Perhaps it's a part of getting older, of becoming ever busier, or perhaps - for Adam and Tonya - just having a three-year-old around the house, but immersive computer games haven't been a large part of our lives for years. Even still, this year's game suggestions sound attractive, especially for those of us who have never quite been able to stomach the first-person blood-and-gore shooter games.
Older games are often as much fun now as they were when first released, so if you're looking for more ideas, check out titles from previous years, those that made it into our issues and the full details in the TidBITS Talk threads.
iPinocchio iCards -- Andy J. W. Affleck contributed the first suggestion, writing, "I've had it for all of two days, but iPuppet: Colin's Classic Cards from Aspyr and Freeverse Software is wonderful. I've actually been a user of their Hearts and 3D Euchre Deluxe from Freeverse for years now. Anyway, the $35 iPuppet is the latest incarnation of these two games along with two more, Pitch and Spades, thrown in as well. You play cards in a 3D environment (the CD-ROM comes with many different locations) against a wide range of puppets, both cartoon and photographed (Colin, now named Horatio, has long been my partner for Euchre while Ian and Kate are my arch enemies. My dream world is to play them online in this combination one day). The game supports networked play, though I haven't tested it out in this new version yet.
"As if all of this weren't enough, it has a built-in MP3 player and playlists that you can share across all four games. The games themselves are well played and there is a built-in tutor to help you learn them. There's even a telepathy feature should you want to cheat (or see what weird thoughts the various characters have). Overall, iPuppet has excellent game play, opponents who actually make the game challenging, network play, great graphics/sounds, and it works under Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. The only downside is that my wife keeps stealing my laptop to play."
Gettin' Jiggy With It -- Continuing with the computerized version of real-world games, Peter Haglich offered this suggestion. "One game I'm fond of (and which would make a good gift for anyone 8 and older) is Jiggy, a timed jigsaw puzzle game. An image of the completed puzzle is shown to the player for a brief interval, then it is hidden and puzzle pieces drop on the right side for placement on the puzzle. You play until the puzzle piece receptacle fills up. Jiggy provides you with a number of puzzles, or you can also import your own graphics for the puzzles. This gives you the opportunity to personalize your gift by including graphics which have meaning for the recipient.
"Jiggy works under Mac OS 8.6 or later, or Mac OS X. You can download a trial version that has only 10 levels and doesn't allow importing of graphics; a $15 shareware fee gets you a CD-ROM with 35 levels and the graphics importing feature. A portion of the registration fee for each full version is donated to the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation."