Fall Videogame Preview!

With another banner sales year, the videogame industry is as big as ever. And whether you enjoy third-person shooters or virtual dance competitions, there's something new on the horizon for every taste. Let's take a look at some of the most eagerly anticipated titles coming your way this fall!


Jew's Harp Virtuoso







Just when you thought the music performance game genre had finally peaked, out comes another unexpected gem that sucks you back in. Jew's Harp Virtuoso for Wii promises to be at least as fun as PyonganGames' previous partygame hit, Hammond B-3 Superstar. That game did well despite the cumbersome, nearly half-ton Wii B-3 attachment, so it stands to reason that JHV, with its light-as-a-feather JuHarp™ controller, may fare even better. Newbies can enjoy an in-game tutorial from jug band legend John Sebastian, while experts can challenge themselves to the blazing freestyle mode. Only drawback seems to be the potential for severe injury to the front teeth, but that can be avoided with the new Mouthgard™ tool, available separately.


Few predicted the runaway success of Fair Games' 2008 XBOX blockbuster Tite, but the follow-up has gamers waiting with bated breath. Tite 2 sticks to the formula – parking exotic racecars into increasingly tight spaces – but ups the ante with killer physics and mindbending multiplayer action. With such a high excitement factor, don't be surprised if you find yourself driving around crowded parking structures just for the fun of it!


Tite 2


Revolutionary Road


Based on the Academy Award-nominated film, Revolutionary Road brings the thrill of percolating suburban angst to the Nintendo DS platform. No mere movie tie-in, the DS RR actually allows you to create your own characters and watch as their wide-eyed dreams slowly erode in a frustrated fog of disappointment and contempt. Think The Sims by way of Mad Men.


Embattled PS3 continues its attempt to reconnect with fans, who seem to have moved on to other systems. One curious title in the pipeline is iFun, a virtual iPhone that can be controlled in real time via the PS3 controller. Boasting all the functionality of a real iPhone minus the touch-screen capability and mobile connectivity, iFun is a dark horse that just might find an audience with those who are curious about the iPhone but have yet to commit.




Watch Me Wii!



Another virtual sim game on the way is Watch Me Wii!, a surprising new release for Dreamcast, which has regrouped and has Wii gamers right in their crosshairs! Rather than emulating the Wii's motion-sensing capabilities, WMW actually lets you sit back and watch your virtual buddy ("Hii") play a series of Wii-esque games. Though there does not appear to be any interactivity involved, the concept is certainly unique and might grab gamers who find the Wii too intense.


Speaking of Wii, it's remarkable how many properties have been successfully ported over to this unstoppable console. But more and more, Wii is trying to create games tailor-made to its unique format. Life Magazine Cover Mania may just be a pioneering entry into the Wii canon. The premise is clever: set in 1995, the game challenges you to peruse a CD-ROM of the entire Life cover archive … via the Wii remote. Shake it, rotate it, and jump around: you will see some of the most famous Life covers ever published. Cynics may argue that this game is a glorified .JPG archive, but the fun avatars and ability to shake each cover make it fun and engaging for this reviewer.Life Magazine Cover Mania


MaddenPranx 2011




EA Sports has done phenomenally well with their perennial Madden Football series. So it's somewhat surprising to see them go after a whole new audience with their latest effort. MaddenPranx 2011, for the first time ever, allows you to play as Madden himself. The game has two modes. The first is "Madden Me," which lets you follow JM through his regular life, meeting with TV executives, going shopping at the mall, and trying to get his eating habits under control. The second mode, "Pranx-A-Lot!," lets you play as Madden as he goes around playing practical jokes on his many famous friends, from Howie Long to Teri Hatcher.


The latest entry in the juggernaut that is Rock Band may be the first to cater to serious music nerds. Rock Band: Pete Frame Family Trees lets you use the Rock Band instruments to explore extremely detailed lists of lineups for hundreds of bands. Though the gameplay itself is limited – indeed, for most of the game you simply press the red button to advance to the next page – the wealth of music trivia is priceless. Why merely rock out to Deep Purple when you can fully understand its numerous personnel changes?Rock Band: Pete Frame Family Trees





The Nintendo DSi continues to offer compelling content aimed at young, primarily female gamers. Khloe is basically a Diner Dash variation in which you play Khloe Kardashian (sister of Kim), attending to her various duties at the family boutique shop, Dash. Young girls, especially, will thrill at the range of activities and puzzles the game offers, from pricing designer clothes to hanging them on racks. Bonus: the ability to unlock Easter eggs such as classic Bruce Jenner videos and a modestly interesting interview with Khloe's sister Kourtney.


Finally, for the kids, Edu-Fun-Educated Education Games is rolling out Owlgebra, a fun math game for the PSP that lets the tots interact with the somewhat judgmental Emeritus Owl, who rather unforgivingly critiques each attempt you make to solve the game's surprisingly complex algebra problems. This one may not be great for your kids' self-esteem, but if it doesn't raise their SAT math scores, I'd be surprised. "WHO! WHO! WHO IS DUMBER THAN YOU?!" Challenging stuff. Owlgebra