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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

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Blast Miner Brings Explosive Puzzle Action To Macs
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Cryptic Sea, the creative team behind the independent hit Gish is back with their latest title, Blast Miner. Now available on Macs, the game is a physics-based puzzle game where you use explosives to blast chunks of gold out of a mine. Taking the role of a crazed miner the player must use TNT, gas cans and stones to set off chain reactions that rip through the ground exposing and collecting chunks of sweet gold.

Aside from its unique physics, Blast Miner also features a puzzle editor that allows players to make their own custom level campaigns to be posted on the blast miner website for other users to download and enjoy.

Blast Miner is a physics based action strategy game where you use TNT, gas cans and stones to cause huge explosions to dig through the Earth.

It's awesome... Seriously, just play the demo or watch some gameplay movies... Explosions people! You can't go wrong with that.
The full version of Blast Miner costs $19.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.4. The demo is available at

Follow the links below to download the game and check out the gameplay trailer.

MGF: Blast Miner 1.2.8
Blast Miner Gameplay Trailer
Blast Miner
Cryptic Sea
Pre-Order Blast Miner

Macgamestore: Goldfish Aquarium 2.0 Released
5:07 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Goldfish Aquarium 2 is now available through as a digital download for $19.95.

Goldfish Aquarium 2 features several major improvements over the previous version. Goldfish Aquarium 2 contains three new tanks and four new fish. Major improvements in technology will gather the most attention in the latest update of Goldfish Aquarium, including stunning new toys and reflections. Four new fish make their debut in Goldfish Aquarium 2, however each of the previous goldfish have been updated to the latest high standards.

Goldfish Aquarium 2 is now a Universal Binary. A free demo is available for download at

Macgamestore: Goldfish Aquarium 2.0

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Inside Mac Games Reviews Infinite Crosswords
3:53 PM | Tuncer Deniz | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of Infinite Crosswords. Here's a clip from the review:

Iíve always found crossword puzzles to be a bit intimidating, and Infinite Crosswords has changed that for me ó and several of my young children. The gameís inviting interface and hinting system makes it an ideal place for crossword novices to gain skill. Yet its plethora of puzzles to solve and variable skill levels make it just as much fun for the expert.
To check out the full review, please follow the link below.

Inside Mac Games Review: Infinite Crosswords
Infinite Crosswords
Buy Infinite Crosswords

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MacBook Pros Updated
11:29 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Apple recently announced upgrades to their line of Macbook Pro laptops. The expected speed bump is in place, with the new computers now sporting Intel Santa Rosa chipsets that offer 2.2GHz and 2.4GHz speeds. By using the new chips, MacBook Pros now have an 800MHz front-side bus as well as support for up to 4GB of RAM. 2GB of RAM come standard with the new MacBook Pros as well.

Perhaps more interesting is the inclusion of a battery-saving LED screen with the 15" model, a feature that Apple has been promising in the effort to become more environmentally friendly. In addition, the current crop of MBPs sport NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GTs rather than ATI offerings. The 15" 2.2GHz MBP's GeForce comes with 128MB GDDR3, while the 15" 2.4GHz and the 17" both come with 256MB GDDR3. Apple claims that the new graphics hardware increases performance by over 50% when compared against the original 2.16GHz MBP Core Duo, citing tests with both Doom 3 and Quake 4.

The baseline 15" retails at $1,999. The 15" 2.4GHz goes for $2,499, while the top-of-the-line 17" 2.4GHz goes for $2,799. All models are currently shipping.

Apple - Apple Updates MacBook Pro

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Civilization IV: Beyond The Sword Q&A
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story has posted an interview with Firaxis Games' Alex Mantzaris about Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword, the upcoming expansion for the popular turn based strategy title. The expansion will focus on increasing the play value of the late game after the introduction of gunpowder. A variety of new scenarios, units, leaders, and gameplay improvements will be available for players to enjoy.

The introduction of religion was one of the most splendid features of Civ IV. Corporation sounds equally intriguing. Can you elaborate on how this will function and what benefits (and drawbacks) this will entail for players?

Corporations represent commercial entities, each consuming specific resources in order to provide benefits to their city. The more instances of resources they consume, the more food, production, commerce, or resources they supply. The downside is that any city hosting a corporation has to pay a maintenance fee for its services. It really pays to have the headquarters of a corporation, since the founding city gets royalty income for each city in the world hosting a branch of that corporation. Players can block foreign corporations from operating in their cities by adopting the Mercantilism civic, and they block all corporations (even their own) by adopting the State Property civic.
There is no word yet on the possibility of a Mac version of the expansion.

To read the rest of the Q&A follow the link below. Civ IV Beyond The Sword Q&A
Aspyr Media
Civilization IV
Buy Civilization IV

Rethinking Game Difficulty And Player Rewards
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 19 comments

GameDaily Biz is offering a new article from Gas Powered Games CEO, Chris Taylor, about the evolution of design philosophy related to game difficulty and the need to reward players. Taylor examines the roots of the difficult game in carnival attractions and coin-op arcades, and explains why he thinks game designers should focus on rewarding players rather than punishing them with overly challenging obstacles.

And I brought this up at my GDC talk because I wanted to make the point that we were failing as an industry to create games that everyone could get "through." We were spending all this time and money on a part of the game that our customer would never see. I don't know if anyone really thought this was a smart point to make, but looking back, I should have spent the whole hour talking about it. I pointed out that when I buy a DVD, or a music CD, or a book, I always get "through" it. I'm never blocked from watching a TV show, or reading a magazine at the airport. I tried to imagine how many millions of dollars worth of gaming goodness that I was never seeing. How many boss battles and final victory sequences was I missing? Almost all of them by my recollection! Why? I had a ton of excuses. But I was always left with one overarching fact--I wasn't good enough to beat the game. I was slow. I was dumb. I didn't "get it." I'm impressed that the industry made it this far with our carnival-style punishment system.

Games are getting less violent, they're finally attracting women on a regular basis, and they aren't punishing the player as much. The transition will still take years, and many great games will still be designed that are violent, made for the infinitely hardcore male populace, and will punt you through the uprights when you make a slight mistake, but those will be the exception, not the rule.
Check out the rest of his comments at the link below.

GameDailybiz: Reward Players, Don't Punish Them!

Tower Of Destiny: Classes, Skills, And Spells
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Recent developer blogs uncover more information about Winter Wolves' upcoming RPG, Tower of Destiny. Inspired by classic adventures of the past the game will offer dungeons to explore, a first person view point, and the ability choose a different team from a pool of adventures for each spelunking expedition.

The new blogs reveal information about the 12 classes available in the game, the delicate balancing act in deciding on skill progression, and the possibility of nearly 200 available spells in the final release.

Today I finished the class selection screen. I opted for some coloured spheres as icons, I think the final effect is nice In total there are 12 classes available in the game. Iíve decided to allow all classes selection in the first episode, since now each class in practice is only a definition on how fast your character level specific skills, and what skills canít learn.

For example the Necromancer class is very skilled in Black Magic (that focus on death), but is totally unable to learn White Magic (healing spells mostly). Another example is the Paladin that canít learn Dual Wield or Lockpicking.
Head over to the Winter Wolves developer blog site to read the rest.

Winter Wolves Blog: Tower of Destiny
Winter Wolves

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Eschalon Book 1: Status Update
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

In response to requests on its official forums Basilisk Games has posted a status update for the upcoming RPG, Eschalon: Book 1. In addition to discussing the difficult process of desiging a game, the post reveals that a new interview will be released sometime in June and that a gameplay trailer is also in the works.

Right now we are in heavy crunch mode. Internally, we thought we could start the final beta test by June 1st, but we just didn't make it there. There are no technical hurdles in our way, it just happens that producing decent content takes more time than you'd think. Creating a single side quest involves the initial design, usually some rendering, scripting, dialogue writing, testing, and often programming when we discover a hole in the system. It is a huge accomplishment to get one working side quest implemented in one day.

I would never have thought from the beginning that the process of game creation would be so involved, especially a project like Eschalon where we purposely want the game to be "old-school". We weren't going to design a game with Radiant AI or a graphic engine that competes with Crysis; we are making a better looking Ultima style game with touches of Might & Magic and Wizardry. It turns out that quality game production on any scale takes time, and an RPG is about the most time consuming project of all. The variables that must be considered are staggering at times.
Head over to the Basilisk forums to read the rest.

Eschalon: Book 1 Forum: More News!
Basilisk Games
Eschalon: Book I
Buy Eschalon: Book I

Mac Games News for Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Aspyr Media Ships The Sims 2 Seasons12:30 PM
Apple Games Features iQuiz For iPod6:14 AM
BlizzCon Attendees To Receive Murloc Suit6:14 AM
iGiki Flash Games Coming To iPhone6:14 AM
New Blades of Avernum Scenarios & Vogel Programming Article6:14 AM
Professor Fizzwizzle Molten Mystery Released6:14 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, June 5, 2007 on one page

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