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Monday, December 31, 2007

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Peggle, Chuzzle Now Available For Mac OS X
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Hot on the heels of its announcement of Peggle for iPod, PopCap Games has released the eagerly awaited arcade puzzle title to OS X as well. The popular game combines elements of pinball, pachinko, and Breakout. In addition to the Peggle release PopCap also unveiled a Mac version of Chuzzle, a puzzle title in which players match groups of three or more fuzzy creatures to increase their score.

More about Peggle:

Ready, aim... bounce! Clear the orange pegs from 55 fanciful levels as 10 whimsical teachers guide you toward Peggle greatness. Wield mystifying Magic Powers, rack up huge bonus points and make shots you'll smile about for weeks. Amidst all this fevered action, only one question remains: Can you become a Peggle Master?

Get all this when you download Peggle:
* Master 55 levels and 10 Magic Powers!
* Conquer 75 Grand Master challenges!
* Play friends or the computer in Duel Mode!
* Save and replay your hottest shots!
More about Chuzzle:
It's a fuzzy, non-stop explosion of adorable matching action! Pop the furry balls of fun by forming groups of three or more. But watch out for dangerous puzzle locks. Once you start popping Chuzzles, you can't stop!

Get all this when you download Chuzzle:
* Classic, Speed, Zen and Mind Bender modes.
* Rainbow, Giant and Super Chuzzles.
* Win cool Chuzzle trophies.
* High-resolution graphics for the ultimate experience!
The Universal Binary games cost $19.95 and require a Mac running OS X 10.3 or later.

Head over to the links below to learn more about the games and take them for a spin with the downloadable demos.

PopCap Games
Buy Peggle

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Peggle for iPod Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Macworld's Game Room has released a new review of Peggle for iPod, one of several recently released new titles for Apple's multimedia device. The game combines elements of pinball, pachinko, and Breakout, challenging players to clear the screen of pegs with a skillfully aimed steel ball. Calling Peggle "one of the two best games you can download for your iPod right now," the Game Room gave it a score of 4.5 out of 5 mice.

From the review:

The concept is simple: There’s a playfield comprising a series of pegs. You aim a cannon located at the top of the screen and fire a steel ball. Any peg that the ball hits disappears, and gives you points. You must clear the field of orange pegs to continue to the next level. Your steel ball caroms around the playfield, bouncing from one peg to another.

A bucket at the bottom of the playfield moves back and forth. If you’re lucky enough to have the ball land in the bucket, it’s a free ball. If not, the ball’s play ends and your cannon loads up with another steel ball. You have a limited number of balls to clear each level.

As your ball hits the last orange peg, the playfield transforms. The whole board goes into slow motion as “Ode to Joy” begins to play, complete with drum roll, and when the ball finally lands at the bottom of the screen, it’ll drop in to one of five buckets worth anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 points. Your successful completion of the level nets you a fireworks display and a rainbow. It’s one heck of a payoff.
Click over to the site below to read the rest of the review.

Macworld's Game Room: Peggle iPod Review

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Need For Speed: Carbon Examined
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

A new review of EA's Need for Speed: Carbon is now available from Macworld's Game Room. One of several Ciderized titles, the game brings a new installment of the popular street racing series to owners of Intel Macs. The Game Room gave Need for Speed: Carbon a score of 4 out of 5 mice.

From the review:

Let me say at the outset that Need for Speed: Carbon isn’t particularly realistic. If you’re looking for an actual racing simulator, you’ll be better off with something like Colin McRae Rally from Feral Interactive. But if you’re looking for a cinematic game that will make you feel like you’re in a scene from The Fast and the Furious , Need for Speed: Carbon is really hard to top.

Events vary from canyon runs that will have you caroming down hairpin turns at top speed, threatening to go over the edge at every moment, to “drifting” (that is, sledding your car around tight curving courses, spinning the wheels and fishtailing as much as possible for points). And of course, there’s straight-up slaloms through busy city streets with a pack of opponents on your tail (or in front of you, depending on how good you are).

Each race you win will earn prestige, not only for you but for your little racing club and its control of territory. Wins also net you cash, which you can turn over into seemingly endless varieties of car customization or new vehicles that you’ll be able to unlock as your influence and your list of winning races increases. You’ll be able to race everything from front wheel drive subcompacts to roaring ’60s era muscle cars by the time you’re done, with a few supercar exotics thrown in for good measure.
Read the rest of the review at the link provided below.

Macworld's Game Room: Need For Speed Carbon Review
Electronic Arts
Need for Speed: Carbon
Buy Need for Speed: Carbon

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Pirates Of The Caribbean Online Post Mortem
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

RPG Vault is now offering a post mortem article examining Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean Online, an online multiplayer link to the successful movie franchise. Written by Disney Online's Mike Goslin the article discusses the goals of the project, the development process, and fan reaction. In the game players engage in a variety of fantasy piratical activities including sword fighting, ship to ship battles, gambling, and voodoo.

High-Level Goals
In developing Pirates of the Caribbean Online we wanted first and foremost to make the game accessible to and fun for a broad audience. We focused on the elements that have made the movies so great, like epic ship battles, sword fights with undead pirates, exploration of vast and fantastic islands, voodoo curses, and treasure hunting. We really wanted to capture the same spirit of being a pirate and living in this fantastic world.
For us, the core experience is crewing up and setting sail, blasting away with cannons at everything in sight. We felt like we had delivered a really fun experience for our theme park attraction, and wanted to bring this to the online experience. We decided to include land combat as well, but wanted to make it active and fun, just like the on the sea.

Major Challenges
Overall, our biggest challenge was probably developing a truly authentic Pirates of the Caribbean experience and a virtual world that was detailed and rich while at the same time creating a game that will run on a wide range of hardware. Our incredibly talented artists were able to do a lot with a little, and our hard-working engineers spent endless months tuning the engine.

Looking Ahead
We have a lot of new content planned for the year already, with the focus on expanding both avatar and ship customization, extending the quest story lines, and adding more enemies and challenges. We expect to attract a diverse group of players, so the major challenges for us will involve creating new content for a range of different playing styles.
To read the full article follow the link provided below.

RPG Vault: PotCo Wrap Report
Pirates of the Caribbean Online

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StarCraft II Community Manager Interviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

StarCraft Source has posted a new interview with Blizzard's StarCraft II community manager, Karune. The interview covers a range of topics including information about the upcoming RTS sequel, what the community manager job entails, and the importance of fan input in Blizzard game development.

SC-Source: What is your favorite unit so far in Starcraft 2 and why?
Karune: Surprisingly, even to myself, the upgraded Protoss Zealot with charge is my favorite unit. There is something oddly satisfying with watching a whole pack of zealots charge up to their victims and slashing them up with their Psi Blades. Though I’ll have to admit, they are a bit harder to micromanage as compared to the original StarCraft, but that is more than made up with their ability to close their distances fast between them and a Siege Tank!

SC-Source: What exactly does your job entail other than controlling the flow of information?
Karune: The field of community is quite new, thus the role us community guys (and gals) play may be very different from company to company. Here at Blizzard, my goal is to empower the community with the tools and activities you guys desire to get involved and connected with the community. I believe in every community there are several interest groups that make up that community. Providing those communities the needed resources to grow is what this job is all about. When I think about it now, it is kind of like playing Caesar or SimCity lol.

SC-Source: How much weight does Blizzard put on feedback that comes from the community?
Karune: They put an incredible amount of weight on community feedback, but I am not sure if it is the way you are referring to. In my opinion, the Development Team here, made up of the best of the best in the industry, will undoubtedly make the best StarCraft II experience the community can imagine. StarCraft II will not be a game made up of the millions of emails we get on feedback, but will be made with the developmental experience of the best at Blizzard. At the same time, when we develop new features to StarCraft II, the community is the first we would want to share it with, and that feedback will undoubtedly have influence on the game. We do this for you. BlizzCon is a great example of an event we hold, completely for the fans.

StarCraft II is still in development. The full Q&A is available from the link provided below.

StarCraft Source: Karune Interview
Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty

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Midnight Mansion Updated
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

ActionSoft has announced the release of Midnight Mansion 1.1.0, a free update to its popular action/exploration game. The new version fixes a High Score exploit, and includes a hint for players stuck on Chateu de Medusa Hard. In Midnight Mansion players take the role of Jack Malone as they explore for hidden treasure in eight huge mansions filled with traps, puzzles, and secrets.

Fixes in version 1.1.0:

- Fixed game so it's no longer possible to cheat and submit a High Score with a Time that is wrong. The game now posts to a new high score list -- one different than the list used by Midnight Mansion 1.0.9 and earlier.
- Added a secret sign to Chateau de Medusa Hard that gives players a hint if they get stuck in the first dark section.
This version is a free upgrade for owners of any prior version of Midnight Mansion. Follow the links below for more information.

Midnight Mansion
MGF: Midnight Mansion 1.1.0

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Gish Goes Universal
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Chronic Logic recently released a new Universal Binary version of Gish, an action game starring a heroic ball of tar. Version 1.51 also includes a variety of other bug fixes and updates.

Gish isn't your average hero, in fact he's not your average anything... see Gish is a ball of tar. A Sunday stroll with his lady friend Brea goes awry when a shadowy figure emerges from an open man hole and pulls Brea into the ground below. Following Brea's calls for help Gish suddenly finds himself in the subterranean sewers of Dross, a long forgotten city filled with twisting corridors, evil traps and some of the most demented creatures imaginable.

With his gelatinous structure as his only means of defense Gish must follow the echoing cries of his damsel in distress deep into the earth below. What freakish creatures dwell in this subterranean land? Who is Brea's captor? And just how far down does the rabbit hole go?

Life isn't easy when you're a 12 pound ball of tar...
For more information about the game follow the links below.

MGF: Gish 1.51

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Apple Games Features Sims 2 Bon Voyage & Sonic For iPod
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Apple Games recently posted two new feature articles. The first examines Bon Voyage, the latest vacation themed expansion for The Sims 2. The second article enters the speed driven world of Sonic The Hedgehog for iPod owners. The features include a review of the games' features as well as some secrets to discover in Bon Voyage and a brief history of Sonic.

The Sims 2: Bon Voyage
Each of the three destinations features locals whose special greetings, dances, and other customs you can learn. You can befriend them, or other Sims also on vacation, and continue those relationships back home. (You might even discover that a certain giant hairy biped who lives in Three Lakes would like to move in with you. Don’t be turned off by his appearance; he has a lot to offer.)

A trip also brings with it special wants and fears that will affect your aspiration and/or skill points if they’re realized. In addition, a particularly enjoyable vacation offers, at its conclusion, a choice from six different rewards with 48-hour effects. For example, you might get an additional want slot and find yourself more productive.

Don’t forget to snap photos of all the fun. Bon Voyage lets you ask another Sim to assume a pose in front of a particular spot before clicking the shutter button. In Story Mode, arrange your photos and compose captions. You can even order prints to display on your wall or counter at home, so you’ll always remember your visit to Twikii Island’s South End Beach, where Bilious Bob the Pirate washed ashore during his search for the Monkey Ruins of Jumbok IV. Or so the story goes.

Sonic The Hedgehog for iPod
The game’s zones contain rings that you should grab as often as possible. You earn an extra life for every 100 rings you collect, and finishing the first or second act of each zone with at least 50 produces a final giant ring — jump through it to access a bonus level where you can obtain one of the Chaos Emeralds. Find all six Chaos Emeralds along the way to view the game’s happy ending.

Sonic attacks his enemies by spinning when he jumps or runs fast, freeing the animals from their robotic confines in the process. If he’s not spinning when he hits one of them, he loses all of his rings; if he does so without any rings, you lose a life. Monitors scattered throughout the zones give Sonic power-ups — such as invincibility, bonus rings, or a speed boost — when he breaks them.

Even when Sonic is invincible, however, you can still lose a life if a trap crushes him, he falls into a bottomless pit, he drowns, or you go over the ten-minute gameplay limit for each act. When you lose a life, you start over at the last checkpoint you passed, rather than the beginning of the act.

The rest of the feature articles are available at the links provided below.

Apple Games: The Sims 2 Bon Voyage
Apple Games: Sonic The Hedgehog
Sonic The Hedgehog
Aspyr Media
The Sims 2: Bon Voyage

Mac Games News for Wednesday, December 26, 2007

IMG Wishes All Our Readers Happy Holidays9:14 AM
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