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Monday, April 9, 2007

GameTap For Macs Coming Soon?
6:00 AM | Anthony Wang | 8 comments

A recent forum posting may shed some light on the possibility of GameTap, a subscription based video game service, coming to the Mac. The information comes from a chat log between the user and a GameTap representative.

Rhylin: Is there any information available on when a Mac Version of the Gametap service will be made available?

Gametap: There is not an official ETA on that, but we are working on it.

Rhylin: What can you tell us on how far the project has progressed or if there will be an open beta?

Gametap: The project is still in the early workings, but there should be more news in the coming months.

Rhylin: Has the work that Gametap did along with Cyan Worlds and Transgaming, Inc. emulator technology for Uru Live helped the process of bringing Gametap to the Mac platform?

Last month, GameTap released Myst Online: URU Live for Intel Macs. Please click on the links below to continue reading the rest of the chat log and to learn more information.

GameTap for Mac
Myst Online: Uru Live

Intel Macs Face Off
6:00 AM | Anthony Wang | 2 comments

Last week, Primate Labs released benchmarks of nearly all the Intel Macs, from the Mac mini to the MacBook Pro. Primate Labs used Geekbench 2 which only measured the processing power and memory. Nonetheless, the benchmarks give users a chance to compare all the Intel Macs but the Xserve.

There’s not a huge change in performance across most of Apple’s Intel-based Mac lineup (the high-end MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo is only 30% faster than the low-end MacBook Core Duo, for example). The only big changes occur at the low end with the (discontinued) single-core Mac mini, or at the high end with the quad-core Mac Pro.
Please follow the links below to learn more information.

Primate Labs Geekbench Results

GL Golf Updated To 2.0
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Nuclear Nova Software recently released version 2.0 of GL Golf. The 3D golf game with a realistic physics system offers 270 different holes, an internet high score list, and a driving range. Version 2.0 introduces a variety of bug fixes and additions to the game.

Here's a list of changes in the update:

• Added a new 18 hole course called Isle South for subscription pack owners.
• Added a graphical effect when the ball lands or is hit from the sand.
• Added three new sound effects and fixed a bug where an effect would play even if sounds were turned off.
• The ball should no longer hit a tree when the ball doesn't actually go through the tree.
• Fixed a bug where opening GL Golf could possible launch iTunes.
• * Fixed ball shadows in multiplayer games.
The demo of the game is available for download from at the link below.

MGF: GL Golf 2.0
GL Golf
Nuclear Nova Software

Ms. Pac-Man For iPod Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Playlist has posted a new review of Ms. Pac-Man for iPod, one of several games available for Apple's portable multimedia device. Ms. Pac Man recreates the pellet gobbling action of the original arcade title, but awkward controls and a tiny visual footprint resulted in a score of 2.5 out of 5 from Playlist.

the iPod screen is a lot smaller than the CRTs that originally showed off this game, and while they’re clear and the graphics are crisp, it’s easy to suffer some eye strain while you’re playing. What’s more, because you’re sacrificing iPod screen real estate for embellishments like cabinet art and a heads up display, the maze is even smaller than it really has to be...

Just like with Pac-Man before it, you maneuver Ms. Pac-Man around the maze by simply touching the iPod’s click wheel in the direction you want to go. A miniature joystick on the screen will show you what direction you’ve pressed—up, down, left and right. I found the controls to be a little problematic. I don’t know whether it’s bad hand/eye coordination on my end or sloppy input, but I’d often move my thumb in a certain direction and not see Ms. Pac-Man follow, even though she had a clear path in front of her. This got particularly maddening at higher levels, where the action is a lot faster and those quick decisions can mean escape or certain doom at the hands of the ever hungry ghost quartet.
For the full review head over to the site below.

Playlist: Ms. Pac Man Review
Apple: iPod Games

Click to enlarge
Europa Universalis III Examined
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Boomtown recently posted a review of the PC version of Europa Universalis III, the latest in the series from Paradox. The strategy game of warfare, diplomacy, and trade allows players to take charge of nations in the time period spanning the fall of Constantinople in 1453 to the French Revolution in 1789. Boomtown gave the game a score of 8 out of 10.

The fundamental change in Europa Universalis 3 is the game’s new interface. It has undergone a major overhaul, especially limiting the pop-up hell from the previous games. The menu system still makes it unbelievably easy to get access to information and details in a second, but its more in the background now. On the other hand the actual game and the world map is now in more focus, something the community around the game has been asking for in a long time.

Some graphical changes have been made too, making units and landscapes look more alive and detailed. Newcomers even have access to some pretty neat tutorials; obviously this has been an area of the game where Paradox has wanted to improve. They offer an introduction to the fundamental aspects of the game and fits well into the new interface. The game is very friendly towards new players, but is still as complex as before. You will have to experiment with many different strategies to achieve success in the three main areas of the game. That is why Europa Universalis 3 is a game with endless durability.

It is immensely hard to let go once you understand the game and its concept. Contrary to other games you don’t lose the game by picking an ineffective tactic or making mistakes. You just get another experience. In every game the small choices influence the outcome in the long run. This ensures a lot of variation each time you play. You can, so to say, continue playing infinitely without losing entertainment value. You can even play online with up to 32 players – even though it sounds chaotic – where you can have even more fun with human intelligence from your opponent – good or bad.
The Mac version of Europa Universalis III was recently announced by Virtual Programming and should be available sometime this Spring.

Follow the links below to read the rest of the review.

Boomtown: Europa Universalis III Review
Virtual Programming
Europa Universalis III
Buy Europa Universalis III

Click to enlarge
Using World Of Warcraft To Teach English
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 6 comments

Gamasutra recently interviewed professor Edd Schneider about his theory that online games like World of Warcraft can be used to teach English to Asian teens. Based on a project conducted two years ago, Schneider and his colleague, Kai Zeng, found that the game was an excellent tool for teaching conversational English.

The professor hopes online games will break down server boundaries and allow players from different countries to interact.

What inspired you to start connecting American and Chinese players?

Beyond the marketing thing, it just bothered me that games are supposed to let us play together, then [for most MMOs] they split everyone up on servers. I think that's totally asinine. If you play WoW, wouldn't you like to play against the best players from China? Everyone would say "yes." What we're hoping people are going to do is say, "Let's make an ESL-friendly server. Tell the Americans that not everyone is going to have perfect English, but they're going to want to learn."

That would be an attractor, because the other thing that bothered me was that these online games get bad PR. People say, "You can't be in my clan unless your English is perfect." That's a small number of gamers, I think, and if you had this ESL server with a million people it would show that the majority of gamers are open-minded.

Did you see a difference in the Chinese students' English?

Some of them were really starting to sound like Americans. A lot of time it was more a confidence thing than a language thing. Also, they're getting conversational English they wouldn't get in a normal class, more authentic English, with phrases they wouldn't get in textbooks.

It's not going to be like, "The ball is good." It'll be like, "You've got to get over there!" It's a conversational thing. Besides, I think the biggest obstacle for a lot of Asian students who eventually come to America is the cultural difference. This sort of social interaction gives them a safe space to learn.

To read the full Q&A click over to the site below.

Gamasutra: WoW Teaches English
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

Mac Games News for Saturday, April 7, 2007

IMG Podcast Episode 14 Released5:33 PM
View all of the Mac games news for Saturday, April 7, 2007 on one page

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Friday, April 6, 2007
Thursday, April 5, 2007
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