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  • Gimme Fiction

    • 10 out of 10
    • Spoon
    • Gimme Fiction by Spoon is a terrific album by an Austin band that I was lucky enough to catch on an Austin radio station during a Christmas visit.

  • Bowie at Beeb: Best of BBC Radio 68-72

    • 10 out of 10
    • David Bowie
    • The companion CD to a BBC television concert, BBC Radio Theatre has some of the best renditions of many of Bowie's best songs throughout his career. "I'm Afraid of Americans" is substantial

  • Abnormal Anonymous

    • 8 out of 10
    • Congo Norvell
    • Very few albums manage to capture snapshots of a quality of life in the manner that Congo Norvell's sophomore record, "Abnormals Anonymous," does.

      Comparisons to the Velvet Underground are

  • Life's Rich Pageant

    • 8 out of 10
    • R.E.M.
    • In the long series of R.E.M.'s evolution, this album (finally?) showcases their ability to capture on tape what had been happening in the live for years: heartfelt, sweat-filled performances that just
  • Rift

    • 8 out of 10
    • Phish
    • This quasi-concept album (the only of its kind) from these Vermonters finally showcased their ability to convey a message with a studio album, whereas previously they only succeeded in doing so live.

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iPod Game Developers Tight-Lipped; Mac Game Developers Confused

When Apple introduced iPod games last week, many in the gaming industry thought it was a smart move. As Macworld's Peter Cohen found out, however, long-time Mac game publishers were confused by their lack of involvement -- some of them had previously approached Apple about iPod games -- while the developers who had a hand in making iPod games were tight-lipped about what the future holds for that section of the iTunes Store.

"We're really glad to see Apple start to take the iPod in this direction," Glenda Adams, director of development for Aspyr Media, told Mr. Cohen. "It's the one big piece of entertainment that was missing. Obviously, we're disappointed that [Apple] launched it as a closed development system. We had pitched several game ideas for iPod at Apple over the past couple years, but it didn't lead anywhere."

She added: "We've got some really great ideas for iPod games if Apple will open up an iPod SDK [software development kit] to developers--everything from doing handheld specific branded games, like what we've done with Tony Hawk Pro Skater and Call of Duty 2 for PocketPC, to some unique and new gameplay mechanics that integrate with the music already on your iPod."

Pangea Software president Brian Greenstone echoed those sentiments, saying: "As a game developer who specializes in original content, I'm disappointed that I don't have access to the iPod because I know I could come up with some games that blow away the stuff that's available now."

Meanwhile, those involved in the creation of the games that shipped last week kept their comments guarded. PopCap Games CEO Dave Roberts, whose Bejeweled and Zuma puzzle games were among them, would only say that the new genre "is a big opportunity." In fact, he revealed that secrecy was so tight that he didn't get to play his first iPod game until Apple's press event last week.

Mr. Roberts said little to address the future of iPod gaming, noting: "We will certainly do other games for the iPod, but when and what all depend on the normal confluence of events. But I think it's pretty evident from Apple's presentation that this is going to be an important factor for the iPod going forward."

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