Picture a serene setting, trees, and a brook perhaps. In your lap you hold a playing board divided into a grid. To your right lies a pouch of tiles. You place each tile on the grid so that the pattern or shape on the tile matches any adjacent tiles. The best match you can make draws together four tiles around a fifth. After making such a Four-Way Match, stars glimmer on the board.
Ishido, which should be available by early winter, effectively creates an intriguing challenge and a fascinating environment. The manual tells the legend of how Ishido began. The story tells how the intricately crafted stones were used for different purposes, from meditation to war.
Even though its roots don't truly delve into the depths of antiquity, Ishido's designers have constructed a good myth around the package. Besides the legend, there's the look of the tiles and the quiet concentration involved in winning. Taken as a whole, these elements weave a feeling of meditation around the game. It's addictive; I can't stop trying to figure out a new way to win.
It's a different pace from sports simulations and arcade action, so don't expect cheering crowds or laser torpedoes. Do expect a peaceful encounter with an Oriental flavor.
The program retails for $49.95. For more information, contact Epyx at 600 Galveston Drive, Redwood City, California 94063; (415) 368-3200. (Although Epyx switched its focus from microcomputer software to game cartridges, the company will still sell Ishido through the end of 1989. But be quick about it because there may not be many copies.)
You don't find many arcade games in the Macintosh section of the software store—Arkanoid, Loderunner—but Mindscape has tossed in a new contender. Gauntlet dresses you up like an elf, a barbarian, a wizard, or a Valkyrie and gives you someplace to go.
You explore level after level of mazes, each filled with ghouls and monsters as well as treasure, keys, magic, and food. Collect the good objects to keep up your strength and boost your score. Slaughter the bad creatures to survive each level.
The graphics are fine and the interface is good. You can play with the mouse or any of three key combinations. Best of all, the sound injects grunts and snorts and burps into the gaming world.
Gauntlet retails for $49.95. For more information, contact Mindscape at 3444 Dundee Road, Northbrook, Illinois 60062; (312) 480-7667.
The latest batch of puzzles from Miles Computing is called The Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival. It's filled with riddles, word searches, picture puzzles, and the best mazes you'll ever see on the Mac.
The atmosphere is lively and the puzzles are challenging. Even when your eyes get tired, you'll find it hard to stop.
In the future, Miles Computing will release other puzzle collections with new themes. As long as you have The Puzzle Gallery, you'll be able to run each new batch of riddles.
The program retails for $39.95, and it supports color if you have a Macintosh II. For more information, contact Electronic Arts (1820 Gateway Drive, San Mateo, California 94404; 415-571-7171), which distributes Miles Computing's products.
Accolade has released Fast Break for the Macintosh. The game faithfully reproduces a three-on-three game of basket-ball. For those of us who know very little about dribbling and jump shots, Fast Break may be a little daunting. But in its versions for other machines, Accolade's game has won some awards, so it may be worth a try. It retails for $49.95, and you can get more information from Accolade at 550 South Winchester Boulevard, Suite 200, San Jose, California 95128; (408) 296-8400.
If you leave your Macintosh on for long hours, try After Dark, a new package from Berkeley Systems. You can choose from supplied animated graphics—lightning bolts, a meteor shower, a shift into warp speed—but you can also design your own screens using bouncing logos and other art. Of particular interest is the Anti-snoop feature which locks your screen with a password so no one else can see your work while you're away from your Macintosh. After Dark retails for $39.95. Contact Berkeley Systems at 1700 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, California 94709; (415) 540-5535.
— Heidi E. H. Aycock