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its all about machines
Machines Box
The 3D real-time strategy game Machines is set to launch this month. If you love 3D real-time strategy games; if you love sci-fi and big guns; if you love researching futuristic military applications; if you love commanding and conquering; if you love totally annihilating - if you just love being alive - then you are going to love Machines.

The story behind Machines begins in the year 2545. Mankind has launched a fleet of machine probes into space to colonize planets that are potentially habitable for humans. In regular contact with Earth, these probes establish bases on four distant planets and begin the long arduous task of developing the appropriate conditions for human life. But in the year 3297, the last World War breaks out on Earth and mankind is destroyed. The machines, left with out regular direction from home, revert to default software instructions that ensure that the machines will continue their work and begin to self-replicate. For years they continue to colonize planets and evolve as a race until, finally, they become self-aware. Free from the restraints of their obsolete programming, the machines only concern becomes the propagation of their race. As programmed by their human forefathers, the machines adhere to strict Darwinian principles, and begin their quest to triumph over the universe. As a matter of course, they go to war.

pic1 Machines is a multi-faceted real-time strategy game that offers an abundance of options and unique features to fans of the genre. The game features real-time polygonal environments with multiple camera perspectives including zenith, 1st and 3rd person command capabilities. This means that gamers can manage their machine race on a broad management scale as well as get inside individual units to shoot it out in battle or utilize the game's advanced espionage and sabotage attributes. The espionage and sabotage capabilities allow gamers to camouflage their machines, penetrate enemy encampments, actually enter enemy buildings, and wreak all kinds of havoc including directing enemy machines to attack each other, stealing enemy research, and making buildings self-destruct, among other dirty deeds.

Machines also features a comprehensive resource management aspect, 4-player Internet gameplay, over 50 different machines, over 25 different weapons, and deep strategy and action components. In essence, Machines is the strategy game that offers gamers the most control - and for real-time strategy games, control is the essential element of the genre. With the versatility of Machines, gamers can reach new and unexpected heights.

pic2 But what is it about the game that makes it so special? Truly Machines is a game whose sum is as great as the value of its parts. Machines seamlessly blends such diverse gameplay elements as free camera 3D 1st and 3rd person perspectives into an ergonomically realistic melange of such beauty and basic intuitiveness that gamers will wonder where they end and the game begins. It is this focus on gameplay that sets Machines apart from the rank and file of real-time strategy games and elevates it to a heretofore unseen plateau - that of a truly transcendent PC game.

pic3 Let us speak of Machines in these terms if we are to fully understand its metaphysical significance and justify our vaunted assertion. The duality of perception naturally indicates a bifurcated meaning for any observed object or event. It is therefore reasonable to assume that Machines will, under isolated subjective scrutiny, come to be judged empirically as either good or bad. Whichever judgment is accepted will exist as an antipode to its dualist opposite. The methodology we wish to apply affirms this supposition, while strongly averring that, due to the quality of the game, it will be judged as good by the far greater majority of those who undertake to make a judgment.

We believe this to be so because we believe in Machines (and we have played it).

pic5 However, it is the nature of transcendentalist philosophy to believe in the a priori existence of a spiritual reality, independent of empiricism, that is inherently unknowable or which can only be known through intuition. So let us throw away the conceit of our interest, let us rid ourselves of the bonds of our experiences. Let us assume that we have not played Machines. That we are to ascertain its significance through nothing more than intuition.

If one examines the factors that surround Machines, such as the feature list, the storyline, and the assurances from the developers - one can draw a very basic intuitive conclusion. However it is when one sees the obsessive focus of the QA testers, the intense concentration on the faces of the focus group test subjects, when one walks in on a Monday morning to find some freaks have been in the building playing Machines all weekend long - because they wanted to - that one taps into that immaterial essence, that hidden principle behind the walls of reason and perception - the thing you know is there but just can't explain - and then, right at that moment, you have justified your assertion that Machines has transcended. It is so fun that empirical judgments no longer apply.

pic6 The earth spins on axes while turning ellipses around the sun. The sun is on an arm in a rotating galaxy winding down towards the infinite density of a blackhole. Our galaxy clings effortlessly in a hanging supercluster of galaxies that attract and repel each other. The supercluster is suspended like a double helix out beyond the beyond. Further away, along the edges of the observable universe, there are more of them. Beyond that? Who knows?

And there you are, playing Machines on your PC, and you know what? You are part of it. In fact, you are it.

After that, there really isn't anything else to say.

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