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Happy Holidays From GF!
news | 12/25/05 | Shawn Rider
On behalf of the staff of GamesFirst!, we would like to take this space to wish all of our staff, readers and colleagues a happy, happy holiday season. We wouldn\'t be here without you, and we know that. On our 10th holiday season, we are thankful for all the people who have helped make GamesFirst! what it is today. Our staff is among the best online, and we value your efforts. To our fellow websites (especially the ones who kick down the kind links), we thank you. You know who you are, and you inspire us to do better. To all of the game developers, PR reps, and publishers who work with us on a daily basis, we want to extend our most sincere gratitude. We couldn\'t do what we do without your continued support, and life wouldn\'t be as much fun without you.

And, of course, we want to wish Happy Holidays to our readers. We are proud to be able to serve you for the past 10 years, and we look forward to number 11. Without you, we\'d just be posting up articles for our mothers to read, and although they never complain about our reviews or call us idiots, GF! would feel pretty empty without you. Thanks.
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AGS & DE Expo Asia 2005: The Expo That's Not E3
feature | 12/25/05 | Aaron Stanton
As the first days of the 4th Asia Game Show and Digital Entertainment Expo Asia 2005 get underway, it\'s interesting to see the differences between this Hong Kong exposition and what we normally see at E3. Designed much more to be a one day event than a multi-day outing for the average attendee, there\'s still enough to keep even the most casual technophiles interested. From cell phones to TV\'s, Editor Aaron Stanton describes the expo after the first two days, including what he saw behind that intriguing PlayStation 3 sign he spotted going up before the show opened.
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Kingdom Hearts is Back Again
game: Kingdom Hearts II
preview | 12/23/05 | Amanda Bateman
Chances are you\'ve already heard about it. Chances are you\'re also greatly anticipating it. A few of you are already playing it. It\'s time to dust off your trusty old Keyblade and give Donald and Goofy a call, because Kingdom Hearts II for the PlayStation 2 is out in Japan, and is on its way to the States very soon. In the meantime, you can refresh yourself by picking up a copy of Kingdom Hearts...in comic form.
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Chronicles of Spellborn Preview
game: The Chronicles of Spellborn: What Lies Hidden Must Be Found
preview | 12/22/05 | Shawn Rider
Developed by a Dutch group of designers, The Chronicles of Spellborn uses the Unreal 2.5 Engine to bring a unique fantasy world to life. The Chronicles of Spellborn is an MMORPG with a unique visual style that is quite appealing. The game focuses on skill and intelligent use of force, which puts even lower level players on a good footing for adventure, and player actions shape the world, which even allows players to make a permanent lasting mark on the world. The Chronicles of Spellborn offers loads of secrets to uncover-- fitting the subtitle, \"What lies hidden must be found.\"
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Zoo Tycoon 2: Endangered Species Review
game: Zoo Tycoon 2: Endangered Species
review | 12/22/05 | George Holomshek
Zoo Tycoon 2 managed to keep a number of people up late into the night in its original form, and now there\'s an expansion to help add hours to the fun. Microsoft\'s new expansion gives you things like sky trams, official Jeep tours, and a gun-less FPS element, but is there really anything new here? We take some time to run through Zoo Tycoon\'s new elements to see if there\'s enough depth here to justify a $30 purchase.
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How to Find an Xbox 360
game: Xbox 360
news | 12/21/05 | Shawn Rider
Via Major Nelson (the Xbox Live Director of Programming), we discovered Sean Alexander\'s blog posting about how to keep track of recent Xbox 360 shipments. Alexander describes a method of using the Ben\'s Bargains Xbox 360 Shipment Tracker along with URLy Warning, a program that allows you to monitor web pages for any changes. By following the simple instructions outlined on Alexander\'s blog, you can be sure to find the Xbox 360s as soon as they arrive in your neighborhood. Check it out.
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Quake 4 Review
game: Quake 4
review | 12/21/05 | Jeremy Kauffman
Quake 4 arrives on the Xbox 360 and all of its next-gen processing glory and gore. Built on the Doom 3 engine for super-hot graphical prowess, this time out ye olde Quake features both a single-player Strogg hunting single-player story and the intense arena action we\'ve come to expect from the series. But can a few Halo-like improvements rocket-jump Quake 4 to the top of your holiday wishlist? Check Jeremy\'s review to find out.
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PoPoLoCrois Review
game: PoPoLoCrois
review | 12/20/05 | Shawn Rider
PoPoLoCrois has been a popular game series in Japan for a decade now, even spawning an animated TV series, but the series has never seen action in North America. Agetec\'s latest incarnation of PoPoLoCrois for the PSP is a revamped combination of the first two games in the series, originally released on PSOne, plus some additional original content. Featuring very nice animated cutscenes, and a super-kawaii art style, PoPoLoCrois is likely to satisfy any gamers looking for a classic RPG experience on-the-go. Check Shawn\'s review for more.
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Backyard Football 2006 Review
game: Backyard Football 2006
review | 12/19/05 | Jeremy Kauffman
Atari\'s Backyard Football series is back, bringing the gridiron to the neighborhood playground with Backyard Football 2006, developed by longtime kid-friendly game designers, Humongous. The cartoon style and simplified gameplay are intended to bring younger audiences to the game. Is it successful? Check out Jeremy\'s review to find out.
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Space Hack Review
game: Space Hack
review | 12/18/05 | Sean Hilliard
Is Earth destined for overpopulation and possible extinction? Should we pin our hopes for survival in the future on someone with the name \"Hack\"? Or would we be better off just praying for nuclear armageddon? Space Hack, developed by Rebelmind and published by Meridian 4 is a budget-priced indy game. That makes it automatically a cool thing in the twisted minds of grumpy GF! editors. But is it worth the $20 price of admission? Check in with Sean for his review.
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Slamdance Guerilla Gamemaker Competition Features Student, Art Games
news | 12/17/05 | Shawn Rider
Slamdance, the indy film festival that runs opposite Sundance (the just-shy-of-Hollywood film festival), will hold a Guerilla Gamemaker Competition this year. Featuring well-known indy and art games such as Cloud and Facade among a list of others. Slamdance will feature a Game Lounge area where attendees can play all of these indy games and Slamdance will bestow an array of awards on the independent developers, students and artists who have created some of the most unique games we\'ve ever seen.
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Call of Duty 2 Review
game: Call of Duty 2
review | 12/17/05 | Matt James
We recently published a review of Call of Duty 2 on every system except Xbox 360. So now we deliver to you our review of Call of Duty 2 for Xbox 360: What\'s different? Everything. Unless you were playing the PC version. The Xbox 360 is as pretty as a high-end PC running the game, so the graphics are amazingly beautiful. Fortunately, CoD2 developers Infinity Ward didn\'t need to add or change anything to make the 360 version a worthy launch title: The game is just that good. Cut through the glut of other WWII FPS titles and head straight for CoD2. Our man, Matt James, says it\'s just that good.
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GamesFirst! Weekly Wrap-Up: Lucky Number 13
podcast | 12/16/05 | Val Townsend
Val Townsend, the Atomic Goddess, is back again with lucky podcast number 13. This week, we take a look at the latest news, including speculation on Nintendo\'s recently hinted \"secret\" regarding the upcoming Revolution console, as well as Clinton and Lieberman\'s Family Entertainment Protection Act. We also have reviews of Perfect Dark Zero and King Kong. Finally, we take a look at Dreamcatcher Interactive\'s cult-hit Painkiller, coming to an Xbox near you in January. Download the latest audio offering from your pals at GF! right here.
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Infected Review
game: Infected
review | 12/16/05 | Laurie Taylor
Majesco\'s Infected has been a highly anticipated PSP title around the GF! offices: It has a great features list that includes zombies (big bonus) and online multiplayer (bigger bonus) that allows you to \"infect\" other players with your personalized virus if you can beat them online (mindblowingly cool bonus). But features lists can only tell you so much. After a long time anticipating this title, we were excited to get our grubby little zombie-slaying hands on it. Laurie came up with a complete review that let\'s you know whether Infected is the next big thing or just a biohazard.
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Xbox 360's Busting Balloon: Ads Beneath the Obvious
feature | 12/15/05 | Aaron Stanton
The launch of the Xbox 360 was marked by a series of rather strange advertisements on TV. Kids playing jump-rope. Kids playing with water balloons. Is it just counter-culture advertising, or is there something deeper to these ads? Simply, something deeper. There are subtle differences between the original, uncut versions of the Xbox 360 ads online compared to the shortened ones you see on TV. Gunfire in the water balloon fight? Is this innocent portrayal of children playing with water balloons actually a representation of Ghost Recon 3? The extra sound effects of gunfire and explosions, cut from the TV spot, add a dark and sinister atmosphere that are simply missing when you only hear about bears going on a picnic.
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