Features

Point, click, kill

National

Issue: "Ten Commandments showdown," Aug. 30, 2003

Two blockbuster PC games are coming soon-and their creators expect millions to snap them up. They're the latest in the controversial first-person-shooter genre that portrays gunplay with super-powerful weapons from the player's point of view. To some, the images are too realistic.

Gamers have waited months for Doom III and Half-Life 2. Even with long delays and no set release dates, the hype surrounding these games is like that of a Hollywood blockbuster. Both are sequels to classic shoot-'em-up epics, now updated with the latest sound and graphics.

Once these titles come out in the next few months, many players are expected to scramble and upgrade their computers so they can get more power for play. That means new sound cards that sell for $100 to $150 (not counting speakers) and 3D video cards that run anywhere from $150 to $500. The upgrades might cost more than the original computer.

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Computer dealers are also looking forward to selling new, high-end, high-price machines built especially for the needs of new-generation games. These are some of the flashiest (and most profitable) PCs in existence.

These new games are coming 10 years after ID Software released the original Doom and started the first-person-shooter craze. These games are so crucial to the computer industry that PC testers benchmark new video chips by how well they display the graphics of ID's game Quake III Arena.

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