Microsoft Age of Empires, Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far And SideWinder Precision Pro Hit Street

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 23, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of three new games products – Microsoft® Age of Empires
, Close Combat
™: A Bridge Too Far and the SideWinder® Precision Pro joystick. All three highly anticipated titles build on Microsoft’s strong 1997 holiday games product lineup and make perfect gifts.

“This is our best holiday games and game devices lineup ever,” said Ed Fries, general manager of the games group at Microsoft. “The development teams at Ensemble Studios and Atomic Games did an incredible job, and the Microsoft Hardware Group has outdone itself with the new SideWinder Precision Pro.”

Age of Empires Lets Gamers Choose How They Want to Rule the World

Age of Empires , ranked the No. 1 Strategic Real-Time Game for holiday ’97 in the November issue of Computer Gaming World magazine, offers a rich blend of action and strategy in a game that spans 10,000 years. This epic, real-time strategy game allows players to become the guiding spirit in the evolution of a small Stone Age tribe. Developed by Ensemble Studios, Age of Empires showcases the strategy-game expertise of Bruce Shelley, co-designer of the hit games Civilization and Railroad Tycoon .

Starting with virtually no resources, players are challenged to build one of 12 tribes (including Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, Assyrians and Babylonians) into a great civilization. Players can choose their own path to world domination through unique combinations of conquest, exploration and accumulation of wealth.

Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far Gives Players the Chance to Change History

Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far is the sequel to Microsoft’s highly acclaimed Close Combat . The game puts players in command of either Allied or Axis forces in a desperate fight to control five strategic bridges in a scenario based on a real-life epic World War II campaign, Operation Market Garden.

In its July issue, PC Gamer magazine said of Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far, “This sequel to 1996’s most innovative war game comes packed with new features and promises a full measure of in-your-face tactical combat.” The original Close Combat was honored with PC Gamer’s 1997 Best Wargame of the Year award.

Developed by Atomic Games, creator of Close Combat, the sequel builds on the best elements of the original, including psychological profiles of individual soldiers and historically accurate real-time tactical combat. Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far adds a new strategic layer that challenges players to manage limited resources. It features realistic and dynamic campaign flow and introduces the Battlemaker feature, which gives gamers the ability to customize battles.

SideWinder Precision Pro

Lets Users Customize Their Gaming Experience

SideWinder Precision Pro builds upon the gold standard set by the Microsoft SideWinder 3D Pro joystick, which, according to PC Data, is the best-selling PC joystick available. The SideWinder Precision Pro incorporates the SideWinder 3D Pro’s patented digital-optical technology, which has raised the standard for the entire PC joystick arena by giving gamers more speed, accuracy and control in their game play than was previously available. In addition, the SideWinder Precision Pro offers improved ergonomics, extra programmability and extended functionality in an effort to offer gamers everything they need to take control of their favorite games.

New to the stick are a shift button, which in supported games doubles the number of programmable functions, and SideWinder Game Device Software 2.0 for more comprehensive game customization. SideWinder Game Device Software 2.0 lets users map keystrokes to the eight buttons on SideWinder Precision Pro, swap game axes, adjust joystick sensitivity to amplify stick movements, and program key strings, multiple keystrokes and key chords. In addition, the software enables gamers to save their favorite complex moves or maneuvers to a single button. SideWinder Precision Pro ships with 30 preconfigured profiles for today’s hottest games, and even more are planned to be available for download from Microsoft’s Web site.

Pricing and Availability

Age of Empires, Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far and SideWinder Precision Pro are currently available at computer retailers across the country. Age of Empires and Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far each have an estimated retail price of $54.95. The SideWinder Precision Pro has an estimated retail price of $74.95.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Age of Empires, Close Combat and SideWinder are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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