- So many esoteric weekend links that they're spilling out into the week - but that can only be a good thing, really. And this set even has a little Parappa action in it, to be heartily encouraged - here goes:

- The Chinese Get Civilized: 2K's Jason Bergman has a neat post about the Chinese version of Civilization IV, revealing and showing how they made the official version a bit unique: "For the low, low price of 元139 (that’s about $18), you get the game, a soundtrack CD, a tech tree, manual (slimmed down from the original English version…a fully translated Chinese language manual would probably have been enormous), a t-shirt, and a statue." Actually, even more interesting: "Localizing it brought with it a number of problems…there were several gameplay changes that were necessary to get it past the governmental censors (I won’t go into them here, but if you play Civ, it’s not hard to guess what they might be)." Anyone?

- Parappa Gets Frank: Brandonnn pointed out to me that Sony has a special Paul Frank/Parappa team-up: "To help promote PaRappa the Rapper’s debut on the PlayStation® Portable system, Paul Frank Industries teamed up with PaRappa's "co-creator and artist", Rodney Alan Greenblat, to create a limited edition tee-shirt featuring Paul Frank’s signature character Julius and our very own PaRappa the Rapper." Go Rodney, go Rodney! Not sure if this will be available at retail?

- Cheating Gets Own Tome: The ever-wordy Terra Nova pointed out a new MIT Press book I wasn't aware of - Mia Consalvo's upcoming 'Cheating', which "...provides a cultural history of cheating in videogames, looking at how the packaging and selling of such cheat-enablers as cheat books, GameSharks, and mod chips created a cheat industry." The intro extract [.PDF] gives you a good idea of the tone, which is decidedly academic, but may well be instructive, too - I find MIT Press game books alternately brilliant and impenetrable, so YMMV.

- Elite Beat Invasion!: Nintendo World Report points out a very neat crossover: "For two weeks from June 28th through July 11th, Ouendan 2 owners in Japan will be able to take their DS cards to in-store DS Stations and download new characters into their games. These characters are none other than iNiS's other DS mascots, the Elite Beat Agents." Those guys are really getting around, their game having been re-imported to Japan by a bunch of Tokyo game stores already.

- Japan & Forza 2 Hold Hands: You've probably seen plenty of car customization pics from Microsoft's Forza 2 recently, but Pink Tentacle points out the Japanese efforts in car modding on the Xbox 360 game. As they explain: "Here are links to two enormous online galleries (Gallery 1, Gallery 2) of virtual otaku-mobile paint jobs incorporating loads of Japanese-flavored eye candy, from anime and manga to games, food packaging and more." Oop, I see at least one NSFW Mini roof in the first link, be warned!

As for internal CMP Game Group-related links for today, we don't have anything _just this second_, but there's actually two neat Game Developer Research-related announcements we'll hopefully be making later this week, one with a new report featuring some never-before-calculated stats, and the other involving a whole new blog for you guys to get your hands on - watch at for more info on this soon.