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August 23, 2002 - September 04, 2002 - See More Archived News

Wednesday, September 04, 2002
[PCGaming] Skywalker Sound Turns Up Volume on Star Wars: Bounty Hunter - posted by Andy Grieser at 12:11 pm CDT


Marin County, Calif. -- September 4, 2002 -- Seeking another outlet for its Academy Award(-winning sound library, Skywalker Sound, a division of Lucas Digital Ltd. LLC, recently completed the sound design for Star Wars Bounty Hunter, a Sony PlayStation 2 game developed by sister company LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC. This is the most recent endeavor into games for the legendary facility, which has been at the forefront of the audio post industry for more than 25 years.

"The gaming industry has made great technological leaps in recent years with regards to imagery, and it is only natural that sound design follow that curve," said Glenn Kiser, VP and General Manager of Skywalker Sound. "This project was a lot of fun for us, and we plan on pursuing other ventures in this market."

The Skywalker Sound Effects Library currently contains more than 70,000 originally recorded sound effects, including master sound designer Ben Burtt's Star Wars catalogue, which supplied the raw materials for the Star Wars Bounty Hunter soundtrack. Recent feature production credits include sound design and audio post-production for Minority Report, Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, Monsters Inc., Pearl Harbor, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, From Hell, Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy, Fight Club, Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, Jurassic Park III and Titanic.

Inspired by events between Star Wars: Episode I and II, Star Wars Bounty Hunter presents an original, compelling third-person action game which establishes the bounty hunter Jango Fett's place in the Star Wars galaxy. Gameplay emphasizes intense combat and physical action in the relentless pursuit of prey across six fantastic worlds and 18 levels of play.

"It's a privilege for LucasArts to work with Skywalker Sound, who are world renowned for their sound design work," says Liz Allen, director of marketing for LucasArts. "Skywalker Sound's expertise enriches the overall game play experience in Star Wars Bounty Hunter, and results in a greater and more realistic level of immersion into the Star Wars universe."

Sound Skywalker Sound has been associated with a total of seventeen Academy Awards for Best Achievement in Sound and Best Achievement in Sound Effects Editing.

Located in Marin County, California, just north of San Francisco, Skywalker Sound is a division of Lucas Digital Ltd. LLC, which also includes Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). Formed in 1993, Lucas Digital Ltd. LLC is dedicated to serving the digital needs of the entertainment industry for visual effects and audio post-production.

[PCGaming] Breed Named ECTS 2002 Game of the Show - posted by Andy Grieser at 11:50 am CDT

“BREED” Named PC Game of the Show at ECTS 2002
CDV Claims Award for the Second Year in a Row

LONDON, ENGLAND - September 4, 2002 - CDV Software Entertainment AG, one of
the leading German publishers and distributors of gaming software, has once
again captured the ECTS award for PC Game of the Show, this time with Brat
Design's science-fiction shooter “BREED.” For the second year in a row, CDV
rocked ECTS and claimed the PC game of the show award as last year Radon
Labs' “Project Nomads” received the award at ECTS 2001.

The Game of the Show Awards were voted for by a panel of elite European
journalists and presented at ECTS on Friday 30th August 2002.

CDV UK President Terry Malham is delighted with the award: "We are very
pleased to have won this award for the second year running. 'BREED' is a
fantastic game and the guys at Brat Design have been working very hard on
it. To have beaten stiff competition including the likes of 'Unreal
Tournament' makes the win even more of an honor."

A demo of “BREED” will be available at the beginning of October, displaying
the huge potential of this title. It will contain the first single player
mission and a tutorial.

Attached are some new screens from the game, along with a winners photo (Ed
Scio, director and lead programmer, from Brat Designs in the middle, with
Andy Lane, ECTS events director on the left and TV presenter Gareth Jones
on the right).

About “BREED”
“BREED” is a science-fiction shooter with tactical elements coupled with
cinematic artwork. “BREED” skillfully blends addictive, accessible,
free-roaming gameplay with cutting edge and state-of-the-art technology. It
utilizes both 1st and 3rd person viewpoints and single- and multiplayers
can freely take (co-operatively) control of a variety of vehicles - from
standard ground troops, tanks, jeeps, fighters to dropships - to stop the
invasion of the aliens called BREED. The Player will fight in orbit and on
Earth in the year 2006. “BREED” is an epic experience which can be easily
enjoyed equally by single and up to sixteen players (via LAN or Internet).

“BREED” Features:
- 1st and 3rd person-shooter with tactical elements
- Cinematic 3D graphics with superb visual effects
- Seamless terrain / orbit transition
- Amazing array of vehicles and buildings
- Attractive for single player and especially for multiplayer (esp. Shared
vehicle control)
- Wide variety of playing modes
- 24+ missions spanned over six campaigns
- 30+ hours of continuous action
- Five different multi-player gameplay modes
- Battles take place in both orbit and on the planet's surface
- Cinematic 3D graphics with superb visual effects
- Intuitive streamlined user interface
- Large weapon and vehicle selection
- Massive terrain system employing multiple objects

[PressRelease] Monday Night Football to use Madden 2003 for Analysis Breakdown - posted by Erich Becker at 7:43 am CDT

EA SPORTS and ABC SPORTS Debut John Madden's Videogame Analysis on Monday Night Football Partnership Has John Madden Using Madden NFL 2003 to Breakdown Monday Night Match-Ups During Broadcast

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. and NEW YORK, NY - September 3, 2002 - EA SPORTS and ABC SPORTS are bringing Monday Night Football fans a new way to watch the games this season with an analysis by John Madden using Madden NFL 2003. During all 17 games this season, John Madden will use the Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS) top-selling franchise, Madden NFL Football, to breakdown the weekly match-up and analyze key aspects of the game. This will be the first time that the Madden NFL game technology has been incorporated into the actual, in-game network broadcast. This segment will debut Monday night, September 9 during the first Monday Night Football Game of the regular season.

Using Madden NFL 2003, ABC SPORTS can put a "virtual" camera in any location within an animating play and can track the camera across almost any path while the play is in motion. Madden NFL 2003 allows ABC SPORTS to show its viewers footage that could not be accessed from actual field cameras or from real game footage due to the sophisticated technology in Madden NFL 2003. As a result, ABC SPORTS will use Madden NFL 2003 to illustrate John Madden's unique analysis inside the broadcast itself to entertain its viewers in an unprecedented format.

"Using the EA SPORTS- Madden NFL 2003 technology allows Monday Night Football to uniquely explain the intricacies of NFL Football in a clear and entertaining fashion. We are extremely excited about the relationship," said Fred Gaudelli, executive producer, Monday Night Football.

Monday Night Football is the most successful primetime sports programming in television history. The series, now in its 33rd year, has been a top-ten-ranked primetime program in each of the last 11 years and is Network television's No.1 show for men.

"We're thrilled with the opportunity to make history and bring this technology to Monday Night Football," said Chip Lange, vice president of marketing for North America EA. "Nobody has ever used graphics like these in a live, in-game broadcast before. We pioneered this way of breaking down games several years back but now with technology as powerful and sophisticated as the Madden NFL 2003 engine, we can actually move this analytical tool to where it has the most punch-inside the broadcast itself. John loves to telestrate the plays and what better way to explain in detail than with his own videogame that he helped create 15 years ago. Monday Night Football viewers really will be amazed with what we feature each week this season."

Available on six platforms, the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, Nintendo GameCube(tm),, the Xbox(tm) video game system from Microsoft, the PlayStation console, Game Boy® Advance and PC, the Madden NFL Football franchise enters into its 13th year as the undisputed leader in authentic NFL football simulation. In its history, the franchise has sold more than 25 million copies including more than four million copies of Madden NFL 2002.

EA SPORTS (www.easports.com) is the leading interactive sports software brand in the world. Its top-selling franchises and games include FIFA Soccer, John Madden Football(tm), Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® golf, NHL® hockey, Knockout Kings(tm), NBA LIVE basketball, Triple Play Baseball(tm) and NASCAR Thunder(tm).

About Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts, headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world's leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, Electronic Arts posted revenues of more than $1.7 billion for fiscal 2002. The company develops, publishes and distributes software worldwide for the Internet, personal computers and video game systems. EA markets its products under four brand names: EA SPORTS(tm), EA GAMES(tm), EA SPORTS BIG(tm) and EA.COMSM. More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://info.ea.com.

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[ESCMag] Where are my screens? - posted by Toby Davis at 6:11 am CDT

You may notice some screenshots missing from our older reviews. In the ancient past of ESCmag's dawning days (or, in today's terms, 4 years ago), we were too lazy to put up more than token thumbnails too small to enjoy. No large screens, period.

So, in paying for our past mistakes, we're working like crazy to find those screenshots of yesteryear. Patience, while not a virtue at ESCMag, is all we can ask. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002
ESCMag Version 5.0 Launched Today - posted by Toby Davis at 8:11 pm CDT

Welcome to the fifth revision of ESCMag.com. The new design is more than just a pretty face... we've made ESCMag into a robust system that provides us the ability to deploy new reviews, news and features dynamically. This means more reviews in the time that you need it, not a year after a game's release.

Also, despite the rumors, there will be no "ESCMag Complete". If you want to read a review on Fallout from 1998, or want to check out the latest Top 50 downloads for your viewing or gaming pleasure, feel free to do so. Without paying a single penny to us.

If you have any questions or comments on the new design, or discover a missing review or feature you've previously enjoyed, please let us know at info@escmag.com.

Thanks again, ESCapers... now get out there and ESCape from reality!

Friday, August 30, 2002
[Community] ISP Review UK Article: The Mobile Internet - posted by Andy Grieser at 8:36 am CDT

ISP Review UK has just uploaded a new article designed to give a brief explanation of how to turn a common mobile phone into a wireless modem for Internet access using a PocketPC (PDA). The method can also be used in a similar way with other devices such as a laptop.

[PCGaming] Jagged Alliance 2 Gold Ships Nationwide - posted by Andy Grieser at 8:34 am CDT

Montreal, Quebec. August 30, 2002 – The franchise is back for more! Strategy First and Sirtech Canada are pleased to announce that Jagged Alliance 2 Gold Pack has shipped to retail stores nationwide today.

“We are very happy to get this series back on retail shelves again,” says Pro Sotos, Product Manager for Strategy First Inc. “The Gold Pack is sure to please all the fans of the Jagged Alliance series and is a great way to celebrate our newfound partnership with Sirtech.”

In Jagged Alliance 2, gamers take on the role of a rebel leader who must use negotiation, strategic tactics and battle strength to win back the helpless nation of Arulco that has been taken over by a merciless dictator. Until…. Jagged Alliance 2 Unfinished Business brings players back for more. Arulco is under attack again, but this time, from powers within. Ricci Mining and Exploration Co., who ran the country’s mines before the recent civil war, want to reclaim their mines and have based themselves in the neighboring country of Tracona. Players must find and destroy the missile base and make their way back home safely while avoiding the dictator’s wrath!

Jagged Alliance 2 Gold Pack will feature the award-winning Jagged Alliance 2 and Jagged Alliance 2 Unfinished Business , two exciting titles that are known for their perfect blend of strategy, role-playing and tactical combat. The Gold Pack offers an enhanced version of the popular Jagged Alliance 2 with over 150 individual in-game characters, 10,000 lines of digitized speech, dozens of realistically modeled weapons and all-new Iron Man Mode for the hardcore JA2 fans.

Jagged Alliance 2 Gold Pack is being exclusively distributed throughout North America by Infogrames.

[ESCMag] Version 5.0 Around the Corner - posted by Toby Davis at 5:51 am CDT

Attention all chairborne gamers: ESCMag Version 5.0 is around the corner. Besides a quite impresive redesign, as well as lot of back-end code changes, what else will this new version encompass?

Are we going to include "ESCMag Complete", a special reader-gouging program where we charge you $50 to see a few extra screenshots? To see older reviews or new previews? To catch our Members-Only features such as "Des Moines: Rock City" and "The Pathetic Addicts of Ultima Online"?

Nope. Despite the constant labor strifes and bounced paychecks here in ESCMag Tower, we will continue to charge nothing (translation: no dinero) to satisfy your gaming needs.

The re-launch begins just after the Labor Day (US) holidays on Tuesday, September 3rd.

Thursday, August 29, 2002
[PCGaming] Celtic Kings: Rage of War Ships - posted by Andy Grieser at 9:21 am CDT

Montreal, Quebec, August 29, 2002 – Publisher Strategy First and Developer Haemimont Games are pleased to announce Celtic Kings: Rage of War has shipped to retail stores nationwide.

Already being compared to such hit strategy titles as Age of Empires and Heroes of Might and Magic, Celtic Kings: Rage of War offers two games in one and is sure to appeal to the entire gaming community.

“Celtic Kings is a great game for both role-playing and real-time strategy fans,” said Pro Sotos, Product Manager at Strategy First. “We are very excited for the game to hit retail shelves.”

Celtic Kings: Rage of War brings the great Celtic battle to life in two exciting modes: strategic and adventure. In strategic mode, players take on the role of either the Romans or the Gauls and join an RTS world where only tactical and strategic maneuvers will help them in their quest for power. In adventure mode, players take on the powerful role of Larax and battle the evil forces that raided his village and killed his wife.

Celtic Kings: Rage of War will be exclusively distributed by Infogrames in North America.

[Community] Hardware-Unlimited Reviews Super Flower SF-201 - posted by Andy Grieser at 7:03 am CDT

Hardware-Unlimited, part of the 3D-Unlimited Network, has posted a review of the Super Flower SF-201 Case, which features two side and one top window! We modified this three-window case and added two blue cold cathode lights for a kick-ass glow. Check it out!

[PressRelease] StarLock Beta Test Signup is Oct. 1 - posted by Andy Grieser at 7:02 am CDT

Prowler Productions is pleased to announce that beta tester signup for their upcoming Sci-Fi MMORPG StarLock will begin Oct. 1. Beta testing itself is slated to start Nov. 1 with the final public release of StarLock planned for Jan. 1, 2003.

Stay tuned for more information on StarLock and on how to register for the beta test as the Oct. 1 signup draws closer. In the meantime, those looking to learn more about StarLock can visit the official Web site.

[Community] HomeLAN Talks Sharks; Decides It Needs Bigger Boat - posted by Andy Grieser at 6:59 am CDT

HomeLAN chats with Waring Entertainment's Robert Waring as he talks about MEG, their upcoming action/adventure game based on the best-selling shark-attack thriller novel. Check out the interview.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002
[Hardware] Sigma REALmagic X-card Review - posted by Erich Becker at 12:36 pm CDT

Many years ago when Sigma released the Hollywood Plus, it was considered a great piece of hardware, allowing everyone to play VCDs/DVDs & MPEG1/2 on just about any system that could run Windows, however since then, we have all moved on.

The REALmagic X-card from Sigma Designs is their latest attempt to show us all why a hardware decoder is still the best choice; whether it's DVD, VCD, DivX or even audio output via S/PDIF, the X-card is supposed to put all that in your fingertips. Read on to find out more.

Related Links: Read the review at TechSpot.

[PCGaming] EA Announces Battlefield 1942 Ship Date - posted by Erich Becker at 12:35 pm CDT

Electronic Arts announced today that their highly touted team-combat based World War II epic will ship on Tuesday, September 10, 2002. For those of you who can't wait that long, check out the single and multiplayer demos from EA's site, just click the link below.

Related Links: Battlefield 1942 Homepage

[Competition] EA is Looking for the World's Best Madden Gamer - posted by Erich Becker at 12:32 pm CDT

National EA SPORTS Madden Challenge To Decide Best Player Of World's Top-Selling Football Video Game
Thousands to compete in 10-city tournament culminating at Beaches Boscobel in Jamaica

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - August 27, 2002 - Answering the call from thousands of its die-hard Madden NFL TM Football video game enthusiasts Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS) today announced the creation of the EA SPORTS TM Madden Challenge, a nationwide, 10-city Tournament to decide the best player of the world's top-selling football video game. Winners from each of the ten Regional Tournaments will be flown to the new Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club in Ocho Rios, Jamaica for the Madden Challenge Finals. The ultimate winner will be invited to attend the famed EA SPORTS Madden Bowl, held every year during Super Bowl week, in San Diego, California.

The EA SPORTS Madden Challenge, starting September 7, 2002, is the first EA SPORTS sanctioned public competition in the celebrated 13-year history of the EA SPORTS Madden NFL Football video game franchise. All tournament proceeds* will be donated to NFL Youth Education Town (YET), an official NFL charity that provides high-tech educational and recreational centers designed to improve the academic, physical fitness and job-related skills of at-risk youth.

"The EA SPORTS Madden Challenge is a tribute to the tremendous number of Madden NFL football competitors who have asked us to stage a major nationwide competition and earn bragging rights," said Chip Lange, EA's vice president of marketing. "EA SPORTS is excited to offer each Madden NFL 2003 devotee the opportunity to become the first official amateur champion of the game and a chance to compete against the best Madden players from around the country."

The EA SPORTS Madden Challenge, plans to match-up thousands of competitors across Regional Tournament venues beginning with San Francisco (Sept. 7-8, Justin Herman Plaza), Los Angeles (Sept. 14-15, Glendale Galleria), Seattle (Sept. 20-21, Seahawks Stadium), Washington, D.C. (Sept. 28-29, Union Station), New York City (Oct. 4-5, South Street Seaport), Philadelphia (Oct. 12-13, Gallery Market East), Tampa (Oct. 19-20, Sundome), Atlanta (Oct. 26-27, Underground), Chicago (Nov. 3, Navy Pier) and San Diego (Nov. 9-10, Mission Valley Mall).

Winners from each of the 10 Regional Tournaments will be flown by Air Jamaica, the national carrier of Jamaica, to compete in the Madden Challenge Finals, to be held at Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club, Jamaica's only All-Inclusive Family Golf Resort January 9 - 13, 2003. Other EA SPORTS Madden Challenge partners include, Air Jamaica, Blockbuster and G4.

Madden NFL 2003, which shipped on August 12, 2002, is available on the PC, the PlayStation®, the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox TM video game system from Microsoft, the Nintendo GameCube TM and the Game Boy® Advance. As the undisputed worldwide leader in authentic football simulation, the Madden NFL Football franchise has sold more than 25 million units over its lifetime. Madden NFL 2002 sold more than 4.5 million units, more than twice the number sold by its nearest competitor.

To enter one of the 10 regional EA SPORTS Madden Challenge Tournaments, players can register online and view Tournament Rules at maddenchallenge.com, the official EA SPORTS Madden Challenge website. The competitors for each Regional Tournament will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Online registration will be open on a region-by-region basis for two weeks prior to each Regional Tournament until three days before the particular Tournament event. Some walk-in entries will also be accepted at each Regional Tournament. Maddenchallenge.com also features the "Touchdown @ Beaches" online Sweepstakes, giving fans the opportunity to win one of two (2) trip prizes to attend the Madden Challenge Finals at Beaches Boscobel Resort & Golf Club. *Each eligible Tournament entrant will be required to make a $5 donation at the event in order to participate. Electronic Arts will donate the $5 entry fees collected to the NFL YET Charity, which will be distributed to Centers throughout the country.

"The YET centers will directly benefit from EA SPORTS Madden Challenge," said Beth Colleton, NFL director of community affairs. "As these Madden fans are competing around the country, kids in multiple cities will reap the rewards from the national tournament."

All phases of the tournament, including the 9th Annual EA SPORTS Madden Bowl on January 23, 2003, will be broadcast on G4 TV. The Madden Bowl, currently the largest interactive sports gaming event, is a major annual VIP Madden NFL competition among NFL players and showbiz celebrities held prior to the Super Bowl

Electronic Arts (EA), the world's leading independent developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software for personal computers and advanced entertainment systems such as the PlayStation and the PlayStation 2 console, the Xbox, Nintendo GameCube and the Game Boy Advance. Top-selling titles and franchises include FIFA Soccer, Madden NFL Football, NHL® Hockey, Knockout Kings(tm), NBA Live Basketball, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® Golf, Triple Play TM Baseball and NASCAR Thunder TM.

About Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts, headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world's leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, Electronic Arts posted revenues of more than $1.7 billion for fiscal 2002. The company develops, publishes and distributes software worldwide for the Internet, personal computers and video game systems. EA markets its products under four brand names: EA SPORTS TM, EA GAMES TM, EA SPORTS BIG TM and EA.COM SM. More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://info.ea.com.

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[PCGaming] Sam & Max Hit the Road Again! - posted by Andy Grieser at 12:14 pm CDT


Popular Madcap Dog and Rabbity Thing to Return for More Hilariously Skewed Adventures First Quarter 2004 on Windows PC

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. -- August 27, 2002 -- Sam & Max, interactive entertainment's most beloved canine and rabbit combo, hit the road again first quarter 2004 in a long awaited adventure comedy sequel for Windows PC
from LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC.

The follow up to the critically acclaimed 1993 adventure classic Sam & Max Hit the Road will dispatch the Freelance Police into a wild world of screwy and vaguely quixotic missions. Each one will be jam packed with nerve-jangling action, brain-busting puzzles, and the kind of easygoing banter one might expect from a talking dog and a naked, hyperkinetic bunny.

Sam & Max are based upon the "Sam & Max Freelance Police" comic book series created by Steve Purcell. LucasArts' Michael Stemmle, co-director of the award-winning original game, will direct the sequel.

"Sam & Max Hit the Road is a classic and as close to being a signature game as any LucasArts has ever done," says Simon Jeffery, president of LucasArts.

"The Sam & Max sequel, much like the recently announced Full Throttle II, perfectly complements LucasArts' renowned adventure game legacy and lends further support to the company's commitment to investing in and developing more of our original properties."

[Community] GameSurvey.com Looking for Online Gamers - posted by Andy Grieser at 11:50 am CDT

WWW.GAMESURVEY.COM Seeks to Define the World of Online Games (MMORPG)

Fairfax, Virginia — August 27, 2002 — A new online survey released today will answer questions about the current state of Online Games (Massively Multi-Player Online Role Playing Games) and perhaps shed some light on the future of this relatively new and rapidly growing form of interactive entertainment.

This link to the site, http://www.gamesurvey.com, is currently being sent to game and media sites throughout North America. Game development studios will use the results to craft new and enhanced online content for both computer and console game platforms.

Industry experts have predicted that revenues from Online Games will grow at an average rate of 100 percent per year between now and 2005 and that as many as 100-million people worldwide will be accessing Online Games by the middle of this decade.

The survey is managed by Lewis, Fenley & Associates. It asks an array of questions that will help game designers better understand online gamers and what those players like and dislike about Online Games. Included are questions about game play styles, purchase decisions, game platforms, frequency and duration of play sessions, and Internet connection speed.

Survey participation is open to anyone. Simply access
http://www.gamesurvey.com. Participation is anonymous and results will be completely confidential. Other surveys will follow the initial Online Games

[PCGaming] Black Isle Ships Icewind Dale II - posted by Andy Grieser at 10:01 am CDT

Black Isle Studios Ships ICEWIND DALE II
Third Edition D&D Dungeon Crawl is Now Available

IRVINE, California, August 27, 2002 - Interplay Entertainment Corp. (NasdaqSC:IPLY), announced today that the highly anticipated Icewind Dale(tm) II has shipped to retail. Icewind Dale II is the sequel to the award-winning computer role-playing game Icewind Dale and features the BioWare Infinity Engine(tm) that was used to develop the award-winning games Baldur's Gate(tm) and Baldur's Gate II (developed by BioWare Corp.), and Planescape(r): Torment(tm) (developed by Black Isle Studios).

Icewind Dale II uses the third edition core rules for the classic Dungeons & Dragons(r) tabletop roleplaying game within the popular FORGOTTEN REALMS(r) adventure campaign setting under licenses by Wizards of the Coast. The game hosts a large variety of new weapons, armor and magical items, and expands upon the gameplay elements found in the original Icewind Dale. Icewind Dale II offers feats and skills such as Power Attack and Diplomacy, further extending the character customization options available to players.

Also introduced in Icewind Dale II are new character classes such as the Barbarian and Sorcerer and new playable races including the Drow, the famous dark elves of the Underdark, and the celestial hybrid Aasimar. Icewind Dale II includes over 50 new spells such as Executioner's Eyes and Aegis, bringing the total to over 300 spells, almost all of which have been revamped for the new rule set. More information on Icewind Dale II can be found at icewind2.blackisle.com.

[PCGaming] Emurasoft Seeking ShadowFlare Testers - posted by Andy Grieser at 9:53 am CDT

Emurasoft Seeking ShadowFlare Testers

Redmond, WA, U.S.A. August 27, 2002 - Emurasoft, Inc. announced today that the company is seeking volunteers to play the preview version of ShadowFlare: Episode One and report all grammatical errors in dialogue, strange or inappropriate dialogue, game inconsistencies, or minor bugs in the preview version. The company is preparing the release of the completed version of Episode One on October 8th.

“We’re interested in fixing all grammatical errors and minor bugs for the final version as well as assessing how much gamers like the game,” said Yutaka Emura, president of Emurasoft, Inc.

Emurasoft finished localizing the original Japanese game this month, but they expect the preview version to contain some linguistic errors or inconsistencies that weren’t found. To join the preview version test team, access the ShadowFlare official website at www.shadowflare.us, and fill out a registration form to register.

ShadowFlare is an action/role-playing shareware game that was released by Denyusha Co., Ltd. in Kyoto, Japan last October. Following its release, ShadowFlare became a craze among Japanese gamers. In ShadowFlare, players are mercenaries that help people in turmoil and fight with notorious monsters. As players adventure through dungeons and remote cities, their fighting skills grow, and eventually they choose their own destiny as a warrior, wizard, or hunter.

ShadowFlare consists of four episodes. After the release of the first episode on October 8th, the remaining episodes will be released each following month. ShadowFlare will be available online and worldwide for Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP at a price of $15. For more information, access the official ShadowFlare website at www.shadowflare.us or call 425-882-9988.

[ESCMag] Working Vacation (daily repeat) - posted by Toby Davis at 3:28 am CDT

ESCMag version 5 is almost here! Really! Our temp monkeys, chained to their gray-market laptops, have been working overtime to get the new design and code ready for launch the first week of September.
(No animals are being harmed during this production... except the human species of this staff, of course).

Until then, our existing reviews, features and columns will be available for your viewing (dis)pleasure, and our news will be continually updated.

Thanks for your patience, stalwart gamers!

Monday, August 26, 2002
[PCGaming] Ballerium Music Available - posted by Andy Grieser at 9:00 am CDT

A sampling of musical pieces from Majorem's upcoming massively multiplayer strategy game Ballerium is now available for download on the official Ballerium website. To have a listen, visit the game's official Web site and click on the Download section.

[Community] Gamer's Hell Reviews Dino Island - posted by Andy Grieser at 7:23 am CDT

The good devils over at Gamer's Hell have gone back in time, sort of, to take a look at the saurian antics of Monte Cristo's Dino Island.

[Community] Earn a eVGA GeForce 4 MX, Unreal Tourney and More - posted by Andy Grieser at 7:22 am CDT

Ever yearned after that almighty 3DMark score, only to be thrust back into the abyss of reality by your outdated, piece-of-stinky-dung computer? Then behold, there is a ray of hope! Gaming In 3D has named this hope "My Computer = Suck." Tell them how utterly crappy your rig is -- in great detail -- and back it up with a screen shot of your crappy 3DMark score.

Friday, August 23, 2002
[ESCmag]New Editor's Column Up - posted by Andy Grieser at 7:16 am CDT

There's a new column up, in which Andy asks whether you are, in fact, ready for some football.

[Console] Pro BMX2 Hits North American Store Shelves - posted by Andy Grieser at 7:14 am CDT


Santa Monica, CA - August 21, 2002 - The top athletes in BMX biking will soon be treating gamers to their own brand of riding with the release of Activision, Inc.'s (Nasdaq: ATVI) highly anticipated Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX(tm)2 for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(tm) video game system from Microsoft and the Nintendo Game Boy® Advance. The game launch coincides with Mat Hoffman's historic performance at this year's 2002 ESPN Summer X-Games, where he pulled off the first-ever "no-handed 900°" (two and one half rotations while airborne). The PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions of Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2 have been rated "T" (Teen - with Blood, Mild Lyrics, Violence) by the ESRB and both carry a suggested retail price of $49.99. The Game Boy Advance version has been rated "E" (Everyone) and has a suggested retail price of $34.99.

"Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2 gives players the opportunity to be on tour with Mat Hoffman and 10 of the world's top riders on the ultimate road trip," states Larry Goldberg, executive vice president, Activision Worldwide Studios. "The game's arsenal of innovative trick combos and the two player split screen mode will provide gamers with an awesome new experience."

Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2 gives gamers the chance to perform flatland tricks while they trek across eight enormous free roaming, fully populated levels. Multiple modes of play such as Road Trip, Single Session and Free Ride accompany a handful of multi-player games including Half-Pipe Hell and PUSH.

Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX 2 also incorporates a new Trick Tweaking feature which enables players to pull off all new moves such as manuals, wall rides, tire-taps, grinds and other air tricks which can be "tweaked" for a better score. Gamers will also be able to create their own ideal BMX course using the next-generation Park Editor. Players can also utilize the Photo Scrapbook feature to keep a collection of snapshot photos of all their best tricks.

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision, Inc. is a leading worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and leisure products. Founded in 1979, Activision posted revenues of $786 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2002.

Activision maintains operations in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, Australia, Scandinavia and the Netherlands. More information about Activision and its products can be found on the company's World Wide Web site, which is located at www.activision.com.

[PressRelease] Steve Jackson, Worlds Apart Team for Online GURPS - posted by Andy Grieser at 7:13 am CDT


Austin, TX and Denver, CO - August 20, 2002: Steve Jackson Games
and Worlds Apart Productions today announced an exclusive partnership
to develop multiple online games based on Steve Jackson Games' widely
popular GURPS system.

GURPS - which stands for Generic Universal RolePlaying System - provides
a set of rules and guidelines for playing RPGs in any genre or time
period. First released in 1986, it is still one of the best-selling
RPG systems today, because of its highly modular and adaptable system
and its extensive library of hundreds of source books, covering
everything from Aliens to the Old West to World War II.

"We've been wanting to take GURPS online for a long time," said Steve
Jackson, President of Steve Jackson Games. "Until now, we just hadn't
found the right partner. Worlds Apart understands the importance of
taking care of the player community, and we're excited about what
we're going to be able to do together."

Immediate development plans have not yet been announced, but a number
of titles are being contemplated, with an emphasis on making the best
use of the ability of GURPS to provide a common gameplay foundation
for a wide variety of settings.

"There is no richer or more powerful system to use as the basis for
an online universe," said Scott Martins, President of Worlds Apart.
"Steve Jackson and Steve Jackson Games are pioneers in the games
industry, and we're honored to be working alongside a company with
such an illustrious history."

[PCGaming] Aaron Hall's Dungeon Odyssey Release Delayed - posted by Andy Grieser at 7:11 am CDT

Aaron Hall's Dungeon Odyssey Release Delayed
Bad CD run causes delay

Cary, NC, August 23, 2002

Shrapnel Games announced today that the release of Aaron Hall's
Dungeon Odyssey has been delayed due to a bad CD run. For more
information go to Shrapnel Games' website at

Tim Brooks, President of Shrapnel Games, said, "The Dungeon
Odyssey release will be delayed at least until two weeks. We received
the CDs on Monday as per the original schedule, but the would not
work. We have reordered new CDs, but we are at least two weeks
behind now. We apologize to all fans of Aaron Hall's games. As we
firm up the release date, we will announce that date through the

Aaron Hall's Dungeon Odyssey is an RPG where you will adventure
to far off lands and encounter a multitude of different creatures. But
once you complete the game, the fun is not over. Dungeon Odyssey
creates a random world for you each time you play. So no two games
are ever the same. And to add to the fun, the game is completely
customizable (moddable) so that players can create their own modules
for others to play.
* Seven character classes: Fighter, Thief, Paladin, Ranger, Mage,
Priest, Druid.
* Nineteen character attributes!
* Rich gaming environment, built with bitmaps for easy modding.
* A multitude of controls that would be daunting if designed by
anyone other than Aaron Hall...
* More items than we can count!
* Skills and spells. Yep, you guessed it, more than we care to
* Over 40 different monsters (we counted them, they're really
* Three Manuals: A Users Guide, A Modding Guide and a Reference
* Everything that is important is included in editable text files for
easy modding.
* Support - the kind of support that Malfador Machinations, Aaron
Hall, and Shrapnel Games brings to all of their products.
* Have it your way: Available as a Jewel Case Product (projected
shipping date is 08/19/02) or via electronic download (projected
download date is 09/06/02).
* And much much more.

Aaron Hall's Dungeon Odyssey will retail for $29.95, but those that
pre-order the game from the Gamers Front (www.gamersfront.com)
before August 30, 2002 will save $4.00 off the retail price. A demo is
also available.

[ESCMag] A Working Vacation (without the vacation) - posted by Toby Davis at 5:33 am CDT

ESCMag version 5 is almost here! Really! Our temp monkeys, chained to their gray-market laptops, have been working overtime to get the new design and code ready for launch the first week of September.

(No animals are being harmed during this production... except the human species of this staff, of course).

Until then, our existing reviews, features and columns will be available for your viewing (dis)pleasure, and our news will be continually updated.

Thanks for your patience, stalwart gamers!


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