It’s beginning to look alot like….time for a long overdue edition of Powerup!

First up, here comes another movie based on a video game! Oh joy! Oh rapture! Oh Gawd spare us! But wait! It’s Walt Disney and the movie is Prince of Persia – The Sands of Time! Jordan Mechner’s famous action adventure game is coming soon to a theatre near you! And it’s a Gerry Bruckheimer production! Now judging the merits of a film based on the trailer is always a risky affair (Cue deep voiced movie announcer guy: In a virtual world of danger and uncertainty, where one wrong mouse click can unleash horrors beyond imagining, comes a hero for our times…). But I digress. See what you think.

Once again the annual holiday retail video game demolition derby has started with the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, published by Activision – Blizzard. The latest retail figures are in and developer Infinity Ward has a global hit on its hands. On Tuesday, November 10th, the game sold 4.7 million units worldwide and generated approximately $310 million USD. After five days, sales went past 8.5 million units and $550 million USD. To put this in perspective, Grand Theft Auto IV was released in May, 2008 and sold approximately 3.7 million units on its first day of release. After one week, sales reached 6 million units and total revenues were $500 million. Or to put it another way, GTA IV made more money in its first week than the movie Iron Man did for total box gross box office (it was shown in North America theatres the same week GTA IV was released).

At the same time, Modern Warfare 2 managed to generate controversy in other parts of the world. The Russian government ordered the game to be pulled from store shelves because of the way Russia was depicted. Infinity Ward quickly developed a patch to remove the offensive content. You would think by now game designers would ‘get it’ about international game localization for other countries, especially when they’re as large as the Russian Federation. Meanwhile in New Zealand, conservatives are all riled up that the country’s chief sensor has allowed Modern Warfare 2 to be sold in New Zealand. He also happens to be openly gay, which is fuelling the fire of debate.

No edition of Power Up! is complete without yet another story about that mildly successful little online game called World of Warcraft. Well, this time the fate of Azeroth is in the hands of…Chinese bureaucrats! A terrible battle rages on between the mighty Ministry of Culture versus The General Administration of Press and Publications. What’s at stake? Control of the lucrative games and entertainment industry for the Middle Kingdom’s 338 million Internet users.

Doctor Arkanoid