The Games of CES: Few, but Not Far Off

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The Consumer Electronics Show is not a prime venue for video games, although it used to be, back before gaming had its own trade show, E3. But while some of my game journalism friends flew in and immediately started grumbling about how little there was to do, I enjoyed the scraps of stick time snuck in between checking out all the new tech toys. And unlike E3's usual far-off fare, most of the games I played at CES are coming out in the next month or two. Here are the higlights of what I saw:

Heavy Rain: I played one scene of this PS3-exclusive adventure game at a party for bloggers, and despite the festive atmosphere, my heart was racing and palms were sweating as I tried to subdue an armed convenience store robber using smart dialog choices. No shooting galleries here, just pure dramatic tension. I can't wait for February 23.

Splinter Cell: Conviction: I miss the game's pure stealth roots, and being able to rely so easily on gunplay instead felt cheap, but if you do perform stealth kills, you earn the ability to execute, well, even easier silent kills. It's out February 23 for PC and Xbox 360.

Lego Universe: It's a third-person beat-em-up, due sometime this year, in the style of previous Lego Batman, Star Wars and Indiana Jones games, plus the ability to cooperate with people online. That's worth a yawn, but I'm excited for the inclusion of Lego's existing Digital Designer software. I'm told that you can build things in Digital Designer and put them in your home space within the game. Wait, a Lego game that actually encourages creativity? Cool.

Super Stardust HD in 3D: Sony's 3D gaming kiosks didn't make me want to buy a capable television right now, but I did enjoy seeing this pop out of the screen. The game's out now in two dimensions.

Capcom Goes Retro: At an off-site suite, Capcom had a few old-school offerings on display. Final Fight Double Impact, due for Xbox 360 and PS3 in April, is the same beat-em-up as ever, plus achievements, a virtual bezel that looks just like the old arcade machine and a lesser-known 1990s arcade title, Magic Sword, packed in. But the real attraction was Mega Man 10, out in March. Yeah, it's the same jump-and-gun platformer I've been playing since childhood, but I always come crawling back.

See PC World's CES 2010 coverage.

This story, "The Games of CES: Few, but Not Far Off" was originally published by Technologizer.

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