You know a game like Yahtzee has become part of the zeitgeist when the
immortal vampire queen in HBO’s True Blood is featured playing the game
with her minions (“We play to 6 million”). It’s true, and we must deal
with it: Traditional parlor games like Scrabble, Monopoly, and even
cribbage are hot.
Those precocious, over-achieving iPhone users, always multitasking:
Reading restaurant recommendations. Finding out where their friends
are. Playing games. Foursquare and Gowalla let them do all three of
those at once.
These hybrid apps combine the iPhone’s location
services, friends lists, databases of user-generated hot spots, and
user-achievement systems borrowed from the world of videogames. While
you’re out and about, you check in to nearby locations, letting your
friends know where you are, even via optional push notification.
Set in an alternate universe circa 1960, BioShock puts you in the role
of Jack, a lone plane crash survivor stranded in the dystopian
underwater city of Rapture. Your mission is to fight psychotic mutants
and robot drones, all while figuring out what happened to bring the
city to its knees.
World Tour is Activision’s response, ported to the Mac by Aspyr, and in
most respects, it rocks. You can play lead guitar, plus lay down bass
grooves, pound on the drums, or steal all the glory as the lead singer.
Unfortunately, you’ve got to bring your own USB instruments--but we’ll
get to that a little later.
The name might remind you of an unpleasant side effect of drinking the
water in Mexico, but this Zuma’s Revenge won’t make you run for the
bathroom. Instead, you’ll be glued to your chair, clicking away at
ever-harder levels in four fun game modes.
Apparently Apple is now trying to surpass Nintendo and Sony as the leader in handheld gaming. Seems like a huge goal considering the 20 years Nintendo has dominated since they came out with the original Gameboy.
Spore’s first true expansion pack--and we’re not counting the weak Creepy & Cute, an assortment of extra body parts--fundamentally
changes the game. In the original Spore’s final stage, you’re bound to
a spaceship, but Galactic Adventures lets you park on planets and
stretch your legs. These away missions beget a whole new universe of
gameplay, including combat-based action sequences and story-driven
adventures heretofore unseen in Spore. Unfortunately, the quality of
these tweaks is just as open-ended, often resulting in frustration and
Beyond the Sword is the Costco of expansion packs: You’ll get more than
you asked for, and for a really top-notch experience, you’ll have to
suss out pockets of quality rather than stuffing yourself with sheer
quantity. There’s a lot going on in this game--and there’s a lot to