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The Intro and The Outro
September 22nd, 1998

Randy: Welcome to our inaugural column -- a new corner in The Mac Observer library of Mac-oriented information. We are your hosts. My name is Randy and the man sitting beside me with the brown paper bag on his head is Gary. Around our place people just call us The Idiots, and after you read this column, we're sure you will too.

Gary: At least I have pants on.

Randy: As you all might guess by the name of the column, we will talk about Mac gaming here. All kinds of game stuff. Not just reviews of games, but also perspectives on where gaming is headed on the Mac platform. For example, what kinds of hardware peripherals are available to Mac gamers, and what will be available in the future? (Can you say USB? We thought you could.)

Other topics we hope to cover in the future are things like developer support for the Mac. We want to know who is making games for the Mac platform, and who is getting out. We want to know what technology advances for the Mac will make gaming better for you, and what system-level advancements are going to make games cooler.

But we aren't just about where Macintosh gaming will be tomorrow. Every now and then, we will also cover some of the games that got passed over the first time around. We will incorporate a Sales Bin Savior feature, in which we will highlight some gems from the past that you might have missed. For instance, TRI's Terminal Velocity was released for the Mac almost two years ago, but never really made a big splash. But we are here to tell you, this much fun shouldn't be legal without a steady supply of Depends. If you like high-flying starfighting action that is straight out of Star Wars, then this $24.95 sales bin star is a true treasure. (Any alliteration in the past statement is purely coincidental.)

Gary: Testify, my brother. I have many times left Randy alone at the discount bin, only to return and find nothing but a pair of sneakers sticking out of a huge pile of software boxes. Try explaining that to a New York security guard.

But that is not to say there isn't plenty of exciting things coming down the pike. Just around the corner, we have something called AltiVec. How will this affect your gaming experience? Well, AltiVec is a chipset that is kind of like what MMX is to the Pentium, but AltiVec works. It can push pixels and render 3D like nobody's business. It will mean a speed increase of over ten times for those graphics intensive games that everybody loves. And that means games will be ten times more advanced than even today's jaw droppers, like Myth and Carmageddon.

Do you VooDoo 2? Well, finally the Mac does too, and to see a game being played with this incredible 3D accelerator is stunning. The experience of playing Unreal with this technology is, well, unreal. The 3D textures are vastly improved, and games play faster than Randy can slug down that first icy-cold beer before work every morning. Ummm, beer?.

Randy: Now, Gerard, let's not give our readers the wrong idea. I only drink beer in the mornings if I?m wearing my Twinkie chapeau. I do have standards, you know.

But more important than that are the big things that are happening with Apple Computer these days. The bold moves by the fleet-footed Mr. Jobs have put the Mac back in the spotlight with both developers and consumers alike. Even the yellow mainstream press, who a year ago were happily predicting Apple's demise, can't stop saying enough good things about the world's friendliest computer.

Apple's R&D department has been cranking out ground-shaking developments faster than Bill Clinton can drive nails in his own coffin. Things like QuickTime 3.0 are just the beginning. The oh, so sweet G3 Power Macs are soon to be left in the dust by the smoking, copper-based G4 Power Macs screaming along at anticipated speeds of 1 gigahertz by the end of 1999. Then, the Windoze world will have no recourse but to admit they are a godless pack of heathens and repent their ways.

And then there is the operating system. We have all been waiting with bated breath, (I used hotdogs, personally)...

Gary: Huh???

Randy: ... for the release of OS 8.5, that will be capable of faster networking, faster file searches and faster emulation. But look out, because Mac OS X is going to kick some serious butt. It will have all of the buzzwords you could ever want to hear, like pre-emptive multitasking, protected memory, and even shaved ice on demand.

Gary: You go, girl! Well, we hope we have given you some idea of the focus of our column. And, folks, please send us any and all of your Mac gaming questions to our email links below. We will periodically do a question and answer column, and we don't want to have to be making up the questions. If you have any suggestions for columns that you would like to see, send those on as well. So far, we have only come up with four columns after this one, and quite frankly, we are tapped. [Note to editor: Not really.]

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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