Long read: Who is qualified to make a world?

In search of the magic of maps.

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What's New?

Doh, not much

And so slip back into another lull, with nothing tremendously exciting on the horizon. Fortunately, there is still one totally indispensable game to add to your collection this week, and that's Super Monkey Ball Junior. Ooh-ooh! More on that here. Oddly though, the only exciting things in the line-up other than that (in our humble/collective opinion anyway) are the Player's Choice titles on the Cube. Budget re-releases have now put Luigi's Mansion, Pikmin and Super Smash Bros. Melee well within reach of thrifty GameCube owners, and we'd recommend each of them at the price.

Other budget releases this week worth drawing attention to include Cel Damage Overdrive - a debutant which appeared on Cube/Xbox last year and got slagged. Why is it a highlight? Because it's a tenner. It's actually worth it at that price, probably. Otherwise we've got State of Emergency on PS2 Platinum (steer well clear), and a bunch of new toys on the PC, including Breath of IV and Dino Crisis 2 from Capcom, and Crazy Taxi and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 on Empire's Xplosiv budget label.

There are some ports in evidence this week too, most notably The Sims, which finally appears on Cube/Xbox, and of course Vexx, which isn't so much a port but a multi-platform release. We'll have a review of that soon, but it's been getting mixed (mostly positive) scores from the specialist press that we've seen. A couple of single-format mags slated it, but they seemed to defending their beloved Mario - so wait and see.

Finally, a special word for Sunflowers/EA's Anno 1503: A New World. It may not be to the tastes of every gamer, but as Andy pointed out at great length, the average armchair megalomaniac couldn't do much better.