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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can experience any of the rides from the perspective of the CoasterCam. Despite the fact that RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 is the third game of the series, it's the first to appear on the Mac. From building rides to controlling finances, you get to play Michael Eisner (oops, we mean Robert Iger) and manage every aspect of an amusement park. Your goal? Build thriving parks that make lots of money so you can move up the entrepreneurial ladder.
Sometimes it's wise to conduct negotiations with something more powerful than gentle diplomacy. Quake 4 ($49.99, www.aspyr.com) is finally coming to the Mac. For the uninitiated, Quake 4 chronicles the war between the human race and an evil alien race called the Strogg. It's the sequel to Quake II - in Quakenese, Quake 4 is really Quake 3, because Quake III Arena doesn't really count since it was focused on online multiplayer and didn't continue the Quake storyline. Got it? If not, don't worry about it. When you blast into Quake 4 armed with these tips and shoot everything in your way, the Strogg will have reason to worry.