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2006: The year that...

January: The month that...

Hot Coffee got Rockstar into hot water
As if things weren't hot enough already for Rockstar, forever branded as an evil force dragging kiddies into a world of casual ultra-violence and hardcore drugs, January saw dedicated gamers uncover a previously inaccessible minigame hidden deep in GTA San Andreas' coded guts.

Dubbed Hot Coffee, this rhythm action interlude gave you access to the bedrooms of CJ's many girlfriends for several rounds of how's your father. And, despite being less erotic than watching two puppets going at it, the grotesque action offended enough delicate souls for San Andreas to be banned in Australia, and saw Rockstar spend much of 2006 rebuffing a conveyor-belt of opportunist lawsuits.

DS Lite's existence was denied, then confirmed
When rumours began to emerge in early Jan that Nintendo was readying a sleeker, sexier version of the best-selling DS handheld, the Big N had everybody's attention. The toy-like DS owed none of its success to its chunkerrific looks, and an eye-pleasing revamp sounded more than enticing.

But any dreams of ergonomic portable gaming were quickly quashed as DS's creator stepped in to dismiss the idea as pure speculation. So, when a remarkably straight-faced Nintendo finally officially revealed the slinky DS Lite the very next week, we were left dizzier than a freshly flushed fish.



Above: Despite its ugly, unfinished look and complex unlocking procedure, Hot Coffee nearly brought Rockstar severe legal problems

NGC's claims about Zelda's Wii controls were rubbished by Nintendo
Nintendo upset everyone by pushing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess into 2006, claiming that work on "incredible new game elements" was the cause. But only NGC magazine could provide details of what these elements would be, revealing that Twilight Princess would offer full compatibility with the Wii-mote.

Nintendo was swift to inform everyone that, actually, this was nothing but idle rumour. Equally swiftly, NGC fired back, stressing that the details weren't "a load of bull" but were "direct from the people making the game", exposing the lack of any out-and-out denial in Nintendo's riposte. There's no smoke without a burning public relations chap, of course, and NGC's claims were eventually confirmed.

Booth Babes were banned from E3
As the gaming world geared up for yet another E3 a staggering blow was struck for gender equality when event organiser, the Entertainment Software Association, barred all exhibitors from employing that age old gamer-drawing tactic, the semi-clad Booth Babe.

Long used as eye-catching dressing for otherwise unattractive products, the news left us struggling with two competing emotions. Joy - as we could look forward to E3 without dreading the inevitable, stinking, sweaty man-mass clamouring to fill their 10GB camera-phones with compromising photos; and pity - because who in their right mind would visit the N-Gage stand now?

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