Shippin' Out January 15-19: Buurnnning Cruuusade!

WOW expansion hits shelves, social lives hit skids; also out this week: wacky Wii WarioWare, another case for Phoenix Wright, March Madness in January.

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A new strain of an addictive diversion has hit the streets, and gamers all over the US are locking themselves in dark rooms, cutting off communications with loved ones, and staring bleary-eyed, getting their fix. The diversion in question is, of course, World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, the first expansion to Blizzard's PC MMMMMORPG (massive money-making, massively multiplayer online role-playing game) World of Warcraft.

The Burning Crusade hit some shelves at the stroke of midnight last night, and if the crowds spotted across the globe in the US, UK, and Australia are any indication, Blizzard has another hit on its hands. The add-on introduces the Outworld, a level cap of 70, two new playable races, and more.

The game's collector's edition sold out long ago, but those who must have the exclusive in-game pet that comes with it can pay the price on eBay. The Burning Crusade costs $39.99, requires the original World of Warcraft to play, and needs an active World of Warcraft subscription ($14.99 per month).

WarioWare: Colorful, trippy fun for all ages.
WarioWare: Colorful, trippy fun for all ages.

Those not interested in firing round after round of lightning bolts in the fictional world of Azeroth can instead compete in round after round of lightning-quick minigames in the bizarre world of Nintendo. WarioWare: Smooth Moves for the Wii was released on Monday, bringing more than 200 minigames specifically designed with the motion-sensitive Wii Remote in mind. Many of the bizarre collection of vignettes feature Nintendo properties, such as Star Fox and Mario, as their subjects.

Capcom's Phoenix Wright returns to court this week with Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Justice for All for the Nintendo DS. As Wright, gamers will participate in four new cases, checking out crime scenes, cross-examining witnesses, and engaging in other legal matters. New this go around include a life bar for Wright and a "Psyche-Lock" feature--Phoenix must break down witnesses by asking several correct questions in a row.

Authentic five-communications-majors-on-five-communications-majors action.
Authentic five-communications-majors-on-five-communications-majors action.

Gamers who object to anime-style courtroom dramas can try their hand at a game based on one of sport's most popular events. NCAA March Madness 07 from Electronic Arts simulates the college basketball season on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2. Those who take the court will be treated to two new focuses in this year's edition of the game--school tradition and school pride.

This week's new releases are listed below (list taken from retailer information--actual dates may vary).

JANUARY 15, 2007
WarioWare: Smooth Moves (Wii)
Barbie in The 12 Dancing Princesses (DS)
Pat Sajak's Lucky Letters (PC)
Xevious (Wii via Virtual Console)
R-Type III (Wii via Virtual Console)
Moto Roader (Wii via Virtua Console)

JANUARY 16, 2007
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade (PC)
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Justice for All (DS)

JANUARY 17, 2007
Heavy Weapon (X360 via Xbox Live)
NCAA March Madness 07 (X360, PS2)
Great Invasions (PC)

JANUARY 18, 2007
Fossil League: Dino Tournament Championship (DS)

JANUARY 19, 2007
The Shield (PC)

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