The big news from the weekend is that info about Microsoft’s Sping Update for Xbox Live has leaked, and been intentionally distributed, which isn’t as fun to write. The update will include tweaks for the Dashboard interface, integration with the Windows Live Messenger, a revised interface for the Marketplace, and more specific notices when Achievements are unlocked. Additionally, MS has revealed a prototype keyboard, Sidekick-sized, which will attach between the handgrips of the controller. The software update will be released in about a month; there’s no date attached to the keyboard.

Game Videos has a clip of the upcoming "Annex" game type for Gears of War, which will be available for download in the near future. (Whether it’s free or not is a whole different matter.) The video shows what seems to be heavily-armored men discharging high-powered weapons in the direction of fellow human beings. Also, circles of light on the ground in which players must huddle, which I can only assume is a reference to to mystical qualities of the geometric shape. Those qualities have since been disproven. Yes, this is news.

Nintendo has issued a press release announcing three new releases for the Virtual Console, including Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle, Galaga, and Bravoman. I am a conduit through which press releases descend to the sewer. I am curious, though, what Nintendo’s process is for determining which games to port to the VC, given that two of those three games are readily available on other services; Galaga on Xbox Live Arcade, and Alex Kidd on Gametap.

This makes me happy. Kotaku links us to a new videogame journalism site called Action Button, the writer of which has "realized that the seat at the games journalism UN marked ‘the of videogames’ is suspiciously vacant…" That might well summon the bile of a number of readers, but I’m pretty fond of any attempt at serious intellectual regard of stuff. Wankery is also kind of fun. Head on over there to find out why they believe God of War 2 deserves a score of 0 (out of a possible 4.) It’s a fun read, and not so self-important as all that.

I’m been interested in Microsoft’s XNA developer’s framework program since it was first announced that it might give hobbyist developers the chance to have their games playable on the Xbox 360. The actual architecture of the system means that, generally, those games would only be playable by other subscribers to the framework. Now, however, we can get excited about independent developers getting their names in lights, as little Torpex Games (seven employees) will have their game Schizoid published on the XBLA. GamaSutra has an inspiring interview, which might lead you to believe that you, too, can be a god amongst men and speak the language of computers.

New games! Sort of. Pretty close to losing the plural on that, though.

The Ship
Whirlwind over Vietnam (starring Helen Hunt and daddy issues)
Pet Vet 3D: Wild Animal Hospital

Super Paper Mario