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May 26, 2006
By Kenneth Terrell
So what if six months and $500 separate you from a PlayStation 3 (scheduled to arrive in stores on November 17)? There's plenty of exciting and affordable video game action to keep you busy until then.
Improve your brain age. More popular overseas than it is in the States, the hand-held Nintendo DS ($130) is quite possibly the most innovative video game console ever. Two bright displays, touch-screen capability, and a built-in microphone combine to deliver compelling game-play unlike anything else. You can train a Nintendog to obey your spoken commands or sharpen up your mental skills with the company's excellent Brain Age puzzle game. And forthcoming games demoed at the Electronic Entertainment Expo convention this month—including a new game in the Mario Brothers franchise—show that the DS is just hitting its sweet spot. Another bonus: Nintendo is releasing the DS Lite (also $130), a version of the device slimmed down by about a third, on June 11.
Pick up that second system. Just before the gaming expo this month, Sony announced it was cutting the price of the PS2 to $130. With used PS2s and Xboxes readily available and affordably priced at secondhand games stores, this summer is great opportunity to catch up on those games you had to pass up before because they weren't available for your system. Test-drive the Gran Turismo, or battle it out in God of War for the PS2. Or blast your way through the Halo titles for Xbox.
Take a vacation to Persia. By all accounts, the one standout title for the PlayStation 3 shown at the E3 gathering earlier this month was Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed. Set during the Crusades circa A.D. 1191, the game mixes stealthy maneuvering with quick attacks in a richly detailed setting. That same mix can be found in the company's Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones game released earlier this year. Sharpen up your skills on that title, and you'll be ready to dip into Assassin's Creed in November.