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Thursday, March 21, 2002

Apple Unveils 23-inch Flat Panel
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Though the shortage of inexpensive flat panels may be keeping Apple Computer from producing enough new iMacs to meet demand, that hasn't stopped them from unveiling their latest display at Macworld Expo Tokyo. Officially dubbed the Apple Cinema HD Display, it features a 23-inch flat panel that can handle resolutions up to 1920x1200.

Here's a description from Apple's press release:

Apple's Cinema HD Display features an active-matrix, liquid crystal display that incorporates a pure digital interface to deliver superior image quality. Unlike many other flat panels using an analog interface, the Cinema HD Display delivers distortion-free images from edge-to-edge that never need adjusting. At less than two inches thick, the wide format design of the Cinema HD Display (16:10 aspect ratio) allows users to easily view a full 11-inch by 17-inch two-page spread or a complex illustration, making it the ultimate display for the creative or technical professional.

The Cinema HD Display delivers brilliant color performance with support of 16.7 million colors and offers a 160 degree viewing angle for great color uniformity edge-to-edge. The Cinema HD Display is well integrated with ColorSync(R), Apple's industry-standard software for managing color on computer displays, scanners and printers. ColorSync automatically generates a profile for the Cinema HD Display that allows it to be used in demanding color applications.

Like its other flat panels, the HD Display sports an ADC connector as well as two self-powered USB ports. Availablity is currently set for April, with a hefty price tag of $3,499.

Gamers chomping at the bit to drive one of these displays with an ATI Radeon 8500 or nVidia GeForce4 Ti can find the display's specs at Apple's web site.

Apple: Apple Cinema HD Display
Apple: Apple Unveils Cinema HD 23-inch Flat Panel Display

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New Features for Warcraft III
12:39 PM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment has posted a web page detailing many of the new features planned for their online gaming service,, when used with their upcoming real-time strategy game, Warcraft III.

Here are just a few of the features mentioned:

Anonymous Matchmaking

  • Players are anonymously matched based on skill level.
  • The AMM randomly selects maps based on the players' preferences.
  • Players can choose which race to play, or they can let the service choose for them.
  • Players can also select the game type, which indicates the number of allies and opponents.
  • The top-ranked players from each gateway will be listed on our Web site.

Arranged Team

  • Players can team up with friends, and team records are tracked.
  • Arranged team games count toward the ladder.
  • Team members are automatically allied and set to allied chat.

New Ladder System

  • The AMM prevents win trading and ensures that high-level players face opponents of similar skill.
  • Ladder-play prerequisites have been eliminated (everyone who uses the AMM earns a ladder rank).
  • Top-ranked players can compete in seasonal tournaments to determine who really is the best of the best.

Custom Games

  • Play with or against computer players.
  • Play on the map of your choice, including user-made custom maps.
  • Anyone that you permit can join, so you can play against opponents of your choice.
  • Allow/restrict observers, toggle fog of war on/off, adjust game speed, and adjust diplomacy settings.

New Built-in Friends System

  • Players can easily join a friend's channel or a game ready to start.
  • Players are notified when a friend enters or leaves (this notice even appears in-game).

Advanced Icon System

  • Play your favorite race often to earn better icons, and earn upgraded icons by gaining more wins.
  • Icons reflect the race you play most, your ladder rank, and if applicable, your clan affiliation.
For the full details, head over to Blizzard's Warcraft III features page at the link below.

IMG Preview: WarCraft III
IMG Preview: WarCraft III Multiplayer Beta
Blizzard: WarCraft III Features
WarCraft III
Buy WarCraft III

In Other News: Warcraft III, Pong, iPod, & More
12:22 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

In other news are shorter stories where anything goes. It includes game updates, not-so-game related stuff, and more. Help us out by sending us your news tips!

Gaming News

Warcraft III Beta Impressions @ MacGamer — "...let me get right to the point: Two hours of Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos has ruined me for Starcraft and Warcraft. Thanks to what I saw in this beta I will never look forward to playing these two games again... it's just that good."

Lineage Downtime — "The North American Lineage servers will be brought down for an unscheduled maintenance at 2:00 PM Central time on Thursday, March 21st for approximately one hour. We will be replacing some router hardware at that time. We apologize for any inconvenience this downtime may cause."

Gunship for Mac? — John Metz came across an item for sale at Amazon called Gunship that is due out June 16th, 2002 for the Mac and will be published by Infogrames. Sounds fishy...

Total Annihilation 2 Confirmed for PC — "Phantagram, the Korean game developer that created Kingdom Under Fire, has confirmed that it is working on a sequel to Total Annihilation, the award-winning 3D real-time strategy game created by Chris Taylor and Cavedog Entertainment. The new game is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 2004."

Heroes of Might & Magic IV Movie — There's been some rumors of this game coming to the Mac, but no word yet. In the meantime, check out this QuickTime movie.

Blizzard's Bill Roper Interview — Atomic Maximum Power Computing


Deimos Rising — Applelinks

Vampire: The Masquerade — Redemption — Mac Game Database

Anything Goes

Virtual Keyboard — "A full-size fully functional virtual keyboard that can be projected and touched on any surface is shown by Siemens Procurement Logistics Services at the CeBIT fair in Hanover, northern Germany, on Monday, March 18, 2002. The virtual interface from Developer VKB Inc. from Jerusalem in Israel can be integrated in mobile phones, laptops, tablet PCs, or clean, sterile and medical environments and could be a revolution for the data entry of any mini computer. The mini projector that detects user interaction with the surface also simulates a mousepad."

Pong: The Text-Based Game — "APong: The Text-Based Game, is about to take the world by storm. It has all the elements that people liked from the original and new elements that will cause Pong: The Text-Based Game to attract itself to an entirely new generation of players."

The 10 GB iPod — Apple Introduces 10GB iPod — 2,000 Songs in Your Pocket

The Final Word

Imagine my surprise when I went to the other day and there's a message there saying "Your domain has expired. Renew now." Whoops! Like the bone-head that I sometimes am, I forgot to renew the domain for MGF. Anyway, I immediately paid Dotster their 15 bucks and was told it would take between 12-24 hours for the domain to become active again. It's now three days later and those fools at Dotster still haven't fixed it.

What irks me is that they not only switched the DNS for MGF so that it pointed to their idiotic "renewal page" on their site, but after you pay them they forget to switch the domain back. I've tried calling, emailing, you name it... and still the problem hasn't been fixed.

Anyway, if you want to reach, for now you can use the domain Let's hope those lamers at dotster wake up soon! — Tuncer

Got a news story you'd like us to post? Email us at

IMG Chats One-on-One with Glenda Adams
12:07 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

IMG has posted the seventh in a continuing series of conversations between IMG publisher Tuncer Deniz and Mac gaming goddess Glenda Adams, president of Westlake Interactive.

Here are a couple of brief excerpts:

Tuncer: A lot of people were excited when Aspyr announced Medal of Honor for the Mac. I must say, I played this game all the way through on the PC and it's the best first-person shooter I've ever played. Right now Aspyr has it slated to come out in August. Think it could ship sooner than that?

Glenda: It's very possible it will be done before August. Duane Johnson is working like a mad-man (or maybe a mad scientist, with his NASA background!) on it, and so far the port has gone pretty smoothly. I really love the game, I just finished the single player game on the PC last week, and was very impressed. I don't have time to play all the way through many games (I think Deus Ex was the last one I did), so when it grabs my attention that much it must be good....

Tuncer: Getting back to games. There's been a lot of buzz about Unreal 2 and Unreal Tournament 2003. Are you folks working on a Mac version of these games?

Glenda: Not yet, but we're definitely in contact with Epic and MacSoft about the future Unreal games. I don't think it's much of a leap to guess that MacSoft is going to push hard to get as many of the new Unreal based games out as possible. They are still a bit too far away from shipping those games on the PC for a Mac port to be started, but I would be surprised if they didn't come to the Mac at some point.

Follow the link below for the rest of their conversation. (And for more of Glenda Adams, don't forget to listen to The Gamesome Mac's debut radio broadcast this Monday evening, on which she'll be the featured guest.)

IMG Feature: One on One with Glenda Adams (Part 7)
IMG News: Mac Games Radio to Debut with Glenda Adams
The Gamesome Mac
Westlake Interactive

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MacGamer Reviews EV Nova
11:43 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Our friends at MacGamer have posted a review by Corey Támas of Ambrosia Software's runaway hit, EV Nova.

This third installment in Ambrosia's shareware Escape Velocity series has been so popular that is was downloaded over 10,000 times from our sister site, MacGameFiles, in the first two days of its release, despite weighing in at a hefty 75 MB.

Támas observes that such an eagerly-anticipated game has a lot to live up to:

Interestingly, this week I've had the opportunity to do a lot of writing about what I call "legend" games. These games are those which follow in the footsteps of insanely popular titles before them and come to the community which enjoyed the original in a fog of great expectation and hopes that somehow, some way, it'll surpass the original. Unfortunately, most of the time these newer games can never live up to the sheer hype those titles which preceded them, and a loyal gaming community can also be very cruel.

Escape Velocity: Nova is just such a game. Following in the footsteps of Escape Velocity and Escape Velocity: Override, EV:N has some very big shoes to fill. After all, the first two installments were huge hits with fans, coming from a Mac-only shareware company (the legendary Ambrosia Software) for the Macintosh alone under the street credibility of being shareware. In fact, when PC gamers cite the games they'd most like to play that Mac gamers have access to, it's Escape Velocity that I hear about most often.

It just so happens, thankfully, that this third installment to the series lives up brilliantly to the legacy of those that went before... and that's a good thing. Note, however, that EV:N isn't judged in this review by what EV and EV:O are... despite the quality of those two games. Escape Velocity: Nova stands on its own two feet, despite the hype, despite the expectations.

Head on over to MacGamer for the rest of the review, and if you haven't already downloaded your own copy, start now! (Or subscribe to the MacGames CD, whose next issue will include EV Nova.)

IMG Preview: Escape Velocity: Nova
Escape Velocity: Nova
MacGamer: Escape Velocity: Nova Review
MGF: EV Nova 1.0 (75 MB)

Rumors of Bungie's Phoenix
9:12 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

A web site called Gamer's Logik has posted what it claims is exclusive information on Bungie's next game. According to the web site, the game is currently code-named Phoenix and is described as a mech combat game using the Halo engine.

Here's a snippet from the Gamer's Logik article:

The game is said to have drop dead gorgeous graphics far surpassing those of Halo and effects that will send you into sensory overload. The game will also feature FULLY destructable environments for those seeking relief from those everyday frustrations and whatnot. Now mind you, this doesn't mean your typical "blow up the cars and put a few burn textures on a building" situation. We're talking shattering windows, taking down buildings... heck, you can level the entire CITY if you so please!!! If that doesn't quite do it for you, well you can always resort to finding the nearest terrified pedestrian running for his life and put that huge steel foot of your to use. That's right... SQUISH!!!
At this point the article is pure speculation. With the Electronic Entertainment Expo right around the corner, could Bungie's new game finally be unveiled? Only time will tell.

Bungie Studios
Gamer's Logik

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Apple Announces iMac Price Hike
8:23 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

First the good news. Apple at Macworld Expo Tokyo announced it has shipped more than 125,000 new flat-panel iMacs since its launch in January and is now shipping over 5,000 new iMacs per day. And now the bad news. Apple will be increasing the price of all the new iMac models by $100. Citing "significant increases in component costs for memory and LCD flat-panel displays," the company has been forced to increase prices in order to maintain profit margins.

In a press release issued last night, Apple's Philip Schiller explained the price hike:

Rapidly increasing component costs is an industry-wide issue right now. Since the new iMac's launch in January, memory costs have tripled and flat-panel costs have increased twenty-five percent, with little relief in sight. Some manufacturers are de-configuring their models in response to these rising costs—reducing memory and disk drive capacity, for example. We've chosen to raise prices by $100 and stick with our three fully-configured new iMac models.
Effective immediately, the new suggested retail prices will be $1,399 (US) for the 700 MHz G4 iMac with CD-RW drive; $1,599 (US) for the 700 MHz G4 iMac with Combo drive; and $1,899 (US) for the 800 MHz G4 iMac with SuperDrive.

iMac 2002
Apple in Volume Production of New iMacs

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Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness Announced
7:44 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Having sold nearly 30 million copies worldwide, Tomb Raider may just be the most well-known gaming franchise ever. Overall, five games were created in a span of six years, which culminated with the surprising hit Tomb Raider movie.

After Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, the team at Core Design decided that it was time to rethink and retool Tomb Raider (instead of creating another "better-looking Tomb Raider"). The result is a new game entitled Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness that features a decidedly darker mood and introduces a brand-new character, according to a preview available today at GameSpot.

The new Tomb Raider game will also be three games in one. The GameSpot preview explains:

The Angel of Darkness will essentially be three games in one. That is, the game is split up into three distinct parts, each of which plays dramatically different from the others. Smith elaborates: "We've broken the game down into three chunks, and each one is a unique experience that involves a unique play mechanic. What we consider the traditional form of Tomb Raider gameplay is essentially the middle part of the game. It's what people have come to relate Lara with--lost cities, rich environments, and so on." It's here that Lara will travel to locations like Paris and Prague, and it's where she'll meet the game's new character, Kurtis. "A new character is actually something that we've been asked to bring into the game for a long time," says Smith. "Basically, Lara is the brain and Kurtis is the brawn. He's much more action-oriented than she is; he's the one who's always on the front lines. You know, he shoots first and asks questions later."
The new Tomb Raider game will also incorporate elements from the role-playing and adventure genres:
Some of Lara's new moves clearly pay tribute to the likes of Metal Gear Solid.Smith wouldn't elaborate on the details for fear of spoiling the game's plot, but he says that this part of The Angel of Darkness will almost play like a role-playing game. It'll be decidedly slower than the last two portions of the game, and it'll involve character interaction, which is another element that'll be new to the series. "Lara will be able to talk to other characters and have her actions or inactions determine her outcome," explains Smith. "Different people will tell her different things, and how the player plays the game will affect how other characters deal with Lara. We were keen to introduce this sort of element into the game. It's almost like a traditional RPG element."
Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness is still in early development and is currently scheduled to ship in later this year. At this point only a PlayStation 2 and PC version have been announced, but given the fact that all the Tomb Raider games have made it to the Mac, it's probably a safe bet that this new Tomb Raider game will eventually make it to the platform.

Core Design
Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness Preview
Buy Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness

Two New Kids' Games from Plaid Banana
6:00 AM | David Finley | Comment on this story

As noted by MacCentral's Peter Cohen, Plaid Banana Entertainment, a division of Disney Interactive, has released its first two titles in a series of adventure games for children. Here's a description from Disney's press release:

Plaid Banana products feature original characters and stories created and developed by Hulabee Entertainment, a digital media company established by Shelley Day and Ron Gilbert, co-founders of Humongous Entertainment and the creative forces behind the award-winning franchises Putt-Putt, Freddi Fish, Pajama Sam and the Backyard Sports series.

Moop & Dreadly in The Treasure on Bing Bong Island and Ollo in the Sunny Valley Fair are robust interactive adventures that feature unique, original characters and clever, episodic plot lines. Set in bold, colorful and rich environments, both games encourage exploration, critical thinking and problem solving, as children control their progress through several chapters filled with fun activities that focus on the "journey," versus the "destination."

Moop & Dreadly is for children aged six and up and focuses on problem-solving, critical thinking, and memory skills. The player accompanies the intrepid young Captain Dreadly and his feline ape mentor, Moop, on their quest for Chief Earwig's treasure. Notable game features include:

  • 26 unique environments in six episodic chapters
  • A diverse cast of 12 new characters, including Mort and Wart, Princess Connie, and a dastardly pirate named Captain Trench
  • Plenty of riddles and puzzles to solve

Ollo in the Sunny Valley Fair is intended for a somewhat younger audience, aged three and up. The player guides an altruistic ball of clay named Ollo, who must capture a runaway over-achieving tomato in time to save Sunny Valley from destruction and win a blue ribbon for his friend, Rose. Game features include:

  • 12 characters
  • 28 game areas in six chapters of learning experiences filled with a variety of original songs, problem-solving puzzles, and innovative educational clickables

Both games are available for Mac OS X and retail for $19.99. For more information, check out the links below.

Moop and Dreadly: The Treasure on Bing Bong Island
Ollo in the Sunny Valley Fair
Plaid Banana Press Release

Warcraft III Q&A
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

As the release date for Warcraft III looms ever closer, the PR machine at Blizzard remains hard at work honing the excitement of gamers everywhere through various interviews and beta tidbits. PC site Atomic, seeking new information on the upcoming real-time strategy title, managed to snag Bill Roper for a rather lengthy interview that reveals details of the upcoming World of Warcraft online role-playing game as well.

Most players who've been keeping up with WC3 news are aware that non-playing characters (NPCs), including neutral structures, are a factor in determining strategy. One of the concerns voiced by the interviewer is that players controlling the neutral structures may have an overwhelming advantage in combat, similar to the control of gold mines in WC2. Roper reassures players that, though the various structures and NPC units are definitely a factor that can swing the tide of a battle, by no means will they determine the course of a game. He adds that, rather than adding more power to a player, use of NPCs creates the need for different strategies and tactics.

One of the main tactical points in WC3 is its forced departure from the "amass 100 units" strategy so often found in titles such as Starcraft. Roper notes that pitched battles involving smaller numbers of units will be the mainstay of WC3 strategy:

Resourcing is still important to build your army, but we've really focused more of the game on getting into smaller-scope tactical battles. Instead of a hundred guys, you have 15 or 20 guys on your side going into the fighting, so it's about how you use your spells, and how you're using the interactions between characters, and when you decide to use that ultimate spell that your hero has. It makes for a very different kind of gameplay and quite honestly, one that we feel reflects upon what we heard from a lot of Starcraft players and what their favorite types of fights were. Seldom do you talk with a high-end Starcraft player who says 'oh there was this one time where I took a hundred guys and threw them at the other guy'. It's always about how they came in with a science vessel and they used its special ability, and then they brought in their ghost and used lockdown, and then they called in a nuke.
When asked about WC3's relation to World of Warcraft, Roper explains that the entire series will tie together in one flowing timeline, starting with the original Warcraft game and continuing all the way through WoW, which takes place four years after WC3.

The rest of the interview covers plenty of other aspects of Warcraft III, including its long development cycle, reasons for the lack of naval combat, and why Korean players are considered to be "ubergamers" in the RTS field. Those interested in the full read can find it at Atomic.

IMG Preview: WarCraft III
IMG Preview: WarCraft III Multiplayer Beta
IMG Preview: World of Warcraft
Atomic: Warcraft III Interview
WarCraft III
World of Warcraft
Buy WarCraft III
Buy World of Warcraft

Mac Games News for Wednesday, March 20, 2002

In Other News: AVP Cheats, iBong, & More11:30 AM
IMG Reviews Otto Matic11:17 AM
Gorky 17 Goes Gold10:33 AM
Neverwinter Nights Interview8:46 AM
Giants Demo Available on MacGameFiles7:16 AM
Another Alternative Myth II Server Appears6:30 AM
Lineage 2 Revealed; Mac Possibility?6:30 AM
Mac Games Radio to Debut with Glenda Adams6:30 AM
Mac Lineage Moves Out of Beta6:30 AM
Starcraft 1.09b Available via FTP6:30 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, March 20, 2002 on one page

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Tuesday, March 19, 2002
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