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What Would Freud Say?

The most scintillating offerings were those showcased by Nintendo for its upcoming Wii device. With WII SPORTS, you use the wireless controller in tennis as a racket to serve, volley, and add spin. In baseball, you use it as a bat. These simple games are addictive and will probably give you a bit of a physical workout as you play. But Nintendo didn't stop there. SUPER MARIO GALAXY takes you through the universe as you hop from planet to planet and use the controller to vanquish monsters. THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: TWILIGHT PRINCESS lets you use the controller as a bow and arrow. There's even a mini-game which allows you to relax and fish for bass. I didn't think the graphics of the Wii were all that, even with Zelda. But this is a revolutionary year because the way you play games is going to change—for the better—when Wii is released this fall.

Overall, Microsoft had the best looking game offerings. When Xbox executive Peter Moore showed off everything from GEARS OF WAR to HALO 3 at the packed Grauman's Chinese Theatre, jaws dropped and the crowd went wild. The graphics looked hyperreal. It was as if you were nearsighted and put on the right glasses for the first time. Then, Bill Gates took the stage to explain how the Xbox 360 could interface with the upcoming new Windows operating system, Vista. He then outlined how both of these would work with your mobile phone. For instance, if you want to play a 360 racing game on Xbox Live, you can choose the car and set up a game time via your cell phone. Finally, VIVA PIÑATA, a children's game that takes a page or two from Nintendo's ANIMAL CROSSING, looks like a real winner as far as the cute factor goes. Here, you raise living animal piñatas in a vivid, lurid world that constantly changes. Viva Piñata may well bring adults and children together as they play on the 360.

Over at the Electronic Arts booth, there was a two-and-a-half hour wait for a demo of yet another game that will change the character of gaming. Will Wright, the creator of The Sims, showed off SPORE. It's a mind-boggling PC game in which you can really create creatures from cells and grow them until they take off in a spaceship for the far reaches of the universe. The creatures you create are so much like the computer graphics in a Hollywood movie that it was no brag when Wright said, "The idea is to give you the tools to make a creature in minutes that it takes a Pixar animator two weeks to make." Even more compelling was the idea that every world a gamer creates can be uploaded to the Spore Web site. So there will be a vast universe of planets that you can land upon and explore with your spaceship. If you're angry, you can even make war with the aliens you find. Spore truly will be Will Wright's magnum opus.

Agent 47: Missing his pet rabbit
Courtesy: Eidos Interactive
Agent 47: Missing his pet rabbit

Details

Hitman: Blood Money
Publisher: Eidos
Developer: lo-Interactive
For: Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PC

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    So beyond the scantily clad booth girls with aching feet, beyond the too many yawn-inducing shooting games, and far from a din so loud that fire marshals had to be called to one of the displays, there was optimism. It's as though game developers finally built a spaceship to check out the world beyond the earth.  What an unparalleled time of exploration the next few years will bring. 

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