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Midway Winter Gamers Day

I spent a few days in Las Vegas last week to visit Midway. They booked The Joint at the Hard Rock for a great event that highlighted several of their 2007 and 2008 titles. They had some great sushi and the scotch was flowing freely; what could be bad?

BlackSite: Area 51 This FPS is due to ship summer 2007 for Xbox 360, PC, and PS3. The story is pretty cool. You're sent into an area because some troops are missing and all of a sudden all hell breaks loose. There are all sorts of creepy crawlies that come after you. My favorite are the ones that you kill but their heads pop off and continue to pursue you. Midway promises realistic sound, but I couldn't tell because it was in a crowded noisy room. The graphics look great and lighting effects were very cool. The massively destructible environment is another cool thing. All in all, the short level that I played was a whole lot of fun. There's also a basic squad based element, which I mainly used to order my guys ahead on point. There were some performance issues, but it's a very early build. All in all, this is a title that I'm looking forward to.

Hour of Victory This Xbox 360 WWII FPS is built on the Unreal Engine 3 so it looked fantastic. The innovation with this title is the ability to switch between 3 characters. There's the brawny charge ahead and gun Nazis down character, the stealthy slit their necks from behind character, and the eagle eyed sniper. At various points in each level you are given the opportunity to switch guys. Interestingly, you can do any part of the game using any character although some are better at certain parts than others. I found that using the brawny charge ahead and gun Nazis down character made this game feel exactly like Call of Duty. Not a bad thing for me, because I love these WWII shooters. In fact, I can remember a night when the guy in the apartment above me asked me to stop storming the beaches at Normandy (Medal of Honor) because it was 2 in the morning. I wonder how many other people like them. How much of a market is there for them? Very little was said about multiplayer modes, although the level looked like a good multiplayer design. The other cool thing is that you can take over turrets, planes, tanks, etc. That's always tons of fun in multiplayer.

They also showed Stranglehold which looks like so much fun. I've written about it several times before.

They showed a trailer for The Wheelman with Vin Deisel. I can never tell very much about a game from the trailer. It's too early for me to have anything to say about this one.

They showed a great video about the controls for Mortal Kombat: Armagedon for Wii. This looks like a lot of fun. It's basically a combination of swipes and motions with the remote and a little button pushing. I'm really looking forward to playing this one.

And finally they had playable The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar which is a MMO for PC. They announced that it will ship on April 24, 2007. They just started a pre-order program which gets you the game for $9.99 per month or $199 lifetime. It looked good and there was a lot of excitement about it.

Midway also has a few Nintendo DS games. They are targeting this casual gamer market with some brain teasers and puzzle games.

TouchMaster Collection a wide variety of 23 mini-games popularized in Midway’s Touchmaster counter-top touch-screen arcade game systems which are very popular in bars. There's Trivia, Solitaire, Gem Slide and Mah Jongg. You can play by yourself and upload your score to a global website, or take on others over the Nintendo WiFi network. These games were a lot of fun. I was surprised at how much time I spent playing this and am looking forward to it coming out.

Hot Brain: A compilation of brain-teasers, puzzles and challenges. They didn't show this one, but it sounds a lot like Brain Age or Big Brain Academy. Exclusive to the PSP® (PlayStation® Portable) system, the game allows you to test your skills in several single player modes or you can play with up to three people via ad-hoc connection.

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