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Christmas Movie Eliminator
The Galactic Gazette: Star Wars News at HJ
Focus on the Force: Star Wars Commentary and Analysis at HJ
The Pipeline: What's In Store for Faith and Film
Film Festival Roundup
HJ's iON Comic-Con
Bagshot Row Bulletin: News of the film, commentary about the book
News from the Playbox
You Say It's My Birthday?
Well, You Know I've Got A Wish List

April is a special month for me when it comes to gaming. It’s my birthday, and that means I can ask for video games as a birthday gift, which gives me the chance to own a few games for a change instead of just renting and reviewing games. So it is a very pleasant month for me as a gamer, and this month there are some pretty hot titles coming out that I can’t wait to get my mitts on.

Splinter Cell didn’t impress me early on, but as the series evolved, I became more of a fan. Among the stealth/action giants, I preferred Splinter Cell over Metal Gear solid because of its more grounded, techie, and tactical feel. However, both franchises lacked in the action side of things. Splinter Cell: Conviction just might change all of that for the better. If the demo is any indication, Conviction may finally bring the right balance to being stealthy and sneaky and kicking butt like an elite operative should when caught in a firefight. Plus, if the co-op mode is as awesome as past versions, this could be one very special game. The good news is it comes out just a few days after my birthday; so maybe, just maybe I’ll get to spend some real quality time with it. Even if I don’t get it for my birthday, you can be sure we’ll have full coverage after its release as to whether or not it’s worthy of the Splinter Cell name.

Meanwhile over on the Wii, one of the biggest titles of the year is releasing, and it’s also a bit of surprise. The Monster Hunter franchise has always been a huge RPG fave in Japan, but it’s never had the same level of success in the U.S. Factor in a surprise move to the Wii, and there are a lot of questions surrounding this release–specifically if the under-powered Wii can deliver the same level of spectacle people expect from this franchise, and if the often iffy Wii online service will deliver a similar level of online, multi-player awesomeness people have come to expect from this series. So far the response has been positive in Japan, but it remains to be seen if Monster Hunter Tri will be the one to finally capture the attention of U.S. players. We’ll let you know what we think when it releases later this month.

A couple of other things to note this month: we have some new regular contributors to the HJ Playbox. Mike Mordenga recently joined the crew and you can read some of his reviews such as Endless Ocean: Blue World or Rage of the Gladiator on the Playbox right now.  Also, my wife Kay joins the crew of regular contributors, and I must say it’s going to be awesome to get a female perspective on the gaming industry. She’s already shared her thoughts on games such as New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Forza 3, and I’m trying to talk her into doing a feature on a female perspective of Bad Company 2.

So look for much more from her and Mike in the coming months, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am for some different voices and different takes to help spice things up on the HJ Playbox. Keep locked on the Playbox for a unique perspective on the gaming industry, and get ready for some busy months to come. May has a ton of releases, including the huge Mario Galaxy 2, and then June things get really crazy with E3. We’ll keep up to date in the loop with a spiritual perspective on it all.

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