Gamers, get ready for "Science Papa." The upcoming Activision game promises to "turn living rooms into virtual laboratories" with 30 experiments, all on the Nintendo Wii and the Nintendo DS stylus (or the iPhone).
Talk about playing favorites: Time recently named Grand Theft Auto czars Sam and Dan Houser to its annual list of the world's 100 most influential individuals. For their efforts to incense every parent and politician in North America, the Rockstar Games heads join illustrious alums including Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto and Guitar Hero/Rock Band virtuosos Alex Rigopoulos and Eran Egozy.
Played a lot of Zubo lately? Logging in tons of time with Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero? Chances are, probably not. But as a recent spate of under-the-radar PC and video game gems are quick to remind, sometimes the most compelling titles aren't the ones splashed all over your TV or local GameStop.
For example: PC outing Plants vs. Zombies, which hardly seems an obvious choice for strategy fans. But the downloadable epic -- demanding you use sunflowers, cherries and potatoes to keep shambling cadavers from invading your garden -- doesn't just boast a great sense of personality and attractive hand-drawn visuals. It's also incredibly deep, and one of the simplest to learn, yet hardest to master tactical combat challenges we've ever encountered.
While health care professionals spent last week figuring out how to staunch the spread of swine flu, a team of Canadian scientists already knew how to handle the outbreak. In 2007, the researchers studied the spread and containment of a deadly virus in an area even more important than Mexico or Asia: the World of Warcraft.
According to the Entertainment Software Association, 40 percent of video game players are female, while women over 18 represent a larger built-in audience than even teenage boys. But where are the titles which speak to this diversity, and intelligently at that? One glance at store shelves and online portals -- crowded by childish outings (My Fashion Studio), self-help programs (Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum 2009) and cutesy diversions (Diaper Dash) -- and it's hard to tell.
If you're tired of fretting about swine flu, here's something else to think about: dislodged "ear rocks" -- loose crystals made of calcium carbonate that can cause dizziness. These little guys are usually valuable, helping us stay balanced, until an injury or virus triggers a "rock slide."
Also in today's links: a levitating air conditioner, horse surgery, and more.
According to conventional wisdom, most video games inspired by popular film licenses make Gigli look like Citizen Kane. See: 1982's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which almost single-handedly sunk Atari; 1995's Street Fighter: The Movie, starring a digitized Jean-Claude Van Damme; and 2006's Jaws Unleashed, wherein you play the shark, natch. But as a recent spate of current and upcoming Hollywood adaptations aims to prove, it's not all stale popcorn and watered-down soda for today's couch potato.
Plastic toy soldiers might look pretty passe to kids who now dream of piloting Predator and Global Hawk drones for hours and hours on end – all while sitting hundreds of miles away. But a free online game can satisfy that itch to control something real, as opposed to mere pixels on a screen, with just a keyboard and joystick.
If it's not broken, don't fix it: Simply add a couple digital cameras, music playback, voice recording capabilities and an online store. That's the mantra behind Nintendo's new DSi handheld, just launched this week. We put the portable game system through its paces, and found it a surprisingly robust contender, albeit not for the reasons you might think.