Three days ago, we were finally introduced to Microsoft's ambitious plans for Xbox Live, and one of the defining aspects of that system is the company's pledge to provide wholesome, family focused entertainment above all else, and to give parents the power to choose where their kids play. Of course, rounding up children into their own area where they can play without supervision would be fine, if it were not for the fact that just about anybody can play there. I'm sure the staff of the Daily Mail will have an absolute blast when someone sets the geriatric cogs turning in their blinkered little heads. Microsoft the family company, eh? It's not exactly something they go all out to project, is it? If Microsoft were a family, there would be constant squabbling, rows with the neighbours and hogging of all the rubbish bins out back, and the kids would manage to argue their way out of doing chores on the basis that they could just bankrupt somebody else and then buy all their staff for a pittance. So in a way, I suppose the contradiction that is Dead Or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball (or just XBV) is not altogether surprising. The three-minute video released to the net by those fellows at IGN yesterday is more erotically charged than a Kylie stage show at a nudist beach, under a sea of laughing gas and in sweltering heat exactly nine months prior to New Year's Eve 2000, and from those camera angles it looks completely unpl..ay..able. Bear with us, we're still thinking about Kylie. Ah, in other words, it's a teaser video. A teaser video which just happens to show that you can buy bikinis, watches, sunglasses and other accessories for your voluptuous contemporary Barbie dolls, and that one of the ladies likes to read the morning paper with her blouse completely unbuttoned. It's a rousing thought. But sex sells, and it's no surprise to see it attempted here. And it's not necessarily a bad thing either. Attracting a more "mature" audience to the system in a way that the ageing and rundown Lara Croft never could, the DOA girls look set to push back the boundaries and push up the [yes alright - Ed]. I was going to say demographic. The Xbox is the most powerful gaming system ever conceived, and although CG is hardly lifelike just yet, Tecmo has the creation and manipulation of attractive virtual starlets down to a fine art. Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball is going to sell the Xbox, and it stands to net Microsoft and Tecmo a handsome profit, which is something they doubtless both feel they deserve at this point. With a completely ludicrous plot and no sign of actual gameplay as yet, it seems odd that so many people are running around with their jaws scraping along the floor like a busted limb. It appears now that Sega's rival Beach Spikers game will have to make its name on gameplay rather than visuals, but ultimately Tecmo has struck gold with the hardware / software balance, and if they want to make soft porn videogames for the rest of their lives they are welcome to. But we still want stuff like Ninja Gaiden and DOA4. Ah, if only Sega and Tecmo were to join forces. Anyway, sex sells, so, with apologies to the ladies, go forth and patronise! Related Feature - Dead or Alive 3 review
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