Clearing a path to Mac at E3

While PC games clearly dominate the conference, new Mac games made a presence

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), produced by IDG Expo Management covers all aspects of electronic entertainment -- from game controllers and other hardware to CD-ROMs for Macs, PCs and game consoles. Although the show is dominated by video games and Windows titles, almost every developer that creates or ports Mac games is represented. In addition, ATI Technologies, 3dfx Interactive, Gravis, and other Mac hardware vendors display their latest products.

The electronic gaming industry has been growing rapidly since 1996. Last year entertainment software sales grew 11 percent, topping $6.1bn, said Interactive Digital Software Association (ISDA) president Douglas Lowenstein. However, video game sales accounted for $4.2bn of the total. Mac games are only a small percentage of the total market.

The stereotype of the teenaged boy gamer is rapidly falling away, according to statistics compiled by Peter D. Hart Research Associates for the ISDA. Sixty percent of all Americans play video games. Most games are purchased by young adults aged 18 to 24, followed closely by adults aged 25-40. Women account for 43 percent of all video game purchases.

Exhibitors haven't wasted any time making product announcements. Ideas That Play Entertainment announced the second title in its Buddy Brush series, "Buddy Brush and the Painted Circus." The "interactive building adventure" lets 2- to 6-year-olds paint and play with clown faces and costumes.

Simon and Schuster Interactive is busy with new children's games, sports parodies and Star Trek titles. "I See Sue the T-Rex," created with Chicago's Field Museum, will allow children aged 4 through 7 to observe dinosaurs and how they lived. It will retail for $19.95 (£13.07). "M&M's: The Lost Formulas," a $19.95 maths game for children aged 5 through 10, features the animated red and yellow candies from the M&M's TV commercials. Expect more M&M's titles for Simon and Schuster, which has bought rights from Mars for four years.

Also in the works is a $30 title based on "Sabrina the Animated TV Series"; "Daria's Inferno," a $19.95 game based on the MTV series; "Amateur League Golf," a $19.95 golf parody along the lines of the company's "Deer Hunter" series; "Bass Avenger," a spin off of the "Deer Avenger" series; and "Deer Avenger 3 . . . D." That's right, Bambo will blow away the rednecks in 3-D on both PCs and Macs.

The company also announced a Sept.ember 11 Mac and PC release for "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Fallen," which uses the "Unreal Tournament 3D" engine to create a Star Trek first-person action-adventure game. You can play Sisko, Kira, or Worf and use more than 10 new weapons to get past more than 25 alien species. "Star Trek: Starship Creator--Warp II," a $29.95 title that allows trekkers to create their own starships in greater detail than the original version, is now shipping.

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