Blu-ray is better! No, HD-DVD is better!

Well, the high-def format war might already be over, folks. It took many digital scientists working deep within the lairs of movie studios and who knows how many millions to come up with a copy protection scheme to encrypt both these disc formats against copying. That meant not only that you couldn't make "backups" of your discs, but also that movies played on new-generation video-game consoles had to be played in a HD-DVD or Blu-ray disc drive. Well, it took, what, just three or four months for the supposedly hack-proof technology of the formats to be shredded. The ability to "back up" discs to a hard drive and play them on your personal computer is now a reality. What this does for an industry so much in its infancy isn't clear yet, but consider the tables turned for now.

Platform Gaming

Darn, the race for the White House sure has started early. The downside is that the candidates may maul one another to death before we have our say. The upside is that we have plenty of time to scratch candidates off our list. Take U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, for instance. If you don't keep up with such things (you really should, however), Brownback introduced a bill last September that would require the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) to play the final build of a game before rating it. It is an impossible endeavor, as many games are way too long for the ESRB to finish in a timely manner, and everyone knows it. Besides, it sounds like backdoor censorship to Knuckles. Well, now that Brownback is officially a presidential wannabe, he is reintroducing it. Why, we ask? The bill was major "floppage" in September, wasn't it? Cheap pandering, perhaps?

Live and Direct TV

We don't like to stroke a company in back-to-back columns (last week: Direct TV and the Championship Gaming Invitational), but sometimes it's deserved. The satellite network now offers a channel called the Gaming Lounge (Ch. 110). With the correct receiver and remote, the whole family can play games such as Uno, Monopoly, dominoes and Sudoku. It is a pay service ($5.95 per month or $1.95 per game), but it's pretty cool to watch TV and play games at the same time. We can totally see advertisers picking up the cost at some point as well. With partnership agreements with Mattel, Nickelodeon, and other kid-friendly companies, parents should have little to worry about. Check

for more info.

Love Is a Game

For all of the male video-game players out there who didn't have any game on Valentine's Day, well, that is your fault. According to a probably unscientific survey sent out by the U.K. game-rental outfit, the responses of 200 women found that those who play games had sex about 4.3 times a week. Those who didn't play had sex 3.2 times a week. Anyone want to take bets on just how much the opposite is true for guys?