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Now What Was That GT and Hasbro Were Saying About American Game Purchasers Being a Group of 17-28 Year Olds Only Interested in Bloody Games?

(From a press release)

Who Knew? Computer Industry's Biggest Games are Violence-Free
Contrary to Popular Belief, Violent Computer Games Are Not Industry Standard

Although you would never guess from recent headlines, the best-selling computer game of all time is 100% violence-free. In fact, many of the most popular games sold today lack even an ounce of gore.

According to PC Data, Red Orb's Myst holds the title for top-selling computer game of all time, having sold over 5.5 million copies worldwide since its initial release in 1994. Myst is an immersive, mystery-adventure classic that contains not a single blaster or chain gun. Myst's unit sales far exceed sales of Quake and Doom, the two games most frequently cited as excessively violent. According to PC Data, Doom has sold only 2.9 million units since its release in 1994 and Quake only 1.8 million since its release in 1996. Chessmaster, another example of a nonviolent best seller, has sold over 4 million units since its release in 1986, making it the world's best-selling chess program according to PC Data.

Other nonviolent successes include the rapidly growing genres of virtual life and educational entertainment. Mindscape Entertainment's Petz and Creatures, for example, have sold millions of copies worldwide and boast some of the largest online fan communities on the World Wide Web. The virtual life genre promises to continue it success into the millennium, with upcoming innovative titles like Babyz, interactive infants for the PC. The introductory Babyz Web site has already received thousands of fan letters from around the world.

"Unfortunately recent news has painted a bleak picture of the computer game industry," says Gordon Landies, General Manger of the Mindscape and Broderbund divisions of Mattel. "People might be surprised to know that some of the most successful entertainment software in the world are nonviolent adventure and virtual life titles. We want people to know there is a lot more to the industry than violence."

Violence in the industry has also recently become a popular topic for many politicians, further damaging the image of the industry as a whole. Meanwhile, family-safe titles have been highlighted for the last four years in Senator Joseph Lieberman's Video Game Report Card. The report card has become a holiday tradition for Lieberman, who just introduced legislation to create a uniform rating system for all entertainment media violence.

Mindscape Entertainment plans to release a host of innovative, nonviolent, family-safe titles this year. They include:

Myst Masterpiece Edition

The beauty and mystery of the original Myst have been made even more alluring to the casual gamer with the introduction of Myst Masterpiece Edition. In addition to enhanced graphics, movies and music, Myst Masterpiece Edition introduces a seamless "electronic guide" to escort newcomers through this challenging and immersive adventure. More than just an online "help" section or strategy guide, this in-game companion offers varying amounts of information customized to the player's game path without ever leaving the game.

Highlights:

  • Original Myst released in February 1994
  • Myst is the best selling CD-ROM game of all time
  • Myst Masterpiece Edition to be released August 1999
  • Rated KA--Kids to Adults

Find more information at http://www.ubi.com/US/Games/Info.aspx?pId=196.

Petz 4

Petz started a worldwide virtual craze when Dogz™ dashed onto computer desktops in the fall of 1995, soon followed by Catz™ in 1996. Petz were the first interactive titles to combine artificial intelligence and 3-D animation to bring real life to computer desktops.

Highlights:

  • To date, more than two million copies of Petz have been sold worldwide
  • Petsburgh, an online community hosted by Geocities, has more than 7,000 sites created by Petz users
  • The latest generation of Petz, Dogz 3 and Catz 3 were unleashed in 1998
  • Dogz 4 and Catz 4, featuring voice recognition, are scheduled to be released in the fall of 1999
  • Rated E--Everyone

Find more information at www.petz.com.

Petz 4 will also include new breeds, a playscene editor and several new environments for Petz to explore, including a Gypsy Carnival, Wild West, Arabian Desert and Winter Wonderland. Each new scene will include a "Host" or unique dog or cat with which visiting felines or canines may interact.

Creatures 3

Perhaps the most elaborate and advanced of the virtual life genre, Creatures has attracted close to a million users to its unique combination of fun, science and nurturing.

Creatures is a product of the Creature Labs division of CyberLife Technology, Ltd. CyberLife is a pioneer in the field of artificial life technology and software development. Headquartered in Cambridge, England, the company has assembled a team of world-leading experts dedicated to the production of intelligent, artificial life systems that will spearhead a new generation of living technology.

The goal of Creatures is to breed your creatures--teddy bear-like animals called Norns--through as a many generations as you can. The user is supplied with six initial Norn eggs and a rich, diverse environment in which they live. Each Norn has its own Digital DNA™ (CyberLife's virtual version of physical DNA) that is passed along to future generations of Norns along with the chance of genetic mutations as they go. Using the advanced utilities found within the program, users can break down the Digital DNA into individual genes or monitor Norn biochemistry.

The Creatures phenomenon:

  • Creatures (1996) and Creatures 2 (1998) have sold close to one million copies worldwide
  • The Creatures online community consists of more than 500 independent Web sites and more than 250 Web rings devoted to Creatures
  • The Creatures public newsgroup averages 400 posts per day
  • Creatures Web sites receive more than 800,000 hits per day
  • Creatures 3 will release November 1999
  • Creatures Adventures, a simplified version for kids of all ages, ships Labor Day weekend 1999
  • Rated K-A--Kids to Adults

Find more information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creatures_(artificial_life_program).

Babyz

Babyz, due in November 1999, are the world's first desktop youngsters. Babyz highlights:

  • IBM's ViaVoice Technology will allow 'sitters' or 'parents' to speak to Babyz (Mindscape plans to include a microphone in each package)
  • Unique look and personality for every baby
  • Online community and online adoption center
  • Mindscape has already received thousands of enthusiastic letters inquiring about Babyz
  • Rated E--Everyone

Find more information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babyz.

Babyz has been extremely well-received in extensive focus group testing and shows potential to be one of the hottest gifts of the 1999 holiday season.

Chessmaster 7000

Chessmaster is the world's best-selling chess program. Regardless of age or skill level, Chessmaster provides a fun and engaging environment to learn history's greatest game. Annotated games, illustrated voice analysis, and a database of over 500,000 games provide an unmatched chess resource.

In January 1997, Josh Waitzken, chess prodigy and subject of the film Searching for Bobby Fischer, was added to the Chessmaster team. Now an International Master, Josh brings video-annotated games, voice analysis, and a human element to the product line.

  • More than 4 million units sold since 1986
  • Josh Waitzkin narrates more of his favorite games
  • New Kids Room designed especially for kids ages 6-14
  • Play over the Internet, LAN or modem with Chessmaster Live
  • Rated E--Everyone

Find more information at http://chessmaster.us.ubi.com/xi/index.php.

Aquazone Deluxe II with Guppies

Aquazone Deluxe is the virtual aquarium that lives on a computer. Advanced artificial life technology lets owners create a working, living aquarium that includes everything they need, except the water.

Aquazone Deluxe owners tend their fish and are able to customize their aquariums with a number of decorative accessories, gravels and backdrops. Breeding the virtual fish is possible for limitless generations. Aquazone exists in real time, so even when the computer is turned off, the Aquazone aquarium remains alive.

  • Aquazone Deluxe II with Guppies ships August 1999
  • Nine species of fish including three popular Guppy breeds
  • Online store to supply new breeds, additional fish, aquarium accessories and plants
  • Rated E--Everyone

Find more information at http://www.retrevo.com/s/Cosmi-Aquazone-Virtual-Aquarium-Computer-Games/id/23291ag317/t/1-2/.