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Tuesday, October 9, 2001

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Radeon 8500 Ships, for PC
10:35 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

ATI Technologies has shipped their next generation of graphics hardware for the PC, the Radeon 8500 2D/3D card. Intended to fire a shot across the bow of rival NVIDIA, the card has been bumped to 275 MHz just before shipping — a sign of just how heated the race between these rivals has become. While they have not yet formally announce the Mac OS version of these cards, our recent conversations with ATI indicate that they intend to ship the Mac version within the month of October, and it was intended to debut for our platform at the cancelled Mac Expo Paris.

If you have read our two articles related to this amazing leap forward for ATI's chip and 3D technology, none of the information in the press release will come as a surprise; however the jump from 250 MHz to 275 does indicate that ATI intends to go head-to-head in the benchmark wars as well as compete in terms of total features. Even NVIDIA fans should rejoice at this heated battle, as it means both companies will be pushed even harder to produce faster, full-featured (and hopefully cheaper!) products in the future.

Here are some excerpts from the press release:

Award winning ATI technology redefines gaming performance, 3D experience and value ATI Technologies Inc. (TSE:ATY, NASDAQ: ATYT), a world leader in the supply of graphics, video and multimedia solutions, announced today that the RADEON(TM) 8500 graphics board, the world's fastest and most technologically advanced graphics board available, and the foundation for ground-breaking visual effects, is shipping to retail outlets worldwide at a manufacturers' suggested retail price (MSRP) of just (US) $299.

"Given that the technology-leading RADEON 8500 graphics board was unveiled worldwide on August 14, 2001, with an MSRP of (US) $399 and, further, that it was originally introduced with a core clock speed of 250 MHz, (megahertz) but will now ship at 275 MHz, ATI has, once again, over-delivered on its commitment to its customers," said Toshi Okumura, Senior Product Manager, RADEON 8500, Desktop Marketing, ATI Technologies Inc. "Complemented by the fact that no other competitive graphics board is optimized for Microsoft's new Windows XP operating system quite like the RADEON 8500, it has set a new standard for high-performance graphics computing.

The press release states the cards are shipping to some retailers, but then goes on to say that they will be available for purchase on October 25. We've contacted ATI's Mac team for a progress update, and we'll be sure to bring you any information they can share "on the record." In the meantime, make sure you check out both of our ATI 8500 articles, and have a gander at those screen shots and movies once again.

Feature: Radeon 8500 In The Flesh
ATI Announces Release of Radeon 8500
Preview: Radeon 8500
Radeon 8500

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Aspyr Newsletter Talks iPuppets, EFX, and More
4:53 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Today marks that lucky time of the month Mac gamers are blessed with another newsletter from publishing house Aspyr Media. The October issue covers a number of their upcoming titles such as iPuppet: Colin's Classic Cards, Otto Matic, Undying, and the Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force Expansion. Amy Torres also gives the scoop on other titles such as Spider-man, so be sure you join the mailing list if you're not already.

For the card players out there, Freeverse and Aspyr are ready to announce that iPuppet preorders are now being taken. This simple and customizable online playing service will be available for Mac and Windows sometime in November. System requirements are listed as well:


-MacOS 8.6 through 9.2 & MacOS X

- G3 233 (original iMac) or better

- CarbonLib 1.4 or later

-20 MB RAM

-250 MB available hard disk space

- QuickTime 4.0 or later

-An internet connection at 28.8 kbps or faster for online play
Other big news includes the fact that the expansion pack for Elite Force is now in duplication thanks to the hard work of Brad Oliver at Westlake Interactive. As noted in the past, a downloadable OS X application will also be made available for owners of the original title. The Elite Force Expansion Pack will debut for under $20, making it a very good buy for Trekkie fans out there.

In other news, work on Pangea's Otto Matic is progressing well, with the Mac-only team shooting for a release this December. Preorders for the game will start on Friday for around $35. The spooky shooter Undying is still expected out in the next month, with Spiderman --and a corresponding demo-- heading for release soon after. Both are available for preorder from Aspyr now. Stay tuned to IMG for more as Aspyr's exciting fall lineup is unveiled.

IMG Preview: Spiderman
Interview: Otto Matic's Brian Greenstone
Interview: Spiderman
IMG Preview: Otto Matic
Aspyr Web Site
Aspyr Media
Raven Software
Westlake Interactive
Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force

'Hitchcock: The Final Cut' Site Opens
4:53 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Arxel Tribe has launched the official web site for Hitchcock: The Final Cut, an upcoming interactive adventure based on the work of the famous master of suspense. Inspired by the actual sets and locations used in Hitchcock's films and featuring excerpts from his masterpieces of horror, this unique work of multimedia will ship on DVD for Mac and PC later this month.

The official web site contains still images, a preview movie in two sizes and details about this game's features. No mere MYST-style adventure, the game will also feature action elements, flashback sequences and interactive dialog with other characters.

Visit the official web site for more details. Although they make no mention of the Mac OS version of the game, our reports from ECTS indicate a simultaneous release is planned.

Hitchcock: The Final Cut

IMG Previews Otto Matic, Reviews Dracula
4:51 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

IMG has followed up our "first look" at this title with a full-blown preview. Pangea’s latest title in production is called Otto Matic, another 3D action/adventure game that manages to carry all that Greenstone learned in creating his previous titles forward without duplication or repetition. Here's a sample from the preview:

Although his previous titles were certainly praised for their colorful, vibrant 3D graphics, Otto is clearly an attempt by Greenstone to take Mac game visuals to the next level. With a cutting-edge engine crafted with Apple’s OpenGL, the game is packed with special effects such as motion blur, simulated “lens flares,” glowing objects, wobbly landscapes and sophisticated animation. The result is a game which is a visual knockout as well as a challenging diversion crafted by a veteran game designer.
IMG has also posted a review of Dracula Resurrection from Dreamcatcher Games. In his debut review for IMG, Andrew Martin describes the game as "not exactly stellar" but might appeal to those who are "into the whole Dracula scene".

Be sure to check out both articles today.

Dracula Resurrection Review
Otto Matic Preview

Whole Lotta Neverwinter Nights
4:37 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Our thanks to Blue's News for pointing out that German site GameStar has abused their Beta privileges and put up 90+ more screen shots in their Neverwinter Nights gallery. This brings the total of still shots they have posted to 150, certainly enough to satisfy any level of interest.

Many of the shots are multiple frames of a game animation in process, perhaps a way of getting around a BioWare request not to publish movies of the game in action. As many who are beta testing this game have noted in various forums, the game is now much more attractive and detailed than the very outdated official screen shots on the almost-moribund web site; we assume the team is too busy actually creating the game to be bothered with updating the web site. In any case, if you want to see more NWN than you previously thought was possible, the GameStar gallery is the place to be.

For more information about Neverwinter Nights, visit the official web site or our archive of past news articles.

Past Articles on Neverwinter Nights
Neverwinter Nights
Neverwinter Nights Image Gallery at

New Shadowbane Site, Contest
4:22 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

News about Shadowbane has been quite scarce lately, as the team crafting this MMORPG goes into "crunch time" and assembles the final elements. However there are two events of note today -- Wolfpack has moved the Shadowbane web site to an Ubi Soft address and server, which makes perfect sense as they are the future publisher of the title, and spokesperson "Ashen Temper" has announced a fan fiction contest. The deadline is quite short (November 1st) and the requirements are long (2500-3000 words) but the prize they have to offer is beyond any dedicated Shadowbane fan's dreams: A free copy of Shadowbane signed by the Wolfpack Development Team and a Shadowbane beta account. Here are the details:

We would like to welcome you to the new website which is now online and ready to handle all of your Shadowbane information and download needs. Eventually this website will be completely redesigned and remodeled from the ground up, which will also include some fantastic new forum software. These updates are currently in development, so stay tuned for more information on the scheduled release dates for these new features.

We only have one announcement today, and that is the beginning of our new Wolfpack / Ubi Soft Shadowbane Fan Fiction Contest! Here is your chance to get a Shadowbane Beta Account and a free copy of Shadowbane, autographed by the Shadowbane Development Team!

The Fan Fiction contest rules are pretty simple and straight forward. Here are the basic rules:

• Write an original short story of 2500 to 3000 words in length, which is based in the Shadowbane Universe.

• The protagonists of your stories cannot be major "named" figures from the Shadowbane backstory. While prominent figures (like Cambruin, Zeristan, or Beregund) can appear in your tale, we strongly recommend that they be used sparingly, and in a supporting role.

• There is no limitation to when your story can be set - the Age of Strife, the War of Tears, or even the Age of Twilight are all valid. Bear in mind, however, that the events of your story cannot be the deciding factor or the direct cause of any major events in the Official backstory, and cannot directly contradict the descriptions of those events as revealed so far. No, we do not want to see your take on what actually caused the Turning, or who the Traitor was; unless, of course, it is done as a part of narrative style, and told as an opinion of one of the characters in your story.

Obviously this content is meant for those who have read through the extensive "backstory" elements listed on the Shadowbane web site and have pored over the official forums for other details released by the team. Sharpen your pencils and get to work, that November deadline is fast approaching!

Shadowbane Fan Fiction Contest
Wolfpack Studios

Third MacGames CD Ships Next Week
11:09 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

The third MacGames CD, a subscription-based CD full of great demos, shareware, updates, add-ons, trailers, and a whole bunch more, is now in duplication and will be shipping sometime next week.

If you're already a subscriber to the MacGames CD, be on the look out for the new CD soon! If you haven't gotten a subscription yet, you can still subscribe from now until the end of this week and be guaranteed to receive the third MacGames CD.

What's included in the MGCD? How about new demos of Tropico, Alice, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2, and more. Plus dozens of updates, shareware, and much more.

As an added bonus, we're offering a FREE copy of MacPlay's Majesty or Aliens vs Predator with every new subscription (all you pay is the shipping and handling). These will also be mailed out with the new MGCD next week.

For more information, be sure to check out the IMG store!

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New Warcraft III Items and Screenshots
10:42 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

One of the lesser-known features in Blizzard's upcoming RTS Warcraft III is the ability of Heroes to discover and use items. Each Hero can carry up to four items, which can be obtained by purchasing them from various neutral buildings or by killing Creeps or hostile neutral units. Each item will bestow various gifts such as bonuses to statistics, better spells to cast and the activation of special abilities.

Blizzard has listed three of these items along with artwork for each. The first one listed is the Crown of Command, which will allow mind control of enemy non-hero units. Next is the Cloak of Shadows, which bestows the Shadow Meld ability, making the wearer invisible at night as long as they are motionless. Last is the Ring of Intelligence, which boosts Intelligence by 2, effectively increasing both the mana pool and the mana regeneration rate.

Also new to Blizzard's Warcraft III site are four new screen shots, including one that shows a very large, very impressive-looking Balrog (think big scary demon), flanked by what appear to be animated golems of some kind. These units are most likely linked to the Demon race, an unplayable race featured in the single-player campaign that is said to wield massive power.

The current release date is still set around early 2002, with a simultaneous release being the goal. In the meantime, be sure to check out the new items and screen shots -- just to make the wait for this title even more painful, if such a thing is possible.

Blizzard - Warcraft III Screenshots
Blizzard - Warcraft III Items
Blizzard Entertainment
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

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New Shots from Hot Date
10:39 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

GameSpot was recently lucky enough to receive several new exclusive screen shots of Maxis' upcoming title The Sims: Hot Date, an expansion set for the incredibly popular title The Sims. Hot Date will shift the focus of the game to inter-Sim relationships, and also provide a variety of new locations, items, and actions to further facilitate this style of play.

Featured in the screen shots are various locales, including an ice cream/snack shop, a bar, a poolside with a heart-shaped hot tub, a clothing store and a surf shop. The bar shot also shows what appears to be an old lady that, if earlier reports hold true, will incessantly nag at anyone who even looks like they're thinking about dating. Other details, such as a Sim posing in front of a mirror in the clothing store, can also be seen.

The last shot features a Sim trying out the infamous "yawn move," using it to surreptitiously drop his arm around his date's shoulder. It seems to have worked in this case, but knowing Maxis, we're sure that it can just as easily backfire.

Hot Date will be released to PC users sometime in mid-November. We still have yet to hear word of a Mac publisher picking this one up, but given the popularity of The Sims and all its expansions, we're sure a deal is in the works somewhere.

GameSpot - New The Sims: Hot Date Screenshots
Aspyr Media
Westlake Interactive
The Sims: Livin' Large

Apple on Backyard Sports
10:37 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Apple's latest article published to their Games page centers around two new titles from children's software maker Humongous Entertainment. Titled Backyard Football 2002 and Backyard Basketball, these titles sport pint-sized cartoonish characters and aim to capture what it feels like to play sports as a kid in a backyard or local sandlot.

Here's a clip from the intro:

Remember when you were a kid and you went down to the local playground to shoot hoops on the blacktop or get together a game of football out on the field? That’s the spirit of Backyard Sports: easy-to-play sports games that are geared toward kids, with junior versions of their favorite NBA, WNBA, and NFL stars thrown in for fun.
The real-life stars included in these games include the NBA's Kevin Garnett, the WNBA's Lisa Leslie, and NFL players Brett Favre, Ricky Williams, and Donovan McNabb. Not to be outdone, the Backyard Kids (30 in all) each have their own stats, personalities and background stories.

Besides the usual one-on-one play, both titles will also feature league play, customizable players, various stages and a variety of stats. Both titles should be released sometime this month, and will be on hybrid Mac/PC CDs.

For more information on these upcoming titles, Apple's article boasts several pictures as well as system requirements. The official Humongous Sports site also has plenty of information, including a stats checker and several mini-games.

Apple - Kids are Winners! With Backyard Sports for the Mac
Humongous Sports

Mac Games News for Monday, October 8, 2001

Blizzard Announces Carbonization of StarCraft4:53 PM
Custer in the Age of Empires3:42 PM
Civilization 3 for PC is Gold2:10 PM
3dfx Drivers for OS X? Dev Needs Input12:55 PM
New World of Warcraft Screenshots10:16 AM
Stronghold Preview9:59 AM
Deimos Rising Reaches Beta 59:47 AM
Brad Oliver on Carbonized Elite Force9:16 AM
realMyst Being Handled By Other Company9:15 AM
Quake III 1.30 Tested on Dual 8009:10 AM
Emulation Updates9:07 AM
More on Myth III's Multiplayer9:02 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, October 8, 2001 on one page

Recent Mac Games News

Friday, October 5, 2001
Thursday, October 4, 2001
Wednesday, October 3, 2001
Tuesday, October 2, 2001
Monday, October 1, 2001

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