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Gaming News Round-Up: November 17th, 2004 2

Today's wrap-up includes a flashback for Atari, a hook-up from Microsoft, a setback for The National Institute on Media and the Family, and a double setback for Sony's
Today's wrap-up includes a flashback for Atari, a hook-up from Microsoft, a setback for The National Institute on Media and the Family, and a double setback for Sony's Gran Turismo 4. - Publisher Atari has announced the release of its Atari Flashback Classic Game Console. The stand-alone unit comes configured with 20 classic Atari titles from the Atari 2600 and 7800 consoles, including noteworthy games such as: Adventure, Air Sea Battle, Asteroids, Battlezone, Breakout and Centipede. Resembling the Atari 7800 unit, the Atari Flashback Classic Game Console also includes unreleased Atari title Saboteur, designed by Howard Scott Warshaw, creator of Yars' Revenge, and includes two joysticks for multiplayer support over many of the included games. The Atari Flashback Classic Game Console retails for $44.95, and is currently available exclusively at Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and Gamestop in North America. - Microsoft has announced an interesting European-specific Xbox Live promotion for consumers wanting to hook their chums on the online service. Running through January 31st, 2005, the deal will see players that refer friends to use the Xbox Live service eligible to receive a free game of their choice from an extensive Microsoft-published list. The list of titles includes: Midtown Madness 3, Crimson Skies: High Road To Revenge, Counterstrike, Links 2004, Sudeki, Ninja Gaiden, Fable, RalliSport Challenge 2, Project Gotham Racing 2 and Top Spin. The actual referral is conducted on Microsoft’s newly launched official FriendsForLive website, but there's no news regarding possible plans for this promotion outside specific European countries. - The National Institute on Media and the Family, which each year releases a sometimes damning report card on the games industry, seems to be having a bit of trouble with data collection this holiday season. According to The American City Business Journal, the group has criticized videogame retailers and developers alike for failing to respond to the seasonal survey by the non-profit group. The Minneapolis-based organization sent out the survey in September to 40 CEOs of video game retail outlets including Wal-Mart, and publishers such as Microsoft, asking questions about games and children, and if ESRB rated "M" (Mature) rated games have a negative effect on children. To date, though, only two surveys have been returned. - Sony Computer Entertainment has confirmed reports that eagerly awaited PlayStation 2 driving sim Gran Turismo 4's release has been pushed back in both Japan and North America. Citing unexpected tuning requirements, Gran Turismo 4 has been put back from December 3rd to December 28th in Japan. In addition to this announcement, an official statement from Sony America commented: "Natural challenges with finalizing all the key features and localization issues across worldwide territories have led to the difficult choice of pushing back the [American] release date." Thus, the game, once due to debut on December 14th in the U.S., has also been delayed to "the first quarter of calendar year 2005" in North American territories.

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