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Pirate Translator and Pangea Arcade

The Slacker's Guide - Pirate Translator and Pangea Arcade

October 16th, 2006

Claimin' th' Hoarded Booty: Pirate Translator
First off, I know that September 19th, a.k.a International Talk Like a Pirate Day has come and gone. The one day set aside to use the verbal took kit of the open seas may have passed, but the lessons learned can remain throughout the year.

One of the coolest pieces of free software I've happened across in a while, Pirate Translator by Tim Moses has become a favorite Widget within my Dashboard. Simply download and install, and within minutes, you'll be translating text into the swarthy, plundering rhythms you mean to express your vocabulary in. Have an internal office memo that can only be expressed with an appropriate threat of keelhauling? Pirate Translator is the program you've been dreaming of.

Tim Moses' Pirate Translator finally provides the best way to express
the evenin' o' carousin' ye have lined up after a long day in the ol' salt mines.

Pirate Translator is available for free and is open for contribution. The cultivation and distribution of the perfect pirate dictionary is apparently one of Tim Moses' goals. Head over to the suggestion page, enter a new element of vocabulary and there's a chance it'll find its way to the Mac OS 9 client as well as the online pirate dictionary. The Widget application can be easily downloaded and installed with minimal fuss in true Mac OS X style. And while this may not be the mission critical application you've always dreamed of, it's simple and has a sense of humor about itself.

The Classics, Upgraded: Pangea Arcade
First off, there's a warm spot in my heart for Pangea Software. From the first days when I became aware of their games, beginning with Power Pete back in high school, their work has been exemplary. Where some companies won by marketing bluster or releasing dozens of titles that felt as if they'd been through every focus group in the world, and hoping a few were hits, Pangea seemed devoted to releasing games that were just plain fun. Brian Greenstone cares about his efforts and it's always shown.

When I first noticed that Pangea was about to release its Pangea Arcade suite, a certain amount of skepticism was to be expected. These are the early days of a new product's cycle, so why add to the media blitz?

After playing the games and considering the US$19.95 price tag for registration (the software cuts off after a few minutes and brings up a registration web page after the demonstration period is over), Pangea might just have itself another paying customer.

"Asteroids" reborn in the recently released Pangea Arcade suite.

Pangea Arcade is the company's answer to three 80's masterpieces, Firefall (an adaptation of "Centipede"), Warheads (an adaptation of "Missile Command") and Nucleus (an adaptation of "Asteroids"). Each title has been brought up to speed with current technologies. Where classic but blocky graphics, gameplay and sound once stood, the player will find beautifully rendered graphics, sound that tears across a speaker system and speedy performance, all coded for Universal Binary compatibility between PowerPC and Intel-based Mac hardware.

In downloading shareware along these lines, one expects a mixture of nostalgia, old-style gameplay and a few new tricks. These efforts have been tried before and while an open source or freeware version will occasionally stand out, the times a classic feels genuinely reinvented can be counted on one hand. Pangea Arcade actually succeeds in this, offering a new look and feel while retaining the old gameplay, if admittedly speeding it up to match the new hardware available today.

As much as these efforts may fall into the category of "bells and whistles," Pangea balances it out well. The new technologies, which add to the game, don't remove the most enjoyable factors of gameplay such as the constant need to move and fire in the "Asteroids" adaptation or the fact that ammo is limited in their version of "Missile Command." Combine this with simple yet functional ideas previously unavailable in the original versions (such as the right mouse button on a multi-button mouse triggering the right missile defense base in "Warheads" - an option which allows the player to conserve ammo and get their missiles in the air faster and across a shorter distance) and Greenstone and company have done their homework.

"Missile Command" receives significant upgrades, yet retains its arcade roots in "Warheads".

A new idea helped improve a classic.

Pangea Arcade is available for download courtesy of as a 41 megabyte file which expands to occupy 57.4 megabytes of space when installed. The program, which launches as a single application, then has the player choose which title to play, requires a 1 GHz or faster PowerPC or Intel-based Mac, Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, 512 MB of RAM and a video card with at least 64 megabytes of VRAM to run.

That wraps it up for this week. As always, if you see anything new, cool or useful in the Mac universe,

Chris Barylick covers games for The Mac Observer, and has written for Inside Mac Games, MacGamer, UPI, the Washington Post, and other publications.

The Slacker's Guide Archives.


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