Games return to Moscone's North Hall

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For the past couple of years, gamers visiting Macworld Expo who were interested in seeing the latest game titles could visit a gaming area located in the South Hall, as all of the show’s vendors were located there. This year, IDG World Expo has reopened the Moscone Center’s North Hall and has relocated the Games Pavilion there.

The Macintosh Games Pavilion along with other “Digital Lifestyle Experience” areas — digital photography, music, digital media, Enterprise and Business Solutions and the Special Interest Pavilion — areas where smaller vendors can get

The gaming area itself is bracketed by booths from two vendors of Macintosh games — Feral Interactive and Aspyr Media.

Also near the Games Pavilion is Robosoft Technologies, a developer of Macintosh and Windows software with experience developing products for companies including BenQ, Intuit, Philips and more. Robosoft’s presence near the Games Pavilion is understandable — their most recent efforts have been to develop Macintosh game conversions for Feral Interactive.

A third Mac game vendor — Freeverse Software, whose product line also includes design application Lineform, Comic Life Deluxe and utilities, opted instead to occupy booth space in the more crowded South Hall instead.

Freeverse’s lineup include the Eddy award-winning Macintosh original Wingnuts 2: Raina’s Revenge, a fast-paced arcade-style action game, and Heroes of Might & Magic V — the first commercial game to be developed using Transgaming’s Cider technology. Cider is a virtualization technology that enables Windows games to run on Mac OS X unencumbered by a complete Windows installation or requiring users to reboot into Windows to play. That unfortunately limits the game’s audience to Intel Mac users only. It is expected to ship shortly.

Inside the gaming area visitors can find kiosks of four Macintoshes each, playing an assortment of games from Aspyr, Feral and other vendors. On display is a development version of Feral’s new Lego Star Wars II, Aspyr’s forthcoming first person shooter Prey, and other assorted strategy and action games.

Present this year, for the first time, are iPod games. Video iPods have been tethered to the kiosks, and games from vendors like Electronic Arts, PopCap Games, Namco and Fresh Games.

On Tuesday, the area was lightly populated with gamers anxious to get their hands on the latest games, and both game companies with separate booths were doing a brisk business selling their software at special show prices.

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