Noticed this story on Wired.com this morning... informative with a tunnel-light... ______________ Wired Magazine Online Mac Games: (Not) Big in Japan By Nobuyuki Hayashi Story location: http://www.wired.com/news/mac/0,2125,65027,00.html 02:00 AM Sep. 21, 2004 PT While Japan is famous for video games and is the second-largest market for Apple's Macintosh, it is not the land of the rising sun for Mac gamers. Go to any giant Tokyo electronics store, like the eight-story Bic-Camera Yurakucho megamart in the Ginza district, and there are only two Japanese Mac games on the shelf: Railroad Tycoon and Sega's Puyo-Puyo Fever. But this situation may see an upturn in the near future. Mac gamers may have a savior in the form of none other than Microsoft. Microsoft Japan is planning to translate and market a whole series of popular Mac games, calling it the Microsoft Mac Games Collection. On Sunday, just a week before the annual Tokyo Game Show, Microsoft released the first in the series: the Japanese edition of the popular Halo Combat Evolved. "Microsoft will help Japanese Mac users play the best games," said Aya Kazama, a Microsoft product manager. In a cross-country launch at the Apple stores in Tokyo and Osaka, dozens of gamers battled each other using Halo's networking option and Apple's iChat AV. Although the launch was held on the same weekend as a national holiday, more than 60 people gathered at the Ginza store and dozens in Osaka. In Tokyo, gamers were joined by Asia's No. 1 Halo player, who is known only as Siguma. Many of the guests attended just to play him or see him fight. While Siguma battled all comers, he lectured about the game. And although he discussed all the features and controls of the game in detail, he battled about 20 opponents without getting killed once. "The secret to becoming a good player is to keep looking around," he said afterward. "I practice only two hours a day. But I make them the best two hours of fighting I can. It is important to keep concentration and not get tired of the game. Long practice only makes you tired." Siguma played professor Hirotaka Uoi, who teaches the first course on digital gaming at Osaka's University of Electro-Communication. Uoi joined the game from Osaka and though he played better than most, he couldn't beat Siguma. "Thankfully, you don't need to be a good player to qualify as a gaming professor," he joked. During the games, Siguma was asked how he found the Mac version of Halo. "The performance is good," he said. "And the graphics are good too. The controls are the same, so if you have ever played the PC version, it is easy to play the Mac version." Microsoft didn't specify which titles will be released in the Mac Games Collection, or how many. However, Microsoft's Kazama stressed there will be "more and more." She said the company will carefully select the best games, fully translate them to Japanese (not just translate some menus and text), and said the games would be optimized to run on most PowerBooks and iBooks. Kazama, who previously worked on Windows games, said she is thrilled to be working on Mac game products. "Most of the Macs in Japan are owned by individuals," she said. "The ratio of home users is higher than most other countries. However, Mac game products in Japan are rare and hard to be found. The Microsoft Mac Games Collection will change all this." While other companies port the games to the Mac and translate them into Japanese, Microsoft will market and distribute the games. For example, Halo was localized by MacSoft in just six months because the company had previously localized the Windows version. There are dozens of Mac OS X games at the Tokyo Apple Store, but most are English products, which aren't popular with Japanese gamers. In Osaka, professor Uoi said the Mac is a great gaming platform and that he requires all his students to buy Macs. Many of the participants of the Halo launch came from Tokyo's game industry with experience playing the PC version. In Osaka, many were either Mac users who have never played Halo, or Xbox players curious about the Mac.