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Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

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Hang on, there’s a game here that could feasibly be worth buying

The winter can be a tough time for thrill-seeking gamers. With all December's releases already stacked neatly on top of the TV and largely ignored (because of the controls in X, the graphics in Y and the difficulty of Z versus the lure of comforting Christmas tele), many look to January to provide some respite from the tedium. But January seems happier to preserve its reputation as uselessness incarnate, with a couple of exceptions later on.

This week though the pickings are worryingly slim. 'Huh?' you may inquire, but going on our release schedules, as many as 40 per cent of this week's releases are Silent Scope titles! So um, that's two.

Unhappily though only one of them is reportedly any good. The GBA adaptation of Silent Scope is functionally identical to the PS2 release, which means it's pretty good fun. Meanwhile, the reportedly lacklustre third game in the series on PS2 limps to market somewhat unexpectedly this week. Although Konami hasn't managed to furnish us with a copy (of either game actually), US reviews suggest it's series-stretching pap - and certainly nothing to sell your kids for.

In fact, instead of flogging your kids this week for still failing to cart the tree out the back door, you could brush the dust off your old Game Boy Color and thrust Hamtaro: Ham-Hams Unite into their lives. Nintendo's latest GBC release is a kiddy-oriented title starring a group of hamsters. On a mission to, um, rescue them all. Good old Nintendo.

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