The holidays are here – if you consider Columbus Day a holiday. And if you don't, then at least mark it as the beginning of the, um, beginning, as both pearls and swine are marching their way to retail shelves. I was pleasantly surprised by how efficient and willing Tecmo was to accomodate my first-ever request for a review copy from them; thank you, guys, for balancing some bad experiences I've had lately. Let's hope some other big companies are less reticent with their holiday-hits-to-be than they were last year.

I don't know how to describe the experience of Animal Crossing. With its pervasive world and real-world clock, it's addicting, demanding players to keep account of happenings in their town (Onett, in my case) lest they miss an annual event, a sale, or any number of special occurrences. Just as Seaman was a virtual pet fish, Animal Crossing is practically a virtual pet town.

However, Crossing was more of a diversion for me, and will not be reviewed. I'm busily scoping out Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2, which is as virtually illegal as I care to get at this time. No BMX XXX for me, thanks. (whereas that game may cross a fine line, I would consider allowing myself to at least approach it – the line – and engage in a round of Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball).