Gary: Well, here we are in the aftermath of the biggest digital entertainment event of the year the Electronic Entertainment Expo. The booths are long gone, the booth girls are just a fading memory and a dry cleaning bill left unpaid. (Who would figure a girl in a Laura Croft outfit would toss a Pina Colada in your face that fast?) But, boy, there sure was a positive feeling among hardware and software developers toward the Mac platform. Quite a welcome change from E3's of the past few years.
Randy: You got that right, muchambo. Two years ago you would have been openly laughed at if you asked a developer if they were planing a Mac version of their latest hit. But this year developers voiced strong support or at least interest in bringing their wares to the Mac.
Gary: Overall, this was a very successful E3. With around 1,900 new titles introduced, this was a hot year for games. New graphics chipset technologies and input devices based on the USB standard made for plenty of drool fuel. The official E3 site claims that, based on the number of new titles and the floor space of the convention center, expo attendees could find a new title every nine steps they walked the show floor.
Randy: Wow, that's more crap than you can find in our Defunct and Dangerous Projects closet. And that closet is packed. While those numbers are impressive, what was more important about this year's E3 was Apple's strong showing. Apple had a huge area filled with iMacs, B&W G3s, and PowerBooks, all running the latest and greatest games available for Macintosh. This high visibility at an important expo like E3 lets game developers know that Apple is serious about it's commitment to gaming.
Gary: The show floor this year was literally a carnival of activity. From the Gathering of Developers party area complete with a bar, air conditioning, lots of comfy couches and rock bands playing all day long to booth after booth of scantily clad girls (yes, Virginia, there is a Laura Croft), the entire cast of characters from Planet of the Apes and 3Dfx mega-giveaway of three custom painted 3Dfx VW Beetles, this show rocked!
Although the Idiots were conspicuously absent
Randy: Can you believe those guys had no interest in our own gaming chair, based on a hydraulic lift from a Boeing 727 or our 27-inch dual monitor VR goggles?
Gary: Well, several people were seriously injured while using those products, buddy.
Randy: Yeah, that was awesome. The All Games Network had a little awards show of it's own at the expo. A few mentionable awards that caught our eye were:
Gary: Unfortunately, these products are all currently for Windows users, however Logitech has always been a great supporter of the Mac and it is very foreseeable that they will make the Wingman Gamepad available for Mac. (Logitech has several other input gaming devices currently available for the Mac.)
It also makes some sense to talk about these products now that getting popular titles to the Mac has suddenly become a reality, instead of wishful thinking. More on that in a paragraph or two
Randy: I was most impressed with the game Freelancer. This game is the new baby of Chris Roberts of Wing Commander fame. This space combat game looks pretty amazing. While it sports beautiful 3D models and fast and furious networked game play, it goes far beyond the standard space combat game. The game has an RPG galaxy that surrounds the game. As you adventure through this universe you can choose you destiny by picking up lawful cargo and transport missions or you can become the wicked person you always wanted to and choose a life of piracy in open space. However, look out. There are bounties on the heads of wanted outlaws and other players will try and track you down for the reward.
Gary: This game looks like it will be incredibly detailed and quite extensive. Let's hope this puppy makes to the Mac.
And it probably will, thanks to - who would have guessed it - Apple Computer. Apple does not have the greatest legacy of supporting developers, much less game developers.
Randy: But with their recent announcements of licensing OpenGL as a 3D API, and the inclusion of USB on all of their current offerings, Apple has insured that many more game companies will bring their hardware and software to the Mac.
Gary: For example, Bungie's excellent Oni promises to take first-person shooters to the next cinematic level. From what we have seen of this one, we were left breathless. Action is more fluid and the moves your character makes are much more creative than most shooters. Ever picked up an enemy and tossed him into a crowd of more enemies to watch them all go down like bowling pins?
Randy: Shogo: Mobile Armor Division from Hyperion Press is a high-quality 3D action game with strong influences from Japanese anime. It has been hugely successful on the PC, and it is now Mac-bound, baby!
Gary: One of our favorite peripheral makers is Intensor, and they have two new products for any gamer (if you've got the budget). The Intensor LX is an updated version of their excellent gaming chair that promises to let you feel every footstep, every bullet, and every sliding turn you can throw at it. It is truly an earth-shattering experience.
Randy: They also announced the Intensor FX a stripped down version of the LX which includes the seat portion only. It is aimed more at children and teens, and has the advantage of being portable. It has an optional "torso belt" that uses the "rumble pack" feature of Nintendo 64 and the Sony PlayStation. That should give you a teeth-rattling game experience. It also may interfere with the natural rhythm of your heartbeat, so use with caution.
Gary: Actually, we just made that part up.
Randy: Well, to wrap up this year's E3, we would have to say that it is evident that Mac gaming has truly made a stunning turnaround in just a year's time. A boatload of game titles are headed our way, along with peripherals galore.
Gary: It actually looks like Steve Jobs pronouncement that all of the top ten PC games will be available for the Mac is going to be a reality. It just keeps getting better and better.
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 .