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Sports Game Ushers In the Apocalypse

The apocalypse is upon us in the form of a sports game "with beasts so terrible that the ancient symbols of St. John will seem like cooing doves and cupids." It was German poet Heinrich Heine's quote that came to mind as I first played NBA 2K6, the basketball game with Shaq on the cover. The game itself is pretty good, if you ignore the players skating across the court instead of running and the announcers whose audio seems out of synch with the video. Yet game wise the game is solid and the cheerleaders and fans are well rendered. Here's the rub: at certain breaks (halftime, for instance) I get ads for Power Bars, Gatorade or Nike. This is the biggest bull perpetrated upon us by gaming companies thus far, and I'll tell you why. It's bad enough that I have to see an ad three or ten times during a 20-minute game, but the ad isn't creative: it's more like an annoying, early banner ad on the Internet, and it royally peeves me. And hey, if they're gonna inject ads into a game, where's the discount in price for the humble consumer? Therefore, I cannot in any good conscience recommend NBA 2K6 to anyone. If this bland and humorless display of advertisement is the future of gaming, I will quit this gruesome ghetto of reviewing and sanguinely return to reviewing pop music because no matter how cutthroat the business of music and music reviewing is, there isn't this exasperatingly blatant advertising throughout most songs, even songs by Christina and Kelly. All right, I'll stay . . . for a while.

NBA LIVE 06 only has ads on the dorma boards on the ends of the court. They're small, and when I see them, I don't feel like I'm being sold out. One of the achievements/gimmicks in this game is the Superstar mode where players like Vince Carter shine like superheroes. It also makes the NBA's humans seem invincible, and that's a little scary. Yet it works, and when the superstars shine, your foes will quickly scowl and moan in defeat. One aside: what's up with announcer Marv Albert? He sounds like he's on Xanax. Is he paid by the opposing team to lull you into submission?

You gotta love LOST IN BLUE for the DS. It's something like Survivor meets The Blue Lagoon, a game that's pretty deep and uses the touch screen as it's never been used before. Sure, there should have been some scary elements of Lost put in the game, but where else are you gonna get to milk a goat?

Details

NBA 2K6
Publisher: 2KSports Visual
Developer: Concepts
For: PS2, Xbox

NBA Live 06
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Canada
For: PS2, Xbox, PSP, GameCube, PC

Lost In Blue
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
For: Nintendo DS

We Love Katamari
Publisher: Namco
Devloper: Namco
For: PS2

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    WE LOVE KATAMARI is a wonderfully peculiar game, the essence of Japanese quirkiness as far as console offerings are concerned. The goal here is to roll katarmaris (think big, tacky matzo balls) over everything that sticks and then send them into the skies so they become stars. I can't tell you why this is so much fun. But if you have a collector compulsion like I do, you'll happily bop to the crazy katamari music and accumulate anything that sticks just as the wacky, animated king bids you to do.

    Check out reviews of all the latest and greatest games (updated every week), along with past faves in NYC Guide.


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