June 19 is a bittersweet day in many respects. For instance, June 19 is Juneteenth Day, which commemorates the abolition of slavery in Texas--two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation took effect. It is the birthday of Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki, whose team is currently in the NBA Finals--but has lost three games in a row to the Miami Heat in uninspiring fashion and now teeters on the brink of elimination. It is the birthday of baseball great Lou Gehrig--who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (now known as Lou Gehrig's Disease) on the day he turned 36.
Given the slim slate of games shipping to retailers this week, it seems appropriate that it be the week starting June 19. Focusing on the sweet, the week kicks off a pair of anticipated releases. Electronic Arts' first effort in the stat-crunching sports-management genre, NFL Head Coach, is already off to retailers, and Sega today began digitally distributing its Rome: Total War expansion, Alexander, through its official Web site.
Later in the week, Namco's MotoGP 4 arrives on the PlayStation 2 to sate fans of the racing series who want an alternative to last week's release of THQ's MotoGP 06 on the Xbox 360. Racing fans who prefer four-wheeled action with fewer hairpin turns can look forward to the Xbox version of IHRA Drag Racing: Sportsman Edition, a week behind its PC and PS2 counterparts.
PSP owners have a pair of new potential purchases this week, as Lara Croft makes her belated debut on the system in Tomb Raider: Legend, while last November's Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermillion is already getting a sequel in Legend of Heroes II: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch. Owners of Nintendo's latest portable also get a pair of new options in the block-busting Break 'Em All and the self-explanatory Sudoku Mania.
This week's new releases are listed below (list taken from retailer information--actual dates may vary).
Tuesday, June 20
MotoGP 4 (PS2)
The Legend of Heroes II: Prophecy of the Moonlight Witch (PSP)
Tomb Raider: Legend (PSP)
Break 'Em All (DS)