Game Beat

By Philip Dyer

Oh...my...god. I knew that a few cool games were being introduced at this Expo, but I never would have dreamed that hundreds of new titles would suddenly be available on the Mac, literally overnight. That's exactly what happened, and it's only one of the many pieces of good news for Mac gamers at the 1999 San Francisco Macworld Expo.

For those who haven't heard the tremendous news yet, Connectix announced on Tuesday that they are shipping the $49 Virtual Game Station, a Sony Playstation emulator for the Mac that is not even available on the PC yet. Basically, you just install it on your G3 Mac, and you can put almost any Playstation CD into your CD-ROM drive and play it on your Mac -- and it runs on only 8MB of RAM! I tried it and was playing Oddworld on my Mac within a couple of minutes -- something that I never thought I'd see following the dissolution of MacPlay, InterPlay's Macintosh division. For more information about this emulator, just swing by booth 3727 at the Expo or go to www.virtualgamestation.com.

Another huge story is that the giant 3-D chip on John Carmac's shoulder has finally fallen off and he is once again embracing the Macintosh community. LogicWare expects to finish work on the Mac port in 2-3 months, at which time the game will be distributed by Activision for about $50. Lips were tight on the Quake III front, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were ready in time for the 1999 Christmas season. You can check out a demo of Quake II in booth 3713 or get more info at www.idsoftware.com.

That would be enough great news for even the most die-hard Mac gamer, but there's a lot more where that came from. Myth II: Soulblighter is hot off the presses for this show and available in booth 3423 for $47. Its predecessor won Macworld's Eddy award for game of the year in 1997, and this version makes a number of improvements. Bungie is also showing a demo of their next game, Oni, in their booth for the first time anywhere. Featuring a female rookie cop who is as deadly with a spin kick as she is with a gun, this game should hit the shelves by the end of the year. And, as we have come to expect from our friends at Bungie, the Mac version will be released simultaneously with the Windoze version -- I love those guys! Check out www.bungie.com for more info.

MacSoft, the most prolific game publisher on our platform, is back with a vengeance this year -- a Dark Vengeance. Their new Dark Vengeance title features a brand new engine that adds some fun elements to the standard first-person slasher. But one game is never enough for those guys -- they are also debuting at this Expo the first game built with the Unreal engine since Unreal itself. Klingon Honor Guard features 19 unique mission on 7 Star Trek worlds and is available at booth 3618 for about $50. For more info, go to www.wizworks.com/macsoft/.

There are so many other great Mac gaming stories at this year's Expo that I just can't fit them all into one story. Double Exposure is sponsoring the National Mac Gaming Championships -- a particularly loud section of the Show that has featured non-stop action since the opening bell. Aspyr-Media's TombRaider II is another huge draw, and they are expecting to ship TombRaider Gold in about a month. Put this together with all of the other new games that were announced at this show, as well as all of the new gaming input devices and 3-D acceleration cards, and you have a show that signifies a complete turnaround in the Mac gaming market. If you're not playing games on your Mac already, you have no idea what you're missing.

 

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