Gaming news roundup

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The Independent Tech

The life cycles of games consoles

Another week, another variant of the Xbox 360. Hotonthe heels of the launchofaslimmeddown 360 comes the announcement of yet another incarnation of theXbox. This time a 4GB cheap and cheerful arcade version. But the box itself is now five years old – it must be nearing the end of its natural life soon. In gaming biology, half a decade is a good start,butthe first PlayStation, and its tweaked update, the PSOne,were in production formore than 11 years, and sold more than 100million worldwide. It’s too early to say whether Nintendo is going for Sony’s crown withitsever-popular DS – sofar the handheld has, inavariety of forms, been going strong since 2004, with the 3DS launching later this year. And Nintendo has form – itsGameBoy system launched in 1989 and continued through the Game- Boy Colour, Advance and Micro – the latter being discontinued in 2007. It seems that if a console can adapt, it will be blessed with a long life.

Professor Layton and the silver screen

He’s already the star of a series of puzzling DS games (with another on the way inSeptember) and now he’s heading forawider audience. An animatedfilm, starring Professor Layton (right), has been a hit inJapanandisscheduled forDVD release in Britain in October. ‘Professor Layton andtheEternal Diva’ has all theessentials for a cracking romp. There’s a famous opera singer, mysteries a-plenty, a villain called the Masked Man andit’s all told in flashback. Better than ‘Inception’? We’ll have to see.

In a galaxy far, far away...

...Some clever games developers turned an iPhone intoagamescontroller for ‘Star Wars: Trench Run’. Theweb title, available at playnow/, has recently been updated to let would-be membersof theRebel Alliance use their smartphone to outsmart the Galactic Empire. As well as giving youcontrol buttons onyour iPhone screen, the update lets your steer with your mobile. Ok, so it’s notalight sabre, but it is pretty cool.