by Rick Holzgrafe
This is the press release that Semicolon Software sent out when we released a major upgrade to our most popular product. We emailed it to as many print magazines, e-zines, shareware and game site webmasters, columnists and journalists as we could gather addresses for. Most ignored it, but a few published the info and traffic at our Web site immediately increased by a factor of 10. That burst of activity didn't last long, but traffic remained higher than usual for weeks afterward. Sales increased markedly, and have remained at higher levels than ever before. Some of that is due to the quality of the release itself, but the finest software in the world won't sell if nobody hears about it. We're convinced that the publicity was a big contributor to sales.
Here it is:
[You are receiving this because you are on my Press contact list. If you would rather not be on this list, wish to change your address, or wish to add an address, email me] Semicolon Software releases Solitaire Till Dawn 3.0 Cupertino, California, USA -- 1 Mar 1997 -- Semicolon Software today announced the release of version 3.0 of Solitaire Till Dawn, its popular shareware solitaire card game collection. What is Solitaire Till Dawn? Solitaire Till Dawn is a collection of 30 different solitaire card games in a single convenient program. The games in Solitaire Till Dawn offer something for everybody. They range from simple games to complex, and from familiar to exotic. The all-time favorite solitaires are included, such as Klondike, Canfield, Golf, Pyramid, Spider, and Forty Thieves. There are also a few games specially designed for computer play, including two (Tabby Cat and Manx) that were created expressly for Solitaire Till Dawn. Solitaire Till Dawn includes attractive full-color artwork from artists Jeremy Nelson of Stairways Shareware, Kodiak M. Kilroy of Eclectic Platypus Studios, and others. Players can choose from among many different card designs, window background patterns, and card formats. Solitaire Till Dawn's new "Card Shark" options streamline and simplify play by offering intelligent aid to the player. The Card Shark options include: "Smart Cards" that fly to their destinations with a single click; early win notification so you can skip the tedium of dragging every last card to the goal; notification when you become "stuck"; and automatic play of cards to the goals. Players can turn these options on or off to suit their tastes, and set defaults for particular solitaires or for all solitaires. Solitaire Till Dawn is US$20 shareware. It is available from the Semicolon Software web site and all major Macintosh shareware ftp sites. Version 3.0 is a free upgrade to registered users of any earlier version. System Requirements: Any Apple Macintosh or other computer running MacOS System 7.0 or later. What is new in Solitaire Till Dawn 3.0? Four new games have been added to Solitaire Till Dawn, including the popular FreeCell. The "Card Shark" options offer a host of convenient ways to streamline play. Players can choose from a new collection of cardback designs and an enhanced collection of window background patterns featuring attractive, full-color professional artwork. A wider variety of card formats is available, including a new large card size with easy-to-read numbers. Features * Unlimited Undo and Redo of all moves. * Smart Cards option: cards fly to their destinations with just a click. * Auto Play option automatically moves cards to the goals. * Choice of card size and format, cardback design, and window pattern. * Scoring and Statistics for each kind of solitaire. * Custom statistics for solitaires with special scoring methods. * Multiple players can keep separate statistics and preferences. * On-line game rules in a separate, modeless window. * Magnetic Mouse option for RSI relief: Play without clicking or typing. * Save games in separate files, with Undo/Redo history preserved. * Find any visible card easily with a keystroke or two. * Sound effects (optional, of course!) * Unique "Status Bar" shows score, statistics, and game progress at a glance. * Complete, illustrated, on-line manual and rules book. What Other People Have Said About Solitaire Till Dawn 4 Mice - "Beautifully organized and rendered ... In a nutshell, solitaire lovers: Download now." - Chris Oakes, MacUser Software Central, Oct 1996. "This is the all-time, drop-dead, must-have solitaire program" - Owen W. Linzmayer, Owen Ink. "A good night's sleep can always be sabotaged through judicious use of the latest computer game, and Rick Holzgrafe knows it." - Mark H. Anbinder, TidBITS, Sep 1995. "My favorite gift this season is a piece of shareware called Solitaire Till Dawn ... I can spend hours playing it." - Harvey Barnett, TidBITS, Dec 1994. The Card Shark Features Described in Detail The Card Shark features are a set of options designed to aid the player by providing intelligent help and easy shortcuts. They are named for and hosted by the cartoon character "Ace the Card Shark," who is always ready to lend the player a hand (or fin). The Card Shark features include "Smart Cards," "Auto Play," and two features unique to Solitaire Till Dawn: early-win notification, and "Am I Stuck?". Completing a solitaire game can sometimes be dull. You reach the point where your win is guaranteed, yet most solitaire programs won't record the win until the very last card has been played to the goal. But with the Card Shark's early-win notification, your win is recorded as soon as it becomes a sure thing. You can then go straight to a new game, without wasting time making dozens of uninteresting final moves. Another waste is time spent looking for useful moves when there aren't any. "Am I Stuck?" tells you when your game is hopelessly lost. You can then go straight to a new game, or if you prefer you can use the Undo command to back up and try a different approach. "Am I Stuck" is available as an optional automatic notification, and also as a menu command you can use at will. Smart Cards are a different kind of time-saver. When this option is on, you need only click a card to make it fly to its destination. This speeds up the game, and also saves wear and tear on your mouse hand: dragging while holding down the mouse button is a major cause of repetitive strain injuries. The Auto Play feature will automatically move cards to the goals whenever it's allowed by the game rules. With Auto Play, you'll never forget to put the 2 of Spades on the Ace. All of the Card Shark option settings are remembered, so you can set up your preferences once and then forget about them. You can create default settings that apply to all games, and then set up "override" settings for solitaires you specify -- for example, you can have Auto Play turned on when playing Bisley but off for all other games. Availability Solitaire Till Dawn 3.0 is available now, and may be downloaded through our Web site at <http://www.semicolon.com/>. About Semicolon Software Semicolon Software was founded in 1986 by Rick Holzgrafe, and has been providing fine Macintosh shareware and freeware for over ten years. Rick is the author of a number of well-received products, including the classic adventure game Scarab of RA. His products have won favorable reviews in major industry publications including TidBITS, Macworld, MacUser, and Byte. In 1996 Rick was nominated for a Usenet Macintosh Programmer's Award for The Tilery, the popular freeware desktop utility. Rick also co-authored the development tools MakeMake and the Tags Suite for MPW. Semicolon Software distributes its products under the shareware principles: try before you buy and minimal or no marketing costs. As a result shareware costs a fraction of the price of most other commercial software. Contact Information: Rick Holzgrafe <firstname.lastname@example.org> Semicolon Software Support <email@example.com> Press Contact <firstname.lastname@example.org> World Wide Web <http://www.semicolon.com/> Phone and FAX contact is not available.
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