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Games and Hardware You Thought Would Never Come to the Mac, Part 2
August 3rd

Gary: Last week we began our wrap-up of the show floor at Macworld Expo 99, but we realized that there was so much to cover that we had to break it down into two columns. Will it never end? Take it away, Randy!

Randy: On the input arena, Macally, Ariston and MacTell all had great offerings.

Gary: I have to say USB has allowed some great gaming devices to come to the Mac. Macally had a virtual boatload of gaming input devices.

Randy: And not necessarily a "virtual" boatload either. From cool multi-button mice to PlayStation-style pads, they had some great offerings. For those folks who just can't stand the iMac's keyboard they also had plenty of alternatives. Of course, I like the iMac's keyboard, and the mouse doesn't even bother me either.

Gary: Yeah, but you're an Idiot. For non-Idiots, Macally was showing the iStick, a full-function, fully configurable translucent joystick that even had a tiny thumb joystick on top of the main stick. This made Tomb Raider a joy (sorry) to play. We also got a preview of the iShock, a cool translucent game pad ideal for Playstation games.

MacTell also had their iStick and a gamepad, as did Ariston. Finally, there is a great selection of gaming devices available for the Mac. You can thank USB for that.

Randy: And for the purist out there. You can use your N64, Sega and PlayStation controllers with your Mac, thanks to Kernel Productions Joyport. This neato little box comes in USB and ADB versions and has a port for every console controller, glove, cyberpuck and steering wheel you could every dig out of the closet. In fact you can play head to head games with multiple players on different brands of controllers! Running through the Joyport! See, I said it was neato.

Get plugged in with the Joyport from Kernel Productions.

Gary: And last but certainly not least, let's talk about the games. Oh, the games.

Randy: I finally got my hands on Oni. I mean, on the game Oni. And it was serious fun. The visuals in this anime-inspired game are too cool. This is such a slick game that Tomb Raider, first-person shooter fans and combat fans alike will love this game. I had to be asked to leave the Bungie booth after the third hour of constant play on Oni.

Don't mess with this chick.

She'll whip your butt with or without the gun.

Bungie's Oni

Gary: Man, they must have thrown you 20 yards! But it was great. I laid hands on Madden 2000 at the Logicware booth. For Mac sports fans, this game has been a long time coming. And it is sure to please with wonderful graphics and physics. You can pick your teams, make up your own plays and even cheat the referees.

Randy: While we didn't get to see any Half Life in play, Andrew Meggs and Bill Heinman did do some live coding on the project for all to see. And they did pull a small miracle to get Heretic II up and running for the show. First-person shooter fans will never want a gun again after they see a fireball spell fry your enemy to toast.

Gary: Gathering of Developers had a booth in the far back corner of the Expo floor, but it was worth the trip. Jeff Smith and Binu Philips displayed tons of southern hospitality as they proudly showed off their new baby Fly! It is without a doubt the best flight simulator ever (until Fly! 2, that is). The Idiots have been promised a review copy and we are checking our mail about every six minutes.

Randy: Ambrosia Software showed off their upcoming Ferazel's Wand. This game really surprised me. I got a chance to talk with Ben Spees, Ferazel's Wand's creator while he gave me a tour through the game. This is a really innovative game, combining great side scrolling action, delicious graphics and lighting effects with excellent skill puzzles and a touch of RPG thrown in to really get you into this game. I really recommend everybody stop by Ambrosia and check this game.

Take that, you big roof!

Ferazel's Wand in action

Gary: And Green Dragon Software, the company responsible for porting Mech Warrior 2 and Under A Killing Moon among others to the Mac, was on the show floor showing a sneak preview to their next game, The Trouble with Toolbots. Toolbots is a sequel to the mucho funno Gridz. If anybody out there missed Gridz, a 1998 MacWorld Hall of Famer no less, you have seriously deprived yourself of some wicked fast paced multiplayer fun. In The Trouble with Toolbots you are back in NetSpace trying to defend the net from gooey viruses that are infecting all of your toolbots. The game has all kinds of new tools and tricks, including lots of logic and timing puzzles keep you giggling all night long.

Randy: Graphic Simulations had Decent 3 on display at their booth and man did it rock. You flight combat fans, strap on your VooDoo cards and grab your joysticks cause this game is going to warp your mind.

I just love that VooDoo that you do.

Decent 3 for the Mac.

Gary: And for you gamers with kids of your own a particularly clever title caught our eye from VTechSoft and Emme. Uncle Albert's Magical Album is a great title, (built in mTropolis, long live mTropolis!) for ages seven and up. But the darn thing is just so clever you may find yourself grabbing the mouse from your kid just to solve the next puzzle first. I'll have to confess, Randy spent more than a few minutes at the VTech booth before he was asked to leave.

Randy: Hmmm. I think there's a pattern developing here.

Gary: Wheew! That's a hell of a lot of games we just mentioned. Do you think we covered them all?

Randy: Not even half. But before we sign off there is one title we have to talk about, Bungie's year 2000 release, Halo.

Gary: The Idiots and The Mac Observer posted the highest quality video you will see of the demo reel of Halo that was shown at the keynote address. We think we got a great shot of the footage, and except for that moron that walked in front of me, it is perfect.

Randy: I will admit that you finally did something right for a change. But we also got sneak preview of Halo, thanks to Doug Zartman, who arranged for us to get a behind-the-doors glimpse of without a doubt, the killerest game that we have ever seen -- and I mean ever.

Gary: Killerest? Anyway, check back next week when we will talk all about our secret, behind-the-scenes, up close and personal preview of Halo, and a personal conversation with the programming team that is developing this breathtaking game. You will not want to miss this column.

Randy: Dude! I think there is still some beer in that cup over by that pile of peanut shells!

Gary: Woohoo!.

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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