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December 28, 2005

Pinball Hall of Fame

Score 4 out of 5

Pinball fans finally have a great PSP pinball game. Pinball hall of Fame is a compilation of 11 of Gottlieb's greatest pinball machines released over 60 years. All the great tables are there: Ace High, Central Park, Big Shot, Genie, Black Hole, Victory, Tee'd Off, Going Nuts, El Dorado City of Gold, Strikes and Spares, and more. Historical information is included about each table describing the designer, the design goals, and the year in which it was produced. Then, there's a feature by feature guide that shows you what to do on each table and how the bonuses are doled out.

Two players can either play against each other on the same PSP or against each other using two PSPs and a single game disc. Game play is about as authentic as it could be with realistic sounds and table action. Gravity is realistically reproduced on each table; the ball bounces consitently off bumper and arcs consistently across and up the table. At first it takes a little time to get used to seeing a whole pinball table as a two parter on the PSP screen, but once you adjust to that this game is just good ol' fun for pinball lovers.

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

It's also a good PSP game because each game is short so you can play while just killing a few minutes. If you want, you can turn the whole thing 90 degrees and use the long part of the PSP screen as the vertical axis of the table. This way you can see the whole table at once.

This is a fun game that will be enjoyed by pinball enthusiasts and anyone who remembers the good times spent playing pinball in bars during college.

Pinball Hall of Fame
Crave Entertainment
Sony PSP
$29.99

December 23, 2005

Scott Rubin Speaks on Namco Wireless plus EA and Jamdat

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Scott Rubin, VP of Sales and Marketing for Namco, about the role of traditional game publishers in wireless gaming and his take on the EA acquisition of Jamdat.

Matt: Hi Scott. Let's start this off with a discussion of how Namco is doing in the wireless space.
Scott: Namco is celebrating its 50th year in the gaming business. We are a traditional game publisher but the interesting thing there is that Telesia just ranked wireless gaming companies by market share and Jamdat was number one and Namco was number two mobile games publisher in North America. So Jamdat as number one was acquired by EA and there we are as number two. We, probably more than other traditional game publishers, see mobile as a very important part of the game industry overall. EA told the world this by acquiring Jamdat; Namco is telling the industry this by taking what was once a wireless games division and from Jan 1 on spinning off an entire company under the Namco umbrella dedicated to mobile and wireless games. We are taking wireless gaming seriously and are committed to it. This is the first mass market device that can play games and we're making sure that we're on top of it by providing games to the millions of people who have cell phones.

Matt: What are your thoughts on the EA acquisition of Jamdat?
Scott:We welcome it. We think that history has shown in the industry that competition helps assure quality and we have always been about putting quality games out on any platform but I think we're known in the mobile game space especially for putting out quality games. Pac Man looks just like the arcade game on the phone; it takes 3.8 seconds to go from the bottom left to the bottom right just like the arcade version. We're all about quality and we think that this step up in competition will only help assure quality and increase adoption of mobile games. Ninety percent of consumers don't even know they can download and play a game. Millions of people are going to do it and they're going to hopefully have a good experience because the quality is better and there are more games. We think it's going to have a positive effect on the industry and clearly consolidation is a trend. In 2006, carriers are going to become more and more selective about what games they offer and who they work with so this is just a big step forward for the whole industry. When EA announced that they were buying Jamdat is just made sense to me because now they're caught up with the market.

Matt: Could you please explain a little bit about spinning off a division at Namco?
Scott: Right now, over the last 3.5-4 years, Namco has been in the wireless space in North America as a wireless content division of Namco and starting January 1st we're spinning off a company which is going to be called Namco Networks and it will be a separate company dedicated to the mobile game space. We are showing the industry that we're dedicated to this space and we are setting this up so we can grow at a fast pace. My analogy is that we're sharing an apartment with other roommates and on January 1 we're moving out to a bigger apartment with more space to grow. We are going to be hiring. We have bigger marketing budgets. We'll continue to expand our catalog of mobile games and we will continue to focus on supporting the carrier to educate the consumer about mobile games. We're very excited about the spinoff.

Matt: How are you doing that?
Scott: Part of it is talking to people who can write about games. We recently exhibited at a trade show in NYC called DigitalLife which was a consumer trade show that was all about consumer education. So many people would pick up the phone and say, 'Do you mean that I could download this on my phone?' and the answer is yes and here's how you can do it. But even watching them play, they're using their index finger and then we'll suggest that they use their thumbs. It's purely an educational experience. We've been advertising in some mass market publications. We're running on United Air this month and next month where people can learn about downloading games on their phone while sitting on an airplane thinking about what they're going to do while sitting in the airport waiting for their luggage and their ride. Where are people looking for 5 minutes of fun? Sitting in an airport, waiting in line at the movie theater, waiting for the train, waiting at a restaurant, and we're trying to make playing a game on your mobile phone a natural extension of this.

Me and My Katamari to Hit PSP in March 2006

The King is back in all his brilliance to keep the Prince and his cousins continuously rolling as you take the adventure on the road with your PSP. The royal family, taking a break from their celestial construction, find themselves on vacation on their very own sunny island when the Prince finds himself cast with the responsibility of creating islands of katamari for homeless animals. Play as the Prince or any of his returning and new PSP exclusive cousins as you roll up new objects in all new levels. Take on friends in wireless play as you roll up as many objects as possible! Enjoy the fun and quirkiness in an all-new installment for its first ever foray into the handheld world.

KatamariPSP10.bmp

Features:
• Creative gameplay and art style returns: Old-time fans and newcomers to the series will rejoice as they see the all new interface that features an island setting where you can choose your options and stages represented by animals in need of a place to flourish.
• Brand new tropical levels: Roll throughout different locations and environments, the Prince can enter buildings then roll into aquariums, and more in all new Katamari worlds.
• Ever expanding cast of characters: New Cousins created specifically for the PSP make their premier appearance. Customize your cousins with new masks headgear and more… you can dress the Prince and cousins wearing items on their head, face and torso, all at the same time!
• We brought world peace with co-op play – now it’s time for a battle: Battle up to 3 of your friends through wireless Ad Hoc play as you compete to roll up as many objects as possible!

KatamariPSP24.bmp

Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror Available March 2006 for the PSP

From Sony Computer Entertainment America and the development team of the critically acclaimed Syphon Filter® franchise, comes Syphon Filter(R): Dark Mirror exclusive to the PSP™ (PlayStation® Portable) system this March.

Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror stars Gabe Logan and Lian Xing. Gabe Logan, a highly trained Precision Strike Operative, runs a small agency that "legally" doesn't exist. He and his team specialize in precision strike missions that require split second life and death decisions that are too volatile for conventional military forces, too dangerous for standard intelligence agents.

Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror promises an immersive single-player experience and delivers an evolving online multiplayer experience featuring melee attacks, target lock, precision aiming, target and vision enhancements, enhanced artificial intelligence (AI), and high-tech weaponry. Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror allows gamers to choose between difficulty modes that monitor and adjust skill level, nine unique online maps using both Ad Hoc and Infrastructure connectivity, and four types of gameplay modes in multiplayer. Online play encompasses 4 modes of play with up to 8 players via Infrastructure and 6 players with the use of Ad Hoc. Game types offered to the player will include Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Rogue Agent and an all-new Objective mode.

The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II Public Beta LIVE Now!

In The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II, the sequel to the critically acclaimed Real-Time Strategy game The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth you will experience all that Middle-earth was meant to be. And now through the public beta -- YOU will have the chance to experience the Middle-earth you've never seen -- and before anyone else!

With all new content from J.R.R. Tolkien’s original fiction, The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II will delve deeper and engage in new battles that go beyond the award-winning movie trilogy. Wage war in the Northern lands and assume command of the most storied races in all of Middle-earth history – the Elven and Dwarven armies – or fight on the side of Evil with heroes and creatures never before seen in The Lord of the Rings films. Defend or overtake new lands such as Dol Guldur, The Misty Mountains, and Mirkwood as you unleash powerful new weapons and abilities - summon dragons, cause volcanoes to erupt, or bring down a cataclysmic lightning strike.

This public beta test features a specific part of the larger game and is now available exclusively to those who pre-order the game. This online multiplayer beta includes two brand new out of six total factions - the mighty Dwarves and treacherous Goblins. In the beta test, both factions boast all their units, heroes, structures, and powers for players to utilize against opponents online. Players will also experience two brand new maps to wage battle against; Harlindon and Withered Heath. The map Harlindon is partially composed of a sprawling ocean that showcases the game’s new naval combat feature. Players can use this to their advantage by launching attacks from sea or land. The Withered Heath map is a wide open snow plane complete with surrounding mountains and caverns that will thrust players into in the middle of epic battles, perfect for strategic sneak attacks.

The public beta also includes two tutorials with over 45 minutes of gameplay that will explain all the new features and more.

The public beta will be available to everyone who pre-orders The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II at participating retail stores until the full version of The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II ships in early 2006. Currently, the pre-order promotion is available at the following North American retailers:


Gamestop & Gamestop.com
http://www.gamestop.com/product.asp?product%5Fid=646441
http://www.gamestop.com/product.asp?product%5Fid=646442


Ebgames & Ebgames.com
http://www.ebgames.com/ebx/product/260085.asp?site=EA
http://www.ebgames.com/ebx/product/260086.asp?site=EA

EB
EB Canada

For each pre-order purchase, retailers will provide consumers with a unique 20-digit registration/install code. Once you have the code, you can visit http://www.bfme2.e.com/beta to register for the beta test.


Please continue to visit http://www.bfme2.ea.com for more information on the public beta test, as well as new details about The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II which will ship in early 2006 and is rated T for Teen by the ESRB.

December 22, 2005

EXIT FOR PSP DEBUTS IN FEBRUARY UNDER UBISOFT LICENSING AGREEMENT

SAN FRANCISCO DECEMBER 21, 2005 Today Ubisoft, one of the world's leading video game publishers, announced that it has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Taito Corporation of Japan to publish
and distribute three video game titles in 2006. Under the terms of the agreement, Ubisoft will distribute the Taito-developed games in North American and European territories. The first title to be released by
Ubisoft will be Exitâ„¢, a puzzle action game for people of all ages, exclusively for the PSP (PlayStation Portable) system in February.

"Exit's unique graphics and fluid style make this yet another innovative puzzle game in Ubisoft's arsenal," said Jay Cohen, vice president of publishing at Ubisoft. "Ubisoft is excited to be bringing three of the industry's most innovative titles to gamers this year."

As Mr. ESC, a professional escapologist who can rescue people from just about any situation Exit players must guide themselves through numerous obstacles while rescuing victims from life-threatening situations. Situations include braving fires, earthquakes and other disasters in various environments such as buildings, hospitals and subways. Players will undertake myriad actions, including running, jumping, climbing onto ledges and climbing down ropes on their way to becoming the ultimate escape artist.

Key Features:
• Intense action puzzler: Players use decision-making skills and wits to escape various obstacles while rescuing people from more than 100 different emergencies. Additional levels are also available for download.
• Do whatever it takes to get everyone out in time: Rescue people and find the fastest way out while braving exploding factories, burning buildings and flooding subways. Players will climb ladders, move objects, slide down ropes and collect numerous rescue devices to assist them in their missions.
• Turn victims into allies: Saved characters can be enlisted to help move heavy objects, master tricky obstacles and help each other.
• Smooth, stylish character design and movement: Accompanying the intense action are some of the most stylish graphics to be seen on the PSP system, allowing for a viscerally and aesthetically satisfying
experience.

For more information about Exit for the PSP system, please visit http://www.ubisoft.com.

ACTIVISION ANNOUNCES CALL OF DUTY 2 PLANS FOR MULTIPLAYER MAPS AND PC UPDATE

Santa Monica, CA – Dec. 21, 2005 – Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) and Infinity Ward today announced plans to release new multiplayer maps as part of a Call of Duty® 2 Windows® PC update that will also include PunkBuster™ anti-cheat software and additional support enhancements. The download is currently scheduled for release in early 2006 and will be available at http://www.callofduty.com.

“Our team at Infinity Ward is committed to supporting Call of Duty fans,” said Grant Collier, president, Infinity Ward. “We’ve worked hard to deliver the most epic and immersive experience ever with Call of Duty 2 and look forward to delivering new content such as multiplayer maps, tools and anti-cheat software that will further enhance the gameplay experience.”

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.

December 21, 2005

Madden NFL 06

Score 4 out of 5

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. Incredibly detailed player models are so real that onlookers will think they're watching a real game. Adding to the realism are lifelike stadiums and fans. With a full Franchise mode, in-depth online play and a new presentation style and new playcalling system, Madden NFL 06 for the Xbox 360 is poised to continue its legacy as the only authentic and licensed NFL experience. If you want to play football on the 360 your only choice is Madden.

The new look and feel is a plus. Gone are long winding speeches that led nowhere from John Madden. I found that this totally removes one aspect of my game, which was screaming "shut up madden you fat f##k" at the tv every few minutes. Announcing is more of what you'd hear from a radio commentator. Sometimes, there's even silence. And yet I found that I missed Madden after a while. It oddly felt like something had been left out of the game.

Graphics are incredible. You can see the condensation forming as players exhale. Pads are outlined under uniforms and muscles are detailed with bulging blood vessels. If you look really closely you can see that player's eyes watch the ball

There are a lot of changes to this version. There's no practice, no mini-games, just football. I couldn't find any video setting to tweak camera angles. Replay is solid as always with a welcome decrease in automatic replays. Play selection is reordered and includes coach's picks and Madden's picks.

Timing seems different on the 360. This isn't altogether bad. At first all I could see were the difference between versions. It takes a little getting used to, but I've grown to love it.

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

AND 1 Streetball I-Ball Control System Feature Descrip tion

AND 1 Streetball (Xbox, PS2 March 2006) will raise the bar for sports videos game with its revolutionary I-Ball Controls, an intuitive control system that gives you fluid and precise command over every offensive and defensive move. Not only will you do it, you will also feel it, and it will feel good.

About I-Ball

I-Ball is a dual analog control system allowing you to access an arsenal of amazing streetball moves and flow them together spontaneously. The term "I-Ball" comes from a phrase coined by AND 1. It's an expression that inspires players to develop their own original style. That's what compelled the developers to create this control system, which gives everyone the ability to ball according to their personal style.

Number of Moves

There are over 130 moves in the game, each motion captured from the AND 1 legends including The Professor, AO, Main Event, and many more. This allows you to perform your favorite streetballer's signature moves,
such as The Professor's Midterm, AO's Off the Head, and the Spyda dunk. There are also a number of classic playground moves, ball tricks, dunks, alley oops, and other surprising moves never seen in any other
streetball game.

Types of I-Ball Moves

While the I-Ball system lets you perform a full spectrum of offensive and defensive moves, the system is ideal for carrying out the intense 1-on-1 battles made famous in AND 1 streetball.

Running Moves: These are moves the player can perform while on the run, to get past a defender or showboat their way down the court.
Stationary Moves: Setup moves: Dribbling moves that set you up for more elaborate moves.
Showboat moves: Moves designed to get your defender off his guard.
Ankle Breakers: Moves that juke your defender so bad he gets knocked off balance. A successful Ankle Breaker gives your player a clear path to the basket and a Respect Point bonus.

I-Ball and Respect Points

Respect points measure your baller's ability to amaze the crowd and earn the respect of other players. You won't advance through the game without them. Respect Points are earned as you I-Ball, with the more complex moves earning you more points.

Originality is an important aspect of streetball, and it's also important to the Respect Point system. The more original your moves are, the more points you'll receive. Repeating the same moves over and over won't gain you as many points, nor will they be effective catching your opponents off guard.

Unlocking Moves

At the beginning of the game, you are given a small set of I-Ball moves. As you progress through the game, you can unlock more, based on which AND1 player you can beat. For instance, if you beat The Professor, you can unlock his set of moves. The more players you defeat, the more moves you will have to choose from.

December 19, 2005

Evil Souls

Today there is a transit strike in NYC. I am very bitter about this and as far as I'm concerned anyone who goes on strike in the middle of a recession because they want a 27% raise is a greedy pig. And this whole time we were focused on the terrorist threat. We never realized that the real threat wasn't Osama Bin Laden, it was our very own transit workers. These filthy greedy pigs think that they can bring our fine city to its knees.

I can feel a new first person shooter. An evil virus has infected all of NYC's transit workers causing them to go on strike out of pure greed. You are the only person who can stop them. Now grab an assault shotgun and go to work.

Sony Game Night

I went to a Sony party and demo night last Thursday and had some fun. They had the one party feature that virtually guarantees that attendance will be worth it: an open bar.

I played Tourist Trophy, a realistic simulation motorcylce raching game from the same studio that developed GT4. There are a lot of the same tracks as GT but switched around for motorcylce racing. The sound effects are taken from an actual motorcylce going around a track. There are more than 35 tracks and over 100 bikes. The bike handled well, predictably, and consistently. I enjoyed playing this very much. It is scheduled to ship in March or April of 2006.

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

I also played MLB 06 The Show for both PS2 and PSP. I was really impressed with the graphics on PSP. I had some fun playing Home Run Derby. I just don't know what to say about a baseball game in December. My mind has switched over to hockey and football so I can't even think in terms relative to baseball. It looked like an average baseball game on PS2 and looked great on PSP.

25 To Life Preparing You For The Upcoming Online Battles!

25 to Life is going to unleash on the world next month and we've got some updates for you! Prepare for your grand entrance into the online current-day cops and robbers battlefield! The official 25 to Life website has updated game information, the first online features for PS2, Xbox, and PC users, and a new Fansite Kit for the overwhelming numbers who have requested it! Check out the 25 to Life official website and roll on over to the latest locations in 25 to Life from the lavish homes of the city's biggest crime lords to the shadowy, downtrodden streets of Tijuana. Be on the look out for two new characters. You just may happen upon Riggs, a jack of many trades, and none of which are legal or fare. Or you might run into Sergeant Riley, if you can spot this sly police officer quicker than he can spot you. Both Law Enforcement and the Criminal side have new tricks up their sleeves. Check out the new weapons on each side of the law.

When it turns ugly, you'll need to be ready! 25 to Life is shipping in North America in January of 2006 for the PS2, XBox, and PC.

For your viewing pleasure, here's the trailer.

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

Here is the official set of updates for the 25 to Life website located at http://www.25ToLife.com

Painkiller: Hell Wars Ship Date Announced

Dreamcatcher announced today that Painkiller: Hell Wars for Xbox will ship on Feb 28, 2006.

Stay tuned for more info concerning the sequel to the hit game Painkiller.

“Mission: Impossible III” explodes onto Xbox 360

HOLLYWOOD, CA, December 14, 2005 — The premier online games and entertainment network teams up with one of the most highly anticipated films of 2006 as Xbox 360 hosts the exclusive “Mission: Impossible III” teaser trailer. Xbox 360 users can download the high-definition online trailer, which is available immediately.

Tom Cruise returns as Special Agent Ethan Hunt, who faces the mission of his life in “Mission: Impossible III.” Director J. J. Abrams (“Lost,” “Alias”) brings his unique blend of action and drama to the billion-dollar franchise. The film will be released in theaters worldwide on May 5, 2006.

Xbox Live, the premier online games and entertainment network, allows gaming and movie enthusiasts to view the teaser trailer in high definition for the very first time, free of charge. Xbox Live members can download the “Mission: Impossible III” teaser directly from Xbox Live Marketplace. Xbox Live Marketplace is a digital download center providing free and premium content for Xbox 360 games, plus music videos and trailers for all Xbox Live subscribers.

The premiere of “Mission: Impossible III” follows the successful unveil of Paramount Pictures’ “Aeon Flux” high definition trailer on Xbox Live Marketplace, which debuted during the North American launch of Xbox 360.

“The high-definition premiere of ‘Mission: Impossible III’ on Xbox 360 will be a must-see for gamers,” said Peter Moore, Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Marketing and Publishing for Xbox at Microsoft. “We are thrilled to unveil of one of the most anticipated movies of 2006 to the Xbox Live online audience of millions.”

“‘Mission: Impossible III’ is exactly the kind of movie that Xbox users are looking for: thrilling, exciting, action-packed and smart. The teaser trailer gives just a taste of what Tom Cruise and J. J. Abrams have in store for moviegoers on May 5,” said Amy Powell, Vice President, Interactive Marketing for Paramount Pictures. “We’re ecstatic that this high-defintion teaser is available for download. Paramount is a leader in providing content for new media – younger audiences are looking for one-stop shopping for all their entertainment needs and Xbox Live creates a platform to serve those needs.”

New Pokemon Puzzle Game Lets Players Slide Into Fun

You've got the slide rule, the water slide, the slide projector, the slide guitar and the Electric Slide. But none of them is nearly as fun as the new slide-action puzzle game for Nintendo DS(TM) called Pokemon(R) Trozei.

Nintendo systems have always been home to great puzzle games, and the additional abilities of Nintendo DS add a new dimension to game play. Players use the touch screen to slide Pokemon puzzle pieces side to side or up and down. Lining up four in a row (vertically or horizontally) makes a "Trozei" and clears those pieces from the screen. When players create continuous Trozeis by lining up three in a row, then two in a row, they will clear the screen faster and increase their score.

Pokemon Trozei features two single-player modes and two two-player modes. As an extra bonus for Pokemon fans, players also try to add each of the more than 380 Pokemon featured in the game to their Trozei Lists. Pokemon(R) Trozei launches March 6.

For more information about Pokemon Trozei and other Nintendo games, please visit http://www.nintendo.com

December 15, 2005

EA NAMES COLORADO CRUSH QUARTERBACK, JOHN DUTTON, COVER ATHLETE FOR NEW ARENA FOOTBALL VIDEO GAME

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – December 15, 2005 – Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) announced today that John Dutton, quarterback for the 2005 Arena Football League™ Champion Colorado Crush, will serve as cover athlete and spokesman for Arena Football™, available in stores on February 7, 2006 under the EA SPORTS™ brand.

In a 51-48 win over the Georgia Force in ArenaBowl XIX this past June, Dutton led the Colorado Crush to its first-ever Arena Football League championship in just their third year in the league, throwing for 347 yards and three touchdowns. Dutton, a seven year Arena Football League veteran, previously led the San Jose SaberCats to an ArenaBowl title in 2002 where he was named MVP of ArenaBowl XVI. As the quarterback at the University of Nevada, Dutton helped Nevada earn its first bowl win with an 18-15 defeat over Ball State in the 1996 Las Vegas Bowl.

“I’m honored to be the first cover athlete for this new franchise and very excited about working with EA on Arena Football,” said John Dutton. “I think it’s great that fans can now experience the true action of Arena Football from the leader in sports video games.”

Arena Football brings all the big hits and non-stop passing plays to life as gamers are put in the middle of the action from the season’s kickoff all the way to the ArenaBowl. Staying authentic to AFL® rules, Arena Football will feature 8-on-8 play, including six players who play both sides of the ball, and the ability to send players into and over the walls with each exciting play. Arena Football will be available on the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system and Xbox® video game system from Microsoft. The game’s official website is http://www.easportsarena.com.

Introducing Naughty America: The Game

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Dec. 15, 2005 – Naughty America (http://www.naughtyamerica.com) today announced its first venture into the world of online gaming with Naughty America: The Game. Developed by Safe Escape Studios, Naughty America: The Game is the first of its kind, a massively multiplayer online world that allows players to do what they’ve always wanted to… be naughty.

“Naughty America has built its reputation as an adult entertainment network which provides a lineup of tv-like programming, similar to that of a mainstream television network,” stated Dusty Lillo, spokesman for Naughty America. “We’re now expanding this high quality entertainment into an area that’s long overdue, that of online gaming and social networking. Mind you, the game will not replace adult films or self-satisfaction. But, it does offer the opportunity for all adults, women and men alike, to engage in an online game without being tech-savvy- it’s fun and simple!”

Scheduled to go live in the Spring of 2006, Naughty America: The Game is a new twist on the world of online dating, combining in-game chat functionality with real-world profiles along with a heaping dose of entertaining games and exploration features. The fun and stylish game play begins with creating a unique fantasy persona by choosing from different body types, skin tones, and clothing options. Choices can be changed or modified at any time by visiting plastic surgeons, clothing shops, hair salons, tattoo parlors and other in-game hot spots.

Next up, players embark on world-exploration. The game features three different, eye-popping neighborhoods, each with their own distinct flavor:

v Downtown offers gritty nightlife, back alleys, sex shops, video arcades, and loft apartments.

v Uptown has outdoor cafes, a stunning central park, a casino, and luxury condo accommodations.

v The Beach offers boardwalk games and activities, a cruise ship getaway, poolside bars and clubs, swimming, and seaside housing.

Indulge your romantic side and take part in special activities like carriage rides, the dreamy city sky-walk, a ferris wheel spin, or a night out dancing in one of the world’s many nightclubs and bars. Treat yourself or a date to a shopping spree for new clothes and customized looks in any of the neighborhoods that fit your style. And for the truly adventurous, Sex Mode awaits.

At Naughty America: The Game, there are no limitations. Be who you want to be and meet who you want to meet. It’s the online destination where fantasy and reality find the right kind of friction. For more information about Naughty America: The Game please visit http://www.naughtyamericathegame.com.

Milestone Reached

I've been running this blog for a while now. I'm not really sure when this started, but it was sometime over the summer. Today we hit 100 entries, and by we I mean me who wrote 98 of them and 2 other authors who each wrote 1. This is a lot of fun, and it means something to me to be able to share my gaming experiences with those of you who visit the blog. I'm starting to get some notice, too. It used to be that publishers wanted to meet with me so I could cover their game in PC Magazine and I would mention the blog. Now I'm getting meeting requests from publishers who want me to cover their games in the blog.

The only thing that disappoints me about this site is that very few people leave comments. I was hoping to generate a whole community of readers who would interact with me and others, but that hasn't happened yet. Maybe, in time, the community will materialize.

One thing that is very cool is that my web site analytics software tells me that many of my readers are not from the United States. I'm glad that I can have a global impact, so to speak. Not that I'm having much impact today, but who knows what will happen as the site grows. It's the web, the even playing field for all of us who want to generate and share content.

I want to say thanks to all of my readers for making this a fun and rewarding project through the first hundred posts.

Matt "Madd Matt" Sarrel

UBISOFT ANNOUNCES TOM CLANCY'S SPLINTER CELL DOUBLE AGENT

San Francisco, Ca – DECEMBER 14, 2005 – Today Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, announced Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell 4 (working title), the fourth blockbuster in the Tom Clancy Splinter Cell franchise, will officially be called Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent. The game will be available Spring 2006 for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, Xbox video game system from Microsoft, PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, Nintendo GameCube system and Windows PC.

Following the Tom Clancy Splinter Cell franchise tradition of innovation, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent will completely revolutionize and reinvent the spy action genre by introducing an unprecedented double agent concept and an entirely new breed of game play that adds an exciting new dimension to the gaming experience.

"Ubisoft is excited to have re-imagined the Splinter Cell franchise by introducing Sam Fisher as a double agent, expanding the depth of his character,” said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing at Ubisoft. "Gamers are going to find themselves immersed in entirely new territory that will allow Ubisoft to expand on its already captivating Splinter Cell franchise."

With the entirely new direction of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent, Ubisoft has reinvented the best-selling and highest rated espionage franchise. The revolutionary double agent concept immerses players
in the world of international espionage more completely than ever, expanding the story and depth of Sam Fisher's character and evoking players' emotions by drawing them deeper into the gaming experience. Tom
Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent will push the limits of each platform based on its respective technological capabilities, taking advantage of a collaborative development effort between Ubisoft's award-winning development studios in Montreal, Shanghai and Annecy, France. Across all platforms, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent will have the features that have defined the Splinter Cell franchise: amazing graphics, fluid animations, advanced artificial intelligence and open level design. Furthermore, each platform will feature exclusive content and offer a unique game play experience.

"The surprising new direction for the series will certainly excite fans and attract the attention of a whole new group of gamers," said Jeremy Zoss, associate editor at Game Informer Magazine. "As fans of the Splinter Cell series, Game Informer is thrilled to bring our readers a world exclusive first look at Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent," available on newsstands December 22, 2005. Game Informer features an in-depth first preview of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent.

About Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent
Veteran agent Sam Fisher is back. But he's never faced an enemy like this before. To stop a devastating terrorist attack, he must infiltrate a vicious terrorist group and destroy it from within. For the first time ever, experience the relentless tension and gut-wrenching dilemmas of life as a double agent. As you infiltrate a terrorist organization in its American headquarters, you must carefully weigh the consequences of your actions. Kill too many criminals and you'll blow your cover. Hesitate too long and millions will die. Do whatever it takes to complete your mission, but get out alive.

Here's the trailer.

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

Key Features Include:

• Dual objectives to fulfill: NSA government agents and terrorists will each want you to accomplish opposing tasks at the same time.
• Discover the tension of being a double agent: Use actual tactics employed by today's real-life double agents to sabotage the terrorists' plans.
• Explore a branching storyline with multiple endings: Your choices have an impact on how the story and game play unfolds.
• A world of international espionage: Missions from all over the world, from Asia to Africa to the heart of the US. Experience extreme situations: underwater or in a sandstorm, hiding behind the dust or smoke and even skydiving.
• New authentic gadgets: Master the latest weapons and gadgets used by NSA government agents in addition to black-market terrorist weapons.
• Innovative online play: The critically acclaimed multiplayer action of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell is back with entirely new innovations for each platform.

The Sacred Rings

The Adventure Company today released 8 new screenshots from its upcoming adventure game, The Sacred Rings, the sequel to Aura: Fate of the Ages for PC. An epic graphic adventure in a dark fantastical world of magic and intrigue…

Features:

§ Three vast regions to explore: No Man’s Land, Manula Valley and the Keeper’s Land.
§ Easy to navigate mouse-driven, point-and-click interface.
§ Numerous original and creative puzzles to solve and challenge you.
§ A proprietary engine that blends together beautiful pre-rendered graphics and environmental interaction with immersive special effects.
§ More than 40 minutes of incredible cut-scenes.
§ More than 400 beautiful locations to fully-explore.
§ Numerous characters to interact with.
§ An astonishing musical score with 8 varied themes to compliment gameplay.

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

The Sacred Rings, the sequel to Aura: Fate of the Ages has an anticipated ESRB Rating of ‘T’ for Teen in North America and a planned shipping date of June, 2006.

December 14, 2005

NBA Ballers: Phenom

This morning I met with Midway and they showed me NBA Ballers: Phenom, the sequel to last year's hit NBA Ballers (1.5 million copies sold). The game ships in March 2006 for Xbox and PS2. An updated version of the original, NBA Ballers Rebound will be available for PSP. Although far from complete, the PS2 and PSP versions looked great.

The premise behind the game is that this is an RPG for basketball players. With a deep story mode and a lot of wide open game play there is plenty to do. The story revolves around a series of 2 on 2 tournaments (2 on 2 brings back memories of NBA Jam) and side missions that are like mini-games. Gamers create their character and assign attributes. Later, attributes increase according to how you play the game (if you are strong on D when you play then your character's defensive attributes go up). The other way to increase attributes is to drink a Sprite which is something like drinking a potion in that it gives a temporary attribute boost. Attributes can be boosted also by wearing special items like better sneakers.

As far as in-game dynamics, this game looks good. The character modeling is very strong and the players look like themselves. Because it is 2 on 2 there is now team play calling. The animated trick moves, called "Act A Fool" are hilarious. It's all about showmanship and tricks.

Midway says that game play breaks down to about 70% on the court and 30% in the open world. The open world is where the bulk of the story takes place centered on a pro-am streetball tournament in LA. Everything is interactive in the open world and there are plenty of side missions like "find Tracy McGrady's lost Sidekick" and "help the Laker Girls wash cars". The latter is interesting because it encompasses a music oriented mini-game. In the open world you can go into stores, attend events, play in tournaments, meet people, etc. There's also the ability to create a mansion or design your crib, complete with MTV Cribs episodes as unlockables.

All in all, NBA Ballers: Phenom looks like a great game to play. It goes beyond the usual basketball sim and immerses gamers in the world of LA streetball. There's plenty of replayability because of the open world aspects and mini games.

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

Here's the trailer.

December 13, 2005

UBISOFT TO RELEASE BLAZING ANGELS™ SQUADRONS OF WWII FOR XBOX 360™ IN Q4 FY 2005-2006

SAN FRANCISCO – December 12, 2005 – Today Ubisoft, one of the world’s largest video game publishers, announced that the action-filled flight combat game Blazing Angels™ Squadrons of WWII will be released
for Xbox 360™ and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft in Q4 FY 2005-2006.

In Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII, players test their air-combat skills as they experience the most famous battles of World War II. As a squadron leader, players can fly up to 38 WWII aircraft in both single-player and multiplayer missions.

Developed by Ubisoft, Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII features innovative squadron-based combat, in which each artificial intelligence wingman’s specialized skill can be used to the pilot’s advantage. During the course of the 18-mission campaign, players will evolve along with their wingmen into an ace fighting force. Spectacular graphics enhance the combat experience in true World War II battle sites such as England, Germany, France, Morocco, Pearl Harbor, Midway and Tokyo. The heroic storyline that follows the evolution of a single squadron and the cinematic presentation create moments reminiscent of classic World War II movies. Pilots fly in close to Germany’s industrial terrain during a bombing raid or emerge from the fog and cloud cover over London to engage the enemy. Up to 16 players online can engage over Xbox Live® online game service in head-to-head dogfights or cooperative team play between squadrons in 10 additional missions.

Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII for Xbox 360 will feature significant visual and sound enhancements that will take advantage of the powerful audio and graphical capabilities of Xbox 360’s platform. Stunning graphics and improved sound will completely immerse the player in a cinematic experience as fights in epic air battles of World War II including:

• Enhanced 3D plane models: Highly detailed and authentic-looking planes make intensive use of environmental lighting and dynamic imagery.
• New improved and enlarged textures provide more detail for both planes and terrain: Players will see sun glare on their cockpits, light shafts streaking through clouds and detailed shadows on the environment. Cities, buildings and facilities have also been enhanced to take full advantage of advanced lighting effects and shading to create an intense, realistic atmosphere for cities and military bases.
• More realistic battle damage: Bullets hit planes and smoke dynamically streams from cannons and engines. Battle damage from bullets, bombs and downed planes is visible and persistent on both terrain and buildings.
• Dramatic presentation: Visual perception filtering will be enhanced including extended burn effects and motion blur to create even more drama. Intense shockwaves from explosions fill the sky with debris using dynamic lighting and particle effects made possible by Xbox 360’s system.
• Enhanced sound effects: Perception filtering enhances the player's immersion. Sound treatment is actively managed in accordance to what the player does. Sound varies depending on the scene in order to create a more immersive, cinematic and dramatic atmosphere around the player.

For more information and updates, please visit http://www.blazing-angels.com.

NAMCO ANNOUNCES SNOOPY™ VS. THE RED BARON

SANTA CLARA, Calif., (December 12, 2005) – “This time I’ve got you, Red Baron! This time you’re mine!”…Leading video games publisher and developer Namco Hometek Inc. today announced Snoopy™ vs. the Red Baron, an exhilarating aerial-based action adventure game starring Peanuts® top dog Snoopy and a cast of classic characters. While taking a nap atop his doghouse, Snoopy has a magical dream and becomes a World War I flying ace who must pilot his bi-plane in a heroic attempt to foil the plans of his arch-nemesis, the Red Baron. Featuring 50+ single-player and co-op missions, action-packed dogfights and customizable planes across six unique environments, Snoopy vs. the Red Baron will be coming to the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) system, Xbox® video game system and the PC in Fall 2006.

Snoopy vs. the Red Baron lets players climb into the cockpit to pilot Snoopy’s famous Sopwith Camel and other unique aircraft in perilous dogfights, high-speed air races and heart-pounding missions deep behind enemy lines. As players barnstorm across six massive, free-roaming play fields in search of clues for the location of the Red Baron’s secret hideout, players can upgrade their aircraft with a collection of 25 unique, comical weapons and other unlockable gadgets, including the player-guided Woodstock missile. Classic Peanuts characters including Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Marcie and Sally will aid Snoopy on his mission, providing him with hints and tips to track down the despicable Red Baron.

“Snoopy’s longstanding rivalry with the nefarious Red Baron persona is one of the most acclaimed Peanuts storylines, giving Namco the perfect premise to create a family-friendly video game,” said Jeff Lujan, Business Director at Namco Hometek, Inc. “Snoopy vs. the Red Baron introduces an original gameplay experience with high-flying aerial action that is sure to entertain kids of all ages and extend this classic story’s legacy.”

For more information about Snoopy vs. the Red Baron, please visit http://www.namco.com/games/snoopy

GROUND-BREAKING MOVIE CREATED WITH ACTIVISION AND LIONHEAD STUDIOS’ THE MOVIES™ ATTRACTS INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION

Santa Monica, CA – December 13, 2005 – A unique short film entitled “The French Democracy,” created using Activision (Nasdaq: ATVI) and Lionhead® Studios’ game The Movies™, has attracted international media attention since its release on November 22, 2005 on the game’s website, www.themoviesgame.com. The film, made by French designer Alex Chan, is a commentary on the social situation which led up to the recent riots in Paris and other French cities. First written about in The Washington Post, “The French Democracy” has since been featured on MTV.com, Business Week, and 20 Minutes -- a French newspaper with a circulation of over 800,000.

Commenting on the media attention which the movie has attracted, Peter Molyneux, Managing Director of Lionhead Studios said, “With The Movies we wanted to make a game that allows anyone to easily express themselves by making a short film and posting them online to share with the world. Alex’s film, which is absolutely terrific, really demonstrates the potential power and impact that these films can have.”

The movie’s creator, Alex Chan added, “I did not expect such a reaction to my little ‘home-made’ movie, but I have spread some human values that are important to me. I'm very happy that ‘The French Democracy’ has moved so many people, even if it is not always in a positive way. I'm very glad and proud that this movie may help people to think a bit more.”

Activision and Lionhead Studios are delighted with both the quality and quantity of films already online, just a month since the game’s release, as traffic shows no signs of slowing and new movies are being posted daily. Launched on November 8, 2005, www.themoviesgame.com has already attracted over one million unique users, has received 100 million hits*, and currently features over 19,000 user-created movies, available online for anyone to view.

The Movies allows gamers to become the ultimate Hollywood player by building and running their own movie studio, from crafting and shooting unique movies to making or breaking the stars they discover and create. In Story Mode, players take command of their inner movie mogul and manage all aspects of a studio from talent and resources to research and development. They can make a wide variety of movies such as crime dramas, psycho thrillers, musicals, spaghetti westerns, sci-fi cliffhangers and black comedies, and work to maximize box office success by staying one step ahead of the competition. In addition, players can jump right into movie making in Sandbox Mode, creating films from their favorite time period from the silent film era of cinema to present day and beyond. Ultimate control is at gamers’ fingertips as they customize everything from scripts and dialog to the look of their stars from head-to-toe. With thousands of exciting movie characters and limitless options, The Movies allows players to take full creative control of their Hollywood ambitions, ultimately posting their box office blockbusters or obscure B movies to www.themoviesgame.com for the entire world to see.

The Movies for Windows® PC is available for a suggested retail price of $49.99 and is rated “T” (Teen with blood and gore, crude humor, mild language, sexual themes, use of alcohol and tobacco, and violence) by the ESRB. The Premiere Edition version of The Movies is available for Windows PC for a suggested retail price of $59.99 and is rated the same.

*These statistics apply to www.themoviesgame.com/community

For more information on The Movies, please visit .http://www.themoviesgame.com

MAJESCO DELIVERS HOLIDAY FUN FOR THE NINTENDO DS WITH ‘BUST-A-MOVE DS’

EDISON, N.J., December 13, 2005 – Majesco Entertainment Company (NASDAQ: COOL), an innovative provider of digital entertainment products today announced Bust-A-Move DS has shipped for Nintendo DS. As one of the most popular puzzle games, Bust-A-Move DS delivers an entirely new bubble-bursting experience for the popular handheld.

“Bust-A-Move is one of the most popular puzzle series of all time and our newest offering brings a unique level of challenge to the Nintendo DS,” said Ken Gold, vice president of Marketing for Majesco. “The game’s addictive game play and attractive price-point makes Bust-A-Move DS a fantastic holiday gift for video game players and puzzle aficionados alike.”

In Bust-A-Move DS, players fling bubbles from the bottom screen to the top in an attempt to match three bubbles and cause them to pop before their allotted time is up. Bust-A-Move DS is the ultimate party game that allows up to five gamers to compete simultaneously via the Nintendo DS wireless link.

Additional bubble-bursting features include:

* Over 250 puzzles to complete plus secret puzzles – 500 in all;
* All-new sling shot action using the Nintendo DS stylus allows players to control where their bubbles hit;
* Stock special bubbles for the right moment to get maximum points;
* Perform strategic attacks with havoc-causing bubbles via the touch screen in multiplayer mode;
* WiFi capabilities allow players to challenge opponents anywhere in the world.

Currently available at retailers nationwide for the suggested retail price of $19.99, Bust-A-Move DS was developed by Happy Happening and is licensed from Taito Corporation. For more information visit: http://www.majescoentertainment.com.

About Majesco Entertainment Company

Headquartered in Edison, NJ, Majesco Entertainment Company (NASDAQ: COOL) is an innovative provider of digital entertainment products and content. The Company's diverse product lineup includes video games such as Infected™ for the PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) system, Aeon Flux ™, and the forthcoming JAWS™ Unleashed, as well as digital entertainment products like Frogger® TV Arcade. Majesco now offers Game Boy® Advance Video versions of the beloved DreamWorks Animation movies Shrek, Shrek 2 and Shark Tale. More information about Majesco can be found online at http://www.majescoentertainment.com.

DreamCatcher Games To Release Dungeon Lords Collector’s Edition

Toronto, Canada – December 13, 2005 - DreamCatcher Games today announced that they will release a Collector’s Edition of their best-selling RPG game, Dungeon Lords on January 27, 2006.

In addition to all of the latest updates, The Dungeon Lords Collector’s Edition will include new quests, spells, effects, monsters and amazing new heraldries and character customizations to take your RPG experience even deeper. “We’re very excited to offer a Collector’s Edition of Dungeon Lords,” said Product Marketing Manager, Byron Gaum, “We think that RPG fans will be impressed with the number of improvements and added content since the initial release of the game.” The Dungeon Lords Collector’s Edition will also ship in a limited edition painted metal casing that is sure to look great on any collector’s shelf.


The Storyline

Dungeon Lords blends the depth of an Epic Fantasy RPG with the flexibility of an FPS-style control system. Gamers journey through a land of ancient castles and dungeon lairs to engage in real-time tactical combat with a variety of deadly foes. It’s not just about the battles though, as magic spells and hundreds of powerful weapons and artifacts play a huge role in the game.

The game features an abundance of personal missions and quests along with numerous characters to interact with. Players can customize an extensive variety of skills and special abilities for the hero, including race, features and class specializations. The simple and intuitive design will thrill RPG and action fans alike and supports cooperative multiplayer for up to eight players.

Dungeon Lords Collector’s Edition Game Features:

· The depth of an epic Fantasy RPG with the flexibility of an FPS-style control system.

· New quests, spells, effects, monsters, heraldries and character customizations.

· A limited edition painted steel metal case.

· 7 playable races including humans, elves and dwarves and also a number of non-human “demi-goth” races.

· 4 schools of magic – Arcane, Celestial, Rune and Nether.

· Co-operative multiplayer, supporting up to 8 people at once over LAN or Internet.

· Created by award-winning developer, D.W. Bradley and Heuristic Park.

The Dungeon Lords Collector’s Edition ships in North America on January 27th, 2006 with an ESRB rating of ‘T’ for Teen. The game will also ship in Q1, 2006 with a PEGI rating of 16+ in Europe. For more information, visit http://www.DungeonLords.com.



About DreamCatcher Games:

DreamCatcher Games is a worldwide publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment software committed to the release of quality action, strategy and role-playing games on the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft and Windows®. Its large portfolio of games includes Painkiller: “Single-Player Shooter of the Year” and the official title of the 2005 CPL® World Tour. More information about DreamCatcher Games and its products can be found at http://www.dreamcatchergames.com.

December 9, 2005

Full Auto Trailer Released

I got the chance to play Full Auto a few months ago and it looked amazing. Every little detail is there, from shadows to reflections to an interactive environment. It looks like a great driving game.

Full Auto - only on Xbox 360 - features the most destructive racing action ever experienced in a videogame. Hardcore fans can now have some real insight into that destruction by checking out newly released "educational" videos available at: http://www.SEGAlabs.com. These episodic, behind the scenes videos show real-life technicians experimenting with classified destructive research integral to Full Auto's development.

Sega has already released three of six episodes and will unveil the remaining short films every two weeks leading to Full Auto's highly-anticipated February 21st 2006 launch.

Here's the trailer

OUTRUN 2006: COAST 2 COAST DRIFTS ONTO PSP SYSTEM, PLAYSTATION 2, PC

LONDON & SAN FRANCISCO (December 8, 2005) - SEGA Europe Ltd. and SEGA of America, Inc. today announced OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast, the latest installment in the iconic OutRun series and the first to appear on the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system and PSP (PlayStation Portable) system. OutRun 2006: Coast
2 Coast on PlayStation 2, PSP system, will be released on March, 2006 with a PC version to be released soon thereafter.

The enchanting draw of the open road has never been so appealing with the choice of one of 12 fully licensed Ferrari models, featuring the all-new F430 and 575 Super America. Gamers will feel the throaty whine and that distinctive Ferrari exhaust note as they power their way across 30 glorious stages from the best of the OutRun2 original and the new OutRun2 SP arcade experience. Race from coast to glorious coast with a fresh new mission structure, a license mode and online play with up to 6 players in both head-to-head and co-operative play.

"Out Run 2006: Coast 2 Coast represents our strategy to revitalize a stable of recognizable SEGA properties for gamers in the Western markets," said Scott A. Steinberg, Vice President of Marketing, SEGA of America, Inc. "OutRun conjures up fantastic memories for many hardcore gamers and this mammoth new version is sure to turn a new generation on to a true arcade racing classic."

With platform specific missions, the player will also be able to unlock PSP system exclusive content by connecting with the PlayStation 2 version, and vice versa. Stack up the OutRun miles from the sun-drenched sands of Palm Beach to the charms of Cape Way to unlock new tracks, cars and much more. With a girlfriend by your side and open country before you, which route will you take?

OutRun 2006: Coast-2-Coast is scheduled for release on March, 2006 for PlayStation 2/ PSP system, with the PC version releasing soon thereafter. For more information on these and other SEGA titles, please visit http://www.sega.com.

December 8, 2005

The world is your race track

New York (Dec. 8, 2005) – The world’s most treacherous chicanes, tightest corners, and fastest straights will soon be tangible as Codemasters reveals an incredible line up of more than 80 international racing circuits featuring in TOCA Race Driver 3.

Coming February 24, 2006, to PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the XboxÒ videogame system from Microsoft and PC, TOCA Race Driver 3 delivers more than ever before with over 150 miles of the world’s most celebrated courses, taking racers to 43 locations across 13 countries in the largest collection of race tracks ever featured in one game.

From the most well-known circuits in the U.S., including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Laguna Seca Grand Prix circuit to the UK's iconic Silverstone, Germany's demanding Hockenheim with its gladiatorial stadium section, and the dramatic drops and rises of Belgium's historic Spa-Francorchamps as it blasts through the Ardennes forest. TOCA Race Driver 3 will also take drivers to Australia's V8 championship venues, and the latest tracks on the global racing map: Shanghai International, Bahrain International and Istanbul Park.

Every track has been authentically recreated for the game using real-world GPS topographical data so players are guaranteed to experience them just as real race drivers do. For Mount Panorama (Bathurst), a new geographic survey of the circuit was commissioned exclusively for the game to capture every last detail. Additionally, the game’s enhanced rendering engine means every race course will shine in visual detail with multi-textured surfaces that bring spectacular effects to track objects and the circuits themselves.

Ready to go around the world on more than 80 circuits? Here’s where TOCA Race Driver 3 will take drivers:

Australia

* Mount Panorama V8 circuit (Bathurst)
* Barbagallo – Long, V8 and Short circuits
* Eastern Creek – Grand Prix, V8, Short and Southern Loops circuits
* Queensland Grand Prix circuit
* Oran Park – Grand Prix, South and North circuits
* Sandown Park V8 circuit
* Gold Coast Indy 300 Grand Prix circuit
* Symmons Plains Raceway V8 circuit
* Philip Island Grand Prix circuit
* Hidden Valley Raceway
* Adelaide Street circuit


Bahrain

* Bahrain – Grand Prix, Internal, and External circuits


Belgium

* Spa-Francorchamps Grand Prix circuit


China

* Shanghai Grand Prix Circuit


Czech Republic

* Brunn - Brno Grand Prix Circuit


Germany

* Hockenheim – Grand Prix, National and Short circuits
* Lausitzring EuroSpeedway – Grand Prix circuit
* Norisring – Grand Prix circuit
* Nurburgring – Short circuit
* Motopark Oschersleben – Grand Prix, ‘B’ and ‘C’ circuits


Ireland

* Mondello Park – International, National and Short circuits


Netherlands

* Zandvoort – Grand Prix, National, Club and Oostelijk circuits


New Zealand

* Pukekohe Park Raceway


Turkey

* Istanbul Park Circuit


UK

* Donnington Park – Grand Prix and National circuits
* Oulton Park – International, Island and Foster circuits
* Silverstone – Grand Prix, International, National, and South circuits
* Brands Hatch – Grand Prix and Short Indy circuits, plus Rally Cross track
* Bedford Autodrome – GT, North, East, South and West circuits
* Snetterton
* Castle Coombe


USA

* Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oval
* Nashville Super Speedway
* Dover International Raceway
* Gateway International Raceway
* Gateway International Raceway Road course
* Laguna Seca Grand Prix circuit


Plus:
Original circuits designed exclusively for the game:

* 3 UK Rally courses
* 3 International Rallycross courses
* 2 Go Kart circuits
* 5 National Dirt Raceway circuits

With more than 120 championships, drivers will not only be competing in some seriously aggressive real events but also take some of the greatest cars to different circuits for the first time – players will be the first to find out what it’s like to race a V8 car at top U.S. circuits such as Laguna Seca!

TOCA Race Driver 3 will give players the world when it launches February 24, 2006, for PlayStation2, the Xbox and PC. Get in gear with the latest shots and videos from the game’s website at http://www.codemasters.com.

December 7, 2005

Prepare to enter the Dance Factory, coming April exclusively on PlayStation®2

New York (Dec. 7, 2005) – Set to revolutionize the dance mat gaming phenomenon, Codemasters today confirms that Dance Factory will launch in North America and Europe in April 2006.

Coming exclusively to PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Dance Factory will be the world’s first dance mat game that enables players to personally choose the music tracks they want to groove to – from their own music CD collection! This incredible innovation means that dance gaming is no longer limited to titles with pre-set track lists or music genres.

Dancers load up Dance Factory on PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, choose any music CD and watch as the game choreographs dance moves specifically for the track that the player has chosen – live! Then, the player can take to the dance mat stage and get their feet moving to the beats as the dance steps play out on screen. As well as making the moves, Dance Factory will also create animated background visuals to best match the style of any players chosen track and bring their routine alive.

Dance Factory’s innovative beat recognition technology, developed exclusively for the title, ensures that for the first time a dance mat game can span across all music tastes; it works with everything from a classic disco track, to guitar rock, R&B, to the most current dance anthem.

In addition to the unique ‘any CD’ concept, Dance Factory will unleash a whole load of different dance mat gaming modes – including Fitness, Endurance and Recorder. Plus, Dance Factory will also unlock digital music creatures that hide on each and every music CD and get them dancing too!

In the main game mode players dance to the music of their choice and rack up points as they pull off the moves that Dance Factory has choreographed for them. The better they bust their moves, the more points that are awarded with which to unlock additional modes, features and content.

Players will even be able to make Dance Factory part of their workout program with the game’s Fitness mode. The more they move, the more calories they burn and in this mode the game displays a calorie counter so players can see how much they’re working off through the tracks.

When players want to try for an album-long dancing marathon, Dance Factory’s Endurance mode challenges them to dance their way through the entire playlist of a CD – if they can pull off the moves. In Endurance, players have to achieve a pre-set minimum level of footwork accuracy before moving onto the next track on the CD. If players can dance their way through an entire CD, the points awarded for each track are doubled!

Dance Factory will also give players the chance to be the choreographer as well as the DJ too! In Recorder mode, they can set the dance moves for the track of their choice and Dance Factory will record it for them.

With many more innovations yet to be revealed, including how a unique Creature mode will unleash digital dancing companions, Dance Factory will provide the power for everyone to dance to the music they want when it launches April 2006, exclusively for PlayStation 2. Find out more online at www.codemasters.com.

DANCE FACTORY: KEY GAME POINTS

Dance Factory is the world’s first dance game that generates dance moves from ANY music CD.
The most accessible, fun dance game compatible with any CD collection.
Backgrounds come alive in time to the player’s own music with different styles.
Create dance routines in Recorder mode and share with friends.
Multi play options including freestyle, battle and elimination tournament with up to 16 players.
Plus many more exciting game modes including Fitness and Endurance.
Five licensed starter tracks to get players started.

PoPoLoCrois: An Unbelievable RPG for the PSP(PlayStationPortable) System

Sunnyvale, Calif., December 6th, 2005 - Agetec, Inc., a leading publisher of entertainment software, is excited to announce that the classic, Japanese title PoPoLoCrois™ for the PSP™ (PlayStation®Portable) system is now available at North American retailers.

"PoPoLoCrois is a highly anticipated role-playing game for the PSP," says Mark Johnson, vice president of marketing, Agetec, Inc. "It is a beautiful adventure with an exciting storyline that people of all ages will enjoy this holiday season."

The charming tale of PoPoLoCrois follows the adventure of Prince Pietro as he battles to save his beloved kingdom from the chilling grips of the evil Ice Demon and rescue his mother, the queen of PoPoLoCrois, from a mysterious eternal slumber. Pietro and his friends encounter a vast array of dangerous dragons, fierce monsters and other crazy creatures in their quest to solve the mystery of the Kingdom of Darkness.

Developed exclusively for the PSP by G-Artists and Sony Computer Entertainment Japan, the title features gorgeous artwork with a zoom feature to focus on every brilliant detail. PoPoLoCrois has a convenient quick-save option for playing on the go, and a diverse, whimsical soundtrack that brings the charming characters to life. Featuring a classic turn-based battle system, PoPoLoCrois has over 30 hours of gameplay with exciting Japanese-style anime cut scenes, which offers players a reason to stay glued to their PSP!

PoPoLoCrois has an ESRB rating of "E" for Everyone and is available at Electronics Boutique, GameStop, and online at http://www.target.com and http://www.walmart.com for the suggested retail price of $39.99. For additional information and to view the official game trailer please visit http://www.agetec.com.

Tom Clancy's Rainbox Six: Lockdown

The Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six franchise, hailed for its immersive single-player and multi-player experiences, continues with Lockdown as Team Rainbow, the world’s premier counter-terrorist unit, is called on to fight a deadly bioterrorism threat. The crisis takes Rainbow into new territory and new situations, as for the first time the hunter becomes the hunted.

All-new features, specific to the PC, add to the tensest close-quarter battles ever experienced online. New features include:

• Enhanced Tactical Experience
Ø Deadlier enemies with improved tactics require quick and intense decision making. But move too fast and you’ll find the enemy waiting for you…
Ø Hostages that must be navigated through the level and accounted for during firefights. Keep them safe and get them out alive!
• New Multiplayer Features
Ø “Class Style” gameplay for multiplayer, allowing more specialization
Ø Multiplayer reward system
Ø New “Free-for-all” game type
Ø The return of 3 classic maps – 747, Mint, and Bunkers
Ø Re-imagined missions, more challenging than ever before
Ø Re-vamped Rivalry Mode: Rainbow vs. Mercenaries, battling over three different objective types simultaneously. No two Rivalry matches play out exactly the same way!
• New Equipment
Ø Enemy use of Lock Fusers in single-player gameplay presents new challenges to the player
Ø Laser Trip Mines, Virus grenades, and C4 explosives add new options to the multiplayer arsenal

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

• New Weapons and Attachments
Ø 20 new weapons – 42 overall
Ø 6 brand new weapons never used before in a Rainbow game
Ø 14 fan favorites from franchise history
Ø Customize your weapon to suit your style of play: Silencers, Scopes, red-dot sights, hi-cap magazines.

Crave Entertainment Brings Back the Golden Age with Pinball Hall of Fame for PSP(tm) System

Newport Beach, Calif.-December 6, 2005-Crave Entertainment, a leading publisher of console videogames, today announced that Pinball Hall of Fame for the PSP(tm) (PlayStation®Portable) system has shipped to retailers throughout North America. Featuring a compilation of 11 of Gottlieb's greatest tables recreated in a 3D environment, the Pinball Hall of Fame authentic visuals and sound effects take players back in time to when pinball machines ruled the arcades. The game also allows two players to compete via a wireless connection using a single game disc.

The game's collection of 11 of Gottlieb's greatest tables includes Aces High, Central Park, Big Shot, Genie, Black Hole, and Victory, plus three tables never before seen in a Pinball Hall of Fame game. In addition to the authentic visuals and sound effects, pinball aficionados will also enjoy the historical art and fun facts from the golden age of the game, as well as a photo tour of the Gottlieb factory.

Pinball Hall of Fame is available for the PSP(tm) system with a MSRP of $29.99.

December 6, 2005

Buena Vist Games Ships More Than 2 Million Copies of The Chronicles of Narnia Video Game in Europe and North America

BURBANK, Calif. — (December 6, 2005) — In anticipation of Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media’s epic feature film release of “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” on December 9, retail support of the movie-inspired video game has been brisk throughout North America and Europe. Buena Vista Games, Inc. (BVG), the interactive entertainment arm of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS), announced today that the company has shipped more than 2 million units of the multiplatform video game to retail outlets in the two regions. The video game is available 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*.

“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe video game launch marks the largest self-publishing initiative executed to date by Buena Vista Games,” said Graham Hopper, senior vice president and general manager, Buena Vista Games. “There is great excitement building for the release of the film and that buzz has helped ignite an event atmosphere at retail for the video game. By building upon and expanding the Narnia entertainment experience, BVG is playing an important role as the next content creation engine for the company.”

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe video game takes the classic story from the renowned book from C.S. Lewis to new heights by bringing the feature film’s cinematic experience to life in a stunning interactive adventure. Players can take on the role of each of the four Pevensie heroes – Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy – to battle the White Witch’s sinister minions in team-based, action-packed combat.

In the action/adventure console and PC versions, players take on 15 levels of combat and puzzle-solving game play. The console and PC games also feature seamless integration of film footage with game play and includes extensive use of voice talent from the film.

“The ever-expanding video game marketplace is of great interest to me,” said Andrew Adamson, the film’s director. “It was such a thrill to work with the Buena Vista Games and Traveller’s Tales teams to provide creative input for the video game, which has resulted in a beautiful translation of the film into an epic interactive experience.”

"Transitioning from the movie into the video game area is an uplifting experience because every person who has read the book has longed to go to Narnia,” said Douglas Gresham, stepson of author C.S. Lewis. “With the video games, people can not only visit Narnia but they can control the heroes' actions. In a sense, they can invent their own adventure within Narnia."

In addition to strong retail support throughout North America and Europe, the game is receiving positive reviews from video game critics. IGN.com, a leading online video game site, recently awarded The Chronicles of Narnia video game the prestigious IGN.com Editor’s Choice Award, an 8.3 out of 10 review score and described the title as “a near perfect example of how to make a movie-based video game the right way.”

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.

Buena Vist Games Ships More Than 2 Million Copies of The Chronicles of Narnia Video Game in Europe and North America

BURBANK, Calif. — (December 6, 2005) — In anticipation of Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media’s epic feature film release of “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” on December 9, retail support of the movie-inspired video game has been brisk throughout North America and Europe. Buena Vista Games, Inc. (BVG), the interactive entertainment arm of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS), announced today that the company has shipped more than 2 million units of the multiplatform video game to retail outlets in the two regions. The video game is available 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*.

“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe video game launch marks the largest self-publishing initiative executed to date by Buena Vista Games,” said Graham Hopper, senior vice president and general manager, Buena Vista Games. “There is great excitement building for the release of the film and that buzz has helped ignite an event atmosphere at retail for the video game. By building upon and expanding the Narnia entertainment experience, BVG is playing an important role as the next content creation engine for the company.”

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe video game takes the classic story from the renowned book from C.S. Lewis to new heights by bringing the feature film’s cinematic experience to life in a stunning interactive adventure. Players can take on the role of each of the four Pevensie heroes – Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy – to battle the White Witch’s sinister minions in team-based, action-packed combat.

In the action/adventure console and PC versions, players take on 15 levels of combat and puzzle-solving game play. The console and PC games also feature seamless integration of film footage with game play and includes extensive use of voice talent from the film.

“The ever-expanding video game marketplace is of great interest to me,” said Andrew Adamson, the film’s director. “It was such a thrill to work with the Buena Vista Games and Traveller’s Tales teams to provide creative input for the video game, which has resulted in a beautiful translation of the film into an epic interactive experience.”

"Transitioning from the movie into the video game area is an uplifting experience because every person who has read the book has longed to go to Narnia,” said Douglas Gresham, stepson of author C.S. Lewis. “With the video games, people can not only visit Narnia but they can control the heroes' actions. In a sense, they can invent their own adventure within Narnia."

In addition to strong retail support throughout North America and Europe, the game is receiving positive reviews from video game critics. IGN.com, a leading online video game site, recently awarded The Chronicles of Narnia video game the prestigious IGN.com Editor’s Choice Award, an 8.3 out of 10 review score and described the title as “a near perfect example of how to make a movie-based video game the right way.”

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.

2K Sports Announces Major League Baseball 2K6 - The Exclusive 2006 Multi-Platform Baseball Title

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 5, 2005 - 2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: TTWO), announced today that Major League Baseball 2K6 is slated for release in early spring 2006. Featuring New York Yankees All-Star shortstop Derek Jeter as the cover athlete and official spokesperson, Major League Baseball 2K6 will debut new features that will set a new standard for baseball video games.

Major League Baseball 2K6 will be the exclusive and only officially licensed Major League Baseball video game to appear on every major gaming console including the Xbox 360(tm) and Xbox® video game and entertainment systems from Microsoft, the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the PSP(tm) (PlayStation®Portable) system and the Nintendo GameCube(tm).

"We've assembled an amazing team to deliver the highest quality baseball title on every major video game platform," stated Greg Thomas, president of Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. "2K Sports has pushed the boundaries of our entire line-up of games this year and Major League Baseball 2K6 will be no exception."

"With Major League Baseball 2K6, 2K Sports has captured the essence of our National pastime," stated Derek Jeter. "It's been a great pleasure and honor to represent the finest baseball game on any video game system. I'm really impressed with the new graphics and features that Major League Baseball 2K6 will bring to baseball fans everywhere."

As one of the most respected and recognizable Major League Baseball players, Derek Jeter wrapped up the 2005 season by winning his second consecutive Gold Glove award Over the last 10 seasons (1996-2005), Jeter
leads the major leagues with an impressive 1,924 hits and ranks second with 1,154 runs. As the team captain of the New York Yankees, Jeter's charisma, talent and intense drive have earned him numerous awards and
have cemented him as one of the greatest players to ever don the Yankee pinstripes.

As the exclusive and official Major League Baseball multi-platform video game, Major League Baseball 2K6 includes innovative features such as a new movement system and realistic player collisions on the infield and outfield. New broadcast elements include flashback replays, and a unique player morale system will unfold the drama like never before in a baseball video game. 2K Sports will be announcing additional new features and enhancements leading up to the release of Major League Baseball 2K6 that will take the virtual baseball experience to the next level.

For more information, log onto http://www.2ksports.com

Animal Crossing: Wild World Highlights Nintendo's Hand-Held Holiday

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 6 -- Whether your hands are outdoors covered in gloves or indoors roasting by an open fire, Nintendo has a game to keep them happy. Today the second installment of the extremely popular Animal Crossing(R) franchise makes the leap to Nintendo DS(TM), with Animal Crossing(R): Wild World, a new community-building game that incorporates use of Nintendo(R) Wi-Fi Connection, Nintendo's new wireless gaming service. Game Boy(R) Micro and Game Boy(R) Advance SP owners will get to enjoy two new titles, Mario Tennis(TM): Power Tour and the combo puzzle package, Dr. Mario(R) & Puzzle League.
Fans in Japan already have assured that Animal Crossing: Wild World will enjoy a huge success. The game debuted at No. 1 on the sales charts, and Weekly Famitsu, Japan's tough-as-nails video game magazine, scored Animal Crossing: Wild World a 37 out of a possible 40 points.
"The original Animal Crossing for Nintendo GameCube became a huge sleeper hit, selling more than 1 million units," says Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of sales & marketing. "The Wi-Fi capabilities of Animal Crossing: Wild World will create a fun, expansive community that will entice even novice players to check it out."
Animal Crossing: Wild World lets players move into a village and have fun fishing, catching insects, remodeling their homes and interacting with their neighbors. Best of all, the game makes use of Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, which lets users near and far connect with their friends via certain Wi-Fi hotspots at no additional charge to visit one another's towns where they can find exotic fruit, hunt for new animal species or just hang out with their friends. For more information about the game, visit www.animal-crossing.com.
After just three weeks, Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection has logged almost3 million connections worldwide. Already nearly 200,000 unique visitors worldwide have signed on to play Mario Kart(R) DS and other games. The next Nintendo game to make use of the service will be Metroid(R) Prime Hunters on March 20. For more information about Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, visit www.nintendowifi.com.
Not to be outdone, the video game industry's most beloved character, Mario(TM), appears in two Game Boy Advance games being released today as well. Mario Tennis: Power Tour takes players on a role-playing adventure as they rise through the ranks to become tennis pros. It's a great way to keep tennis skills sharp during the cold winter months. For more information about the game, visit powertour.mariotennis.com. Fans of puzzle games will spend countless hours this holiday season playing through the addictive fun ofDr. Mario & Puzzle League, a combination of two classic puzzle games on one cartridge. For more information about the games, visit www.puzzleleague.com. Both games look great, whether users play them on the hip new Game Boy Micro, the new Game Boy Advance SP, which sports a brighter, backlit screen, or the secondary slot of Nintendo DS.

Animal Crossing: Wild World, Mario Tennis: Power Tour and Dr. Mario & Puzzle League are all Rated E for Everyone.

December 2, 2005

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter

1. Hello, first of all could you introduce yourself?
Hi, I am Mathieu Girard, Ubisoft Producer. My role is to ensure that the production of the game goes smoothly, and that we reach the highest possible quality. That means following closely the team at GRIN, and also the group here at Ubisoft.

2. What engine do you use for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter?
GRIN has developed its own engine called Diesel. It is really a masterpiece of technology and a very convenient development tool. The advantage of having the dev team using its own engine is that they know it by heart and are really keen on taking the best out of its capabilities.
Diesel allows for all the latest technologies. It integrates physics and all the latest rendering technologies in huge and highly detailed maps.
GRIN has strong experience in military applications (they started developing software for the armed forces). They also distinguished themselves in developing groundbreaking technology; in fact GRIN were among the first developers to feature vertex and pixel shaders in cooperation with Nvidia for the launch of the GeForce 3.

3. What features can we expect on the graphics side, how will that render into the game?
All the graphics features are used to create the heat of war in Mexico. You will see very realistic buildings, props, characters, and vehicles, combined with Next Gen effects that will immerse you in this feeling of urban war. These effects are also combined with the near-future equipments that you and your team will be using to create a cohesive tangibility between player, the environment and the action.

4. What about physics? How interesting is it in terms of gameplay?
The idea with using more and more physics in games is to immerse the player even further in the simulation of a realistic world. 10 years ago we did a first step in that direction with the explosion of 3D and the apparition of the first mass market 3D cards. Today with more realistic physics we are continuing in the same direction.

We are using two physics engines. One engine will be used for the simulations most connected to gameplay like dead body physics, explosions, environment destruction and/or alteration, while the other one will create never-seen-before visual effects.

Gameplay wise, the layout of the level will be modified, as dynamic objects are destroyed or moved around, thus changing the cover positions in the level. In older generations of shooters a car would be placed somewhere to give cover to the player at one particular place. In GRAW cars give cover, but some heavy calibre weapons will cut through them, destroying doors can reveal a hidden enemy and blowing it up may have it move into the middle of the street, thus creating a natural barricade.

The most amazing thing with physics – visually speaking – will be some of the explosions that you will see in the game. We are currently working with AGEIA to implement their NovodeX technology in the game. Hardware accelerated physics will allow us to create massive explosions including thousands of particles and objects. Some moments in the game promise to be really memorable for this sole reason…

5. Can you tell us more about the first-person view in Tom Clancy’s GHOST RECON Advanced Warfighter™? Why did you choose this camera system?
We chose the first person view because it is the most consistent with the controls on PC. We still want to have the player “feel” that he is Captain Mitchell; this is also why we have developed body awareness. We will go more into that below. Our objective is basically to provide the most realistic first person view possible. You will benefit from a realistic freedom of movement, and your virtual body will react just as real ones do.

6. Tell us more about body awareness and special moves. How does it impact on gameplay?
Body awareness helps to feel more a part of your surrounding, being immersed and not just a floating camera. In fact it is an improved FPS view that lets you see your own body and equipment. This gives you better situational awareness and makes your moves more precise. It allows you to see which parts of your body, that you thought were protected by the environment, are in fact exposed to enemy fire. Just like in real life. While implementing body awareness into mechanics such as the rope insertion from the Blackhawk helicopter plays on the use of emotion, immersing you in the feeling of tension and fear when leaving the perceived safety of the Blackhawk and entering a hot combat zone.
On top of that we implemented special moves such as sliding or diving that will allow you to reach a cover point more quickly for instance. Those moves, including the leaning system, will also be useful to survey the environment from your cover point, to locate and suppress the enemy threat in a blink.

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

7. What specific constraints linked to the hardware do you have in developing the PC version? How do you plan to give a “next-gen” look to the game with these constraints?
The game is developed as “scalable”, which means that some of the most advanced visual feature can be deactivated for the lower-end PCs. Nothing involving gameplay is changed, though.

8. You said in a previous interview that GRIN was really good on the technical side of developing games. Can you tell us more about that?
Well they built an impressive piece of technology; they have strong connections with hardware manufacturers, and a handful of wizards and rocket scientists in their team.
Oh, and did we mention that their CEO used to be part of the Swedish Special Forces 

December 1, 2005

UBISOFT ANNOUNCES PRINCE OF PERSIA THE TWO THRONES IS AVAILABLE NOW

SAN FRANCISO, CA December 1, 2005 Today, Ubisoft announced that Prince of Persia The Two Thrones is available now for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft, the Nintendo GameCube system and PC CD-ROM. Developed by Ubisoft's award-winning Montreal studio, Prince of Persia The Two Thrones blends the best features from Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Prince of Persia Warrior Within, and creates an epic experience by combining two playable characters in a masterly balanced gameplay, with the perfect mix of combat, platforming, puzzles and a compelling storyline. Prince of Persia The Two Thrones is rated M for Mature and has an MSRP of $49.99.

“Prince of Persia The Two Thrones is the highly anticipated climax of the Sands of Time trilogy. As exciting as Prince of Persia Warrior Within and as unique as The Sands of Time, Prince of Persia The Two Thrones
will once again prove that Prince of Persia is one of the most innovative and critically acclaimed franchises in video game history,” said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing for Ubisoft. “An unforgettable gaming experience, Prince of Persia The Two Thrones is poised to rule over the holiday season.”

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. Game features include:

• Play and master two distinct characters: Wield the powers and weapons of two master warriors with different combat styles, attitudes and histories.

• Choose your way to kill: Master the expanded Free-Form Fighting system to destroy enemies in your own style, strangle enemies from afar with the deadly Daggertail or use a new stealth art to inflict surprise decapitations – the choice is yours.

• Battle freely through Babylon: Dominate enemies on the perilous rooftops, dodge through chaotic streets and ambush pursuers in dark underground passageways.

• Immerse yourself in a dramatic story: Experience unparalleled depth in storytelling as you fight your way through a twisting tale filled with adrenaline, tension and discovery.

• Manipulate time to surprise enemies: Execute powerful attacks against entire armies by slowing down or rewinding time, or surprise them by using some all-new Sands of Time powers.

• Experience a masterful blend of gameplay: True to the Prince of Persia franchise, the game provides a variety of action combat, agility and story-driven puzzles – all masterfully blended into a rich gaming experience.

2K SPORTS ANNOUNCES COLLEGE HOOPS 2K6 FOR PS2 AND XBOX IN STORES NOW!

2K Sports, a publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), announced today that College Hoops 2K6 for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system is now available in stores across North America. College Hoops 2K6, also available for the Xbox® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, delivers the most exciting new features, fast-paced hardwood action and all the tradition and competitive spirit of NCAA college basketball.

New features to the highly acclaimed franchise such as an enhanced Legacy mode, underclassmen recruiting, high school camps and virtual coaches combine to make College Hoops 2K6 the most comprehensive college basketball game yet.

Additional enhancements include:

 Player Disposition, where the playing time of every player must be carefully balanced to maximize the confidence and focus for each player.

 Coach’s Clipboard, to stress the importance of good coaching with the ability to give players specific direction during timeouts.

 High School Camp, a feature that extends the college basketball experience by letting gamers scout top performing high school players through camp visits and drills.

 Five in-game commentators delivering 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.

 Real college coaches featuring notables such as Roy Williams, Tubby Smith, Jim Boeheim and Lute Olson.

College Hoops 2K6 for the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system and Xbox video game and entertainment system from Microsoft is rated "E" for Everyone and available in North American retail stores for $29.99.

For more information, please visit http://www.2Ksports.com.

IEMA Reaction Statement re Clinton/Lieberman Game Bill

The impetus for this piece of legislation appears as fundamentally misguided as it is fatally-flawed. The IEMA retailers committed voluntarily to a self-regulatory enforcement system substantially similar to the motion picture business, which the very same legislators hold up as the "Gold Standard." While our success rates may not be as consistently high as movie theatre owners, it is important to note that they are leveraging a system which, through decades of reinforcement, has become a part of the collective unconscious.

We are making significant and tangible progress and have successfully implemented policies and procedures in each and every member company store across the country in just two year's time. We have also replaced
valuable in-store signage with ratings education information displayed at the point of merchandising and/or the point of sale. And while we acknowledge that the "human factor" will always be our greatest challenge (making sure that parents and store-level staff are as committed to the same end as retail corporations), we are convinced that we have done our part. The Government has not and should not involve itself in determining what movies to watch, what music to listen to, or what games to play.

In addressing the aforementioned "greatest challenge" we all face, we have repeatedly asked for Local, State and Federal politicians to leverage the power and support networks that they respectively bring to help educate their constituents, our customers, to use the existing ratings systems and make knowledgeable and informed purchasing decisions on behalf of their children. Our mutual concern should be focused on empowering parents - first and foremost - and politicians can put themselves in a position to help us in a meaningful and legally-responsible way by
working with the businesses already committed to the same goal.

-Hal Halpin, pres., IEMA

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