Games

The Sims 2: Open for Business

We're finally realizing our Eliza Doolittle dreams by opening a modest flower shop. Many people dream of breaking free from The Man by starting a business. Sims are no different. The Sims 2: Open for Business expansion pack gives your Sims the ability to start and run a business. It's satisfying, but after a while, Open for Business is all about work. And that doesn't sound like - or is - much fun. 

Mindstorms NXT

Currently patrolling our editorial offices, pestering late editors. LEGO's Mindstorms NXT is 577 pieces of the LEGO goodness that you grew up with, but it's now designed for digitally influenced imaginations.Mindstorms NXT is a robot-building kit. You can build robots with arms, legs, claws, wheels, and more, but the core of the Mindstorms NXT kit is the Intelligent Brick, which holds programs that are used to make your robot perform. The Brick has connectors so you can attach robot parts to it, four sensors (light, sound, touch, and ultrasonic) to help your robot react, and three servomotors for movement. 

Call of Duty 2

"Anyone here know a Private Ryan?" The original Call of Duty blasted its way out of the trenches of other WWII first-person shooters and Medal of Honor clones. Call of Duty 2 follows the same tried-and-true formula as its predecessor but pushes the envelope further with sharper graphics (though slowdowns do occur), new gameplay concepts and mission structures, more historical background, and a progressive single-player campaign with an addicting multiplayer mode. To veteran COD players, COD2 won't be revolutionary, but it will feel like putting on a freshly pressed version of your old fatigues.

iWoofer

This pint-sized cutie has impressive sound but disappointing FM performance. Complete with legs, eyes, and a mouth, the iWoofer will brighten your day with its cheerful, animal-like visage. It features two small front speakers and a woofer on its cute little bottom, encircled by four blue LEDs that light up when powered via AC or 4 AA batteries - the lights can be toggled by a button on the iWoofer's side. Three sound sources are supported: your iPod, a built-in FM radio, or an auxiliary input. With a set of supplied holders, the iWoofer handles and charges (over AC or USB) any iPod from the second generation forward except the nano - a separate iWoofer nano is also available.

The Sims 2: Nightlife

Sim dates are timed minigames. Come to think of it, it's not that much different than reality. Nightlife, the latest expansion pack to the Sims 2 series, is all about being a social butterfly. It adds a booming downtown area with tons of destinations, including bowling alleys, restaurants, art museums, and nightclubs. There's plenty to keep you occupied; you can enjoy a long dinner, find a poker game, sing karaoke, or even take over DJ duty at the local disco.

Quake 4

Never ever tell a cybernetic beast his legs look like Martian toothpicks. Quake 4 picks up mere seconds after Quake II (no, we didn't miscount - the multiplayer-only Quake III: Arena wasn't part of the Quake storyline). You play as Matthew Kane, a soldier in an invasion force that breaks through the hole in the defenses of humanity's greatest interstellar enemy, the Strogg. It's up to you to take down remaining enemy munitions, penetrate the heart of the Strogg empire, and teach your alien adversaries that two can play at genocide.  

It's important to keep your city folk happy, or they might revolt - and no, you can't slip anything into the water supply. In Sid Meier's Civilization III: Complete, you plant the seeds of a new civilization and guide it turn by turn toward world domination through brute force, economics, technology, cultural influence, or by fulfilling scenario objectives. Civilization III: Complete has tons of enhancements and features, but it's too bad that it took a while for it to be released - PC gamers have been playing Civilization IV for months. 

Zoo Tycoon 2

Don't feed the animals - but blowing bubbles at them is OK. The latest version of Zoo Tycoon has new play modes, enhanced environment-editing tools, more park objects, and more animals to choose from - all great additions that boost replay value and challenge you to build bigger and better zoos. 

The Sims 2 University

We're geeks, so writing our semester term paper takes priority over partying. The Sims 2 University expansion lets you take your Sim through four Sims-years of college, attending classes, doing assignments, and taking exams, all while making new friends, adjusting to dorm life, and (if you wish) rushing a Greek house - but by the time graduation day rolls around, this school has become a bit of a grind. 

"Give me the Man in the Yellow Hat! Now!" Feral Interactive (www.feralinteractive.com) plans to bring Black and White 2 to the Mac this spring - but we've got tips today! In this god-game sequel, common sense is your best weapon, no matter whom you align with. Taking the good path? Care for your pet and your people. On the highway to hell? Have your pet unload its bowels on the populace. Whatever road you choose, these tips will help.