- Perusing the Circuit City ad in the Sunday papers today (see, print's not dead!), I spotted a strange 3-pack of games for the Xbox 360, bundled together for just $30 - and decided to do some more investigation.

And - lo and behold, as displayed on Amazon - it's the new ESA Foundation charity bundle, with Cars, Open Season, and Fuzion Frenzy 2 for the Xbox 360 all for just $29.99, and the proceeds going to charity. Very cool. I Googled around a bit, and one or two obscure sites mentioned this a few weeks ago, but there doesn't seem to have been a press release or publicity on it yet - odd.

In any case, here's a release on the last compilation, which bundled Sony's ATV Offroad Fury 2, THQ's Splashdown: Rides Gone Wild, and EA's Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2 for the PS2 at a $19.99 price point, and raised more than $1.5 million for charity through its North American sales in 2005 and 2006.

This time, it's THQ (Cars), Ubisoft (Open Season), and Hudson/Microsoft (Fuzion Frenzy 2) who have contributed their titles, presumably with permission from the license holders for those first two movies, and they should be applauded for offering their games up for such a good cause. (Also, being one of the few people who played through Fuzion Frenzy 2 in a bit of a masochistic, uh, frenzy, I can say that it's actually kind of fun, if you're focused on Achievements ahead of gameplay, or playing with an in-person, slightly tipsy crowd.)

The 2007 ESA Foundation beneficiaries (whom I presume are benefited by this) include Hopelab, the Federation Of American Scientists, and Web Wise Kids. It's interesting that, in addition to traditional charities, some of the grants this year are specifically related to distributing 'serious games' - both Re-Mission and Immune Attack, which educate and counsel on health-related issues. That's a smart way to help the game industry improve its image and help people at the same time, no?