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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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What's New?

Football Manager 2005, FlatOut, EyeToy Play 2, Men Of Valor, Leisure Suit Larry, a new Lord Of The Rings game, all sorts. Clicky here for more inane witterings.

Owning PCs is an expensive business, and a dangerously loveless one with regards to gaming in the last few years. The latter half of 2004 has brought more than its share of winter sun, however, with Doom 3 and Rome: Total War giving the slightly faithless good reason to upgrade their graphics grunt. But today the prayers of the masses are answered. Football Manager 2005 is out. In the shops. And everything.

The true sequel to Championship Manager 4 now contains a stupefying amount of information and is destined to suck more life than is probably healthy from far too many people. The leaves turning on the trees, the gentle winding down of Britain in the first throes of winter, the burnt sienna of autumn, the summer sun nestling neatly away until the first, life-sodden kiss of spring: meaningless. Hole yourself up in a stinking room and pretend to be Brian Flynn for the next five months. Nature’s outmoded, anyway.

Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 also wends its way to retail today. Mr Gillen has taken quite a shine to it, and for good reason. A perennial favourite of the PC audience, this time it includes fireworks. Boys like things that bang. The other sound? Atari’s rather heavy sigh of relief.

The console gravy train rolls ever on towards Christmas, today showing some quality action for all machines. The excellent Flatout deserves plenty of success for Empire on Xbox and PS2, with Men of Valor and Leisure Suit Larry beating Vivendi’s drum before Half-Life 2 stamps its size 10 squarely in the face of the competition in the couple of weeks. And EyeToy Play 2 is well worth the pennies if you want to get drunk and pretend you’re a windmill. We know we do.

Next week’s got some daft sci-fi shooter thing called Halo 2 coming out. We’ll have a full review for you ahead of the US release on November 9.

Tom Bramwell is getting intoxicated, finding slidy surfaces, pogo dancing, refusing to get out of bed, muttering the word 'meh' every time Halo 2 is brought into conversation and pretending to be a windmill. Normal service will be resumed next week, when this column will be at least three times as long because it's one of those Labour of Love things....

  • PAL Releases
  • Flatout (Xbox, PS2)
  • Dancing Stage Fusion (PS2)
  • Lord of the Rings: The Third Age (Xbox, PS2, GC)
  • Football Manager 2005 (PC)
  • EyeToy Play 2 (PS2)
  • The Incredibles (Xbox, PS2, GC, GBA, PC)
  • Leisure Suit Larry (Xbox, PS2, PC)
  • Men of Valor (Xbox)
  • Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 (PC)