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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

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Guitar Praise Released For Mac
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 4 comments

Digital Praise, developer of Christian-themed, family-friendly entertainment software, has released Guitar Praise, its new inspirational guitar game. The game lets players act out their dreams of leading a rock band by playing along with their favorite Christian rock tunes. As the song and lyrics play, colorful notes scroll down the screen. Players must keep up by matching the notes to the fret buttons on the guitar controller included with the game. Four levels of play are offered—as the player completes songs, more tracks are unlocked and the challenge increases.

In creating Guitar Praise, Digital Praise has applied its intimate knowledge of player tastes gained through its #1 best-selling Dance Praise™ dance arcade game franchise. "Our research shows that 92% of Dance Praise families, and 100% of Dance Praise churches, are interested in Guitar Praise," said Tom Bean, President and CEO of Digital Praise, Inc. "People love the console guitar games on the market, but many would like more family-friendly songs and graphics. Guitar Praise gives kids, families and youth groups the play features they like best, plus some new twists as well as the best Christian rock titles out there today."

Leading the unique list of features in Guitar Praise is the ability to sing along with the game's chart-topping rock tunes, thanks to lyrics that scroll across the screen. "Guitar Praise can be an exciting group event ," noted Bean. "Having the lyrics onscreen reinforces the positive messages present in Guitar Praise's roster of songs, and allows everyone to take part in the game."

Guitar Praise features 52 of the most inspirational and pulsating tracks from the Christian rock world, all by the original artists. Today's most popular hits are combined with classics from the 80's and 90's; the playlist includes titles from Flyleaf, Skillet, Stellar Kart, tobyMac, Newsboys, Petra, 12 Stones, Spoken, Whitecross, Thousand Foot Krutch, Paul Baloche, David Crowder, and Red, plus many others.

As players shred through their guitar solos, Guitar Praise records high scores per song. New songs, in sets of five, are unlocked along the way to keep the player's interest. By tilting the guitar, players can activate spinner bonuses; as they increase their skills they can earn new onscreen "guitars" with richer sounds and different effects.

Guitar Praise keeps the fun coming by allowing either one player to perform in solo mode, or two players to compete for the better lead guitar score. With a second guitar (not included but available from, players can jam at the same time—both on lead guitar, or one on lead and the other on bass. The game's Power Duel mode also lets players send "surprises" that impact their opponent's play.
Guitar Praise supports both Mac and Windows machines and includes one wireless guitar controller, a USB wireless adapter, plus the game CD. It retails for an MSRP of $99.95 (USD) and requires Mac OS X 10.3, a 1GHz processor, 650MB hard disk space, 512MB RAM, and a USB port.

Visit the website below to learn more about the game.

Guitar Praise
Digital Praise

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IMG Reviews Jewel Quest III
7:46 AM | Marcus Albers | Comment on this story

Inside Mac Games has posted a review of the latest jewel-matching quest from iWin, Jewel Quest III. Sporting new graphics and a new on-line competition mode, Jewel Quest III will take you on an adventure around the world. Here's an excerpt from the review:

Jewel Quest is a game about matching jewels together to clear space on a game-grid that comes in varying shapes and sizes. Many jewel games are played simply by matching and matching and matching until a certain point total or quota is reached. Jewel Quest changes this formula slightly by having every match made over a fresh square of the game board change that piece of the board to gold. The goal is to make matches that involve every single square on the board to turn the entire thing gold.

This makes the game both slightly more interesting (note the “slightly”) and more frustrating than your average matching game. Your tile-switching is more focused because you have an objective to achieve on the board other than simply for its own sake, but the inherent randomness of the appearance of new pieces to match can make for some maddening stalemates with the board. It’s possible that you simply will not get the piece you need to make the match in that hard-to-reach corner… and it is bitter to lose a level despite the fact that you are making steady matches the entire time.

Follow the link below to read the full review.

IMG Review: Jewel Quest III
Jewel Quest III
Buy Jewel Quest III

Mystic Mine Gameplay Video Available
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Koonsolo has released first ingame video of Mystic Mine, its upcoming family friendly action title. In the game players guide a gold car through a mine, switching rails with the mouse or keyboard. The gold car can only go down, but thanks to an optic illusion in the levels, players can reach every point.

More about Mystic Mine:

The family friendly nature of this game makes it suitable for all ages. The difficulty of the game adapts to your skill, making sure everyone will enjoy. More than 200 levels can be played with different missions and powerups, creating unlimited hours of fun. The missions include picking up coins, bringing diamonds to tunnels, racing to flags, etc. Various pickups modify the car behaviour: a balloon makes it go up but not down, a ghost allows it to move through everything, ... . But whatever you do, avoid the dynamite!!!
• Family friendly gameplay for all ages.
• Adapts the difficulty to your skill.
• Over 200 different levels with an impossible structure .
• Various missions :
---- Collect coins
---- Goldcutter
---- Blowup
---- Race
---- Drop the rocks
---- Collect diamonds
---- Collect frenzy
---- Goldrush
---- Hold the lamp
• Various pickups :
---- Balloon
---- Dynamite
---- Key
---- Torch
---- Oiler
---- Ghost
• Available for Windows ,Mac and Linux
Click over to the site below to watch the video and learn more about the game.

Mystic Mine
Koonsolo Games

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Diablo III: Guns, Level Caps, Weight, Death Mechanics
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

In recent posts on Blizzard Entertainment's official forums, Diablo III community manager Bashiok has continued to hand out information about the upcoming action RPG title. The topics this time range from the possibility of guns and spellbooks in the game to the current system for handling death.

From GameBanshee:

On the possibility of guns:
Well, you have to realize that it's been 20 years, and in technological terms that can be a very long time. We're trying to create a world that's not static, its filled out, and with that it's an advancing world. With that amount of time, and also the loss of the Arreat Summit much of the remaining barbarian culture has focused on... nah I'm just kidding, there aren't any guns.

On the possibility of spellbooks:
That came back in Diablo II too eventually in the form of rune words, and I don't think it really worked out too well in the end. I do think it actually could be designed and implemented properly; balanced, etc. but...
For me the more important question though is what impact does it have on the class you're playing and also our knowledge of the Diablo world? Is a class nothing more than someone who read from a book, or is holding a specific item? No, they're very specific and very iconic figures (heroes even) from very distinct styles and backgrounds. The characters we play are these concentrated images of their cultures, beliefs, etc. Everything they do resembles who they are and where they're from, and what does it mean to then piecemeal that out to any one who just happens to throw a couple runes in to an item.

On a character level cap:
The first and last thing said on it was in an interview with Jay at WWI when we first announced, and paraphrasing that: we will probably keep it about the same, level 99, but it always seemed like an arbitrary number to stop at so we may up it to 100.

On item weights:
A weight system is simply a different approach to inventory restrictions, and it's actually fairly similar to a grid based system except that weight systems are generally augmented by a character stat instead of being item based upgrades.
The main issue with these systems as they relate to Diablo III is they add an additional value to items. That secondary value works to complicate and thus slow down the inventory management of a player, drawing their attention away from the action, which is of course the main focus for us with Diablo III.
I've played a few RPGs with weight systems, and they're among my favorite games of all time, but it's a case of choosing which systems works best for each game.
From Blizzplanet:
On death in Diablo III:
Before I get in to what we are doing let me go over some things we want to avoid with a death mechanic.
We want to separate being in town and being out on a quest/adventure/dungeon as much as possible. Leaving the safety of a town should not be a decision you take lightly. We don't want to remove the sense of suspense and danger by making town something you're always going back to pretty much whenever you like. The intent is to create a greater separation from being in town, and not, and to make your time away from town a lot more tense.
On that same note we also don't want to remove the player from the action. Throwing them back to town for every death really breaks up the action, and not in a fun, interesting, or necessary way.
So, with these things in mind we've found that a check point system works really well. Throughout your adventures, and generally at the ends of each "floor" of a dungeon your character is saved to a checkpoint. When you die you're dropped back at the last checkpoint with a small amount of health, and the rest regenerates slowly. It's obviously a very forgiving system as it is. It's just too early to put a ton of thought in to what penalties there should be, if any, added on top of it.
Regardless, potential penalties aside, this is the death mechanic we're currently using and it's working really well so far.
To read all of Bashiok's comments follow the links provided below.

GameBanshee: Diablo III Forum Quotes 1
GameBanshee: Diablo III Forum Quotes 2
Blizzplanet: Diablo III Death Mechanics
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo III
Buy Diablo III

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The Spore Piracy Debate
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

Gamasutra has published a new article examining the impact of Spore's much maligned DRM scheme on the number of people downloading pirated versions of the evolutionary god sim. The interview includes comments from EA's Mariam Sughayer who parts with the usual industry stance to state that each pirated copy downloaded does not necessarily equal a lost sale.

EA recently revealed that it has sold 1 million units of Spore since launch. At the same time, TorrentFreak, a weblog dedicated to aggregating news for the BitTorrent P2P protocol, is claiming that Spore has been downloaded 500,000 times on BitTorrent alone, saying it may become "the most pirated game ever."

"Stepping aside from the whole issue of DRM, people need to recognize that every BitTorrent download doesn’t represent a successful copy of a game, let alone a lost sale," (Mariam Sughayer) tells Gamasutra.

Downplaying the piracy issue in this particular case, EA's Sughayer says: "We’ve talked to people that made several unsuccessful attempts to download the game and ended up with incomplete, slow, buggy or unusable code. In one case, a file identified as Spore contained a virus."

"To say that every download represents a successful copy of the game –- or that there’s been more than 500K copies downloaded -- that’s just not true."

Perhaps oddly, these comments represent an almost total role reversal from the normal dialogue on the topic from publishers and industry associations -- which usually stresses sales lost to piracy.
Read the full article at the page linked below.

Gamasutra: Spore & Piracy
Electronic Arts
Buy Spore

Mac Games News for Tuesday, September 30, 2008

5th Annual Luxtoberfest Starts Tomorrow6:00 AM
Deliver2Mac Adds Dream Pinball6:00 AM
Magic Stones Update Adds Challenging New Quest6:00 AM
Secrets Of The Lost Cavern Demo Released6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Tuesday, September 30, 2008 on one page

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