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Friday, February 8, 2008

Guitar Rising Website Online
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

GameTank has announced the debut of an official website for Guitar Rising, an upcoming music game inspired by titles such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Unlike other rhythm games, Guitar Rising will make use of real guitars connected to a computer via a guitar-USB adapter, a microphone, or directly to the sound card. The game will teach real guitar skills, ramping up the difficulty as players improve their abilities.

From the game's site:

Guitar Rising is a music video game where the player plays a real guitar as cued by the game’s visuals. Following rock music sequences and streaming notes, players play guitar melodies and rhythms. Beginner difficulty levels are designed for non-guitar players and hard difficulties will challenge experienced guitarists.
The game is planned for release on both Windows and Macs later this year. Follow the link below for more information.

Guitar Rising

Custer Makes A Blood Oath
6:00 AM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Brad Custer has once again delivered a new game-related desktop. This week's wallpaper finds him returning to the realm of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, Blizzard's immensely popular expansion to their massively multiplayer online game.

Here's more from Brad on the subject:

If you ever question the popularity of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade from Blizzard Entertainment just visit my inbox and you'll see how many requests I still get for more wallpapers from this game. It's no secret that I am a fan of this title and any opportunity to return to its realm is fine with me. So, this week we catch a gryphon to Silvermoon for a user specific request. This wallpaper features the ever popular blood elf image you might recognize from a load screen and was made possible by Blizzard Entertainment. I simply entitled this selection, "Blood Knight", and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it.
Visit Custer's Desktops to grab this desktop in a large selection of sizes.

Custer's Corner

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Cake Mania Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 5 comments

The latest review Macworld's Game Room enters the sugary world of Cake Mania. In the game layers help the protagonist Jill save her grandparents' bakery by building a successful business. The Game Room gave Cake Mania a score of 3.5 out of 5 mice.

From the review:

The game features about four dozen different levels to master—Jill makes her way to four different bakeries as her business continues to grow. And with each bakery comes new opportunities. The money you make from the sale of the cakes can be turned over into new equipment—automatic icing gear, bigger and better ovens, toppers for the cakes, or a better pair of shoes so Jill can run around.

New customers come calling, some with different requirements for their dream cake than others. And as you wait on each of them, you see a heart-meter that shows you how satisfied they are. The longer they wait, the less satisfied they get, and the less likely they are to leave a tip behind to help you get ahead. Let them go long enough, and they’ll leave you in the lurch, holding a cake that no one wants, having wasted precious time. It’s not too hard to get behind the eight ball on this, and end up like Lucy and Ethel on the chocolate bon-bon production line, desperate to try to get ahead.

If this sounds fun, it’s because it is, in a frantic, frenetic sort of way. When things do well, Cake Mania is a lot of fun to play. When they don’t, it turns into a frustrating mess. Fortunately, the game saves at each level on the way, so you can always quit for a time and come back—just as you should be able to with any casual game. That makes Cake Mania an ideal time-waster on your lunch break or between phone calls at work or at home in front of the TV set. It’s not the most challenging game in the world, but it is fun.
Check out the rest of the review at the link below.

Macworld's Game Room: Cake Mania Review

Blizzard Games That Never Were
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 8 comments

During a presentation at the DICE summit in Las Vegas Blizzard representatives revealed a list of games that never made it to release. Providing no specifics about the names on the list, Mike Morhaime used the discontinued titles to illustrate his company's focus on quality and willingness to cancel titles that aren't meeting standards.

Of course, there's Warcraft Adventures, the planned point-and-click adventure game based on the strategy series.

Other games the company killed over the years include:
• Games People Play
• Crixa
• Shattered Nations
• Pax Imperia
• Nomad
• Raiko
• Denizen

Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime unveiled this list to illustrate why the company seemingly only develops hit games -- if something isn't shaping up, they're not afraid to cancel it.

We didn't get more than this list of titles. An image of Raiko was shown, a pencil sketch of something looking like Gollum wearing a turtle shell that was full of arrows. And Nomad was illustrated with a screen of two giant zeppelin airships in a cloudy sky.
Head over to the Wired link provided below to read more.

Wired: Cancelled Blizz Games
Blizzard Entertainment

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Aspyr's Mark Krenek Discusses NWN 2
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

Applelinks recently published a new article on the upcoming Neverwinter Nights 2, sequel to the popular Dungeons & Dragons RPG. The article includes comments from Aspyr's Mark Krenek about the challenges of bringing the game to Mac users. The game features updated graphics, an all new story, and a variety of new character classes to enjoy.

Mark Krenek—Mac development manager at Aspyr—seems to share my love for the genre...and for the earnings potential of Neverwinter Nights, of course. "Aspyr chose to pursue Neverwinter Nights 2 because of the success of its predecessor on the Mac and its success on the PC, our love for the genre and our belief it is a great game" Mark said in a recent interview. "We hadn't been involved with an RPG since Knights of the Old Republic and wanted to make sure we continued to support the genre with quality titles."

That love for the genre helped them out through the development cycle, which has seen its share of troubles. Issues with video cards and OS X updates, as well as high project demand of the programmers during the holiday season, caused Neverwinter Nights 2 to miss its anticipated December shipping date. The extra time will pay off, however, as the camera/performance issues that plagued the initial release of the PC version are being addressed. "We have worked with Apple to address some of the performance problems and tweaked the Mac performance to match the hardware currently available on Macs," Mark explained.

Of course, it doesn't hurt when you're this enthusiastic about the game on which you're working, and the variety in Aspyr's line-up helps to keep up that enthusiasm. "This was a great title to work on," Mark said. "RPGs present different challenges compared to other genres. So it's always nice to work on something slightly different."
Read the rest of the article at the link provided below.

Applelinks: NWN 2 Article
Aspyr Media
Neverwinter Nights 2
Buy Neverwinter Nights 2

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The Demise Of Myst Online
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

Ten Ton Hammer recently posted a new interview with GameTap's Ricardo Sanchez about the demise of Myst Online: Uru Live. In the Q&A Sanchez discusses the decision to cancel the game and responds to questions about GameTap's viability as a platform for MMOGs.

Ten Ton Hammer: What are the successes and disappoints from Myst that will you learn from and build upon?
Ricardo : On the success side, I think we launched some really interesting content with Myst Online . I also think we found a pretty good formula for delivering MMO content episodically. One thing we will certainly want to look at if we do another MMO is a way to meld the community of an MMO with the addictive quality of television like delivery schedules of content.
On the disappointment side, well, that there weren't as many people attracted to the game as we'd initially thought. We're very happy with the content produced by Cyan. We think the product was pretty good. But either we were the wrong delivery vehicle for it or we didn't hit on the exact formula for delivering this kind of content.

Ten Ton Hammer: Do you think "alternative" massively multiplayer games can compete with the more contemporary style of massive games? What would an alternative game need to do to actually succeed in this marketplace?
Ricardo : Short answer, yes. But to succeed the costs have to be in line with the potential audience. Think TV and movies. People can make really good independent films and low budget TV shows that are profitable on smaller audiences because the costs were in line with how many people might consume it.
We're sort of seeing this now with some of the flash based MMOs that are cropping up. Hardware and software development costs are lower than for full 3D games like WoW or Everquest , and the game experiences are very different, and very interesting.

The full interview is available at the website below.

Ten Ton Hammer: The Death Of Myst Online
Myst Online: Uru Live

Mac Games News for Thursday, February 7, 2008

Freeverse Releases Neon Tango9:52 AM
Apple Games Features Neon Tango6:00 AM
Commander: Europe At War Reviewed6:00 AM
iGame Radio: Macworld 2008, Eschalon, Drop Point Alaska6:00 AM
WarCraft III Update Removes CD In Drive Requirement6:00 AM Seeks WoW Mac Testers6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, February 7, 2008 on one page

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