The Month in Sports Gaming--December 2004

A look at the sports releases heading our way in the final month of 2004. Mobile and handheld gamers rejoice!

Ah, December--that magical month where tons of sports video games are given as gifts and very few are released to retail stores. November is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for sports gamers, with both NBA and NCAA hoops games being released, among many others. Because of this, December tends to be a bit on the light side. The disappointing news of delays into 2005 for both Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo 4 was another blow to this month's sports lineup. On the plus side, handheld gamers will be the big benefactors this month, with two premier sports titles being released for the Nintendo DS, along with a number of Zodiac and mobile games.

Though 2004 is winding down and we're all gearing up for a fun-filled New Year--and the next season of sports releases--there's still gaming fun to be had here in the final month of the year. Though it may not be as busy as last month, December's sports lineup is sure to have a gem or two. Stay tuned for more coverage on all these games in the coming weeks.

Week of 11/28/2004

Sadly, there is no option to (allegedly) alter your scorecard to make a tournament cut.

Vijay Singh Pro Golf 2005 (Mobile; Golf) What will be Vijay Singh's legacy as a golfer? An incredibly underrated talent who knocked Tiger from the top spot in the world rankings, or a curmudgeonly grump who may or may not have cheated early in his career? We'll be eagerly awaiting the answers to this question while playing this mobile golf game, which should drop this month.

2 Fast 2 Furious (Mobile; Driving) The first game based on a subpar extreme-sports movie was supposed to arrive last month, yet missed its mark, much like Vin Diesel has in his career. We're still hoping for a pre-2005 release on this one.

Apparently the future is heavily pixilated.

Rollerball (Mobile; Extreme Sports) Game number two in this month's cruddy-sports-movie-license lineup. The year is 2018. People skate around in circles and score points. It's a lot like Roller Derby, except fewer rednecks and more leather gloves with metal spikes on them. No sign of James Caan, Chris Klein, or Rebecca Romjin-Stamos, which may or may not be a good thing.

Other Releases:
American Chopper: The Game (Xbox; Driving)
Madden NFL 2005 (Zodiac; Football)
The Arctic Challenge (Mobile; Winter Sports)
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 (Mobile; Golf)
Wacky Races (Mobile; Driving)

Ridge Racer DS is one of the few DS launch titles making interesting use of the handheld's touch-screen display...

Week of 12/05/2004

Ridge Racer DS (DS; Golf) The big news with Ridge Racer DS--besides it being the first appearance of the Ridge Racer series on a handheld system--is the touch-screen steering system. Players will be able to use the stylus or the thumbpad to move a steering wheel displayed on the DS's lower screen and subsequently steer their cars. It's the closest thing DS gamers will have to analog steering for the foreseeable future.

Week of 12/12/2004

...and here's the other one. Tiger's analog swing mechanic should add complexity to the golf game, PDA-style.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 (DS; Golf) Tiger continues his gaming system world tour, this time on the newly released Nintendo DS. The game won't have the in-depth player-creation features found in the console versions, but some innovative uses of the DS's touch screen (including an analog swing mechanic) should make up for it.

Midtown Madness 3 (Mobile; Driving) This mobile-phone port of the urban driving game will feature both a 2D top-down mode and a more-traditional 3D mode. No word yet on release dates for "Uptown Insanity," "Downtown Psychosis," or "Theater District Neurosis."

Week of 12/26/2004

Stiff-arms hurt a lot more without the pads.

NFL Street 2 (Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube; Football) While not directly influenced by the classic Michael Jackson album Off the Wall, NFL Street 2's new move set includes wall-climbing techniques that are sure to add some flair to your offensive game. Released barely a year after its predecessor, NFL Street 2 looks to please fans of the first game with updated graphics, new playing fields, and online play via Xbox Live.

Other Releases:
MTX Mototrax (Zodiac; Racing)
Real Golf (Mobile; Golf)
Street Hoops (Zodiac; Basketball)

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