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Xbox 360′s big debut & more on gaming

Standing in line last night for the arrival of the 3 police-escorted trucks containing 3,000-or-so Xbox 360s, then watching them being handed out by multiple Best Buy employees was like being at “the world’s most expensive soup kitchen,” reported editors at gaming news site 1UP.com, who joined “hardcore Xbox 360 fans from all over the globe for a chance to buy the very first retail kits anywhere.” The handing out happened in “a gigantic aircraft hangar” in California’s Mojave Desert, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Here’s GameSpot’s exhaustive review of the 360 and the GMSV blog’s at-a-glance review. What it and a lot of the reviews say is that – though this next-gen system is multimedia (it’ll connect to iPod Video and Sony PlayStation Portable to play music and videos on a TV), it’s still very much about games, only now with a strong *online* focus, which should tweak parental antennas. The 360 offers two levels of Xbox Live (the basic one free), which means voice and text communications and evenutally video messages, with players anywhere in the world. Xbox 360 reportedly also has some parental controls (e.g., restricting access to online chat and to games rated “M” for Mature), according to the Ferrago.com gamers’ blog.

In other gaming news, “the US has been declared the top gaming nation at the World Cyber Games” held in Singapore last week, the BBC reports. “America’s 16 players won two gold medals and one silver to top the national rankings”; South Korea and Brazil came in second and third, respectively. Here’s the Washington Post’s list of videogames that “have gamers abuzz” this holiday season. And Common Sense Media looks at the question, “Is your kid ready for a gaming system?”

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