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Thursday, November 3, 2005

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America's Army Winning the Mindshare War
7:51 AM | Anthony Wang | 4 comments

GameSpot has an article about America's Army success in gaming and in the developer's wallet. The article discusses the future graphics engine upgrade to Unreal 3, and how low costs of development is surging new improvements into America's Army. Also, there are statistics of the game's influence on current military cadets and recruiting. The future looks bright for this military campaign.

That $2.5 million per year has bought the Army 60,000 daily visitors to the game's Web site, 29 million game downloads since launch, and 6.1 million active users. Wardynski uses "cost per person hour" as a metric for the effectiveness of America's Army as a marketing tool: How much does it cost to put the Army's brand in front of someone for one hour? The game delivers a cost per person hour of 10 cents, versus $5 to $8 for TV.
Don't get too close to the recently released version of America's Army, if all goes well, there should be a new one coming along wih substantial enhancements in the next few months. For now, click on the links below to read the article and learn more information.

Gamespot: America's Army Article
U.S Army
Epic Games
America's Army: Special Forces 2.4

Macgamstore: Pre-Order Zoo Tycoon 2
11:38 AM | Tuncer Deniz has begun taking pre-order for Zoo Tycoon 2, the upcoming sequel to the award-winning zoo simulation. The game is available for pre-order for $39.95.

Zoo Tycoon 2 cranks up the excitement, challenge and fun of building the ultimate zoo with 30 animals in incredible detail. Players enjoy fun animations, a dazzling array of building tools and objects, including themed-buildings, moats, photo mode options, easy terrain altering options and rivers. Gameplay has been enhanced from the original title, with a new zoom mode and 3D graphics that allow players to keep an even closer eye on the action and craft more creative zoos.

Zoo Tycoon 2 is scheduled to ship November 25th, 2005. To place your pre-order, follow the link below.

Zoo Tycoon 2
Buy Zoo Tycoon 2

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EuroGamer Previews The Burning Crusade
7:51 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

Over at EuroGamer, there is a preview of World of WarCraft: The Burning Crusade. The preview begins with excited recounts from BlizzCon on the announcement of the game. Next in the preview is the new level cap, followed by characteristics of Outlands, the new continent. Covering the second half the preview is the addition of two new races, one of which has already been revealed, the Blood Elves, and the second one is still shrouded in mystery.

Playing through their starting region - impressive cues formed for players to have an advance play of some expansion pack content at Blizzcon - reveals that Blizzard hasn't lost its touch for accessible yet atmospheric zones. The unique identity of the Blood Elves is initially played up, both in the gravity-defying floating platforms and the quests introducing their racial ability to sap mana from their opponents and then release it for an area-affect silence.
Expect this expansion pack to be in your Mac's game folder by early next year. Until then, learn and view screenshots of World of WarCraft: The Burning Crusade by clicking the links below.

EuroGamer-World of WarCraft: The Burning Crusade Preview
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
Buy World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

BlizzCon: A Pictorial
7:51 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Gamespy recently posted several pages of pictures from Blizzard's BlizzCon event. The images cover everything from game cinematics and concept art to fans dressed as their favorite Blizzard game characters.

If you're a regular GameSpy reader, you know that the GameSpy crew has been hooked on World of Warcraft for a while now. With BlizzCon happening right in our own backyard at the Anaheim Convention Center, of course we invaded in full force. On hand was a first look at the new WoW expansion, playtime with StarCraft: Ghost, and a number of tourneys and other events fans were happily enjoying. Here's just a small taste of what things were like.
To view all the images click on the link below.

Gamespy: Postcards From Azeroth
Blizzard Entertainment

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Civilization IV Reviewed
7:51 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Strategy Informer recently took a look at Firaxis Games' Civilization IV, the latest in the legendary world building series. Civ IV sports a new 3D graphics engine and the inclusion of religion for the first time in the series. Finding very little to dislike about the game Strategy Informer gave Civ IV a 9 out of 10.

Perhaps the most fundamental change in game concept is the new role of religion in the game. There are seven religions, all of which are functionally identical. They are triggered by the first discovery of specific techs. For example, upon completing research of Meditation, providing you are the first to discover it, Buddhism will take root in one of your settlements which become the holy city of that religion. The ideology then spreads through your people along trade routes and so forth, eventually becoming significant in other settlements (not necessarily only your own). At which point you may choose to adopt a specific religion as your state religion. You then gain bonuses relative to the proportion of your population whom follow said religion.
Aspyr Media recently announced a Mac version of Civ IV which should be available sometime early in 2006. To read the full review and check out a few screenshots follow the link below.

Strategy Informer: Civilization IV Review
Civilization IV
Buy Civilization IV

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Dual Myst V Reviews
7:51 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Myst V: End of Ages, Cyan Worlds' final episode in the point and click puzzle saga, has brought the series to a close in 3D style. Today we have two reviews of the game, one from and one from Adventure Gamers. Myst V managed to get 3.5 out of 5 from and 4 out of 5 from Adventure Gamers.

From the review:

Don't expect anything exponentially groundbreaking. The gameplay leans heavily on interconnected puzzles, such as opening the correct valves to create a living coral walkway across frozen waters, matching celestial symbols seen from stone towers by operating a complex telescope system, and manipulating counterweights in an abandoned arena. You still get plenty of signature Myst puzzles, which offer creative and challenging IQ tests in postcard-landscape disguises.the centerpiece being an odd system of stone tablets. Yes, stone tablets. Exciting, eh?
From the Adventure Gamers review:
Exploration is a pleasure with the responsive engine that breathes life into the environs around you, and offers a full complement of control options. A mouse/keyboard combination allows for completely free roaming, but mouse-only gamers are also accommodated with intuitive node movement, point & click control. A right-click will allow a panoramic look around, while left clicking will propel you along a real-time cinematic track. It is possible to continue clicking to move fluidly and continuously. This is excellent for backtracking or moving yourself through familiar spaces.
For the full reviews follow the links listed below. Myst V Review
Adventure Gamers: Myst V Review
Myst V: End of Ages
Buy Myst V: End of Ages

The ESRB Responds
7:51 AM | Cord Kruse | 15 comments

Next Generation recently published an interview with ESRB president Patricia Vance about the criticism the organization has received in the wake of highly publicized scandals like the "Hot Coffee" controversy. Vance defends the ESRB, saying the fervor is more the result of political and corporate machinations than any fault with the ratings system.

Next Generation: Why is the Entertainment Software Ratings Board under constant fire?

Patricia Vance: "There are people who just don't believe in self regulation. They don't believe that an industry can regulate itself, even though there are plenty of examples of successful regulatory bodies out there, including the film business.

"But consumers aren't the ones complaining. Parents with kids between the ages of 13 and 17 as well as parents with kids between the ages of three and 14 heavily rely on the ratings and find them to be effective. We have plenty of research to show that.

"There is nothing broken in the ratings system. It works well both in providing consumers with information on which to base an educated purchase decision. It also enforces numerous guidelines that the industry has adopted and when we believe that our guidelines have been violated we follow enforcement and corrective actions along the lines of what we did this summer with Hot Coffee and Grand Theft Auto.

"Then, there are some people who have ulterior motives whether they be political or business motives like in the case of PSV, which is a for-profit entity which would like to create a business based on ratings services."

The full interview is available at the link below.

Next Generation: ESRB Bites Back

Mac Games News for Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Apple Posts New Hot Deals12:06 PM
RHEM 2 Ships In North America10:11 AM
Aspyr To Publish Spongbob Squarepants Movie Game10:08 AM
Black & White & Reviewed All Over7:12 AM
Burning Crusade Preview And Screenshots7:12 AM
Civ IV Interview - Fan Turned Employee7:12 AM
New Rise of Legends Screenshot7:12 AM
Ten Years Of Spiderweb Software, November Sadness Sale7:12 AM
Testing The Strength Of Chainz 2: Relinked7:12 AM
The Incredibles: Rise Of The Underminer Ships7:12 AM
Tiger Woods 2005 Reviewed7:12 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Wednesday, November 2, 2005 on one page

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