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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

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Penny Arcade Game Nears Release
6:21 AM | Jason Sims | 2 comments

Last week, as the Macworld Expo was just getting underway, IMG met with Joel DeYoung and Vlad Ceraldi of Hothead Games, and Robert Khoo of Penny Arcade, to check out the upcoming Penny Arcade Adventures game, due for simultaneous release on the Mac, Windows, Linux, and Xbox LIVE Arcade platforms this spring.

The game is being developed by Vancouver-based Hothead Games. Built upon a heavily-modified version of GarageGames' cross-platform Torque game engine, Penny Arcade Adventures is, as the title suggests, an adventure game in the classic style made popular by Sierra back in the day with such games as King's Quest and Leisure Suit Larry. Though it is based on Penny Arcade characters, the story is set back in the 1930s, in the classic detective mystery motif.

Hothead's modifications to the Torque engine have allowed them to pull off some impressive visual tricks, such as seamless transitions from a 2D, cel-shaded, comic-book-style view used in cutscenes, and the 3D game world.

Naturally, Hothead has been working closely with the creators of the Penny Arcade comic strip. Every line of story and dialogue in the game was written by Penny Arcade writer Jerry Holkins. As big fans of the classic "Sierra" adventure game genre, Hothead and the Penny Arcade guys were excited and fortunate enough to be able to work with Ron Gilbert, co-creator of the classic Monkey Island series that helped define the genre in its early days.

The game is still a couple months away from release, but we'll have our hands on a prerelease copy in the near future. Stay tuned for the IMG preview of Penny Arcade Adventures, coming soon to a website near you.

Penny Arcade Adventures
Penny Arcade
Hothead Games

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MWSF: Final Mac Games Report
7:21 AM | Jason Sims | 1 comment

Games did not have a strong presence at this year's Macworld Expo, but there were nonetheless several announcements and upcoming games on display by (most of) the usual suspects -- EA, Aspyr, CCP Games, Ambrosia, Freeverse, and Feral Interactive all had news for the Mac gaming faithful.

As we already reported last wednesday, EA officially announced that Will Wright's strange and wonderful new game Spore will be coming to the Mac later this year, thanks to TransGaming's Cider technology. The game is still under development; keep your eyes peeled for the IMG preview in the near future.

Most of Aspyr's booth was dedicated to their latest release, Guitar Hero 3, but they did have something new up their sleeves as well: The official announcement that Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is heading to the Mac. This latest installment in the popular first-person war simulation series is targeted for release in May.

Iceland's CCP Games had a large and stylish booth, dedicated of course to their epic MMO game EVE Online, released for the Mac back in November. The news for EVE fans this time around: The premium version of EVE's new Trinity graphics engine has been confirmed for release sometime in Q1 for Mac users. The premium engine is required to see all the new breathtaking, redesigned ships in Trinity, the latest expansion pack for the game.

Not to be outdone by our viking friends from across the ocean, Ambrosia looked sharp in their modern white booth, though they had only one game on display this time: The forthcoming Aquaria, a new original title created by two very talented and passionate new independent game developers. We look forward to bringing you a preview of this unique, well-crafted underwater action/adventure game.

We sat down with Ian and Colin Lynch Smith, the founders and head honchos of Freeverse, to chat about what's new and cool, and what's on the horizon. Among several non-game-related products, they were showing the recently-released (and surprisingly addictive) tower defense game Hordes of Orcs, and Commander: Europe at War, a new turn-based strategy game centered around World War II.

Right around the corner is their next title, Neon Tango a fast-paced arcade-style game. Development is wrapping up, and the game should be out in February. We'll have a preview for you soon. Also in the pipeline for Freeverse is a new resource for game developers called Statsmith -- an online leaderboard for tracking high scores. It will be available for free to Mac game developers, who can incorporate it in their games to provide online high score lists.

On display at the Feral Interactive booth: Tomb Raider Anniversary, a new Tomb Raider title which should be shipping any day now.

MacSoft and ATI did not have booths at this year's Expo.

Call of Duty 4
Commander: Europe at War
EVE Online
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
Hordes of Orcs
Neon Tango
Tomb Raider Anniversary
Buy Call of Duty 4
Buy Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
Buy Spore
Buy Tomb Raider Anniversary

TUAW: Sampling of Mac Games From MWSF
6:21 AM | Evan Holt | 1 comment

Mike from The Unofficial Apple Weblog has posted a video from MacWorld which takes a look at some of the game booths at Moscone West. The video touches on Tiger Woods, The Sims games for iPod, The Movies, Aquaria, Guitar Hero and EVE Online.

Follow the link below to watch the video (running time of 8:38).

A sampling of Mac games on display at Macworld 2008

A Look Back At Stubbs The Zombie
6:00 AM | Anthony Wang | 4 comments

Next Generation takes a look back at Stubbs the Zombie by Wideload Games. The article examines the creativity and commitment of Alexander Seropian and his staff at Wideload on developing the game. Furthermore, the article looks as how Stubbs may have positioned itself as one of the more unique games, not in line with the mainstay of shoot em ups and ancient civilization strategy games.

And even for those who did get the joke, and appreciated the telling, Stubbs is still an easy game to dismiss for its frivolity – a rebel with a cause, maybe, but no consequence, doomed to join God Hand as one of gaming’s unrequited gags. But its place in history is secure. The goal of Seropian’s rebellion wasn’t just to have a giggle, toy with tradition and maybe make some money on the side. It was to prove that you could do those things. That a medium-sized budget, licensed engine (in this case, Halo’s) and tiny in-house team could buy you the chance to be different – and for once get away with it.
Stubbs the Zombie was released for the Mac in 2005 and follows Stubbs journey from the grave to his rampage through the picturesque city of Punchbowl to find his long lost love.

Please follow the links below to learn more information.

Next Generation: Article
Aspyr Media
Stubbs the Zombie
Buy Stubbs the Zombie

Pokie Magic Releases Three New Games
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Austrialia-based independent game developer, Pokie Magic, has announced the release of three new games for Mac: Tuts Treasure, Dragon Dollars and Totem Treasure 1. The three titles are Australian slot machine games simulating either 5 or 6 reel slot machines. All three titles were developed with the PTK game engine.

*Tuts Treasure* incorporates an ancient Egyptian theme loaded with pharaohs, jewels, pyramids, the Eye of Ra and many more mystical relics. Queen Cleopatra and King Tut will even make appearances in the game as they beckon even more treasure for the gamer.

*Dragon Dollars* spotlights the age old mystifying theme of Yin and Yang, replete with both strong and gentle forces. Gamers will encounter jade jewels, jackpots and lucky coins - but will also be faced with fire breathing dragons that could bring them abundant treasures.

*Totem Treasure 1* pays homage to the Native Americans, and gamers will have the opportunity to try their luck in a world filled with golden totems, teepee wild cards and jackpots of riches.

All three pokie games simulate a 5 or 6 reel slot machine for Macintosh.  As with all slots, gamers must first spin the reels and try to win the highest rewarding combinations available. Additionally, players have a chance to deviate from the reels and play a separate game of Roulette or a play a card game to attempt chances at doubling their winnings. Pokie game players can oftentimes be awarded bonus screens, where they can double or triple their current winnings or even win a progressively growing virtual jackpot.

The Games Feature:
- 5 or 6 Reel Games
- Awards 16, 24 or 40 free game plays and Bonuses
- Chances to win the progressive Jackpot
- More Bonuses: extra game plays, increased multiples for earnings, double wild cards and special features that come with each game
- Opportunities at the end of a bonus round, to triple winnings. Triple your win many times over.
- Bet from $2 to $200 of virtual money
- Put your earnings in the game's bank
- Full autoplay mode available - sit back and enjoy the winnings
- Full gameplay statistics available
- Uplifting music
- Outstanding graphics
The games are available to purchase for $19.95 each. For more information head over to the site below.

Pokie Magic Mac Games

The Sims Castaway Stories Coming To Macs
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Aspyr Media has announced it will publish The Sims Castaway Stories for Mac, the third release in the The Sims Stories product line. Licensed by Electronic Arts, and under development by Aspyr Studios, The Sims Castaway Stories is expected to hit stores for Mac in early 2008.

This time your Sims have washed up on a tropical island!

Help them make a new life in an unexplored paradise in this easy-to-play, laptop-friendly version of The Sims. The Sims Castaway Stories features two great ways to play. In the new and engaging directed Story mode, fulfill goals as you explore the island, build a shelter, learn to find food, and make your Sims' lives as fun and comfortable as possible. You even unlock rewards along the way as you achieve set goals.

In open-ended Free play mode, you create your Sims and determine how they'll evolve on their new island home. In an environment where anything-or anyone-can wash up on the beach, you decide how their stories unfold.
The Sims Castaway Stories will soon be available for preorder through Aspyr's website for $29.99. For more information, fans can visit the sites listed below.

Aspyr Media
The Sims Castaway Stories

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World Of Warcraft Reaches 10 Million Subscribers
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 10 comments

Blizzard Entertainment has announced that subscribership for World of Warcraft, its award-winning massively multiplayer online role-playing game, has passed the 10 million mark. The game now includes more than 2 million subscribers in Europe, more than 2.5 million in North America, and approximately 5.5 million in Asia.

"It's very gratifying to see gamers around the world continuing to show such enthusiasm and support for World of Warcraft," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. "We're always pleased to welcome new players to the game, and we're looking forward to sharing the next major content update with the entire community in the months ahead."

Since debuting in North America on November 23, 2004, World of Warcraft has become the most popular MMORPG around the world. It was the bestselling PC game of 2005 and 2006 worldwide, and finished behind only World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade®, the first expansion pack for the game, in 2007.* In addition to being the bestselling PC game of 2007 in both North America and Europe, The Burning Crusade holds the record for fastest-selling PC game of all time, with nearly 2.4 million copies sold in its first 24 hours of availability and approximately 3.5 million in its first month.* Development is underway on World of Warcraft's second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King™, which was unveiled at the company's BlizzCon™ gaming festival in August 2007.

World of Warcraft is currently available in seven languages, with a Russian version in development and scheduled for release later this year. In addition to North America and Europe, World of Warcraft is played in mainland China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau.
Click on the link below for more information about the game.

Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft
Buy World of Warcraft

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StarCraft II: Q&A Round 26
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertaiment has released the 26th update to its series of answers to fan questions about the upcoming StarCraft II . The sequel to the still popular original StarCraft, SC II will introduce new multiplayer action and pick up the Zerg, Terran, and Protoss storylines a few years after the end of BroodWar.

Gameplay Blog: Force Fields are my new favorite ability! During my latest skirmish with a Zerg opponent, I was rushed early with Zerglings. The Protoss Nullifiers (previous known as the Stasis Orb) and their 15 second Force Field ability saved the day. As the attacking Zerglings charged up my ramp on the classic Lost Temple map, I simply created a Force Field in between the group of Zerglings, separating his attacking force. With their numbers divided, my Zealots easily took care of the split force of Zerglings, allowing me to make a decisive counter-attack. In subsequent games, I have found that the Force Field is quite useful in many situations, as you are able to create your own choke points, separate incoming armies, and also erect barriers as needed for your Protoss Stalkers to take advantage of their Blink ability. Furthermore, the Force Field can provide another obstacle for melee units approaching your Colossus, whereas your Colossus is able to step over the Force Field at ease. These Protoss Nullifiers at tier 1 are now one of your most effective defenses to an early game rush. Currently, the Force Field ability costs 30 energy with the Nullifiers energy capacity at 100. Next batch, well see if we can find some interesting games with the Nullifiers other new ability, the Null Void.

2. Will there be more ways to give energy(mana) to a caster? (
Protoss casters will have an ability to transfer energy from one caster to another. This ability will allow for a lot of micromanagement opportunities to maximize the amount of energy to a single caster, for the maximum number of special abilities casted.

3. On what kind of energy are based Protoss shields? If they are based on PSI energy, how can be possible for a Terran EMP attack to drain their energy? (
Protoss energy sources are highly esoteric because their starting point was the Protoss' use of their own psionic powers to protect themselves; to charge their tools and weapons; and to make, manipulate, or meld matter. Over time technological advances have enabled the Protoss to mimic these psionic processes to the extent that the Protoss can now construct inorganic devices to tap into the same universal processes to power shields, drives, weapons, and robots. Thus, for example, the energy field projected by a pylon that powers Protoss structures cannot truly be called psionic in nature, just as the shields protecting a zealot are not purely technological constructs. Rather, the two processes are so closely interlinked that they are almost the same. As a result, Protoss power sources and particularly their shields are vulnerable to disruption by technological means such as EMP weapons. Similarly such power sources can be restored or recharged from artificially stored energy.

Head over to the links below to read the rest of the Q&A.

StarCraft Forums: SC 2 Q&A Batch 26
StarCraft II Q&A Archive
Blizzard Entertainment
StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty
Buy StarCraft II: Wings Of Liberty

Mac Games News for Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Eschalon: Book 1 Reviewed6:00 AM
Pole Position Remix Available For iPod6:00 AM
UFO: Alien Invasion Released For Macs6:00 AM
Will Wright Discusses The Sims6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, January 22, 2008 on one page

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Monday, January 21, 2008
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