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Games and Hardware You Thought Would Never Come to the Mac, Part 1 of 2
July 27th

Randy: Dude, wake up. Everybody is gone.

Gary: Just five more minutes sleep, please. I'm exhausted.

Randy: Me too man, these three days at the 1999 MacWorld Expo in New York have just about killed me. The last thing I remember was crawling behind the beer stand in the Jacob Javits Center Friday afternoon to catch forty winks, and then I woke up and everybody was gone.

Gary: Holy Toast on a Stick! I think we slept the entire weekend out here. I guess we were REALLY tired.

Randy: But it was worth it. This was a spectacular MacWorld Expo.

Gary: Baby, you are so money on that!

Randy: Must you insist on calling me baby?

Gary: Oh just chill out and remember all the schweet games we played at the Expo.

Randy: And all the cool hardware we got a chance to use. The joysticks, game pads, game chairs and VooDoo 3 cards.

Gary: And let's not forget all the great game makers we met and got to talk with.

Randy: But let's DO forget our pathetic performance in the National Gaming Championship.

Gary: I have no recollection of that event.

Randy: Right, like you could forget how fast you were out of the tournament.

Gary: I don't remember anything about that.

Randy: Oh come on! Who are you, Bill Gates giving a deposition?

Gary: Ouch that hurt. Okay, I remember. You sucked in the Carmageddon round.

Randy: (Let's just let Gary stay behind the emotional wall he has thrown up to block out the pathetic driving he exhibited in the National Gaming Championship. He's very fragile.)

Gary: But enough about us, let's spill the beans on the games at the Expo.

Randy: Gotcha. To start off with let's talk about the newest Mac that Apple announced at the show, the iBook. The big question gamers are asking is, "Is the iBook a good gaming machine?"

Gary: We would have to say, yes! With a 300 Mhz G3 processor, a 12.1 inch TFT screen and an ATI Rage Mobility video chip, (Read "Rage Pro") 4 MB of VRAM, T/100 base Ethernet, and a built in 56K modem for network gaming, it's got the guts to game. While the screen is on the small side, the processor muscle and graphics chipset let this little Mac handle intense 3D video with great aplomb.

Randy: But I would recommend iBook gamers upgrade the RAM to at least 64 MB. 32 MB is just a bit thin for some of today's heavy duty games. And serious gamers will want to use either headphones or external speakers with the iBook. The internal speaker is only mono, but the plug for external speakers is full stereo.

While we were at the show we got to play Pangea's hot new title Budgom and Nanosaur on the iBook and they ran great. The iBook felt fast and responsive. In fact I liked the keyboard better than my PowerBook 266's slightly shrunken keyboard.

Gary: So thumbs up for iBook gaming.

Randy: Si!

Gary: Now how about that hardware.

Randy: Well thanks! I was just born with it.

Gary: Shut up you! I'm talking about the cool joysticks and game pads. Not to mention the Intensor chairs and 3D cards and 3D goggles!

Randy: Yeah both MacTell and Formac had wicked 3D cards that sported amazing frame rates on Quake III.

Gary: Formac was showing it's new ProFormance 3 card. The specs tout a mean 54 frames per second running Quake compared to 33 frames per second from ATI's Rage 128 GL and 37 frames pre second from VillageTronics' MP 850 and MP 750. In Unreal test the ProFormance 3 pulled 54 fps to the Rage 128's 33 fps and 37 fps on the MP 850 and just 31 fps on the MP 750. Wow!

Randy: The card is built on the Permedia3 processor and comes in 8 MB and 16MB flavors. And the coolest feature of this card is the 3D goggle port. Yes chil'rens you heard right, you can plug in a number of third party 3D shutter glasses and blow your first person shooter mind in excellent true 3D.

Gary: Randy and I played some Quake II with some ELSA 3D glasses and it was unbelievable. I think a robot blew a piece of my head off into the Formac booth.

Randy: No you were just having a really bad hair day. MacTell was showing off their Vision3D EvilEye VooDoo3 board. At last Mac users can get a VooDoo3 board made for the Mac. The EvilEye cards sport 16MB of VRAM and can push 7 million triangles per second. They support 2D acceleration and have API Support for Quickdraw3D/RAVE, GL and Glide.

The awesome EvilEye 2000 card from MacTell.

Gary: The EvilEye 2000 can push 286 Million Texels per second, while the 3500 model can support 366 Million Texels per second. When we tried this baby out with Quake III it was sooooo smoooooth!

Randy: Ain't it the truth! There was so much to see at the Expo that we are going to have to talk about the rest of it in next week's column. So, join us next time as we talk about the killer hardware and the mind-blowing titles that we saw that will soon be playing on a Mac near you.

Gary: See you next week, kids!

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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