Games

Madden Sacked on iMac

 UPDATE: EA released a software update that fixes the problems detailed below. Nice work and thanks, EA. Of all the Electronic Arts titles announced back in June, it was Madden NFL '08 that I eagerly anticipated. It's finally here, and it's unfortunate that we're going to have to wait for EA to release software updates before we can have any fun with it. Madden NFL '08 has video problems with the alumminum iMac. I loaded the game on my 20-inch 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo iMac. The configuration screens are incomprehensible. 

RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Soaked

Part of the fun is zooming in close on visitors or even experiencing your own creations from a first-person view. RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Soaked adds buckets and buckets of aquatic-themed attractions to the core RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 game, where you manage a theme park. Since it’s an expansion pack, Soaked requires the original RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 game, which will set you back $49.99. Soaked gives you many more scenarios and options, including dolphin shows (who doesn’t love a good dolphin show?), water slides, more intricate laser shows, and even basic changes to the original game, such as the ability to build roller coasters with tunnels. Soaked doesn’t fundamentally change RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 - the game interface is as waterlogged as ever - but fans of the first game will easily appreciate the additions.

Age of Empires III: The Warchiefs

Eventually, the villagers discover outsourcing, so they’re free to work on building casinos.  The WarChiefs expansion pack for the Age of Empires III real-time strategy game adds three new civilizations: the Iroquois Confederacy, the Sioux Nation, and the Aztec Empire. Each has a Tribal Council (similar to a Home City) and a powerful WarChief. The well-rounded Iroquois produce artillery and siege units. The speedy Sioux start the game with a full population that’s unable to build walls for their encampment. The Aztecs are focused only on a strong infantry, with their elite troops laying waste to buildings and cavalry alike.

The Movies

Mars...needs...women!  Wannabe movie moguls who idolize Carl Laemmle or Harvey Weinstein can carry out their Hollywood dreams in The Movies, which casts you as a studio executive, building a production house from silent-era beginnings to modern, big-budget times. While the game often lampoons the industry, The Movies follows a fairly linear simulation script where players churn out productions to succeed. But detailed movie-creation tools for user-generated videos twists the game more than an M. Night Shyamalan ending.

X-Arcade Tankstick

The Tankstick puts old-school controllers like those at left to shame, both in size and capabilities.  You call yourself a serious gamer - but what are you doing fumbling with keyboard controls and a mouse? You can’t call yourself a serious gamer until you get a nice game controller. If you want to let everyone know you’re really serious, then get a Tankstick.

Lego Star Wars II

Didn't Leia have pigtails in Return of the Jedi? An idea that seems to have been more likely spawned at a late-night, beer-filled party than between two major corporate brands, Lego Star Wars II re-creates the original Star Wars trilogy with Lego characters playing the roles. Dozens of them are formed in the same basic plastic shape, and even spaceships and other items are built with the classic bricks, scattering apart when destroyed. Answering, “Why not?” to our dumbfounded, “Why?” this strange juxtaposition laughs at itself, creating a game that’s often funny as well as fun.

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Get Your Game On iPhone

 As soon as Steve Jobs announced developers would be able to create Web 2.0 apps for the iPhone over Safari, we knew it wouldn’t be long before the first games made their appearance. What we didn’t count on, however, was how good those first attempts would look.

First Look: Age of Empires 3

 It’s been a while since the Mac has seen a new Age of Empires game, but the wait is over. MacSoft has finally completed its conversion, bringing the latest installment of the series to us - the strategy-starved Mac users. Age of Empires III takes you back to the conflict between the European powers fighting for their fair (or unfair) piece of the New World pie (North and South America for the historically disadvantaged reader). In this setting, you’ll have access to the magic of gunpowder from the get go - in stark contrast to its advanced technological status in the earlier games. Despite this shift in backdrop, the game plays very similarly to previous titles in the AoE series.

Sweetopia

Shoot candies from the launcher to create strings of three. It's bad enough that we're addicted to sweets. Now we're addicted to Sweetopia too. In this fast-paced casual game, you pop different types of candy before quick-moving chains of confections hit each other and explode. If you've ever played the popular Zuma, you'll feel right at home.

The Sims Life Stories

Like sands through an hourglass, these are the chapters of your Sims' lives.  Sims fanatics finally get a break from the continuous barrage of expansion packs in the form of The Sims Life Stories, a new stand-alone game for the Sims franchise. While the premise is the same as in other Sims games - you micromanage the lives of virtual people by making sure they eat, sleep, shower, and so on - it also features several changes that give new life to an aging premise.