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Article updated: 7/3/2013 6:20 AM

Gear up for eight classic games in one box

By Sean Stangland

Video gamers have been sneaking around as Solid Snake since "Metal Gear" debuted on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987. Hideo Kojima's landmark series of military adventures with an emphasis on stealthy gameplay has survived every console generation, and footage from the forthcoming "Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain" impressed everyone who watched Sony's E3 presentation last month.

Unfortunately, that game is still months away.

But in just a few days, PlayStation 3 owners can buy eight classic games from the "Metal Gear" series for $49.99. Konami's "Metal Gear Solid Legacy Collection" hits stores Tuesday and includes the NES original, the landmark PS1 game "Metal Gear Solid" and its sequels, and even the PlayStation Portable's "Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker."

Unfortunately for Xbox 360 owners like myself, this latest "MGS" collection is a Sony exclusive -- though three of the games included are available on Xbox as "Metal Gear Solid HD Collection," released in 2011.

Ÿ Microsoft acolytes do have a new installment in another long-running franchise to look forward to this Tuesday, as "NCAA Football 14" comes to both Xbox 360 and PS3 for $59.99. Thanks to fan voting, Michigan QB Denard Robinson graces the cover of this year's game, which boasts "real-time physics," improvements to the running game and more than 20 new types of option offenses, according to EA's website.

After years of devotion to the Madden franchise, perhaps it's time I rededicate myself to bringing a (virtual) National Championship to downstate Charleston. Go EIU Panthers!

Ÿ One of the finest video games on the market reaches across mobile and console platforms, and it's still going strong. "The Pinball Arcade" resurrects classic, real-life pinball machines for the digital age, and developer FarSight Studios releases two new tables every month. The latest pack features "Whirlwind" and "Champion Pub," two games familiar to any fan of the silverball from the 1990s.

Among their upcoming projects is a digital translation of the pinball game based on "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," but they can't finish the game without a little help from their fans. FarSight is running a Kickstarter campaign to help pay the licensing fees involved with marketing a niche game featuring the voice and likeness of The Governator.

FarSight needs $59,000 to make the game possible, and everyone who pledges at least $10 will get a free copy of the table on their choice of platform.

The "T2" table is, indeed, a classic -- I remember pumping dozens of tokens into that machine at the dearly departed Just For Fun arcade in Arlington Heights. (You know, the one next to the old Town & Country movie theaters? Ahh, those were the days.)

"The Pinball Arcade" is available for download on iOS and Android devices, as well as Xbox 360, PS3, Mac OS, Kindle Fire and Ouya. Wii U and Windows versions are in the works.

Promising premiere

Finally, the parade of summer TV premieres continues this week, and the most interesting offering airs at 9 p.m. Wednesday on FX.

The much-hyped mystery "The Bridge" stars 2012 Oscar nominee Demian Bichir ("A Better Life") and "Inglourious Basterds" star Diane Kruger. Like AMC's "The Killing," this new series is based on a Scandinavian original with the action moved to the U.S. -- the U.S.-Mexico border, to be exact, where Bichir's Detective Marco Ruiz of the Chihuahua State Police and Kruger's Detective Sonya Cross of El Paso team up to solve a series of murders amid drug violence.

The show also features TV veterans Annabeth Gish ("The X-Files") and Ted Levine ("Monk"), as well as goofball-turned-serious actor Matthew Lillard ("The Descendants").

Ÿ Daily Herald copy editor, pop-culture fanatic and hopeless nerd Sean Stangland writes about topics related to television, video games and digital content every Friday in Time out!

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