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My MacWorld Expo NY 2002 Tale
July 23, 2002 | Michael Phillips

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Waiting for the action to start
There are few things in this world that make me giddy--the AnimeNation retail store, Alanis Morissette live, a Las Vegas casino and an English accent attached to a lovely young lady being in my favorites list. However, none of the previous even come close to the thrill of Macworld New York (MWNY)! Ok, Alanis is really a close second, but I digress. As a Mac Zealot, there is no better place to be than Macworld; itís impossible to leave without seeing something thatís spectacular and meeting some great folks while doing so.

So, what was hip and with it at this yearís MWNY? What made Mac gamers 'ooh' and 'ahh' at the Jacob K. Javits Center? Well, folks, let me just say there was quite a bit within and without the Expo that made my jaw hit the proverbial floor. Feel the excitement of Steve Jobsí keynote; experience some tense moments at the MacPlay bunker; witness the love at the Aspyr Media booth; partake in the joy and disappointment during a visit with the people at Bold by Destineer; and be there for a thought-provoking chat with David Letterman. Read on, fellow gamers and Appleholics, as I tell the tale of my Macworld New York 2002 adventure.

MWNY 2002: A Rendezvous With Our Digital Lifestyle
This yearís Macworld New York began at 6 A.M. sharp. Now, normally I donít have a clue what goes on in the world at that hour of the morning, but for a Steve Jobs keynote Iíll make any exception. So, after a quick cup of cocoa, it was off to the Javitz. Being an AppleMaster (nice work if you can get it), I get to avoid the maddeningly long keynote line and sit in the Apple V.I.P. section. Thereís something enjoyable about waiting for Steve to take the stage, one never knows what tricks he has up his sleeve, but surprise is almost certainly in order. Well, this yearís address was no exception.

While not as game-heavy as previous keynotes, it was still an address that was important for Mac users as a whole. First, Mac OS 10.2 (Jaguar) is a VERY important upgrade. With Jaguar, OS X finally looks and feels complete. Thanks to Quartz Extreme, OS X receives a major speed boost graphically; window movement, scrolling, screen redraw and the Finder will all boast a marked improvement in responsiveness. At last, OS X will be just as snappy as the late OS 9. Speaking of the Finder, Jaguar will finally bring Spring-Loaded Folders to Mac OS X, w00t! Furthermore, Jaguar features all the latest Unix bells & whistles, making OS X more stable and geeky. Another of Jaguarís features that LAN gamers might find particularly useful is Rendezvous. Rendezvous allows Macs and devices, such as printers and Palm handhelds, to automatically recognize each other while connected to a network, without any extra configuration. Thus, all a group has to do is boot up their Macs around an AirPort base station and BAM, instant LAN fragfest! Howís that for revolutionary? Thanks to Rendezvous, weíll all be connected in a very Serial Experimentsesque way. With over 150 new additions, Jaguar will be an excellent update for Mac gamers and non-gamers alike.

In the area of hardware, Apple released some nifty new iMacs. These new iMacs sport STUNNING 17Ē flat panel displays, bigger hard drives and the addition of the nVidia GeForce 4 MX 3D hardware. The 17Ē wide screen display is truly a thing of beauty, itís crisp, portrays color accurately and would be perfect for any game out there. Plus, those GeForce4 MXs should support solid frame rates while enjoying a game of Medal of Honor: Allied Assault or WarCraft III.

Indeed, there are some thrilling things coming from 1 Infinite Loop, but what about elsewhere? What about games? Worry not, friends, this MWNY was one of the finest for gaming on the Mac OS. Apple set up an enormous Mac games arcade, complete with several rows of Power Mac G4 towers connected to various flavors of flat panel displays. In the arcade, players could go head to head in a game of pop-pop, use the Force in a round of Jedi Knight II and even take Shadowbane for a spin.

Thatís right, kids, Shadowbane was up and running at MWNY and let me just say that it looked fantastic! Shadowbane will be the first full 3D massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) to grace our platform simultaneously with its PC counterpart. In fact, 99% of the gameís code is identical between the Mac and PC, thus us Mac users will never have to wait for a patch or update. Itís great to see two companies like Ubi Soft and Wolfpack Studios so committed to bringing a MMORPG to the Mac, Shadowbane is most definitely something special. Be sure to keep an eye out for beta reports from IMG soon.

Apple also put together a games theater where every hour or so, gamers could take a seat and watch various publishers demo their hottest titles on the big screen. Aspyr did a great Jedi Knight II demo, and even in late alpha, the game looked gorgeous. MacPlay was showing off Soldier of Fortune II, this first-person shooter will be like nothing Mac users have ever seen. Trust me, there is something magical about a game in which a shotgun can be used to literally remove an enemyís head from his shoulders. This game definitely is not for the tots. Indeed, the games theater was surely the place to be for a little rest, relaxation and mayhem.


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