Monday, March 24, 2008

Cool skating game for girls

Game offers more than skating

In "American Girl: Mia Goes For Great," the title character is a precocious 10-year-old who dreams of becoming a star figure skater.

She's grown up playing ice hockey on a pond behind her home with her three brothers. Everyone tells her she could be a hockey star, but Mia decides to pursue her dream.

The game, available for Windows PC from THQ, takes you through some life lessons about losing with grace, being a good sport and believing in yourself.

The game is aimed at girls and their mothers, but I think younger boys would enjoy it as well.

Using a Program Building tool, you help Mia pick out her costumes, create her skating program and practice tough moves. There is a library with hints and tips, plus a few strategy-based mini-games.

Ultimately, the basic lessons taught here -- and the joy of finally getting past the Lucerne Winter Show and onto the regionals -- more than got my 41-year-old attention.

This is a very well done game.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars.

EA Sports Keeps NFL License

Electronic Arts will continue to produce exclusive NFL video games through the 2012 season after it extended its contracts with the league and the Players Association.Some fans will love it. Others who wanted 2KSports back into the official NFL game will hate it.

EA will retain its rights to use NFL teams, stadiums and players in its games, the company said last week. The agreements provide EA access to NFL Films and the NFL Network to use in games.

EA produces the Madden NFL line of games.

News and notes

• Activision will release "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith" in June. The game will allow players to virtually become the famous rock band, tracing the band's career from their first concert on. Xbox Live has a free download of Aerosmith's "Dream On" today.

"Having a game built around Aerosmith has been a huge honor and really a great experience for us," says band member Joe Perry. "We've put a lot of ideas into the game so that fans can have fun interacting with our music, getting inside our body of work and learning about the band's history."

• iSuppli, a technology research and advisory company, predicts the global installed base for the Nintendo Wii will rise to 30.2 million units in 2008, up from 18 million in 2007.

That will put the Wii ahead of the Xbox 360's total of 25.7 million units in 2008.

• Nintendo of America has asked the U.S. Trade Representative to encourage specific governments around the world to take a more aggressive stance to combat piracy of Nintendo video games and systems.

China is the primary source of manufacturing pirated Nintendo DS and Wii games, and Korea has emerged as the leader in distributing illegal game files on the Internet. Despite aggressive anti-piracy actions taken by Nintendo, Brazil and Mexico remain saturated with counterfeit Nintendo software.

• Video-game player sales fell 6 percent on a weekly basis last month in the U.S., but software sales were up 18 percent weekly, according to industry specialist the NPD Group.

Nintendo Wii was the top-selling console and PlayStation 3 outsold Xbox 360 for the first time, with consumers buying 269,000 consoles, compared with 230,000 Microsoft machines.

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