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I don’t know what you did for lunch today, but I swung by Gamestop for what could be the biggest video game release ever. Against my better judgement, I’d pre-ordered Call of Duty: Black Ops. And my suspicions were confirmed as in-store availability looked good. But that $5 deposit was greatly rewarded with a $20 Halo Reach trade-in bonus (on top of the listed $25) bringing my total outlay to $10.74. (I’m a monogamous gamer — at my advanced age, the neurons just can’t juggle multiple titles.)

I had time for two quick Xbox Live multiplayer rounds before returning to work… which was long enough to marvel at the visuals. Wow. And apparently I’m at a disadvantage by not having picked up Black Ops last night at midnight and taking the day off, as I was the only matchmaking level 1 n00b — all others were 12 and above.

For those still stuck in the office and without the game, here are some Call of Duty Black Ops review s to whet your appetite:

Vertigore plans to release a new Star Wars game for the iPhone and iPod touch before the end of the year which features an awesome looking augmented reality mode. Basically, you flip on AR, and instead of playing against a fictional space backdrop, Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner will let you blast TIE fighters flying across real world environments.

Really, the app just replaces the background with whatever your camera is pointing at. It’s not quite rocket science, since as far as I can tell the game doesn’t’ actually react to your environment in any real way. But it looks cool as all get-out.

You can also play the game using more traditional space scenery. Vertigore says Falcon Gunner will have 20 levels and HD graphics. It’s due out this Winter.

This post republished from Mobiputing.

Microsoft is held their official launch event for its new Window Phone 7 mobile operating system today. There aren’t many new details about the OS to report, since Microsoft has been showing off WP7 for months. But now we know that WP7 phones will go on sale October 21st in Europe and Asia and will start arriving in the US on November 7th.

HTC, Dell, Samsung, and LG have all introduced new handsets designed to use the operating system, with displays ranging from 3.5 inches to 4.3 inches in size. Some models have TV out capabilities. Others have slide-out keyboards. Samsung’s models will have the company’s Super AMOLED displays.

Carriers will include AT&T, T-Mobile, Vodafone, O2, Orange, and others.All told, Microsoft says 60 mobile carriers in 30 countries will be offering devices with Windows Phone 7.

EA Games has announced it will bring a series of games to the platform this fall, with Xbox Live Integration. That involves the Sims 3, Tetris, and Need for Speed Undercover. Read the rest of this entry »

After giving up on Blockbuster (and Gamefly) to deliver Halo Reach in a timely fashion, I paid Gamestop a visit. I generally don’t purchase many titles given my short attention span for anything other than Call of Duty. But after 5 hours with Halo Reach, I believe it’s going to work out just fine. In fact, I’ve barely scratched the surface, having yet to take a look at the campaign mode or even visit the armory to trick out my online avatar.

Of course, all this depth is a little bit overwhelming. There are a ton of multiplayer modes and submodes — I haven’t quite mastered the lingo and the game manual hasn’t been very helpful in that regard. Perhaps I once possessed this knowledge, but it’s buried deep within the recesses of my mind after a three year Halo hiatus. (Last played, 10/07.) For the moment, I’ve settled on Rumble Pit, Slayer (free-for-all mode) variants as my preferred match style. Unfortunately, it seems you’re mostly stuck with that variance as players vote on both maps and play mode between rounds. And I really want more time with the new loadouts, yet it could be every third match before I can access those “armor abilities” again.

Despite their label, armor abilities aren’t entirely or necessarily defensive and, any way you slice it, change the combat dynamics in interesting ways. Based on the competition, the jetpack seems to be a favored enhancement. It hasn’t helped me too much, as far as k/d is concerned, but it’s a whole lot of fun! It reminds me a bit of the glider from the older and underrated Shadowrun. Once I get control down, jetpacking could further enhance my love of (and destruction from) the sticky grenade. Lastly, the Mortal Combat-esque close combat fatality animations are fun to watch – even though they’re rendered quickly (as gameplay doesn’t pause) and without much bloodshed.

Silly me, I had assumed Blockbuster’s 12/28/2010 ship date for Halo Reach was merely a typo. As it turns out, their mail-order rental service imposes a 105 day waiting period on new release games. Which means I’m Halo-less this week (thus far). It also means that Blockbuster’s recently enhanced rental service ($9/mo) won’t work for many.

For a brief moment I wondered why the long wait… Could it be a deal with the game studios, a way to recycle in-store games, or some other cost saving measure? But then decided the reasons are irrelevant. I’ll be calling in to cancel later today and have just reactivated Gamefly – it costs more ($16/mo) and delivery times are often ridiculously slow, but they provide new releases. Which will tide me over until I make my Call of Duty, Black Ops purchase in November.