Randy: Gary, what the hell are you doing with all those 12-packs and all that fishing line on top of the washing machine? And are those live cats you are loading into it?
Gary: Well, uh, I thought I'd give a proud salute to those hard working code jockeys that are responsible for almost every game I play on my Macintosh. I have setup a glorious twenty-one-pack salute to honor those unsung heroes that most gamers don't even know about.
Randy: Let me just guess what is about to happen here. You're going to pop the tab on all those cans at once.
Gary: Well, in a short answer, yes. But I jazzed it up a little to make this a much more memorable tribute. As you can see I have duct taped every can to our washing machine, which I have set to the spin cycle.
Randy: Oh lord, no. Please don't tell me the cats are going to be part of the massacre.
Gary: Take it easy, man. I have been training these guys for this stunt for months now. I need to really make the washing machine get some wobble on, so these beers would be nice and shaken for the tribute.
Randy: Oh, God.
Gary: So these guys are gonna ride out the spin cycle with a couple sticks of butter, just to make sure nobody gets to solid a footing, in the agitator.
Randy: You can go to prison for this kind of stuff.
Gary: Hey, I'm trying to make a point here. While we Mac gamers are enjoying one of the richest periods in Mac gaming history, most game consumers don't even know who they should really be thanking.
Randy: I will agree with you on that one. I don't like the cats idea but you're right about giving the credit for great Mac versions of popular games where credit is due.
Gary: Right. I'm talking about porting houses like Logicware and Westlake Interactive.
Randy: Don't forget Graphic Simulations or even Green Dragon Creations.
Gary: Most gamers only think of the publisher when they look at the shiny boxes on their local software store shelves. But big game publishers like MacSoft and Aspyr have nothing to do with actually adapting the code base of popular PC titles so they will run on Macintosh computers. They leave this kind of code-busting to porting houses, where talented teams of programmers transform the hot PC games of today into the hot Mac titles of tomorrow.
Randy: Right you are my soon to be arrested by the A.S.P.C.A. friend. Publishers hire out porting houses to do the actual conversion of a game from one platform to another and then they market the finished product to outlets like ClubMac, MacWarehouse, or local retail stores like Software Etc.
Gary: But the job of bringing a successful Windows compatible game to the Mac platform is no easy task. Some of these projects take years to complete. Like Westlake Interactive's port of the awesome Falcon 4.0 for Mac.
Randy: And even once the porting of the code base of a game is complete there are months of testing and quality assurance that still have to go into a ported game before it can be released to the public at large. And yet the brave souls who work at the great porting houses keep up three and four projects a year just so we gamers can have a steady stream of fantastic game titles to dazzle our eyes and boggle our minds.
Gary: So with out further ado I give you the twenty-one pack
Randy: Hold on there Mr. Premature E-Packulation. Why don't we mention some of the highlights of these fine companies before you pull the string and destroy the cave, yet again?
Gary: Well one of the most active Mac game porting houses around has to be Westlake Interactive. These guys are based in Austin, Texas, and boast some of the most popular and talked-about Macintosh ports. Our current fave, Unreal Tournament, was ported over by Westlake.
Randy: If that's all they had done, Westlake would be on the top of my list, but there's so much more! Joy!
Gary: How about Madden NFL 2000? That was the first sports game to hit the Mac in like forty years.
Randy: At least. They are also porting over Deus Ex, which is based on the Unreal engine, and The Sims which is the mega-colossal PC hit, in which you build a neighborhood. Your success or failure is based on whether you create the right inhabitants.
Gary: Westlake kicks butt! They are bringing the best games to the Mac, and they are from one of the coolest cities around. Hook 'em Horns!
Randy: Oh, you just had to get that one in. "Austin is cool! It's so great!" Just because you went to college there.
Gary: I went to college? I do have one hell of a hangover...
Randy: Don't forget that Westlake was responsible for a very cool flight sim, Falcon 4.0.
Gary: Another very cool flight sim was ported over by another Texas company. Graphic Simulations ported F/A-18 Korea/Hornet Gold for the Mac, and are bringing the game I have most been jonesing for to my Macintosh.
Randy: You mean you still haven't gotten your copy of Baldur's Gate?
Gary: Not yet, but I am sure those guys are trying. I have watched with dismay as the ship date slipped from May 2 to May 5 to May 11, and finally to June 21. I guess it goes to show that it is a complicated process to port a game across platforms.
Randy: Yeah, but I still want to play that game! GraphSim also was the group that brought the eye-popping Descent 3 over from the dark side.
Gary: Those Texans kick ass! Well, I guess it is time for my 21-pack salute.
Randy: This I gotta see. So what are you going to do first?
Gary: Well, at this point I would load the cats into the washing machine, but they have gotten pretty good at getting out.
Randy: Why don't you just close the lid?
Gary: It's WAY cool if you can watch them.
Randy: I see.
Gary: So, my workaround is the butter. All I have to do is get one of the cats and smear this butter on its paws.
Randy: That cat doesn't seem to like that.
Gary: No, it's okay. I saw this in a cartoon once and -- AAAAAAAUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
Randy: Whoa! That cat ran right up your face!
Randy: And he seems to have worked up the other cats as well.
Randy: Oh! That big one had to go for the groin, didn't he?
Randy: It's horrible. Oh, man alive! They're making human cole slaw.
Please be done now?.
Man, I have seen a lot of things in my life, but...that...was...AWESOME!
Gary: Oooohhhhh.....bite me......
Randy: I think that really big cat was way ahead of you.
Randy: Wow, that was incredible. Are your lips still attached or you just holding them there? Here have a WetNap and try to clean up a bit.
Gary: (Wince) Whine, whine...
Randy:: I'll finish the column for us. You just try to keep those earlobes from dangling by your shoulders.
Man you look like Logicware's booth at last years New York Expo.
Gary: Simper, whine, whine...yelp!
Randy: Thanks for agreeing with me there, "Gary - Got lips?". Please go and get some Band-Aids or paper towels or Bondo or something.
As we were saying, another great porter of Mac games has been Logicware. This California based ranch of code cowboys has been the brains behind awesome Mac titles like Quake 2, Heretic II, Zork: Grand Inquisitor, Redneck Rampage, Shattered Steel, Tempest 2000. The team over at Logicware has consistently kicked ass since 1995.
Gary: Did you just call them code cowboys? (Wince) This is software, not friggin Cirque de Soleil.
Randy: Thanks for chiming in there buddy, but you really should be calling a plastic surgeon now ...seriously.
Gary: Not till I mention that Logicware is also the company currently under contract with Fox Interactive to publish Aliens vs. Predator for the Mac.
Randy: Well said, now go away. You are starting to freak me out. Did one of those cats happen to remove your brain during that massacre?
Gary: Maybe...it's kind of hard to tell at this point.
Gary: Hey, those are the guys who did the port of Specter VR for the Mac.
Randy: That's right, but Green Dragon has also been responsible for Mac ports of games like Under A Killing Moon, Links LS, MechWarrior and NetMech. And most recently Green Dragon has been using their excellent coding skills to create their own software. The first original creation, a super fast-paced network strategy game called Gridz is still one of my favorites. Just to show how Mac-friendly they are, Green Dragon also recently wrote the Input Sprockets for Suncom Technologies' new line of Mac compatible gaming devices.
Gary: All I know is, I like any company who has this statement on their opening web site page. "Green Dragon Creations develops cool software for any platform except DOS/Windows."
Randy: I think that pretty much says it all.
Gary: Yep. I think so too. I think it's time for the salute.
Randy: How about sans cats this time?
Gary: We will forget that incident ever happened.
Randy: Okay man, it's not my face. Hey, Gary what are you doing in front of the washing machine? What about the cats...?
Gary: For those about to code, we salute you.
Randy: Hey dude, don't pull the fishing line while you are standing right there in front of all the cans.
Gary: Shut up and hand me my frosted mug boy.
Randy: You don't have to do this man.
Gary: There comes a time when every Idiot has to show his dedication and appreciation on the field of honor. This is my time.
Randy: All right my friend. Best of luck. I won't try and stop you.
But...can I have whatever's leftover?
Gary Randazzo and Randy Soare are the co-founders of IWS Interactive, a New York based game developer for Macintosh. The IWS in IWS Interactive stands for Idiots With Sticks. How that came about is a long and boring story, but suffice it to say that at four in the morning, it seemed like a good idea.
The demo for IWS Interactive's upcoming mystery-adventure game, Manhattan Apartment Hunter, has recently been released to rave reviews. The Idiots have been into gaming on Apple computers even before the Mac was around. Does anyone remember Choplifter on the Apple IIe? (Boy, we know we do.) Now, they are committed to help ensure that the Mac remains the premiere gaming platform on the planet.
You can email your comment and suggestions to Randy at , and Gary at .