Nintendo circles Sept 14

... But not as the launch date for Wii. Don't be silly.

What it will be is, assumedly, a "make-up" day for Nintendo's keynote speech at the just-finished Leipzig gaming conference, at which Nintendo bigwig Satoru Iwata told us absolutely jack squat about anything. What's the price? When will it come out? What's the launch lineup? What classic games will be available to download at launch? Hello?

But all will be forgiven this September 14 if everything goes down like we expect it will. Nintendo's throwing a party in New York, at which we're told they'll kiss and tell. If not, there's always the mysterious event they've planned to take place on the day the PS3 launches - though making us wait until then would be a very bad idea.

Geometry wares

Those clever, blood-from-stone-squeezing folks at Microsoft have announced the worldwide release date for Xbox Live Arcade Unplugged Volume 1. It's September 5, 2006.

If you're wondering why we've never previewed the game, it's because we've arguably already reviewed it. XLAUV1 is actually a collection of six already available Xbox Live Arcade games, stamped onto a shiny silver disc and delivered to those poor souls who somehow sprung for the most cutting-edge game system on the planet, but failed to get with this whole "internet" thing.

So, if you've ever wanted to playGeometry Wars: Retro Evolved ,Wik: Fable of Souls,Outpost Kaloki X,Hardwood Backgammon,Bejeweled 2 Deluxe, or Texas Hold 'em, but without the muss and fuss of clicking the "download" button, here's your chance.

It also comes with a month of Xbox Live Gold, which seems odd to us only because we thought this package was targeted to those with no internet access at all. Anyone with an interest in upgrading to the paid Gold membership would probably already be hooked up to the free-with-360 Xbox Live Silver, and would have downloaded these games already anyhow.

Penny for your game?

In much the same way that game journalists often become game developers, Gabe and Tycho, the main characters ofPenny Arcade, the mega-popular online comic strip about video games,have been cast asthe main characters in a real-world video game. Titled Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, the game will reportedly benefit from deep, hands-oninvolvement on the part ofPenny Arcade creators Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik as well. There's something existential about this, but we're not quite sure what it is.

Announced, fittingly,at this weekend's Penny Arcade Expo in Bellevue, Washington,PAAOTRSPOD is being developed for PC, Mac, and Linux (what the?) with consoles a future possibility. Exactly what kind of game it is can't quite be discerned from the press release, but we're expecting some sort of episodic adventure game. And of course, since such games are commercial suicide for giant, "big-time" publishers, Penny Arcade will be distributing the game itself.

Mega movie blowout

It happens every Friday. Publishers seem to be literally competing to see who can dump more new videos on us on our way out the door for the weekend.

Ubisoft fired the first shot by handing us an exclusive Rainbow Six: Vegas video, and tossing in yet more Rayman Raving Rabbids bunny videos. Okay, technically we got the bunny vids yesterday, but we put off posting them until we got screens and actual gameplay experience with the Wii version to sweeten the rabbit stew.

Midway has delivered a triple-threat with the newest video clips ofBlitz: The League ,Unreal Tournament 2007 (which we actually snuck out of the UK yesterday. Ha.) and the Vin Diesel vehicle Wheelman - not to be confused with the new trailer forSpy Hunter, which stars The Rock.

The difference is thatSpy Hunter is a game based upon a movie about a balding, Herculean face-smasher in a car. Wheelman is amovie based upon a game about an alreadybald, Herculean face-smasher in a car.