Gaming news roundup, week of Feb. 18

If you're a gamer, then you already know how slow the industry can get during the off-season (right now). Exciting releases are few and far between, and it makes me wonder why publishers have to shoot themselves in the foot every year by releasing every good game within a two-month Fall time frame, forcing us to try to play catch-up for the rest of the year. And they wonder why initial sales of blockbuster games are always disappointing.

This may be the most uneventful week in gaming yet this year, with the most exciting tidbit relating to a facelift for an educational game that must be pushing 20 years old. Although I did manage to somehow find another story about penises.

Like I said, this is literally the only thing I have been excited about this entire week, so I'll lead with it: The Oregon Trail, the only "edutainment" game to ever be fun, is coming to the iPhone. Hopefully the new graphics and minigames don't somehow make it suck. On the other hand, it's possible that the game already sucked, and I only liked it because I was 8 years old. We'll find out, I guess.

Not surprisingly, the folks at Penny Arcade have something to say about the Resident Evil 5 racism debate, which has begun to flare up again as the game's release approaches. Not that my opinion matters, but I find it strange that nobody played the racism card when the white protagonist in RE4 was capping Spaniards like it was his job back in 2005. Funny world we live in.

The Australian video game ratings board has once again proven that Brett, Jemaine and Murray are right: Australia is full of jerks with double standards. Although Grand Theft Auto IV developer Rockstar was forced to heavily edit last year's game before it could be released down under, the recent expansion, The Lost and the Damned, passed whatever dumb morality tests they put it through with flying colors. Interesting, considering the gratuitous old, flaccid penises found in the new game (see the next link for more info!).

Digital breasts have been popping up in console games for years, from the sophomoric and unsatisfyingly grainy BMX:XXX to the equally tasteless but more aesthetically pleasing examples in the God of War series and that one Conan game. This medium is still primarily targeting males, after all. However, Rockstar games, developer of Grand Theft Auto, has once again done what they do best (creating controversy for the sake of itself) by including in the new GTA IV expansion, The Lost and the Damned, drum roll, the first ever digital ding-dong to appear in a console game.

In light of this milestone, Kotaku has followed up with a celebration of nudity in games from the last two console generations. Just make sure your boss / girlfriend / mom isn't looking over your shoulder.

Although the popularity of video game-themed weddings is certainly increasing, the general public's opinion of them continues to hover somewhere between weirdly intrigued and plain old weirded out. In fact, that is probably the stance of most gamers, as well. Taking the idea a step further by having the actual ceremony take place in the game probably isn't helping, but that's what one couple is doing with their Little Big Planet wedding. Didn't someone already do this with WoW, though?

The Phoenix Wright series of detective / courtroom drama games may be one of the DS's most surprising success stories, but as dumb as a game where you play as a clueless lawyer with a teenage spirit medium for a sidekick sounds (it's not), an all-female musical based on said game sounds even dumber.  I can't vouch for the musical like I can for the games, though, so just look at this footage and form your own opinion.

Nonsensical interpretations of popular DS games seems to be a popular theme this week, as three guys from Mega64 act out their favorite dance moves from the inexplicably popular rhythm game Elite Beat Agents.

The Escapist's theme this week is game piracy, a seriously huge issue right now for big and small developers alike. This article provides some truly realistic and rational commentary from several indie game developers. In my opinion, the fat cat game corporations whose cries and moans seem to be getting louder and louder these days could really learn a thing or two from these guys.

Pointing out the dumb mistakes of other people is always entertaining, and that of course holds true as we laugh at Activision for misspelling "Lynyrd Skynyrd" on the Guitar Hero: Metallica box art. Not that I can even stomach "Sweet Home Alabama" anymore after those fucking KFC commercials.

EA surprised me and every other sensible person who gives a shit by announcing that the new Dead Space title for Wii will be an on-rails, arcade-style first person shooter. It's pretty obvious to me that this is probably going to suck, and that a straight port, RE4 style, would have netted them a ton more money, but considering how much I want to marry the original Dead Space (a lot), I'll probably play it anyway. Ah, the pitfalls of hypocrisy.

 --Mike Rougeau

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