Casual Friday: Putting the 'Video' in Video Games

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TV Tuners

Okay, I know that we covered a few weeks back, but I feel obligated to bring it up again for a simple reason: Just the other night, after the second "series finale" of Jericho, an online petition started circulating to save the smart post-fallout show again. Not sure what the big deal was about? Check out this direct link to every single Jericho episode.

While we're on the subject of new show-watching developments this week, I should note that the foul-mouthed South Park kids are all online, all free. Every episode, countless clips, character generators, and lots of hidden features lurk around the South Park Studios Web site. Oh, and when I say "free," I'm talking free of censorship as well. All the cussing you can handle is online, waiting for you in streamed episodes. How can they afford such madness? As on Hulu, all of the episodes are ad-supported.

BD-Live Goes Live (on the PS3 First)

Ready to buy a game console as your HD video player? Just in case you somehow missed the news, a big new update for the PlayStation 3 is now officially live. While the Version 2.20 firmware update contains a number of enhancements, the BD-Live support is by far the biggest improvement. The PlayStation 3 is now the first Blu-ray Disc player capable of multiplayer gaming, e-commerce, new-content downloads, and social networking--to name just a few features. (And the first two movies to support BD-Live ship in two weeks.) Sony's dedicated Blu-ray players that support BD-Live aren't shipping until late this summer at the earliest.

48 Free Games! (For Those Counting)

You might remember the video game name competition I mentioned recently. If not, here's a quick refresher: Folks used a name generator to come up with the goofiest game name possible, and then the independent gaming community had to make games based on those names. Well, here we are a couple of weeks later, and I'm playing Heavy Metal Ninja Shootout, Attack of the Banjo on the High Seas, and Mega Spatula Fury (and 45 other truly awe-inspiring titles). Check 'em all out, and don't forget to vote for your favorite!

Game Pick

Though several interesting titles have come out this week (Dark Sector and Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core to name a couple; I'll get to them soon), I was able to focus on only one game--because Kane's Wrath consumed all my free time. As it will do to you.

Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath (PC)

Tanks for the memories of tank rushes!
Back in 1995, Command & Conquer invaded Intel Pentium P55s across the land. (In fact, you can grab the full first game for free.) One of the first real-time strategy games to hit the market, it made old turn-based board-game-style gameplay seem stale by comparison. As a result, Command & Conquer quickly gained a devoted following--more than enough fans to keep it going today with Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath, which launched this week. This brand-new take on the series delivers a lot of what people have liked about the series--a great collection of cheesoid videos to tell the story and a whole lot of real-time "strategery"--while adding a second layer on top of the game.

You plot your next moves in turns by looking at a world map--a giant war room--where you make big decisions such as which country to attack next and with how many initial troops. From there, you dive into combat. Really, it's as if someone sandwiched a game of Risk on top of the popular RTS series.

It's two games in one--and though others have done it before, Kane's Wrath does it in high style and tries to tell a cohesive story at the same time. If you haven't already played (or finished) C&C 3: Tiberium Wars (the original game), add that to your weekend to-play list as well. Thank me later.

What would you recommend? Have you found some great gadget, Web site, or game that you'd like to let the rest of the world know about? E-mail me.

Until next week...

Senior Writer Darren Gladstone geeks out over gadgets, games, and odd uses for humdrum tech. In other words, he's a nerd--and he's okay with that.

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