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As WP's senior editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games...

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008 Shipping Announcements

by Judy on April 30, 2008 @ 1:39 p.m. PDT

Another day, another batch of games shipped to stores. Instead of giving them all their own posts, we grouped them, and so far there are announcements for:

Dream Pinball 3D (NDS/Wii/PC)

Dream Pinball 3D merges stunning visuals with flawless gameplay. The game features realistic ball physics and motion blur effects as well as multiple dynamic and fixed camera positions. The title also features six pinball machines, each with its own theme, sound effects and music. The title also features a refined control scheme tailored to the unique features of each platform.

"With Dream Pinball 3D, our goal was to create the ultimate pinball simulator by combining realistic physics with controls that capitalize on the unique qualities of each platform," said James Seaman, Managing Director of TopWare Interactive. "We've created an awesome gameplay experience that is a blast for both hardcore and casual gamers."

Dream Pinball 3D is rated E for Everyone and is available now for a suggested retail price of $19.99.

Galactic Civilizations II: Twilight of the Arnor (PC)

With endless hours of replayability, the Twilight of the Arnor expansion pack is a must-have for any fan of strategy games. The Arnor have left clues of their society all over the galaxy – players who find them and use them properly will be greatly rewarded as they struggle for galactic dominance. As players observe and interact with other races and cultures in the game, they will decipher the best ways to overtake them, making them the ultimate masters of the galaxy.

The final expansion pack boasts more features and options than the title's sequel, Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords, did over the original video game. Fans of the series will appreciate all-new and unique tech trees for each civilization, as well as revamped graphics and the ability to play on most PC configurations (XP or Vista.)

"We're thrilled to release the last chapter of this saga," said Brad Wardell, president and CEO of Stardock. "This has truly been an awesome project to work on. With Dark Avatar and Twilight of the Arnor, we set out to prove that expansion packs can be more than just 'leftover' gameplay and mediocre upgrades. Twilight of the Arnor completes the Galactic Civilizations series in a way that stands on its own. We are proud of it and know fans of the series will love it."

The title requires the first expansion pack (Dark Avatar) to run and is available for $29.95 at http://www.galciv2.com/twilight/.

Let's Pilates!/Let's Yoga (NDS)

Let's Yoga! is a full-scale instructional game for the Nintendo DS that helps you take advantage of yoga in your everyday routine, relieving stress in the mind and body. Players can learn how to perform poses and breathing techniques to improve mood, deal with everyday stress, and enjoy life more. Let's Yoga! is a truly portable and effective fitness solution that provides detailed and easy-to-understand instructions and videos for up to 80 different poses. Additionally, players can get a 360-degree view of each pose using the stylus and Touch Screen, zooming in to see greater detail of a selected pose, and even track their progress through the convenient built-in calendar.

While Let's Yoga! focuses on overall well-being, Let's Pilates! is all about simple and effective exercises for the body. Pilates is a body conditioning routine that focuses on building flexibility, strength, endurance, and coordination without adding muscle bulk. Full of tips and advice, Let's Pilates! provides a treasure-trove of knowledge no matter whether the user is a beginner or expert. With Let's Pilates!, people can learn how to do Pilates, or keep up with their training when they aren't at home or in the gym! The game teaches over 40 Pilates exercises through informative animations and detailed spoken instructions with subtitles. Like Let's Yoga!, players can track their progress by using the engaging, fun, and interactive calendar features.

"Konami has been dedicated to providing fitness solutions to gamers and non gamers everywhere, as evidenced by our initiative to incorporate DanceDanceRevolution into the Physical Education programs in public schools and fitness centers across the country," said Anthony Crouts, Vice President of Marketing for Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc., "We believe that both Lets Yoga! and Lets Pilates! fit well with our current initiative to incorporate health-conscious videogame content into our product lineup."

Let's Yoga! and Let's Pilates! are both rated "E" for Everyone by the ESRB and are available for an SRP of $29.99 each.

Toy Shop (NDS)

In Toy Shop, players can choose their style of play-whether it's assuming full control of all aspects of the family toy business or just making toys to sell in the store. As the business grows, seasonal holidays will attract new customers and let players unlock additional store locations. Players use the stylus to make toys, adjust prices, manage merchandising and review customer habits that affect buying patterns. Shop owners can create more than 30 toys for the store, including teddy bears, action figures and board games, and a tutorial helps future entrepreneurs learn the ropes of the business. Additional RPG elements require players to get out of the shop and mingle with the community to discover what toys are in high demand and earn new toy designs to attract more customers.

"Toy Shop offers a unique twist on the traditional business sim by combining toy production, sales and an original storyline," said Gui Karyo, Executive Vice President of Operations, Majesco. "An in-depth sim experience, Toy Shop will resonate with DS owners looking for high quality entertainment at a great value."

Toy Shop is rated E for Everyone, and is now available for a suggested retail price of $19.99.

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