US PC game charts: June 11-17

Cars: Radiator Springs Adventures overtakes Half-Life 2: Episode One, leading WOW, Oblivion, Heroes of Might & Magic V, and a whole pack of Sims.

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Two weeks after it was released, Half-Life 2: Episode One was dethroned from the top of the US PC charts. That was the story told by the latest PC charts from industry-research group NPD Funworld, which were for the week of June 11-17.

However, that wasn't the whole story. NPD's PC charts are based on the volume of boxed copies of games sold at retail, and do not include games that are digitally distributed. Since Valve Software, developer of Episode One, sells many--possibly most--of its games via its Steam download service, it is almost certain that the first Half-Life 2 expansion pack sold far more units than the charts indicate.

However, at retail, there was a new top title--one that many might find surprising. Cars: Radiator Springs Adventures, the E-rated collection of minigames based on the hit Disney/Pixar film, raced ahead from its third-place finish the previous week to take the checkered flag. Episode One was pushed down a slot, finishing in second place.

In third was the massively multiplayer role-playing game World of Warcraft, once again displaying the staying power that has kept in the top 10 almost every week since its November 2004 release. One place behind was a game with even longer legs, the Sims 2, which has also been a regular on the best-seller charts since it went on sale in September 2004. The most recent two Sims 2 add-ons made appearances as well: The Sims 2 Family Fun Stuff landed in fifth and The Sims 2 Open For Business in sixth.

In seventh was the popular role-playing game Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, followed by the fantasy strategy title Heroes of Might & Magic V. Guild Wars Factions, the first expansion for NCsoft and ArenaNet's MMORPG Guild Wars, came in ninth. Last and least, by volume, anyway, was the real-time strategy game Age of Empires III.

The only title to get bumped off the PC charts during the week of June 11-17 was Eidos' third-person assassination simulation Hitman: Blood Money.

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