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

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UK Charts: Rising Sun grabs top slot

Clean sweep as EA grabs top four...

Medal Of Honor: Rising Sun was the UK's best selling game last week [Boo! Hiss! -everyone], as EA continued to dominate the pre-Christmas best sellers list, with the top four titles all bearing the publisher's name.

Interestingly, Need For Speed: Underground held its own at No.2, outselling even the mighty FIFA 2004 (No.3), and Return Of The King (No.4), while Quidditch World Cup made its top 10 debut at No.9. Predictably, EA was strong elsewhere too, and looks certain to score this year's Christmas No.1 with Sims: Bustin' Out.

Intense discounting activity helped propel Ubisoft's Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time up from No.33 to No.10 after its disappointing debut two weeks ago, but the French publisher had more bad news with the highly-rated XIII only managing a relatively lowly No.26 in the full price listing. Its other big hope, Rainbow Six III on Xbox, fell to No.29 on its fourth week in the chart, whilst the excellent Beyond Good & Evil has still failed to chart despite blanket high praise.

Microsoft's big hope Project Gotham Racing 2 entered at No.1 on the Xbox chart, but it was only enough for a No.17 entry in the full price chart. Meanwhile Nintendo's big Christmas title Mario Kart: Double Dash tumbled down to No.16 after just three weeks on the chart, while 1080 Avalanche made a disappointing debut - in at just No.14 on the GameCube listings, and hence nowhere near the All Formats.

Rockstar's Manhunt crept up just one place to No.14, despite its TV ad campaign getting underway, while Codemaster's Christmas No.1 tip Pop Idol slid to No.20, perhaps ending its chances of making the top spot.

Activision's pair of Tony Hawk's Underground and True Crime managed to hold their own against stiff opposition at No.5 and No.6 respectively, while Vivendi will be pleased that Simpsons Hit & Run is still performing strongly at No.8 - and expect big things from Crash Nitro Kart in the coming weeks, despite its rather quiet No.28 debut.

This week's Missing In Action awards are unusually large, with some truly huge titles all failing miserably. First up is (deep breath) Atari's Terminator 3 (all formats, no listing), followed by LucasArts' Secret Weapons Over Normandy (No.40 all formats), Empire's Ford Racing 2 (No.20, Xbox), Ubisoft's Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (PS2, no listing), Microsoft's Links 2004 (Xbox, no listing), Nintendo's Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (No.12, GBA), EA's Total Club Manager 2004 (No.9, PC), Capcom's Breath Of Fire: Dragon Quarter (PS2, no listing), Vivendi's The Hobbit (all formats, no listing), LucasArt's Gladius (PS2, no listing), Microsoft's Dungeon Siege: Legend Of Aranna, and a huge pile of other games that none of you seem remotely interested in. Where were you in the summer when we needed you eh, eh?

Next week is the last big new releases week of the year, with the likes of Max Payne 2 (Xbox, PS2) Ghosthunter (PS2), Counter-Strike (Xbox) and Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, and Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic our tips for the top.