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Games For The Entire Family
September 7, 2001 | Jeff Wescott

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The Sims
The Sims is a long-standing series but itís not too late to jump on the bandwagon. As a recent comer to the Mac platform from Aspyr, this real life (no joke) simulation has sold many copies and the recent release of the Liviní Large and House Party expansion packs add a lot of mileage to this purchase choice.

In the Sims, you play an everyday person. You need a job, a house and of course social diversions to keep your Sim happy. Strange as this may sound, a successful Sim player needs to understand and apply the same habits as one does for success in real life. Gasp Ö could this game be considered educational? This may sound bland at first, but the game is strangely addicting. It is a really a breath of fresh air in a genre-laden industry stuffed with demons, interstellar war and alien infestations.

The main title is loaded with game hours and the expansion packs allow you to pursue more leisure activities. In Liviní Large you have expanded options with your Simís dwelling and personality traits. Two new motifs, Gothic and 1950s retro are also included. With House party you can host a rave, hire caterers for a luau and lure celebrity guests to make your events more popular.

The game also enjoys a strong online community. For new mods, patches and other goodies, there are many web sites to choose from.

4X4 Evolution
You canít go wrong with a good driving simulation, and so few of them come to the Mac, that the good ones really stand out. One such title is 4X4 Evolution from developers Terminal Reality and published by GOD Games. This game is good for the teenager who isnít quite old enough to drive, or anyone who enjoys off-road action.

Choose from a variety of rugged sport utility vehicles and compete on 16 different tracks. The controls for your vehicle are straightforward but the game also offers a more complicated side by allowing vehicle upgrades like better suspension, performance exhaust and superior tires. Online play is also an option for systems with fast connections. The game is in 3D but most video cards (6 MB or more VRAM) can handle the strain.

This game is rated for ages six and older by the ESRB. As an added bonus, the CD is compatible with three platforms right out of the box: Windows, Mac or Sega Dreamcast. Now thatís a bargain.

Risk II
Who hasnít already played the board version of Risk? Itís a universal thing, kind of like Monopoly and checkers. This strategy title is already a hit and it recently came to the Mac. Published by Macsoft, the title is true to the original game and adds new bells and whistles to make it worth your while to play it on your computer.

For a comparable price to the board game, you can get Risk II, complete with new territories, comprehensive tutorials and three play modes. The game also boasts 16 separate artificial intelligences, each based on famous generals from history. The GUI is smooth and intuitive and an alliance system helps keep a big game interesting. For group play with other humans, online games are available through Game Ranger and TCP/IP network play is supported.

Risk is an incredible group experience that fosters a sense of friendly competition. With its overlying theme of strategy and combat in the late 18th century, this game stands out amongst genre titles.

There is a lot more!
Most family-type games enjoy very low system requirements and can be played on most Macs in use today. This is a good thing for most gamers, who do not devote most of their income to the latest systems needed for next-generation titles.

As the Mac games scene continues its new boom of popularity, more and more game developers are looking to boost their market share by attracting a broader demographic. Face it, there are a whole heck of a lot more casual gamers looking for a good round of Scrabble or Risk then there are first-person shooter hard cores. This past year has seen a lot of new family-oriented titles and this trend is sure to continue as the Mac becomes more popular and pervasive in the homes of consumers.

Related Links
4x4 Evolution
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
The Sims
Risk II
Westlake Interactive



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