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news | 01/26/06 | Aaron Stanton
Though we haven't seen much of the Star Trek franchise in the game industry since the release of Elite Force II a little while back, that doesn't mean that the series isn't still destined for further greatness. Bethesda Softworks, makers of Elder Scrolls and one of the most talented developers in the industry today, has purchased the right to make games based on the Star Trek franchise. They've announced two games, including one title for the Xbox 360, and another for both the Nintendo DS and the PSP. Though they haven't announced anything, they've also purchased the rights to create games for the PC based on the Star Trek IP.
feature | 01/26/06 | Shawn Rider
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced yesterday that they would enforce a $5000 fine on any company who violates a more modest "booth babes" policy at their Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), to be held May 10-12, 2006 in Los Angeles. E3 has long been known in part for the models companies hire to attract attendees to their booths. Some companies hire people dressed like main characters, others just hire a few pretty ladies with fancy underwear.
Coverage of this story inspired us to re-post a GamesFirst! classic. Back in 2001 we did a short documentary at E3 delving into the question of Booth Babes. We've re-encoded it for iPod support (should work for all PC platforms, too), and we're re-releasing the video today. Check it out.
game: Dance Dance Revolution
editorial | 01/26/06 | Shawn Rider
The state of West Virginia has partnered with game publisher Konami to bring Dance Dance Revolution into hundreds of school physical education programs. The deal will roll out over 700 Dance Dance Revolution arcade machines, beginning with the state's 103 middle/junior high schools. The officials are doing the right thing, but they're citing the wrong reasons. DDR is not a way to combat the sedentary lifestyle of the youth, it's a way to create a modernized physical education curriculum that does what it should: engages students in realistic physical activity. Shawn steps up to the soapbox in this editorial.
review | 01/23/06 | Shawn Rider
RIP is a fast-action twitch title that is also relatively easy to pick up and play. The simple action is augmented by some strategic upgrade and skill development elements, which gives it a unique feel. For folks who love a fast-paced shooter with hordes of enemies and a dose of thoughtful strategy, RIP warrants a demo download at the least. Get the lowdown on this independently developed import from Russia in Shawn's review.
game: Unreal Tournament 2007
news | 01/23/06 | Shawn Rider
Unreal Tournament 2007 serves two purposes: It continues the tradition of cyber-athletic quality FPS gaming, and it showcases the amazingly beautiful Unreal 3 engine,in development now from Epic Games. Evolutionary is the word for UT 2007: The graphics are better, the vehicles are bigger, and the online multiplayer is even more insane. Check out this quick preview and these amazingly beautiful screenshots for more.
feature | 01/21/06 | Matt James
Matt's back with the first of the 2006 Mailbags, full of international flavor. We've got some feedback about our glowing review of Kutoka's Creatures and Creatures Exodus titles from the developers. And of course we've got the requisite letters suffering from "TLI"-- Too Little Information. You tell us: How DO you get engineers to build siege machines on the top of large towers? Is it some kind of riddle? Check out the latest reader mail right here.
news | 01/19/06 | Shawn Rider
GameTap and Logitech have teamed up to offer gamers a discounted membership, and a solution to the issue of playing classic home console games on a PC keyboard and mouse. Logitech will release a GameTap branded, dual analog controller, modelled very much like the PlayStation 2 controller. The controller earns GameTap subscribers a discounted rate, too. Get the details here.
news | 01/19/06 | Shawn Rider
Meridian4 has been having a good new year. They've been picking up games left and right, and the titles just keep looking better and better. These are the kinds of games that I'd love to see downloadable via Xbox Live, and that you can download and have a great time with on your laptop. That's not to say that they're low-fi, but they're not exactly cutting edge, either. Which can be fun. Their latest announcement is about Shadowgrounds, a sci-fi action title that offers a fresh take on old-school 3rd person shooters. It looks like Ikari Warriors meets Aliens.
game: The Battle for Middle Earth II
news | 01/19/06 | Shawn Rider
EA has announced that they will bring their fantasy strategy title, The Battle for Middle Earth 2 to Xbox 360. The Battle for Middle Earth 2 comes out for PC in February, building on the success of the original. The Xbox 360 version will see a revamp to suit the console controller and will feature Xbox Live multiplayer, bringing serious strategy gaming to the home console for the first time. (No, we're not going to count Starcraft for N64 as a legitimate effort.)
game: The Movies
review | 01/18/06 | Sarah Wichlacz
Peter Molyneaux's latest game achievement is not plagued by overambitious design goals or over-hyped pre-release promises. The Movies is exactly what it was promised to be: A simulation of the movie industry from the dawn of Hollywood to present day. Manage your employees, send actors to rehab, build a studio and become a major mogul in the movie industry. Plus, it has a cool machinima-friendly filmmaking mode that has already led to some interesting creations. Check out Sarah's review here.
podcast | 01/13/06 | Val Townsend
This week in the Wrap-Up, Val Townsend, the Atomic Goddess, takes gamers on an audio adventure through the recent history of video gaming. In addition to a summary of recent news, Val has reviews of Kameo: Elements of Power (XB360), Cuban Missile Crisis: The Aftermath (PC), and those cute little GelTabz (multi). Rounding out this week's podcast is a preview of Square/Enix's Code Age Project, which spans games on mobile phones, PS2, and a comic book series. Serve yourself up a heaping helping of steaming hot podcast goodness, right here.
news | 01/10/06 | Shawn Rider
Beta signups are now open for the upcoming sci-fi MMORPG, Seed. Seed puts you in the role of a colonist settling the tense, perilous planet Da Vinci. A unique cel-shaded visual approach gives Seed the feeling of a graphic novel, and all of the in-game information is designed to uphold this comic book feel: Speech is shown in dialogue bubbles, and the screen is broken into panels. Gameplay is unique, too, focusing on character development and dynamically generated stories that are created for each individual player according to their style. Check out the Seed beta signups in order to get the early bird special this February.
news | 01/10/06 | Shawn Rider
Word comes that Take Two, whose publishing label is now 2K Games, has acquired Irrational Games, creators of such amazing titles as SWAT 4, Freedom Force, and the classic System Shock 2. Irrational was also lauded this week with the "Best PC Developer" award for 2005 from IGN (for SWAT 4). In addition, the team was cited by Gamespot for "Best AI" in a game (also for SWAT 4), and both SWAT 4 and Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich were included on GameSpy's top 10 games of 2005 list. Get more on the acquisition here.
game: Half-Life 2
review | 01/09/06 | Shawn Rider
One of the great things about Half-Life 2 was the way it scaled to different levels of machine. On a high-end PC it was amazingly beautiful, and on a more regular rig it was still very enjoyable. So you'd think that the Xbox port of Half-Life 2 would be pretty much awesome: At least as good as the mid-range PC experience. And, for the most part, you'd be right, as long as "awesome" includes a gazillion load screens and the stickiest doorways we've seen in ages. How does it all turn out? Check Shawn's review for the details.
game: Ministry of Sound StikAx
review | 01/08/06 | Shawn Rider
What does a music and video mixing peripheral have to do with videogames? Not much. But the StikAx sure is fun. The bizarre mixing peripheral feels like an instrument, and the powerful editing software would be a great value even without the actual StikAx. Embrace the media lifestyle convergence and add the StikAx to your list of things to check out in the new year. It might make you the next big WoW machinimaker! Shawn's got a complete review here.
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