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The Whole Meta-Mess & Other Viewer Mail
April 25th, 2000

Gary: Hey, Randy. What's in this room back behind the fridge? I've never seen this door in the cave before.

Randy: Nice rhyme, Dr. Seusse. Why don't you open the door and see what's in there. I bet that's where you keep losing your socks that you accuse me of taking.

Gary: Well, I'd open it if I could.

Randy: Wow, it must suck to be as puffy and out of shape as your are. Let a real man try.

(loud bone crunching sound is heard as Randy slams his shoulder into the door)

Oh, my...that's gonna leave a mark. I think I may need to have my clavicle set back into place.

Gary: Nice try, macho man. I wasn't kidding. It's really stuck. Only one thing to do.

Randy: I'll get the football helmet!

Gary: I'll get the grocery cart!

(5 minutes later)

Gary: Beauty noggin hit there, Randy. You split that door right down the middle.

Randy: I can't feel my legs.

Gary: What is all this stuff in here? Man, it's piled up to the door.

Randy: Numb all over. Want to get out of shopping cart.

Gary: Oh, sweet lord no! It's our reader mail. I knew I put it somewhere.

Randy: Mommy.

Gary: I was meaning to get to all this. Well, no time like the present.

It's time for…

(drum roll)

Randy: Reader mail…wheez….

Dear Idiots,

The point for me was that Meta-whatevertheirnameisthisweek left a lot of people without jobs. Not as big a deal as when AT&T does it, but it's about humans, not software. It seems a no brainer that somebody made a lot of money on that little escapade. So now after four months or more, some people are going to have jobs again. Perhaps Adobe and Corel will hire some of these folks, but Meta aggravated me with their tactics, so, like the offerings from Redmond, I don't care how good it is, I don't need it. [Here, Meta, pose this.]

Thanks for your columnar observations.

Harry M. Kachline

Gary: Good point, Harry. Sure it's easy for end users to get upset with a software vendor (i.e. Metacreations) when a version release lags or a product is dropped. But think how shake-ups like this effect the hardworking employees, now formerly of Metacreations. These products are these people's livelihood. And from the word on the street is Metacreations did not handle the whole selling business very well at all.

Randy: Yeah, I heard Metacreations left the future of a lot of engineers hanging in the breeze until just a few weeks ago. And by the time the deals were made with Adobe and Corel many of the engineers had already taken jobs elsewhere. Leaving the new owners of these great applications with little or no experienced engineers to continue to develop them.

Gary: I heard that Corel has some of the original Fractal team contracted to work on the next release of Painter. As long as Corel doesn't go Chapter 11 that product looks pretty good.

Randy: I don't believe Adobe faired so well. And that sucks. Because when a company acquires an existing product they usually count on also hiring at least some of the team who created the application to continue the life of the product. But thanks to Metacreations poor handling of this whole transition everybody suffers.

Gary: The end users suffer by a product that does not continue to flourish and improve. (or even exist!)

Randy: The acquiring company suffers as they try to maintain a product with no experienced staff to understand the code base.

Gary: And most importantly the hard working people that made the product suffer when they lose their jobs.

Randy: So thanks Metacreations for making a MetaMess of the whole damn thing.

Gary: Yeah, you MetaBlow! It was MetaCraptacular! Hey it's fun to put Meta with pretty much anything. Try it.

Randy: Okay. Would you shut your MetaPilehole!

Gary: Good one!

Randy: Or else I will punch you in your MetaBrain!

Gary: Okay, two good ones. I think I get it.

Dear Idiots,

Could you tell me if there is a list of games that work on a Mac that would be for sports fans, like football or other games? I am looking for non-violent games for a teenager. Thank you for your help. I don't know if there is such a beast.

K. Goheen

Randy: Good question there, uh, K. While Gary and I consider Carmageddon a sport, we can't say it's non violent.

Gary: But when you look for sports titles for the Mac, the pickins' can be kind of slim. Or at least they used to be.

Randy: Now you have a virtual buttload of choice for great sports on your Mac. If football is your game then Madden Football 2000 is the ticket. This is one of the hottest titles out right now and it will please the most hard-core gridiron gladiators.

Gary: Also look at Humongous Entertainment's fun sports offerings. They have baseball, soccer, football and basketball titles for the Mac.

Randy: Their titles are easy enough for kids and newbies to get into but the higher difficulty settings can make the game a challenge for experienced gamers too.

Gary: And probably the biggest selection of sports games you can play on Macintosh are actually PlayStation titles. Thanks to the wunderkind over at Connectix Software. Just purchase a copy of their awesome Virtual GameStation and you can drop in a PlayStation disc into your Mac and play great sports titles like the big console boys.

Randy: As for looking at the content of a game to see it's level of violence, or even how good the game is in general, be sure and check out our two favorite sources for game info. The Mac Gamer's Ledge has an extensive review section on their most excellent web site. These reviews are comprehensive and well written. We always turn there when we are looking for information on a game title.

Gary: And our other good source is the Mac Game Database. This web site has an incredibly complete listing of all types of games for the Mac. The site breaks games into genres and includes a star rating system. It even includes upcoming games that are scheduled to come to the Mac.

Dear Idiots,

You've got to try out The Evil Empire's IntelliMouse Explorer USB mouse! Four buttons and a wheel! It makes surfing on my 21" Sony FD-500 faster than ever. The two left side, thumb buttons let me go "forward" and "back". The top left button works like a regular one button mouse, and the top right button summons up Sherlock. The wheel scrolls in several increments including a full page. The wheel also lets you scroll in windows that are bigger than your physical screen can handle if you push down on it. So even the wheel can act like a button. A five button mouse!

Of course most of the buttons can be reassigned duties. When you get bored with surfing you can always stare at the red light shining out of the bottom of the mouse, or amuse yourself by pretending to shave with it (the no ball mouse works on just about any surface as long there is some discernable pattern so the optics can do their thing)…

By the way it works great with OS 9.0.


Bill Hennan

Randy: Thanks for the tip, Bill. Due to Gary's freakishly hairy nature, friends and family have been on the lookout for a way to clip Gary's woolly mammoth backside without frightening him off into the woods again.

Gary: Electric razor scare, Gary.

Randy: But it sounds like the IntelliMouse may be the shaver we have been looking for. Can you use it with shaving gel?

Gary: Ooooh! Shiny red light mouse.

Randy: See how easy that was.

Gary: Mmmmm…smooth.

Randy: Well, Gary. Here we are out of space and yet so many letters yet to answer.

Gary: Well that's another column for another day.

Randy: Yes, another day when we can't think up a topic.

Gary: So what now?

Randy: Well, I'm feeling better. Where's my football helmet?

Gary: Now your talking. I bet you can't ride the shopping cart down the cave stairs into the hot tub.

Randy: There's only one way to find out.

Gary: Wise words my friend. Let's ride.

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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