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Shareware reviews for ZD Net/Mac:
Games

Adventure and Arcade Games:
Children's Games:
Game Tips and Tricks:
Strategy and Card Games:

Bouncer 1.0
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Michael Elling

One of the reasons for the world-wide popularity of billiard-type games is that there are so many variations: besides eight ball (easily the version most played in the U.S.), there's nine ball, snooker and billiards, each with a variety of rules. Of these, Bouncer is most similar to a simplified version of snooker: you aim a ball to hit another, which is then removed from the table. (With this computer-based version, the balls are "exploded," with appropriate sound effects.)

There are other differences between Bouncer and traditional pool, the most obvious of which is that shooting is done with a Pong-like paddle instead of a cue. As with a real paddle, one can control spin, direction, and speed. Play is timed, and a bonus is awarded at the end of each round. As play progresses, more balls are added to the table, blocking many of the direct shots. Black and white.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: GAME FUN ACTION POOL AIMING PADDLE TIME
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $15

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Burglar 1.1
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Steven F. Hoover

The legacy of PacMan, Donkey Kong, and other chase/collect games continues with Burglar, an older variation on the theme. The game it most resembles is CatWalk (also available on ZMac): in both, the idea is to run about a multi-level "house," collecting valuables, while avoiding creatures whose touch will kill you.

Burglar has some unusual features. Appropriately for its name, there's a variety of "cheat" options which allow you to increase the number of turns you can take, freeze the nasties where they stand, collect all the goodies at once, and live on after fatal falls. A tip: slow down the game speed before starting, or today's fast Macs will make your player scream through the house and into the arms of a nasty before you can say "What?"

Because of this game's obviously outdated programming, it's not at all System 7-friendly: while it won't crash, it requires that you take special precautions before using it. So read the documentation, change your monitor to black and white, quit all other applications (including screen savers), kick back, and enjoy a romp through an industrial landscape with Burglar.

Rating: 2 (out of 5)
Keywords: GAME FUN ARCADE ACTION CHASE GHOSTS BUILDING GOLD COLLECT
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Freeware

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CatWalk 1.2
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Ernest Friedman-Hill

"The fast, fun game of skill and fur.." CatWalk is a game which appeals to those of us tired of indestructible spaceships, beasts and karate champs, and lets us occupy the body of a new hero: Zisa the Devil Cat. The goal of this game is to move Zisa through a multi-floor "house," catching and disposing of rats while avoiding the poisonous spiders hanging from the roof. A tip: Zisa must be moving left or right in order to jump up a floor, a trick which takes some practice. There are three levels of play, and registered users gain instructions on how to design their own "houses."

So cat-lovers delight! You have nothing to lose but your rats and spiders and creepy crawly things. NOTE: This game is available only in black and white.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: GAME FUN CATS MICE SPIDERS ARCADE ACTION BLACK AND WHITE
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $10

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CRUNCH! 2.0
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Ryan Baker

CRUNCH! is a deceptively simple, remarkably challenging arcade game, in which you control a "marble" to collect "dollars." Your natural enemies? A competing marble, racing to pick up the same dollars, and an ominous death pit in the center of the playing field. What makes this game especially difficult is that the controllers--arrow keys, in this case--don't control just direction (as in "BabyLabyrinth"), but velocity as well, a la Crystal Quest/Crystal Crazy. Unfortunately, an intriguing concept is hampered by its implementation: the graphics are OK, the sounds reasonably amusing, but the game only offers 3 levels.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: GAME MARBLE ARCADE ACTION kid CRUNCH fun FREEWARE
Requires: System 7 or greater, 256 color monitor bigger than 512x384, 2MB free RAM
Price: Freeware

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Darts 1.5
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Bob Boylan

Guess what kind of a program "Darts" is? You got it, Sparky! A Mac implementation of the old barroom classic, this version solves a difficult interface problem rather successfully: how to translate the very body-centered and variable act of throwing darts to the mind-centered and predictable computer screen. The result is a mouse-driven "throw" that takes some practice, but is ultimately similar to the real thing.

Players can choose from a variety of well-known darts games: Count Down (301, 501, or 1001), Round the Clock, and two versions of Cricket. All are difficult, especially until you're accustomed to the interface. A tip: it's considerably easier on smaller screens, as the distance between the throwing area and the target is lessened. Extensive documentation is found under the "About" menu, and playing information is given in a status window as you play. Black and white.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: FUN GAME TARGET THROW DARTS AIM
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $You decide

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Enhanced 2.1.2.2
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Hans Persson

Enhanced is a command-line adventure game which will awaken a sense of nostalgia in computing old-timers and a sense of nausea in neophytes. The game's premise: you've decided to respond to an ad to join a military research project, only to be held captive in a veritable prison, left to wander about, discover what you can about your surroundings -- and possibly escape. You do so by (god help us) typing in commands like "go west" or "look at table," and hoping that the interpreter understands you.

Four words describe Enhanced's interface: ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly. There is no Mac interface to speak of: in fact, the author gloats that the game is available for the PC and "various flavors" of Unix, apparently without any adaptation made between machines. There are pull-down menus, but they're silly: electing "Take," for example, simple types the word "Take" for you in the dialog window. Thanks a lot!

Still, we had lots of fun with these sorts of games before graphical interfaces became the norm. This is "The first part of the Cyberventure trilogy (soon to be followed by Sensorer and Icebreaker)," so expect more of the same. Still, It seems to work O.K., so go ahead and try it, and take a look at what the state of the art of computer gaming was in the early seventies. You may even like it!

Rating: 2 (out of 5)
Keywords: GAME ADVENTURE FUN COMMAND LINE INTERFACE PRIson
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $10

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Flipper 1.0
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: C.K. Haun

Fast, furious, and strangely addictive. No, it's not another shoot-'em-up space adventure: it's Flipper, a game in which you try to match the colors of tiles on a three-by-three grid. Does that sound more like a strategy game than an action game? Well, keep this in mind: if you take too long, tiles change color randomly, frustrating your previous movements. Pretty soon you're straining your limits of mouse dexterity to keep it all under control, clicking like mad, and bouncing about in your chair like a baboon.

You have a weapon, however: option-clicking on a tile "freezes" it as the color showing. You have a limited number of freezes, of course, and learning how to use them takes some practice. Each level you complete brings you up to another, in which it takes more clicks to cycle the colors back to the color you want.

NOTE: This game overrides the settings in the "Sound" Control Panel, making the game open with a load siren sound. If you'd like to avoid waking the neighbors, be sure to switch it off with the "Sound" command under the "Game" menu.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: Flipper game action fast match grid board carpal tunnel syndrome
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $5

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Global Thermonuclear War 0.42
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: J.F. Herlocker

War, being a result of broken communication itself, is often difficult to discuss with an open mind. Hawks may point to necessity of circumstances while ignoring the loss of life, while doves may focus on the individuals whose lives will be affected, refusing to consider the need for incursion. Global Thermonuclear War is a strategic simulation game designed to show how complex issues are involved in making the decision to go--or not to go--to war.

You control the country of Alfamaxos, attempting to coexist with your neighbor Zedminos. Your sphere of influence is very limited: you can control production, foreign aid, and missile production within your region. The extensive on-line texts detail how these choices may affect your standing.

Unfortunately, there's a serious scripting bug which prevents you from checking the "Foreign Aid Distribution" screen: a recursive function forces the stack to perform the same task about six times before giving up and allowing you the choice to exit that function. (Pressing command-period will halt the process early.) Because of this bug, it's impossible to finish the first turn. Still, for its interesting texts and provocation of thought, Global Thermonuclear War will be of interest to doves and hawks alike.

Rating: 2 (out of 5)
Keywords: Game strategy fun HyperCard military simulation FREEWARE
Requires: HyperCard 2.0 or greater
Price: Freeware

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Gobbler 1.3.1
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Les Blatt

Here's a game that's high on cutes: in Gobbler, you manipulate a hungry little snake ("Hedda Gobbler," would you believe?) to chase down mushrooms and bonus prizes, while keeping her from -- ouch! -- bashing her head into walls, herself, or the rocks sprinkled liberally around the playing area. As she eats, she gets longer, becoming increasingly difficult to maneuver in tight spots. Play increases through 15 levels, with more and more rocks appearing in ever-more inconvenient places.

While Gobbler isn't the first implementation of this game, it has a twist which makes it challenging, especially at first: pressing the "turn left" key makes Hedda turn to _her_ left, not yours: that is, when she's heading downward, her left is your right. NOTE: Be careful about sneaking in a game at work: if you play with the sound effects turned on, it insists on blasting them at the highest volume, making decidedly game-like noises echo off the walls of your cubicle. Fortunately, you can turn them off.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: GAME FUN ACTION ARCADE SNAKE
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $10

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Golf Solitaire 1.1
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Glen Seeman

No, it has nothing to do with putting, greens, or funny-looking pants! Golf Solitaire is the name of a one-player card game, similar to Klondike, Egyptian Solitaire and a slew of other games in which the goal is to get rid of cards by piling them up in a series. In this version, 35 cards are laid out on the tableau, in five rows of seven each. All other cards remain in a deck, face down, except for one which is turned over to start the "wastepile." The idea is to take cards off of the bottom row, regardless of suit, to continue the series on the wastepile. So, if a four is the top card on the wastepile, you must either find a three or a five in the bottom row to put on it, or draw another card from the deck.

The color graphics of this realization are excellent. The suits all have lighting highlights which give them a 3-D appearance, and the face cards are quite amusing: a goofy King, a worried-looking Queen, and an impetuous youth for the Jack. The play is O.K., although there aren't any real options (such as for play variations, cheating, or hints): in other words, this computer version doesn't play any different than the real-life version. But it is a visual feast, and worth a place in your games collection.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: GOLF SOLITAIRE GAME FUN CARDS SERIES HIGHER LOWER SCORE KING
Requires: 13" monitor or larger
Price: Shareware $15

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Gossamer 2.0
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Jon Blossom

Virtual Reality is here, and it's free! Jon Blossom has finally brought an interface to the Mac which can understand and render PLG and WLD files, popularly used in the PC world with the freeware program Rend386. With Gossamer, you can download these items (known as "objects," groups of which are "worlds") and take a walk through an imaginary landscape in real time. (If you don't have access to an Internet site or user's group to collect these images, don't fret: the Gossamer package includes 54 stand-alone items and nine complete "worlds," including the Microsoft campus in Washington, a Greco-Roman temple, and a swimming pool.)

And what a world it is. The colors are brilliant, the shapes clean, and the interface.. well, the interface could use a bit of work. Simple forward and backward movement is easily performed with the mouse, but if you want to look up, tilt your view, or swivel, you'll have to fight your way through a numerical interface. This restriction doesn't keep Gossamer from being a fascinating and well-designed program: only that its potential is not completely realized. Still, it's a nice demonstration of 3-D modeling, small, fast, and efficient, and well worth the download.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: GOSSAMER VIRTUAL REALITY MODELS MODELING GRAPHICS 3D 3-D RENDER REND386 PLG WLD
Requires: 68020 Mac or higher, 32-bit QuickDraw
Price: Freeware

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Grimoire 1.0
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: David Donachie

For those who like adventure games with nice, hand-tooled graphics, Grimoire is a subtle treat. This HyperCard stack works similarly to the text-based wandering adventures of old, in which you type "go north," and a text box describes what you see. The difference here is that Grimoire was created by a talented artist, who has drawn the black-and-white scene out for you.

This isn't really a game in the strictest sense: there's no goal, you can't do anything but move about, and there's no person or thing waiting to test your logic. Instead, it's a virtual walk through country woods, presented in a book form: the right page shows the scene, and the left page has a text in a medieval typeface clarifying the view.

There are a few bugs in the system, such as Balloon Help which remains on the screen after you switch cards. This is a bug in HyperCard more than the fault of Mr. Donachie. But the bugs are relatively minor. Grimoire may not do much, but what it does it does pleasantly.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: GAME FUN ADVENTURE HyperCard DIRECTION WANDER SCOTTISH WOODS
Requires: HyperCard 2.0
Price: Freeware

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MacBrickOut 3.0
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Carson Whitsett

Back in 1972, when the phrase "personal computer" was seen as a contradiction in terms, Atari introduced a computer game that was to become a classic: Pong. It was an instant hit, and the company followed up with Breakout, a similar game which became equally popular.

Since then, dozens of imitators have added variations to the game: MacBrickOut is a simple version which hearkens back to the original, with some interesting twists which give the game a unique "feel." For one thing, the mouse-controlled paddle moves vertically as well as horizontally, giving you a second chance when you miss the ball. Also, play is quite speedy, even at the easier level--and it gets harder as you play.

Version 3.0 is a major update which, besides adding features galore, includes far more documentation than previous versions. Note that the version you're downloading, while robust, does *not* include some features which come only from paying the shareware fee. So do it!

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: macbrickout brickout brick out game fun arcade pong breakout color paddle ball
Requires: 256 colors/grays
Price: Shareware $15

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MacMaze 1.5
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Gary Gealy

Maze-building and -solving are two of those things computers do exceptionally well: to build a maze, simply give it a recursive algorithm to go from point A to point B in a wandering manner, add extraneous paths, throw in a few random confusions, and voila! It's a maze!

MacMaze is a Mac realization of this beginning programmer's task, with a nice interface and a few options to make it more useful. It is good for both creating mazes and letting you solve them. The main features are found in the "Tools" menu, which lets you either solve a maze, copy it -- or a section of it -- to the Clipboard (especially handy if you'd like to incorporate PICT files of your mazes in documents) or outline the size of a new maze to be created. The "Generate" option creates new mazes to your specifications with unbelievable speed: it drew its largest maze (about 15 centimeters square) in a fraction of a second.

Unfortunately, the maze-construction algorithm isn't that strong: the mazes, though they look complex, tend to be mind-bogglingly easy. Even the largest one took me less than five minutes to solve. Notwithstanding this weakness (which could be remedied with a better algorithm), MacMaze's generation and output features make this a useful product.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: MACMAZE GAME FUN MAZE PUZZLE MOUSE PATH WALLS GENERATION LABYRINTH
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Freeware

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MadMaze 1.0
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Michael D. Speir

No matter how much mental scurrying you have to do to solve these mazes, it's nothing compared to that which the programmer describes having to do in creating this game: hence the name, MadMaze. As with any maze, the object is to get out. Unlike other mazes, however, your obstacles are not immovable walls, but doors which can be "unlocked" with the proper key. But don't waste too much time running around: traveling costs about $60 per second, depleting your initial bank of $100,000. Additional money can be gained in increments of $5,000 by picking up the gold bars found about the maze.

MadMaze is supplied as a Desk Accessory within a suitcase: System 7 users will need to drag it out of the folder-like suitcase to play it, and those with System 6 or earlier should use Apple's Font/DA mover to put it in their Apple Menus. Black and white. NOTE: Arrow keys may not work on your computer (despite the programmer's tribulations!) May freeze when you try to print.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: GAME FUN MAZE DA
Requires: Font/DA Mover for System 6 or earlier
Price: Shareware $3

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MYSTy 1.1
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: TwIN Software

Those of you unfamiliar with the commercial game MYST will find this game a bit puzzling, being an adventure game that's high on drama. Fans of MYST, however, will appreciate this HyperCard stack created in its honor and sharing several similarities.

As with the famous commercial game, you are plunged into an unfamiliar landscape, full of strange sounds and arresting graphics. From there you must discover not only how to fulfil your mission, but what your mission *is*.

The graphics -- 3-D rendered scenes -- and play are terrific. And the authors have addressed many of my reservations about versions 1.0 and 1.0.1: they've written a good Read Me document (in Microsoft Word format), cleared up a few bugs, sped up play and eschewed HyperCard's out-of-memory problem by making it a standalone application. It still requires a *lot* of resources, but it's worth it: you'll be blown away by the game's thoroughness.

NOTE: This is a l-o-n-g download -- over 4MB. You have been warned!

Rating: 5 (out of 5)
Keywords: mysty game fun adventure wander myst mylk quest search
Requires: 68020 or better, System 7 or later, QuickTime 2.0, 4 MB free RAM, 10 MB free disk space, 4 grays/colors or better
Price: Shareware $You decide

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Orion 1.82
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Robert Munafo

Space travel has never been as easy as it is with Orion, a remarkable flight simulation program which puts you at the controls of a spaceship, flying through our galaxy. But unlike most spaceflight simulators, your mission isn't to destroy alien ships or to further the cause of some questionable federation in a fantastic solar system, but to explore our own Sol and environs.

Graphics and action are quite good, especially considering that version 1.82 dates from 1988. Most outstanding is the author's attention to detail in charting the heavens: all the planets are there, along with most of the major stars and other astral bodies. His high standards are evident in the "limitations" he outlines in his documentation: "The spaceship cannot fly more than 32 light years away from the sun. This was done to limit the number of stars that had to be put in the program's database.." THAT'S a limitation?

Also to be commended are Orion's neutral objectives -- simple, joyous exploration, with no enemies, weapons, or absurd stories to muddy the waters. Space, flight, and the joy of learning about what's out there is enough, and with Orion it's quite a bit.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: orion Flight simulation space spaceship game fun education stars planets flying
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $7

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Petris 1.0
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Peter Van Schevensteen

Since "Tetris" was born of a 16-year-old Soviet programmer (back when there were such things as "Soviet" programmers), dozens of imitators have sprung on the scene, trying to get a piece of its enormous success. Petris is the latest of this group, distinguished in that it's the first version to allow two players to play against each other at the same time. It does this by placing two "wells" next to each other, with two sets of controls on the same keyboard, each controlling one well.

There's also a one-player version which, by removing one well from the screen, clears up enough room to display game statistics and a mildly risque graphic. (Ahh, teenage programmers..) The sampled sounds vary from the amusing to the obnoxious, but they can be turned off when they get tiresome. A tip: try playing the two-player version by yourself, one hand for each well: although not suggested in the documentation, I think that this application of Petris will be its most popular, as it adds a new challenge to the old game. For its two-well playing option, as well as the sounds, Petris is an interesting and worthwhile pretender to the Tetris throne.

16 grays or colors recommended.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: GAME ACTION FUN TETRIS DROP BLOCKS WELL PUZZLE COMPETITIVE TWO Players
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $10

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Robot Arm
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Brian Westley

Robot Arm is a simple toy which allows you to control an on-screen robotic arm (surprise!) which can pull levers, arrange blocks, and ultimately yank a chain to escape the cyberworld. I hesitate to say that it's a "game," as there's no real point to it: just movin' the robot, messin' with stuff, and havin' a whoopin' good time.

More than anything else, Robot Arm is a good example of the artist as a young man: the author, Brian Westley, later went on to write the popular and solid utility "ZoomBar". Robot Arm, while primitive, shows an interesting early step in the development of this top-notch programmer.

NOTE: Robot Arm is not very System 7 friendly: other applications will be hidden until you quit out of it, and there is no standard Command-Q Quit command. It is, however, quite stable.

Rating: 2 (out of 5)
Keywords: remote control artificial intelligence game fun control move
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Freeware

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S.P.A.M. 4.7
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Sean Logan

In software, the wave of the future seems to be "partware" -- building applications (or sub-applications) that can accept third-party extensions, or that interact with other "parts." S.P.A.M. (Single-Player Adventure for the Macintosh) is based on this concept: by itself, in fact, it doesn't do *anything*. But add a simple text file, properly formatted, and you're off on a flight of imagination as big as the creator's mind.

Simply put, S.P.A.M. is a front end for text-based adventures. If you've been using computers for more than ten years, you'll remember them: they're the games in which the player must type something like "throw amulet" to invoke the magic spell which takes them to the next room. These games have a charm of their own: as the author of the companion file "S.P.A.M. Game Generator" (also in this library) wrote, "Text adventure games can be a welcome change from the occasional graphic overkill of some games (not a replacement, mind you)."

But it's a pity it doesn't include more features: the fact that modules can be created so easily could make this a contender in the shareware extensible-game arena. And still, it's not that bad: if you can accept 20-year-old technology and the lack of any sort of Mac interface, you'll be rewarded with the opportunity to create your own world.

Rating: 2 (out of 5)
Keywords: single player adventure SPAM text command line entry game fun create make module extension interactive
Requires: System 7 or later
Price: Ecoware: $5 to an ecological protection organization

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S.P.A.M. Game Generator 1.00
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Bob Dreano

The greatest strength of the shareware game S.P.A.M. (Single-Player Adventure for the Macintosh) is that it's the ultimate open system: through it, anybody can create a text-based adventure. *Anybody*. It doesn't take any graphic skills; it doesn't take an expensive "game generator"; and it doesn't take any knowledge of programming. All it takes is a bit of structured thinking, some time, and a good imagination.

Of those three requirements, however, many would-be creators get bogged down in trying to think structurally. And while S.P.A.M. has a comparatively easy-to-understand language in which to "program" new modules, some still find it difficult. To help these budding gamemasters, S.P.A.M. Gen makes an already-easy task even easier. It does this by adding a HyperCard-based front end to a text editor: so instead of writing lines like "*Closet$You are standing in a small, dark room with lots of junk piled up on the floor..$$0$Throne Room$1", all you need do is enter "Closet" in the "room name" field, "You are standing in a small, dark room with lots of junk piled up on the floor" in the "room description field", and "Throne Room" in the "Exit" field. That's it!

But it goes much further than this simple example illustrates, allowing up to 20 actions and five exits per room. It doesn't have a perfect interface: there are occasional problems (in the "help" facility, for example), and the default font (Geneva 12) is much too big for the nine-point fields, making it ugly, ugly, ugly. Still, the program seems to function beautifully, and with so much complexity at one's fingertips, making convincing modules is as much fun as playing them.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: single player adventure text command line entry generator game fun create make module SPAM
Requires: S.P.A.M. version 4.7 or later, HyperCard 2.0 or later
Price: Shareware: $10

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S.P.A.M. Module - Robinson Crusoe
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Parker Smith

S.P.A.M. (Single-Player Adventure for the Macintosh) is a front end for creative gameplayers to make and solve their own text-based adventures. As its architecture is so open (all that's needed to create a game is a text editor such as TeachText), the game has spawned many original adventures by amateur gameplayers, of which this is one.

Actually, this is more of an example of how to make your own modules: by opening and examining Robinson Crusoe in a text editor, the structure of the programming language becomes clear. And, as Mr. Smith didn't finish the adventure, perhaps you can ride on his introduction to create a tropical world for our protagonist to inhabit. I think that the adventure was left unfinished out of laziness, but as the author says: "..that's the good part! You can make him do anything! Let your imagination run wild!!! There are more directions on doing it in the game. Have fun!!!"

You heard him -- go to it! NOTE: Although this file gives an idea of how to work with the text-based programming language of S.P.A.M., it's easier to use the S.P.A.M. Game Generator, also available in this library.

Rating: 2 (out of 5)
Keywords: single player adventure text command line entry game fun module SPAM example
Requires: S.P.A.M. 4.7 or later, Text editor (such as TeachText)
Price: Freeware

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Samurai's Bolo Modules
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Samurai

This is a collection of three new maps for the hit game Bolo (also available in this library). Their titles are enigmatic: "The All American", "The Expedition", and "The S in Samurai". Look for other maps by Samurai in this same library.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: network game entertainment collection maps terrain
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Freeware

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Space Zone 1.0b
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Matt Washchuk

Space Zone is a basic, basic, basic text-based shoot-'em-up written in -- what else? -- BASIC. Play hearkens back to the early 70s, when most computers were hooked up not to monitors, but to printers churning out ream after ream of green-and-white tractor feed paper. With such a set-up, there could be no fancy graphics: by using the tools of the time, the author recaptures the feel of games of the period.

The game, briefly: you are in command of a space fighter, facing off against an opposing computer-controlled ship. You and the computer take turns firing on one another until, randomly, one of you wins.

Make sure you send in your modest shareware fee: the programmer putting monies received to good use by buying a Pascal or C compiler. Is there a graphic version in our future?

Rating: 2 (out of 5)
Keywords: game fun text basic command line shooting spaceship captain war
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $5

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The Arena 1.2.0
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Scott Paul

You know, computers make gaming too easy. I remember when I was a young'un.. (imagine the sides of the screen going all blurry in a flashback..) ..playing adventure games with dice, guide books, hand-drawn maps and LOTS of paper. Without 24-bit graphics of fantasy characters, our imaginations created them in the infinite resolution of the mind.

You can have an excellent hybrid of hard-core adventure gaming, but without the tedium of rolling dice, with The Arena by Scott Paul. Yes, it features color graphics, but they only suggest the action without showing it, as a good storyteller would. You start off by selecting a pre-built character or building one yourself (via the included character builder), equipping it with a weapon, armor and (if you have the lucre) spells and amulets. Then, you choose a fight opponent and let 'em rip!

Unfortunately, there's nothing more to this game than staged battles, putting it at a definite disadvantage compared to omnibus adventure games such as Realmz (available in this library). But The Arena is (a) smaller than Realmz and (b) freeware: and for those of you who live for the fights when you play, this game cuts right to the chase.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: game fun adventure monsters dungeons dragons fight strategy
Requires: 256 colors or more
Price: Freeware

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Toxic Ravine 2.0
Category: Games/Adventure & Arcade Games
Author: Glenn Wichmann

Toxic Ravine is a simple, but entertaining (and ecologically correct!) arcade game where the goal is to clean out a toxic dump site from your dirigible by dropping clean-up bombs on the waste below. Whimsical and very cute, although the high number of controls to manipulate and a lack of sound make it a bit less cuddly than it could be. Version 2.0 brings the game into the '90s -- it has color!

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: toxic ravine ARCADE GAME FUN ECOLOGY color bomb clean
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $5

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A Camping Story (HyperCard)
Category: Games/Children's Games
Author: Granite Cristopher and Diane Bundy

Out of the mouths of babes comes.. a HyperCard stack. "A Camping Story" is the result of a collaboration between a child and his mother: a story about adventures while camping in the woods. The story is interactive: at its start, you provide a few pieces of personal information (such as your name, a friend's name, your favorite wild berries, and such), and the stack fills in blanks in the story with that information as the story progresses. Readers can explore a variety of options as they go, such as taking a closer look at the fauna encountered, listening to wild sounds, opening and closing the cooler, and so forth.

The documentation with this file states that it is "A discovery stack to encourage reading on a second grade level," but I hesitate to recommend it for that purpose: there are quite a few spelling errors. However, seeing the level of programming may inspire young people to become interested in another intellectual pursuit: HyperCard programming.

This is a color upgrade for the original "A Camping Story".

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: HYPERCARD FUN CAMPING FISHING ANIMALS INTERACTIVE KIDS children color
Requires: HyperCard 2.0 or greater
Price: Shareware $5

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BabyLabyrinth 1.0.5
Category: Games/Children's Games
Author: Simone Bettini

BabyLabyrinth is a simple maze game designed to be satisfying for even the youngest children (who are able to handle the arrow keys on a keyboard), and yet difficult enough to hold older children's attention. What makes this program special is the child's-eye view the authors have managed to impart: from the picturesque menus to the charming sounds (some of which were taken, with permission, from the shareware game Bachman), a sense of absurdist fun reigns. For example, the maze "theme" can be changed, allowing the user to control a small girl seeking sweets, a car trying to find a parking space, or any of six other preprogrammed scenarios. Extensive instructions are provided for those daring souls who wish to create their own scenarios using ResEdit.

Speed and movement controls, together with three maze sizes, allow a range of difficulty which would probably be appropriate for children between ages three and eight. NOTE: BabyLabyrinth is available in black and white only.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: BABYLABYRINTH MAZE BABY LABYRINTH GAME FUN KID ARCADE CHILD
Requires: System 6.0.4 or later
Price: Shareware $10

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ChristmasTime 1.0
Category: Games/Children's Games
Author: Grace Sylvan

I remember Christmas in the suburbs.. the soft candlelight on a stately, plastic pine.. the slush falling gently outside.. the nativity scene illegally sponsored by the town government (First Amendment be damned!).. the rash of yule log fires which plagued our local volunteer F.D.. Ah, ou sont les Christmases d'antan?

A mere piece of software can't deliver the frostbitten feet and pyrotechnic recklessness of a Mount Kisco Christmas, but ChristmasTime does manage to impart a sort of "It's a Wonderful Life" sweetness to your Mac screen. Like the popular series of vinyl toys by Colorforms, the joy comes in arranging and rearranging graphic objects against a holiday background. This package, built in SuperCard, includes two scenarios: a Christmas Tree scene (complete with presents, tree decorations, and a raging fire) and a Nativity scene (with animals, manger, drummer boy, and swaddled Jesus).

The latter of these two scenes lends itself best to play, in my opinion: there are more characters (some of which, like the Drummer Boy, make noise), and characters can be made to face right or left. If your child is of an anarchic bent, s/he will enjoy making sheep fly, and setting a cow to nibble on the baby Savior. The stack's creator second-guessed my secular, subversive tendencies, though: members of the holy family are steadfast in their stance, and can not be moved into embarrassing positions.

ChristmasTime works on just about any machine, with any System after 6.0.4: however, it is definitely better with a 256-color monitor.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: Christmas time holiday manger tree nativity play fun game children color forms
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $5

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Coloring Book 3.0
Category: Games/Children's Games
Author: Jim Allison

Like Craig Hickman's award-winning program KidPix (also available through ZiffNet), Coloring Book is a graphics program aimed at young users, with sounds, speech, colorful templates, stories, and animations to captivate all. This is actually three programs in one: the first is an adapted paint program (with cute animations worked in when you fill in certain sections of the picture), the second is a virtual "Lite Brite" (a toy in which transparent colored pegs are inserted into a honeycomb board and then lit from behind), and the third is a story teller. A wide variety of colors can be used (with 11 showing at a time), and choosing a color is accompanied by an amusing random sound.

The interface is attractive, but a little more confusing and frustrating than it needs to be: for example, choosing a preexisting picture in the "Lite Brite" module works completely differently from choosing one in the "coloring book" module, and the rainbow tool doesn't always work. One other complaint: the "Parents" menu is ill-named, as it contains many tips to make the program function at its best. (And why shouldn't this information be meant for the program's young users?) But these are minor complaints: with its abundant sounds, surprises, and pre-drawn pictures, Coloring Book will keep you (or your child) interested.

Version 3.0 now has Story Pages to present short stories one line at a time in scrambled form, is modular to allow add-on New Pages Modules (which arrive at one/month for subscribers), and supports Speech Manager.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: coloring book game FUN COLOR LITE BRITE speech PAINT ANIMATION SOUND kid
Requires: System 6.0.7 or later, 2MB free RAM, 13" monitor, 16 colors
Price: Shareware $16

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Crystal Ball (HyperCard) 2.0.1
Category: Games/Children's Games
Author: Darrell Anderson

Who needs high-priced consultants? With Crystal Ball and HyperCard, you can know all about the future, whether it's hog futures or your future that interests you. This stack works similarly to the toy of a few years back, in which a liquid-immersed polyhedron floated to a clear window in a plastic "Eight Ball" when inverted, one of its sides displaying an answer like "You can bet on it!" or "I don't think so." To use this one, simply hold down the mouse button, ask a question of your computer (if you don't feel too silly talking to your computer -- if you're using an AV Mac, you might want to make sure Speech Manager is turned off!), and release the button. Your answer will magically appear.

It's a bit slicker than the stand-alone freeware application of the same name by Neil Schulman (also available in this library), with cooler sounds, better documentation and -- most significantly -- a psychedelic presentation of the ball's answer. (It's hard to describe: try it and see!) If you don't have HyperCard, of course, the stand-alone version's what you need. In the end, they're very similar. And, as with the Schulman version, this 8 ball's free. The future comes cheap around here!

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: CRYSTAL BALL MAGIC EIGHT BALL 8 FORTUNE FUTURE DECISION ADVICE YES NO
Requires: HyperCard 2.0 or later
Price: Freeware

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DollsHouse 2.4.1
Category: Games/Children's Games
Author: Paul B. Jones

This is a truly amusing animated simulation of a doll's house, in which you use a wide variety of home furnishings (bed, picture, toilet, T.V., and so on) and building parts (roof, walls, doors, windows) to create Your Dream Home (TM). Some of the items, once placed, become animated: ceiling fans turn, washing machines tumble, and the T.V. picture rolls.

One completed "house" is included. Send in your shareware fee, and you'll receive the rest of the "sandcastles" package, which includes several similar construction/simulation programs (Trainset, Trainset II, Trams and Chutes).

Version 2.4.1 is now in color and seems to have corrected the problems previous versions had when running in the background under System 7. New features include sound and animation which works under System 7 and 7.5.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: HOME SIMULATION BUILDING animation FUN dolls hobby
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $10

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Escape From School II (HyperCard)
Category: Games/Children's Games
Author: Jonathon

In the same way that listening to J.S. Bach's music conveys the atmosphere of clerical 17th-century Germany, playing Escape From School II perfectly illustrates the Weltanschauung of the imprisoned: in this case, of one condemned to monstrous teachers, endless Kubrick-esque hallways and doors which lead to nowhere. All of this is captured in a game which, when you get right down to it, is pretty damn silly.

The idea is to click on doors (seemingly placed at random) to find your way out of school without (a) running into a teacher, (b) falling into a pit and killing yourself or (c) dying in some other horrible way.

Should you escape this strange school (which inexplicably has doors in the floor), you'll receive the message of wisdom of an obviously frustrated school-age programmer: "Free at last. After you get out you blow the school to bits!"

Rating: 2 (out of 5)
Keywords: game fun maze labyrinth hallway student teacher silly hypercard stack
Requires: System 7 or later
Price: Freeware

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Hide-and-Seek 1.0
Category: Games/Children's Games
Author: Dan Mosier

Your turn to hide! Hide-and-Seek is a clever and thoroughly engaging HyperCard stack which emulates the physical game of Hide-and-Seek. It can be played either with another person or against a simulated friend, who announces "your turn to seek," scurries off to hide, and stands smiling with her hands behind her back when you find her. The graphics are generally very good, and the simulation aspect is fairly realistic, recalling the popular shareware game "Scarab of Ra." I did find one small bug: a wall between the kitchen and the bathroom appeared strangely transparent, and may mislead seekers if the sought is hiding behind a bathroom cabinet.

The only other issue which concerns me concerning this game is its use: the thought of otherwise healthy, active children sitting at the computer playing a game that simulates playful activity is a little depressing. But Hide-and-Seek does have some good, productive uses: it's an ideal pastime for PowerBook-equipped, hospitalized children, for example, or as an occasional distraction for when one has no one else to play with. So go on -- your turn to hide!

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: HIDE AND SEEK GAME FUN CHILDREN YOUNG HOUSE PLACES SIMULATION
Requires: HyperCard 2.0 or later
Price: Shareware $5

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KeyWack 1.2
Category: Games/Children's Games
Author: Paul Duffy

KeyWack unquestionably wins the prize for having the youngest target audience of any program available on the Mac: children under the age of one. Just put a keyboard underneath one of those uncontrollably flailing arms and watch the fun as multicolored faces and geometrical shapes appear on the screen, accompanied by a wide range of randomly played digitized sounds. As you might guess, there are no pull-down menus, no help balloons, no dialog boxes, no controls to speak of: just give the keyboard a good ol' whack, and you're off!

But don't be fooled: this is a "stealth" program. While it seems to be frivolous, it actually touches upon knowledge of how youths learn through action and reaction, and may give very young children a focus otherwise difficult to find. Note that KeyWack can have a strange effect on adults: while I was preparing to review it, a fellow ZiffNet/Mac staffer became intrigued and started hitting the keyboard over and over. "I just want to see if there's a pattern," she said.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: keywack key wack game fun SOUNDS COLORS BABY CHILD kid YOUNG TUNES SONGS FREEWARE
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Freeware

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Polygon Fun! 2.0
Category: Games/Children's Games
Author: Paul Vorndam

Would you believe.. a HyperCard stack that's not educational, doesn't amortize your mortgage, and won't organize your videotape library? That's Polygon Fun, which has as its sole purpose fun with, um, polygons. The stack is divided up into 6 modules: Rotate-agon show, Polygon Hall, Squeezer, Travelin'-gon, Polygon Chaser, and Multi-gon show. But the modules are irrelevant, really: most of this educational-seeming collection is jokes and silliness from a novice HyperCard programmer. I won't give away the jokes behind the module names; to give you an idea of the level of humor, there's a button on the opening card labeled "Find Her," which sends you to (of all places) the Finder. ("But I don't even know her!" Yeah, yeah..)

Beware crummy programming, however. In order to make the stack work without being interrupted every few seconds by a box which says "That tool is not available at the current user level," you have to (a) go to the Home stack, (b) right-arrow through it until you get to the card which lets you set the user level, (c) type "magic" into the entry box (if you didn't already do so at some point -- this is HyperCard's universal scripting password), (d) change the user level from 2 to 5, and (e) reopen Polygon Fun! from within the stack. If you're willing to go through all that -- and it's amazing what some people will do for bad puns -- you'll be rewarded with a chuckle or two.

Rating: 2 (out of 5)
Keywords: POLYGON FUN GEOMETRY HYPERCARD GAMES SLIDE SHOW PENT HEX TETR SQUARE CIRCLE JOKE HUMOR
Requires: HyperCard 2.0 or later
Price: Freeware

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Sr. Pez
Category: Games/Children's Games
Author: Hiro Ishido

By now, everyone in North America has encountered "Where's Waldo": book, game, Sunday comic, commemorative hair dryer and laundry basket. If you live elsewhere or been in a coma for the past four years, here's the idea: a painfully detailed and well-rendered cartoon is displayed of a scene teeming with people: in the marketplace, at the beach, or suchlike. Your task is to find the goofy-looking protagonist from among the throngs of people, as have the millions of youth who have stared at the pages for hours, glassy-eyed, while their parents enjoyed the peculiar quietude.

But I'm being flippant: it's a charming and imagination-provoking game, as is its Mac-based imitator, Sr. Pez. The idea is simple, the interface undistracting, and the programming flawless -- rare qualities, unfortunately, in a HyperCard stack. A single button controls the action: clicking on it gives you the choice of getting program info, resetting the board (to start a new game, essentially), or making the dapper Sr. Pez character flash on and off (for when you give up). One thing that would improve this program immensely is better graphics -- the main draw of the original. Still, that's easy enough to rectify, and the game engine is so strong, this will entertain and delight until a more graphical Son of Sr. Pez is released.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: SENOR SR PEZ FISH WHERE FIND SEARCH GAME FUN WHERE'S WALDO PEOPLE
Requires: HyperCard 2.0
Price: Shareware $2

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AD? Character Generator
Category: Games/Game Tips & Tricks
Author: Simon Peffers

Adventure games like TSR's Advanced Dungeons and Dragons have been available for years in Mac versions, fully automated and dice-free, with odds and risks being calculated internally. But for those of you who miss rolling dice and calculating characters' strength, and yet aren't willing to forsake the computer entirely, AD? Character Generator will give you a whiff of nostalgia.

This is a utility which, simply put, rolls dice to create characters. It assumes that you already know enough about the game to understand the virtues and weaknesses of the four character types available: fighter, thief, cleric, and magic user. It also assumes that you know all about character aspects: strength, intelligence, wisdom, dexterity, constitution, charisma, and hit points.

There's no real Mac interface to this utility: no title bar, graphics, back grounding, or other niceties. In fact, this program is probably a port from an older system such as a Pet or TRS-80. Just three choices (About, Quit, and Roll), a set of radio buttons, and a modal dialog box replace your set of six-sided dice. Black and white.

Rating: 2 (out of 5)
Keywords: Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Character Generator TSR Adventure Role Playing Game
Requires: Advanced Dungeons and Dragons game (non-computer)
Price: Shareware $5

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AnagramCrossword 1.4
Category: Games/Game Tips & Tricks
Author:

"I'll take online services for $200, Alex.""The letters in the name of this service can be rearranged to spell 'ironical enema'."

..I'll let you figure that one out for yourself. If you get stuck, download AnagramCrossword, a smart program which performs a number of dictionary-related functions (using the dictionary included in the archive) such as finding anagrams, hidden words and "fill in the blank" puzzles.

The programmer is British, and his nationality comes through in AnagramCrossword: if you've ever done the London Times crossword, you know what it's like to search for a three-word anagram of "Margaret Thatcher". It solves these little puzzles with lightning speed, but there its charm ends. This is obviously designed to work on a Unix-based machine, as there are no -- and I mean *NO* -- Mac interface features. No "About" box, no movable windows, no nothin'. Be prepared for the ugliest damn Mac program you've ever seen.

And that's a pity, because this is really a terrific program -- for a Unix port. Unfortunately, the non-Mac interface means that it can't be sent to the background; and since it may take hours to turn out anagrams from even a ten-letter word, this is an unpardonable sin.

Rating: 2 (out of 5)
Keywords: crossword puzzle game fun help cheat scramble anagram mix mixed-up
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Postcardware

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King's Quest V Guide
Category: Games/Game Tips & Tricks
Author: Harald Eide-Fredriksen

Sooner or later, everyone who plays adventure games comes up against a puzzle that they can't solve. So what do you do? Well, if the game is King's Quest V, "Absence Makes the Heart Go Wander," you have one additional option besides getting frustrated, asking your friends, or soliciting advice from the Internet newsgroup alt.games.dirty-dog.cheat: take a look through Kings Quest V Guide, and all will be revealed to you.

This short text document is in three parts: a set of maps (Witch's Forest, Desert, Ocean), a few general tips, and a step-by-step guide of what to do to overcome the obstacles thrown in your way. Follow the instructions, and you'll rack up a whopping 260 points!

This is a straight-ahead, no-frills cheat sheet, first distributed on the Internet. NOTE: to read the maps, it's important that you convert the text to a monospaced font such as Monaco and widen the margins.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: GAME FUN HINTS CHEAT ADVENTURE WANDER FREEWARE
Requires: Text reader such as SimpleText
Price: Freeware

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Marathon Secrets 1.5
Category: Games/Game Tips & Tricks
Author: Jason Fowler

Marathon, the high-action shoot-em'-up from Bungie Software, has been one of the most popular Mac action games of the past year. And with this popularity comes the inevitable "helper" files, sometimes known as "cheats".

Marathon Secrets isn't exactly a cheat, as it doesn't give you extra weapons or powers that you don't deserve. Instead, it presents maps with notes on areas of special interest such as jump pads, rejuvenators and switches. Unfortunately, the notes aren't on the same page as the map, so you have to switch back and forth between the two to learn all of the "secrets". The good news is that you can print out the maps for future reference.

The guide is built in Macromind Director and is a handsome example of interactive information. There are a few small bugs which may be the fault of Director, such as display problems after you print maps. But these errors are minor, and for the serious Marathon player, Marathon Secrets is a great help.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: marathon secrets cheat game fun action shoot spaceship map tips tricks
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $5

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Myst Walkthrough 2.02
Category: Games/Game Tips & Tricks
Author: Phil Gross

O.K. So you've been playing the popular CD-ROM game Myst for weeks now, and you still can't get off the &*(# island -- and you're not sure that you want to. Or maybe you've come up against one of those frustrating "push the buttons in the right order" puzzles, and if you stay up another night to try to solve it, you'll lose your job.

Phil Gross has taken a Myst solutions text by E. Conti's from the Internet and amended it to take users' suggestions into account. It will tell you where to wander on the island and how to handle yourself in the different "ages."

Yes, it's cheating. Don't try to fool yourself into thinking that it's not. But sometimes, we all need a little divine guidance: guidance not so easily found on Earth, but readily available here, on Myst.

By the way: Mr. Gross kindly offers e-mail tips to those players who feel guilty about using something as bald-faced as a cheat sheet. Write to him at ba02335@bingsuns.cc.binghamton.edu, and he'll see if he can get you through the tough times. Good luck!

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: fun game adventure cheat map puzzle island text instructions
Requires: Any text reader, such as SimpleText
Price: Freeware

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Ariane
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Gilles Gouin

Into the field of sliding-tile puzzles comes "Le casse-tete d'Ariane" with some intriguing twists to an old theme. You're probably well familiar with such puzzles, from Apple's Puzzle desk accessory to the freeware programs Dirty Dozen and The 10 Block Puzzle (both of which are available on ZMac). This one differs in a few ways: first off, blocks are not moved directly, but by pressing buttons on the side of the board which shift the entire row over one space. Secondly, You have a wide choice of puzzles to solve, from the simplest three-by-three square (designed for the programmer's six-year-old daughter, Ariane) to a mind-breaking 13-by-13. The pattern to be matched (which is shown next to the puzzle board) can be varied, from a square to parallel lines to a random configuration. And should you get stuck--as you probably will with the larger puzzles--a "Do it for me please" menu choice lets the computer run a simple algorithm which solves the puzzle. (Note that, once started, this algorithm can not be interrupted: allow a couple of minutes for it to solve the largest puzzles.)

The graphic presentation is great. Colorful tiles with subtle depth vary enough from game to game to keep it interesting, and Mr. Gouin's controlled use of color is to be commended. So if you're looking for a mind-strengthening game easy enough for your children but tough enough for your parents, try Ariane.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: ARIANE GAME FUN PUZZLE MATRIX PICTURE PATTERN STRATEGY grid tiles
Requires: Color monitor with at least 256 colors
Price: Freeware

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Artillery 2.0.1
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Kirk Crawford

Artillery is a simple trajectory shoot-or-be-shot game, in which two competing players adjust their cannons' angle and firepower in an attempt to destroy one another. A unique twist is that there is only one fire button, which activates both cannons: a strangely Zen mindset results, in which the players are inextricably linked while they blow each other up. Each game presents a new challenge by introducing a different terrain and wind vector to be considered. But be prepared for a slow-moving tournament: only about 5 shots can be deployed per minute.

There is no computer opponent, so be sure to find one of your friends to help you play Artillery. This version shows its age--it was released in 1988--but still makes for an enjoyable game. NOTE: The sounds don't work properly under System 7.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: game fun projectile trajectory shoot angles
Requires: System 6.0.x preferred, works with System 7
Price: Shareware $10

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Awesome Black Jack 1.7.1
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Bryan Arntson

Sure, there are dozens of versions of Black Jack available for the Mac. But if you want one that will really show off your 21" color monitor, there's only one: Awesome Black Jack. Good graphics are the forte of this version of the old American favorite (also known as 21): all of the cards are scanned, in color, and are played against a felt-like green background.

Perhaps the best things about Awesome Black Jack are the floating control windows: one to direct action, one which lets you know your financial status, and one which gives statistics. This latter window outlines which cards have been played as well as the "point" status used in card-counting (a method of improving your odds of winning). Having this window available makes Awesome Black Jack educational as well as fun: I'd always wondered about card-counting, but been intimidated by the depth of memory needed to make it work. Having the statistics displayed before me showed how the point status typically changes during a game and gave me a way to learn the system's theory before having to do the work.

Besides the game's play, the documentation gives a good introduction to the game. All together, Awesome Black Jack is a clear winner.

Version 1.7.1 lets you use the + and - keys to increase and decrease the bet.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: AWESOME BLACK JACK GAME FUN CARDS TWENTY ONE BLACKJACK SPADES GAMBLING
Requires: 256 grays or colors, 13" monitor
Price: Shareware $15

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Backgammon (David Young) 2.0
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: David Young

Many games on the Mac suffer from either (a) bad programming, or (b) dated programming which makes the game obsolete as soon as a new operating system is introduced. I'm pleased to report that David Young's Backgammon has neither of these flaws: it's a simply presented and compact version of this ancient favorite. And despite its age (it was released in 1987), this version is stable, stable, stable, even where System 7 confuses lesser programs.

It's assumed that you know how to play: Backgammon includes no rules on the game's goals, how to move, or using the doubling cube. Nonetheless, it's a much more user-friendly version than many. For instance, multiple undos are permitted, up to the limit of the program's memory, and a warning is given when you'll no longer be able to return to the game's first move. As with many board-type games on the Mac, you can take "hints" from the computer, rearrange pieces (called _cheating_ by the unenlightened) and play against a friend, using the computer simply as a game board.

I recommend Backgammon, especially considering its small size. Sure, you won't get fancy color, sampled sounds or scanned game pieces, but who needs 'em? It's not perfect -- I beat it first time out, and I'm not very good -- but it's a well realized version which will survive nicely, tucked away in a tiny corner of your system. NOTE: This program hides the application menu in System 7. It's still accessible, though: click where it would be, and it will appear.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: BACKGAMMON GAME FUN DICE DOUBLING CUBE GAMBLING BOARD MOVES HINTS
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $You decide

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Billiard Parlor
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: R Crandall

Billiard Parlor, a relic from the days of the fat (512K) Mac, is still around, still stable, still usable.. and still fun. It's a classic example of conscious programming, from its elegant interface to the copious programmer's notes found under the Help menu.

Six games are available: Billiards (the default), the classic three-ball game that's popular in Europe; Straight Pool, in which the goal is to sink the balls in order; Eight Ball, the American favorite; Nine Ball, an abbreviated version of Straight Pool; Snooker, a complex form; and Slop, the preferred game of six-year-olds everywhere.

There are several options which make the game more interesting: English (spin) can be applied to the cue ball, the screen can be magnified, and balls can be arranged to try out trick shots. For the more bookish player, the programmers have included an in-depth description of the mathematical calculations involved in computing the balls' trajectories. But stability is this program's most important feature: this 1985 program will play without problem, guaranteeing that you can actually make use of its options, even on Power Macs. Black and white.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: Billiard Parlor game fun pool slop snooker eight nine ball trajectory
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Freeware

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Blackjack Deluxe 2.0.4
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Ed Trice, Circumflex Software

Card counters and casino-goers will fall in love with Blackjack Deluxe, a version of the old American favorite "21" which features perhaps the most advanced control over counting systems and instructional play of any card game available on any computer, anywhere. Card counting is a series of systems which allows you to improve your odds of winning at Blackjack, but it can be so complex as to scare away prospective students. Blackjack Deluxe makes the learning process easier, by giving you a variety of options to see how the inner statistical "life" of the game works.

Blackjack Deluxe is an excellent choice for players at any level: for people who are already professional gamblers, it will help you refine your own system, while for novices, there are a few "help" utilities built in to guide you along. (For example, you can have hints displayed as you're making a decision, a "coach" can critique your play after each decision, or you can "cheat" by seeing what cards are about to be played, among other possibilities.) Many options make this game an ever-changing delight: one such preference which can be turned on is "Show shuffle," which flashes about 12 cards per second on the screen as they're being shuffled -- a good time to see if you're an idiot savant!

So if Atlantic City or Las Vegas is in your future, Blackjack Deluxe should be at the top of your download list. And even if you're not, it'll give you a good, engaging game.

Version 2.0.3 includes a manual and fixes small bugs relating to PowerBook displays. Version 2.0.4 adds unspecified new features.

Rating: 5 (out of 5)
Keywords: deluxe CARDS GAME FUN GAMBLING BLACKJACK twenty one
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $30

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Blocktoid 1.0
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Charles Bess

Just when you thought there were no more original strategy games.. along comes Blocktoid! Like chess, the goal is to dominate the board and, through superior position and might, capture your opponents' chief piece. But there the similarity ends: up to six people can play Blocktoid, and the pieces move in a manner closer to the game Go. They multiply, increase (or decrease) in size, and can leave behind "blocker" pieces which allow only pieces above or below a certain size to get through.

One player acts as the "master," setting up the rules which govern piece growth. By changing these rules, a very different game results: pieces which would grow under a certain circumstance in one game will shrink in another. Thought-provoking, complex and yet elegantly simple, this game will probably continue to be played years from now.

Rating: 5 (out of 5)
Keywords: BLOCKTOID GAME FUN STRATEGY NETWORK MULTIPLAYER
Requires: System 7 or greater, networked Macs, 2 to 6 players
Price: Shareware $15

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Board Games!
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Daniel E. Gisselquist

Board Games! is sort of the "Works" program of strategy games: an integrated package which contains many different programs in one, easy-to-use package. But instead of containing boring utilities like a spreadsheet, database and word processor, this little program lets you do something much more important: play Tic-Tac-Toe (in three versions), Othello, and Connect Four against the computer. And, just as the commercial program ClarisWorks crams five useful applications in an incredibly small space, Board Games! fits all this fun in only a few dozen kilobytes.

All games are played in small, un-resizeable windows against a black background. You take the first move, and the computer follows suit. There's a wide range of levels of difficulty from which to choose: you can expect to either lose miserably, draw, or whip the computer's digitized butt. The programming's not perfect, and there's no documentation at all to give you an idea of how to play, but Board Games! will give you a good selection of welcome diversions.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: board games FUN GAME TIC-TAC-TOE OTHELLO IAGO CONNECT FOUR STRATEGY
Requires: 16 grays or colors
Price: Freeware

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Chinese Puzzle
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Andrew Kirby

Chinese Puzzle is a solitaire card game which is similar to Gallery (also in this library). Like that game, Chinese Puzzle uses two standard decks of cards, laid out in a tableau of eight rows. Also like Gallery, the goal is to lay move cards around in vacant spaces, so that they end up in a certain order.

Chinese Puzzle, however, lacks some of the niceties Gallery has, mostly having concerning help features useful to beginning players. There's no hint, suggestion, or "play out" feature common to many computer-based card games, for instance: the only guidance you'll get is a beep if you've mislaid a card.

Still, it's an interesting game once you get to know it. More challenging than most other solitaire games, Chinese Puzzle presents a good solid enigma which should keep your brain active during a long commute. Note that this file was developed before System 7, and may cause conflicts if run in the background. Black and white.

Rating: 2 (out of 5)
Keywords:
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Freeware

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Color Daleks 1.0
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: John Morgan, Jr

Exterminate! Exterminate! In Color Daleks, those wacky nemeses of British television's Doctor Who are back, out to destroy the time-traveling doctor as he discreetly zips about the playing field in his police box. (If you've never seen the long-running T.V. program, none of this will make sense: the game's still fun, though.) The object is to get the Daleks to run into each other without running into them yourself: they're intensely stupid, so that's not so hard. In the meantime, however, they're trying to get their deadly grip on you, and one touch will end the game.

Special tools, such as the "Sonic Screwdriver" and "Jellybaby Break" give you an advantage over the robot-like Daleks. Terrific sound effects and engrossing play capture the spirit of the Unix original while improving on it. NOTE: The "Zoom" option may cause the program to quit under System 7.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: GAME FUN DOCTOR WHO FREEWARE
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Freeware

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DeadEnd 1.1.2
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Wolfgang Thaller

Now here's a Mac game destined to become a classic: simple, small, challenging, well-designed, and addictive. DeadEnd is a maze-like strategy game, in which you have to find your way to a "goal," and the next level. But heavy blocks bar your way, which you can only move under certain conditions. Be careful, though: move them in the wrong order and attaining the goal becomes impossible.

Full color and sound make this game especially attractive (although it will run just fine in black and white with the sound turned off), and 34 maze levels guarantee that you'll be pondering these elegant puzzles for weeks to come.

Version 1.1.1 has 'New' as the default button in the opening dialog. Version 1.1.2 improves the performance of the animation and adds four more levels.

Rating: 5 (out of 5)
Keywords: DeadEnd dead end GAME FUN STRATEGY MAZE color
Requires: System 6.0.7 or later
Price: Shareware $10

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Dirty Dozen 1.0.1
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Nick Triantos

Maddening. That's the only way to describe Dirty Dozen, a digital implementation of some inscrutable wood block puzzles. Similar to Apple's hoary old classic Puzzle, the idea of this set of physical riddles is to move a wooden block from one corner of the board to the other, pushing other blocks out of the way. 43 moves are needed to solve the easiest--and and I use the term "easy" lightly--and the most difficult requires no fewer than 263. The author, who found these toys at a local mall, claims to have solved up through level 10 (128 moves): can you do better?

The long hours of contemplation you'll experience in solving these twelve puzzles is enriched by their clear, simple graphics and flawless programming. Well worth downloading.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: GAME FUN STRATEGY PUZZLE FREEWARE
Requires: 4 colors/grays, System 6.0.7 or greater
Price: Freeware

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Egyptian Solitaire 1.0.1
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Michael Houser, InterStellar Software

Egyptian Solitaire is an amusing single-player card game which is considerably simpler than the better known solitaire game "Klondike," yet compelling nonetheless. The playing area starts out with 28 cards dealt in a pyramid formation with each row overlapping the higher one, so that only the seven bottom cards are fully visible. The idea is to continue a series on a target deck: you must either pick a card one higher or lower from the visible cards, or draw from your remaining face-down cards. The fewer cards remaining on your pyramid when you run out of face-down cards, the better.

The most significant way that this computerized version could be better is in its documentation: there ain't hardly none. The good news is that with the "Show Playable Cards" option turned on, the game is easy enough to figure out. Other computerized card games include additional features, such as strategy hints, showing played cards, and suggesting plays -- none of these easily implemented features is found in this one. Still, it's such a simple game, it hardly needs those doodads: as it is, it's an enjoyable diversion to an otherwise productive day.

Updated file corrects crash if Color QuickDraw is not installed.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: EGYPTIAN SOLITAIRE CARD GAME FUN PYRAMID
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $5

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Fruit Machine 1.0.3
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Alex Metcalf

Now you can have all the addictive excitement of Las Vegas, without the annoying lounge singers! Fruit Machine is a computer realization of what North Americans call a slot machine or "one-armed bandit:" the stand-up machine into which you plunk coin after coin to watch fruit spin around, in hopes of winning a jackpot.

The Las Vegas version can have quite complex play options, and this program captures that variety: besides hopefully trying to form a fruity row on the first spin, the player is randomly given the option of holding or nudging wheels to coerce the wheels into a winning position. In addition, there are special challenge interludes, and with each win is the opportunity to risk the payoff for higher stakes.

Terrific graphics, nearly seamless HyperCard programming, and exciting play options will keep you hooked until early morning--but with Fruit Machine, at least you'll still have money to buy breakfast.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: HyperCard FUN GAME GAMBLING SLOT MACHINE ONE-ARMED BANDIT
Requires: HyperCard 2.0 or greater
Price: Shareware $15

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Gallery 3.0
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Adrian Herzog

Gallery is a two-deck solitaire card game in which your memory and familiarity with the rules are tested to the limit. The game begins with a tableau of three eight-card rows, a face-down stack of unplayed cards, and space for additional cards to be dealt. (Aces are not used, and are automatically set aside as they're dealt.) The object is to build a "gallery" of face cards--Jacks, Queens, and Kings--on a specific foundation of lower-value cards.

While the game seems confusing at first, Gallery contains sufficient on-line help and demonstration options to guide novices through their first games: an especially useful option is to have movable cards highlighted. It's also possible to watch the Mac play through a game, although watching it do so is like seeing Star Trek's android character Data program the ship's controls: so fast as to be incomprehensible. Visible during the game are detailed statistical summaries which can be exported to text files. All in all, this is an engrossing game with enough entry-level options to get you playing within minutes, and enough complexity to keep you playing for months.

Version 3.0 adds color (albeit rather anemic color), balloon help and a few options.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: CARDS GAME FUN SOLITAIRE FREEWARE
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Freeware

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Gin Rummy 2.0
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: William Hale

Here's an old favorite, well implemented: 10-card Gin Rummy. This computer version offers challenging play, along with a self-play mode and "kibitzer" function, in which the computer suggests the best move for you. It's stable, straightforward, and plays a thoughtful (and addictive) game.

There are few play options available, but the author covered all the useful ones: user level and computer level can both be set, there are three choices of strategy which the computer can take (although these aren't well clarified), and errors (such as attempting to meld inappropriately) can be signaled through beeps, dialog boxes or, for those Macs which can use it, MacinTalk. And for the chronically error-prone, Undo works on most actions.

Three things would improve this program: more keyboard shortcuts for such common actions as drawing and discarding, an option to play the 7-card version of the game, and a way to slow down the computer vs. computer "demo" mode. Still, for its stability and simplicity, Gin Rummy is worth a download.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: GAME FUN CARDS FREEWARE
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Freeware

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Hearts Deluxe 3.4
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: FreeVerse

Zounds! Would you believe--a card game that's this much fun? Fun is the mode of Ian Lynch Smith's Hearts Deluxe, an electronic rendition of the game of Hearts. It's a complex game that's paradoxically easy to learn. The idea of Hearts is to collect as few points as possible by passing off your cards following a strict set of rules. But the play--albeit fascinating--is not the main draw with this version. Its most outstanding aspects are its graphics (by Mark Hudson) and sounds: finally, a programmer who knows an artist or two! You sit at a table, playing against what looks like three collegians: Zak, Rob, and Jen. Their personalities come out during the game, as the goggle-eyed Zak shouts "I got it!" when winning, and Jen sticks her tongue out when losing.

Oh, and the play's good, too. There are options for handicapping yourself or the computer, creating new opponents, for setting the "game end" limit, and for taking lessons from the built-in tutor. A more fully-functional version (with harder opponents), together with a printed color manual, is sent to registered users who have paid their shareware fee. A small price to pay for what is an excellent example of game design. Received an Honorable Mention in the 1994 Ziff-Davis Interactive Shareware Awards (See MacUser, Oct. 94).

Although this version doesn't support play on an SE/30, the author (FreeVerse on eWorld) has a version which will run on an SE/30 -- write to them.

For those of you with versions 3.0 or 3.1, download "Hearts Deluxe 3.x->3.2 Updater" instead, and patch your old application file to version 3.2. Once you have version 3.2, download "Hearts Deluxe 3.2->3.3 Updater" and patch the players and the main application. Now you have the latest version of Hearts Deluxe. Be sure to try "Hearts Plug-In #1" to play against some new opponents.

Version 3.3 changes the way customized opponents are incorporated, plays better and has improved artwork. Version 3.4 incorporates undocumented changes, probably bug fixes.

Rating: 5 (out of 5)
Keywords: hearts deluxe CARD GAME FUN deal hands clubs spades diamonds shoot moon
Requires: 68020 or later (not SE/30), System 7 or later
Price: Shareware $15

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Hearts (Fractal Software) 0.8
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Tom Hedges and Mark Zimmer

It's hard to beat a classic, but Fractal Software's freeware version of Hearts offers some functions missing in Ian Lynch Smith's astonishing realization of this card favorite (also available on ZMac). To start off with, it's considerably smaller: 32K versus 399K (stuffed) for the other, graphic- and sound-rich version. For another, it's free -- my favorite price! But the most significant difference -- one which makes this program as much an instructional utility as a game -- is that some programming features (such as a "Debug" menu choice) have been built in, making this public domain work an excellent study for beginning programmers.

But you came here searching for games, and this one does well on that count, too. It plays a solid, logical game of Hearts at two levels of difficulty. (Changing the level mostly affects the information given you and not the intelligence of the computer/player.) There are few options, but the program is robust, sturdy, compact and timeless. Not to mention fun!

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: HEARTS GAME FUN CARDS HANDS PASS TRICKS DEAL QUEEN SPADES JACK DIAMONDS SHOOT THE MOON
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Freeware

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Hearts Plug-In #2 (Dogs)
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: FreeVerse

If you've played FreeVerse's award-winning game Hearts Deluxe (also available from ZiffNet/Mac), you know how much fun it is. But the company of even good friends gets stale after a while, and a time comes when you need to move on -- and yet keep the good from the previous relationship.

That's why Ian Lynch Smith has programmed a system by which third parties can replace the original opponents -- Zak, Rob and Jen -- with other "personalities". In Hearts Plug-In #2, those opponents are.. well, canine. Lon, Lathrop and Trey bark, growl, and think doggie thoughts while taking your Jack and whupping your butt.

The artwork and sound quality of this plug-in aren't quite at the same level as the previous plug-in "Heartbreak Hotel" (also available in this library). For one thing, it's often hard to understand what the dogs are growling. But the fun is unmistakable, pure charm from the designer of the original, Mark Hudson.

NOTE: be certain to place this file in the same folder as the Hearts Deluxe game (versions before 3.3 won't work -- better upgrade). If you don't, it won't work.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: Hearts Deluxe plugin module card game fun dogs woof canine
Requires: Hearts Deluxe 3.3 or later
Price: Shareware $9.95

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Hex Ya! 2.1.3
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: John Decker

Oowie--did I get a headache! That's what you're trying to avoid in Hex Ya!, an engrossing solitaire memory game. You're presented with a board of 90 adjoining triangles, set in groups of six to form hexagons. Under each triangle is one of 20 different symbols: your task is to find the two matching pairs of each symbol while avoiding the ten "headaches" which will end the game. You have a clue to aid you in your quest: a number on each hexagon tells you how many headaches can be found underneath the six triangles which make up that hexagon. Since a triangle can belong to as many as three hexagons, however, it takes some deduction to figure out which ones are safe. (Once you have made such determinations, you have the option of marking up to ten pieces to remind you.)

Clicking on a puzzle piece with the question function enabled will tell you whether the piece is a headache. Question and Mark modes are now enabled by holding down the shift and option keys, respectively. Levels from "0" (Just Mousin' Around!) to "5" (Master) limit the number of questions you can ask and the amount of time you can take to solve the puzzle.

The interface is clear and uncluttered, the menus sparse. Useful statistics--such as the number of moves you've taken and which symbols remain hidden--are displayed beneath the playing area. This game's elegance is demonstrated by its simple interface: the entire game can be played with the mouse.

Version 2.1.3 adds color, a "Question" function, and different levels.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: GAME FUN MEMORY TILES HEADACHE MATCHING PAIRS color
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $10

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Iago 1.0
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: David Reed

Iago is a wittily named version of Othello, the well known strategy game. Similar to the Japanese game Go, Iago is built around a playing area similar to a checkerboard, on which one player places black pieces and the other places white. The object is to "bracket" the other player's pieces -- that is, to surround them on two sides with your pieces. Your opponent's pieces then become yours and add to your score.

Iago is a good, solid (if antiquated) version of this favorite. All of the usual features are there: the choice to play against the computer or a human opponent, the ability to take back moves, sound, and so forth. There's also a witty menu called "Job Security," which switches the screen and menus to look like a serious spreadsheet program -- at least, until the boss goes away.

Three levels of play and three board sizes will keep you learning: I've never been able to even come close to beating the computer at "expert" level. Note that this, being an old program, is not terribly System 7 friendly, has a non-standard menu layout, and is in black and white. Nevertheless, it's a quick download and a fun play.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: Iago Othello game strategy board black white checkers pieces bracket
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Freeware

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Logo Daedalus 1.2a
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Michael D. Speir

Finally--a shareware word game with a dictionary! The game is Logo Daedalus, a Mac implementation similar to the popular game Boggle. The idea is to find words on contiguous cubes from within a 4x4 square of randomly chosen letters; words must be of a minimum length, from two to five letters, chosen by the players. The timer is set, and the first player starts indicating potential words. If the word is found in the program's dictionary, points are awarded based on the square of the word's length. (Two-letter words are four points, three-letter words are nine points, and so on.) For words that aren't in the game's internal stock, it's possible to edit your own auxiliary dictionary, although instructions for doing so aren't given.

Black and white. NOTE: The first time the game is played, you may need to locate the dictionary and open it. Very little documentation. Some displays do not redraw properly when momentarily blocked. Printing may not work.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: GAME FUN WORDS BOGGLE RANDOM DICTIONARY
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $15

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MacQubic 2.3
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Eric David and David A. Belsley

First there was Tic-Tac-Toe, then there was 4-D Tic-Tac-Toe, now there's.. MacQubic! MacQubic is a computerized version of 4-D Tic-Tac-Toe (also known as 4x4) which plays a thoughtful, demanding game. It's also one of the games playable in the program Board Games! by Daniel E. Gisselquist, a freeware program which also includes traditional Tic-Tac-Toe, another version of Tic-Tac-Toe, Othello, and Connect Four.

The play feels quite different from Mr. Gisselquist's creation: for one thing, the range of computer intelligence is much wider. At its highest level, it may take the computer as much as a minute to move (at which point it aborts its own thinking process for speed's sake). Also, its a deeper study of 4-D Tic-Tac-Toe: despite the fact that you can only play the one version of the game, there are more options, including hints, a two-player mode, the ability to switch sides in the middle of a game, and unlimited undo's. So while Board Games! has some obvious advantages, MacQubic is more thoughtful, and works well as a companion to it.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: MACQUBIC TIC-TAC-TOE FUN GAME 4X4 STRATEGY
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $10

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Master Video Poker 2.3
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: David Huett

The most popular American version of poker, five-card Draw, is well-realized in Master Video Poker. This version sports some terrific analytical tools, such as an odds table which continually updates to reflect your hand, showing probability percentages, payouts, and the history of your previous hands. The computer will make suggestions as you play, and you can bias its outlook according to your style and the level of risk you're willing to take. It's limited, however, in its play: none of the other forms of poker (such as stud) are available, and bets can only be placed once per hand.

By the way: if you notice that the hands are always dealt the same when you start up the program, congratulations! You've discovered the shareware incentive! Paying the (somewhat high) fee gets you a version which remembers to shuffle the deck. NOTE: You'll not be able to play the first hand you see -- think of it as being the cards that the last player left on the table. Just go ahead a place your bet, and you'll be dealt a new hand.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: MASTER VIDEO POKER GAMBLING VEGAS CARDS GAME FUN
Requires: System 7 or later
Price: Shareware $20

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MemoCards Light 2.0a
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Carole Fox

Memocards Light joins a growing group of engaging memory games in which the idea is to eliminate tiles (or in this case, cards) from the board by matching pairs of similar cards. The trick is in remembering what you've seen before: you turn over two cards and, should they not match, they are turned face down again.

It's a simple, age-old idea, and it's been well represented already in the Mac shareware world. (Mombasa, DoubleVision and Hex Ya! are three versions which are available for download in this library.) MemoCards Light distinguishes itself through its sound, good use of graphics, and its gosh-darned playability. You can play by yourself or -- in a feature unique to this version -- with someone else over a network.

This "Light" version is fully functional for all intents and purposes. Some sounds and graphics have been left out to speed downloading. (and to give you a reason to pay your shareware fee!) -- the full version is over 900K. Wherever something's been left out of the "light" version, a notice appears, explaining how to pay your shareware fee. And it's worth it: if this is the quality of the Light version, I can only imagine the excellence of the full one.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: MEMOCARDS LIGHT GAME FUN MEMORY STRATEGY VISUAL concentration
Requires: System 7 or later (for black-and-white version; color version works with System 6.0.7 or later)
Price: Shareware $15

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Mombasa 1.5
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Glenn Wichmann

Mombasa is a rare treat: a mental and visual challenge that people of all ages will find engrossing. The idea behind this game is to locate pairs of matching tiles from within a dizzying array. Tiles are arranged in stacks up to five deep, and the top ones must be removed before the lower ones can be accessed. Unlike Concentration (a similar and better known version of this game), the tiles are visible at all times, so it's more of a test of visual acuity than it is of memory.

The tiles are elegant, well designed and differentiated enough to eschew confusion--not an easy task--and the background is attractive. You can play on one of the five board layouts provided, or create your own design. Four sets of tiles, each with a theme, makes the game educational as well as fun (when a tile is chosen, the name of the pictured item is shown--now I know the difference between a Ugandan and a Kenyan shield!) The in-depth online documentation is helpful and informative.

Mombasa 1.5 is a major upgrade and features new graphics -- in color!

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: GAME FUN MEMORY STRATEGY VISUAL concentration
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $5

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Morpion 1.0.0d2
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Peter Lewis

An occupation for a long airplane ride if ever I saw one, Morpion is an adaptation of an old French pen-and-paper game, now popular on the (Newton) MessagePad. The goal of this doodling game is to draw as many lines as possible, the restriction being that each line must pass through four or five points (called "vertices" in this version) on a predefined board. If the five-unit-long line only goes through four points, a fifth one is drawn in the vacant space, increasing your possibilities for the next move.

It's an addictive game, and well realized here. Besides the basic play (which could be made, after all, on a sheet of paper), there are features which make the game a little faster and more interesting: the computer will automatically determine which moves are possible, for example, which makes picking the best move the challenge of the game instead of searching for legal moves. There's a self-play mode as well, although the computer doesn't demonstrate any special forethought or intelligence: it simply makes random lines until it runs out of legal moves. But no matter what mode you run in Morpion, it's a mind-bending and challenging pastime.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: GAME FUN LINES board freeware
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Freeware

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Nine Men's Morris 2.0.3
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Michael Dickman

If you're a fan of strategic board games like Go or Chess, you'll instantly fall for Nine Men's Morris, a game with roots thousands of years old. As with Tic-Tac-Toe, the object is to get three stones (or "merelles") in a row while preventing your opponent from doing the same.

Five levels of play are available, and you have the option of playing against the computer or another human (or, should you be especially lazy, watching the computer play against itself over and over again). Superb documentation and a wide selection of variations keeps play interesting. In glorious black and white.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: game fun strategy one player mills three in a row black and white tic-tac-toe
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $10

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Pentominoes 1.4.1
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Mark Pilgrim

Don't let the oddly shaped blocks fool you--this isn't another Tetris wannabe! Pentominoes is, however, based on the same writings of mathematicians Martin Gardner and Solomon Golumb, and its appearance and ostensible goals are similar: to fit blocks into a rectangular space without leaving any unfilled spaces. But there the similarity ends: Pentominoes is not an action game, and there's no time limit on your moves, making play ponderous, thoughtful, and most definitely un-Tetris-like. (Also, the pieces are made up of five squares (they are "pentanomous") as opposed to Tetris' pieces' "tetranomous" four: hence the derivation of the latter game's name.)

With any thought-provoking game, it's nice to have an attractive board to look at while thinking. In this aspect, Pentominoes is well designed. Other aspects of the interface, however, are lacking: it would be nice to be able to move pieces once they're placed, and removing them is awkward. There are unlimited Undos, however, and that partially makes up for those problems. And they certainly don't stand in the way of an enjoyable game: all in all, Pentominoes is a colorful puzzle that should give hours of enjoyment.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: GAME FUN BLOCKS TETRIS STRATEGY PUZZLE freeware
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Freeware

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QuarkChess 1.0
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Arron Robinson

Don't be fooled by the look -- this isn't another computer chess game! Rather, it's a very good layout of a chess board in the popular publishing program, Quark XPress. In the main file, you'll find the board already set up for a game, complete with Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) versions of all the pieces and a scorecard. Its creator put it together "when some friends of mine got tired of me calling off chess matches due to my losing the pieces of my travel chess set when I inadvertently fell asleep on the bus (honest, even though I was losing most of the time)."

And it's a pretty good-looking board, with stylish pieces and a clear graphic sense. Unfortunately, it was created to fit a piece of paper 11"x14", so be sure to scale it down by 77% or less if you want to print it on a letter-sized sheet. A library of the pieces is also included, in case you advance a pawn and need another queen (or bishop, or knight, or whatever). Or, of course, the graphics can be used in other layouts.

This is a good traveling companion: I can see it on PowerBooks around the globe, bringing together travelers in a good game of cyber-based chess.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: TEMPLATE QUARK XPRESS EPS GRAPHICS GAME BOARD PIECES fun freeware
Requires: Quark XPress 3.2 or later
Price: Freeware

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Rubik's Wrap
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Dennis Johnson

Remember Rubik's Cube? This invention of a European mathematician stumped and infuriated millions of people around the world until systems of solving it were popularized. To offer a new challenge, game makes introduced another, similar game under his name.. then another.. then another.. Now comes Rubik's Wrap, a computer-based game of visual permutations which retain the colorful beauty of Rubik's earlier creations.

The idea of this puzzle, as with the earlier games, is to gather similarly colored blocks together. Blocks are grouped on a two-dimensional surface in such a way that they pivot at key points: but as a block may belong to more than one pivoting group, each move affects more than the desired area. The actual playing area is small, but for an added challenge, try blowing it up to full-screen size, and let a dizzying repetition of the playing area confuse you further.

Excellent programming makes this one of the more stable and predictable shareware games around. NOTE: NowMenus will be deactivated while the game is running.

Rating: 4 (out of 5)
Keywords: GAME FUN PUZZLE COLORS PATTERNS ROTATION
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $5

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The 10 Tile Puzzle 1.1
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Andre Ouimet

The 10 Tile Puzzle is a computerized realization of an old wooden-block toy in which the goal is to move a large block through a sea of smaller blocks to the other side of an enclosed area. As with the puzzle included with the Mac system software since its early days, pieces can only be slid into vacant spaces contiguous to themselves. Unlike the Puzzle DA, however, these blocks are of varying sizes, making the order of moves much more important and complicating the possibilities.

Another freeware game, Dirty Dozen, contains eleven more puzzles of this type. However, The 10 Tile Puzzle has a few features lacking in the other game: the ability to take a "snapshot" of the board at any time (and later revert back to that position); an option that lets you replay two solutions of the puzzle, either step-by-step or at high speed; and the choice of appearance of the blocks. While the two games are very similar, they complement each other nicely, and would go well together in any gamer's library.

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Keywords: GAME FUN STRATEGY PUZZLE MOVE FREEWARE
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Freeware

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The Maze 1.2
Category: Games/Strategy & Card Games
Author: Jonathon

From eWorld's own Jonathon comes yet another HyperCard-based game, a standalone enigma called The Maze. The idea is to get out of a building and find your way to the airport, ultimately to leave the country. Navigation is point-and-click, but it's not always obvious where you're allowed to go and where you can't. Here's a tip: click on the far left and right edges of the window to go in those directions. Ideally, there would be a larger area in which to click, but..

The author's English is a little strange: he keeps talking about escaping the "bench" -- whatever that is. I think he means the building (or maybe a mistranslation of the Germanic "bank"? The mind reels). In any case, this game is at about the same level as his others, such as "Escape From School" (in the "Children's Games" library): not very attractive, top-heavy (507K for THIS?) and flawed, but nonetheless charming for limited periods. And -- I must confess -- I *still* haven't solved the puzzle. And I keep playing.

Pay the registration fee and the author will provide you with hints and information about his upcoming works.

Rating: 2 (out of 5)
Keywords: labyrinth game fun strategy adventure decision building bench
Requires: Mac Plus or better
Price: Shareware $5

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