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Friday, April 6, 2007

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Europa Universalis III, X³ Reunion, And More Coming To Macs
10:06 AM | Cord Kruse | 9 comments

Virtual Programming announced today that it will be bringing several new titles to eager Mac gamers. Among the upcoming releases is Europa Universalis III, X³ Reunion, and Championship Manager 2007.

Europa Universalis III is the latest in the popular strategy series focusing on exploration, trade, warfare and diplomacy. The game is in the pipeline for release this spring and will incorporate the latest 1.2 update from the PC version.

Some of the game's features:

• Players can enjoy over 300 years of gameplay by starting at ANY date between 1453 and 1789.
• Nation building is flexible: decide your own form of government, the structure of your society, trade politics and much more. The possibilities are endless.
• The great people and personalities of the past are on hand to support you. Take history in your hands and call personalities like Sir Isaac Newton, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart or René Descartes to your court.
• A lush topographic map in full 3D allows for a rich and complete world view, and contains more than 1700 provinces and sea zones.
• Lead any one of more than 250 countries that originally existed during the game’s extensive time span.
X³: Reunion will reach Intel Mac owners courtesy of a collaboration between Virtual Programming and Transgaming using Cider. The sequel to the award winning X²: The Threat will introduce a new 3D engine as well as a new story, new ships and a new gameplay to greatly increase the variety in the X-universe. X³ should be available in May.
X³: Reunion is an epic action adventure game set in the vast reaches of interstellar space, the latest legacy in a line of space trading games. You start out the captain of a tiny, underpowered starship, and it's up to you to become leader of an empire using your wits and skill.

X³: Reunion features an entirely new 3D engine as well as a new story, new ships and a new gameplay to greatly increase the variety in the X-universe. The economy of X³: Reunion will be more complex than anything seen in the X-universe before. Factories are being built by NPCs, wars can affect the global economy, NPCs can trade freely and pirates will behave far more realistically.
Championship Manager 2007 should be available to eager football (soccer) fans this month, giving them the chance to take the reigns of their own club. "It's your decisions that count: your budget, your buys, your formation, your tactics... Use your skills and knowledge to manage your club the way you feel it should be"

Here's some of what you can expect from the CM 2007:

• ProZone: For the first time, exclusive to Championship Manager, use ProZone for full match analysis – as used by top football managers. This new feature provides you with stats for every player and every game including: goals scored, runs made and shots/passes/tackles made or failed.
• Comprehensive Data Update to player, staff, club and league data - including Conference North and South. Contains all transfers up to the end of August Transfer Window.
• International Management: Live the ultimate fans dream and manage your country to glory in the biggest tournaments in the world.
• Overhauled Front End Interface: All new skins, with ‘Dynamic Side Bar’ and ‘Menu Shortcut’ system.
• Team Talks: Pre-match, half-time and post match talks. Praise/criticise players and give individual instructions e.g. intimidate/go in hard – but be careful not to start a mass brawl.
Finally, Virtual Programming and Phantom EFX have collaborated to bring Reel Deal Casino High Roller and Reel Deal Slots - Mythic Forest to Macs. The games are available in boxed or downloadable versions.
Both games take the fun and challenge of popular casino games and bring them right to your Mac. Online play is provided via Mac server, PhantomVP.
Head over to the sites below to learn more about the games listed above.

Virtual Programming
Championship Manager 2007
Europa Universalis III
X3: Reunion
Buy Championship Manager 2007
Buy Europa Universalis III

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WoW: BC Reviewed
6:34 PM | Anthony Wang | Comment on this story

Applelinks has posted a review of World of WarCraft: The Burning Crusade. For those gamers who haven't tried out the latest incarnation to the WoW phenomenom, this review looks at the new Outland world eligible players can explore, fight, and play in.

Burning Crusade offers everything that was in the original World of Warcraft and a lot more of it: more instances, more skills, more items to get, more places to explore, more factions, more raids, more pvp and more fun. What it doesn't offer is anything dramatically new in how we play World of Warcraft. This isn't necessarily a bad thing because if you like WoW then you'll like Burning Crusade, but if you didn't or just got tired of it, Burning Crusade only offers more of the same.
The Burning Crusade expansion pack was released for the Mac earlier this year and received 4/5 rating from Applelinks.

Applelinks Game Review
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade
Buy World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade

IMG Posts The State of Racing Feature
6:37 AM | Tuncer Deniz | 5 comments

If you're a fan of racing games, you'll want to check out our newest feature, The State of Racing On The Mac. Here's a clip from the feature:

Now that the launch of Colin McRae Rally Mac is upon us, it is a good opportunity to take a look at racing on the Macintosh. It’s been a bumpy road for speed freak fans over the years. While Mac game publishing has provided a racing title in just about every major racing category out there, it has been sporadic at times in terms of quality and quantity. Thankfully the good people at Feral Interactive are bringing us the Colin McRae Rally franchise, quite possibly the greatest Mac racing title ever, just when we need it the most.
To check out the full feature, please follow the link below.

IMG Feature: The State of Racing on the Mac

Custer Is Untouchable
6:00 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Brad Custer, IMG's desktop guru has once again graced us with one of his creations. This week features RuneSoft's Chicago 1930.

Here's what Brad had to say about his latest wallpaper entitled, "Goodfella":

With the news of the recent release of Chicago 1930 from RuneSoft, there's been a strong interest in seeing a wallpaper for this title. I enjoy honoring all your requests so I found myself heading back in time to the era of prohibition and Al Capone. In this desktop I wanted to capture the feeling of a gangster movie and was able to make this week's feature with the help of Spellbound.

To check out the desktop, head over to Custer's Desktops.

Inside Mac Games: Custer's Desktops

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Hands On With Pirates Of The Caribbean Online
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Gamespy recently posted a hands-on preview of Disney's upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean Online, a multiplayer online addition to the very successful Pirates franchise. The game will allow players to engage in a variety of piratical activities including sword fights and ship to ship battles. The preview offers an interview with Mike Goslin as well as an overview of the game itself.

Unlike the previous generation of MMOs, Pirates of the Caribbean Online's combat is real-time and based on timed clicks of the mouse. A left-click begins a combat sequence and clicking again at the proper moment moves the player's avatar into the next phase of the sequence. A right-click allows the player to select a special move with a longer cooldown period. As players train with their weapons, they'll get points that they can place into various skills, making them more powerful or adding new moves to chain combos. "We wanted to make combat more dynamic," Goslin said. "Being a pirate is all about action, so we didn't just want people just watching the interface during combat."

After practicing with the sword for a while, Joe Shochet, the game's project lead, logs on to show me a bit about naval combat. Player ships range from small sloops that house a couple of players to massive vessels that require a whole guild to crew. As with everything else in the game, ship combat is skill-based and players can get better at sailing or using the cannons. Higher skill levels means more accurate shots and access to specialized forms of shot like chain or grape shot or voodoo-enchanted shot that sets enemy ships on fire or slows them down. "The thing about ship combat is that we wanted to eliminate everything that wasn't fun." Goslin said. As a result, ships steer like cars and it doesn't take terribly long to reload a cannon. There's no worrying about furling sails or wind direction, players just need to line up and shoot. Ship decks are also very wide to better accommodate the large 20-40 avatar sword battles that are expected to take place during boarding actions...

PvP? In a Disney game? Goslin laughs. "What's the first thing people do when they play pirates? Pick up pretend swords and start whacking on each other. Of course we have Pirate vs. Pirate." According to Goslin, the secret is in the presentation. "The solution came straight out of the first movie - simply have Captain Barbossa toss a player a piece of cursed Aztec gold and temporarily turn them undead the way Jack did during the film's finale." He pops me into one of the five available PvP maps that will be available at launch. It's a straight-up PvP battle in which the first player to reach a certain number of kills wins. I start out using my cutlass, but then discover it's much more fun to use a voodoo power that allows me to run up, touch another player and then set them on fire from a distance.

Head over to the site below to read the rest of the preview.

Gamespy: Pirates of the Caribbean Preview
Pirates of the Caribbean Online

Virtual Villagers: The Lost Children Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

A new review from Out of Eight examines the PC version of Virtual Villagers: The Lost Children a continuation of the epic story of the castaways of Isola. In Lost Children players guide the tribe as it struggles to rescue a group of lost children and survive other new adventures. Out of Eight gave the game a score of 5 out of 8.

From the review:

You start out with a village of seven individuals: two adults, a couple of teenagers, and mostly young children (not surprising considering the title of the game). The goal of the game is two-fold: construct a working island environment and discover the island’s secrets along the way. Each older citizen of your village can be skilled in five areas: farming, building, research, healing, and parenting. Each of these skills are learned by dropping the character on an object. For example, placing a person on an unfinished hut will increase their building skill as they complete the project. Every other area is done in the same way, and harmony is found in your village by creating a balance in the number of people assigned to each task. This is complicated, however, since you are not given enough people in the beginning to fulfill all of the needed tasks.
Check out the full review by following the link below.

Out Of Eight: Virtual Villagers - The Lost Children Review
Big Fish Games
Virtual Villagers - The Lost Children
Buy Virtual Villagers - The Lost Children

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An Early Look At Civilization IV: Beyond The Sword
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 7 comments

Hookedgamers has posted a preview of Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword, the upcoming expansion for the popular turn based strategy title. The expansion will focus on increasing the play value in the late game after the introduction of gunpoweder. A variety of new scenarios, units, leaders, and gameplay improvements will be available for players to enjoy.

One concept in Civilization IV that fell behind from my expectations was espionage. Whereas you could do real damage to the enemy with your spies in the earlier incarnations, the only real use I ever found for spies in Civ IV was to use them to destroy the enemy's production of their space ship. And even this didn't come up that often, since I preferred to finish my enemies off at a much earlier stage – the spies simply appeared too late into the game. Now, with the coming expansion the civilizations can develop their espionage capabilities at an earlier stage, allowing them to gain intelligence, sabotage structures, poison water supplies, cause rebellions, and, as the fellows at Firaxis say: much more.

Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword will include a new feature which is apparently a major fan request. Apparently, many gamers prefer to skip the most exciting part of the game (exploring the world and placing your cities) and go straight into the later stages. Now this will be possible as you can 'buy' components in order to build your empire to your liking and start the game at a later stage.

The expansion will also tweak the victory conditions of the basic game. The United Nations will become available earlier in the form of the Apostolic Palace, allowing for an earlier diplomatic victory. Likewise, there will be new resolutions that you can pass in order to make life more difficult for the other players. In the same vein, the Space Victory will be expanded and this victory condition "will now require more strategic planning and tactical decision making."
There is no official word yet on the possibility of a Mac version. Keep an eye on IMG for more information.

The rest of the preview is available at the link below.

Hooked Gamers: Civ IV - Beyond The Sword Preview
Aspyr Media
Civilization IV
Buy Civilization IV

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Midnight Mansion Level Design Contest
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

ActionSoft has announced the Midnight Mansion Level Design Contest. The company is looking for the very best mansion designers out there, and is offering cash prizes to find them. In addition to monetary reward winners will see their designs included in the upcoming Midnight Mansion Expansion Pack and will receive a free copy of the expansion.

The 1st place cash prize is $300 with 2nd and 3rd offering $200 and $100, respectively. Runners-up will receive $50.

You will need a special version of Midnight Mansion in order to design your contest entry, since the expansion pack contains many new additions, such as new creatures, new environments, and new objects you can use for puzzles. You must be a registered user of Midnight Mansion in order to enter the contest.

If you send your email before May 1st, you will not hear back from us until that date. On May 1st, you will receive a reply from us explaining where you can download the special level builder you'll use to create your contest entry, as well as other information. You can still enter the contest any time after May 1st. Simply send an email to the address above, and we'll reply with the details.
The contest will begin May 1, 2007 and will run until September 1, 2007, giving designers four months to complete their masterpieces. Anyone entering the contest must be a registered user of Midnight Mansion.

To learn more about the contest, including official rules, visit the official contest webpage listed below.

Midnight Mansion Level Design Contest
Midnight Mansion

Macs Power New Gaming Themed Musical Parody
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 5 comments

VT & Yukon, creators of musical parodies with a focus on computer games, have released a new gaming-theme parody song and video. Entitled I Live to Pwn (Boulevard of Broken n00bs) and inspired by Green Day's Boulevard of Broken Dreams, the video features footage from Quake 4, Unreal Tournament 2004, and Call of Duty 2.

All the game footage was recorded from Intel based Macs running Universal Binary versions of the games. Macs were also used to create, edit, and produce the song and video in Logic and Final Cut.

Here's a bit of info on the artists:

Yes, in addition to being long-time podcasters and self-proclaimed gaming experts, VT & Yukon are also musicians (of a sort). With a style that's simultaneously recognizable and unclassifiable, they are one of only a handful of artists creating music specifically for gamers.

In 2006, VT & Yukon released their first studio album "Vortikon" on an unsuspecting world and things haven't been the same since. Featuring eight original tracks, including the internet hit "Granny Got Game," Vortikon can now be found on online music stores including iTunes, eMusic and Napster.

The video contains brief use of adult language. Click on the links below for more information.

I Live to Pwn (Boulevard of Broken n00bs)
VT & Yukon Music

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Second Life To Charge For Vanity Names
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

A recent Associated Press article revealed that Linden Research is preparing to offer residents of the virtual world Second Life the opportunity to customize their characters' first and last names, for a price. Under the current arrangement users can give their avatar nearly any first name they choose, but are restricted to a rotating list of surnames. The new naming feature is set to debut near the end of this year and will cost $100 initially and $50 a year to maintain the custom name.

The 3-D fantasy world's operators, San Francisco-based startup Linden Research Inc., have approved special names to only a select group of high-profile members, including IBM Corp. Chairman Samuel J. Palmisano and Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards. So far the company hasn't charged for them.

The company's business development team decided to create a vanity name feature in part to help legitimize the growing number of executives, political candidates and other famous people who stage rallies and give stump speeches in the virtual world.

With the new feature, Linden Research will try to verify that avatars with high-profile names belong to same-named owners. For now, it's nearly impossible to determine the offline identity behind any avatar.
Read the full article at the link provided below.

AP: Second Life To Charge For Names
Linden Lab
Second Life

Apple Posts New Hot Deals
6:00 AM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

J&R Computerworld - has some great deals on Mac compatible hardware, software and accessories including: Evolution TV digital video capture and recording from Miglia Tech for only $69.99!; Porshce Design 320GB USB 2.0 external hard drive from LaCie for only $199.99!; Epson Perfection V100 flatbed scanner with built-in film holder for only $52.88 after mail-in rebate!; Viewsonic VX2245VM 22-inch widescreen LCD monitor with built-in iPod Dock for only $339!; and much more. For all the details go to:

Small Dog Electronics - has some great deals on Mac compatible hardware, software and accessories including Hot Deals exclusive prices on a number of products: Parallels Desktop on a 512MB USB Flash Drive for a Hot Deals exclusive price of only $69.99!; 160GB 7200RPM FireWire Porsche Design external hard drive for only $79.99!; Sennheiser PX200W foldable headphones (black or white) for only $49.99!; Skype WiFi Phone from Belkin for only $164.99!; and much more. For all the details go to:

Mac Games News for Thursday, April 5, 2007

SketchFighter 4000 Alpha Updated12:49 PM
Apple Releases 8-Core Mac Pro11:23 AM
Apple Cuts Cinema Display Prices11:22 AM
Peter Molyneux Knighted10:15 AM
Apple Games Features The Sims Life Stories6:00 AM
Geneforge 4: Rebellion Reviewed6:00 AM
New Waterstorm Screenshots6:00 AM
Winter Wolves Releases Spin Around As Freeware6:00 AM
World of Padman Stands Alone6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, April 5, 2007 on one page

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