Coming Attractions: The Lost Levels

Wii Fit, Home, Rock Band and more.

Shooters and sports games. RPGs and racers. Strategy and simulation, action and adventure. The lines may blur but for the most part you know where you are with these. If a game's got guns, cars, football or wizards, it's easy to see where it fits.

But what about the other stuff? What about the games you could argue aren't games at all, like Maths Training and Wii Fit? What about PlayStation Home? LittleBigPlanet? Obscure Independent Games Festival competition entries?

Well, here's our roundup of the 2008 offerings that don't necessarily fit into an established genre - the Lost Levels. It was either that or something to do with "lifestyle" and that would have been intolerable. So...

Buzz! PS3 & PSP

Having proved popular on PS2, the quiz series with the big buzzers and the stupid presenter is coming to Sony's other consoles this spring.

The PS3 version is titled Buzz! Quiz TV. The game disc comes with 5000 questions divided into categories such as Music, Movies and TV, Sports and, what a shame, Lifestyle.

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Why don't they just let him present the quiz?

It's "got online", is the main thing, so you'll be able to download tens of thousands of supplemental questions in the form of Quiz Packs. You can take part in online quizzes against up to three other teams.

You can even write your own quizzes (hopefully that will include obscene ones) and upload them via the new MyBuzz community site. Quizzes can be created, played and rated on PC as well as PS3. The good news is it's all presented in glorious HD. The bad news is it's still presented by that fatuous clown with the hateful jokes.

Buzz! PSP will also feature 5000 questions as standard. New round types are set to include Quickfire Challenge, Picture This and Virus Challenge. There are 15 different challenges for the single-player.

Quick quiz: Which of the following is NOT an acceptable configuration for Buzz! PSP multiplayer? A) One copy of the game, one PSP. B) One copy of the game, several PSPs. C) Several copies of the game, several PSPs. D) Half a copy of the game, a Nintendo DS and a soldering iron. You may not insert an amusing reference to "phoning a friend" as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire jokes officially stopped being allowed in 2002.

Dear Relentless: When you've finished with all this Buzz! nonsense, can you do a PS3 version of Quizzlestick please?

LittleBigPlanet

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You can accessorise characters with all sorts of items. Probably not guns or blades.

According to the press release, LittleBigPlanet fits into the genre of "creative gaming". You start off by exploring, solving puzzles and collecting resources, just as you would in a boring old 20th century videogame. But the resources can then be used to design your own levels and you can share the gameworlds you create online.

Maybe it's the concept, maybe it's the music, maybe it's the sombreros, but videos like this make us cry. Look world, we want to say, videogames can be happy and jolly and creative and good! They don't have to be about shooting space monsters or blowing up foreigners! They can be about sombreros!

While not many actual tears were shed at GDC last year, apart from at the EVE party where they were doing free tattoos, LBP certainly caused a stir. Presenting it to the public for the first time Sony bigman Phil Harrison said, "We loved this game. We thought it was a really great embodiment of the power of the independent gaming community building really great games with their own inspiration, their own money, and sharing it widely."

Almost 12 months on, there's still no definitive release date for LittleBigPlanet - but Sony recently said it would be out in September. So expect it in November.

See for yourself: The full breadth and charm of LBP is quite hard to convey, so you're probably better off just watching the many videos on the gamepage. Bring a hankie.

PlayStation Home

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Hi everyone! It's a crazy virtual party! With text-based chat!

LittleBigPlanet wasn't the only thing Sony had to show at GDC last year. Phil Harrison also unveiled PlayStation Home. The videos of it also make us cry.

Home is billed as "a first-of-its-kind 3D online user community service". You create an avatar and get an apartment to fill with furniture of your choice. You can show videos, pictures and other hard drive content in your apartment, and display the trophies you've won instead of gamerpoints. There are also plenty of communal areas where you can interact with other players. Most excitingly, you can give your avatar Ratchet ears.

An autumn 2007 release date was originally given but Home has since been delayed. In November, Sony boss Kaz Hirai stated he was "personally not satisfied" with how it was shaping up.

Apparently things are looking better these days. At Imagina 08 SCEE's John Venables and Ron Festejo, one of whom once put his business card in our bra at a party, presented new screenshots of Home as evidence. See how it's been evolving for yourself over in the screenshot gallery.

Home is due out later this year.

"I'll chill here on the deck": It's this sort of thing. Since when did Jack and Kaz become Des and Mel?

Wii Fit

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Mmm-bop, doobado-wap mmm-bop...

Japanese consumers have already gone bananas for Wii Fit, snapping up a million units in the first month of sale. BUT IS IT A GAME? people say, the same people who say things like ARE GAMES AN ART FORM? and WHAT IS "CASUAL", ANYWAY? and DON'T LOOK AT ME I DON'T WANT YOU TO LOOK AT ME WHEN I'M FINISHING SORRY MUMMY SORRY SORRY.

Of course it is a game. You can tell by the way it involves interacting with a user interface to generate visual feedback and complete a series of tasks and being judged on your success or failure at completing said tasks and receiving rewards accordingly, and by the way is a game played on a games console. These factors give it away.

Yes, there is some gibberish about Body Mass Index and your Wii Fitness Age, and Nintendo has bought into the nonsense peddled by Yoga fans that having a stretch will make you live forever.

But basically Wii Fit is a collection of mini-games you play using a special peripheral that looks like a pair of bathroom scales. The games are based around things like soccer, skiing and hula-hooping, as Oli found out when he had a go back in August.

"Even if Wii Fit were rubbish it would be a work of uncommon genius, and it's clearly not rubbish," he informed us. "Who knows whether it will make us all fitter in the long run. but one thing's for sure: it will make Nintendo a lot richer."

Advice for lady games journalists: When invited to try Wii Fit out at E3, do not agree to play the hula-hoop game. It involves a lot of pelvic thrusting. A small crowd will gather and Will from PC Zone will laugh and take photos of you.

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