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April 23, 2003 - May 07, 2003 - See More Archived News

Wednesday, May 07, 2003
[PC] Big City Games Signs Air Raid for North American Release - posted by Erich Becker at 2:30 pm CDT

Big City Games Signs Air Raid - This is not a Drill! For North America!

Montreal, Canada. May 7, 2003 - Publisher Big City Games announced today that they have signed Air Raid - This is not a Drill!, developed by Made by Kiddies for the North American market.

"This title offers hours upon hours of amazing gameplay! Air Raid is another great addition for our Big City Games line-up," says Steve Milburn, Director of Marketing.

Air Raid thrusts you into the adrenaline-pumping, action packed world of a World War II battleship under enemy fire. You are stationed behind the awesome firepower of a 40mm Bofor Anti-Aircraft fixed deck gun on the bow of a battleship reminiscent of the famed U.S.S. Missouri. Your mission is to blast away at the endless onslaught of enemy attackers hell bent on sinking your battleship. Honor, glory and pride are on the line, but your primary goal is simply to survive.

"Air Raid engages players to such a degree that they are able to experience the gameplay transcending beyond the limitations of the screen," says Christopher Lee, Executive Producer for Made By KIDDIES, Inc. "We are excited to join Big City Games in its continued effort to bring unique and addictive products to the PC market, and are confident that this is not the last time the game industry will hear of our successful collaboration."

Game features include:

a.. Ship-to-air defensive battle station
b.. Different, dramatic battle background
c.. Supports Single and Multiplayer option
d.. WWII era classified armaments and radar
e.. Progressive missions with sophisticated enemy AI
f.. Realistic battle sounds effects
g.. Easy play controls

Air Raid will be released in Q2 2003. For more information on Air Raid ? This is not a Drill!, please visit www.bigcitygames.com or www.madebykiddies.com.

[PC] New Features Announced for Uru: Ages Beyond Myst - posted by Erich Becker at 2:27 pm CDT


Next MYST Saga to Offer Both Offline Single-Player Experience and Evolving Online Persistent World

San Francisco, CA - May 7, 2003 - Ubi Soft Entertainment, one of the world's largest videogame publishers, and Cyan Worlds, Inc., developers of the legendary MYST® and Riven(tm), today announced more details about Uru(tm): Ages Beyond MYST®, the eagerly-awaited game for the PC that combines an all new addition to the legendary MYST franchise with the power of the Internet. Uru is the latest chapter in the MYST series - one of the most widely recognized game brands in history, with more than 12 million units sold worldwide. It is scheduled to launch for Holiday 2003.

Uru, from the creators of the original MYST and Riven, represents a new generation of adventure games. In Uru, you'll not only spend hours discovering vast, visually arresting worlds and solving mind-challenging puzzles, but by subscribing to Uru Live, you'll also take part in a unique social experience within an ever-expanding world.

"Uru is a revolutionary adventure game that takes the best qualities of the MYST franchise and makes them even better. The single-player experience will eclipse the beauty, grandeur and mind-challenging elements of previous titles. Plus, with the option to join a constantly updated, online universe, the adventure never has to end," said Rand Miller, founder of Cyan Worlds. "From new machines and puzzles to special events and entirely new Ages, players will find more to do, more to see, and more to explore each time they return - and this time, they can discover everything with old and new friends."

With Uru, players will have the opportunity to explore and interact with meticulously crafted 3D environments in, around and beyond the newly discovered underground D'ni empire that predates human civilization on Earth. Intuitive and easy to play, Uru will appeal to gamers of all ages and skill levels. An intriguing storyline unfolds as players explore surreal environments, gather clues, solve puzzles, play mini-games, and unlock new areas to investigate. In addition to the single-player experience, subscribers to the online universe will be able to join and create small neighborhoods, embark on adventures with friends and join the crowd in the sprawling D'ni city - while using real-time voice chat to communicate with each other.

"Ten years ago, MYST brought gaming to the masses. By using cutting-edge technology to reinvent adventure gaming, we're making sure that Uru will appeal to a broad audience that includes long-time fans of the series, casual gamers, and devotees of both single-player and online games," said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing for Ubi Soft Entertainment. "And just as MYST broke new ground when it first appeared, Uru is a revolutionary adventure game that combines the amazing features of the more traditional single-player game with a stunning, surreal, 'never-the-same-thing-twice,' persistent online universe."

The story of the D'ni civilization began when they established their underground empire on Earth some 10,000 years ago. While living beneath the Earth's surface, the D'ni practiced a technology called the "Art of Writing" to create links to incredible alternate worlds of fantastic variety called "Ages," to which they could travel through "Linking Books." During that time, a group of D'ni traveled to the surface of what is now southern New Mexico, connecting our world and theirs.

The D'ni people below thrived for thousands of years, but later met with a great catastrophe that ended their civilization. The vast underground cities of the D'ni were left uninhabited and their Linking Book technology seemed lost forever - until now.

PC users will be able to enjoy Uru: Ages Beyond MYST. Owners of the boxed game will be able to subscribe to Uru Live through ubi.com, one of the world's top ten gaming portals. Pricing and other details for both the boxed product and Uru Live are not yet available. For more information about the game visit http://uru.ubi.com/.

[PC] New Darkfall Screens and Renders Online - posted by Erich Becker at 2:26 pm CDT

Razorwax has unleashed 10 new screenshots and 28 renders of their upcoming MMORPG, Darkfall.

You can see the screenshots here and the amazing renders are located right here.

We hope to have more on Darkfall very soon so stay tuned.

[PC] Microsoft Train Simulator 2 Announced for E3 - posted by Erich Becker at 2:21 pm CDT

All Aboard! Microsoft Train Simulator 2 Rides the Rails to E3

Microsoft Game Studios today announced that Microsoft Train Simulator 2 will be shown for the first time at E3, the annual video game convention in Los Angeles, May 14-16. Microsoft Train Simulator 2, the follow-up to the number one best-selling train simulation PC game,* will be available in stores this fall.

With five new, highly detailed routes, Microsoft Train Simulator 2 provides the opportunity to command a 200-ton modern diesel locomotive or operate a steam-breathing behemoth from the past. Virtual engineers will be able to take trains around the historic Horseshoe Curve on the Pennsylvania Railroad circa 1946, or on a high-speed romp through Germany on the world-famous Deutsche Bahn AG. Taking cues from the exacting standards of quality and realism associated with the Microsoft Flight Simulator product family, this latest edition of the Microsoft Train Simulator series charges full steam ahead from where its predecessor left off. Microsoft Train Simulator 2 also adds dynamic weather in a living-breathing world complete with people, vehicles and animals roaming the countryside.

[Industry] Ubi Soft Signs Eve to Voice Character in XIII - posted by Erich Becker at 2:20 pm CDT


Entertainment Trendsetter Eve Headlines as Major Jones in Stylish Action-Shooter

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - May 7, 2003 - Ubi Soft Entertainment, one of the world's top videogame publishers, today announced that one of music and film's hottest stars, Eve, will play the role of Major Jones in its highly anticipated action-shooter, XIII. XIII is an epic, conspiracy-driven thriller set in a highly stylized graphic-novel world. Eve will lend her voice talents to Major Jones, a beautiful yet mysterious character in the game, who helps players unravel clues behind the game's captivating story. XIII is planned to release on all platforms in Fall 2003.

"XIII is a true original - the most stylish game I have ever seen," said Eve. "When I saw the game, I knew I wanted to be involved. My character, Jones, is a strong, sexy female with attitude - my fans will easily relate her to me."

XIII is a stylish, first-person shooter thriller featuring a conspiracy of epic proportions. The game's cel-shaded graphics showcase its unique visual style, which pays homage to its comic roots. As a secret agent with complete amnesia, players unravel clues behind their true identity, while uncovering sinister plots against themselves, the U.S. government, and a mysterious presidential assassination. In XIII, Jones proves a valuable ally, as players will need to call upon her assistance in several gripping situations. This collaborative mode is just one of XIII's varied gameplay modes, which also include stealth, all-out action, and multiplayer.

[Community] GamesXtreme Reviews Postal 2 (PC) - posted by Erich Becker at 2:19 pm CDT

GamesXtreme have posted their review of Running with Scissors violent first person shooter Postal 2. You can see the review right here, but first check out this snippet:

"The main concept of the game is actually simple. You play the Postal dude and have to work your way through 5 days, Monday to Friday. The first day starts out okay, you go to your place of employment, which is actually Running with Scissors’ offices and have to pick your cheque up then cash it and get some milk. Now this sounds a bit lame and it really is. The missions are not special at all and you’ll quickly get tired of doing nothing more than wandering around the same place again and again."

Tuesday, May 06, 2003
[Industry] Cyber Warrior and Themis Group Ink Deal - posted by Erich Becker at 1:39 pm CDT

The Themis Group to Provide Public Relations and Marketing Campaign Solutions to Cyber Warrior

DURHAM, NC - May 6th, 2003 - Cyber Warrior Inc, an independent online game developer, today announced it has signed a deal with the Themis Group, an international provider of outsourcing and consulting solutions and services to the interactive entertainment industry. Under the terms of the agreement, the Themis Group will create and implement aggressive public relations and marketing campaigns for Cyber Warrior's upcoming title - Rubies of Eventide.

"We're quite pleased about this new relationship," said Julia Howe, Product Manager of Cyber Warrior Inc. "Our Marketing and PR are now in capable hands, allowing us to focus on making sure Rubies of Eventide will be the best online gaming experience around."

"It's a pleasure to be working with Cyber Warrior," said Daniel "Savant" Manachi, Marketing Manager of The Themis Group. "Rubies of Eventide will be a welcome change to the massive multiplayer genre."

Rubies of Eventide is a promising example of change in the MMORPG industry. As a second generation massively-multiplayer game, Rubies defies the "Everquest" template by bringing back a the classic strategic RPG turn-based combat, with a twist. Rubies unique combat mode is an "asynchronous real-time turn-based hybrid combat." For players this means planning moves strategically with more attention to tactical rather than split-second decisions. Rubies of Eventide has seven player races and over 90 starting professions to choose from. With this system, no one is ever locked into a stereotypical role based on his or her choice of race and can develop their skills however they please in-game.

To find out more about the game or a chance to participate in the Beta Test, visit www.rubiesofeventide.com

[PC] The Gathering Announces Space Colony for PC - posted by Erich Becker at 1:26 pm CDT

Gathering Reaches For The Stars With Space Colony On PC

Space Community Based Builder Takes Players To Another World

BALTIMORE, MD -- May 6, 2003 -- Computer and video game publisher Gathering, a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
(Nasdaq-TTWO) today unveiled "Space Colony."

In production at Firefly Studios, the creators behind the million selling "Stronghold" series, "Space Colony" promises a gaming experience that's out of this world. Through a series of unique and pioneering missions, players will be given the opportunity to combine all the intricacies of running a Space Colony with the most disfunctional crew ever assembled whilst fighting off aliens and attempting to make a profit.

"Firefly have already proved themselves as an innovative PC developer," said Graeme Struthers, Vice President of Gathering. "Their ability to execute fresh ideas and deliver them to a high standard will ensure that 'Space Colony' is one of our most inspiring titles this year."

Taking your team of starry-eyed misfits with you, you must search out and colonise some of the galaxies most inhospitable planets. Starting from scratch your colony will need to quickly grow from a simple life-supporting pod into a sprawling meteoric metropolis, capable of keeping this most eclectic troop of tenants happy. As difficult as this can be, life in the colony isn't just about surviving, it's about big bucks and you're going to need to use every resource this planet has to offer to make them. Whether that's capturing the locals to create an alien zoo to attract tourists, mining the planet's core for materials, building a discotheque big enough to accommodate both country and rock or defending your settlement against alien attack -- whatever it takes, responsibility for the colonies survival rests squarely with you.

"'Space Colony' is proving to be a very exciting project for us," said Simon Bradbury, Designer and Programmer at Firefly Studios. "We truly feel that we have something fresh to offer the gamer. Combining a people sim with a builder in one game, really is working for us, it's fun and it's funny - perfect!"

"Space Colony" is due for release September 2003, for more information on this and other Take-Two Interactive products please visit www.take2games.com

[PC] Activision Announces Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines - posted by Erich Becker at 1:24 pm CDT


Valve's Source(tm) Technology to Power Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines

Santa Monica, CA - May 6, 2003 - Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) will plunge players into the dark and gritty vampire underworld of modern Los Angeles with the announcement of Vampire®: The Masquerade - Bloodlines (tm) for the PC. Seamlessly combining role playing with intense first-person action combat, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines allows players to become a dangerous creature of the night as they assume the role of a recently embraced fledgling vampire in the service of the city's dark prince.

Vampire: The Masquerade- Bloodlines is being developed by Troika Games, whose founding members' credits include the award-winning Fallout, and is based on White Wolf's renowned pen-and-paper Vampire: The Masquerade RPG series. Built using Valve's Source(tm) Technology - the same game technology used to power Half-Life 2®, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines has not yet been rated by the ESRB and is expected to ship in 2004.

[Xbox] New Xbox Controller Colors Chosen - posted by Erich Becker at 1:20 pm CDT

Bonkers for Blue, Gaga for Green: Fans are Crazy for New Xbox Controller Colors

Xbox fans overwhelmingly chose Green and Blue for the colors of new controllers to be unveiled May 14 at the E3 (Electronics Entertainment Expo) trade show in Los Angeles. The voting was done via online survey on Xbox.com, and the new controllers will go on sale in October.

"Gamers have been asking us for new color options, so we thought it would be a great idea to not only give the people what they want, but also let them choose the colors for themselves," said Bill Nielsen, director of Xbox brand marketing. "When the results were tabulated green and blue were far and away the favorites so we'll release both those options. We anticipate many gamers will have a tough time deciding between the two."

Photos of each of the new controllers can be found at http://www.xbox.com/surveys/ccresults. The controllers will be sold separately for an estimated retail price of $29.99 and will join the black Xbox Controller S on retail shelves.

[Xbox] Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War Ships - posted by Erich Becker at 1:18 pm CDT


Santa Monica, CA - May 6, 2003 - Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) has announced that id Software's Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War for the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft is now available at retail outlets nationwide. id's new hit for Xbox features the definitive multiplayer experience, including squad-based warfare over Xbox Live or System Link, along with an action-packed storyline for single player and two-player split-screen cooperative action. The title has already received critical acclaim including a 9.2 rating and "Editor's Choice" award from Official Xbox Magazine, and "five out of five star" from Maxim and FHM. Developed by Nerve Software, Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War carries a suggested retail price of $49.99 and is rated "M" for mature by the ESRB.

"It just doesn't get any better than the intense single-player, cooperative and multiplayer action in Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War," said Todd Hollenshead, CEO, id Software. "With an epic single player and co-op campaign, as well as squad-based multiplayer warfare, full support for all of the Xbox Live features like buddy lists, the Xbox Live Communicator, and downloadable maps, RTCW: Tides of War is the ultimate action title for every Xbox owner."

"Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War has been created from the start with one goal in mind, to be the best first-person action game on Xbox," said Larry Goldberg, executive vice president, Activision Worldwide Studios. "With RTCW: Tides of War's breathtaking campaigns and new prologue missions, whether in single-player or two-player co-op, gamers will have a blast right out of the box. But nothing will prepare them for the instant action and overall rush of Tides of War's multiplayer warfare that will keep players glued to their Xbox."

Set against the backdrop of WWII, Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War enlists players into a whirlwind of action, espionage and covert operations. Taking the role of badass Army Ranger, B.J. Blazkowicz, players are tasked with infiltrating the heart of Nazi Germany and stopping the darkest plans of the Third Reich. Throughout the game, players are locked in combat against hordes of Nazi storm troopers, undead Teutonic knights and the twisted products of genetic experimentation in campaigns that stretch from the deserts of Egypt and forests of Germany to icy compounds in Norway. Delivering Dolby 5.1 audio, 480p High Definition television support, new monsters, weapons and useable items, Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War further draws the player into the Occult-filled Nazi nightmare with an unfolding story that plays out like a heart-stopping action movie.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War also includes an all-new Egyptian campaign, where players meet with Agent One, the OSA's most senior operative. In the game's exclusive cooperative mode, gamers partner together as B.J. and Agent One to kick Nazi ass as WWII's toughest duo battling through the entire single-player campaign in exciting split-screen action.

With battlefields designed specifically for Xbox, Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War players can wreak multiplayer havoc in teams of up to eight versus eight for fast and furious 16-player combat. The title features four distinct character classes that must coordinate their individual skills to be victorious in the numerous gameplay modes including objective, elimination and checkpoint. Xbox Live players can utilize their Friends list or Xbox Live matchmaking for instant action. The warfare really heats up with the use of the Xbox Live Communicator, with full voice-masking capabilities, allowing combatants to verbally coordinate attacks, communicate enemy positions, scream for a medic or simply taunt their fallen opponents.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War is developed by Nerve Software and is executive produced by id Software. The Xbox game is based on the award winning PC title, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, originally developed by Gray Matter Interactive studios, and Nerve Software.

Monday, May 05, 2003
[Multi] Activision Ships X2 Wolverine's Revenge - posted by Erich Becker at 2:53 pm CDT


Title Launches Simultaneously On All Five Platforms In Time For Twentieth Century Fox's Highly Anticipated "X2: X-Men United" Feature Film Based Upon The Classic Marvel Comics' Series

Santa Monica, CA - May 2, 2003 - It's payback time! The clock is ticking and its up to gamers to uncover Wolverine'sÔ mysterious past in Activision, Inc.'s (Nasdaq: ATVI) X2 Wolverine's Revenge(tm). Inspired by "X2: X-Men United," the next adventure in the X-MenÔ motion picture saga, and written by comics legend Larry Hama, X2 Wolverine's Revenge pits Wolverine's razor sharp instincts and super human abilities against familiar foes from Marvel Comics' X-MenÔ comic book series and "X2" including Lady DeathstrikeÔ and MagnetoÔ. Currently available at North American retail outlets, X2 Wolverine's Revenge carries a suggested retail price of $49.99 for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the XboxÒ video game system from Microsoft and the Nintendo GameCube(tm), and $29.99 for the PC and Game BoyÒ Advance versions. All platforms carry a "T" (Teen - Blood, Violence - content suitable for persons ages 13 and older) rating by the ESRB and the Nintendo Game Boy Advance carries an "E" (Everyone - Violence - content suitable for persons ages 6 and older) rating by the ESRB.

"X2 Wolverine's Revenge gives X-Men fans something they've been waiting years for - an opportunity to delve further into the depths of Wolverine's mysterious past," said Larry Goldberg, executive vice president, Activision Worldwide Studios. "The game's gripping storyline and combination of stealth and action will allow everyone to experience what it means to be Wolverine."

X2 Wolverine's Revenge takes fans back to the Weapon X facility in 1968 when Wolverine's horrific skeletal adamantium bonding experiment had been performed. Players then fast forward to the present and find Wolverine in fellow X-Men comrade Beast's lab undergoing tests, when Beast and Professor X tell Wolverine that a viral time bomb has been activated in his body and he has only 48 hours to find an antidote by returning to the one place it all began - the Weapon X facility.

In his quest to save his life, Wolverine has the added challenge of encountering familiar foes such as Lady Deathstrike, Sabretooth, Wendigo, Juggernaut and Magneto. Armed only with his signature adamantium claws, superior senses, advanced stealth techniques and a variety of martial arts moves, Wolverine also enlists the aid of allies such as Colossus and Rogue as he travels across the Canadian wilderness and finds himself in and out of danger in various Department H facilities and boss battles. X2 Wolverine's Revenge also features the voices of Patrick Stewart as Professor X and Mark Hamill as Wolverine.

[PlayStation2] Logitech USB Headset for PlayStation2 Coming Soon - posted by Erich Becker at 2:50 pm CDT

Coming Soon To U.S. Retail Shelves: Logitech(r) USB Headset for PlayStation(r)2

Clear Sound and Comfortable Fit for Online Gaming Aficionados

Fremont, CA - May 5, 2003 - Logitech (Nasdaq:LOGI) (Switzerland:LOGN) announced today that the Logitech(r) USB Headset for the PlayStation(r)2 computer entertainment system will be available on retail shelves in the U.S. and at www.logitech.com later this month for a suggested retail price of $39.95 US.

"The bundle of SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs from Sony Computer Entertainment America with a Logitech headset broke new ground by providing gamers with a great game featuring command recognition and voice-over-IP functionality, plus a high-quality headset in a single-package solution for PlayStation(r)2," said Fred Swan, Director of Marketing for Logitech's Audio and Interactive Entertainment Business Unit. "This new retail USB headset allows these gamers the opportunity to enjoy the same high level of headset performance and compatibility with additional comfort and cosmetic features."

As developers continue to build online support into new games, the need for a feature-rich headset grows. The Logitech USB Headset features a digital USB audio processor and noise-canceling microphone for crystal-clear sound and high-quality voice input, which deliver precise command recognition and understandable voice chat when gaming online, especially in an environment with a high degree of external noise.

An adjustable headband and interchangeable earpads made of velvet, leatherette and foam provide exceptional comfort, especially for long gaming sessions. A convenient ten foot audio cord is included, ensuring freedom to choose an ideal location to play.

[PC] Sony's PlanetSide to be Released on May 20th - posted by Erich Becker at 2:48 pm CDT

Sony Online Entertainment Inc. (SOE), a worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online gaming, announced that its highly-anticipated massively multiplayer online first-person action game, PlanetSide(tm) will make history when it launches on May 20. The groundbreaking game will allow thousands of players to fight online in an all-hours-of-day global war that has never been seen before in the first-person action genre. The company also announced that it will add squad-based voice chat functionality to PlanetSide, further enhancing the experience of fighting together with a squad and working as a team. PlanetSide will be available on May 20, 2003 in North American retail stores.

"There has never been an online action game as ambitious as PlanetSide. We are combining a game world that can support the fast action of a first person shooter with the character growth, development and scale of an MMORPG," said Michael Lustenberger, director of product marketing at Sony Online Entertainment. "The result is a truly new and unique experience as players are immersed in battle with thousands of other people from across the country, while they hone their skills and become elite combat units."

PlanetSide has a suggested retail price of $49.99, which includes a 30-day free trial subscription to the game's online world. Additionally, the game will carry a monthly subscription fee that will be announced at a later date for continuing access to the game world. Players can subscribe for additional months using a credit card, or purchase PlanetSide 90-day Game Cards, which open the PlanetSide universe to those who choose not to use a credit card.

[PC] Bill Brown to Score Lineage II Soundtrack - posted by Erich Becker at 2:46 pm CDT

Acclaimed Hollywood Composer Bill Brown to Score Soundtrack for NCsoft’s Lineage II

LOS ANGELES, May 5, 2003—NCsoft™ Corporation, the world’s top developer of online computer games, announced today that Bill Brown, an internationally acclaimed music composer for film and games, is writing the musical score for Lineage II: The Chaotic Chronicle. Lineage™ II, currently in development, is the exciting prequel to the hit online role-playing game, Lineage. Brown composed the music for well-known game titles such as Rainbow Six, C&C: Generals and Ghost Recon. He also wrote powerful orchestral scores for Oliver Stone’s film Any Given Sunday and Ali, directed by Michael Mann.

NCsoft will showcase a new video sequence from Lineage II at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the world’s biggest electronic game trade show, May 14 – 16 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The video will provide a preview of the musical concept Brown is creating for Lineage II and will be shown in the NCsoft booth in South Hall, #1024.

Brown, who believes that creating an affinity to game players on a spiritual level as well as a physical, mental, and emotional level is of the utmost importance, explained his decision to write the score for Lineage II: “It’s an important opportunity for me to write an epic fantasy soundtrack on a scale that I have never experienced before, and I was deeply impressed by not only the game environment but also the original animation and graphics.” Asked about the musical concept for Lineage II, Brown noted, “Never before has a role-playing game been set in such a mysterious atmosphere, so, I tried to make the music bring out this mood as much as possible.”

Lineage II preserves and builds on the strengths of its predecessor, Lineage. With the addition of highly developed 3D graphics, an upgraded level of freedom and community set-up functions, the game is expected to set a new course for massively multiplayer online gaming in the future.

Thursday, May 01, 2003
[PC] Trymedia Offers Legitimate File Sharing Downloads - posted by Erich Becker at 2:13 pm CDT


Trymedia Systems’ Distribution Program Reaches 30 Million Online Users Each Month With Downloadable PC Games

San Francisco, CA, May 1, 2003 – If you thought file-sharing was a dirty word, you might have to take a closer look because legitimate downloadable entertainment is now reaching the masses in record numbers. Digital distribution technology and services company Trymedia Systems announced today that it’s most popular and best-selling PC games now reach a mass-market audience of over 30 million consumers per month via its Distribution Partner Program. While teenagers may have been the earliest adopters of downloading and file-sharing in the Napster era, today mass market audiences of all ages, genders and income levels enjoy the simplicity of selecting game software in a digital format and the instant gratification of being able to download, play and buy immediately. In the first three months of 2003 alone, over six million legitimate game downloads were enabled by Trymedia’s ActiveMARK technology.

Trymedia Systems has become one of the largest providers of legitimate entertainment content on the Web and Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks. The company’s Distribution Partner Program supplies popular consumer destination sites with videogames secured and commerce-enabled by Trymedia’s ActiveMARK technology. The catalog of downloadable games is provided by Trymedia’s leading clients in the software publishing industry with new titles added almost daily. Current distribution partners contributing to the 30 million per month audience of potential gamers include Tucows, Simtel, GameRevolution, Gamextazy, SearchAmateur and the EDGE Network as well as the top P2P Networks Altnet (the secure distribution partner for KaZaa), Grokster, iMesh, Morpheus, Bearshare and Xolox among others. In addition Trymedia is the primary content provider to the games channel within popular download manager application Download Accelerator Plus by Speedbit. (For a complete list of Trymedia’s distribution partners go to http://www.trymedia.com/html/distribution.shtml.)

“By developing this channel, our Distribution Partners are contributing new revenues, new customers and new opportunities to the game industry that augment and extend the current retail model,” said Trymedia’s VP of Strategy and Communications, Gabe Zichermann.

Legitimate entertainment content, and games in particular, have attracted the attention of media companies and portals for their high level of consumer demand and ability to bring in revenue dollars to augment Internet advertising income. ActiveMARK-enabled games create a viral marketing opportunity because files can be shared freely by consumers. Games appear to the consumer in free trial mode, with sophisticated marketing interfaces that encourage them to purchase and unlock the full game. Anytime game files are shared among users – whether by CD/DVD, Email, Peer-to-Peer, IM or any other method -- they revert to trial mode, creating a new sales opportunity. The 30 million marketing reach does not include the effects of viral marketing because person-to-person sharing is not tracked by the company.

“We chose Trymedia to help us distribute Pearl Harbor Zero Hour for several key reasons, not the least of which was the ability to reach beyond traditional channels without the constraint of limited shelf-space,” said Josh Gordon, VP of Business Development for ASAP Games, the developers of TipTop Deluxe and other popular mass market videogames. “We’ve been very pleased with the return on our investment.”

Trymedia’s catalog of games available through its Distribution Partners includes hit titles such as the Worms, Rollercoaster Tycoon , Test Drive and Beach Head series as well as popular mainstream games including Yahtzee, Monopoly and Scrabble. Distribution Partners can quickly and easily add games content to their sites by partnering with Trymedia through its catalog portal, www.trygames.com, which provides both content linking and embedding capabilities as well as real-time online reporting. Partners share a variable percentage of revenues for games purchased through their site, and are provided with advanced marketing and merchandising support through Trymedia’s Consumer Marketing Division.

[Industry] EA Sports Signs Michael Vick as Madden NFL 2004 Cover Athlete - posted by Erich Becker at 2:10 pm CDT

Atlanta Falcons All-Pro Quarterback Michael Vick Joins the EA SPORTS Team With Madden NFL 2004 Cover

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - May 1, 2003-Michael Vick, the All-Pro quarterback from the Atlanta Falcons and one of the most electrifying and exciting players in the NFL, has reached an agreement with Electronic Arts Inc. (Nasdaq: ERTS), the world's leading interactive entertainment software company, to be the EA SPORTS(tm) cover athlete and spokesman for Madden NFL(tm) 2004.

"What an honor to be on the cover of the best NFL franchise, Madden NFL 2004," said Vick. "This is the game that everyone wants to be associated with at some point in their NFL career and I am excited that my opportunity has come so early in my career. I have always been a Madden NFL Football fan and I'm excited to be working with EA SPORTS on my favorite game." Vick's image will appear on all Madden NFL 2004 packaging and merchandising and he already contributed his expertise during a design session with the producers of the videogame at EA's development studios in Florida.

Vick was the youngest quarterback to start in the NFL during the 2002 season and was only the sixth quarterback to be voted into the Pro Bowl in his first year as a starter since 1970. In his first two seasons he has run for more yards (1,066) than any other quarterback in NFL history and established four NFL records during the 2002 season including most rushing yards in a game by a quarterback with 173 yards at Minnesota in December.

The Madden NFL franchise is in its 14th year, and last year's version, Madden NFL 2003, sold more than four million units on six different platforms. Madden NFL 2004 will be available on the PC, the PlayStation®, the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox video game system from Microsoft, the Nintendo GameCube(tm), and the Game Boy® Advance in August.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003
[PC] TechSpot Posts ATI Radeon 9x00 Tweak Guide - posted by Erich Becker at 2:56 pm CDT

Here at TechSpot we have just posted our ATI Radeon 9x00 tweak guide that will give you a hand optimizing your system for best compatibility & performance.
In the guide we go through basic troubleshooting steps and general settings, then onto more specific Direct3D & OpenGL setting tweaks, performance comparison (benchmarks) between settings and image quality shots to compare different settings results.

See The Full Article

[PC] Shrapnel Games to Publish Space Empires: Starfury - posted by Erich Becker at 2:50 pm CDT

Space Empires: Starfury Approaching a Galaxy Near You!
The newest title in the critically acclaimed Space Empires series announced

Shrapnel Games is pleased to announce today the next title in Malfador Machinations' award winning Space Empires series--Space Empires: Starfury. SE: Starfury represents a departure from previous titles in the Space Empires series, as players will live their alternate lives not as interstellar rulers, but rather as a single starship captain trying to eke out a life amongst the stars.

"In the past Aaron Hall and Malfador Machinations have allowed players to create vast empires in space," Tim Brooks, President and founder of Shrapnel Games has commented. "This time instead of players examining the universe from a god's eye view they'll be down in the trenches, commanding one starship, which will be very exciting. Imagine the thrill of you sitting in the captain's chair, making the all important decisions!"

Indeed, Space Empires: Starfury should appeal to not just fans of the Space Empires series, but also to the legions of wannabe Kirks and Picards. Additionally, fans of the boardgame Star Fleet Battles, or the classic computer game Elite, will find plenty to cheer about in Starfury. Inside Starfury you'll find plenty of options for customizing your vessel, an intense combat model, and more missions than a five year voyage could shake a dilithium crystal at! Just check out some of the amazing features that will be found in Space Empires: Starfury:

- 3-D real time graphics, supporting 24-bit color and resolutions of 1024x768 and above!

- Twelve different ship classes to actually pilot, with more than fifty total types in the game. You'll also be able to customize your vessel with a wide variety of components.

- Open ended gameplay in a vast dynamic living universe! Follow the missions set out for you or don't; the choice is up to you. Become a mercenary, a merchant, or even an intergalactic pirate. Earn money for your ship's upkeep the honest way or take it by force, the choice is yours!

- Meet and greet the various races from the best-selling Space Empires series on a personal level. Trade with them! Seduce their women! Or just blow them up!

- Encounter a wide variety of stellar locations, ranging from gas giants to trinary stars to everyone's favorite, nebulae!

- Just like Space Empires IV, it's a mod, mod world. Players will be able to mod the game as they see fit. Whether it's creating the Star Wars galaxy or the Honor Harrington universe, the player's imagination (and creativity) is the only limit!

Space Empires: Starfury is expected to be released in July. As of now no price has been set. Keep an eye on Shrapnel Games' website at http://www.shrapnelgames.com for more information over the coming months!

[PC] Batfish Studios to Show Captain Scarlet at E3 - posted by Erich Becker at 2:40 pm CDT

Batfish Studios today announced that they will be attending the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles. Batfish will be on stand 2340 demonstrating their PC strategy game based on Gerry Anderson's popular television series, Captain Scarlet.

The year is 2068 and the Mysterons are waging a war of nerves against Earth, issuing cryptic warnings before using their powers of retro-metabolism to control people and carry out their threats. Earth's only defence is Spectrum, a world security organisation now focused solely on defeating the Mysteron menace.

Captain Scarlet is a real time tactical strategy game that puts you in control of a team of up to six Spectrum Agents, each with their own unique abilities, as they attempt to stop the Mysterons from carrying out their threats.

The title combines intensely addictive gameplay with stunning graphics and the rich background of the television series to create a compelling game that will appeal to a wide range of gamers.

Key Features

- Fourteen graphically stunning levels set across a wide range of different environments.

- Five completely new 'episodes' recreate the look and feel of the series.

- Control six Spectrum Agents, each with their own unique abilities including diving, rock climbing and lock picking.

- Choose from a range of tools to complete your objectives. Everything from Captain Blue's sniper rifle to Mysteron detectors to remotely controlled robots.

- Combat a variety of Mysteron Agents including tomb robbers, jungle rebels and the elusive Captain Black.

- Control the classic Captain Scarlet vehicles, the Angel Interceptor, Spectrum Saloon Car and of course the Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle.

- Call in air-strikes, defuse nuclear bombs, rescue a downed Angel pilot and much more.

- Fully featured particle effects system that brings the levels to life.

- Three levels of difficulty to suit players of all ages and abilities.

More information on Captain Scarlet, including screenshots, is available at http://www.batfishstudios.com

Batfish will be demonstrating Captain Scarlet on stand 2340 throughout the show and staff will be on hand to answer questions.

[Multi] EA Announces Need For Speed: Underground - posted by Erich Becker at 2:37 pm CDT


REDWOOD CITY, Calif., April 30, 2003 - Enter the adrenaline-filled world of high performance street racers in the latest game from the award-winning Need for Speed(tm) franchise, Need for Speed(tm) Underground from Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS). The new EA GAMES(tm) title is under development by the award winning Need For Speed(tm) Hot Pursuit 2 team. The game features a breakthrough sensation of speed, developed by an OSCAR® nominated special effects expert, and a spectacular graphic presentation showcasing an exciting lineup of licensed cars and aftermarket performance parts (mods) from top manufacturers.

Need for Speed Underground allows gamers to build a completely unique exotic ride by earning cash to pay for custom body kits and a host of car mods by winning events. But just creating the ultimate custom street racing machine will not get a racer to the top; it takes a certain amount of attitude and razor sharp driving skills to compete in the tough world of urban racing.

A number of diverse events set in gritty, nighttime environments make up the heart of street competition. Players become complete street racers by perfecting skills in each event; by nailing the perfect shift in drag racing, and by putting their street cred on the line, racing through the city streets late at night.

The game features 20 fully customizable licensed cars from Mitsubishi Motors, Subaru®, Toyota(tm) and other top manufacturers. There are hundreds of ways to customize one's ride with aftermarket parts from dozens of providers including AEM Inc., Audiobahn®., Bilstein®, Dazz Motorsport, DC Sports, Eibach® Enkei, GReddy Performance Products Inc., HKS®, Holley®, Injen(tm), Jackson Racing, MOMO, Neuspeed®, Nitrous Express Inc., O.Z®, PIAA, Skunk2 Racing, Sparco®, StreetGlow®, Turbonetics Inc.

Need for Speed Underground is slated to ship for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Nintendo GameCube , Game Boy® Advance, and the Xbox video game system from Microsoft, and PC CD-Rom and will ship in the beginning of next year. The game is being developed by EA Black Box.

Monday, April 28, 2003
[GBA] Splinter Cell Ships for GBA - posted by Erich Becker at 9:37 am CDT

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell(tm) Ships for the Nintendo Game Boy(R) Advance

After infiltrating the Microsoft Xbox(tm), Sony PlayStation(R)2 and Nintendo GameCube(tm), Console Game of the Year Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell(tm) is now available on the Nintendo Game Boy(R) Advance

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - April 25, 2003 - The anticipation is over! Ubi Soft Entertainment, one of the world's top videogame publishers, today announced that Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell has shipped for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance. Game Boy Advance owners can now experience the thrill of the award-winning espionage thriller. Game Boy Advance fans can enjoy the original tension-filled storyline - complete with characters and locations endorsed by famous author Tom Clancy - plus something special just for Nintendo fans. By connecting the Nintendo GameCube to the Game Boy Advance and completing the Nintendo GameCube version, players will be treated to five exclusive levels on the Game Boy Advance.

First Stealth Action Game on the Game Boy Advance
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell is the first stealth action game to release on the Game Boy Advance. Following in suit with the original Xbox game, the Game Boy Advance version continues to thrill players with extreme action-intensive gameplay. Using three-layer management, the game creates a 3-layer background that allows for an interactive environment and the use of safe zones, simulating the gameplay of the original platforms. The combination of the tension-filled gameplay and graphical environment captures the spy thriller essence of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell.

"Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell delivers something unique to each platform," said Tony Kee, vice president of marketing for Ubi Soft Entertainment. "Exclusive gadgets and levels-even the linked play opportunities available only to players connecting their Nintendo GameCubes and Game Boy Advances-are our way of satisfying our fans on various platforms. So far gamers have been really enthusiastic, especially the hardcore Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell fans who play it on all platforms just to get a taste of the features exclusive to each version."

[PC] Microsoft Announces Mythica, a Norse MMORPG - posted by Erich Becker at 9:36 am CDT

Microsoft Game Studios Sets Out to Revolutionize Massively Multiplayer Online Games With "Mythica"

PC Title Brings Depth of Single-Player Role-Playing to MMOG Set in Norse Mythology

REDMOND, Wash. - April 25, 2003 - Microsoft Game Studios today announced the in-house development of "Mythica," a revolutionary online PC game that uses new Private Realms Technology to merge the depth and sophistication of a single-player game with the social experience of a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). "Mythica" is scheduled to arrive on store shelves in 2004.

"Mythica" places gamers in the role of a fallen hero who has ascended to the afterlife as an immortal seeking to achieve godhood in the Norse realms. Utilizing innovative Private Realms Technology, players enjoy grand adventures, handcrafted for one-of-a-kind gaming experiences based on their actions, strategies and whims.

"When playing 'Mythica,' players will feel like genuine Norse heroes on a personalized journey unique to them," said Adam Waalkes, studio manager for role-playing games at Microsoft Corp. "Through 'Mythica,' Microsoft Game Studios will revitalize the massively multiplayer genre by putting the focus where it belongs: on gameplay."

In the quest to become the one true hero in a vast gaming world, players may adventure with a band of fellow immortals into huge, populated public spaces or enter a Private Realm. "Mythica's" Private Realms Technology envelopes players in story lines and environments that react to their actions in private areas of the world. Here players become the central characters in a heroic tale where actions have lasting consequences in their own persistent game world.

The Private Realms are spread across several traditional planes of existence from Norse mythology, from the grassy fields and eternal spring of Asgard to the fiery heart of Muspellheim. Using godlike powers, players can dispel droves of menacing monsters with a single blow or battle massive, monstrous beasts such as the Midgard Serpent.

"'Mythica' is a delicate balance between a massively multiplayer game with mechanics, depth and socialization expected by veteran online gamers, as well as the intimacy and self-determination of a single-player adventure," said Matt Wilson, executive producer. "In our game, players truly feel like they're center stage in their own adventure."

"Mythica" will be shown publicly for the first time in Microsoft's booth at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, May 14-16, 2003. An ESRB rating for "Mythica" is pending.

[Mac] GarageGames Launches ThinkTanks for the Mac - posted by Erich Becker at 9:34 am CDT

GarageGames Launches ThinkTanks for the Mac

Mac OS X® Version of Classic Tank-style Combat Game Rolls Out of the Garage before Windows and Linux

April 25, 2003 - Eugene, OR - GarageGames announced today the launch of ThinkTanks for Mac OS X, a single and multiplayer cartoon-styled tank game developed by BraveTree Productions. Reminiscent of the simple fun of Atari Combat, ThinkTanks is a 3-D power-up based tank combat game with a simplified play mechanic meant to appeal to both the casual gamer and hardcore gamer.

ThinkTanks are small armored vehicles that contain the brains of soldiers that were stolen by an alien race and placed in reinforced glass jars on top of the tank turrets. In arenas constructed to resemble earth, the aliens have pitted the disembodied soldiers against each other for their diabolical amusement. The game has both team battle modes and individual battle matches and includes a solo mode where the player must battle against their oprressive alien captors.

"With most games coming out first on console and then ported to PC, it leaves Mac players without the first look at great games," said Jay Moore, GarageGames Evangelist. "Coming out first on the Mac proves we can put the player first. We invite every Macintosh owner to try our demo and see if we created a game worthy enough to be played on their Mac."

"We wanted to support the Macintosh from day one, and what better way to show our conviction to this than to release on the Mac first. We believe that we can be successful by giving people what they want, which are games that focus on the fun and not the latest fad. We think that we have created a title that provides the type of quality and attention to detail that the Mac community expects," said Joe Maruschak," BraveTree's creative director. ?From the beginning, we had a clear vision of making a really fun and accessible game and the interaction we had with our playtest group really helped us to refine the gameplay to provide a great experience for the end user."

The Mac version of ThinkTanks is available at "http://www.garagegames.com/ for $19.95. System recommendation is Macintosh OS X version 10.1 or greater, 64 MB RAM, OpenGL Compatible 3D Graphics Accelerator (16MB recommended). Demo is available on MacUpdate and MacGameFiles. For more information about the game, please visit Homepage: Located Here.

[PC] Second Life Opens Public Beta - posted by Erich Becker at 9:31 am CDT

"Second Life(tm)" Opens Public Beta

Emerging online society welcomes participants
to a 3D shared reality of their own creation

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA (April 28, 2003) - Linden Lab announced today that its private beta test of Second Life is now open to the general public. Second Life is a burgeoning new online society, shaped entirely by its residents. Participants can explore a constantly-changing 3D world, create anything they can imagine, connect with friends and acquaintances, and compete for fame and fortune. The public beta follows a successful limited beta test that has been in progress since November 2002. Beginning today, anyone who wants to become part of this exciting, emerging world can begin their "Second Life" by registering at www.secondlife.com.

"To date, thousands of people have been early pioneers in Second Life, building the foundations of a vibrant online society that has the complexity and texture of the real world," said Philip Rosedale, CEO and founder of Linden Lab. "The rapid expansion of the world continues to astound us. Our residents have built thousands of unique structures to explore - museums, nightclubs, even entire cities. Over 3,000 people have attended in-world parties, contests, events, and classes. And the in-world economy is booming - residents have bought and sold everything from designer fashions to sophisticated weapons in over 30,000 transactions. We are eager to see how the world will evolve and flourish as we open Second Life to an even broader audience."

Second Life Features
New residents will discover a world of limitless possibilities for exploration, socializing, creativity, self expression, and fun. They can:

- Create their unique look from scratch. Second Life's infinite avatar customization allows residents to change their appearance to look like anything they can imagine.
- Explore an evolving 3D world. Residents can fly through a 3D living landscape full of houses, stores, clubs, sports arenas, and cities - all created by other residents.
- Meet and socialize with other residents. Residents can make friends at a wide variety of fun social events, such as dance parties, treasure hunts, private get-togethers, and fashion shows.
- Express their creativity. Through simple but sophisticated 3D creation tools, residents build houses and communities, design furniture, create clothing and art, and invent weapons and other objects.
- Compete in contests and games. Second Life offers many ways to play and win. Residents can test their skills in sword- and gun-fights, enter trivia, dance, or comedy contests, play in sports events, or compete in games of their own invention. Or, they can try to outsmart the economy or build their reputation to become the wealthiest or most popular resident.

Beta Participation
Beta applicants can become official Second Life residents by registering for an account at www.secondlife.com. Once registered, a simple 10MB download of the Second Life viewer is all they need to get started.

The minimum requirements are:

- Computer: Pentium III 800MHZ or higher, with 256 RAM or more
- Operating System: Windows 2000, NT or XP
- Video Card: Nvidia GeForce 2 (32MB RAM) or higher, or ATI Radeon 8500 (32MB RAM) or higher
- Internet Connection: DSL, cable modem, or LAN connection to the Internet (256Kbps downstream or higher)

During the beta period, Second Life is available at no cost. As early founders of an emerging society, beta testers will create content and community that will remain in the world after Second Life's commercial launch. A consumer version will be available in Summer 2003. The pricing structure is yet to be announced.

Second Life Technology
Second Life is powered by proprietary new technologies that allow residents to experience a realistic, immersive 3D online world.

- Convenient, cost-effective thin client. One 10Mb download delivers persistent desktop access to Second Life. All content resides on the Second Life server grid, so that all users need on their computer is a small, easily updateable viewer.
- Endlessly expandable landscape. Second Life exists on a scalable server grid running Linux - capable of supporting thousands of simultaneous Second Life residents and allowing the world to grow infinitely in any direction simply by adding more Linux boxes.
- Real-time 3D streaming. All content is streamed to the user's desktop in real time at DSL/cable modem bandwidths using an advanced, intelligent compression system.
- Contiguous, persistent world. Residents can go anywhere in Second Life's expansive, persistent landscape.
- Built-in creation capabilities. Residents can easily modify and create objects and add special effects in-world, without separate tools or applications. Second Life's persistent, streamed environment allows any number of residents to collaborate on building projects in real time.
- Realistic environment. Dynamic lighting and shadowing, a complete weather system, rigid-body physics simulation, and uploadable textures and audio all add to residents' visceral experience of the world.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003
[PC] Rise of Nations Goes Gold - posted by Erich Becker at 9:33 am CDT

Rise of Nations Goes Gold, Ready to Redefine RTS

Microsoft Game Studios today announced that Rise of Nations has gone gold and is scheduled to ship to stores on May 20 in North America. Virtual field commanders will soon get the opportunity to "Conquer the World" in single player, or lead their troops into battle online with this revolutionary real-time strategy (RTS) game from Brian Reynolds. To celebrate this milestone, gamers will be able to chat live with Reynolds on Zone.com today, April 22, at 5pm PDT. For more information on the chat, visit http://zone.msn.com/zzzz/zzzzreynoldschat.asp

Rise of Nations combines the epic scope of traditional turn-based strategy(TBS) games with the fast-paced action of RTS games. The game allows players to create new cities, improve their city infrastructure and expand national borders. Players have the option to win through military might using everything from slingshots to cannons to stealth bombers, corner the market on key commodities, and wheel and deal with a wide variety of Nations. Unlike other historical RTS games, Rise of Nations allows gamers to quickly play through eight historical epochs of time from the Ancient Age to the Information age, covering 6,000 years of history. Gamers can play a quick battle on any map as one of 18 nations, or play Conquer the World, the unique blending of TBS and RTS gameplay. This latest title from Big Huge Games Inc. founder Brian Reynolds (designer of Civilization 2 and Alpha Centauri) will be available for an estimated retail price of $49.95 U.S. For more information about Rise of Nations, visit the official site at http://www.riseofnations.com.

[PC] NVVAM Endorses Lock 'N Load - posted by Erich Becker at 9:31 am CDT

NVVAM Endorses Lock 'N Load!

Mark H. Walker's upcoming boardgame Lock 'N Load receives endorsement

Cary, NC, 23 April 2003

Shrapnel Games is extremely pleased to announce that the very first game in Shrapnel's upcoming line of boardgames, Mark H. Walker's Lock 'N Load, has been endorsed by the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum (NVVAM), located in Chicago, Illinois. NVVAM's collection began in the late '70s and has since grown to over one thousand works of art done by over 130 artists. While most artists are American almost every group that was touched in some way by the Vietnam War is represented, from Cambodians to former Viet Cong.

While at first it may seem strange that an art museum is endorsing a wargame one look at Lock 'N Load's gorgeous components and you'll instantly understand why. Practically works of art, players won't have to settle for pushing bland NATO symbols around the map. Instead, Lock 'N Load's artwork will enmesh gamers into the jungles of Southeast Asia, where they'll feel every drop of sweat and blood. But it was also more than just the art that attracted the NVVAM.

"When Lock 'N Load first came to the attention of the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum, thanks to some skillful and knowledgeable gamer friends eagerly awaiting its release, we were initially impressed simply by the quality and creativity of the game's artwork," Richard Hackett, Chairman of the NVVAM told Shrapnel. He continued, "It just looked great. We then found Lock 'N Load to be quite solid from a historical perspective and we were pleasantly surprised to discover that the game's author, Mark Walker, had achieved something remarkable, as tactical board games go: Lock 'N Load is open and accessible. It is relatively simple without being simplistic. It is very playable without sacrificing its challenge to a skillful war gamer. In short, it is not so weighed down with rules that a player must consider quitting their jobs or marriages to play it through. As an art and history museum created by and dedicated to the honorable service of Vietnam combat veterans, the NVVAM is proud to have its name associated with Shrapnel Games, Mark Walker, and their excellent product, Lock 'N Load."

Mark H. Walker, the game's designer, responds, "I'm excited that the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum in Chicago, Illinois, endorses Mark H. Walker's Lock 'n Load. The museum and its artwork are superb tributes to the sacrifices our men and women made in Vietnam. By the same token, I feel gamers will not only enjoy Lock 'n Load, but also learn from it about the sacrifices made in battle."

The National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum is located at 1801 South Indiana Avenue Chicago, Illinois. They can be contacted by phone at 312-326-0270, by fax at 312-326-9767, or through email at Nvvamart@cs.com. You can also find them online at http://www.nvvam.org The Museum is open six days a week (closed on Mondays) with a very modest general admission price of $5.00.

[PC] GarageGames Fires Off New Orbz - posted by Erich Becker at 9:21 am CDT

GarageGames Fires Off New Orbz

Orbz 2.0 scores a hit with new & innovative arcade/strategy game play

Eugene, Ore. - April 22, 2003 - GarageGames and 21-6 Productions launch Orbz 2.0 with thirty-five all new single-player challenges, online community high scores, computer opponents called Botz, three new courses to compete on, 15 new orbs to choose from, and now available on Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows.

In the new "solo" mode of Orbz 2.0, the player completes a series of progressively difficult challenges that focus on scoring the most points in different scenarios. Bronze, Silver, and Gold medals are awarded for scoring performance and high scores for each challenge are tracked world-wide against the entire Orbz community. Players can unlock special new orbs in single-player with unique features found on no other orb, providing a trophy that players can show off during online play.

Computer opponents, called Botz, enhance the multi-player experience proven so successful in earlier versions of Orbz. Botz will automatically adjust their difficulty level to provide a challenge to all Orbz players alike, newbie or otherwise. Up to 9 Botz can be added to a multi-player match and will be dropped as necessary to make room for human players that join the game.

"It's one of the few games that a beginner can learn and enjoy within minutes yet it still challenges the advanced player," says Blaine Wilson, a Dad with young children, "Furthermore, I can enjoy it withmy boys as Orbz is non-violent. This game is definitely a rarity!" From another parent and game developer, Simon Windmill, "Orbz is the only game I've played that feels like an FPS without actually being one. I've spent more time playing Orbz in the past two months than any of the big name, big budget, big price games I've bought in the past two years."

"Orbz has a new and innovative style of play that isn't found in other games," says Justin Mette President of 21-6 Productions, "we invite you to play the demo of Orbz and see just what we are talking about." A free demo of Orbz can be downloaded from all the major download sites or from this location.

[PC] NCSoft Unveils ArenaNet's Guild Wars - posted by Erich Becker at 9:17 am CDT


SEOUL, South Korea/SEATTLE, WA , April 22, 2003 -- NCsoft, the world’s top developer of online computer games is pleased to announce Guild Wars™, a mission-based competitive online role playing game, produced by its Seattle-based ArenaNet studio. Guild Wars will have its first major public showing at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), May 14-16 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

In the fantasy world of Guild Wars, players can engage in cooperative group combat, in single player adventures, or in large head-to-head guild battles. Guild Wars is a game that will constantly evolve, using streaming technology to provide players with the latest updates while they’re online. In addition, gamers will be able to play Guild Wars without a monthly fee in North America. NCsoft will announce a variety of pricing options for gamers in other parts of the world in the near future.

“We’re excited to unveil Guild Wars,” said Patrick Wyatt, the original producer and lead programmer for the Warcraft series. “We believe that players are going to enjoy experiencing a game that offers technological advances that fundamentally improve the online role-playing experience, and the introduction of a groundbreaking business model for the genre.”

ArenaNet was founded by key members of the creative teams behind the hit game series Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo, as well as Battle.net, one of the most successful gaming networks in the world.

The game is mission-based, and while each combat experience will be different, achievements will be permanent, so that each character grows and progresses over time. Unique items, special abilities, and a wide variety of skills will add meaningful value for the players. Missions are not scripted adventures, but are tactical battlegrounds where victory or loss is determined by skill and teamwork.

Mike O’Brien, the creator and architect of Battle.net, points out “Our vision has been to create a game that rewards skill and inventiveness rather than hundreds of hours of play, so we’ve built Guild Wars from the ground up to be a balanced environment where players of all skill levels can compete for recognition and prizes.”

Key Game Features:
- Join in cooperative quests or unite in head-to-head guild battles.
- Develop a unique character who can explore multiple professions and choose from hundreds of unique skills.
- Enjoy fully-integrated support for guilds, including worldwide tournaments and ladders, guildhalls, special character identification and forums directly built into the game.
- Experience a changing world, where the entire landscape can be altered as you explore and conquer.
- Play in a secure server-hosted game environment that prevents cheating; ArenaNet's technology allows quick and seamless resolution of exploits.

Guild Wars is expected to launch in the 2nd Half of 2004. Many additional details about Guild Wars may be found at the game site: www.guildwars.com.

[PC] Ubi Soft and Alienware Team Up with Raven Shield - posted by Erich Becker at 9:14 am CDT

Ubi Soft and Alienware Announce Online Promotion for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six(tm) 3: Raven Shield(tm)

SAN FRANCISCO - April 22, 2003 - Ubi Soft® Entertainment, one of the world's leading video game publishers, and Alienware Corporation, makers of high-performance computer gaming desktop and mobile systems, today announced details of a cross-promotional deal for Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six(tm) 3: Raven Shield(tm) for the PC. The contest will offer consumers the chance to win online prizes, including a grand prize of an Alienware system with a copy of this highly anticipated sequel in the award-winning Rainbow Six series of games. The promotion will launch in April and continue through December 31st 2003.

"The gamer who craves the intense action and complexity of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3 will appreciate the enhanced graphics and ultimate gaming experience that Alienware systems provide," said Alienware VP of Marketing, Kevin Wasielewski. "Partnering with another industry leader such as Ubi Soft allows us to leverage each others' strengths and highlight to consumers that the best games play best on Alienware systems."

The promotion will be featured on www.alienware.com, as well as on an insert within the packaging of the game. Consumers who purchase Alienware products will also receive a special Tom Clancy demo CD that will contain levels from three of the brand's hit games, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell(tm) and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon(tm).

"Tom Clancy is one of our flagship brands and we needed a business partner with the same level of recognition and respect in the industry," said Jill Steinberg, Media and Promotions Director of Ubi Soft Entertainment. "The folks at Alienware know the market, and have the kind of reach to make a deal like this benefit everyone, most of all, the consumer."

[PC] Day of Defeat Goes Gold - posted by Erich Becker at 9:13 am CDT



Santa Monica, CA - April 22, 2003 - Gamers get ready to finalize war plans and ready the reinforcements as Valve's Day of Defeat(tm) has gone gold. The multiplayer action-packed WWII game pits players in Axis vs. Allies squad-based combat in Western Europe at the height of the war in 1944. Day of Defeat is powered by Valve's Half-Life® technology and is the first title to be published by Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) under its new strategic partnership with Valve. The game is rated "T" (Teen - blood and violence) by the ESRB and carries a suggested retail price of $29.99. The title is scheduled for release this May.


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