Oh, dear

By now, anyone who's been to YouTube (i.e. everyone) has discovered Japan's flamboyant homosexual comicHard Gay. Well, the trend doesn't stop there. Remember Tingle's Rose-Colored Rupee Land, or whatever it's called? That Japan-only DS game starring the creepy fairy-wannabe from Zelda? Well... we already knew it was more than a bit peculiar. But Nintendo-loving blogger Chris Kohler has located an interesting new character... and posted amovie. Turns out tingle isn't alone: Capcom's God Hand (PS2) apes the same schitck - you can see it in themoviewe posted yesterday. We're still waiting for a game to have a gay character you can take seriously - but the problem is, you won't actually know when that is, since the character won't be a flamboyant caricature. Hell, maybe it already happened.

Anyway, if you're still interested in that Tingle thing... you might want to check out Kohler'shands-on impressions. We have to admit... we thought of better ways to spend $40, so we're happy he did. Sort of.

This just in from the wild speculation department reportsretail sources close to Microsoft indicated today that the standalone Xbox 360 HD-DVD player will carry a price tag of £199 in the UK -which exactly matches that of the recently price-reduced Xbox 360 Core pack. While £199 is a lot of sterling, it converts to a whopping $375 US. But thankfully for folks in the US, people across the pond usually get hosed on export prices, and we always forget that prices always include 17.5% tax(the Core pack is $299 here in the US.) The UK HD-DVD player is also said to includetwo swanky high-def movies, which retail for about $30 a pop. So, $250 for the standalone HD-DVD in the US, then? Seems reasonable.

There is also a rumor of aCore system bundled with the HD-DVD player for under £400, £25 lower than the £425 Blu-ray equippedPlayStation 3. Well played, Microsoft. Well played.

Suck it up, King

Six weeks ago, EA shoved out a map pack for Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-earth II onto Xbox Live. For 700 points - that's $8.75. Much bitching was heard over atMajor Nelson's blog, with plenty of gamers pointing out that you can buy Street Fighter II for a mere 500... and vowing not to purchase EA's update. Well, turns out nobody did. EA has slashed the price of the pack in half, to 350 points. Good going, everybody, for not falling for it.

Bungie jumping

In hisblogat the San Jose Mercury News, Microsoft sleuth Dean Takahashi suggests that there's change - and innovation - going on at Halo creators Bungie. While gamers impatiently wait for Master Chief's third mission, Takahashi says two of the key players in the franchise are busy working on a new project that has nothing to do with the obscenely profitable Halo universe. Meanwhile, there's supposedly a third team working on yet another game at the studio. What could it be? Maybe a castle siege game (reportedly one of Jones' wish-list genres), maybe an update to Bungie's strategy series Myth... or more likely, none of the above. It can't be lamer than Viva Pinata, can it? Please?

Spore on Wii! Or not!

First, word went around that Will Wright's next life simulationSporewas coming to Nintendo's Wii. Then, suddenly, it was an unconfirmed rumor. Then everybody realized it was common sense. Finally, unlike most Internet rumormongers,GoNintendodid what rational people do: they called EA. "Right now we’re 100% focused on finishing Spore on the PC and PC only," said the software monolith. "Though we’re investigating the possibilities of bringing the franchise to other platforms in the future, any announcements or confirmations for the Wii or any other platform would be premature." We'd bet dollars to donuts that the next game from the guy who brought us The Sims - and who is personal friends with Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto - will get his game onto the Wii. But right now... better make sure you've got that manly graphics card on preorder.

360 Dashboard v. 3.0

What bugs you about the Xbox 360 dashboard? Icon placement? Functionality? Ugly graphics? Now's your time to vent. One of the things Microsoft has pledged for Xbox 360 is regular updates of the user interface. There's a new one planned for the fall and it's not too late to chime in what you want to see. Head over toWildChicken's blog(because he's the guy who makes the dashboard upgrades a reality) and offer your suggestions. What will you get in return? A better interface... and a warm fuzzy feeling.

New screens

Hellgate: London (PC)
Bioshock (PC,360)
FIFA 07(360)
Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run (PS2,Xbox)
Sid Meier's Railroads!(PC)
Rengoku II: The Stairway to H.E.A.V.E.N(PSP)
Medal of Honor: Heroes(PSP)

New video

Crackdown (360)
Half Life 2: Episode 2 (PC,PS3,360)
NBA Live 07(PSP)
FIFA 07 (PS2,Xbox)
Call of Duty 3 (PS3,Wii,360)
Phantasy Star Universe (PC,PS2,360)
Medal of Honor: Heroes(PSP)
NHL 2K7 (PS2,Xbox,360)

September 8, 2006