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Get a digital ‘stop-smoking' coach 

Langston Wertz Jr.
Langston Wertz Jr. writes about video games, gadgets, golf and sports for The Charlotte Observer and Charlotte.com.

Can a video game help you stop smoking?

Ubisoft plans to make a game based on Allen Carr's book “The Easy Way to Stop Smoking.” The game, for the Nintendo DS, is slated to be released in November.

Carr's book was published in 50 countries and became an international best-seller. According to Ubisoft, more than 10 million smokers worldwide have used the book (or associated clinics or DVDs) to kick the habit.

Carr's method tries to remove the smoker's belief that smoking provides him with any genuine pleasure or crutch; its goal is to take away the feeling of deprivation and rid the smoker of the fear of stopping. Independent scientific studies confirm a success rate of greater than 50 percent after 12 months.

On the DS, a player will input details of his or her smoking habit and select a digital “coach” to help them kick it.

Media Xporter Drive

Many gamers are using their Xbox 360s and PlayStation 3s as entertainment devices to store music and movies. Iomega's new Media Xporter Drive is designed to increase storage capacity.

It's a wallet-sized device with a 160-gigabyte capacity that connects via the USB 2.0 port and allows users to store and play back content on TV through the game console – without the need for a PC or digital media adapter. In other words, you could download a TV show on your PC, put it on the Media Xporter Drive, then hook up to your game console and watch it on an HDTV.

The unit will store up to 240 hours of MPEG-2 video, 2,960 hours of music, and 640,000 photos.

The new $104 drive also expands the capabilities of the consoles by converting multiple formats into files your game console recognizes.

‘Prizefighter'

One of the most anticipated sports games of the summer, “Don King Presents: Prizefighter,” drops June 10 for Xbox 360 and in the fall for the Wii. The soundtrack will include funk artists Bootsy Collins, George Clinton and Parliament, plus rap group Run DMC. Collins provided an original theme song for the game.

“Prizefighter” follows players as they train and ascend to stardom by overcoming adversity, temptation (2007 Penthouse Pet of the Year Heather Vandeven is among the women vying for your time), and bad agents. It's presented as a live-action sports documentary.

Odds and ends

Namco Bandai released “Splatterhouse” for the Xbox 360 and PS3 last week. Inspired by the 1988 arcade hit, “Splatterhouse” follows a college student trying to rescue his girlfriend, who disappeared after entering what appears to be a haunted house. The lead character goes inside and puts on a “terror mask,” gains mystical powers, and battles otherworldly creatures while trying to find his girl.

G4, the multimedia technology destination, has made some of its most popular series available to download on Xbox Live. Shows available for download immediately are animated comedy series “Code Monkeys,” including a free sneak preview of season two, snowboarder reality series “The Block” and a special weekly episode of “Attack of the Show.”

On June 23, the start of DirecTV's second season of the Championship Gaming Series, author Michael Kane's “Game Boys” book will debut. Kane tracks two top gaming teams and writes about how gaming, the sport, is becoming mainstream and developing stars – and problems with gambling, drugs and more. Kane is a features writer for the New York Post.

Debuting in stores Tuesday: “Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee 2” for the PSP. “Open Tee 2” adds six new courses and 12 new characters to the popular golf simulation.

Get more Games N Gadgets news at http://langstonwertz.blogspot.com.

Langston Wertz Jr.: 704-358-5133; lwertz@charlotteobserver.com.

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