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Gaming News Round-Up: October 6th, 2004

Today's update includes final pricing info for online Half-Life 2 bundles, great charity work by the ESA, a way you can frag easier on your console, and the attack...
Today's update includes final pricing info for online Half-Life 2 bundles, great charity work by the ESA, a way you can frag easier on your console, and the attack of the indie arcade game. - Valve has announced final pricing for the multiple tiers of Half-Life 2-related bundles to debut on the company's Steam content delivery system on October 7th. The previously detailed bundles are to be priced at $49.95 for the Bronze package (Counter-Strike: Source available immediately, Half-Life 2 to be available whenever Vivendi Universal debut a store retail version), $59.95 for the Silver package (the Bronze package plus Half-Life 1: Source, Day of Defeat: Source, and Valve's back catalog currently available on Steam), and Gold for $89.95 (the Silver package plus strategy guides, posters, a hat, box, sticker, soundtrack CD, and a chance to win a trip to Valve.) Unfortunately, the exact date of Half-Life 2's availability is still in doubt, partly due to previously mentioned legal action between Valve and Vivendi Universal, putting somewhat of a damper on Valve's grand unveiling. - The ESA video game trade organization has announced two measures aimed to raise money for multiple children's charities, as part of the ESA Foundation's charitable work which has raised more than $5.7 million in the last six years. The fifth annual computer and video game industry charity auction, featuring rare computer and video games and memorabilia and benefiting children's charities will be held from October 11th to 18th on eBay. Notable items for auction include a fiberglass statue of Master Chief from Bungie's classic FPS Halo and a private tour of the offices of the notoriously secretive Nintendo of America. In addition, the "Nite to Unite for Kids" charity fundraising event, comprised of a black tie optional dinner and live-auction, will be held on Tuesday, October 19th, at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco, and will be hosted by comedian Dana Carvey. - Online retailer Lik-Sang has announced the launch of SmartJoy FRAG, a new adapter that allows the connection of standard PS/2 compatible mice and keyboards to Xbox or PlayStation 2 consoles. The company's press release explains: "Gamers will be able to enjoy First-Person Shooters (FPS), or any other game where targeting is important, the way they are meant to be played." Advanced features include deadzone adjustments and mouse control inversion, and the packages are meant to debut by the end of October, with built-in sensitivity/control presets for Xbox titles such as Halo and The Chronicles of Riddick, and PlayStation 2 games including SOCOM II: US Navy SEALs and Medal of Honor: Frontline. Certain online commentators are suggesting that the SmartJoy FRAG may give some console gamers an unfair advantage when playing online, especially when compared to normal joypad FPS users, but the efficacy of and possible restrictions on the device are yet to be wholly tested. - TLC Industries has announced that that its PC-based arcade system FlexArcade and the first two games for the platform, Hamsterball (in which you "roll your hamster through twelve zany, heart stopping courses"), and Orbz ("Shoot your orb at targets located throughout 14 distinct courses in a race to score the most points"), have entered manufacturing, and are now available for purchase. The system is designed to allow arcade operators the ability to change their cabinets from one game to the next with a quick and painless 3-step-process: insert the FlexGame CD, attach the hardware security key and replace the marquee, although individual games may also require different control panels – joystick, trackball, or driving wheel. Interestingly, both of the initial launch titles are arcade-style 'indie' PC titles, and both are rumored to appear on Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade downloadable online gaming service, due to launch before the end of the year.

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