A column for people who remember what
the world was like before there was color.....
Shareware Games Suggestions & More Tips For You December 6th, 2000
When I first started seriously using my Mac I wanted to have some games on it, but the only source of games with which I was familiar was the local computer store. Everything I looked at was fairly expensive and it was frustrating. Only after using my Mac many months and becoming comfortable with the internet did I discover how much was available and reasonably priced, as downloadable software. With the holidays fast upon us I thought perhaps some ideas for your own pleasure or for gifts might be apropos.
Some of these applications are free, some are shareware, and some are demos. Where possible I have indicated two sources for downloads. I have downloaded and tested each of these applications. Rather than try to explain how to play any one, I have evaluated the quality of the application, the instructions that accompany it, and it's appropriateness for different age groups. If downloading is a new adventure for you, you may want to review some of the columns I have previously written on the subject. You can find them listed under Download in the Computing With Bifocals Index.
BabySmash 5.4. Created by Justin Cohen Released March, 1997. Size 361K System Requirements: not given. Available as Shareware. Price: US$ 10. Available for download at www.download.com. I recommend this application for anyone with toddlers or anyone who has toddlers visit.
Depending upon the general availability of your Mac in your home you may want to seriously consider this application if you expect toddlers for the holidays. If you turn this application on each time you walk away from the computer it will prevent any little fingers from damaging your machine. (Well, it won't stop spilled drinks or sticky candy, but it will stop damage from little fingers banging on your keyboard.) When the keys are hit, random patterns and colors appear on your screen. At the same time it can be a way to encourage computer use with a toddler while protecting your machine.
Hockeee 3.0. Created by ArtHire.com. Released October, 2000. Size 3.4MB. System Requirements: System 7. Available as a Free Download. Available for download at www.download.com. I Recommend This Game for Adults and Teens and older children.
Obviously this is a simulated hockey game. The player controls a team, passes the puck from one player to another, and scores goals. Hockey is just one of the many sports about which I have just enough knowledge to be dangerous, but I found the directions easy to follow, the graphics are well done and interesting, and the player can control how the game is played. This is really a nice quality for a free game.
Hockeee Screen Shot
Simpsons Trivia Castle. Created by The Simpsons Trivia Castle. Released October, 2000. Size 615K. System Requirements: System 7.5 Available as a Free download at www.download.com. I Recommend This Game for Adults and Teens and older children.
This trivia game comes from the Simpsons trivia Web site. It features multiple levels and kinds of trivia. Probably would only be of interest to fans of the TV show, but could certainly keep kids entertained while waiting for exciting events related to the holidays.
Ski3D 1.0. Created by Zaphara Arts. Released September, 1999. Size 4.4 MB. System Requirements: OS 8, PowerMac G3. Available as a demo. Shareware. Price: US$15. Available for download at www.download.com or from Version Master which is linked from the first page of The Mac Observer. I recommend game for Adults and Teens.
This is a pretty awesome game in my opinion. Granted I don't have a lot of experience with 3D games (like none) so it may not seem flashy to everyone. However, it allows the player to control a skier through a multitude of skiing adventures. The demo offers three slopes so you can get a good idea of how it is played. There are a multitude of choices a user can make with the paid version, such as raising and lowering hills and controlling speed. The sound can be adjusted as well. I found this to be very impressive for such an inexpensive game.
Down & Out 1.0.1. Created by Tobias Peciva Released November, 2000. Size 255K. System Requirements: OS7. (Also available in an OSX version.) Available as a demo. Shareware. Price: US$10. Available for download at www.download.com. I recommend this game for older children or adults who are new computer users.
This is a simple little game in which a grid of pebbles must be cleared. It can be a simple diversion or it can be a challenging game of strategy. For a pebble to be cleared, it must be touching another pebble of like color.
Down & Out Screen Shot
Racing Days R 1.0. Created by Feral House Released October, 1998. Size 6.8 MB. Available as a Demo. Price: US$ 34.95 from the publisher (comes as a CD) I recommend this game for anyone who likes automobile racing, but I bet it would be a favorite for boys older than 10.
This game allows the player to make their way around dangerous tracks at breakneck speeds. The player can select and customize various cars and trucks. There is a soundtrack. I recommend that this game be used in settings where there is a joy stick available, although that is certainly not required. The graphics in this application are good and there are enough interesting elements available to entertain for quite a good while.
Racing Days R Screen Shot
Next week I will look at more games and applications that will help you or make great, inexpensive gifts. Meanwhile, two valuable reader tips follow.
Reader Mel Krewell sent this tip. This tip will be valuable to more experienced Mac users who enjoy working with graphic images.
"One feature I have found valuable many times is the use of the Option key while using the Color Picker. With the Color Picker window open, hold the option key and the cursor will turn into the eyedropper. You can then click on the color you are trying to match with the eyedropper and it will be placed in the Color Picker window. This is great when you are wanting to fill a background in a picture editor like Photoshop or ColorIt."
Mel was kind enough to write a second time, in response to my question, to explain what Color Picker is.
"The Color Picker is accessed when you are working with colors in a program that manipulates them, such as ColorIt or PhotoShop. For instance take the program ColorIt, which comes with many scanners. If you have the tool palette open, there are boxes with the foreground and background colors on them. If you click on either, the Color Picker will open to allow you to set the colors. You can choose a color from any of the color wheels or the RGB or HTML sets, but usually when I am using it I am trying to match a color in an image that I am working with. Move the Color Picker away from the area you want to match and hold down the option key. The cursor will turn into an eyedropper and when you click on a spot on the screen, the Color Picker will set the color to whatever you clicked on."
Another great tip came from John Comeaux. John is Sr. Engineering Applications Support with Chevron. His tip has to do with printer problems. John writes:
"I hear this a hundred times a year...
My printouts are acting weird. ClarisWorks, AppleWorks is suddenly printing junk, or just a few lines, or only the first 4 pages" I've tried (*insert useless fixes here*) and nothing works."
This is almost always a printer driver problem. Try this:
1) Delete printer preferences. - Open the System Folder. Open the Preferences Folder, delete any
printer preferences (they will be named after the printer you are using, like HP, or Epson)
2) Re-install the printer software.
Only if this doesn't fix things,
3) Go to the web site of the printer mfr. and get whatever the latest update to the drive is, and install it.
That fixes 99% of these problems.
If you have any tips, suggestions, or other comments about this, or any other Mac topics, send them to me so that I can share them with other readers.
Copies of Nancy's book Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With OS X are available in PDF download versions for US$9.57 and in print version for $18.15 plus $4.00 shipping. To view sample pages and get ordering information visit the September 14, 2004 column.
Talking to a generation that remembers what the world was like before there was color,
covers issues for people who don't care how their computer works, but rather what their computer and the internet can do for them.
Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.