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Tetris Box The “Touch Generation” titles keep rolling in, with Nintendo announcing new ones at a goodly pace. Nintendo’s master DS games list already counts titles like Magnetica, Big Brain Academy, Brain Age, Nintendogs, True swing Golf, and Tetris DS as currently available. New titles listed as in the pipeline, like the upcoming Sudoku Gridmaster, look to capitalize on current pop culture crazes. With over 250 titles either in release or in the works, there will be no shortage of fun or interesting games to play on your new DS Lite.

Read More | Nintendo.com

Gallery: Games Update for the Touch Generation


Command and Conquer

Here is an early look at the new Command and Conquer 3 from Electronic Arts.  The game is officially called Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars.  I have been looking forward to a good RTS game since Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2 was released.  The screen shows C&C’s infamous tiberium and provides an early look at it’s latest iteration.  You can check out the official Command and Conquer 3 site to subscribe to a newsletter update.  The developers are also putting out a podcast to keep you up to date.

Read More | EA

Gallery: Command and Conquer 3 Screenshot

DescriptionThe Christian Science Monitor reports on a Muslim company called Afkar Media which is producing games with an emphasis on positive roles of Muslims in gaming.  The company focuses on providing an alternate view of Arabs to westerners through the use of video games.  Afkar’s latest game is based on the first 100 years of Islam History and is titled Al-Quraysh.  Other than bolstering a positive view of Muslims in the western world Afkar media hopes to provide positive role models for Arab and Muslim youth.  Al-Quraysh appears to be a RTS game along the lines of World of Warcraft and the Command and Conquer series. 

Afkar Media previously published Under Siege (not the Steven Seagal Movie!), a first person shooter which dealt with tension between Palestine and Israel.  Under Siege was released in 2005 and had a lukewarm reception due to lackluster graphics, however the title sold over 100,000 copies sold in the Arab world alone. 

Read More | Christian Science Monitor

Gallery: Muslim Video Game Company : Afkar Media

Brain AgeThe DS has been getting a lot of media attention recently on major venues such as NPR, thanks in no small part to non-traditional “games” like Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day. But most articles have tended to gloss over how exactly the partnership between Nintendo, a major software developer, and Dr. Ryuta Kawashima, an eminent Japanese brain researcher, came about. Interestingly enough, about 5 years ago Dr. Kawashima was studying the effects of video games on brain development

Kawashima, in need of funding for his research, originally decided to investigate the levels of brain activity in children playing video games expecting to find that his research would be a boon to manufacturers…

Using the most sophisticated technology available, the level of brain activity was measured in hundreds of teenagers playing a Nintendo game and compared to the brain scans of other students doing a simple, repetitive arithmetical exercise. To the surprise of brain-mapping expert Professor Ryuta Kawashima and his team at Tohoku University in Japan, it was found that the computer game only stimulated activity in the parts of the brain associated with vision and movement….

Kawashima (2001):

‘The implications are very serious for an increasingly violent society and these students will be doing more and more bad things if they are playing games and not doing other things like reading aloud or learning arithmetic.’

Instead of suing Kawashima (as most companies would probably do), Nintendo instead offered Kawashima the chance to develop his own game - a move that appears to be paying off!

Read More | The Observer 2001 ‘Computer Games Stunt Teen Brains’

Gallery: The History Behind Brain Age

Touch Generations
Nintendo has started officially branding their new casual game line up for the Nintendo DS; the games in this series will be marked with the Touch Generations logo for easy identification. The initial set of titles includes:

  • Brain Age
  • Nintendogs
  • Tetris DS
  • True Swing Golf
  • Big Brain Academy
  • Magnetica
  • Sudoku Gridmaster

Big Brain and Magnetica are due on June 5, shortly before the DS Lite arrives the US, and Sudoku will follow soon after. Clearly, Nintendo is timing the casual game brand to coincide with the launch of the DS Lite, but with so many vendors only offering bundles, one has to wonder if this will discourage casual game adoption, at least in the short term.

Full release after the jump.

Click to continue reading Nintendo Announces Touch Generations Brand

Gallery: Nintendo Announces Touch Generations Brand

Company of Heroes

Company of Heroes was brought to the public’s attention at E3 2005, but was still heavily in production at the time.  Now, after three years of work, the PC game is well on track for a scheduled release in Q3 2006.  If you’ve been living under a rock, here’s a quick rundown on what you can expect.
In wanting to make a game they would truly enjoy themselves, the developers built an RTS game that is truly dynamic, and one that doesn’t feature traditional choke points based on geography and other static game elements.  Instead, the game features a totally deformable world which you can use to your advantage.  Everything you see in the game can be destroyed, and we do mean everything.  To illustrate, imagine a flank attack that would strike at the heart of your opponent’s infrastructure, but a wall stands between you and your objective.  Instead of going around the wall, have your soldiers concentrate their attack on the wall to destroy a portion of it allowing you unfettered access to your enemy’s unprotected flank.  That kind of scenario is a simplified concept of some of the awesome things that can be done by using the terrain and buildings to your advantage.

No longer will you need to coddle your soldiers for fear their stupidity will be the death of them.  Such brilliant acts like standing in the middle of a street while under fire, or failing to utilize available cover nearby and offering themselves up as cannon fodder will be a thing of the past.  With Company of Heroes, your units will automatically seek any cover available to them, while still following the orders you provide to them.  That means running and crouching between cover points, and realizing that some cover is better than others.  During the course of battle, craters caused by artillery fire or mortar rounds will likely be created and these craters can provide cover for your men as they advance on an enemy’s position.

Click to continue reading Company of Heroes Coming Q3 2006

Gallery: Company of Heroes Coming Q3 2006

OblivionThe ESRB has, effective today, updated the rating on Elder Scrolls: Oblivion to Mature, from its previous rating of Teen.

According to reported statements from the ESRB, and a PDF released on the ESRB website, the following content triggered the update:

The content causing the ESRB to change the rating involves more detailed depictions of blood and gore than were considered in the original rating, as well as presence of a locked-out art file or “skin” that, if accessed through a third party modification to the PC version of the game, allows the user to play with topless versions of female characters.

Another statement on the ESRB website states that Bethesda Softworks, publisher of Oblivion will be taking the following actions:

  • Immediate notification to all retailers of the change in rating, along with a request to adhere to their respective store policies not to sell the newly rated M (Mature) game to those under the age of 17, and explaining how to address consumer concerns;
  • Issuance of stickers with the new rating information to all retailers and distributors to affix on the packaging of all existing unsold inventory;
  • Display of the newly assigned M (Mature) rating in all future product shipments and marketing materials
  • Creation and posting of a downloadable patch that will modify the art archive, rendering the topless skin inaccessible on the PC version of the game.

In addition, Bethesda will be releasing a new version of the game without the topless skin, and at that time, the “Nudity” content descriptor will be removed. The last high profile rating update, of course, was for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which had its rating revoked until an updated version of the game could be shipped.

Given the nature of the Oblivion changes, the impact of this change should not be that great. Most retailers will still offer “M” rated games, while Grand Theft Auto was threatened with a sales-deadly “Adults Only” rating. While it is good for the ESRB to react quickly to changes it believes impact the rating of a game, it is critical for the organization to get the ratings right the first time. It may be time for a comprehensive review of the ratings process.

Read More | Gamedaily.biz
Read More | ESRB Parental Advisory (PDF)
Read More | ESRB Rating Update (PDF)

Gallery: Oblivion Rating Updated to Mature

While perusing through our Xbox 360 debug unit, we came across something interesting - it looks like UNO will be the first game to support the Xbox 360 camera accessory that we know will be coming at some point. We figured we would record a short video showing the camera settings in UNO, for your viewing pleasure. Of course, if you prefer straight images, we have those too - after the jump.

Click to continue reading UNO Will Support Xbox 360 Camera

Gallery: UNO Will Support Xbox 360 Camera

Command & Conquer 3

Electronic Arts has dipped into their back catalog of games and announced that a new chapter in the C&C series, Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, will be released in 2007.  Originally crafted by the RTS gods at Westwood Studios (who also brought us Dune), the Command & Conquer franchise has come a long way over the years, and some would venture to say that it has fallen far from the tree as well.  No matter your opinion, if EA can combine the immersive gameplay of C&C: Red Alert, with the graphics power of the modern computer, and manage to not release a buggy title as is their modus operandi, they should have a massive hit on their hands.

From the press release: “Experience a revolution in RTS gaming with a breakthrough single player campaign that rewards you for your gameplay style. Add layers of strategy to your gaming experience by building mobile bases, wielding the power of terrifying Ion Storms on the battlefield, or customizing your armies by combining units. Battle it out online with native voice-over IP, integrated clan support, and new spectator modes that let you play RTS games like a sport.”

Read More | EA via 1UP

Gallery: Command & Conquer 3 Announced

Heroes V
Gamespot.com is hosting the newly released Heroes of Might and Magic V demo, which clocks in at 685 mb. According to Ubisoft, the Starforce copy protection should not be present, so there should be no risk to the user’s system from that installation.

The latest entry in the HOMM series has not been without controversy. This is the first game of the series that was not developed by New World Computing; after 3DO filed for bankruptcy, Ubisoft bought the rights and handed development to Nival Interactive, a Russian developer known for the Rage of Mages and Etherlords games. The latest entry will also be fully 3-D, a departure for the series. There was also a large outcry from the beta customers of the game. Ubisoft had initially planned an early April release, but the beta users insisted that the game experience was so horribly bad that the game release date needed to be pushed back. Eventually, Ubisoft caved, and the release was re-scheduled. Hopefully, the extra time has been worth it, and will show in the demo.

System Requirements and download link follow:

Click to continue reading Heroes of Might and Magic V Demo Available

Gallery: Heroes of Might and Magic V Demo Available