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Friday, November 7, 2008

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Now Boarding Trailer Released
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Gabob LLC, an independent game developer, has released the game trailer for Now Boarding, an action-tycoon game. The trailer offers a brief introduction to the gameplay in the game which features time-management as players struggle to build and run a successful airport.

In Now Boarding, passengers must get to various destinations before they freak out. The player renovates the terminal, adding restaurants and shops to keep passengers pacified.  Purchasing larger and exotic aircraft increases the capacity of passengers that can be delivered.  Expanding to new cities adds customers, giving the player more income, but also magnifies complexity. Hiring employees to take over some tasks is critical in order to handle the increasing load. Through the player's career they can expand the airline across the US and Europe.

The game showcases an innovative 'pickup-and-deliver' gameplay, which rewards clever planning by not getting backed up!  There are diverse set of modes and achievements to unlock. The game sports a distinct retro look and a groovy soundtrack.
* Runs on Windows, Mac and Linux
* 1 Ghz CPU 128MB RAM
* 11 MB Hard Drive Space
* Uses Adobe's groundbreaking AIR platform
Now Boarding is $16.99 (USD) as a digital download purchase. Follow the links below for more information.

Now Boarding
Now Boarding Trailer

Business Week: Apple to Become a Mobile Gaming Force
6:00 AM | Evan Holt | 18 comments

An article by Arik Hesseldahl in the recent column of Byte of the Apple at Business Week, touts Apple as an up and coming force in mobile gaming.

Current market leaders Nintendo and Sony are told to 'watch out' due to the iPod/iPhone's ease of use and wide span of games.

I didn't expect much from games on the iPhone. I had visions of casual games, perhaps a fancy take on solitaire or a version of poker that takes advantage of the handset's touchscreen. Surely not a true mobile gaming experience.

Boy, was I wrong. For the last few days I've been sampling some of the games available from the iTunes Store on the iPod Touch, and I've been stunned at how elaborate and involved they are. On the iPod Touch I've played a version of Gameloft's Real Soccer 2009 that rivals the version of the game on the Nintendo DS, and I didn't even miss the buttons. I've seen demonstrations of Sim City, forthcoming for the iPhone and the Touch from Electronic Arts (ERTS), that look more elaborate and sophisticated than any versions I've played before on a desktop PC or console.

To read the full article, follow the link below.

Business Week: Byte of the Apple

Razer Destructor Gaming Mat Added to Apple Online Store
6:00 AM | Evan Holt | Comment on this story

Apple has recently addedRazer's Destructor Professional Gaming Mat to the online store. This is a 13.78" x 11.02" x 0.09" inch mat with a textured surface that helps provide responsiveness to your mouse actions. It is intended for gaming and is said to improve your mouse tracking by 25%. It also includes a non-slip rubber base so that it doesn't move while in use and a protective carrying case.

Razer Fractal textured surface for enhanced precision movements
The crux of the Razer Destructor’s innovation lies in its proprietary gunmetal coating which yields a highly reactive surface. The result is superior tactility, improved responsiveness and enhanced tracking.
The mat is covered by a two year limited warranty and you can purchase it for $39.95 at the Apple online store using the link below.

Apple Online Store: Razer Destructor Gaming Mat
Razer: Destructor Gaming Mat

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FlatOut 2 Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

The Mac Observer has posted a review of FlatOut 2, a racing title from Bugbear Entertainment and Virtual Programming. The game focuses on reckless driving and destruction, allowing players to ram enemy vehicles, smash objects in the environment, and engage in a variety mini-game stunts.

From the review:

The game features three classes of cars -- street, derby, and race -- and over 40 tracks spread across urban and rural environments. You race your way through a series of cups in each class before competing in a grand finale that includes not only races but also some of the demolition derbies and mini-games. The derbies are what you expect -- keep smashing into other cars until only one is left standing -- while the mini-games are stunts that require you to catapult your driver through the windshield at just the right angle to complete a task, such as knocking down bowling pins or putting him through a basketball hoop.

Rag doll physics complete the stunts by showing you a realistic body spinning through the air, arms and legs flopping around before he hits something and falls to the ground with a sickening thud. You get the same effect when you hit an immovable object during a race, an incident that also earns you a lot of nitro, which you also scoop up as you smash into other drivers and the environment. Press the nitro button to give your car a boost of speed. You can hold it down and go even faster, but I don't recommend doing that often, since most of the tracks have very tricky turns.

During single-player races, you earn money from events and use it to spiff up your vehicles so they perform better. Rather than include faceless AI opponents, the developers at Bugbear Entertainment decided to give you characters with their own personalities. The end result is that you'll find only a few of them are good enough to give you trouble during races, once you get the hang of the gameplay, but those opponents are tough enough to be challenging. The demolition derbies are pretty difficult in general, since it's easy to get smashed up so quickly that your car is totaled early, and the mini-games are not easy to master, because you have to not only drive fast enough but also catapult your driver through the windshield at just the right angle.
Check out the full review at the link below.

The Mac Observer: FlatOut 2 Review
Virtual Programming
FlatOut 2

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Diablo III: Meddling In The Affairs Of Wizards
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story has published a new article examining aspects of Blizzard Entertainment's upcoming action RPG, Diablo III. This time the Wizard takes center stage with an in-depth examination of the class based on hands-on time with the game at the recent BlizzCon event.

Though the Wizard was the new character announced at Blizzcon, there’s actually less to say about her (I’ll say “her” since the male wizard wasn’t enabled at Blizzcon.) play style than about the Barbarian or the Witch Doctor. Well, that’s not entirely true. There’s less to say since I assume everyone reading this has played a Sorceress in Diablo II, and if you’ve done that, the Diablo III wizard will feel immediately familiar, at least in the early game.

Sure, the wizard’s skills are different than the Sorceress’, especially at higher levels, but the general “feel” of the character is very Sorceress-like. That’s not because the D3 Sorc Wizard is an unimaginative or derivative character. She’s not a rip off of the Sorceress, it’s just that some similarities are inevitable given the game design. Both characters are fast moving, fast-casting, ranged-attacking, spell-hurling ranged-fighting mages who try to avoid melee range and who spend most of their early game struggling under a mana shortage (if played untwinked). Given that, they’re obviously going to be similar, especially in the early going before higher level spells and equipment allow them to play in more unique style.The Wizard in the Blizzcon build started out at level 6, with all of her skill points already assigned to a mixture of passive and active skills. There were more than six points assigned, to give players a variety of skills to use, and enough passive boosts to make them fairly effective. (And to make things a bit easier so new players could have fun killing, rather than spending most of their time restarting at the last checkpoint. Every wizard had all three active Tier 1 spells—Spectral Blade, Magic Missile, and Charged Bolt—with some of the supporting passive skills enabled as well. This is probably not how characters will be built in the real game, since specializing in one skill tree, with perhaps some low level passives from the others, looks like the best game build. (Unless respecs are easy enough that we’ll all level up with the most useful Tier 1 and 2 skills from any of the 3 skill trees, and then recycle those points into higher level skills in 1 tree when the time comes.)
Head over to the link below to read the rest. The Wizard Class
Blizzard Entertainment
Diablo III
Buy Diablo III

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Wrath Of The Lich King Previewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

IGN has posted a new preview of Wrath of the Lich King, the upcoming second expansion for Blizzard's popular World of Warcraft. WotLK will add a host of epic content to the existing game world. Players will be able to take their characters to level 80, explore a vast new continent, and battle other high-level heroes to determine the fate of Azeroth.

New System: Achievements
So what do the achievement points actually count for, aside a prompt for your guild chat channels to get flooded with "gratz" notifications? Well, it's not as significant as Lord of the Rings Online's Deed system or Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning's Tome of Knowledge. All three systems require players to complete similar kinds of goals. Exploration, for instance, is one aspect they all share in common. In Lord of the Rings Online you get statistic bonuses in the form of trait upgrades from exploring the required portions of a zone, and in Warhammer Online you can get experience bonuses. In World of Warcraft, the exploration bonuses occasionally net you titles (like in Lord of the Rings Online), tabards, mounts and a few other things.

With the "For the Alliance!" achievement, players must kill the leaders of the Horde; that includes Thrall in Orgrimmar, Cairne Bloodhoof in Thunder Bluff, Lady Sylvanas Windrunner in the Undercity, and Lor'themar Theron in Silvermoon City. Getting all this done, which is no small task, nets you individual achievements for each kill and unlocks the "For the Alliance!" achievement, which rewards you with a Black War Bear mount. There are easier achievements as well, such as reaching level 70, getting a haircut, and getting a tabard, but only the more challenging and time-consuming tasks net rewards.

Easier pre-Wrath of the Lich King Content
Blizzard took steps with its 2.3 patch to allow new players to level from 20 to 60 much more quickly, and giving out bigger experience bonuses for quests ranging from 30 through 60. The idea was to allow newcomers and longtime players to get to the new 60 to 70 Outland content much faster with new characters. And now, after the Echoes of Doom 3.0.2 patch, Blizzard pulled off something quite similar, making the process of getting from 60 to the 70 cap much faster. The goal, naturally, is to make it as painless as possible for the entirety of the player base to get to the required levels to enjoy the content in Wrath of the Lich King and, ideally, make it less of a pain for Death Knights, who start at level 55, to reach the new continent of Northrend..
Visit the page listed below to read more of the preview.

IGN: Wrath Of The Lich King Preview
Blizzard Entertainment
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

Mac Games News for Thursday, November 6, 2008

Apple Games Features CSI: Hard Evidence6:00 AM
Guild Software's John Bergman Discusses Vendetta Online6:00 AM
Jade Empire Special Edition Reviewed6:00 AM
Widget Monkey Comes To iPhone & iPod Touch6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Thursday, November 6, 2008 on one page

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