linear campaign design; players can choose their own career paths. Either focus on certain roles (sniper or automatic rifleman, for example) or experience different roles in the goal to achieve Special Forces.

Intense Military Action: Quick reflexes, smart tactics, and the use of teamwork are mandatory to succeed in army missions, which plunge players into ultra-realistic combat scenarios.

Multiplayer: Rise of a Soldier will offer a top-notch multiplayer experience with up to 16 players playing on Xbox Live® and online for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system. Career Mode will be brought online, where players can create and build an online character.

For more information, please visit: http://www.riseofasoldier.com.

Comic Book Creator Ships to Retail

Orange County, Calif. (November 15, 2005) – Cape-wearing couch potatoes have a reason to rejoice with the announcement that Planetwide Games’ self-publishing comic book software, Comic Book Creator™ has shipped and is available at retail outlets across the United States and Canada, and via digital download from http://www.PlanetwideComics.com. The innovative software title allows consumers to utilize their own video game screenshots, DVD movies, digital photos or art assets to create personalized comic books and comic strips.

“Comic Book Creator is a truly unique product in its ability to merge different forms of popular entertainment for fun and educational purposes, thus creating edutainment” said Kevin Donovan, President of Planetwide Games. “The title’s intuitive drag and drop interface and wealth of features provides for a user-friendly creative outlet for the whole family, regardless of artistic ability. Gamers can import screenshots and generate their own graphic novels; families can create custom comic books using their family albums and personal photos; and bloggers can add a humorous twist to their posts. The possibilities are endless.”

Comic Book Creator is the first PC based self-publishing software to integrate the comic book and video game industries. Comic Book Creator’s self-publishing software will empower a gamer or comic book enthusiast to construct their own original comic. Users will now be able to easily create and share their own comic book adventure captured and created from their PC based video game play.

To create a comic, users need only select from one of over 500 different layout and design templates, drop in their art assets and insert text bubbles to bring to life whatever story they can imagine. Comic Book Creator will work with any jpeg, bmp or gif digital image and once users complete their masterpiece they can share it with friends by printing or exporting the image into a PDF or HTML file for online distribution.

Minimum system requirements include a PC running Windows 2000 or higher, a Pentium 4 processor 128 MB of RAM, a CD ROM and a hard drive with 1 GB of free space. Comic Book Creator will sell for a suggested retail price of $19.99.

Popular entertainment properties will also be available this holiday season via digital download content packs ranging in price from $2.99 to $9.99. Interested comic book and video gaming enthusiasts are encouraged to please visit: www.PlanetwideComics.com and create lasting memories.

A 14-day trial of the Comic Book Creator Self-Publishing Software can be downloaded at http://www.PlanetwideComics.com/instantdownload featuring all the functionality of the retail version of the software. The trial version printing and publishing capabilities contain a watermark on all printed and saved “Comic Book Creator” files. Watermarks are removed with the purchase of a full retail version of the software.

Users can purchase Comic Book Creator at video games and electronics retailers in the US and Canada. To find a local retailer, users can visit http://www.PlanetwideComics.com.

Nintendo Announces Play Control System for Next Hardware

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Nintendo of America today announces it will include a play control system in its next home video game system, code-named Revolution, coming in 2006.

By using a password-controlled setting, adults can decide what flexibility they'll allow younger players to have in playing video games rated E (Everyone), E10+ (Everyone 10 and Older), T (Teen) or M (Mature). The system
also ensures that dedicated adult gamers can opt to play without limitations. How does it work? The actual game software will contain a code indicating the rating, which will activate the control system to remain locked or unlocked. The feature will be included in every Revolution console worldwide.

"Even though many Nintendo games are rated E, E10+ or T, we believe this kind of feature should be included in the hardware. It's the right thing to do," explains Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's executive vice president
of sales & marketing. "Game ratings are on the front and back of every game package, so families can easily make a decision about whether a game is right for them."
Game ratings are determined by a consensus of at least three specially trained raters reporting to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. ESRB raters are of various ages and backgrounds, and to ensure their objectivity, are not permitted to have any ties to the computer and video game industry. The rating system, in place since 1994, is frequently cited as an example for other industries to follow.
"Nintendo has added an important tool for families in Washington state and around the world," said Gov. Chris Gregoire. "This new option gives parents more information and more control over what video games their kids play and at what age."
Nintendo's next console will usher in a new era of video gaming. It will feature a controller designed to be used with either one hand or two, a first in the video game industry. The position and motion of the controller itself
dictates the action on the television screen. A second, plug-in expansion gives hard-core gamers additional control for more in-depth game play. Revolution will play both new game discs, as well as Nintendo GameCube(TM)
discs. It also will have access to 20 years of fan-favorite games, including those from the Nintendo(R) 64, Super NES(R) and NES(R) eras.
The worldwide leader and innovator in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its popular home and portable video game systems.
Each year, hundreds of all-new titles for the best-selling Game Boy(R) Advance SP, Nintendo DS(TM) and Nintendo GameCube(TM) systems extend Nintendo's vast game library and continue the tradition of delivering a rich, diverse mix of quality video games for players of all ages. Since the release of its first home video game system in 1983, Nintendo has sold more than 2 billion video games and more than 353 million hardware units globally, creating enduring industry icons such as Mario(TM) and Donkey Kong(R) and launching popular culture franchise phenomena such as Metroid(R), Zelda(TM) and Pokemon(R). A wholly owned subsidiary Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond, Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo's operations in the Western Hemisphere.

For more information about Nintendo, visit the company's Web site at http://www.nintendo.com.

November 14, 2005

Tourist Trophy Announced For North America

SCEA announced the Spring 2006 North American release of Tourist Trophy, available exclusively for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system. Created by Polyphony Digital Inc., developers of Gran Turismo the best-selling worldwide racing videogame franchise, Tourist Trophy offers players more than 80 licensed motorcycles to race in various game modes amongst more than 35 international courses. Featuring gameplay for up to two players, Tourist Trophy captures the fluid movement of man and machine like never before with perfected game physics and graphics for an authentic true-to-life motorcycle riding simulation. Featured licensed motorcycle manufacturers include BMW Motorrad, Ducati, Honda, Kawasaki, Triumph and more.

To see a game trailer and learn more about Tourist Trophy, please visit http://www.touristtrophy-thegame.com.

November 11, 2005

Find Donkey Kong, Save a Chimp

If you can help Donkey Kong(R), you can help a real primate. To celebrate this week's release of Donkey Kong(R) Country 3 for Game Boy(R) Advance and Game Boy(R) Micro, Nintendo is hosting a Where's DK? Search Event through Nov. 21. Participants must follow the clues on http://www.whereisdonkeykong.com to discover his whereabouts and earn a donation to charity.

For each of the participants who locate Donkey Kong, Nintendo will donate money to the Animal Protection Institute's Primate Sanctuary. API is a national animal-advocacy group. The mission of the Primate Sanctuary is to provide nonhuman primates a high quality of life with as little human interference as possible. The 186-acre sanctuary, located near San Antonio, Texas, is currently home to more than 400 primates, many of whom were rescued from abusive or exploitative situations.

In Donkey Kong Country 3, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong(R) have been kidnapped and players must help Dixie Kong and Kiddy Kong find them. Players run, roll, hop and swing through enemy-infested stages to locate Donkey and Diddy. Players can catch rides on new and familiar animal pals as they explore nine worlds of adventure. Multiple mini-games and six new levels make this game shine.

November 8, 2005


Santa Monica, CA – November 7, 2005 – The crafty penguins from the DreamWorks Animation film “Madagascar” are taking their antics to Game Boy® Advance in MadagascarÔ: Operation Penguin from Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI). The new side-scrolling action adventure game casts players as “Private” the Penguin, a daredevil zoo escapee on his way to Antarctica and the exotic island of Madagascar. Through 18 mission-based chapters, players utilize inventive secret agent gadgets and conquer a host of challenging tasks.

Developed by Vicarious Visions, Madagascar: Operation Penguin for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance is currently available in retail stores nationwide for a suggested retail price of $29.99 and is rated “E” (“Everyone”– cartoon violence) by the ESRB.

In Madagascar: Operation Penguin players adventure through 18 mission-based chapters while battling enemies, collecting useful tools, scouting out danger and exploring new surroundings. With crazy contraptions and unique gadgets, such as a soda bottle jet pack or hamburger wrapper parachute, players can break free from the confines of the zoo as well as master moves like karate chops while trying to escape enemies such as foosa, birds, rats, porcupines, baboons, snakes, walruses, crocodiles and lemmings. Film favorites Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the Hippo each get their own special level in Madagascar: Operation Penguin.

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision, Inc. is a leading worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and leisure products. Founded in 1979, Activision posted net revenues of $1.4 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2005.

Activision maintains operations in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Australia, Scandinavia, Spain and the Netherlands. More information about Activision and its products can be found on the company's World Wide Web site, which is located at http://www.activision.com.

EA Announces From russia with love videogame For The PSP

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Oct. 20, 2005 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced plans for a PSP™ version of the latest installment in the widely successful James Bond™ videogame franchise, From Russia With Love™, starring Academy Award®-winner, Sir Sean Connery. The highly anticipated game is scheduled to ship this fall on the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft, and the Nintendo GameCube™ under the EA™ brand. The announced PSP version is scheduled to ship in early 2006.

From Russia With Love, the videogame, will be based on the classic Bond film but also will feature new plot twists, gadgets and characters. Sir Sean Connery, appearing in his first-ever videogame, lent his voice and likeness to the project.

From Russia With Love for the PSP™ system gives players the opportunity to experience the timeless fiction of the classic James Bond movie on the go. Invest in your character and customize Bond for a whole new level of gameplay options.

Officially licensed by MGM Interactive, From Russia With Love is being developed by EA’s Redwood Shores, Calif. Development studio. This game has not yet been rated by the ESRB. For more information about the PSP game, visit http://www.007.ea.com.

Gamers From Around the World to Converge at Massive Xbox 360 Launch Event in Mojave Desert

Microsoft announced details of the Xbox 360 launch event, “Xbox 360: Zero Hour,” where thousands of gamers from around the world are invited to make the pilgrimage to an undisclosed location in the Mojave Desert to witness the dawning of the next generation of gaming. Microsoft’s massive launch event will feature hundreds of gaming stations, live entertainment and around-the-clock gaming at a venue immersed in the Xbox 360 experience. The event will begin on November 20 when the sun sets on the desert horizon and end at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, November 22, the official launch date for Xbox 360 in North America.

In order to win credentials and attend this exclusive event, gamers must visit http://www.microsoft.com/xbox/zerohour.htm on November 10 to see a list of participating registration sites for a chance to win free tickets for themselves and a friend. Tickets are limited and distributed on a first come, first served basis. Hopeful attendees should check participating sites frequently since sign-up forms will be posted at unspecified times throughout the day. After registration ends, the 3,000 lucky winners will join VIPs from the U.S. “Hex 168” and European “Origen” campaigns to be the first gamers in the world to fully experience all that Xbox 360 has to offer.

“Xbox 360: Zero Hour” is expected to be a true gaming paradise with hundreds of Xbox 360 gaming stations featuring high-definition monitors and digital sound available for attendees to get the chance to play the full Xbox 360 launch line-up along with other highly anticipated games that will ship this year and into 2006 from 2K Games, 2K Sports, Activision, Bethesda, Capcom, Electronic Arts, Microsoft Game Studios, Namco, Sega, Square-Enix, Tecmo, THQ, and Ubisoft.” Among other gaming highlights, attendees will be the first ever to play a 32-player match of “Perfect Dark Zero” over Xbox Live, have access to the full Xbox Live Arcade lineup and witness demonstrations and sneak peeks of hotly-anticipated non-launch titles including live game play of “Gears of War.”

Attendees need not worry about missing out on one of the thousands of national “midnight madness” events. Best Buy, retail partner of the Xbox 360 launch event, will be onsite where gamers can purchase their Xbox 360 consoles, games and peripherals.

“Our goal with the launch event is to reward the gamer by creating the ultimate Xbox 360 oasis,” said Peter Moore, Microsoft corporate vice president, Worldwide Marketing and Publishing for Xbox, who will be celebrating at the event along with J Allard, Microsoft corporate vice president and chief XNA architect, and leading game developers and members of the Xbox team. “Gamers at ‘Zero Hour’ will have bragging rights to say ‘I spent over 24 hours at the epicenter of the gaming universe, and I was among the first generation of the next generation of gaming.’”

In addition to gaming nirvana, attendees will be able to purchase food and beverages at around-the-clock refreshment stations while they enjoy live entertainment including a genuine “Kaiju Big Battel” (www.kaiju.com) and a musical performance by raucous rock band from Southern California, “Louis XIV.” Attendees will also receive exclusive event give-aways such as “Zero Hour” Xbox 360 console faceplates.

Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox Live® online gaming service, and unique digital entertainment experiences that revolve around you. The system will launch this holiday season in Europe, Japan and North America, to be followed by availability in Australia, Colombia, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan in 2006. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Nintendo's Mario Party 7 Offers Players a Passport to Fun

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 7 PRNewswire -- Imagine your closest friends embarking on a cruise ship to some of the most awe-inspiring destinations around the world and the great times they surely have in store for themselves.
Now, imagine you get left behind. As the story goes, Toadsworth invited Mario(TM) and all his pals to take a luxury voyage aboard the MSS Sea Star. Bowser finds himself absent from the guest list and begins conniving to ruin
their excursion. After all -- if he can't have fun, no one should have fun. With the Nov. 7 launch of Mario Party(R) 7 for Nintendo GameCube(TM), see what trouble he stirs up.

The Mario Party series has sold more than 5 million copies in the United States, putting it in the ranks of the most popular video game franchises of all time. Playing like a virtual board game, it has also been highly popular
among college students. And now, for the first time ever, with Mario Party 7, it can bring an entire family together with its eight-player action. The game promises to be a great value with a special offer for the holidays. A bundle
will be available for a limited time that includes a Nintendo GameCube, two controllers and Mario Party 7, all at an MSRP of just $99.99.
Two new characters, Birdo and Dry Bones, join the party, while the video game features 86 new mini-games, 11 of which use the included Nintendo GameCube Mic that allows players to control the action with their voices.
It's like 86 games merged into one, with playable characters that include Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi(TM), Daisy, Wario(TM), Waluigi, Boo, Toad and Toadette.
Players explore the world with six new game boards that serve as exotic ports of call, including Pyramid Park, Pagoda Peak, Grand Canal, Windmillville, Neon Heights and Bowser World. Bowser has made a mess of
traditionally lovely vacation spots, as he has other plans for his friendly sightseers while he turns the vacationing paradise into a tension-filled madhouse.
As the vacation goes awry, players find themselves leaping over electrified hurdles and avoiding a mole with a giant hammer. Cranky Goombas market their power-ups and persuasive Shy Guys offer players auditions for an
action movie or big-league contract.

Rated E for Everyone, Mario Party 7 comes with the Nintendo GameCube Mic, but conveniently requires no travel agent. For more information about the game, visit http://www.marioparty.com.

November 5, 2005

Sniper Elite

Score = 4 out of 5

This is the ultimate sniper game, created for those of us who love picking off enemies who don't even know where we are. Set in spring of 1945 in war torn Berlin, the Russians and the Germans are locked in an epic struggle. The Russian secret service (NKVD) is in Berlin to steal atomic bomb technology from the Germans. Your character is an OSS sniper, disguised as a German and working alone to stop Stalin's forces from controlling the world's nuclear technology. You'll use your stealth and sniping skills to infiltrate hostile enemy environments and wreak havoc.

In the beginning, there are plentiful hints about gameplay displayed on the screen. It's not so easy to control your character. Between the binoculars (left trigger) and the sniper scope (press down on the right thumbstick) it can get confusing. You'll have to plan out your moves using the map which takes a little getting used to, and then advance using your camoflage to blend in while you lurk in the shadows. This is not frenetic battle action, this is methodical and cautious. It's necessary to play the angles and the distances. As long as you can keep the enemy at a distance you have an advantage because of your sniper rifle. You advance inch by inch, constantly scanning the rubble and bombed out buildings for enemy snipers.

If you'd like to view the slideshow click here.

There are 28 missions for your sniping pleasure. You'll learn the subtleties of the art as you use gravity, elevation, wind speed and direction, heart rate, breathing, posture, background noise and other conditions to successfully hit your mark and conceal your position. It's a clever system. It's easy to select weapons and items on the fly using the D-pad. One of the most interesting aspects of Sniper Elite is the way that it combines third person and first person game play, mainly using third person to move around and first person to snipe. The missions are non-linear, which is very cool, so you can crawl around Berlin however you want, find your vantage points and let 'er rip. There's single player and 2-player co-op story mode as well as eight player multiplayer network play.

Sniper Elite is published by Namco for PS2, Xbox, and PC. For more information visit http://www.namco.com/games/sniperelite


REDWOOD CITY, Calif., – November 4, 2005 – Experience the award-winning Command & ConquerÔ (C&C) series like never before! Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced, Command & ConquerÔ The First Decade, one of the largest PC franchise compilations to date. Scheduled for release in February 2006, the title celebrates the 10th anniversary of this innovative franchise. This special collector’s edition will include a dozen of your favorite C&C games spanning over the last ten years plus a bonus DVD of commemorative video features.

With over 23 million units sold worldwide to date, the C&C franchise has defined the Real-time strategy (RTS) genre with cutting-edge visuals, epic storylines, and rich mission complexities. The series has evolved over a decade, spawned over a dozen titles, and continues to be the genre benchmark by which all RTS games are measured. With its explosive style of warfare, the C&C franchise has grown over the years to span multiple fictional genres, including the science fiction Tiberium universe, the revisionist history of the Red AlertÔ universe, and a twist on modern warfare with Command & ConquerÔ Generals.

“Command & Conquer The First Decade offers RTS gamers a way to relive the history of C&C, and I’m thrilled to see this collection offered in one package,” said Louis Castle, VP of Creative Development at EALA. “It seems like yesterday when we were all pleasantly surprised by the way the gaming community wanted to play this new type of strategy game.”

The Command & Conquer The First Decade bonus DVD will feature a half-dozen exclusive video features including an interview with Louis Castle, who is also co-founder of Westwood Studios the creator of the C&C franchise. As a special bonus, C&C fans also have the opportunity to be featured on the exclusive DVD. The search is currently underway to find the world’s biggest C&C fan that can showcase and prove their undying devotion to the C&C series via video submission. To find out more information, please visit www.CommandAndConquer.EA.com.

"Command & Conquer The First Decade is more than just another title in the C&C series. This is a monumental milestone in the lineage of the franchise—marking ten remarkable years of passionate fan dedication from one of the largest gaming communities,” said Aaron Kaufman, C&C Community Manager at EALA. “I take great pride in being the C&C Community Manager and am committed to providing continued support to the millions of C&C fans. I look forward to seeing the video submissions for the bonus DVD!”

Command & Conquer The First Decade will combine the following titles:
· Command & ConquerÔ (Aug. 1995)
· Command & Conquer The Covert OperationsÔ (April 1996)
· Command & ConquerÔ Red AlertÔ (Oct. 1996)
· Command & ConquerÔ Red AlertÔ The AftermathÔ (Sept. 1997)
· Command & Conquer Red Alert CounterstrikeÔ (Mar. 1997)
· Command & ConquerÔ Tiberian SunÔ (Aug. 1999)
· Command & ConquerÔ Tiberian SunÔ Firestorm (Feb. 2000)
· Command & ConquerÔ Red AlertÔ 2 (Oct. 2000)
· Command & ConquerÔ Yuri's RevengeÔ (Oct. 2001)
· Command & Conquer RenegadeÔ (Feb. 2002)
· Command & ConquerÔ Generals (Feb. 2003)
· Command & ConquerÔ Generals Zero Hour (Sept. 2003)

Command & Conquer The First Decade is under development at EA’s Los Angeles studio and has a US MSRP of $39.99. All games included in the compilation are rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB.

* According to NPD Group

November 4, 2005

Ratchet: Deadlocked

In this latest installment of the Ratchet and Clank series, our heroes are captured while uncovering the mystery behind the disappearance of several other famous heroes. They discover that the missing heroes (including themselves) have been abducted by a deranged media mogul named Gleeman Vox, who intends to use them as contestants on an underground reality combat show hosted in the lawless sector of the universe.

The game starts out with a tutorial during which you'll learn the common controls. And then it's off into the "unethical and completely underground battle sport". Each battle involves entering an arena and fighting against combat robots. You are flanked by your own combat robots and you have some squad based control at your disposal. Destroy the robots in one arena and a gateway opens to the next arena. Each arena is progressively more difficult.

Gameplay is pretty solid with non-stop combat. Ratchet can modify any weapon, which leads to an almost unlimited number of possible weapons and effects. The variation in weaponry is interesting because it affects the way that robot foes are destroyed. Graphics are pretty straightforward. Nothing is all that complex, which is good because it keeps the frame rate up during the insane battle sequences.

Multiplayer gameplay is a blast. All of the single player levels are available for multiplayer use, whether in co-op or some other mode. Co-op requires a lot of communication to lay down crossfires and cut the enemy to shredded hunks of smoking metal. Up to 10 players can compete online in a variety of game modes ranging from deathmatch to king of the hill to conquest.

While this is no Quake 4, it is a lot of fun. It's more like Quake Arena without so much gore. I enjoy playing Ratchet: Deadlocked, although having to jump from platform to platform between arenas bores me. But the frenetic combat and cool weapons (and bloodlust) keep me coming back for more.

If you'd like to view the slideshow click here.

2K Sports Xbox 360 Preview

Yesterday I met with 2K Sports and they showed me Amped 3, NBA 2K6, and NHL 2K6.

Amped 3 is a snowboarding lifestyle game. They boast that it is the most realistic snowboarding experience. I'm an avid boarder and I would actually argue that nothing even comes close to a realistic snowboarding experience so who cares. You create and fully customize a character. There are tons of options for body type, jacket, gloves, etc. There are over 400 licensed items in the game. Instead of a menu to choose what to do you can board over to different sections of the mountain and accomplish the objectives there to earn "awesomeness". The soundtrack is fully customizable and includes over 300 songs. The load screens are very creative and will entertain gamers while they wait, at least the first few times. Some of the cut scenes are hysterical. There's a feature called Park Builder that lets you lay down objects and create your own courses.

NHL 2K6 is probably the best looking hockey game I've ever seen (and the only next gen one I've seen). First, 2K Sports assured me that they addressed some of the bugs that have been bothering me in the Xbox version. They say that you can no longer score by shooting the puck through the back of the net. They also say that they've addressed some of the commentary errors, like showing a stat and then discussing the wrong stat (screen says 6 hits and announcers and that's his 3rd hit". But to be realistic there will always be bugs in games. This game has all the features of the current gen version plus Crease Control, a feature added by Marty Turco. Crease Control establishes a cone of vision around the goalie and centered on the puck. This lets you figure out how to block shots. The coolest thing that I saw was the way the ice is textured. Skaters leave trails in the ice and the surface has different properties of reflectivity based on its condition and whether there is something written under it or not. The crowd reacts to big hits along the boards, and the glass reflects so there's an awful lot to look at. Players' clothing is using a cloth physics system that has the clothing bunch, sway, and wrinkle as the players move.

NBK 2K6 is 2K Sports' latest salvo in the battle for console basketball dominance. The player models are extremely detailed down to muscles, veins, facial hair, and tattoos. Their faces are very good. Some players make you think the real player is on screen (like Shaq the cover athlete). The reflections off the wood are almost as cool as the reflections off the ice in NHL 2K6 and again the cloth physics is in full display. Players sweat more and more as the game goes on and they start to get shiny. The neck musculature is so realistic that I started just watching the way a player's head and neck moved. There's this VIP feature, where your profile and the resulting AI can be saved and then your opponents can play against your VIP to practice for playing against you.

If you'd like to view the slideshow click here.

Nintendo's Q1 Software Lineup

Even after the holidays are over, Nintendo will give you something to celebrate. The first quarter of 2006 will see the arrival of much-anticipated games like Metroid(R) Prime Hunters, as well as only-from-Nintendo experiences
like Electroplankton(TM) and Odama(TM). Everyone should find something on the list below to help them chase away the winter blues.

Nintendo DS(TM)
Jan. 9: Electroplankton -- I've heard very good things about this. It sounds very creative. Make beautiful music with this artistic tune generator. Ten different modes keep the music humming in endless combinations.
Jan. 23: True Swing Golf -- Players swipe the touch screen to stroke the most realistic golf swings ever possible. Just like out on the links, if their swing is off, they're in the rough.
Feb. 27: Super Princess Peach(TM) -- After kidnapping Peach for years and years, Bowser finally wised up and kidnapped Mario instead. Now it's Peach to the rescue, pink parasol and all.
March 20: Metroid Prime Hunters(R) -- This Wi-Fi-enabled adventure will have friends near and far blasting away for hours on end.

Nintendo GameCube(TM)
Feb. 6: Chibi-Robo(TM) -- The hero is a 3-inch-tall robot who desires only to bring happiness to his human family. Players explore a huge house and help Chibi-Robo complete chores and fend off enemies while maintaining his energy level.
March 6: Odama(TM) -- This wild game wowed crowds at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. It's the best microphone-controlled Japanese feudal warrior pinball game you'll ever play.

Game Boy(R) Advance SP/Game Boy(R) Micro
Feb. 6: Drill Dozer(TM) -- Pilot a destructive Drill Dozer robot to recover a stolen red diamond. Players demolish everything in their path. What could be more fun?
March 6: Tales of Phantasia(R) -- In this classic RPG with a real-time battle system, players take on the role of Cress, a young swordsman who must set out on a fantastic quest when his village is destroyed in mysterious circumstances.

November 3, 2005

Elevation Partners’ First Investment Creates BioWare, Pandemic Partnership

Menlo Park, Calif., Nov. 3, 2005 — The private equity firm Elevation Partners has announced the formation of a creative and management partnership with Pandemic Studios, LLC and BioWare Corp. (bioware.pandemicstudios.com), two leading independent video game developers. The combined investment, including future capital needs, will be more than $300 million, creating one of the world’s best-funded and largest independent game development houses.

“BioWare and Pandemic are truly among the greats of worldwide game developers. We at Elevation are proud to have been chosen by them to be their partners and to work with them in growing their businesses,” said John Riccitiello, a managing director at Elevation Partners and CEO for the new holding company, BioWare/Pandemic Studios.

The companies each have two co-founders, and under the deal, all four will become shareholders and senior executives in BioWare/Pandemic Studios. The deal also gives employees of both companies an ownership stake in the new business.

“Our most valuable assets are the people who make it all happen,” said Josh Resnick, president of Pandemic Studios. “Our creative, production and operational staff are as vital to our success as directors and stars are to blockbuster films, and we are giving them the stakeholder recognition they deserve. Our mutual goal is to build the industry’s best place for talent.”

Greg Zeschuk, joint CEO of BioWare Corp, said that the cash infusion will take pressure off both companies to rush games to market before their time. “Great video games don’t roll off the assembly line—they are an art form, as lovingly crafted as a film, musical score, or novel,” Zeschuk said. “That means taking the time to nurture top talent, then letting that talent work its magic. Fans are the real winners in this deal, because we will now have the resources and creative discretion to make the right decisions for our products. This is truly a new way of doing business.”

Pandemic is known for its top-selling action/adventure titles; BioWare is the leading independent developer of story- and character-based role-playing games. Both will retain their separate brands and creative teams, and continue to operate in their respective cities: BioWare in Edmonton, Canada; Pandemic in Los Angeles and Brisbane, Australia. Both studios plan future expansions at these and other locations.

The cash infusion will allow Pandemic and BioWare to rapidly support new game consoles ensuring each title has the necessary resources to achieve the highest quality. Andrew Goldman, Pandemic Studios’ CEO, said that publishers remain vital to the business. “This is still very much a collaboration with our publishing partners. We will continue to innovate and deliver top-quality hit games and they will continue to transform that creativity into blockbuster titles.”

“BioWare and Pandemic will use our new alliance as a launch pad for exchanging creative ideas, cutting edge technologies and top talent while retaining our distinctive cultures,” said Ray Muzyka, joint CEO of BioWare Corp. “In a business where developers often must sell out to survive, this deal is refreshingly new: a partnership of equals.”

Behind the deal: Facts and stats

The transaction value, including future capital needs and rollover of the founders’ shareholdings, will be more than $300 million, making the BioWare/Pandemic alliance one of the world’s best-funded and largest independent game development efforts. The combined group will immediately have more than 450 employees, with offices in Los Angeles, Edmonton, Canada, and Brisbane, Australia.

The deal creates a new holding company, BioWare/Pandemic Studios, comprised of management from Pandemic, BioWare and Elevation Partners.

· Pandemic is a leading force in the action/adventure category, with four major hit games, three of which are original Pandemic-created IPs, in the last 18 months: Mercenaries™, Destroy All Humans™, Full Spectrum Warrior™, and Star Wars Battlefront™ (look for Star Wars Battlefront™ II, published by LucasArts in stores now). In addition to the upcoming release of Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers™ (to be published by THQ), Pandemic is developing a number of new, unannounced original titles with forward-looking technology for next generation platforms at its two studio locations. For more information on Pandemic and its games go to http://www.pandemicstudios.com.

· BioWare is an industry powerhouse known for its role-playing games rich in story and character. Releases include the hit franchises Baldur’s Gate™, Neverwinter Nights™, Star Wars™: Knights of the Old Republic™, and BioWare’s own IP Jade Empire™, as well as the upcoming new IP titles, Mass Effect™ (to be published by Microsoft) and Dragon Age™. BioWare has also developed innovative new technology, including the BioWare Eclipse Engine™, for next generation platforms with its Technology Architecture Group and online content for its community of 2.75 million registered fans at http://www.bioware.com.

· Elevation Partners is a newly formed private equity firm that makes large-scale investments in market-leading media, entertainment, and consumer-related businesses. It focuses on investing in intellectual property and content oriented businesses, as well as traditional media and entertainment companies, where it can partner with management to enhance growth and profitability through a combination of strategic capital and operational insight. Elevation Partners had its final close on a $1.9 billion fund this past August. The six partners are Fred Anderson, former EVP and CFO of Apple Computer, Bret Pearlman, former senior managing director of The Blackstone Group, Marc Bodnick, a founding principal of Silver Lake Partners, John Riccitiello, the former president and COO of Electronic Arts, Roger McNamee, a co-founder of Silver Lake Partners and Integral Capital Partners and Bono, lead singer and co-founder of the rock band U2. For more information, visit http://www.elevation.com.

BioWare, BioWare Corp., Jade Empire, Mass Effect, Dragon Age and the BioWare Eclipse Engine are trademarks or registered trademarks of BioWare Corp. in the U.S. and other countries. Pandemic, Pandemic Studios, Mercenaries and Full Spectrum Warrior are trademarks or registered trademarks of Pandemic Studios in the U.S. and other countries. Elevation Partners is a registered trademark of Elevation Partners. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Build the Perfect Site With the Perfect Dark Zero Fan Site Kit

Webmasters and causal fans alike can now create a sleek and sexy "Perfect Dark Zero" site that is worthy of the game's famed heroine, Joanna Dark. Microsoft Game Studios and Rare today announced that the Fan Site Kit (FSK) for the hotly-anticipated prequel to Rare’s critically acclaimed blockbuster hit, "Perfect Dark," is now available. The new FSK offers an array of materials for building an impressive fan site, including hi-res character renders, concept art, logos, backgrounds, weapon icons and other web-ready artwork. The "Perfect Dark Zero" FSK is available for download at http://perfectdarkzero.com/fansites/.

Set in the year 2020 – years before the original hit game – "Perfect Dark Zero" is the origin story of the legendary Joanna Dark, a perfect agent and ultimate weapon. Players can quip Joanna with definitive state-of-the-art weaponry, gadgets, and vehicles in the Xbox 360-exclusive prequel to the international award-winning and multimillion-selling first-person shooter “Perfect Dark”. A two-disc “Perfect Dark Zero” Limited Collector’s Edition will be available at retailers nationwide this holiday for an MSRP of $59.99 (U.S.). A standard version with an MSRP of $49.99 (U.S.) will also be available which contains a single disc with the full version of the game and the game manual. For more information about "Perfect Dark Zero," visit the official site “safe house” at http://www.perfectdarkzero.com/.

United Kingdom-based Rare, one of the world’s leading video game developers, was founded in 1985 by Chris and Tim Stamper. Rare has been the mastermind behind some of the most popular video games in history, including such global multimillion sellers as “GoldenEye 007” and “Perfect Dark.”

Microsoft revolutionized the gaming industry with the November 2001 launch of Xbox (http://www.xbox.com), its first-generation video games and entertainment system, now sold in 26 countries around the world. This holiday season Microsoft debuts its next-generation system, Xbox 360, in Europe, Japan and North America, to be followed by availability in Australia, Colombia, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan in 2006. Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox Live online gaming service, and unique digital entertainment experiences that revolve around you.

Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox® video game system, the Windows® operating system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse games for Windows (http://www.microsoft.com/games), including such franchises as “Age of Empires®,” “Flight Simulator and Zoo Tycoon®;” Xbox (http://www.xbox.com), including such games as “Fable®” and franchises such as “Halo®,” “Project Gotham Racing®” and “Forza™;” and MSN® Games (http://www.games.msn.com), the official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as “Bejeweled” and “Hexic™.”


Today, Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announced that December 1, 2005 is the official North American launch date for Prince of Persia The Two Thrones. Reserve the PlayStation2 and Xbox versions of Prince of Persia The Two Thrones and get the official Prince of Persia trilogy soundtrack for free. The soundtrack includes music from Prince of Persia The Sands of Time, Prince of Persia Warrior Within, and Prince of Persia The Two Thrones, along with a color artbook pamphlet and bonus downloads including an exclusive code to unlock a
hidden sword in the game. This special preorder is available now at EB Games, GameStop, and Game Crazy --

Prince of Persia The Two Thrones is rated M for Mature and will be released for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox video game system from Microsoft, the Nintendo GameCube and the PC-CD

About Prince of Persia The Two Thrones The Prince of Persia makes his way home to Babylon, bearing with him
Kaileena, the enigmatic Empress of Time, and unspeakable scars from the Island of Time. But instead of the peace he longs for, he finds his kingdom ravaged by war and Kaileena the target of a brutal plot. When she is kidnapped, the Prince tracks her to the Palace – only to see her murdered by a powerful enemy. Her death unleashes the Sands of Time, which strike the Prince and threaten to destroy everything he holds dear.

Cast to the streets, hunted as a fugitive, the Prince soon discovers that the Sands have tainted him, too. They have given rise to a deadly
Dark Prince, whose spirit gradually possesses him

EA Returns classic james bond TO Shelves in NEW VIDEOGAME - From russia with love

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Nov. 03, 2005 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) has shipped the latest installment in the widely successful James Bond™ videogame franchise, From Russia With Love™, starring Academy Award®-winner, Sir Sean Connery. The highly anticipated game is being released on the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft and available in stores now. A version for the Nintendo GameCube™ will be released in mid-November.

From Russia With Love, the videogame, is based on the classic Bond film from 1963 but features new plot twists, gadgets, weapons and characters as well as a dynamic multiplayer component. Sir Sean Connery, appearing in his first-ever videogame, lent his voice and likeness to the project. Also making their videogame debuts as original Bond girls are movie and TV star Maria Menounos and multi-platinum UK pop star Natasha Bedingfield.

"We think fans of the Bond videogame franchise will be very excited that we were able to bring back the original Bond, Sir Sean Connery, to lend his voice and help the development team tailor the game to his Bond style," said Jillian Goldberg, Vice President of Marketing for EA. "We are excited to give Bond fans of all ages an opportunity to experience the classic Bond film: From Russia With Love as a videogame."

Officially licensed by MGM Interactive, From Russia With Love was developed by EA’s Redwood Shores, Calif. studio. This game has been rated T (Teen) by the ESRB. More information on the game can be found on the official website at http://www.007.ea.com.


I played this during a demo day last month and it looked very interesting. It is a combination of crime solving and fighting and there was a strong sense of suspense. I'm looking forward to playing it. But how about that $59.99 price point?

SAN FRANCISCO (November 3, 2005) - SEGA of America, Inc. today announced that its upcoming first-person psychological thriller Condemned: Criminal Origins has gone gold for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. SEGA confirms the game will ship throughout North America on November 22 to coincide
with the launch of Xbox 360.

Condemned: Criminal Origins allows players to experience a heightened level of psychological tension as they use their instincts, forensic tools, and melee combat to track serial killers and bring them to justice. Presented in a first-person view for maximum visceral effect, this atmospheric thriller highlights the power of next-generation hardware with photo-realistic backdrops, life-like physics, and highly sophisticated artificial intelligence.

The hunt for a serial killer has never been so realistic, as players experience 360-degrees of terror.

Features include:
• Next-generation lighting, mapping, and filtering techniques provide for environments of unprecedented detail and visual quality.
• Intelligent enemies respond strategically to your offensive and defensive maneuvers.
• High-level physics allow players to manipulate background items, which respond realistically when picked up, kicked, or bumped.
• An assortment of environmental weapons, such as lead pipe, concrete encrusted section of rebar, firearms and a stun gun.
• Meticulously crafted 5.1 surround-sound will cue players to the location of off-screen enemies.

Developed by Monolith Productions, the creators of F.E.A.R., Condemned: Criminal Origins is rated “M” (Mature) by the ESRB and has an MSRP of $59.99. For more information about Condemned, please visit http://www.condemnedgame.com.

November 2, 2005

Bandai’s The Legend of Heroes for PSP Goes Gold

CYPRESS, CA – November 2, 2005 – Bandai Games Inc. today announced that “The Legend of Heroes(TM): A Tear of Vermillion(TM)” has gone gold for the PSP(TM) (PlayStation(R)Portable) system. Featuring more than 100 distinctive characters, over 50 hours of gameplay, and an extensive storyline, this game is the first true role-playing game for the PSP system.

In “The Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermillion,” players take on the role of Avin, a 17 year-old boy who embarks on an adventure in search of his sister, Eimelle. With a trusty animal companion at his side, Avin must journey through one of the most captivating 3-D environments available on the PSP system. Developed by legendary Nihon Falcom in Tokyo, “The Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermillion” is the second installment in a remarkable Japanese series known as “Gagharv Trilogy.” Their other well-known RPG works include the “Ys,” “Brandish,” and “Sorcerian” Series on many platforms and brands.

“The Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermillion” is scheduled to ship in stores this November. More information about the game is available on www.BandaiGames.com.


NEW YORK, NY - November 2, 2005 - 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO), today announced Amped(tm) 3 is a launch day candidate for the Xbox 360(tm) video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. The only snowboard game to be available for Xbox 360, Amped 3 features an all-new physics engine, enhanced controls and the world's greatest winter resorts to create the most authentic snowboarding experience. Action is interlaced with a hip storyline that encompasses the distinct snowboarder culture, style, music and attitude.

Amped 3 stays true to its roots as the most authentic trick-based snowboarding game on seven new real-world resorts. Amped 3 is three times larger than the levels in the preceding Amped games. The Snowbox(tm) offers hundreds of challenges at various resorts, including the option for players to test their skills snowmobiling and sledding and then have their top scored runs, hang-times and crashes automatically posted on Xbox Live(r) online gaming service. Given the vastness of the mountains, players explore the backcountry on snowmobile
to find the perfect spots and then use the Park Builder for planting their own jumps and rails.

"With Amped 3, 2K Sports has tapped into the power of Xbox 360 to create the most authentic, customized, and unique snowboarding experience for gamers," said Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports
studio. "Amped 3 captures the sport of snowboarding and reflects the style and attitude associated with the snowboarder culture." Amped 3's Snow Tracks in-game soundtrack features more than 300 new independent music tracks. Select tracks are featured on the exclusive Amped 3 soundtrack CD, available as a pre-sell promotional item at majorretailers and at 2K Sports events in November.

For more information, log onto http://www.ampedsnowboarding.com or http://www.2ksports.com. Amped 3 is developed by Indie Built, Inc., a 2K Sports studio.


San Francisco, CA (November 2, 2005) -- Eidos Interactive, one of the leading developers and publishers of entertainment software, today confirmed that its third person urban action game 25 to Life will be available in stores beginning January 18, 2006. The game will be released for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® video game system from Microsoft and PC.

25 To Life is an ESRB-rated Mature (M) entertainment title created for adults. 25 to Life is the first online true cops and robbers video game that allows gamers to play on either side of the law – as police task forces or as a criminal attempting to fight his way off the streets. The game delivers intense online gameplay for up to 16 players in addition to a rich single player experience.

25 to Life will be available in stores for $39.99 for the PlayStation®2 and Xbox® and $29.99 for the PC. More information is available on the game web site at http://www.25tolife.com.

Eidos Interactive is one of the world’s leading publishers and developers of entertainment software. Eidos has a diverse mix of innovative brands including Lara Croft Tomb Raider, Hitman, and Commandos. For more information on Eidos and its products visit http://www.eidos.com

November 1, 2005

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles® 3: Mutant Nightmare Kicks and Punches Its Way To Retailers Today

Today Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles®3: Mutant Nightmare ships to video game retailers nationwide for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, and Nintendo DS.

And to send the turtles out right, we've uploaded a batch of new screens to the site below for everyone to use in announcing the arrival of the turtles to retail. Retro gaming fans are truly in for a treat as the classic TMNT game "Turtles In Time" is included in Mutant Nightmare as an unlockable item. Either way you slice it, everyone's going to have a great time with our green ninjas!


Press Release-Majesco Unveils 2005 Holiday Lineup

EDISON, N.J., October 31, 2005 – Showcasing an exciting roster of products for the gamer on everybody’s gift list, Majesco Entertainment Company (NASDAQ: COOL), today announced its video game lineup for the forthcoming holiday season. With offerings to support every major gaming platform, Majesco’s release schedule is headlined by innovative titles like Infected and hot licensed properties including Aeon Flux and Teen Titans™.

“Video games are one of the most popular gift items for the holiday season and our diverse lineup offers something for gamers of all ages and tastes,” said Ken Gold, vice president of Marketing for Majesco. “Whether you’re looking for a competitive game play experience or a great value, Majesco’s upcoming releases offer shoppers quality and variety.”

Highlights of Majesco’s premier holiday lineup include:

Infected (PSP™)

Available November / Rated M / SRP $39.99

One of the most exciting titles available exclusively for the PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable), Infected features pulse-pounding two-gun action as players cleanse the mean New York City streets of mad, flesh-hungry “Infected.” Planet Moon Studio’s zombie-fest offers an engrossing single-player campaign and four Wi-Fi multiplayer modes that allow players’ avatars to invade opponents’ PSP systems. Infected also features an in-game soundtrack comprised of top metal bands from Roadrunner Records including Slipknot, Ill Nino, Chimaira and more.

Aeon Flux (PlayStation® 2, Xbox™)

Available November 15 / Rated T / SRP $49.99

Aeon Flux bridges the fever-dream essence of the cult-classic animated TV series with the mass-market appeal of the upcoming feature film starring Oscar® Winner Charlize Theron who lends

her voice and likeness to the game. Developed by Terminal Reality, Aeon Flux features a palpitating blend of stealth, speed and acrobatic combat.

Teen Titans™ (Game Boy Advance)

Available Now / Rated E10+ / SRP $29.99

Developed by Artificial Mind & Movement, Teen Titans, licensed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, is based on the highly popular Warner Bros. Animation television series and DC Comics characters. In Teen Titans, players switch control between Robin, Starfire, Beast Boy, Cyborg and Raven to take advantage of each Teen Titan’s trademark moves and abilities. Players advance through a crime-ridden city of hostile environments as they face off against notorious villains Brother Blood, Jinx, Gizmo and Mammoth. Console versions are planned for release in early 2006.

Majesco also plans to release several other titles in its $19.99 value line this holiday season, including:

* Kong: King of Atlantis (Game Boy Advance)
* Strawberry Shortcake Summertime Adventure Special Edition (Game Boy Advance)
* Looney Tunes™ Double Pak (Game Boy Advance)
* ATV Quad Frenzy (Nintendo DS)
* Golden Nugget Casino® DS (Nintendo DS)
* Monster Trucks DS (Nintendo DS)
* Super Black Bass Fishing (Nintendo DS)
* Texas Hold ‘Em Poker DS (Nintendo DS)
* Worms 4: Mayhem (Xbox, PC)
* Majesco’s 3-in-1 Rec Room Challenge (Game Boy Advance)
* 3-in-1 Sports Pack (Game Boy Advance)

For more information on Majesco’s entire lineup of entertainment products visit www.majescoentertainment.com.


Santa Monica – Nov. 1, 2005 – Pay attention soldier! Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) has shipped Call of Duty® 2: Big Red One to stores nationwide, putting players in the boots of the highly decorated WWII heroes in the U.S. Army’s famed Fighting 1st Infantry Division, known the world over as The Big Red One. Developed by Treyarch, players are dropped into the most epic and legendary WWII story ever played. In a departure for the Call of Duty franchise, players will get to know their squadmates more than ever before as they fight alongside a single squad to accomplish a variety of missions spanning from Northern Africa to Nazi-occupied Western Europe. Call of Duty 2: Big Red One – rated “T” (TEEN – blood, mild language and violence) by the ESRB – is now available for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox™ video game system from Microsoft and Nintendo® GameCube™ for a suggested retail price of $49.99.

“As a highly decorated unit that served in a variety of combat theaters, The Big Red One offered plenty of action, heroism, danger and grit for us to draw from during the creation of the game,” said Christian Busic, Creative Director, Treyarch. “We were able to take the ‘No One Fights Alone’ theme from the Call of Duty® series and create an even more personal experience for players by following one member of a single squad through some of the epic encounters and amazing battles that defined the war.”

Through the game’s enhanced A.I. – an A.I. system tailored from the original award-winning PC game adapted specifically for play on consoles – squads maximize use of environmental cover and tactical maneuvers, such as flanking, envelopment and fire-and-maneuver behaviors. Additionally, Treyarch employs a new context-sensitive battle chatter system allowing players to hear their squadmates bark helpful orders, updates and communicate as events unfold in the heat of battle. As the missions continue, the A.I. will also harden squad members, maturing their performance skills on the battlefield over time as they become more experienced in combat.

From the blistering desert expanses of Tunisia and Algeria to the skies of Northern Africa and the deadly countrysides of Italy, France, Belgium and Germany, the story follows the actual route of the Big Red One through Operation Torch (North Africa), Operation Husky (Italy), and Operation Overlord (Europe). With new territories come new enemies, including the Vichy French and the Italian Fascists, as well as a host of more than three dozen authentic American, Italian, French and German weapons, all of which are based on actual working models – some so rare, that they’ve never before been seen even in some of Hollywood’s biggest war epics.

“Cinematic intensity and the chaos of battle return with Call of Duty 2: Big Red One, an authentic WWII story that captures the camaraderie and heroism of the real members of the US Army's 1st Infantry Division,” said Dusty Welch, vice president of global brand management, Activision, Inc. “Treyarch delivers amazing detail in each mission, and by working with military advisors and conducting extensive research, has brought the authentic stories and bravery of the Big Red One to life on consoles.”

Call of Duty 2: Big Red One players may go online for intense Axis vs. Allies team-based multiplayer action on Xbox Live™ and PlayStation®2 Online. The game features four modes of play: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Domination and Capture the Flag for up to 16 players. Additionally, multiplayer mode offers access to exclusive weapons and maps, as well as vehicle gameplay. For more information, visit www.CallofDuty.com.

A limited Collector’s Edition of Call of Duty 2: Big Red One is also now available for $59.99. The Collector’s Edition includes additional content on the game DVD, featuring interviews with actual members of the Big Red One Fighting 1st Infantry Division, commentaries, a special making of the game feature, bonus footage and more.

Brady Games' Call of Duty 2: Big Red One Official Strategy Guide is available at electronics, book, and software retailers nationwide, and online at bradygames.com.

Call of Duty 2: Big Red One will also be featured in an upcoming half-hour special that celebrates the history of America’s most decorated fighting unit, The Big Red One, as well as the making of the highly-anticipated first-person-action game. ”The Big Red One: Behind the Game” will premiere November 1 at 9:00 pm/EST on the Military Channel. Doing its part to help add to the historical authenticity of the game, The Military Channel has also produced a series of historical vignettes that are featured in the game.


EA and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment are pleased to announce that the Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireÔ videogame has gone gold and is scheduled for release on November 8, 2005 for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Xbox® video game system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCubeÔ, Nintendo DSÔ, Game Boy® Advance, and Windows PC. In the following weeks, the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire videogame will make its debut on the PSPÔ handheld entertainment system.

Releasing in conjunction with the Warner Bros. Pictures film based on J.K. Rowling’s fourth book, the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire videogame offers you the chance to experience all the thrilling moments of the movie and master magic in cooperative play with up to two of your friends.

In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry is mysteriously selected as the fourth competitor in the dangerous Triwizard TournamentÔ and must confront a fire-breathing dragon, rescue friends from the icy depths of the Black Lake, and navigate the twisting mysteries of a vast, enchanted maze. Experience all the adventures of the movie - from the QuidditchÔ World Cup campsite to a heart-stopping duel with Lord VoldemortÔ himself!

For the first time in the videogame series, the magical world of Harry Potter™ comes to life with in-game characters that look like their big-screen counterparts. Explore nearly a dozen cinematic locations that mirror those in the upcoming film.

Join forces with friends to combine and cast spells cooperatively creating more powerful magic than ever before. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are all playable characters in this action-packed game where magic is everywhere!

The official videogame website can be found at http://www.masterthemagic.com.

Capcom Releases Without Warning for PS2 and Xbox

SUNNYVALE, Calif ¾ November 1, 2005 — Capcomâ today announced the release of Without Warning™ for the PlayStationâ2 computer entertainment system and the Xboxâ video game system from Microsoftâ. As part of a global publishing agreement, Capcom is publishing this first title from UK developer CiRCLE Studio, a development house founded by the creators of the world renowned Tomb Raiderâ series. Without Warning is a highly charged third person action shooter set against the backdrop of a brutal terrorist siege of a U.S. based chemical plant. The title features a unique Timeline element and takes place over a 12 hour period, during which players will experience the events from the vantage point of six characters that are caught up in the crisis situation. The game is now available at retailers across North America and carries an “M” rating for mature audiences by the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board).

“We are delighted to be working with Capcom on the release of such a significant title,” commented Jeremy Heath-Smith, managing director of CiRCLE Studio. “Without Warning is CiRCLE Studio’s flagship product and partnering with such a respected publisher will be invaluable toward its success.”

CiRCLE Studio Ltd is an independent UK games developer that was founded in 2003 by Jeremy Heath-Smith and Adrian Smith. The Smith brothers share more than 39 years of collective experience in the gaming industry. They are the original founders of Core Design and responsible for numerous software hits, including the Tomb Raider series and one of the world’s most successful video game icons, Lara Croftâ. The development studio is largely comprised of former Core Design staff.

“This global deal marks the first time Capcom has published a title from a European developer,” said Hiroshi Tobisawa, president of Capcom Entertainment, Inc. and president, CE Europe. “As CiRCLE Studio’s first title, Without Warning is momentous for both parties and compliments Capcom’s own internally developed product line. The staff at CiRCLE Studio has a successful track record and they will deliver again with a new title that provides an innovative and intense gameplay experience.”

In Without Warning, a radical terrorist group has targeted and seized the Peterson-Daniels Chemical Facility, a vulnerable location that jeopardizes millions of people from the devastating ecological hazard it imposes if destroyed. Pleas are useless and any direct military assault would be too great a risk. As terrified hostages fear for their lives, their only hope lies with a covert operations team, whose goal is to infiltrate the plant and eliminate the merciless enemy.

The Timeline is a distinctive feature that allows the six central characters to experience events across the same period but from their own unique viewpoints. Characters are controlled individually, with the gameplay automatically shifting to the next, often at critical moments. Cinematic cut scenes unfold the plot and by switching between characters, their individual tales are gradually woven together to create an overall picture of the events that happened during the crisis. The player may also retrospectively view events through the eyes of another character and is therefore not only a participant in the events, but a spectator as well. Furthermore, actions performed as one character could affect the progress of others and players must successfully utilize the strengths of each in order to advance.

Without Warning includes the following features:

· Unique Timeline element

· Play as six different characters and experience the game from each of their perspectives:

o Three members of the covert operations team:

· Kyle Rivers – the leader of the squad with an experienced combat background

· Jack Hooper – the youngest and most inexperienced member of the team for whom this is the first combat mission

· Ed Reagan – the squad’s bomb disposal specialist

o Three civilians with distinct agendas and views on the events:

· Tanya Shaw – a terrified secretary whose only desire is to escape safely

· Dave Wilson – a security guard who was overlooked by the terrorists; his fierce determination drives him as he fights to rescue his co-workers

· Ben Harrison – a news cameraman who is grounded when his helicopter is shot down by the terrorists; his quest is to obtain breaking news coverage, however dangerous it may be

· Diverse gameplay – exploration, puzzle-solving and a variety of mini games including bomb diffusion, lock picking and hostage rescue

· Pick up and play control system – accessible and immediate participation in action-intense, volatile environments

· Objective based gameplay progression

· Advanced physics and lighting effects heighten the dynamic environmental interaction

· Full Motion Video and cinematic cut scenes link storylines together

· Modern environments – a sprawling chemical plant with numerous interior and exterior locations such as treatment plants, loading and storage areas, offices, docks, train terminals and more

Capcom is a leading worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment. Founded in 1983, the company has created world renowned franchises including Resident Evil, Street Fighter, Mega Man, Breath of Fire, Devil May Cry and the Onimusha series. Headquartered in Osaka, Japan, the company maintains operations in the U.S., United Kingdom, Germany, Tokyo and Hong Kong. More information about Capcom and its products can be found on the company’s web site at www.capcom.com.

Star Wars Battelfront II Review Posted on PCMag.com

My review of Star Wars Battlefront II for PC posted this morning on PCMag.com.

In general, I liked the game very much. I'm a first person shooter kind of guy and also a Star Wars fan so I had to try to keep the review unbiased. The huge multiplayer battles are insane. You have no idea who you're blowing away or who is shooting at you. Pure chaos.

BTW, my Quake 4 review on PCMag.com made the list of most popular articles for the month of October.

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