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Idiots & 4x4 Evolution: Airbags Required
September 12th, 2000

Randy: Hey man. What's up with the PowerBook strapped to the dash board of your Dodge Durango?

Gary: I'm preparing for the full release...

Randy: Uh...I really don't want to know what you are doing in your private time.

Gary: The full release of 4x4 Evolution, I was going to say.

Randy: Oh, yeah. I hear you brother. This is yet another spectacular gaming title coming out for the Macintosh this year. Man, this is a wicked time for Mac gamers.

Gary: You've got that right. It seemed like the first half of the year was incredibly dry with lots of titles pending, but no new games on the shelves. Then, all of the sudden BOOM!

Randy: It sure was, Mr. Madden. The only new title around for a while there was Madden Football 2000, then Mac World Expo New York hit and everybody released their new stuff all at once.

Gary: Deus Ex, Tomb Raider The Last Revelation and The Sims from Aspyr. Diablo II from Blizzard. Baldur's Gate from GraphSim. I have so many games right now I can't find enough time to play them all.

Randy: Looks like you are going to have to quit your day job to make time for the important stuff, like gaming.

Gary: Good thinking my man. I quit.

Randy: No wait! That was a terrible idea now that I think about it. I'll tell you what. Why don't you help me write this column and I'll let you explain why you have your PowerBook all taped to your car dashboard.

Gary: How is that offer going to tempt me not to quit?

Randy: Oh, and I won't kill you.

Gary: That would do it. Well, I have been playing with the public beta test of Terminal Reality's incredible new off-road racing sim, 4x4 Evolution.

Randy: Me too, and it is awesome!!

This driving sim looks beautiful! Wear sunglasses.

Gary: Amen! Even though it's only a beta network test, that damn game is so much fun I had to move the Mac into the bathroom and make the commode my new office chair.

Randy: That's going to be a hard home office deduction come tax time.

Gary: The beta test only allows you to play one model of real world off road vehicles, the Nissan Xterra. But in the full version you will be able to choose from a whole host of real live 4x4 vehicles, including my own Dodge Durango.

Randy: I'm beginning to get an idea of what you are up to here and I want to warn you now. It is a road to disaster. (Pardon the driving pun.) You are going to lose your driver's license or your car or your PowerBook and probably all three at once.

Gary: Yeah, but this going to KICK ASS!!!!!!

Randy: Okay, you go.

Happy trails to you. Nice sun flares.

Gary: Anyway, since I have been playing 4X4 Evolution, I have had the most fun of my life. Ever!

Randy: Are you sure you want stand by that statement?

Gary: As long as my wife Jennifer doesn't read this column, yes.

Randy: 4X4 is a pantsload of fun, that's for sure.

Gary: Man, what a blast! Even though they say it is about 85-90 percent there as far as game play goes, it's already supreme fun. Forget single play, the way to go is network gaming.

Randy: When you first try to join a network game, you get a message saying that the Mac version has two bugs that prevent network play. Ignore this completely and just click okay to join a network game anyway. It works great.

Gary: Yeah, I had other players comment that the Macs had much better pings than those Windows machines. A lower ping means you are communicating better with the server and other players. However the game loads really fast over the internet and the latency is very low even with races of mixed platform machines.

Randy: We did notice a couple of bugs, like having to go out to the chat room before hosting every new game, but Windows folks had to do that also.

Gary: The chat room is fun as well. While you wait for more players to join the race, and the more the merrier in this game, you are able to chat with your fellow racers and toss a few jokes around. While we don't normally do the chat thing, this was cool because all you are talking about is 4X4, and mocking each other's driving abilities.

Like Randy, a.k.a. Chief Bobo's pathetic excuse for driving. Go, Chief!

Randy: Bite me.

Gary: The game play in 4X4 is awesome. You drive and slide your four-by-four through canyons and over mountains and into gullies, kicking up rocks and dust as you go.

Randy: The graphics are as good as I have seen in any game. I did have to switch from OpenGL to Glide acceleration for the best effects. I got a couple of crashes in OpenGL mode as well. However once I switched over to Glide and VooDoo 2.5 compatible the game was pretty solid.

Gary: I can't wait for the final version where you can play many different tracks.

The night driving looks awesome, but turn on your lights!

Randy: You can already choose different times of day as well as different weather conditions.

Gary: Yeah, choose snow, and watch everyone in your game immediately start bitching. It seems as soon as you learn how to drive in snow, some schmuck chooses dry conditions, and you have to learn all over again.

Randy: Cool, huh?

Gary: That was you? Why I oughta…..

Randy: You oughta explain that PowerBook dashboard accessory. Please don't tell me you have rigged the wheel and petals to your real wheel and petals in the car. I agree a wheel and petals set would make this game even better. (Alas, my old ThrustMaster T2 wheel and petals set would not work with 4x4 Evolution, I tried. Maybe the full version will support this.) But you wouldn't last two races baking in the sun in your 1000 degree car trying to boogie down in 4x4 Evolution.

Gary: Dude what do you think, I'm stupid?

Randy: The thought had crossed my mind.

Gary: I have gone way beyond that kid stuff. I have rigged my GPS (global positioning satellite) module and my PowerBook to point out off-road alternatives to my daily treks around the city.

Randy: Oh no.

Gary: So now everyday I go to the grocery store it's a 4x4 Evolution experience.

Randy: Man, you have really lost it.

Gary heads to the minimart.

Gary: Dude, I a pro now. I have been playing 4x4 Evolution for 72 hours straight. I'm gonna rock.

Randy: Gary, 4x4 Evo is a simulation. Not real life. Terminal Reality made this game like they made Fly! and Terminal Velocity, as simulations. Not to be confused with actually driving a real vehicle or plane or...shaceship.

Gary: Spaceship, car same thing! I'm going for a doughnut run. Are you coming?

Randy: I've got a bad feeling about this. Do you still have airbags in this car?

Gary: Sure do. I just used them last week.

Randy: Awwww, what the hey. Let's rock! Which way to the doughnut store.

Gary: Straight through the backyard and on till dawn!

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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