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  Preview: “A Tractor”  
Posted 2003-03-14 by Tony Walsh
A Tractor (PC)

Publisher: The Island Network
Developer: The Island Network
Price: $Free
Availability: Download

"A Tractor" is, if you believe the Web site, "the future of tractor-related internet gaming."

Free to play, and very, very strange, A Tractor puts players on islands that other players control and/or create. The rest is really hard to figure out. It seems that one's purpose in the game varies with which island you're on, as the owner of the island has configured such settings as " you gain points to the speeds of the vehicles to what happens when you die. Some islands are about earning money and building businesses, some are about fighting, some are combinations of these and other features." Judging by what I managed to glean from their arcane Web site, a big part of A Tractor is vehicular combat... but there is also "Crowfighting." Nothing about the game makes sense to a newcomer, but for a 3.4MB download, I'm willing to try it out.

More detail can be found in the extensive New Player Guides, and since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are some screenshots from an upcoming upgrade to A Tractor:

Shot 1
Shot 2
Shot 3
Shot 4
Shot 5

Links not guaranteed for freshness.
  Preview: “My Street”  
Posted 2003-03-12 by Tony Walsh
My Street (PS2)

Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Idol Minds
Price: $Unknown
Availability: March 12, 2003

My Street boasts exciting party game action for both local and Internet-based players, putting gamers in the very tiny shoes of neighbourhood kids. Limited to four players in total, participants test their skill in such classic mini-games as Dodgeball and Marbles, while learning new ones... Chicken Herding? Must be a rough street.

I'm not sure what the appeal is here, considering it's not all that hard to play an actual game of marbles around the house, or, perish the thought, go outside and pick up a ball. I guess it's just easier to sit on the couch and watch your ass grow.

  Review: “Kung-Fu Chaos”  
Posted 2003-02-24 by Tony Walsh
Kung-Fu Chaos (Xbox)

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Just Add Monsters (JAM) Ltd.
Price: $49.99US ERP
Availability: Spring 2003

Bust out the wine, `cause it goes so well with cheese. UK developer Just Add Monsters slathers it on thick with 4-player fighting game Kung-Fu Chaos. A great party game (another reason you'll need wine,) Kung-Fu Chaos features goofy characters, simple controls, a dynamic environment, and the ability to replay the action in gloriously gritty Super-8 style.
Kung-Fu Chaos is all about rock `em sock `em action movie-making: Your character is an actor, working for a barely-sane director in a dozen or so familiar and bizarre locales. A true star will survive to the end of the picture. Fail, and you'll be mercilessly insulted by the movie's director.

Continue reading: Review: “Kung-Fu Chaos”
  The First-Person Shooter Goes Retro  
Posted 2002-03-22 by Tony Walsh
There was once a time when we didn't have videogames. You remember that, right? Well, maybe you don't, but that's okay -- I can help. Rewind a few decades, and the twitchiest games around were probably Hungry Hungry Hippos and Mousetrap. Board games were pretty much it for a quick, sit-on-your-ass game fix.

In the eighties, the whole board game industry got shaken up due to the sudden popularity of arcades and the primordial videogame consoles. If makers of tabletop games were lucky, a kid might stop playing her Atari or Colecovision long enough to sit down for some Pop-O-Matic Trouble. But, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em: So traditional game manufacturers like Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley cashed in on the arcade frenzy, coming out with board game versions of Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Zaxxon. It wasn't long though before videogames started getting more and more complicated, busting out in a 3D stylee, ending the love affair between traditional games and videogames.

Continue reading: The First-Person Shooter Goes Retro
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