Monday, September 24, 2007

College football gamers to vie for national title

First, there was the "Madden Challenge." Now, EA Sports has launched the "NCAA Football Challenge" in an effort to find the best college football video gamer in the country.

The tournament, which uses the "NCAA Football 08" game, started Thursday at Southern Cal and will hit major college campuses throughout the country -- including Georgia Tech and Virginia -- throughout the next few months. Each campus visit will feature two days of competition.

To see the schedule, see

"We're creating the opportunity for gamers across the country to compete and find out who's the best at NCAA Football 08," said Brian Movalson, marketing director for EA Sports.

The two finalists get a trip to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., in January.

Consistent with all other challenges in the "EA Sports Challenge Series," the "EA Sports NCAA Football Challenge" also will have an online component where competitors play against other online players.

Winners from the registered online tournament will then compete against winners of the regional tournaments for a trip to the Rose Bowl finals and a chance to compete along with the "college campus" tournament winners for the $10,000 grand prize.

Game-designing contest

Ever wanted to be a part of the design team for a video game?Konami Digital Entertainment will give fans of the "Contra 4" mobile game a chance to do just that.

To participate, visit and enter your sketches for new characters in the game. The promotion runs through Oct. 1.

Konami will announce 20 finalists on Oct. 7. The ultimate winner will have his or her character included in the final release of the game -- and probably launch a new career.

Sales update

The NPD Group, which tracks the video game industry, has released its August sales report.

A few notes:

• Software sales are up 22 percent to $488 million, with the "Madden 08" titles dominating game charts. "Madden" for Xbox 360 was the top seller (896,600), followed by the PS2 version, "Bioshock" for Xbox 360, and "Madden" for PS3.

The Nintendo Wii and DS again were hardware sales kings. Xbox 360 sales went up (276,700 from 170,000 in July). PS3 sales went down (130,000 from 159,000).

• Combined game hardware and software sales were up to $993 million, well past the $669 million of August 2006.

• Year-to-date, the industry is up 43 percent overall in sales compared to 2006.

News and Notes

• Xbox 360 owners with the Xbox Live service can get a sneak peak at 2K Sports' upcoming title over the next week. The free downloadable demo of "NBA 2K8" -- due in stores on Oct. 2 -- includes a four-minute exhibition game.

The new release, the game maker says, will have "a host of new contact animations that bring a new level of physical play in the post and while playing defense, new offball play system, and hundreds of new Signature Style animations that capture all the jump shot, dribble, and dunk moves performed by every major NBA athlete."

Now, that's a mouthful.

• A new Lara Craft "Tomb Raider" game is being readied for a holiday release. The game is being totally redesigned for the Nintendo Wii system. Should be interesting.

• Nintendo and Future US are teaming to publish Nintendo Power magazine, which offers tips, tricks, reviews, maps and strategies each month. Formerly produced in-house by Nintendo of America, Nintendo Power covers all Nintendo gaming systems and their associated first-, second- and third-party software.

VIDEO GAMES Langston Wertz Jr.
Get more games news at; reach Langston at 704-358-5133 or

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