It almost feels like Christmas, what with all the big games looming very large on the horizon, doesn't it? Let's talk about a few of 'em.

Grand Theft Auto and Multiplayer = ???

So we learned all about the 15 online multiplayer modes this past week, and it got me thinking: I, like most gamers, really only started falling in love with the franchise when Grand Theft Auto III dropped on the PS2. Therefore, I've gone through three awesome installments with no multiplayer to speak of, and because of that, I have difficulty envisioning a multiplayer scenario in GTA. Thing is, I'm just used to FPSs and maybe a few sports games online, so when something like this goes online, I have no idea what to expect. Sure, something like Mafia Work, Car Jack City and Mafia Work sounds fun as hell, but how will it function…exactly? I can imagine the host setting up the type of gameplay mode and the rules – like in most online multiplayer games – but what about the world itself? Will we always have access to the entire city? And if so, won't this cause a problem due to its size? I guess the real issue is this- because nobody has ever played a game that's this big and this dynamic online before, I'm not sure anyone knows what to expect.

And no, it's not like a MMO, so I don't need all the EverQuest freaks telling me they "know all about it." No, this is going to be a fresh experience for just about everyone, and while I have questions, I'm also plenty psyched. It's not often we get something this innovative these days, but hey, online multiplayer is still in its infancy stages. Much more can be done, and perhaps a lot of that potential will begin with GTAIV.

Dual Shock 3 already a hot item

As evidenced by its #2 position in sales in Amazon's video game section, the Dual Shock 3 is already burning up the charts. It's not even out yet, and people are already clamoring to get one. Now, the rumble (or force feedback) is a feature that has been around for a while, and for the life of me, I have never been able to figure out the attraction. I didn't like it when it first arrived for the PS1 controller, I didn't like it on the Dual Shock 2, and of course, I have no interest whatsoever in the DS3. What is the point ? Who the hell has ever sat there playing a game, have the controller rumble in their hands and say, "wow, it feels like I'm really there!" A rumbling plastic gamepad doesn't accurately depict getting shot, slamming into a wall at 200 m.p.h. or falling a zillion feet to our death. In fact, in my experience, it has only hindered the gameplay. Nothing about this feature has ever enhanced my gaming experience, and I can't make it any plainer than that.

I do realize that many people like the rumble. They would have to; if it weren't for the major outcry for Sony taking it out of the Sixaxis, we wouldn't even have the Dual Shock 3. But I've been gaming for over 23 years, and this is just one of those things that confuses me no end. Could someone please tell me what the appeal of the rumble is?

Personal gaming update

Well, I'm moving right along in Lost Odyssey . I'm just shy of the 30-hour mark, and it's still tons of fun. Great story! I also take time out to play a bit of Twisted Metal: Head-On: Extra Twisted Edition , just because it really is a lot of fun (as expected). I got Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds last week, but because Arnold is taking care of the review, I don't have to crack it open just yet. Of course, I can't wait to do that, especially considering just how big a fan I am of the series. But I always hate playing several games at once, which is why I'm waiting until I finish Lost Odyssey . I also have to work in Dark Sector at the end of the month (I'll be handling that review), and then it's only four or five weeks until Grand Theft Auto IV on April 29. I'll be doing that review, too, but I would get that game, anyway. Duh. I think the only other game I really want during the first half of the year is Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots , but thankfully, I've got some time. That bad boy doesn't drop until June 12.

But oh, what about Gran Turismo 5: Prologue ? Yeah, can't be forgetting about that one, even if it is only a demo on steroids. That's a definite must-buy, guaranteed. See? Just like the holidays…too many games, not enough time! ­čÖé

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