Creative Sound Blaster Tactic3D Sigma

Creative’s $90 Sound Blaster Tactic3D Sigma is one of the best headsets to use if you want to tune out the world around you. Creative claims that the headset’s earphones let you hear sounds from multiple directions, (above, below, and around), so you feel almost fully immersed in sound environments. It does a great job at doing what it promises, though it could produce better bass, and its microphone could be less powerful.

The Tactic3D Sigma comes with high-resolution 50 mm speakers that are attached to a steel-core reinforced headband. A noise-cancelling microphone and a tangle-free flat cable are affixed to the headband. The cable has a volume control device that not only adjusts the volume of the speakers, but also controls the power of the mic. I found little problem with the design of the headset, but I did find its non-adjustable headband to be a little loose on my head. Right below the volume control device on the cord is a small clip that allows you to attach the control device to your shirt for easy volume adjustment.

Overall, the Tactic3D Sigma work well. The earphones do a great job at blocking outside noises, as I was able to listen to music, play games, and do other audio-related tasks without hearing much around me. While using the headset at a medium volume setting, I couldn’t hear my immediate desk mate’s typing or talking. Unfortunately, the earphones do almost too good a job at blocking outside noises—I suffered a bit of the occlusion effect when I talked to others around me.

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Google, N.Y. Times get game on with search puzzles

Google is looking to entertain users by teaming up with the New York Times to put out a daily brain teaser.

The company today launched a daily puzzle that it’s calling A Google a Day. Since the daily puzzle comes from Google, doing a search for the answer isn’t considered cheating.

Monday’s question, for example, is: “Two future presidents signed me. Two didn’t because they were abroad. Despite my importance, modern viewers seem to think I have a glaring spelling error. What is it?”

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King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human Redux

Your days enslaved to the wicked wizard Manannan are coming to an end, but can you lead Gwydion beyond his clutches and into the world of Llewdor beyond? AGD Interactive has lovingly preserved and updated the third installment in the classic King’s Quest series of adventure games originally produced by Sierra On-Line and made it available as a free download called King’s Quest III: To Heir Is Human Redux.

King’s Quest III is a classic point-and-click adventure game rendered in a pseudo-3D side scrolling format. The adventure begins in Manannon’s home, your prison for now. A control bar across the top of the screen enables you to change control from things like a hand to manipulate objects in your environment or boots to wander about. You’ll explore your environment searching for clues and interacting with objects that will help you escape. You have Save Game feature at your disposal; plan on using it often as peril is around every corner.

While the game has been modified to run on modern computers with an updated soundtrack and delightful voice narrations, King’s Quest III’s graphics are definitely old-school. Fans of the original game will feel right at home, but younger gamers might be put off by the pixelated graphics. Even back in 1986, reviewers felt the low-res graphics made tasks difficult like finding and identifying clues hidden throughout the game. There’s an upside to the low-res graphics, though: it requires only minimal system requirements to run the game smoothly, so nearly any Mac made in the past few years should work just fine. Don’t let the dated graphics fool you though. There is plenty of challenge here, and thankfully there are many walk-throughs online should you get stuck.

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Mooniacs set to invade iOS

Monsters from space are set to invade your iOS device. But don’t worry, they’re the friendly kind. In Namco’s new flick-based puzzle game, Mooniacs, you need to help several stranded aliens recover their ship parts and find their friends.

Last week, Macworld got a hands-demonstration with Namco Bandai’s latest iOS game. It has a familiar gameplay mechanic to those who have played Angry Birds or Crash the Crib. Your object is to clear the stage of JuJuBees, the currency/food of your strange characters. In each level, you can slide your character from one side to the other and pick the angle and direction of your attempt. But unlike other puzzle games, you only get one shot, so you better make it count.

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GDC Roundup: Blackstar, DJ Rivals, and Death Rally announced

The Game Developers Conference wrapped up last week, and many new games were announced. Here are a few that stood out.

Spacetime Studios’ launches Blackstar

What would you do if you had an expansive sci-fi MMO with over $25 million invested in it, and it hadn’t seen the light of day? You’d be Spacetime Studios, and you’d be bringing six years of development to the iOS in Quarter 2 of 2011. Blackstar, the recently unveiled global sci-fi themed free-to-play MMORPG, will be coming to the iOS later this year.

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Video: Independent Games Festival winners at GDC

Each year, the Game Developers Conference hosts the Independent Games Festival (IGF), a self-described “Sundance for games.” The festival features an awards show, and we checked out a few of the nominees and winners, including Bit.Trip Runner, Helsing’s Fire, and Minecraft.

Gaijin Games’ Bit.Trip series had two nominees, Bit.Trip Beat and Bit.Trip Runner. Both games feature colorful, retro-styled graphics, and are available on the Mac (Bit.Trip Beat is also available as an iOS app). Bit.Trip Beat is a pong-type game on steroids, while Bit.Trip Runner (which received the award for Excellence in Visual Art) is a retro-styled platformer.

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Video: Hot products from the Game Developers Conference 2011

On Thursday, Macworld Staff Editor Serenity Caldwell and Editorial Intern Stephanie Kent dropped by the Game Developers Conference at San Francisco's Moscone Center to see the hot products on the show floor. While there were many cool games and technologies, three gadgets stood out from the rest.

The first, the Nintendo 3DS, is noteworthy—it's competing against the iPhone in the mobile market. Its buzzworthy feature is the ability to play 3D games without special glasses, a first for the industry. Like the iPhone, it has two cameras (front and back) and a touchscreen interface. But unlike the iPhone, the Nintendo 3DS lets you to take 3D pictures, and the additional screen lets users play games in 3D.

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