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Alright, kids. Seeing as I get hundreds of information e-mails and news clips in the ol’ inbox, it’s time GAME ON! expanded a bit. So, every so often, I’ll be dropping in with some tidbits and bites of good things to come. So, here’s the first of many news columns, to add to the additional review columns I’ll be doing on a “when I get them” basis, rather than my usual “weekly or bi-weekly” basis…which actually means I’ll be doing MORE columns, not less.

simxbox360elitesystem003.jpgFirst and foremost, Microsoft has offically announced it’s next version of the Xbox 360. Called the “Elite” (to go along with it’s “Core” and “Premium” versions), this one sports an all black finish, black controller, black headset, and other such darkers accessories. As far as features you actually give a shit about, the system includes a much larger 120 gig hard drive, as well as HDMI support. Sadly, there is no incluusion of the HD DVD player with the Elite model, so it’s not Microsoft’s direct answer to the 60 gig version of the PS3, but at a much thinner price of $479.99 retail, it’s still themore reasonable deal. Due out on April 29th, the system will hit stores with most locations of specialty retailers (ie, Gamestop, EB Games) NOT taking preorders. Still, most should have plenty in supply, as well as the sleek black accessories separately. Most importantly, however, is that larger hard drive. So that folks who bought the previous Premium version don’t get screwed (or rather, screwed too much) the hard drive will be sold separately for $179.99. While the price may seem a bit steep for folks who’ve priced similarly sized PC hard drives, it DOES include a transfer pack that will allow folks to transfer their saves from their original hard drive to the new one.

In a move that just about everyone should have seen coming, CAPCOM announced last week that their next gen DEVIL MAY CRY sequel will NOT be a Sony exclusive after all, stating that the game will be hitting Xbox 360 and PC as well, all on the same launch day. The subtitle? SONY’S SODOMY (well…ok, not really, but it may as well be). In similar news, NAMCO has announced that it’s next entry in the ACE COMBAT series (formerly only on Sony systems) will only be available for Xbox 360. The game will come in two formats: the stand alone game, and with a flight stick.

The online streaming game site GAMETAP has just added a slew of new titles, including a bevy of Strategy games as part of their GameTap Thursday’s including Myth II™: Soulblighter, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, X-Com: UFO Defense, Myth III, Civilization III Gold Edition, Command & Conquer, Homeworld I and II, Heroes of Might and Magic I, II and III, and Empire Earth. Also, their exclusive MYST URU: ONLINE has now been expanded in worlds for the PC version, and they’ve added a MAC version as well.

marvelUA.jpgAnd finally, Activision has announced that they’re adding 8 new heroes (and villains) to the already huge line up of their acclaimed title MARVEL: ULTIMATE ALLIANCE for Xbox 360. The expansion packs feature eight new playable characters: The Incredible Hulk, Magneto, Hawkeye, Sabretooth, Doctor Doom, Cyclops, Nightcrawler and Venom, each complete with new signature powers, skins, dialog, conversations and achievement points. The download will be available in April via the Xbox Live Marketplace online gaming service and will be released in three packs. The Hero Pack and Villain Pack will each be 500 Microsoft points ($6.25) and the Combined Hero and Villain Pack will be 800 Microsoft points ($10). Heroes and Villains gamer pic packs will also be available for 80 Microsoft points each ($1).

That’s it for now… stay tuned for more this week, including reviews, and the next video podcast.

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