Entertainment

Mad about Madden – again

News and notes from the video game world:

This week's Billboard magazine takes a look at Madden 09, the 20th edition of the world's most popular football game.

In the article, game publisher Electronic Arts claims Madden is the most popular video game series ever, with more than 70 million sold. The past four editions have produced four of the 10 top-selling games of all time, with sales of nearly 30 million combined.

But why is a music mag like Billboard writing about a sports game?

More and more, music groups are hoping for their work to be included in the Madden soundtrack, to boost recognition and sales. This year, 5,000 songs were submitted for inclusion. Only 26 made the cut. Look for Madden in stores later this summer.

Due to an embargo I cannot review the game here, but EA Sports' NCAA 09 debuts Tuesday. Put it on your must-buy or rent lists.

AOL and Universal Pictures are co-producing a series of eight games based on the upcoming feature film, “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.” The series, called “The Dragon Emperor's Challenge” will include a sweepstakes with daily prize giveaways totaling more than $20,000. Up for grabs is a trip to China for two, a family vacation to Universal Studios in Hollywood or Orlando, Fla., and a deluxe home theater system.

Access the games and behind-the-scenes content from the film at moviefone.com/themummy

Look for the stars of the upcoming animated movie “Space Chimps” to lend their voices to the video game (but doesn't that always happen nowadays? More residuals, ya know?).

Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm, RV) and Patrick Warburton (Bee Movie, Seinfeld) will reprise their roles from the movie, Luna and Titan respectively, for the video game, which debuts Tuesday. The movie drops Friday.

Midway has launched midwayarcade.com – where games can download versions of the company's classic arcade games, such as Defender and Joust and Spy Hunter. Three games can be downloaded for as little as $5. The company also launched a new digital storefront on its main site (midway.com) to allow gamers to grab 10 more recent Midway releases starting at $9.99 per game.

EA Mobile announced that three popular EA games – Scrabble, EA Sudoku and Tetris – are now available for the iPhone and iPod touch. A native version of Spore will be on iPhone in September when Spore launches across all gaming platforms.

Yahoo! Inc., the search-engine operator that turned down a takeover bid from Microsoft Corp., will offer free, advertising-supported games to increase revenue. Yahoo will sell and place video spots in more than 400 downloadable games that will be available by the end of the year. Games without ads will be available for a fee.

Read more Games N Gadgets news at http://langstonwertz.blog spot.com; Reach Langston? 704-358-5133; lwertz@charlotteobserver.com

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