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Gaming News Round-Up: October 18th, 2004

Today's returning consumer update includes the end of the Half-Life 2 saga, a little game-related charity from the Penny Arcade guys, the return of some real Ba...
Today's returning consumer update includes the end of the Half-Life 2 saga, a little game-related charity from the Penny Arcade guys, the return of some real Bad Mojo, and some edifying Xbox 2 announcement speculation. - Vivendi Universal Games has confirmed that Valve's ravenously-awaited PC FPS Half-Life 2 has gone gold, with a planned retail street date of November 16th, 2004. The company will be shipping localized versions of the title simultaneously in English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Korean, Thai and Japanese. This move ends intense speculation caused by a legal battle between VU Games and Valve over contractual issues, and Valve has confirmed that Half-Life 2 will be available via its Steam 'content delivery system' on November 16th, although some online reports indicate the Steam version may debut early if retailers break the street date on the title. - Online game-related webcomic Penny Arcade has announced the 2004 incarnation of its Child's Play charity effort. The charity, which was an overwhelming success in 2003, collecting nearly $200,000 in toys and cash, tries to ease the strain of long-term hospitalization on children and their families by the donation of videogame hardware, software, and other toys. For 2004, Child's Play, formerly concentrating its giving efforts in the Seattle area, will be including additional National Children's Hospitals in San Diego, Oakland, Washington D.C. and Houston. The official FAQ also offers contact details for corporations or game developers/publishers who would like to "donate gifts, cash, or traffic" to the charity's worthy efforts. - In an intriguing game revival, PC/Mac publisher Got Game? Entertainment has announced the re-release of what it describes as "cult classic" 1996 CD-ROM title, Bad Mojo. The game, originally developed by Pulse Entertainment, involves the player as 'mad scientist' entomologist Roger Samms, who "has been temporarily turned into a cockroach, leading to gritty discovery and exploration... in the dark and intricate world of a dilapidated San Francisco building." The 'Redux' re-release of the Myst-styled adventure game includes behind the scenes video, as well as interviews with the developers and updated FMV sections, and raises the question of whether other early CD-ROM games might merit a re-release for relatively niche PC audiences. - Alongside the official announcement of the 2005 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a press release today detailed that that Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft Corp will be one of the keynote speakers at the show, held in Las Vegas from January 6th-9th of next year. This has sparked widespread online speculation that Gates' keynote may include some kind of official anouncement regarding the Xbox 2 - Gates used CES to unveil the original Xbox back in 2001, wheeling out actor/wrestler The Rock to show how 'strong' Microsoft's gaming hardware was going to be. However, CES has a more general mandate to 'showcase the latest consumer technology from wireless, digital imaging, computing and networking technology to audio, video, [and] electronic gaming', so, in the absence of any official word on the keynote's contents, it's quite possible Gates' speech could deal with any of the above topics besides the Xbox 2 itself.

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