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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

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World of WarCraft 1.9 Information
10:16 AM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

Blizzard has unveiled information regarding the upcoming World of WarCraft 1.9 patch on their development page. Key features included in this update is the opening of the gates of Ahn'Qiraj , linked auction houses, multiple battlegrounds queues, paladin talent enhancements, and new armor models.

The Gates of Ahn'Qiraj will house two massive, unique dungeons - the Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj, a 20-man raid dungeon, and the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj, a 40-man raid dungeon. As players delve deeper into the mysteries of Ahn'Qiraj, they will discover revelations of the Silithid infestation and their shadowy masters, the Qiraji. Players will have to complete a world event of massive proportions before they can open the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj on their realm.
Please follow the links below to learn more information.

Blizzard-World of WarCraft 1.9 Info
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

Macgamestore: Pre-Order Civilization III: Complete
2:45 PM | Tuncer Deniz | 7 comments has begun to take pre-orders for Civilization III: Complete. The game is available for $49.95. Civilization III: Complete includes the original game, Civilization III, plus both expansion packs, Conquests and Play the World. This bundle introduces Civilization III multiplayer capabilities to the Macintosh platform for the first time.

Gaming fans can now enjoy Civilization III, the highly addictive journey of discovery, combined with the updated and enhanced multiplayer expansion pack Civilization III: Play the World, as well as all of the great new Civs, Scenarios, and Features from Civilization III: Conquests! Civilization III: Complete provides more ways to win, more ways to explore, more strategies to employ, and more exciting modes of play all in one box! Civilization III: Complete gives Civ fans the opportunity to enjoy unmatched strategic gameplay alone or against players from around the world.

Aspyr Media
Civilization III: Complete
Buy Civilization III: Complete

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IMG Previews Zoo Tycoon 2
1:02 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

IMG has posted a hands-on preview of Zoo Tycoon 2, the sequel to the popular zoo simulation from MacSoft. Here's a clip from the preview:

For those who played the original Zoo Tycoon on the Macintosh, you will be pleased to know that everything that made that game great has seemingly made the transition to Zoo Tycoon 2, and been made even bigger and better. There are over 300 different buildings in the game, and nearly 30 different animals. There is also an option to gain additional buildings, animals, and challenges by downloading updates from within the program over the Internet.

The single biggest change is the move to a true 3D engine. Of course, this ups the system requirements for the game beyond those of the original, but the trade-off is more than worth it. The 3D engine brings the game from a "sim zoo" to an immersive zoo experience.

To check out the entire preview, please follow the link below.

IMG Preview: Zoo Tycoon 2
Zoo Tycoon 2
Buy Zoo Tycoon 2

SpikeTV Video Game Awards
10:16 AM | Anthony Wang | 2 comments

SpikeTV has revealed details about this year's Video Game Awards. Located at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California, the event will take place November 18, 2005. The Video Game Awards honors computer gaming and winners receive "Vector Monkey" trophies. Dedicated to honoring all aspects of computer gaming, the Video Game Awards has a slew of categories ranging from game of the year to best breakthrough technology, even best supporting male performance.

This year's nominations include World of WarCraft, Civilization IV, Unreal Engine 3, among others. Other games nominated that may one day come to Mac are Call of Duty 2, Quake IV, Battlefield 2, and many more.

Hosted by Samuel L. Jackson of Star Wars fame, the recorded ceremony from November will be aired on SpikeTV this coming December. Please follow the link below for more information.

Video Game Awards

Quad Core G5/2.5 vs. Single Core Dual G5/2.5
10:16 AM | Eddie Park | 2 comments

For those that love comparing benchmarks, Bare Feats has posted the initial results of yet another Mac shootout. This time around, the comparison is between a Quad Core G5 2.5Ghz PowerMac and a Single Core Dual G5 2.5Ghz PowerMac. While Bare Feats notes that their own customized Quad Core has yet to arrive, they do have the results of multiple tests by other users with stock Quad Cores, and have posted the results accordingly.

The usual battery of tests is used, including After Effects, Photoshop, and Xbench. While not a full analysis, initial results appear pretty clear cut, with the Quad Core trumping the Single Core Dual by fairly large margins. A look at optimal graphics cards is also taken:

Though the Quad-Core G5/2.5GHz systems represented in the graphs above had the GeForce 6600 graphics processor, we think the optional GeForce 7800 GT will turn out be the best choice. Apple's own test graphs show the Quadro FX 4500 running Motion only 3.3% faster than the 7800 GT. It runs Halo only 3.6% faster. Yet it costs 3.7 times as much ($350 vs $1650). True the FX 4500 has 512MB of DDR3 and supports two 30" Cinema displays, but it "eats" two slots.
Bare Feats plans on adding more results to the shootout, including benchmarks for demanding games such as Doom and Halo.

Bare Feats: Quad Core/Single Core Dual Shootout

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Championship Manager 2006 For PC Announced
10:16 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Eidos Interactive recently announced the Spring 2006 release of Championship Manager 2006 for the PC. The latest in the popular soccer management sim series will feature a wide range of new features and is described as "the most realistic version to date."

A few of the game's features:

Championship Manager 2006 boasts a brand new Gameplan™ 3D match engine, where players can watch their match unfold in the same way they watch the match on TV – but with the ability to adjust tactics, player positions or formations – or simply use the Highlight Filter to select the moments they want to watch.

Interact with your squad as you speak with your players for the first time: make promises to individual players to improve their mood or form. But as in real life, if promises are broken, trust is lost and there are consequences – with the new player status screen, monitor the mood and form of every player.

Championship Manager 2006 now offers the ability to scout in depth with its new ‘Simulate world’ option. For the first time, users will be able to view authentic player’s performance stats outside the nation managed, all with no noticeable speed reduction! Scouting will never be the same again.

There is currently no word on the possibility of a Mac port of CM 2006 but it seems likely given Feral Interactive's history of porting previous titles in the series.

The following quote from an Ask Feral feature posted on IMG earlier this year also suggests the strong possibility of a Mac version:

Question: What happened to the heavy hints of a new football game (I guess Championship Manager) on your website a month or so ago? - John Travers

Answer: Hints? What hints?? As all football fans know, the role of a manager is to make the difficult decisions that affect the lives of their players and the success of the team. Suffice to say that far from being relegated, one of our star players is merely on the bench. After all, there's always next season, eh? In fact, we looked long and hard at Championship Manager 5 and decided that it did not meet the same level of quality that the previous games in the series had achieved. We decided rather than spoil that track record, it was better to sit this season out and wait for next years much improved (we hope) version.

Follow the links below for more information.

Championship Manager 2006 Announced
Ask Feral - Volume 3
Feral Interactive

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More Info on Neverwinter Nights 2
10:16 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Although its planned release sometime in 2006 is still months away details about Neverwinter Nights 2 are already starting to emerge. The sequel to Bioware's original NWN, NWN 2 is being developed by Obsidian Entertainment, a company led by computer RPG veterans whose previous work includes games like Fallout 2 and Icewind Dale. NWN 2 features an entirely new graphics engine, the new Warlock class, and the option to create a character from any Forgotten Realms player race or subrace offered in the pen and paper version.

Recently Gamespy, Gamespot, and IGN offered previews of the game's features, while French site JeuxOnline posted an interview with Senior Graphics Programmer Brian Lawson. has a combination preview and interview with Feargus Urquhart, President of Obsidian. To round out the new goodies is a collection of screenshots from Voodoo Extreme.

From Gamespy:

The Warlock marks the first new base class added to the paper & pencil game in many years, and Baudoin is effusive at what the class adds to the game. "One of the annoying things about playing a magic-user is how weak you are at lower levels." he said, "Sure, when you got to higher levels, you have amazing power and lots of choices, but getting there can be rough." Wizards of the Coast's solution was to add the Sorcerer and now the Warlock classes, magicians who gain spells through inborn abilities rather than study.
"Warlocks are incredibly fun to play," Baudoin said, "They don't have as many choices as a magic-user, but they can use their spells as much as they wish." The application to Neverwinter Nights 2 is obvious, Warlocks are the "shooters" of the magic-using set, offering immediate fun and lots of pretty graphic pyrotechnics without the level slog that marks other classes. The possibility is that the Warlocks might pull in the more "action" oriented gamer ordinarily put off by an RPG.
From IGN:
Players will be able to take three characters (with more than 10 total choices) with them to help with combat (they can be directly controlled or AI controlled) or interact with. In fact, lots of story will be focused around these extra characters. Where Neverwinter Nights used "henchmen" as battle partners most of the time, these new "companions" will be much more than walking meat with weapons in the eyes of a gamer. Much like those in Knights of the Old Republic 2, these characters will have their own motivations and needs. How you talk to them and treat them will not only change your relationships but also alter the story and even the companion alignments.
The original game was brought to the Mac by Macsoft. There is no information yet on the possibility of a Mac version of Neverwinter Nights 2.

Click on the links below for all the NWN 2 information.

Gamespy: NWN 2 Preview
Gamespot: NWN 2 Preview
IGN: NWN 2 Preview
JeuxOnline: NWN 2 Q&A NWN 2 Preview and Interview
Voodoo Extreme: NWN 2 Screenshots
Neverwinter Nights
Obsidian Entertainment
Buy Neverwinter Nights

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Rave Reviews For Civilization IV
10:16 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Throughout the month of November Civilization IV, Firaxis' latest offering in the ever popular turn based strategy series, has received a number of favorable reviews. The following four stick with the trend of glowing praise for the game's implementation of old and new. Civ IV received a 10 out of 10 from To The Game, 5 out of 5 from The Bovine Conspiracy, 9 out of 10 from Hooked Gamers, and high marks in all categories from Next Level Gaming.

From the To The Game review:

Civilization 4 feels very different from its predecessors, even though it's very much the same (in a good way). The game has become a lot easier to learn for the casual gamer, and yet even more complex for the experienced Civ-player. They've kept what really makes Civilization such a great series, made some key features a whole lot better, and introduced some new and exiting concepts that will make sure the game will live on for many more years. And yes, it's still as addictive as it was back in 1991 when Civilization was born. If not even more!

Civilization IV is in short, game design at it's very finest. If this is not a 10, no game can be.
From The Bovine Conspiracy review:
Should you buy Civ IV? Hell yes. It’s an amazing game, which not only managed to improve on Civ III, but also managed to improve a lot on the earlier Civ games. Considering these games are in most gamers’ Top 10 lists, that’s not an easy undertaking. I have no doubt in my mind that this game will be on those same Top 10 lists in a couple of years. If you have played the previous Civ games, you need to check out this new and definitely improved version of the game you love. If you have never played a previous Civ games, this new game is easy enough to get into, due to a good tutorial and the graphics that are definitely nice to look at. It’s a game that’s deep enough that it’ll take you quite some time to master though. And if none of the arguments I have presented in this review can convince you that you need to buy Civ IV, let my final argument persuade you. In this age of skimpier and thinner manuals, Civ IV finally gives the gamers a manual again that they can use as a deadly projectile. It’s big, it’s heavy and it’s interesting to read.
From the Hooked Gamers review:
Being among the oldest and most loyal fans of the series it was difficult for me to embrace all the changes but after a while the game really started growing on me. Civilization IV is a true sequel to a fantastic franchise that will feel familiar but fresh and tantalizingly new to veterans and newcomers alike.
From the Next Level Gaming review:
My standard test is always, will I play this game once the review is over?  Yes, yes, and without a doubt in my mind yes.  This game is so much fun, it has my vote for “Strategy Game of the Year”.  I just can’t get enough of this game, I was giving up sleep to play more at night, was almost late for work more than once, and want to finish this review as fast as possible so I can get back to gaming.
A Mac version of Civ IV should be available sometime in early 2006 courtesy of the hardworking folks at Aspyr Media.

Several of the above reviews also include screenshots. To check them out follow the list of links below.

To The Game: Civ IV Review
The Bovine Conspiracy: Civ IV Review
Hooked Gamers: Civ IV Review
Next Level Gaming: Civ IV Review
Civilization IV
Aspyr Media
Buy Civilization IV

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A First Look At Stubbs The Zombie
10:16 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments

Macworld's Game Room recently examined Stubbs The Zombie in Rebel Without A Pulse, the undead FPS from Wideload Games and Aspyr Media. The "first look" review gives an overall picture of what the Mac version of the game has to offer.

The game looks and sounds fantastic. Interstitial sequences have a grainy quality that is reminiscent of ancient 8mm movies. The mood is also set by a phenomenal soundtrack made up of 1950’s pop songs covered by modern indie bands: Death Cab for Cutie covers “Earth Angel,” for example, and The Dandy Warhols takes on “All I Have To Do Is Dream.” (You can also purchase the soundtrack separately through the iTunes Music Store.)
To read the entire article click on the link below.

Macworld Game Room: First Look At Stubbs
Aspyr Media
Stubbs the Zombie
Buy Stubbs the Zombie

Mac Games News for Monday, November 14, 2005

America's Army Hotfix Patch9:12 AM
Update Released for The Sims 29:12 AM
Avernum 4 Coming In Early December7:52 AM
GameSpy Previews Stubbs the Zombie7:52 AM
New Frozen Throne Bonus Map Released7:52 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, November 14, 2005 on one page

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