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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

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MWSF: Feral Announces Lego Star Wars II
4:09 PM | Eddie Park | 22 comments

We sat down with Feral Interactive's David Stephen to see what the UK-based developer is up to these days. The top item on their plate is the announcement that Lego Star Wars II is coming to Mac OS X. A highly successful title that's already seen release on multiple platforms, LSW2 presents players with the entire Star Wars saga, albeit in a somewhat blockier form. A huge cast of characters, vehicles, and weapons allows players to mix and match various Star Wars scenes as they see fit. Feral currently hopes to make the Mac version available sometime next month.

In other news, the sandbox RPG Fable is also doing well, and is currently nearing completion. Imperial Glory, the turn-based/realtime strategy title, is selling quite well and looks to continue to rack up sales numbers. Stephen also mentioned that Universal Binary patches for some older titles are currently being planned.

Feral also plans on being quite active this year regarding Mac titles. Though we can't mention any specifics, Mac gamers can definitely look forward to more Feral-type activity as the year progresses.

Check out a brief movie of Lego Star Wars II in action from Macworld Expo by following the link below.

MWSF: Lego Star Wars II Macworld Movie
Feral Interactive
Lego Star Wars II
Buy Lego Star Wars II

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MWSF: Bongfish Shows Stoked Rider
5:04 PM | Eddie Park | 5 comments

Bongfish folks Klaus Hufnagl and Michael Putz were on hand in the games section and was showing off the current build of Stoked Rider: Alaska Alien. Described as a sandbox snowboarding game, Stoked Rider allows gamers to experience the joys of virtual snowboarding in a go-anywhere environment.

The build running at MWSF was just a week into development, but was already running quite well. We watched as Klaus demonstrated various features, including the "if you see it, you can go to it" backgrounds, the multitude of performable tricks, and the various unlockables, including an alien snowboarder complete with a jetpack.

Other aspects of the game include a shop where clothes, boards, and stat upgrades can be purchased, time race and score attack modes, and use of the Ageia Physx engine in which the kinetics of snowboarding are strongly emphasized. Though not in evidence in the current build, Bongfish notes that one of the physics features will be liquid effects, which include snow erosion, frozen water, and avalanches.

A solid release date has yet to be set, though Bongfish is hoping for release in about a month. They also plan on releasing a demo as soon as they can, and we should have a preview of Stoked Rider ready to go sometime in the near future.

Be sure to check out a brief QuickTime movie clip we took of the game by following the link below.

Stoke Rider Macworld Expo Movie
Drop Point: Alaska
Buy Drop Point: Alaska

MWSF: MacSoft's Has Big 2007 Plans
4:22 PM | Eddie Park | 11 comments

Folks wondering what MacSoft has been up to may be able to look forward to more activity in the coming year. We managed to snag Al Schilling on the show floor, and he noted that based on the "tremendous success" of Age of Empires III, MacSoft will be ramping up its production of Mac games in the coming year.

Schilling noted that sales of all their Mac game titles have been robust and are gearing to launch a number of titles in 2007, in stark contrast to the single title they had in 2006.

This indeed bodes well for Mac games looking for more game titles from MacSoft. Stay tuned.


External Video Card for PC Laptops
7:51 AM | Cord Kruse | 14 comments

ASUSTeK will soon be releasing the XG Station, an external audio and video processor for laptop PCs equipped with an ExpressCard slot. The device will offer up to ten times normal graphics performance, simulated Dolby Digital surround sound for headphones, and USB 2.0 and DVI connectors. Engadget recently posted a report on the XG in action, noting a noticeable impact on game performance when installed on a stock laptop PC.

There is no word yet on whether or not the XG Station will be compatible with Macintosh laptops.

From Engagdet:

After attaching the external monitor to one of the XG's two DVI connectors, Asus let the gaming demo fly. The stock laptop struggled to keep up with the action with noticeably huge jumps in frames making intense game play a non-starter. The XG-equipped laptop, however, hummed along quite happily. Game play was smooth though a few frames were occasionally dropped. Surround sound is in fact simulated, which is both good and bad: the good is you get pseudo 5.1 surround from any headphones; the bad is you get pseudo 5.1 surround from any headphones. Verdict: the XG Station is ready to game as long as you don't expect it to perform like a dedicated gaming rig.
The XG Station is scheduled for release sometime in the second quarter of 2007. Click on the links below to check out a few pictures and learn more about the product.

Engadget: Hands On With The Asus XG Station
XG Station Press Release

EA Big on Little Games for iPod
7:51 AM | Anthony Wang | 12 comments

Yahoo examines Electronic Arts decision to pursue mobile gaming, most notably for the iPod. EA currently can account for four games for Apple's popular media player which are sold through the iTunes Online store. Some of the reasons for EA developing games for the iPod is not only the simplicity, but also the fact that millions of potential iPod owners are also gamers.

Consumers have an appetite for a diversionary-type game experience -- a snack where they can play for five minutes," Mitch Lasky, who leads EA's mobile gaming initiatives, told Reuters in a recent interview...Mobile gaming is growing, and the iPod fits into those plans. "It's very much a cousin to our existing mobile business," he said...Mobile gaming accounted for 14 percent of EA's revenue in the fiscal year ended March 2006, or $393 million.

...The iPod may not be the best device for playing games, but it already is carried around by millions of people, giving it a certain edge, said Forrester analyst Paul Jackson...It is the one "you are most likely to be carrying when you end up waiting for a flight, sitting in a dentist's waiting room, etc.," he said.

Add the new iPhone into the mix, and EA's bet is looking more and more promising.

EA bets iPod good for video games

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DEFCON Reviewed
7:51 AM | Cord Kruse | 2 comments has posted a review of the PC version of DEFCON, Introversion Software's RTS which allows players to dabble in the world destroying fun of global thermonuclear war. recommended DEFCON to fans of strategy and multiplayer games.

From the review:

DEFCON plays out over several stages, ranging through the stages of warfare - from DEFCON 5 (peacetime) to DEFCON 1 (WWIII). The first stage is the time you deploy your troops, and then for the next rounds you must set their paths to where you want them to be, deploy your defenses and hinder your enemy indirectly. There are only five units in the game, a stealth bomber plane, a fighter jet, a submarine, a battleship and a carrier. Each unit is perfectly balanced and regulated, and they work exactly in tandem with one another to create more carnage than you could ever possibly imagine.

Tactics are a definite necessity in DEFCON - it's a game about using your brain, not just building a huge blob of warriors and running in there. For every action there is a reaction, and because of this it's HUGELY satisfying when you see a 'fleet' of nukes flying past your enemy's borders unhindered, because you've simultaneously sent in a squadron of fighters and bombers to distract their air defense batteries. Having said this, the feeling you get when you win the game isn't, when you think about it, a nice one. You're simulating slaughter, shooting fish in a barrel, and the faint glow and hum of your target's part of the world as nuclear winter falls is vaguely sickening.

Ambrosia Software will be releasing the Mac version of DEFCON. Check out the rest of the review at the link below.

Gamers Info: DEFCON Review
Ambrosia Software

Mac Games News for Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Inside Mac Games Reviews Age of Empires III2:04 PM
Apple Announces Apple TV, New AirPort Extreme1:05 PM
Apple Unveils iPhone12:33 PM
3DU Contest Winners Announced9:06 AM
Legion Arena: Cult Of Mithras Reviewed9:06 AM
The Broken Hourglass Lore Update9:06 AM
Macworld Expo 2007 Keynote9:04 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, January 9, 2007 on one page

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