This week editor Stephen Totilo was out on vacation, but we still brought you the latest in the world of gaming:

* Aaron Greenberg, Microsoft's product management director for Xbox 360 and XBL, admitted to Patrick Klepek that the negative reaction to the XBL delisting policies was their fault, and they're "not happy with the ability to find content" on Xbox Live. Greenberg also gave details about their first-party XBLA studio.

* Speaking at the 2008 Games for Change festival, Microsoft's XNA general manager Chris Satchell said the development platform can help game designers change the world.

* Satchell later told me that Xbox Live users are ready for games about social change and that XNA won't run into the same interface issues as XBLA.

* Also at Games for Change, Naughty Dog lead designer Richard Lemarchand said games could be as great as Charles Dickens novels.

* As the final keynote speaker at Games for Change, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor spoke about how she thinks young people can learn about politics from games.

* Kojima Productions announced that reviewers can talk about the length of cut-scenes and the hard drive installation times for "Metal Gear Solid 4" after Totilo broke the news that they couldn't last week. He had also learned earlier in the week that not all reviewers were restricted (You can watch him talk about the situation on G4's "X-Play.")

* Totilo also talked with reviewers about not second-guessing their reviews, even despite death threats and other controversies.

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Multiplayer editor Stephen Totilo examined the process of reviewing games with interviews from reviewers, developers and publicists. Check out his reports:

  • Should reviews ditch scores? Ted Price and Denis Dyack disagree.

* Patrick Klepek spoke with Phil Harrison about how "Alone in the Dark" fixes a big problem in gaming, but he's not sure if the game will support the PS3's Home service or trophies.

* Harmonix claimed that the Wii version of "Rock Band" wasn't an afterthought and that white plastic is meant to get dirty. Meanwhile, we confirm "Guitar Hero: World Tour" will have licensed downloadable tracks.

* Yoshi takes the top spot for reptiles and amphibians in our search for the Greatest Animal in the History of Video Games.

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* At an event in New York's Central Park, everyday New Yorkers and tourists review "Wii Fit." Later, we had a personal trainer take a look at 10 exercises, and he gave his expert opinion.

* Stephen Totilo learned five new details about "LittleBigPlanet" -- including info about enemies, music, gifts and more. Also, a public beta is still possible.

* Can you spell "Bleszinski"? Cliff Bleszinski revealed that he no longer wants to be called "CliffyB."

* Totilo gave his impressions of "Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts" to see if it's as disappointing as everyone says it is.

* Hell hath frozen over? Almost. We found out that Nintendo DS and Xbox360 connectivity were considered for "Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise."

* "Castlevania"'s Koji Igarashi told Patrick Klepek he's not tired of the series, and he's still not convinced the Wiimote would make a good whip.

* Have no fear: We learned the "Metal Gear" series will continue after "Guns of the Patriots" (as wellas its connection to "Assassin's Creed."

* The makers of "Madworld" talk about comparisons to "Sin City" and signpost-stabbing...

* Testing... one... two... What if you tried a "Rock Band" mic with "SingStar"?

* Things I've done at the Nintendo World Store: pre-ordered games, bought games and... witnessed a watermelon-eating contest? See pro eaters do their thing in the name of WiiWare's "Major League Eating."

* The week in "120 Seconds": See the first two minutes of "Persona 3," "Haze," WiiWare's "Critter Round-Up," "Battletoads" and "Penny Arcade Adventures."

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gearsofwar2.jpgThis week, editor Stephen Totilo reported from San Francisco along with our local reporter Patrick Klepek. Check out our news from the event this week and expect extended coverage and interviews all next week!

* At the Microsoft press event, the makers of "Gears of War 2," "Too Human" and "Fable 2" hyped their games.

* Stephen Totilo talked to Microsoft's Shane Kim about "Gears of War 2," Peter Jackson's "Halo" project, Games for Windows and more. He also got to chat with Kudo Tsunoda, the general manager for Microsoft's "Gears of War" development efforts about the game.

* CliffyB revealed that "Gears of War 2" could be a duo, a trilogy, or even a six-parter. Though he won't explain "What's Up."

* Despite all the farting, Peter Molyneux said that "Fable 2" is not 100% British. What?

* Totilo and Patrick Klepek got to check out "Skate It," "Left 4 Dead," "Warhammer Online," Konami's new music game "Rock Revolution" (even on DS), and "Samba de Amigo" on the Wii.

* WiiWare launched this week. Jason Cipriano had trouble making room for "LostWinds" and "Defend Your Castle." What did you end up buying?

* We debuted our new video feature "120 Seconds," where we show you the first two minutes of gameplay for the latest titles to help you decide if its worth your precious playtime. This week we took a look at "Portal," "Turning Point: Fall of Liberty," "Boom Blox," the last four "GTA" games, and even WiiWare titles "LostWinds" and "Defend Your Castle."

* The "C"word: What does it mean to be a "casual" gamer or game? The debate continues...

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gtaiv-bagel.jpg* Where are the bagels? Multiplayer editor Stephen Totilo gave us a highly controversial yet tongue-in-cheek list of things that "GTA IV" got "wrong" about NYC. I also gave my take on what so many others found wrong with "GTA IV."

* "Wii Fit" got delivered to MTV headquarters with a personal trainer in tow. Luckily, we had a camera person tape the whole event with Totilo nearly yoga-ing a co-worker in the head.

* We compare NYC's MTV and Liberty City's MeTV in video and in photos.

* With "GTA IV" scoring a slew of perfect 10s, Totilo pondered why we've had a run of so many "great" games lately and then later, if reviewers really need to finish games.

* Even though "GTA IV" made $500 million, people still think that games don't pose a threat to Hollywood.

* Speaking of Hollywood, why aren't there "Batman" or "Indiana Jones" games coming day and date with the films?

* We got a hardware analyst to break down the cost of the Xbox 360's 120GB hard drive.

* Mini-maps: Use 'em or lose 'em?

* College students: If you're reading this blog, why aren't you studying for finals? Got games distracting you?

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gtaiv-statueofhappiness.jpgThis week, "GTA IV" finally came out. We tore ourselves away from the game to give you extensive coverage. Check it out:

* From the soundtrack to underage players to hooker shootings to the price of gas, view all of our "GTA IV" stories here or here.

* Patrick Klepek reported that Matt Damon passed on "The Bourne Conspiracy" game due to its violence as well as other games over the years.

* We revealed that "Fatal Inertia EX" will hit PSN next month.

* Our resident Nintendo fanboy Jason Cipriano wrote Nintendo a letter about his issues with "Mario Kart Wii."

* Nintendo President Satoru Iwata responded to Microsoft's proposed motion controller that we broke last month.

* We got pictures of a horse covered in ping pong balls for the "Age of Conan" mo-cap shoot.

* The pole dancing Wii game is for fitness (of course) and for both men and women alike.

* "Tecmo Bowl" is coming to the DS but without Bo Jackson and the NFL.

* Stephen Totilo looked at the most graphically impressive PS3 game so far.

* Which bird is better? Chocobos and "Zelda" Chickens take the top prize in our year-long search for the Greatest Animal in Video Games.

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* In response to Newsweek's N'Gai Croal's comments about the "Resident Evil 5" trailer, Stephen Totilo asks gamers to stop relying on the phrase "it's just a game"

* Kids are already scheming to get "Grand Theft Auto IV." Tracey John spoke with some underage gamers about how they will secure their copy

* Stephen was lucky enough to sit down with Shigeru Miyamoto and ask him if the "Wii Fit" Balance Board is a new Nintendo character

* Nolan Bushnell, the father of the modern video game, believes violence and long form game design are responsible for losing casual gamers

* I discovered a series of job postings suggesting Microsoft's a new team for Peter Jackson's "Halo" project. Microsoft later told me I was right

* Jason Cipriano moved onto his latest Nintendo obsession, "Mario Kart Wii," and tested it with some unique controllers. Stephen, meanwhile, passes on his impressions

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Shigeru MiyamotoWhile there was little talk of motion controllers this week at Multiplayer, that didn't stop us from babbling on a whole assortment of other topics…

* Stephen Totilo had a chance to speak with Shigeru Miyamoto, and would only tease what he found out from the gaming luminary, but at least we know "Wii Fit" is a game!

* I reported that the ESRB requires downloadable content to maintain the same content rating as the original game. Then, the ESRB told me that's not exactly true

* After gamers were split on responding to a study presented at the MI6 Conference in San Francisco about whether demos are better than trailers and if marketers should design Achievements, I talked to the guys behind the study and made them defend their findings

* Tracey John quizzed id Software on why they split the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 ports of "Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars" between two different teams

* Stephen find out that "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith" doesn't mean the death of the numbered "Guitar Hero" series

* Harmonix announced the long awaited arrival of full album downloads in "Rock Band," and Stephen had a chance to speak with Harmonix's head honcho about it

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remote2.jpg* We broke details on the in-development, Wi-like motion controller for the Xbox, and answered your questions.

* I interviewed five different black professionals in games -- Newsweek's N'Gai Croal, Crystal Dyamics' Morgan Gray, Nerjyzed's Brian Jackson, Sony's Felice Standifer and Midway's Shana Bryant -- about their experiences and thoughts on black people in development and in games.

* N'Gai Croal also gave his extended thoughts on the "Resident Evil 5" trailer, and a few of you had something to say about it. We later learned that the game is indeed set in Africa.

* Stephen Totilo gave his impressions of "GTV IV" multiplayer. And yes, the controls are better than previous games. He also got more cool "GTA IV" stuff than I did. What gives???

* Patrick Klepek visited Pixar, where he spoke with a "Wall-E" character designer about games and got his hands on "Deadly Creatures."

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ecco-with-caption1.jpgDespite a noisy "Rock Band" session being held outside in Times Square, we got some work done. Check it out:

* No one's surprised: Sony's Sixaxis controller is discontinued.

* We go behind the mystery of the PS3's mandatory hard drive installations, and it causes quite a stir. And while we're at it, we ask, "What has WiiConnect24 done for us lately?"

* An Xbox 360 gamerscore cheater 'fesses up and told us why he did it.

* Stephen Totilo talked to "Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Swords" producer Yosuke Hayashi, who revealed that the game is good enough for his mom.

* To trilogy or not to trilogy? Silicon Knights justifies why "Too Human" will be a threesome; BioWare explains the same for "Mass Effect."

* CroTilo's Vs. Mode on "Patapon" concludes with an argument about grinding in games.

* See the newest PSN games -- "WipEout HD," "Echochrome" and "Elefunk" -- in action. Patrick Klepek gave us his "WipEout HD" impressions.

* For once, the judges and the readers agree: Ecco the Dolphin is the greatest aquatic animal in video games.

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