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This Week's Turgid Episode: Stowaway!
August 29th, 2000

Randy: Hello?

Gary: Dude, guess where I'm calling from!

Randy: Don't tell me you accidentally got on an airplane again.

Gary: Hey! This time it was no accident! I got on this plane to make a point.

Randy: Man, we are supposed to be writing a column!

Gary: Exactly....

Randy: What the hell are you rambling about?

Gary: This is how I was planning to break the news to the readers that this week we will be phoning it in. Get it? Phoning it in? Because I called you? From a phone?

Get it?

Randy: That's it. I quit.

Gary: But haven't we both quit? Long ago, really....

Randy: So how much is this phone call costing you?

Gary: I think about $6.99 a minute.

Randy: Keep talking...

Gary: Well, I know that I have quite a few Windows using friends who always feel the need to remind me that there are many more games out there for the Mac. While I realize that this is true, I also know that the very best games are available on BOTH platforms.

Randy: There have been a rash of topnotch games released for the Mac recently. In fact, I have been jonesing for so many, and then they all came out at once. I was totally freaked!

Gary: Dude, I am the one cowering in an airplane bathroom, talking to you on my cell phone. Talk about freaked.

Randy: You're on your cell phone? Don't you realize that those things can interfere with the navigation systems of an airplane?

Gary: What was that? I couldn't hear you...there was some static.

Randy: Never mind. Anyway, one of the games I was waiting for was Diablo II. Now that it is here, I am glad to say that it is all that it is cracked up to be. Better character choices, better plot (even though it never gets in the way of the mayhem), better monsters, and better graphics make for a better game.

Gary: So you think it's better?

Randy: Bite me, stowaway.

Gary: I was totally stoked about Deus Ex. Based on the often-licensed and excellent Unreal engine, this games promised to meld the worlds of adventure gaming with a first-person shooter. The thinking man's Quake. The violent psychopath's MYST, if you will.

Randy: What is wrong with you?

Gary: Just feeling a little lightheaded. And why do I smell smoke?

Randy: It's nothing, I'm sure. So keep talking.

Gary: Deus Ex is a great spy game where the object may be to sneak around, rather than shoot, the enemy. The coolest thing to me about it is that you can generate completely different storylines based on your decisions. Most games require you to reach their designed ending for you to finish, but not Deus. It's a blank canvas, and it is the way gaming will evolve.

Randy: A little oxygen loss, and you know everything? Typical.

Gary: Grandma? You sure look tall....

Randy: Great! Now I have to finish, right? Okay, okay!

I am loving Deus Ex, but it sure is more complicated than a pure first-person shooter. There are many skills that you have to master to be successful as you play. The game provides an excellent tutorial to get you started, but I wish it had been even more detailed. It took me a while to get going in this game even after all of the lessons.

Gary: That's because you suck.

Randy: I suck? At least I am not going down in a commercial airliner because I wouldn't turn off my cell phone.

Gary: What was that?

Randy: Nothing.

Gary: Okay. I also am having a blast with The Sims, the incredible hit for the PC that at last has made it to the Mac. This is a unique game where you create simulated families, and watch them interact.

Randy: I know! I love this game! The complicated and esoteric relationships are a marvel of the current state of artificial intelligence.

Gary: Basically, Randy has spent about three hundred hours trying to make the perfect lesbian commune.

Randy: And I am almost there, my brother!

Gary: This is how you spend your leisure time? What kind of existence is that?

Randy: I know, I know. I suck.

Gary: Well, we should talk about some more games, but for some reason the flight has gotten very rough....

Randy: Maybe you should turn off your cell phone.

Gary: What? The sudden plummeting of the plane made me drop my phone.

Randy: Never mind. We can talk about the rest of the games later. If you survive, that is.

Gary: What did you say!?! Can't talk now, though... because... falling... to... earth... like... Conan... O'Brian's... career...

Randy: Talk to you soon. Poor bastard.

Will Gary be toasted like the proverbial almond that he is? Will Randy be able to deal with his eternity in Hell? Will The Idiots talk about the rest of the new cool games that are out there for the Mac? Only next week's column will tell....

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 .


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