Author

Michael T. Rose

In Kingdom: The Far Reaches’ involved plot, you’re Lathan, a young wizard-in-training searching for several mystic totems, while the forces of evil are nipping at your heels. Kingdom progresses via animated video clips in a fashion reminiscent of the ’80s coin-op groundbreaker Dragon’s Lair: A given clip may be interesting the first time, but repeats can grow tiresome (fortunately, they can be cut short).

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A flight simulator without nasty complications, like landing, and a combat game without walls, Magic Carpet offers a whole world to roam. With artillery ranging from simple fireballs to full-blown volcanic eruptions, you can do some serious damage to your enemies, the landscape, and your equilibrium (avoid the complimentary 3-D glasses unless you have an iron stomach).

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It may seem odd that the founding director of MIT’s Media Lab and frontline cheerleader for the information revolution chose to write Being Digital; why not a CD-ROM or collection of on-line hypertext? One reason, as Negroponte points out in his introduction to this volume of essays, some of which were expanded and adapted from his regular column in Wired magazine, is that the new media haven’t yet reached most of the ”executives, politicians, and parents” who could really benefit from his guided tour to the bit-savvy future.

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ALONE IN THE DARK (MacPlay, floppy disc for Mac, $39.99) Recipe for mediocrity: Take a winning DOS mystery adventure with 3-D, multiple point-of-view animation. Bring it to Macintosh, ignoring primitive keyboard-only controls and goofy sound effects. Add slow game play, obscure puzzles, and a ludicrous combat technique, then let marinate on software-store shelf. While MacPlay’s earlier Out of This World made good use of polygon graphics, Dark’s characters look like Styrofoam mannequins and move like deep-sea divers.

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