The best in hi-tech entertainment -- The greatest games and gadgets
PHOENIX WRIGHT: ACE ATTORNEY (Capcom; Nintendo DS; Teen) Released last fall, this quirky murder-mystery game turned into a cult hit, selling out in stores. Now it’s back on shelves thanks to a new printing. The premise sounds about as enthralling as studying for the bar exam: You’re a lawyer defending clients accused of murder. But Phoenix doesn’t just work the courtroom — the lawyer must inspect the crime scene, collect evidence, and interview witnesses. And even in its most tense moments, Wright has an endearing, humorous tone to it, mainly because of its cartoon-style storytelling and often bizarre dialogue that give away its Japanese origins.
NCAA FOOTBALL 07 (Electronic Arts; PS2, XB, XB360, and PSP; Everyone) The latest edition of this popular game adds a momentum meter that swings in your favor when you make a nice play, plus a student-athlete mode that adds what is surely the least-requested feature ever in a game: midterm exams.
MIAMI VICE: THE GAME (Vivendi Games; PSP; Mature) Whether you play as the guy who sort of looks like Colin Farrell or the guy who sort of looks like Jamie Foxx, your mission is the same: Go undercover to infiltrate a criminal organization. In addition to stealthy acts like greasing informants, you’ll engage in your share of shoot-outs and the occasional speedboat chase.
FLATOUT 2 (Empire Interactive; PC, PS2, and XB; Teen) If you get fired up over realistic racing sims, FlatOut 2 isn’t for you. But if a game with all the subtlety of a monster truck rally is more your speed, look no further. There are many types of races to compete in; all encourage you to smash up the opposition as much as possible while still leaving your own car in decent enough condition to unleash more havoc. There’s also a stunt mode, a series of events in which you accelerate your vehicle as fast as possible in order to catapult gracefully over long distances and through obstacles such as giant rings of fire. If you ever wondered what would happen if David Letterman choreographed a Cirque du Soleil sequence, now’s your chance to find out.
BOSE QUIETCOMFORT 3 NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES ($349) Drown out everything from raving bosses to wailing car alarms. Version 3.0 is less bulky than predecessors, making it wearable for long periods. You’ll need a degree in physics to understand how they work, but all you need to know is that when you put them on, it seems like someone turned down the outside world’s volume knob. Though silence is a perfectly suitable soundtrack on the QC3s (you can unplug the cord and use them as sonic earmuffs), music lovers will be just as thrilled with the way these headphones sound when connected to iPods.
CHOCOLATE BY LG ($249-$149) It’s unclear why LG’s branding execs decided to name this tricked-out new phone after a cacao product. After all, it’s not brown. In fact, it’s a luxuriously shiny black, with bright red accents. The phone has an impressive list of features — a 1.3-megapixel camera, up to 2 GB of additional storage, access to Verizon Wireless’ video, gaming, and music services — but this is first and foremost a drool-worthy piece of eye candy. The screen is bright enough for spelunking, and the cool navigation keys add to its iPod-like aesthetic (though they definitely take time to get used to).
SHURE E2G EARPHONES ($99) What is the sound of one handgun fragging? More than you think if you buy Shure’s new gaming-optimized earphones. Though aimed at the Nintendo DS and PSP crowd, the E2gs work just as well on portable music devices. As long as you get the hang of inserting them — the process of shoving them into your ear canal, seemingly upside down with the wires wrapped around your lobes, can be awkward at first?these earphones are the best thing you can plug into your game device this side of New Super Mario Bros.