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Gaming News Round-Up: September 21st, 2004

Today's round-up includes fresh information on games for Sony's PSP handheld, restrictions on naming for Blizzard's long-in-creation MMO, an anniversary for a notable onl...
Today's round-up includes fresh information on games for Sony's PSP handheld, restrictions on naming for Blizzard's long-in-creation MMO, an anniversary for a notable online gaming phrase, and a little more urban to go with your console gaming. - Sony Japan has announced the 22 playable PSP titles to be shown at the Tokyo Game Show, which starts on Friday. Although the line-up includes previous known games such as Namco's Shin Ridge Racer and Konami's Metal Gear Acid, particularly interesting new titles include Lumines, the much-rumored title from Q Entertainment, Bandai and Rez creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi, which appears to be some type of puzzle/music game. Non-playable, but also shown in pre-show PSP footage are titles including the Namco RPG, Tales Of Eternia, and an as yet un-named Konami first-person shooter. - Blizzard has announced a number of avatar naming restrictions for players of the Beta-testing PC MMORPG World of Warcraft, according to a statement on the official WoW messageboard. While including obvious restrictions such as ethnic slurs or overly coarse language, the proposed rules also have a section on 'Immersion-Breaking', noting that extra restrictions include names that "are not fantasy-based and consist of multiple words strung together", and "references to pop culture icons or personas." This firm policy has provoked equal amounts of disquiet and rejoicing on the official forums, and is definitely an interesting move to preserve in-game immersion in an area not often addressed by game makers. - According to a post on The Habitat Chronicles weblog, the phrase 'avatar', as handily referenced in the previous round-up story, is celebrating its 18th birthday. An excerpt from an August 1986 issue of Run Magazine ('The Commodore C-128/C-64 Home Computing Guide') reveals discussion of the early LucasFilm online graphical chat client, Habitat, excerpting: "Habitat: A make-believe world inhabited by small, colorful creatures, called Avatars. Human beings may visit Habitat and move freely about its regions, interacting at will with with Avatars." According to the weblog owner, Habitat co-creator Randy Farmer, this was the first print use of the term 'avatar' in relation to MMO/online gaming. - Eidos' forthcoming 'rapaoke' PlayStation 2 title Get On Da Mic, which allows players to rap along to their favorite hiphop tracks to score in-game points, Karaoke Revolution style, has released more information on its soundtrack, which includes arranged versions of Sir Mix A Lot's hyperkinetic "Baby Got Back" and Snoop Dogg's "Gin and Juice", as well as Public Enemy's "Don't Believe the Hype". The October-due title, being developed by the French Canadian homies at A2M (Scooby Doo: Mystery Mayhem, Carmen Sandiego: The Secret Of The Stolen Drums) is another notable attempt to reach the 'urban' market, also prominent in the forthcoming Atari title Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, which "attempts to bridge the worlds of urban culture and graffiti art with videogames."

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