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Friday, August 7, 2009news@insidemacgames.com



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Penumbra Collection For $5 This Weekend Only
10:00 AM | Tuncer Deniz | 13 comments

After a bit of a delay, the Mac version of the Penumbra Collection is now available through Macgamestore.com and Mac Games Arcade. In addition, the collection is being offered for just $5 this weekend only; return to its regular price of $19.95 on Monday.

The Penumbra Collection consist of Penumbra: Overture, Penumbra: Black Plague and the expansion Penumbra: Requiem. Penumbra is a horror adventure featuring a unique physics interaction system, detailed story and dreadful environments. The series has received numerous awards, critical acclaim and recognition for its rejuvenation of the adventure genre as well as its fresh approach to the survival horror genre.

For more, follow the link below.

Macgamestore: Penumbra Collection
Mac Games Arcade: Penumbra Collection



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Scrabble Plus Now Available
1:39 PM | IMG News | 1 comment

Macgamestore.com today announced the release of Scrabble Plus, the new edition of America's favorite word game, for the Macintosh. Created by Gamehouse, SCRABBLE PLUS for Mac gives you the classic word-building of SCRABBLE - plus head-to-head dual board play, strategic maneuvers, arcade-style gameplay, and new game themes.

Play the way you remember with the original, all-time fan favorite SCRABBLE crossword game, plus three fun new themes: SCRABBLE Golf, where you try to reach the green with the longest words; SCRABBLE Battle, where you can take on a challenging opponent and try to control the most territories; and SCRABBLE Wizard where you put your lexical skills to the test in three extra-challenging versions, including the tournament favorite Clabbers. Each new game theme includes two or three imaginative variations for a total of eight ways to play.

With exciting head-to-head dual board action, helpful hints, unique power-ups, challenging computer opponents, stunning graphics, and inviting arcade play, both veteran and beginner players will find something to love about SCRABBLE PLUS for Mac.

Features:
* Enjoy the classic fun of SCRABBLE, plus 3 all-new ways to play
* Go head-to-head against opponents with challenging new dual board action
* Try these fun new themes: SCRABBLE Golf, SCRABBLE Battle, and the extra-challenging SCRABBLE Wizard
* Get non-stop fun with eight game variations, from novice to expert level

System Requirements:
* SCRABBLE PLUS requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later

SCRABBLE PLUS is available immediately as a digital download purchase through Macgamestore.com and Mac Games Arcade. A free demo is available for download. The full version costs $19.95 (USD).

Buy Scrabble Plus
Mac Game Store (add to watch list)
Mac Games Arcade (add to watch list)


Apple Games: The Growing Importance Of Digital Downloads
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Apple Games has posted a new article on the topic of digital download portals and their impact on marketing and selling Mac games. The article includes commentary from Virtual Programming's Mark Hinton (Deliver2Mac), TransGaming's Paul Nowosad (GameTree Online), Codeminion's Maciej Biedrzycki (Game Club Café), and Inside Mac Games's Tuncer Deniz (Mac Games Arcade).

But will digital delivery services make physical distribution obsolete, the same way iTunes has made many music lovers forget about CDs? Not everyone agrees on the ultimate fate of the game-on-a-disc model.

“Retail stores will never go away,” notes Deniz. “That said, digital downloads are becoming more and more important each and every day. Game companies that don’t offer them will be left behind and will lose out on big sales.”

Nowosad adds: “GameTree serves as an alternate vehicle of distribution that supplements the Apple retail channels.”

On the flip side, Hinton remarks: “Digital downloads will eventually replace physical products. Our customers like the fact they can access products anytime they like, and they’re becoming more confident about downloading digital content. In addition, the new generation of game players is more inclined to digitally download. To that end, a digital download version is always available at Deliver2Mac weeks before retail boxed product.”

And Biedrzycki says: “There will always be some kind of boxed games, such as premium collector’s editions, but they’ll be a niche market and the vast majority of games will soon be available online. Even with digital delivery, people tend to order backup CDs, but what they really want is to start playing the game as soon as the download finishes.”
To read the full article click over to the page below.

Apple Games: Digital Downloads



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IMG Reviews Hoyle Puzzle & Board Games 2009
6:00 AM | Marcus Albers | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of the impressive puzzle and board game collection, Hoyle Puzzle & Board Games 2009 from publishers Encore, Inc. The title, from the leading name in games, gives the player access to over 50 different games that can be played against the computer or human opponents. Here's and excerpt from the review:

In all the Hoyle games that I tried — and I admit that I did not play each one — the computer play could be set to a level appropriate for a beginner or hard enough to challenge all but the most expert of players. However, the Big Bang games use a different system for computer play, and I found that even at the hardest settings I was able to dominate most of the time. Of course, this isn’t surprising, since four of the seven Big Bang games are technically duplicates of games already in the Hoyle P&B set. Big Bang adds network-capable 4-In-A-Row, Mancala and Tic-Tac-Toe, but it duplicates Hoyle with network-capable. Backgammon, Checkers, Chess and Reversi.
Follow the link below to read the full review.

IMG Review: Hoyle Puzzle & Board Games 2009
Hoyle Puzzle & Board (add to watch list)
Buy Hoyle Puzzle & Board



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In-Poculis Mahjong 2.77 Released
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Independent software developer In-Poculis has announced In-Poculis Mahjong 2.77, an update to the 3D solitaire game for Mac OS X and Windows. In-Poculis Mahjong is a memory game where players have to select identical tiles to make them disappear. The main constraint is that they have to be on the layout's borders. All of the Mahjong pieces must be cleared to win. In-Poculis Mahjong features 120 levels and 6 themes.

"We tried all the Mahjong games we could to extract our prefered features" said Bernard Lerat, co-founder of In-Poculis. "However it was not enough. We wanted to add something really new to the gameplay and decided to change the scoring by the use of combos. You always have to select identical tiles but you have to evaluate many possibities to be sure to create straights or four of a kind"

Commonly called Shanghai games, In-Poculis Mahjong features 120 levels and 6 fun themes, including Christmas, Halloween, Asian, Easter, Wonderland and Future. Each theme has its own levels, graphics, musics, sound effects as well as an easy-to-read statistics panel where scores from themes' levels can be quickly observed. To get users started, a 5 step, in-game tutorial is displayed the first time the game is played. Players may also post their scores and photo on the game's website.

Among In-Poculis Mahjong's most prominent features is its combo feature to gain more points. Other than beating a particular time for clearing the board, players earn points with combos such as four of a kind (two identical pairs) or straights. If the player can no longer match a pair, the game board automatically reshuffles the tiles.

Feature Highlights:
* Standard and Expert Mode
* Christmas, Halloween, Asian, Easter, Wonderland and Future themes
* 120 levels
* Built-in 5 step, in-game Tutorial
* Post Scores and Photo on In-Poculis's website

Language support:
* US English, French and Spanish

Minimum Requirements:
* Mac OS X Version 10.4 Tiger, 10.5 Leopard or later
* Windows Seven, Vista, XP and 2000
* Universal Binary for PowerPC and Intel
* 53 MB Hard Drive space
In-Poculis Mahjong 2.77 is free with no limitations. Gamers are simply asked to donate to help further development.

Click on the links below for more information.

In-Poculis Mahjong
In-Poculis



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Playing Among The Stars In EVE Online
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

GamesIndustry.biz has published a new interview with CCP Games executive producer Nathan Richardsson about the company's sci-fi MMO EVE Online. The interview covers a variety of topics including future plans for EVE, improvements to the new player experience, and the usefulness of having a real-life economist on staff.

Q: One of the things I've always found fascinating is the in-game market, where the more people that contribute, the more interesting it becomes. Are there more tools planned for the economic side of the game?
Nathan Richardsson: Yes - it's always a question of how manipulative it is. If it's new gameplay, for example, we tend to have a hands-off approach to running the economy. We don't have a central bank or anything like that. It's more about evolving what's already in there, and at the same time providing our economist, Dr Eyjo, with more tools to analyse what's happening.

There's always something happening around the economy, whether that's in the back end for analysis, or making new resources more accessible. In general I think that getting Eyjo on board, getting a proper economist to look at that part of the game and see how we could improve it - but also see if real-world economic theories actually work in-game - was good.

Q: Has it helped from a game design point of view, and if so, how?
Nathan Richardsson: Yes - the thing is that you think about so many things as a value chain, with lots of links in-between. With this we've been seeing things like mistakes in resource distribution and fixed scarcity of moon minerals.

We've seen when more people have come in, that fixed scarcity has really upset the entire balance, which means that we're moving more towards resources that are just totally player-dependent. It's still scarcity-based, but it's more that there's not a totally finite number that doesn't scale.

So especially on the resource and industrial level, the economy has improved on that perspective, both by seeing where the major holes are and by seeing how small changes can affect the entire thing. It's more awareness-based.
Visit the page below to read the full Q&A.

GamesIndustry.biz: EVE Online Interview
CCP Games (add to watch list)
TransGaming (add to watch list)
EVE Online (add to watch list)


The Sims 3 Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The Armchair Empire has posted a new review of The Sims 3, the latest game in the popular series. The title adds customizable personalities, goal oriented gameplay, movie creation and editing, and an online community to the familiar lifesim formula. Armchair Empire gave the game a score of 9.5 out of 10.

From the review:

EA encourages and entices Sims gamers to register on www.TheSims3.com, the official site for all things The Sims 3, by giving registrants 1,000 SimPoints for buying items (outfits, furniture, home décor) for their Sims and also a new town to download for free, Riverview. Sustaining a portal that can be very profitable via microtransactions with gamers buying a lot of Sims items, and maybe even future expansions, seems to be a big goal of EA. There is other social networking through the site, too, as gamers will have the ability to blog and even edit their Sims 3 movies, from the story to the music, and upload the final “director’s cut.”
 
That social interaction transfers to the Sims, too. Along with possessingmore complex personalities, the Sims are now more social also, wanting to interact with each other more than ever. There’s seemingly more opportunities to discuss more topics of interest to a particular Sim, giving gamers ample opportunity to befriend (or romantically woo) more Sims and easier develop a larger number of personal relationships in-game.
 
Another huge augmentation is the new openness of the Sims world, transforming it into a true sandbox realm. In the previous Sims titles, gamers had to wait to load a new area just walking out the front door and going anywhere 50 feet from your Sims front door. Wanted to go on a shopping excursion? Had to wait to load the shopping area. Going out for a night on the town at the disco? Had to wait for the town to load.

Every time, gamers had to wait for the loading of whatever place they wanted to go. That’s been replaced with sandbox freedom. Now, moving about is as simple as strolling down the neighborhood block or zooming out on the map and clicking the desired destination. Gamers’ Sims are then whisked away by the quickest means possible to get there. The effect is a much more open reality than before.
Check out the link below to read more.

The Armchair Empire: The Sims 3 Review
Electronic Arts (add to watch list)
The Sims 3 (add to watch list)
Buy The Sims 3


Mac Games News for Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dr. Lynch: Grave Secrets Released6:00 AM
Frictional Games Business Model6:00 AM
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty Launch Date Pushed To 20106:00 AM
WoW: Priest Q&A6:00 AM
 
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, August 6, 2009 on one page


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