On September 18, 2007, Apple updated three downloadable iPod Games—EA’s Tetris and Sudoku, and Namco’s Ms. Pac-Man—to enable the titles to be played on the iPod classic and iPod nano (with video). In the process of re-releasing these games, the version number of each title has been changed to 1.1.0, and previously undisclosed adjustments have been made to certain game options. That day, we compiled these changes below for your easy reference. On October 9, 2007, Texas Hold’em was re-released as well, so we have added it to the list below. In December, 2007, Apple re-released Pac-Man, The Sims Bowling, and The Sims Pool, which have been added below.
Notably, we attempted to install the newly downloaded versions onto fifth-generation iPods to see whether all buyers got access to the same new features. Surprisingly, we found that iTunes installs the older version 1.0.0 software onto the now-discontinued iPods, and the new and improved 1.1.0 software only onto the newer iPod models. Updated: In the case of Texas Hold’em, iTunes installs “1.1.0” onto both the old and new iPods, however, 1.1.0 for the fifth-generation iPod appears to be the same as 1.0.0, just renamed for appearences.
The most significant gameplay change that we’ve seen in any of the titles was made to Tetris. Version 1.1.0 adds support for four different control schemes, two of which finally enable players to use the iPod Click Wheel’s touch-sensitive surface for rotation rather than block moving, and the other two offering variations on the game’s block dropping controls. This corrects one of the biggest problems with the original release of Tetris for the fifth-generation iPod.
Additional changes include the addition of a Manage Users screen to enable multiple players to have their own saved names and details on one iPod, and the rearrangement of Ghost and Erase Records options in the Options menu.
Updated version 1.1.0 of Sudoku appears to use the same artwork as before, but the colors look slightly more vivid on the iPod classic’s screen. Like Tetris, it now includes a Manage Users screen to enable multiple people to easily save their data separately on the same iPod. Gameplay and control options do not appear to be affected in any way.
Version 1.1.0 of Ms. Pac-Man is virtually identical to version 1.0.0; as with Sudoku, the menu colors look a little different (a bit more blue than purple) on the iPod classic’s screen. It replaces a Change Name option in the Options menu with the Manage Users screen, which enables the addition of more player accounts to the same iPod, and still contains the Change Name option.
The iPod nano 3G and classic version of Texas Hold’em has received a handful of changes ranging from small art and text tweaks to the aforementioned Manage Users screen. All of the (c) 2006 Apple Computer, Inc. references are replaced with (c) 2007 Apple Inc. references, and the title screen now says “Press Center Button” rather than “Press Select.” Whereas the fifth-generation iPod version has you enter your name at the very beginning, the iPod nano and classic version starts you by default as “Player.” Similarly, the Start Game screen no longer lets you choose a specific player name. Now, the Options menu replaces “Player: XXX” with “Manage Users” option, and all player switching is done through Options. The Manage Users feature still has a name entry screen that lets you enter cheat codes, as it did before.
Fonts have been changed slightly. A larger font has been used for certain on-screen text, such as tutorial information, while a smaller font has been used for card numbers, with duplication of their suit icons.
3-D effects are either absent or not as showy as before. Switching from character to character no longer has a page-turning effect, adding further to our prior impression (from Vortex) that the new iPods can’t handle all of the 3-D graphics of the fifth-generation iPod.
Rather than blacking them out with lock icons, a number of upcoming levels are teased, but not accessible from, the level select screen. Most background art in these levels has stayed the same, but small changes have been made here and there, including all of the icons on the level select screen. These are different only because the stages no longer open with 3-D zoom-in effects.
The “youcheat” Secret menu (accessible via cheat code) automatically opens all of the standard tournament levels rather than requiring you to click the option to open them; the reference to “Unlock all tournaments” is gone because the feature never actually unlocked all tournaments before—as now, it leaves a number of hidden tournaments to be unlocked separately.
Pac-Man, The Sims Bowling, The Sims Pool
Version 1.1.0 of each of these games adds user management features similar to the ones noted above, enabling you to automatically log in to the game with a previously defined identity rather than being forced to create one in-game. The games have not changed in any other noticeable way.
Fifth-generation iPod buyers interested in running these iPod games on the iPod nano (with video) or iPod classic must re-purchase them from the iTunes Store for $4.99 each.