That’s about the only thing that’s flying high for the Jets this season. When the autumn wind blows on a Sunday, you know what that means—it’s time for some gridiron glory, some pigskin pillaging—it’s time for some football. Thankfully, with Madden NFL 08 you don’t have to wait until Sunday to get your football fix. Madden has all the action you want from a football video game and more. Other than slightly disappointing graphics, this game includes everything short of the tailgate party.
EVE Online has more than 5,000 star systems to explore.
EVE Online ($19.95 to start, then $14.95 per month to play, www.eve-online.com) is a complex, ever-evolving, futuristic MMORPG where you pilot one ship in a harsh universe with about 200,000 other players. You can attack or be attacked anywhere, at any time—and you can’t depend on the local authorities to help. By forging corporations (guilds) with other players and sticking to these hints, you won’t just survive EVE, you’ll be a parsec closer to true universal domination
A good old-fashioned snowball fight might be all you need to improve your mood in winter. Spring showers, summer heat, autumn winds, and winter snowstorms become a part of your Sims’ lives in Seasons, an expansion pack for The Sims 2. The challenge—to adapt to the changing climates—may not sound all that exciting, but Seasons is full of fun seasonal activities. Various weather effects accompany each season—in autumn, leaves fall from the trees, so you need to rake them. In winter, you have to bundle up in outerwear to deal with blustery winds and heavy snowstorms. But along with the required chores and adaptation, there’s fun to be had. For example, in the winter, you can build snowmen and have snowball fights, which also helps your social relationships. At the community center, you can ice skate on the outdoor rink or go fishing at the pond (and even cook and eat, or mount, your fish).Each season lasts for five days and affects your Sims’ moods differently. You can choose which season to play—skip summer and have two winters if you want.
With this many troops firing on the enemy, we’ll soon have all the sweet Tiberium we can harvest. Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars hits the sweet spot in real-time strategy games, somehow making it fun to micromanage your resources, buildings, and troops. As in other RTS titles, players need to keep harvesting the land—in this case, gathering mysterious Tiberium crystals—to fund the production of buildings. Those buildings then create vehicles, fighters, and other units you can use to attack your opponent on the battlefield. Additional twists, such as maintaining enough power plants to give your growing encampments electricity, keep the game interesting. Command & Conquer 3 does nearly everything right, including providing extensive single-player options to play as the good or bad side, and online multiplayer match-ups. Even the things it gets wrong—goofy video sequences—are somehow so bad they’re good.
Pole Position initially seems like a good fit for an iPod remake; this racer adapts the arcade steering wheel to the click wheel. But think back to the difficulty of the original. Unless you were that one savant who could keep racing, you probably dropped quarters into the classic, only to crash into enemy cars, run out of time, and burn through all of your snack money. While not a literal copy of the original, the iPod version captures this frustration perfectly.
Welcome to the neon-and-sharkskin world of underground, professional block breaking. Yes, we’d never heard of this high-stakes, live-fast, die-young society until booting up an iPod game of Block Breaker Deluxe. And this mediocre slobs-versus-snobs setup -- guess which one you play -- is about as engaging as the actual Breakout-style game.
Combine the power of iPhone with your love of Halo 3 and you have iHaloStats. Created by developer, Kato, the iPhone webapp allows users to check a players Halo 3 stats using information culled from Bungie.net.
Lilly-livered landlubbers! Keep away from me booty! Yaargh! With a plot that takes place after that of the three movies, Pirates of the Caribbean Online (free, disney.go.com/pirates/online) has you jumping into the massively multiplayer high seas with occasional cameos by Elizabeth Swann and William Turner—you can even help Jack Sparrow battle against Jolly Roger. Become the most infamous pirate in the Caribbean with a little help from your cutthroat guildmates and your pistol loaded with these tips.
Need for Speed Carbon dumps drivers into a city full of tuner cars and racing crews that owe as much to West Side Story as to The Fast and the Furious. (Oh, how we wish rival crews would dance and snap their way through the plot.) If you can stomach the quirky premise, the game has a deep range of races and fun driving sequences—we never get tired of high-speed police getaways. Just be sure to ditch your keyboard and mouse, because accurate driving controls practically require a gamepad or racing wheel.
The iPod game catalog has evolved from an eye-rolling list of classic videogame clones to a wide array of options. I played the latest batch over a sailing vacation, testing them on my iPod Video during lazy tacks. While nostalgic cash-in games make appearances—Sonic and Bomberman—I found a new favorite iPod game.