1/29/08
7:12 am

MacMost Now 35: Fun and Games at MacWorld Expo

Gary Rosenzweig takes a look at some games being shown at MacWorld Expo. He looks at Freeverse's Neon Tango and Hordes of Orcs. He also takes a look at the iNo, a game that uses your iPod.

Video Transcript
Gary Rosenzweig: Hi, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now. There were a lot of cool, useful, and interesting products at the MacWorld Expo, but there were also some fun games. Let's take a look at a couple of interesting games for the Mac and one for the iPod that we saw at the MacWorld Expo.
Two of the games we looked at were from Freeverse. You can find them at freeverse.com. The first one was called Neon Tango and it's a cool, retro-looking game, but it's also got some very modern graphic elements to it. Let's take a look at it. We talked to Bruce Morrison from Freeverse Software:
Gary: Hi, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now and I'm here with Bruce, the designer, creator, of Neon Tango, a game for Mac. Tell us about it.
Bruce: Neon Tango, it's sort of an old school style shooter, but then we've added in a lot of open geo effects, a lot of distortion, a lot of particles. It's just really something that speaks to an old school audience, but has just a nice, visually appealing design to it.
Gary: Excellent. And where can you get this?
Bruce: It's going to be out on February the 5th and it will be available at Freeverse.com and maybe in stores near you, if all goes well.
Gary: How much is it?
Bruce: I don't know the final price yet. I imagine between $20 and $30, somewhere in that range.
Gary: Cool. And so, basically, it looks like you're flying through various...there's mazes that you're going through and fighting enemies. It's got a very fluid movement to it. It feels really good just flying around.
Bruce: Yeah. We're basing it off an older game engine that we had to come up with called Wingnuts, Wingnuts 2. It was an Apple Design award winner, a MacWorld Eddy winner. And so we expanded upon that engine to create something more like this. Something that maybe appeals to people that Wingnuts 2 didn't.
But at the same time, I think Wingnuts 2 fans are really going to like this. So we put in quite a lot here. This is the quick little tutorial level. There's a lot more. There's 50 game levels. Each game level has a boss. There are a whole bunch of power ups that do a lot of different things here. For instance, I'll set off the bomb there and take out everything on the screen.
Gary: Looks beautiful. Great. Well, thank you very much.
Bruce: No problem.
Gary: A popular type of game right now is called a Tower Defense game. It's basically where you have to defend a castle or a tower or some other fortress against some kind of oncoming enemy. A really cool, graphical take on this is a game called Hordes of Orcs and it was created by John Frisbee of Mr. Joy. And it's also for sale at Freeverse.com. Let's take a look:
Gary: Hi, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now and I'm here with John, the creator of Hordes of Orcs. Tell us about it.
John: So, basically, it's a Tower Defense game. Obviously, nicer graphics and a little more depth to the game play. But, it's basically aimed at people who like games and want to play games but don't necessarily have a lot of time to invest in it.
It takes the real time strategy genre, but makes it so that it's something that you can just pick up and play right off the bat, but at the same time, have some depth and come back to. If you want to play a 20 minute game, you can play a 20 minute game. If you want to play an hour long game, you can play and hour long game. And there's always something new there for you to learn, you know, new strategies, new tactics, new ways of using the game elements that are there.
Gary: Right. So now, a Tower Defense game, of course, is not necessarily a medieval strategy-type game, it's more of a logic game where you actually set up different barriers to prevent these, in this case, the Orcs, from taking over.
John: And I went with an antimorphorized look rather than something more abstract so I could do things like this where the Orcs, instead of having health indicators that you have to keep track of, look more bruised and battered as they take damage so there's less clutter on the screen and less stuff for you to have to keep track of. You just know that they're damaged because it's obvious. You don't even have to think about it, it becomes unconscious.
Gary: Cool. And is this game available now?
John: It is available. It's been available since the 11th of December.
Gary: Excellent.
John: And we just released a point release to it that adds a couple new game modes and some new puzzles and gives you a little more variety to the game play. It also improves performance a little bit.
Gary: Excellent. And where can people find it?
John: You can find it on Freeverse.com -- Hords of Orcs.
Gary: How much does it cost?
John: It is $25 from the website or $20 at MacWorld.
Gary: Great. Well, thank you very much.
John: Thank you.
Gary: Here's an interesting game, and it's not for the Mac. It's for the iPod, believe it or not. It's called the iNo, I-N-O, and it's from a company called Sababa Toys. Now the idea here is you pop your iPod into this thing like it's a toaster. And it's a speaker system, so it will play the songs over speakers. You have your iPod set to shuffle and everybody's got a buzzer. And basically, you draw a card and it says 'guess the song' or 'guess the artist'. And the first one that thinks they know the answer clicks, the song stops, and then the iPod can pop back out and you can see if you were right. If you were right, you get a point. And then you go and you play the next round.
So it's kind of like a Trivia Pursuit meets Guess That Tune type of thing with your iPod collection. Of course, the advantage goes to the person that owns the iPod. But if you're like me and you have an iPod full of music, it could be easy to have somebody else best you.
You can find the iNo at a lot of online stores and also at Target. It ranges from about $50 to $80 and it comes in a few different colors.
There were a lot of other games at the show, as well. Electronic Arts had a large booth, Aspire was there, Ambrosia Software, of course, and lots of other vendors. And somebody from Electronic Arts told me that they really want to come out with Mac games the day and date that the PC games come out. And look for that happening more and more often in the future. So that's good news for us Mac gamers.
That's it for MacMost Now. And, hey, if you really like these shows, please subscribe to them via iTunes and tell your friends to do the same. And review them at iTunes, as well. We'd love to see MacMost featured on the front page of the iTunes podcast section at some point. We've been on the air for almost a year and we still haven't been there.
Until next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig.