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Bethesda Brings Star Trek to the Xbox 360, DS, and PSP
news | 01/26/06 | Aaron Stanton
Though we haven\'t seen much of the Star Trek franchise in the game industry since the release of Elite Force II a little while back, that doesn\'t mean that the series isn\'t still destined for further greatness. Bethesda Softworks, makers of Elder Scrolls and one of the most talented developers in the industry today, has purchased the right to make games based on the Star Trek franchise. They\'ve announced two games, including one title for the Xbox 360, and another for both the Nintendo DS and the PSP. Though they haven\'t announced anything, they\'ve also purchased the rights to create games for the PC based on the Star Trek IP.
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Booth Babes: An Ongoing Controversy
feature | 01/26/06 | Shawn Rider
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced yesterday that they would enforce a $5000 fine on any company who violates a more modest \"booth babes\" policy at their Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), to be held May 10-12, 2006 in Los Angeles. E3 has long been known in part for the models companies hire to attract attendees to their booths. Some companies hire people dressed like main characters, others just hire a few pretty ladies with fancy underwear.

Coverage of this story inspired us to re-post a GamesFirst! classic. Back in 2001 we did a short documentary at E3 delving into the question of Booth Babes. We\'ve re-encoded it for iPod support (should work for all PC platforms, too), and we\'re re-releasing the video today. Check it out.
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The Right Moves: West Virginia Officially Adopts DDR Into Physical Education Curriculum
game: Dance Dance Revolution
editorial | 01/26/06 | Shawn Rider
The state of West Virginia has partnered with game publisher Konami to bring Dance Dance Revolution into hundreds of school physical education programs. The deal will roll out over 700 Dance Dance Revolution arcade machines, beginning with the state\'s 103 middle/junior high schools. The officials are doing the right thing, but they\'re citing the wrong reasons. DDR is not a way to combat the sedentary lifestyle of the youth, it\'s a way to create a modernized physical education curriculum that does what it should: engages students in realistic physical activity. Shawn steps up to the soapbox in this editorial.
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Final Fantasy XI 360 Beta Released
game: Final Fantasy XI
preview | 01/25/06 | Matt James
Final Fantasy has been a holdout series, maintaining its PlayStation 2 exclusivity for the larger part of this previous generation. (Square Enix did give in and release some Final Fantasy games for Gamecube and GBA in the past few years.) The Xbox 360 will break down those walls. Not only is Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi bringing a series of exclusive games to Xbox 360 with his new company, but Final Fantasy XI will arrive on the platform, too. The latest copy of Xbox Magazine features a Final Fantasy XI beta test disc for Xbox 360 owners. If you\'re a fan of FF, then you\'ll want to check this out. Our man, Matt James, has the rundown on the beta test experience.
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SmackDown Vs. RAW 2006 Review
game: SmackDown Vs. RAW 2006
review | 01/24/06 | Matt James
SmackDown Vs. RAW 2006 on the PSP is almost identical to its PS2 counterpart: The graphics are quite nice, the control remains enjoyable, and the full depth of play is retained. Including loads of wrestlers, some great WiFi multiplayer, and a management mode that adds a whole new layer to the wrestling game, SmackDown Vs. RAW 2006 is a must-play for portable-gaming wrestling fans. Get the full review from Matt James right here.
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RIP Review: From Russia With Guns
game: RIP
review | 01/23/06 | Shawn Rider
RIP is a fast-action twitch title that is also relatively easy to pick up and play. The simple action is augmented by some strategic upgrade and skill development elements, which gives it a unique feel. For folks who love a fast-paced shooter with hordes of enemies and a dose of thoughtful strategy, RIP warrants a demo download at the least. Get the lowdown on this independently developed import from Russia in Shawn\'s review.
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Unreal Tournament 2007 Screens
game: Unreal Tournament 2007
news | 01/23/06 | Shawn Rider
Unreal Tournament 2007 serves two purposes: It continues the tradition of cyber-athletic quality FPS gaming, and it showcases the amazingly beautiful Unreal 3 engine,in development now from Epic Games. Evolutionary is the word for UT 2007: The graphics are better, the vehicles are bigger, and the online multiplayer is even more insane. Check out this quick preview and these amazingly beautiful screenshots for more.
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Slamdance Film Festival Guerilla Gamemaker Competition Finalists Round-Up
news | 01/22/06 | Sean Hilliard
The Slamdance Guerilla Gamemaker Competition naturally turned a lot of heads at Games First! GF! editors are excited about anything involving the words \"indy\" and \"gaming,\" and the Guerilla Gamemaker Competition doesn\'t disappoint. Check out Sean\'s in-depth coverage and see the future of indy gaming now. And follow the links in the article to sites where you can download and play most of these games for free!
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GF! Mailbag
feature | 01/21/06 | Matt James
Matt\'s back with the first of the 2006 Mailbags, full of international flavor. We\'ve got some feedback about our glowing review of Kutoka\'s Creatures and Creatures Exodus titles from the developers. And of course we\'ve got the requisite letters suffering from \"TLI\"-- Too Little Information. You tell us: How DO you get engineers to build siege machines on the top of large towers? Is it some kind of riddle? Check out the latest reader mail right here.
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Shadow Hearts 3: A Whole New World...Sort Of
game: Shadow Hearts 3: From The New World
preview | 01/20/06 | Amanda Bateman
The Shadow Hearts RPG series returns with its third installment, From The New World. Join Johnny Garland and his crew as they set out to solve the mystery of his family and past, all while mastering skills and battling monsters. All of this takes place in a funky anime version of New York in the 1920s, giving it total niche cred. This one is sure to become a cult fave and maintains the quality of the Shadow Hearts series. Check out Amanda\'s preview here.
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Nintendo in 2006: Reggie Speaks, Promises Resolutions
news | 01/20/06 | Chris Martin
Reggie Fils-Aime, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Nintendo of America, likes to make huge claims, like comparing the sales of a handheld to the sales of a home console. Still, when it comes charisma, Reg has it in spades. In a recent News.com interview, the Big N\'s Big Man affirmed the company\'s commitment to doing things differently in the New Year, including releasing their next-gen system at a lower price point than the other two major console-makers. Get a full summary here.
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Xbox Games Grew 77% Over System Life-Cycle, Suggests 360 DVDs Are (Mostly) Big Enough for Next-Generation
game: Xbox 360
feature | 01/19/06 | Aaron Stanton
Microsoft has received criticism for sticking to the DVD9 format for the Xbox 360. Concerned gamers point out that the 8.5 gigabytes of storage may not be enough to hold next-generation games. Sony\'s PS3 will use blu-ray, a format capable of storing several times the information of DVD9. But how big are Xbox 360 games? And how much will they grow, really? We take a look at the size of original Xbox titles to see how much they grew between 2001 and 2005, and compare them to the size of the Xbox 360 launch titles to make an educated guess about the DVD9\'s future needs. The conclusion? Well, you\'ll have to read to find out, but it generally makes Microsoft look like they know what they\'re doing. Don\'t enter a forum debate about blu-ray without reading this article.
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GameTap and Logitech Team Up
game: GameTap
news | 01/19/06 | Shawn Rider
GameTap and Logitech have teamed up to offer gamers a discounted membership, and a solution to the issue of playing classic home console games on a PC keyboard and mouse. Logitech will release a GameTap branded, dual analog controller, modelled very much like the PlayStation 2 controller. The controller earns GameTap subscribers a discounted rate, too. Get the details here.
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Meridian4 Announces Shadowgrounds
game: Shadowgrounds
news | 01/19/06 | Shawn Rider
Meridian4 has been having a good new year. They\'ve been picking up games left and right, and the titles just keep looking better and better. These are the kinds of games that I\'d love to see downloadable via Xbox Live, and that you can download and have a great time with on your laptop. That\'s not to say that they\'re low-fi, but they\'re not exactly cutting edge, either. Which can be fun. Their latest announcement is about Shadowgrounds, a sci-fi action title that offers a fresh take on old-school 3rd person shooters. It looks like Ikari Warriors meets Aliens.
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EA Brings Battle to the Xbox 360
game: The Battle for Middle Earth II
news | 01/19/06 | Shawn Rider
EA has announced that they will bring their fantasy strategy title, The Battle for Middle Earth 2 to Xbox 360. The Battle for Middle Earth 2 comes out for PC in February, building on the success of the original. The Xbox 360 version will see a revamp to suit the console controller and will feature Xbox Live multiplayer, bringing serious strategy gaming to the home console for the first time. (No, we\'re not going to count Starcraft for N64 as a legitimate effort.)
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