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Monday, February 12, 2007

The Sims Life Stories Coming To Macs
9:07 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The PC version of The Sims Life Stories hit store shelves last friday and brought with it official confirmation of an upcoming Mac version. In the press release dealing with the PC version Electronic Arts announced that Life Stories for Mac is "coming soon." Developed by Aspyr Media, the game introduces a unique storyline complete with romance, dramatic twists, and unlockable content.

In the game players will have a choice of either following the new directed Story mode with predefined characters and storylines or create their own Sim in Classic mode and enjoy open-ended play. Designed with laptop users in mind The Sims Stories series will feature simple shortcuts and an auto pause feature upon closing the laptop. Two other games, Pet Stories and Castaway Stories, are scheduled to ship for PC in summer 2007 and winter 2008.

The Sims Life Stories, introduces an all-new Story Mode with two unique stories that follow the lives of Riley Harlow and Vincent Moore, two very different characters who have reached similar crossroads in their love lives. A comic romantic plot centered around engaging characters guides players through twelve chapters of each story. Players can take their Sims through unique and entertaining storylines filled with romance, intrigue and dramatic twists. Will Riley ditch boyfriend number one to marry and have kids with boyfriend number two? Will successful entrepreneur Vince ever find love, or the culprit who's been foiling his heart-earned efforts to find it? Players can discover these answers and more, or enjoy classic open-ended Sims gameplay.

"Everyone loves a good story. With The Sims Life Stories, casual players can pop into the game during a quick coffee break or spend a more time directing the love lives of Riley and Vince," said Rod Humble, VP Head of Studio for The Sims Division. "The Sims franchise has long been celebrated for it's accessibility and creativity, allowing players to create and live in the world of their dreams. Its gameplay elements like these that make The Sims the perfect place to explore these romantic comedies."
Click on the links below for more information.

The Sims Life Stories For PC Hits Stores
The Sims Life Stories
Aspyr Media

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iPhone Games On The Way?
9:07 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

According to an EA Mobile executive quoted in a recent Business Week article Apple is discussing plans with the company to release games on the upcoming iPhone. The Business Week piece also examines the iPod's gaming status and the potential for games on another yet to be released product, Apple TV.

Since Apple unveiled the iPhone in January, speculation has abounded about whether the device will feature games. On one hand, the design is a step closer to an all-in-one portable media device and it includes a robust OSX operating system capable of running elaborate games. The touch-screen interface would pose challenges, say game developers, but would also open some new doors.

Apple is mum on gaming plans for the iPhone or Apple TV, but Mitch Lasky, senior vice-president of EA Mobile, says his company is discussing plans for games on the phone. "We have been talking to Apple about games on (the iPhone)," Lasky says. "We see a lot of the technology that we've utilized on the iPod side being incorporated into the iPhone."
The entire article is available at the site listed below.

Business Week: Apple Embraces Casual Gaming

Phantasia II Reviewed
9:07 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The Slacker's Guide has posted a new review of Rake in Grass' Phantasia II, a ball and paddle game in the tradition of Breakout. Building upon established foundations the game adds a few twists to the familiar genre with color matching, three different game modes, and a save feature.

From the review:

The joy of the title arrives in its gameplay. Rake In Grass did its homework and realized that they were working with a veteran genre to say the least. It would have been easy to wrap a standard shareware game around the classic Breakout style and have it claim a certain amount of attention, yet wind up melting into the background of games that have done the same. Phantasia II actually takes the original idea and makes it better. Amazing graphics, good sound, highly amusing in-game jokes, digitized screams of falling dwarves and an excellent use of color help make the game appealing while some genuinely new ideas add to the title.

First and foremost, Phantasia II is a color-matching game. Fire the ball up towards a layer of bricks and it'll turn to match that color. Hit the same color of bricks again off the rebound and a chain reaction will occur, taking out nearby identically colored bricks. Hit a different color of brick and you'll be able to wipe out that brick, but only a single brick will be wiped out and the ball will change into the color of the brick it just hit. It's this underlying principle that guides the game. From there, the rest is wide open.

It's the small things that make this game work. A ball's ricochet angle can be adjusted on the fly by clicking the left or right mouse button to change the angle of the paddle and thus open more directions to hit it in rather than hope for the right angle with brick and paddle games of yesteryear.

The rest of the review is available at the link below.

The Slacker's Guide: Phantasia II
Rake in Grass

Jeff Vogel Explains His Hate For RPGs
9:07 AM | Cord Kruse | 14 comments

The seventh View From The Bottom is now available. This time Spiderweb Software's Jeff Vogel turns his thoughts toward role playing games, specifically addressing the reasons for his hatred of the genre. The article, laced with Vogel's usual humor, begins a two part look at RPGs and their failings.

In any other sort of game, I could start out playing someone competent and immediately do stuff. In role-playing games, I have to prove that I deserve to be competent by enduring tedium. Then it lets me do the heroic stuff. And multiplayer games are like that times 10. Anyone who ever spent an hour in World of Warcraft killing 50 goblin chiropractors to collect 10 chiropractor shins knows what I am talking about.

And the games I write are no better. They do exactly the same thing. Sure, it might be cool to make a game where your character starts out a level 50 badass and then just trashes bozos. But it just wouldn't sell as well. The addictive, statistic-increasing, time-eating quality isn't the problem with these games. It's the point.
Check out the link below to read the full article.

RPG Vault: View From The Bottom #7
Spiderweb Software

Mac Games News for Friday, February 9, 2007

Inside Mac Games Reviews Prey3:16 PM
Apple's Newest Hot Deals2:31 PM
Pangea Software Announces February Sale2:11 PM
Kitty Spangles Solitaire 3 Released2:05 PM
Custer Explores Another Desktop7:26 AM
Dominoes 4.0 Released7:26 AM
Pirates Of The Caribbean Online Sets Sail for Mac7:26 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, February 9, 2007 on one page

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