Lara CroftThe Power Up! cup overfloweth this week with a veritable cornucopia of interesting stories. Take a sip at your leisure!

Darn that President Obama! He’s everywhere these days. As the Protoss would say in StarcraftWe feel your presence‘. Game Politics has a short piece about a series of  famous videogame character images inspired by the Obama posters created by Shepherd Fairey. Here’s an image I like to call ‘The Audacity of Lara’. There’s also Niko Bellic (Grand Theft Auto 4), Gordon Freeman (Half Life), Master Chief (Halo), Pac Man, Solid Snake (Metal Gear Solid), and several others.

In recognition of Earth Day 2009, National Geographic just released Plan it Green, (do you see the word play?), a Sim-City style strategy game that takes place in the picturesque town of Greenville and lets players develop their own ecologically sustainable community. You can download a trial version, or buy the full game.

Remember the famous admonition about not discussing politics or religion in polite company? How about religion in a video game? An Indian game company called Aurona Technologies in Hyderabad recently released Hanuman: Boy Warrior for the Playstation 2. It caused a stir among the international Hindu community for how it portrayed the deity Lord Hanuman. Apparently the game isn’t that great, either. You can read more from the GamingIndians website.

Second LifeWhat happens when the real world and the virtual world collide in the courtroom? Just the thought of such things is enough to make your head explode! It’s happening more often these days than you might think. Taser International is suing Second Life and its creator Linden Labs for trademark infringement because the virtual inhabitants were apparently creating replicas of Tasers for some rather kinky activities. You can read more about the case at New World Notes.

There’s a sad story from the Cincinnati Enquirer about a 50 year old father who was arrested for beating his six year old son because he was a poor video game player. That’s right – he beat his six year old son because he was a poor video game player. <Insert comment here about some people who should not be allowed to be parents>

In Power Up 3! on March 22nd, I wrote about the UK Change 4 Life program and a promotional video that portrayed video games in an unflattering light which upset game publishers. Well, there’s a new video out that shows video game play as part of getting off the couch and being more active. You can view it at The Guardian UK web site.

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