Gary: Hey, buddy, what have you been up to all day, besides recovering from last night?
Randy: Well, I've been working on my latest invention -
Gary: See ya.
Randy: Where are you going?
Gary: I want nothing to do with this. I still have a metal rod in my leg from your last invention, and our HMO is not happy.
Randy: What good is computer gaming if you can't push the limits and try something new?
Gary: I say we give the ambulance drivers a break and focus on the past for a change. Why don't we talk about our favorites Mac games from all time?
Randy: Well, okay, but there has to be a set of ground rules. Any game we talk about has to be playable on our current Macs, and there has to be at least a tiny chance that we could still find a copy of it out there somewhere.
Gary: Deal! What should we talk about first?
Randy: Well, let's give the big wheel a turn.
Gary: It stopped on "First-Person Shooters".
Randy: My favorite first-person shooter of all time is Marathon. It was Mac-only, and it kept us up for hours. Even though by today's standards it is a little primitive, Marathon really was the first game of its kind on the Mac. There was complete free range of motion, and interesting missions to complete.
Gary: Yeah, I was blown away by the fact that you could use the mouse to look around and the keyboard to move. I hadn't seen that before. We spent way too much time trying to defeat Durandal, man. Remember when you shot that alien?
Randy: Uh, yeah...
Gary: That was awesome.
I think we have to give Unreal an honorable mention here. It is much more advanced in the graphics department, and the the 3Dfx acceleration has to be seen to be believed. However, it is only playable on the most powerful Macs, and a VooDoo card is almost a requirement.
Randy: That's true, but the engine that drives Unreal is extremely powerful and customizable, so it is used in many other games, like Klingon Honor Guard. Unreal rules!
Time to spin the wheel again.
(more clicking sounds)
Gary: Ah, "Real-Time Strategy". I think we agree that there is no contest here. Myth wins hands down. With its gorgeous graphics and incredibly addictive gameplay, Myth is unchallenged. What's more, our editor-in-chief really likes it and it's always good to score a few brownie points.
Randy: It spawned an even better sequel that improved on the graphics and made the play more intuitive. And that is about the only complaint one could have with Myth. The learning curve is steep for a game, but it is worth the effort. Playing against opponents over a network is about the most fun you can have with clothes on.
Gary: You wear clothes?
Randy: Eeww, disgust!
Gary: I give an honarable mention to the Sim City series. It is a bit more laid back than Myth, but it is still very satisfying to build the perfect metropolis. And Sim City 3000 is coming soon to a Mac near you.
Spin that wheel, boy!
(even more clicking sounds)
Randy: "Racing". What's your favorite racing game?
Gary: Without a doubt, it's Carmageddon. What a bone-crushing, body-splattering, cow-popping load of fun that is!
Randy: You bet, man! The sequel has even better graphics with real 3D pedestrians, not just 2D sprites. We love it, but it also includes sometimes game-stopping missions that have alienated some fans, so we will recommend the original as the best.
Gary: The most fun of the game is running over the screaming pedestrians that populate the streets. However, if cartoon violence bothers you, then Carmageddon is not for you. Then again, neither is this column.
Randy: On the more realistic side of racers is NASCAR from Sierra. You can drive real racetracks, and you can set the level of realism from arcade to Jeff Gordon. It is a few years old and other games have better graphics, but it is a realistic driving experience, especially if you have a steering wheel setup.
Gary: It is so real that sweat will bead up on your forehead as you swap paint with the big boys. And that's why NASCAR gets an honorable mention from The Idiots. You can only get this gem in the Mac Entertainment Pack from Sierra, but a $19.99 for an box full of great games including NASCAR Racing, it's a steal.
One more spin, Randy, if you don't mind.
(again, with the clicking sounds)
And the category is "Adventure". All together, now.
Randy: This is the game that started IWS Interactive and made The Idiots game developers. Actually, it was the games that we played after MYST, that started us on the road to game development. We were so disappointed with the other adventure games that we decided we could do better.
Gary: With it's groundbreaking graphics, and immersive soundtrack, MYST transported us to another world where we uncovered a mystery and then journeyed through fantastic worlds to solve it. We spent many a night, sometimes until after dawn, wandering around the Ages.
Randy: One neat thing about MYST was the way that the game was brought out of the computer to you. For example, the original release shipped with a journal where you were supposed to write down clues and make notes about your adventures. You really felt that you were exploring another world. It is a shame that the journal no longer ships with MYST. It was that extra touch that made the difference.
Gary: Other games have surpassed MYST technically, but I wonder if any will ever be as fun.
Randy: I give honorable mention to The Journeyman Series. This a fun trilogy that has improved as it has developed, embracing new technologies, and weaving an intriguing storyline throughout.
Gary: We always awaited the next installment in the series eagerly. Can you say Journeyman 4?
Randy: Give the wheel a spin there, Gary.
Gary: Oooooh, "Flight combat games"! I think Randy and I both agree on this one.
Gary: Yeah baby! This is also a title from a few years ago, but we still find ourselves booting this one up over the network for some smooth, flying space fun. It has full 3D environments, super smooth game play, even on low-end PowerMacs, and supports atmosphere effects like fog.
Randy: I have an old favorite from way back when for honorable mention on this one. Remember the old vector based arcade game Star Wars. It was all 2D-vector line art mocked up to look just like the cockpit readout from an X-Wing fighter. You flew over the Deathstar and had to drop the bomb. By today's graphics standards it's pretty trite, but you can still play it on the superb MacMame. And it even supports joysticks!
Gary: All right last spin on the Wheel-o-Favorites.
Randy: Weak spin dude.
Gary: Whatever. And our final Idiots Favorites category for today
"Favorite complete waste of time games".
Randy: You know from the name of this category, you'd think there would be a Monty Python title listed here.
Gary: When the Idiots really want to avoid facing the outside world, we put on our polarized paper glasses and groove out to the fantastic HEADCANDY from Ion Music. This bizarre disc features the music of Brian Eno set to mind warping visuals. The disc has five extended tracks for your head tripping pleasure, and even comes with two sets of special polarized glasses to really make the visuals jump out at you.
Randy: For any readers who haven't played some of these games, we strongly recommend you check them out. While some of them may be getting long in the tooth, these titles are all winners that are sure to please.
Gary: Titles like Journeyman 3, MYST, and HEADCANDY are currently available at 999 Software. And as you might guess, they're all just $9.99. You don't even have to be an Idiot to know that's a great deal!
Randy: Well, now that we have mentioned our favorites, we would love to hear some readers' thoughts. We would love to do a column about your favorites of all time.
Hey, Gary, are you sure you don't want to see this invention I'm working on?
Where the hell did you go?
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 .