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.
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.
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.
The Mint comes with a wireless dock that transmits your iPod music to the Mint digital amplifier. For anyone whose music entertainment revolves around the iPod, Mondo’s Mint is a great way to get your iPod tunes up front and center. It’s far from perfect - its audio quality could benefit from some fine-tuning, and its lack of controls can be frustrating. But the Mint has some unique design highlights and comes very close to producing ideal sound.
The Journi is roughly the same size as the latest Harry Potter hardback - but if forced to choose, we’d take Harry on the road and leave the Journi at home. Weighing a little over 2 pounds, the Journi portable iPod speaker is shaped exactly like a hardback book and comes with a wraparound leatherette cover that doubles as a foldout stand. You unwrap the cover, fold it back on itself, and insert a tab into a slot built into the speaker’s plastic housing.
Clockwise from top: Lubix UBHS-NC1, iSkin Cerulean F1 earphones, iSkin Cerulean TX Bluetooth transmitter (sold separately), and Lubix UBHS-LC1. Thanks to Bluetooth wireless technology, you no longer have to be tethered to your iPod or iPhone. Lubix’s UBHS-LC1 and UBHS-NC1 are Bluetooth headsets you can use with the iPhone, while iSkin’s Cerulean F1 works as either a Bluetooth iPhone phone headset or as Bluetooth headphones for an iPod equipped with a Bluetooth transmitter.
You paid a whole lotta money for your iPhone, so why not invest $25 to $35 in a solid protective case for it? We’ve rounded up some of the first iPhone cases to hit the market. The type of case you want will depend on how much you’re willing to fiddle with it. For example, holsters such as the Elan Holster, Slim-Fit Case, and the HipCase won’t let you use the iPhone while it’s encased, but they do offer a means of protection. More iPhone cases are being released as you read this, so you can bet we’ll be taking a look at those too.