Game Guys – A Look Back – My Mac Magazine #50, June ’99

Mike: Hi, everyone! For this special issue, we decided to take a look back at all of the games we’ve ever reviewed in this column–all 33 of them!!! We also looked for updates that have been released since we last reviewed the games, by searching,, and the MIT Info-Mac HyperArchive. We may have missed a couple of minor updates, but this list is comprehensive to the best of our knowledge. Well, we’ve got a lot of games to do, so we’d better get started. Adam, why don’t you remind us what we reviewed in our first-ever Game Guys, all the way back in issue #15 (July 1996)?

Adam: Tetrix Max 2.8 is one of my all-time favorite games. It’s challenging level of play is unmatched by most shareware games today, and the quality of the game’s graphics and sound is excellent.

Mike: I agree, Adam. There are a lot of Tetris games out there, but Steve Chamberlain’s Tetris Max is the one that has stayed on my hard drive ever since our review. Unfortunately, Steve ran into some copyright issues and can no longer officially support the game, but he did update it to version 2.9 to fix bugs and improve compatibility.

Adam: You can download TetrisMax at


Hearts Deluxe PictureMike: The next game we reviewed was Hearts Deluxe 4.3, by Freeverse Software. It’s an excellent, polished game with the high quality we’ve come to expect from Freeverse. Fun and challenging gameplay, as well as good graphics, sound, and options, make this game a must for all cardsharks!

Adam: I totally agree Mike. Hearts made me a true card game-convert. So, what has Freeverse done with Hearts Deluxe since August ’96?

Mike: Freeverse has updated Hearts Deluxe to version 5.0, and the shareware fee has been increased from $15 to $19.95. In my opinion, though, it’s money well spent!

Adam: This one’s at

Adam: In September, we became addicted to Mortal Pongbat, and just had to review it. Mortal Pongbat, a variation of the classic Pong, makes you get the ball past your opponent while trying to dodge draining shots from his lasers.

Mike: Yes, David Hirchfield really did a nice job in putting a unique spin on a video game classic. The twenty dollar shareware fee may be a little on the steep side, but all in all, Mortal Pongbat is a great game worth looking into!

Adam: Mortal Pongbat is so good, it hasn’t been updated, so we’ll just give you the URL:

Mike: In the next issue (Oct. 1996), we reviewed another redone arcade classic, MacBrickout 3.1 from Leapfrog Software. It’s a variation of the classic Breakout game, and very well done, at that. It’s one of my favorite shareware arcade games!

Adam: It was no secret that we were addicted to arcade games in October! However, the quality of these games was excellent, and MacBrickout was no exception. It’s still on my hard drive.

Mike: MacBrickout has since been updated to version 3.1.1a; the minor update squashed a few bugs. It can be found at:


Mantra PictureAdam: In November 1996 (Issue #19), Power Computing released new machines, and Mike and I discovered what went on to become my FAVORITE game, software or shareware, of all time: Mantra 1.0.2. Mantra was one of those games that had it all. The 2D overhead perspective was enchanting, the graphics were excellent, and the music was some of the most catchy I’ve ever heard.

Mike: Right on, Adam. The Syzygy Cult did an outstanding job with Mantra, which is similar in many ways to the Legend of Zelda series for Nintendo game consoles, and even released the game as freeware! Mantra has stood at version 1.0.2 ever since our review, and both Adam and I give it our absolute highest recommendation! But you don’t have to take our word for it:

Adam: It had been an excellent year for My Mac, but things couldn’t have been worse for Apple at the time. So, in issue 20 (Dec. 1996), we decided to return to better times for Apple, like 1993, when Shatterball 0.29a was written.

Mike: Shatterball is a brick-bashing game with a unique 3D perspective that made the game seem awfully similar to handball.

Adam: Shatterball is another game that still resides on my hard drive, and its combination of excellent sound effects and stunning graphics make it another favorite of mine.

Mike: Like Adam said, Shatterball is an oldie but definitely a goodie. It still hasn’t been changed since 1993, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth playing! See for yourself at:

Adam: Issue #21 (Jan 1997) brought a new year, and a new set of games for us. We decided to get away from the bricks, paddles, and balls and move to sports related games, such as PlayMaker Football 2.1.4.

Mike: The Super Bowl had me in the mood for football, and PlayMaker didn’t disappoint. With simple, yet nicely done, graphics and sound, the emphasis was on strategy and coaching over reflexes. PlayMaker Football has developed quite a following, and it continues to keep me happy (although I can’t wait for the Mac version of Madden 2000 to be released later on this year!) PMF has been updated to version 2.2, and can be downloaded at:

Mike: February saw the return of Steve Jobs to Apple, and our return to Tetris-related games. We decided to review 3Tris, which is a fun game that put the Tetris concept into a 3-dimensional space!

Adam: 3Tris is a game that required a lot of getting used to, and a lot of skill, but once I got the hang of it, I got it!

Mike: Exactly. 3Tris is very challenging, and you aren’t going to become an expert at it on your first try, but if you give it a chance, I think you’ll find it’s pretty addicting! Unfortunately, when we went to e-press, we couldn’t find a URL for 3Tris.


Picture 4Adam: March 1997 brought Mac OS 7.6, a new logo for My Mac, and Foobar vs. the DEA to The Game Guys. Another wonderfully done game, I still play it occasionally to hear the catchy music and get the thrill of winning.

Mike: Even though most game consoles are saturated with shoot-em-ups, I’m a sucker for them, and I’m always excited when a well-done shooter comes to the Mac. Foobar was just the ticket for me! The vertically scrolling space fighter features cartoony graphics and stellar gameplay, and currently resides at version 1.1.4. See for yourself at:

Adam: In issue #24, Mac OS 8 was unveiled, and The Game Guys unveiled MacSokoban 3.0.2.

Mike: This freeware gem by Ingemar Ragnemalm is a Mac version of the classic puzzle game Sokoban, where you move blocks around the screen and position them on “target squares.” Moving the blocks so that they all end up on the right squares takes a lot of thought and planning, especially in the later levels. This game can get tough!

Adam: MacSokoban is still at v3.0.2, and can still be had for the slender price of $15. Go get it!

Adam: That May, My Mac received a new look for issue #25. Game Guys, however, stayed constant with the previous month by reviewing another maze-game: BOOM 1.0.

Mike: And what a maze game it is! Federico Filliponi’s BOOM mixes the arcade game Bomberman with the plot and characters of DOOM, and it’s great fun! Strategically placing your bombs to blow up obstacles and enemies without harming yourself requires quick thinking!

Adam: In addition to having a great plot, BOOM has great graphics and superb music, two things that always make or break a shareware game.

Mike: That’s right – BOOM has a lot of polish. This well-crafted game is currently at version 1.1.4, and can be downloaded at:

Mike: We reviewed Ortograf in June 1997, which is a Scrabble game for the Mac.

Adam: You can never go wrong with Scrabble, and you can never out-spell Ortograf! Download it today at:


Monkey Shines PictureAdam: By July 1997, Mac OS 8 was almost complete, but Monkey Shines was already well on its way to becomming another one of my all-time favorites.

Mike: Monkey Shines is high on my all-time favorite list, as well–the graphics are superb, the sound is great, and the game is just plain fun. A horizontally-scrolling arcade game ala Super Mario Bros, Monkey Shines has you jumping, running, and climbing all over the place! The current version of Monkey Shines is 1.2.1, and FantaSoft is also working on a sequel, Monkey Shines 2: Gorilla Warfare! I can’t wait! In the meantime, though, you can get the original Monkey Shines at:

Adam: August 1997 was quite an eventful month! Mac OS 8 was reaching customers, our website was redesigned, and The Game Guys got a new logo and also a great game to review in BEDLAM 2.

Mike: Bedlam 2 is a shoot-em-up reminiscient of the arcade game Galaga, and in addition to great gameplay, it provides excellent, informational cut scenes in between levels.

Adam: Bedlam took quite a bit of getting used to, but it was all around fun from the moment I first played it. Ground Zero has since updated Bedlam 2 to 1.0.6, and we recommend you download it at:

Mike: While everyone was upgrading to OS 8, I was moving to college, and taking an ancient Mac LC to school with me! So, in September, we had to find a game that didn’t have very high system requirements. We still found a gem, though, in a sequel to our favorite game, Mantra II: The Blood of Saric!

Adam: Mantra II is my second all time favorite game, second only to the original Mantra, of course! While our first impressions were not what we expected, in the end, the Syzygy Cult didn’t disapoint.

Mike: I agree. Although similar to the original, Mantra II was just different enough to make it unique in its own right. It’s a great game, and all adventure game fans should get it at:

Adam: Mike was so busy with school that we missed the October issue! But we were back in November. Apple began to Think Differently, but The Game Guys were forced to since Mike had downgraded to an LC, LOL! Thus, we reviewed the venerable Scrungle 1.0.

Mike: Scrungle had very simple graphics and a small game screen, but then again, it had to fit on my 12-inch monitor! The object of Scrungle was to push parts of the surrounding walls outward, squashing your enemies and providing protection for yourself.

Adam: Unforunately, we didn’t have quite as much fun as we wanted to with Scrungle, but you can decide for yourself. The download link is:

Mike: We ended the year with another fast paced puzzle game from Steve Chamberlain, Dr. Max 1.0. This game brought Nintendo’s Dr. Mario to the Mac, with great success.

Adam: Dr. Max was tetris with a twist. You had to match colors instead of fitting pieces. The great graphics and sound were bonuses to this wonderful game.

Mike: Once again, Steve’s had some problems with Nintendo’s legal eagles, so the game is officially unsupported. It’s very stable, though, and so much fun that it’s worth downloading at:

Adam: Apple began the year with a profitable quarter, My Mac rang in the new year with a new website, and The Game Guys did double duty reviewing a pair of well done games: NS-SHAFT and NS-TOWER.

Mike: The games complement each other: in NS-Shaft, you must travel down a never-ending chasm, trying to outrun the descending spikes. In NS-Tower, you climb a tower as high as you can, being careful not to fall to your doom!

Adam: Whether you like one, the other, or both, they can be downloaded at:

Mike: In February 1998, the Department of Justice was investigating Microsoft, Apple released the OS 8.1 update, and Titanic was ruling the box office. It was also the month that Freeverse Software released CrossCards, a unique blend of Scabble and Poker that I found extremely enjoyable.

Adam: CrossCards had a great deal of quality and thought put into it. Make sure you get a feel for it before paying $15.00, though.

Mike: Luckily, you can try before you buy, by going to:


Picture 6Adam: In March of that year, Apple re-entered the advertising scene, and Mike and I re-entered the world of 3D games with Sokoban 3D 1.0.1.

Mike: Remember MacSokoban, which we reviewed a few months ago? This game puts the exact same concept into a 3D, 1st-person game. Even if you’re good at the “normal” Sokoban, this game is really challenging! It’s nicely done, and a lot of fun, though!

Adam: Definitely. So much fun, that I have to recommend you download this up-close and personal game at:

Adam: In April of that year, My Mac got a new look, a new logo, and received its last major web update until the present, making it the most successful and longest lasting design in the history of My Mac. Mike was busy with school, and I was busy with the website, so we didn’t make the April issue. Fortunately, we returned in May, just in time for the release of Windows 98! We reviewed the excellent Bub & Bob 1.2.

Mike: I’m really glad that I got to run Bub & Bob this month instead of Windows 98! It’s a fun game, similar to the arcade classic Bubble Bobble. You are a little dragon, and have to trap the bad guys in bubbles and pop them using the horns on your head!

Adam: Bub & Bob is pure fun, and that’s all there is to say. There’s no reason not to download the new version 1.4 today at:

Mike: In June 1998, the Mac crowd was going crazy over Steve Jobs’ introduction of the iMac, but Tim was going retro in the pages of My Mac by reviewing a 128k Macintosh! We stuck to arcade games, though, and reviewed a pair of stellar shoot-em-ups, Mars Rising from Ambrosia and Project Magellan from PlaidWorld.

Adam: Mike and I were the PowerBook Power PC twins now, and thus we had to review some high-end games! Mars Rising and Project Magellan did not dissappoint. With superb plots, graphics and sound, they should reside on every gamers hard drive.

Mike: Mars Rising ($20 shareware) has received a minor update and is at version 1.0.2. Project Magellan ($24.95) has been updated to a new version, 3.1, which introduces faster game play and a new power-up scheme. Download them both today!

Adam: In July 1998, the Mac community was still red-hot with iMac fever. Microsoft released the long-awaited Office 98, and things were definitely looking up for the Macintosh. The Game Guys got (another!) new logo, and got a huge amount of work trying to decipher the amazing MacChess 4.0.

Mike: I’ve always liked chess, but never been very good at it. (OK, OK–I stink!) But I still made Adam learn how to play for this review! Needless to say, MacChess’s superb intelligence beat the pants off of both of us! If you’re a chess fan, though, MacChess is for you!

Adam: I almost killed Mike for doing it, and the funny thing is that I still don’t know how to play. Nonetheless, the new version 5.0 is now available, with lots of new features. If you like chess, and own a Macintosh, get MacChess.

Adam: In August 1998, Apple released the most successful PC in history with the iMac. My Mac’s cover said it all: The future was (and still is) looking bright! My Mac unveiled the new Mac OS 8.5, the AutoStart virus attacked the Mac OS, and The Game Guys got attacked by MacAttack 1.98.

Mike: In this Tempest-style game, it’s your job to attack a computer virus that has invaded “the net.” With fast-paced action, a variety of enemies, tough boss enemies, and an arsenal of weapons for you to use, MacAttack is a shot of pure adrenaline!

Adam: It’s almost scary when you play it, but you won’t have nightmares, I promise. 🙂 Get the new version 1.99 today at:


EV Override PictureMike: In the next month, My Mac moved to its current home, with a new web server, and I upgraded my 4-month-old PowerBook 1400 with a NuPowr G3 upgrade! We reviewed the latest title from Ambrosia, (and the sequel to one of my favorite games)- Escape Velocity: Override.

Adam: In EV Override, you hyperspace in and out of different systems, gaining credits and becoming as successful or unsuccessful as you want.

Mike: If you’re into science fiction adventures, we recommend you check out EV: Override and, as Ambrosia says, “rediscover addiction.”

Adam: In October 1998, Mike Gorman’s daughter Gracie was born at the same time that the My Mac/World Without Borders Chat previewed; the iMac, born just a few months prior to Gracie was flourishing, and Mike forced me into reviewing another card game: the excellent Spades Deluxe 1.0.

Mike: In Spades, you try to collect as many “tricks” in each hand as you guess you will, and your score depends upon how well you work together with your partner. Since Spades is played with a partner, computer intelligence is important for when you want to play by yourself, and Spades Deluxe delivers. Tough computer opponents, with adjustable intelligence levels, and the usual options and quality from Freeverse make this game a winner.

Adam: A winner indeed. Download the excellent version 1.6 today at:

Adam: November 1998 brought the release of the wildly successful Mac OS 8.5 to the Macintosh, and the wildly wild Manic Minefields returned to My Mac in The Game Guys.

Mike: Adam had previously reviewed Manic Minefields, but this new version was my first bout with the game. All I can say is, those PC users you see playing Minesweeper for hours on end can only wish they had this one instead! Great gameplay and a low $7 shareware fee makes this game a surefire hit. See for yourself at:


Kaged PictureAdam: Mike and I missed #44, but in January 1999, My Mac saw the last Mike Gorman cover (until this issue!), the Mac community became hungry at the sight of the yummy iMacs, and The Game Guys got spooky with Kaged: The Magic Orbs.

Mike: In Kaged, you had to match up mystical orbs with the same patterns by moving them on the game board so that they were adjacent to each other. The only problem was, every time you made a move, the orbs changed patterns!

Adam: The really tricky part came when Mike and I figured out that you can’t beat Kaged! It’s impossible. The orbs just keep coming, I guess.

Mike: We couldn’t find a download site for Kaged, either. I seem to recall finding it on a MacAddict magazine CD-ROM. Sorry!

Mike: With the succes of the iMac, the Mac gaming scene was starting to build steam, too. Lucas Arts re-committed to the Mac, and Connectix released their PlayStation emulator, the Virtual Game Station. We stuck with a tried-and-true Mac game developer, however, reviewing Ambrosia’s latest offering, Slithereens, in issue #46.

Adam: Slithereens was everything I expected from Ambrosia, and more. The snappy, responsive gameplay along with excellent graphics and digitized sound made Slithereens a truly slimy experience!

Mike: It sure was addicting to move your snake around the screen, trying to eat the other snakes before they ate you! It sounds simple, but it’s got to be tried to realize just how much fun it is:

Mike: For issue #47, I participated in My Mac’s “browser rumble” argu… er, discussion, and we reviewed Royal Flush 1.2.1. The game is an example of what can happen when good intentions don’t quite pan out.

Adam: True, Mike. It’s like an unfortunate mistake. No bells and whistles, and no polish. To make matters worse, Royal Flush is completely imcompatible with Mac OS 8.x. Owwwwww!

Mike: People who are really desperate for a 70’s-style pinball game can give Royal Flush a look at: Otherwise, Adam and I recommend picking up one of the many inexpensive commercial pinball games.


Bubbles PictureAdam: In April 1999, Apple went Star Wars, and so did The Game Guys! In fact, we were so wrapped up in the new trailer that we forgot to review a game. However, we were back in issue #49 with Bubbles 1.3.

Mike: Bubbles features several different-colored spheres scattered around a rectangular playing grid. Your goal is to match up spheres of the same color, and move them adjacent to each other. Every time you move, four new spheres appear on the board. You keep matching colors and trying for a high score until the grid is filled and you can’t make any more moves.

Adam: It’s an exhausting and challenging game that everyone should take a look at.

Adam: And that wraps things up! We hope you have enjoyed this look back through Apple, My Mac, and Game Guys history as much as we enjoyed writing it. We’ll be back to our old selves next month, so be sure to check back in. See you then!

Mike Wallinga

Adam Karneboge

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