MAR 1994 TO ...?

Russ Perry, Jr.

not applicable

Pillow Fighter (Game Concept)
Russ Games
Review by Russ Perry, Jr.

If I've heard it once, I've heard it a million times: There just aren't enough fighting games out there. And the few out there are just not different enough from each other to really deserve being bought by punch and kick-happy consumers. But I'm happy to report a new fighting game that both breaks out of the mold, and is good enough to buy.

That game is Pillow Fighter. Now, I realize this sounds maybe too different, or maybe even a little dumb, but this is really a great game! The graphics are spectacular, featuring pillow-toting warriors of indeterminate age in all sorts of surreal backgrounds.

The basic object is probably familiar to all of us, namely to beat the stuffing out of your opponents, and this game can be played solo against the computer or against a human opponent. There are even "secret" options that allow multiple competitors, which could be loads of fun if Atari ever gets around to releasing the multi-player adaptor. Note that the letters on the password screen each make a particular tone when selected. Who remembers the old "Have you played Atari today?" music? You guessed it. I'll leave it to you budding musicians to figure out what letters play the tune.

As you might suspect from the title, each warrior is armed with a pillow, which is chosen before each match, depending on what the fighter can afford (money is awarded for good performance, win or lose). Pillows vary in weight, size, durability, and stuffing (feathers vs. poly-fill). There are also special pillows which can occasionally be acquired by doing unusual things during matches. These include the boomerang pillow, spiked pillow, pillow of rocks, and the long-distance pillow on a chain.

The differences in pillows affect the fighters' performance, as each fighter is given a stamina bar. The larger or heavier a pillow, the more stamina it takes off, from both the wielder and his target. In addition, pillows can be "twirled" to give them more solidity. Also, pillows can be destroyed by heavy use, exploding into a feather storm of amusing proportions, so durability is a key factor. An exploded pillow reduces visibility until all the feathers settle (which takes quite some time). That fighter is not entirely defenseless, however, as the pillowcase can still be used as a rattail whip after some twirling.

Also, the backgrounds can affect gameplay. On some screens fires burn in the background, and pillows can be set afire. A pillow on fire will soon be of no use, but any successful hits do a lot of damage, so setting a pillow on fire may be worth considering as an offensive tactic.

There are also screens with water, and a pillow soaked in water becomes immensely heavy and therefore does a lot of damage... unfortunately, it also tires its wielder a lot faster. If a screen has both fire and water, a pillow can be lit on fire for the extra damage, then doused before it becomes useless. Of course, it still runs the risk of breaking, since it loses durability from the flames.

On some screens there is marshmellow or toxic goo which will stick to pillows, which in turn will stick to hit objects and leave you momentarily defenseless. Goo can be shaken off eventually, or washed out, but in the meantime, you'll be dancing around avoiding hits.

There are also occasional bonus rounds, like jumping into or over pillows, the Pillow Joust, where you must knock your opponent off a narrow beam, and the Land of Many Pillows, which involves throwing pillows, found all over the screen, at other combatants.

Fighters come in different varieties of size, speed, and stamina, and each have various special moves (nothing like fireballs, thank goodness). Some can deliver repeated blows without losing stamina, while others can take lots of hits. It is important to get to know each fighter and learn their particular strengths so you know when to attack wildly and when to rest to regain stamina.

Controls are a little complex, but somewhat natural. Besides movement, you can swing the pillow in various arcs (left, right, up, and down as well as thrust/block) which vary in speed depending on the pillow's current position. In other words, if you swing left from your right side it will land more quickly than a left swing from your left side, since you must swing the pillow across your body. There are also ways of ducking/feinting and twirling the pillow (which is done in a slower manner by repeated swings to one direction).

There are other amusing features in the game that you'll discover as you play, like the way you can tangle pillows with an opponent, leading to a tug of war that often ends in two exploded pillows. Some special opponents can wield two or more pillows at a time (think Shiva from Mortal Kombat 3), which can be quite tricky. There are even rumors of hidden fatalities like the Flying Head, although none have been discovered yet, and even the deadlier sounding pillows you can buy deal punishment that's more cartoony than gory.

All in all, Pillow Fighter is a great game, perfect for getting you through those times when real pillows aren't within reach. So grab a controller and allow me to smite thee!

John Morgan, Jr.
Review by Russ Perry, Jr.

This is a shareware game, and incredibly simple in premise. So why am I reviewing it? Got me. Maybe I'm just too lazy to rent anything, or maybe I'm not so good at writing reviews, or maybe I just want to be different. Or maybe it's just one of those damned addictive games that you keep playing over and over. Or maybe, just maybe, I'm trying to show how simplicity can be a virtue on occasion.

If you're familiar with the BBC show Doctor Who (and you should be, you really should be), you will recognize Delaks as the Doctor's arch-enemies. And of course you realize how stupid those tin cans are.

Well, in this game, our beloved Time Lord is trapped in an area just full of Daleks, and like Daleks will, they are just swarming directly toward him. In fact, that pretty much sums up the artificial intelligence of this game... if the Daleks are in the same row or column as the Doctor, they move toward him, and if they're not in the same row or column, they move diagonally toward him.

This relentless pursuit will eventually leave the Doctor regenerating into another incarnation, as contact with a Dalek, or multiple Daleks, is fatal. Of course, the Doctor has a weapon to combat the evil Daleks with, right? Well, yeah, but you know how temperamental his devices can be. His sonic screwdriver can put any Daleks next to him out of commission, but it then takes a nap into uselessness for the rest of the round. His only way to destroy Daleks other than the screwdriver is to make them collide. If backed into a corner, the Doctor can escape by dematerializing with his TARDIS, but can the TARDIS get him out of trouble? If you think so, you've obviously not seen the show. The TARDIS drops him off in a random place, never free of the Daleks entirely, and occasionally right next to one (and since the Daleks move next, the Doctor is toast). If the Doctor manages to exterminate all the Daleks, he ends up materializing in an area with even more Daleks.

You may start out playing this game trying to stay away from all the Daleks as long as you can, but it's more fruitful to dance amoungst them, using the scrap heaps left behind from Dalek collisions to destroy even more of them. Use the sonic screwdriver the first time you're cornered rather than dematerializing, because every time you dematerialize, you run the risk of dying, and the more Daleks there are, the bigger the risk.

In fact, this is the worst part of the game. The better you do, the more Daleks you encounter, and the better your chances of a bummer materialization become. In other words, the better you get, the harder it gets, but later rounds don't require more skill from the player, just more luck. And you only get one life build a score with, making this flaw even worse.

But still, I rather like this game. "A universe without the Doctor scarcely bears thinking about."- The Master.

Resident Evil, Tomb Raider
Capcom, Eidos
Review by Russ Perry, Jr.

A few months ago I finally got to play a couple of Playstation games that I'd been hearing about. Both, while not perfect, seemed to be a sign of where games might be going.

The first title I played was Resident Evil. The "acting" of the characters really wasn't very well done, but I was impressed with the way the gameplay led directly into the cut scenes. It ends up being a sort of interesting narrative technique that I imagine will be expanded upon in the future.

My friends claimed that it was a really spooky game if you played it with the lights turned down... I'm not sure I'd actually call it scary, but I admit that when the zombie dogs jumped through the window at me, it was genuinely a heart-stopper. I only got to play Resident Evil to the point where you come back to the mansion and the fast little demons come after you.

The second game was Tomb Raider, which I liked even better. I found that it was nearly as intriguing to watch my friends play as it was to actually play it myself. We'd spend eight hours at a time playing, so you can see how engrossing it was. Basically, one person would play until they reached a puzzle they couldn't solve or needed to take a bathroom break... then the next person would get a shot.

There weren't too many extremely difficult puzzles, yet most weren't exceedingly easy either. Some are particularly memorable for how long they took to crack, like the flaming pillars. I almost made it past them on my second try, but then spent another hour and a half trying over and over until finally succeeding. Or the sliding blocks in the pyramid that we just couldn't figure out, even after mapping it out and putting the blocks into every possible combination of positions. Finally, I had an epiphany at 3 AM, looking at the map as Ray slept- we had found a funny glitch in the bottom room that turned out to be a map of the area (I still wonder if the programmers put that in there on purpose or not). I stared at that map, trying to figure out what we were missing, and suddenly realized that we'd drawn our map wrong! It was now evident that two of the blocks abutted and there was a gap between them when you pulled out the block in the bottom room, leaving an additional position for another block. This realization dawned just a split second before Ray woke from his nap and asked if I'd figured it out. I smiled and said that I thought so, and went to push the block, revealing an opening.

And you should have seen us panic when we blew up the spinning thing in the pyramid and everything started shaking! We figured we had to get out fast, but got lost trying. Turns out we had a lot more time than we thought and eventually got out. We of course finished the game (Ray was a little disappointed by the finale), but even then we started playing through it again.

Just because none of the tip book publishers seem to have discovered this, here's a little advice for you. At the beginning of the Great Pyramid, don't run around the big (BIG) guy shooting- you'll fall off. Instead, back up to an edge and shoot until he gets close. Then drop off but grab the ledge... he'll eventually shuffle back to the door and you can pop back up and shoot again. Repeat as necessary.

by Russ Perry, Jr.

I'm sure that some of you, at least, have heard about the deal between Sega and Atari. This stems from a lawsuit about video game technology patents that Sega supposedly violated. Sega paid Atari a large settlement of $50 million for non-exclusive rights to more than seventy patents, but as part of the deal, also bought $40 million of Atari stock! That's approximately 4.7 million shares, or a 7.4% interest in the company.

An alleged part of the deal is also that Atari can produce five Sega titles a year for their game systems, and vice versa. Well, this could certainly be interesting, especially since said versions will most likely be in competition with each other. Tempest 2000 on the Saturn? Daytona USA on the Jaguar? Hmm...

Of course, there has been much speculation about the deal... some people claim that Atari would not have survived the Christmas season without the infusion of cash from Sega. Others are speculating that Sega will eventually buy Atari! I'm not sure I see this happening, but I wonder what would happen: Sega is already heading for a glut of systems, and acquiring the Jaguar and near-dead Lynx would only complicate things further. I'm not sure Sega would just hang up the Jag, though I can surely see the Lynx taking a fast fade, possibly to be followed by the Game Gear. I suspect, that if the unlikely occurs, they will either market the Jaguar under a differently named division, or will turn it into a portable to replace the Game Gear. The Genesis' future would be quite rocky, too, though I suspect they might take the Power Base solution to keep it viable for a while.

Where does all this leave Nintendo? They might consider worrying about two opponents consolidating against them, but I doubt that it is a real concern for them right now. If Sega does buy Atari, it would likely have a greater effect on the big N, but still a somewhat negligible one.

Another contender may turn out to be the 3DO. The system has been seen occasionally- and perhaps accidentally- at $299, and Electronic Arts' FIFA Soccer is the 100th 3DO game to be released. Compare this to six games available for the Jaguar in the same year's period. That's a damned good showing; in fact, it's spectacular, even when not compared to Atari. But then again, the 3DO is a niche product for the time being, and may well remain that way. Plus, it is easier to justify the spread of available products due to the relatively low cost of CDs compared to cartridges... it is more easily afforded to produce small numbers of many titles than large numbers of a few.

What will be interesting to see is if some of the apparent trends, like the possible Sega/Atari buy, and CD adaptors for PCs, the 3DO, Sega CD, etc. don't lead toward interoperability, where what system you buy doesn't make much of a difference. It will be kind of like deciding between the Genesis, CDX, or X'Eye- they all play the same games, but you can go for brand loyalty or extra features. Or like getting a Macintosh and putting in a PC emulator board to run Windows and Doom. Will this happen? Maybe. Will it happen across the entire industry? I doubt it. Looking at it one way, do you really think any two strong competitors, like Sega and Nintendo, would bother with compatibility rather than trying to capture the whole market? From another tack, even if companies can agree on a standard, there will always be lagging old standards, comparable to the 8-bit game systems hanging on well into the 16-bit era and the beginning of the 32-bit age.

Every time I look at the industry, I see it becoming more fragmentary, with small sub-markets where competition isn't the main game. How many people own both a Genesis and a Super NES? I imagine it's a higher percentage than the number of people who owned two competing systems in the Atari age. Plus, we have two generations of gaming still in some contention- the collectors versus the modernists- but it isn't really a war... many collectors own the newer systems, too, and the modernists may have an old system in the closet that actually gets played on occasion. So we're looking at moving from owners of one system, to two system owners, and now to even more, as even the modernists may become more reluctant to throw old systems out.

Rumor has it that Atari has the rights to the old 2600 available, but they aren't cheap. Why would they bother hanging on to the system? Perhaps they see the old stuff as an untapped market (which unfortunately is beginning to be tapped) and wish to retain a hold on that niche as well as try to build a niche with the Jaguar. Who can blame them? More and more, niches are where the action is, in this and any other industry. I think we'll begin to see small companies being able to hang on with even low sales, and the number of game machines available at any one time will remain fairly high.

Bill Haslacher asks: "How did you get started in video gaming?"

I've enjoyed all kinds of games since I was very young. The earliest video memories I have are playing Breakout at a restaurant up north when I went to visit an uncle; and also getting a Pong unit one Christmas. I also played some pinball as a lad, but I can't remember if that was really before vids or not. I know my brother and I were absolutely in love with Spanish Eyes, and years later were horrified to discover one with an op art backboard and slightly different playfield (trick of the memory?). Later I plugged a few quarters into Sea Wolf at a local eatery. When the 2600 hit the Sears catalog, I was spellbound... I began to keep track of every game I heard of and begged Mom and Dad for one every Christmas. Eventually I got one and my passion just grew and grew. I wanted every new game system, and still do. I've managed to accumulate over 40 different ones now, and at least 1200 games, not to mention loads of trivia, tons of paper chase, and a lot of correspondants... perhaps even a smidgen of fame.

by Russ Perry, Jr.


"Slap-Dash fills me with a nearly religious fervor!"
Tomas de Torquemada

"Tastier than poodle excrement!"

"I will sweep through all the lands, enslaving their peoples and destroying everything in my path, but to show that I am merciful, I will allow Slap-Dash to survive as one of my many concubines!"
Ghengis Khan

"I think it gave me a rash!"

"It's Slap, it's Dash; it's God, it's Satan; it's you, it's me, but mainly me, and my shadow; I am dark and Russ is light, but light is only accompaniment to the sonata of dark, and the dance is for all, the waltz of death, every page another step, another misstep, with crosses and cellos, and Jesus leads the band, and I request a tune called Slap-Dash!"
Charles Manson

"It's Russ-tastic!"

by Russ Perry, Jr.

May 11th, 1997: Doors reunion concert proves once and for all that Jim Morrison really is dead

May 16th, 1948: First use of the phrase "Bite me" on TV (the Dumont Network)

May 19th, 1958: First mime bred in captivity (Cleveland Zoo)

May 23rd, 1991: Sikh extremists declare female orgasm unholy; wages Gihad successfully for only thirty seconds

June 7th, 17021 BC: Atlantis defeats Lemuria in First Ch'petnik World Championship

June 16th, 1631: 1002nd sexual position invented

June 29th, 1993: IRS audits Mother Theresa

June 24th, 1931: Use of peanut butter as a sexual aid demonstrated at World's Fair

July 31st, 1991: Psychoactive drugs accidentally released into air from secret US government lab; country suffers three day invasion of "snakes"

August 5th, 1985: Mothers Against Drunk Drivers Road Rally turns to tragedy thanks to three hundred gallons of spiked punch

August 10th, 1989: Middle finger declared state bird of New York

August 14th, 1978: Moral Majority holds wildly successful wife-swapping party

August 16th, 2006: First joint US-Russia-Japan stellar expedition to Labia Majora

August 17th, 1996: First dog trained to not eat fecal matter

August 20th, 1989: Goodyear and Trojan sign agreement to market new steel-belted whitewall condoms and lubricated ribbed tires

August 21st, 1992: Bozo becomes CEO of GM; all air bags replaced with cream pies

August 23rd, 1983: Surgeon General C. Everett Koop declares anal sex to be the preferred method of birth control

August 28th, 1958: Lesbian thespians begin all-female "Shakesqueere" series with the play "Hamlette"

August 30th, 1994: The Rapture was this morning; all present and accounted for

September 6th, 1997: Theory that AIDS is not spread by HIV but by Elvis sightings proven

September 11th, 1987: Little Orphan Annie gets contacts; they fall into her head

September 15th, 1971: Jimmy Hoffa's ghost appears at Oscar Meyer

September 16th, 1949: FCC fines NBC for "showing their pride"; logo changed substancially

September 19th, 1983: Documented proof that a wedgie caused the loss of one of Hitler's testicles sheds new light on his psychosis

September 20th, 1978: LSD Pop Rocks banned; psychedelic M&Ms still selling well

September 21st, 1973: CIA noogie squads phased out in favor of death squads

September 23rd, 1997: Drugs not only legalized, but made mandatory as well

September 24th, 2013: First broadcasts of extraterrestrial origin received; years of study reveal them to be alien versions of Gilligan's Island and Three's Company

September 25th, 2108: President Urtner arrested for wearing clothes

September 26th, 1995: Ben and Jerry's 3052nd new flavor, Pistachio Gherkin, bombs

October 1st, 1994: First flatus-powered aircraft flown 70 miles by pilot Jeff "Beans" Baxter

October 4th, 2008: Systematic execution of ugly people begins

October 5th, 2001: Strict gun control laws lead to rash of bizarre soup ladle killings nationwide

October 11th, 1984: Prankster at Right Guard fills 13,000 cans of deodorant with Magic Shell ice cream topping; National Guard troops called in to quell pandemonium

October 17th, 2235: World panics as sun goes out; Las Vegas doesn't notice

October 19th, 2011: Eyeballs now accepted as cash in 173 of the world's 191 countries

October 23rd, 1996: In an effort to reduce overpopulation, all people with the letter "A" in their names are rounded up and eradicated

October 25th, 2021: First human/octopus hybrid becomes surprise hit of porn industry

November 3rd, 1963: Unbeknownst to consumers, Post Cereals replaces raisins in Raisin Bran with mouse droppings

November 7th, 1946: Nuclear Jell-O invented; to this day no one can remember the original recipe

November 10th, 2205: Jelly beans declare themselves as US citizens and demand equal rights

November 11th, 1975: US government declares war on dachshunds

November 12th, 2010: Hillshire Farms wins FDA approval to sell human flesh as a meat substitute

November 20th, 2101: Gummi Bears respond to accusations of Satanism by bringing five years of plague, famine, and locusts to the land

November 21st, 1979: Dumplings declared the root of all evil

November 22nd, 1988: Nabisco introduces line of cookies especially made for homosexual market, including Fag Newtons, Nutter Butt-f'ers, Oraleos, Chick's Ahoy, Famous Anus, and Lady Fingers

November 23rd, 1998: Landmark trial concerning the phrase "Everything On Sale" ends with Ed Filkstein purchasing Mrs. "Crazy" Jack Venetta for $17.50, half of her original value

December 1st, 1972: Marshmellows "liberate" Three Mile Island nuclear reactor and hold east coast hostage for three days

December 2nd, 2666- March 17th, 2669: The Lords of Hell subpoena Yahweh, AKA The One True God, AKA Allah, AKA The Creator, AKA The Great Spirit, etc., into a New Jersey court room on trumped up charges; as a result, demons are allowed free reign of heaven and earth until verdict is overturned by the Supreme Court

December 7th, 1948: Tomb of Purankuhotep discovered, apparently guarded by an astounding variety of practical joke items, including well-preserved banana peels

December 8th, 2103: M&M Eyeball Candy sales skyrocket when revealed to be real eyeballs

January 10th, 1991: Supreme Court declares marriage unconstitutional

January 11th, 1979: Recently uncovered evidence suggests that an infinite number of monkeys banging away on an infinite number of typewriters DID produce the works of Shakespeare

January 13th, 2024: Willem Boenhaemmer becomes first person to be executed for eating parsley

January 20th, 1988: Government declares all forms of cancer as benign in an effort to reduce the death rate from malignant tumors

January 27th, 2034: Zach Noodlemeyer becomes the first popularly-elected Pope to win a world heavyweight title

January 28th, 2009: Eight foot tall five-legged frog "Frosty the Go-Man" wins first New Jersey Preakness

February 15th, 1936: "Honk if You're Horny" bumperstickers first popularized

February 26th, 1921: Masturbation legalized

March 4th, 1871: Jell-O wrestling declared national pastime

March 7th, 30,000,000,000 BC: Earth colonized by intelligent pomegranates

March 13th, 1801 BC: Snake bite leads to discovery of fellatio

March 18th, 1962: Disney opens short-lived Phallusland exhibit

April 10th, 1927: Spam Jell-O introduced

by Russ Perry, Jr.

This was going to be one of those fun articles... you know, something to tickle the ribs. Only, it turns out not so cool, I guess.

Do you know anyone who has sort of gone 'round the bend? I know a couple, but there is one in particular I thought would be fun to write about, one Dan Rice, or Satan, as he called himself after drinking and falling down some stairs. He freaked out and kept my brother, his roommate at the time, up all night trying to calm him. He's had a couple of interesting adventures, which I may relate to you someday, but not today.

This guy has some really odd ideas about life, society, and, well, let's be frank, reality. Now, don't get me wrong... I'm usually not offended by unconventional thinking, but this guy can even set me on edge. In a word, he's a freak.

He used to annoy me, when I still talked to him, with all kinds of ideas about how the world should be, lumping them into some grand idea he referred to as "the plan". Mind you, I could almost stomach this if he knew how to talk, but he seems "blessed" with an excruciating ability to dwell on the tiniest definitions, and use words in the oddest ways. I don't want to give you the idea that it's like talking to an alien, oh no... It's more like slipping sideways through a crack in common sense into an alternate reality, where there are just wisps of familiar landmarks slipping across your consciousness.

So I finally got sick of this prick calling me late at night, and wanting to talk even later, and I began hanging up on him to get rid of him. He'd leave some "funny" messages to try to get me to respond, or make me feel guilty, or something- like I ever knew what he was talking about. And as the messages kept getting odder and odder, I began thinking "article", as even my extremely nice mother started hanging up on him.

So then he calls me up and basically threatens me. Now, this is Dan we're talking about, so it's worded in such a way that you can't say for sure it's a threat. He's so pathetic that I'm sure he didn't mean it that way, but I follow my brother's lead and report it to the police. Another call, days later, reaches me at work... I'm pleased to hear that I should "scatter". The police receive another complaint, and others from my brother, mother, and a couple of friends who he also harasses. And it goes on.

The police can't really do anything until he does something violent. I go from hoping he just leaves us alone to hoping he'll drop by so I can beat the shit out of him for trespassing. But hey, I just save the messages he leaves, call the cops when they're even vaguely threatening, and hope he hangs himself (and about half the time I don't mean that figuratively).

Oh, I'd love to do something myself: I've certainly considered it. If it wouldn't mean legal trouble for me, I'd definitely have bashed his skinhead (his new phase) skull in by now. I've also been recently devouring a book on Haydukery (look it up), and I've got so many ideas for revenge, either from the book or inspired by that state of mind, that it hurts. Of course, I know that if I do anything, I, and the rest of us so plagued, will all get retaliation... nothing quite as clever or fun, of course, just more and more calls. Boys and girls, this boy is a moron, and I'd appreciate your prayers that he just goes away.

by Russ Perry, Jr.

I had an interesting dream the other night.

It started off with me walking into a house for a rummage sale (though it felt more like a store; you know how dreams are). The first thing I see is an Intellivision with a bunch of carts, only instead of black with gold or wood trim, it's white with a sort of olive green/cameo design. "Curious," I think, and look closer.

Just about the time I walk up, I notice that most of the carts, though they look like Imagic games, are from Bandai, who sold the Intellivision in Japan (this part is true!). Rather than shit a brick right there, I keep calm and cool and move closer.

Just about that time a teen already inside strolls over and says, "Boy, I haven't played one of these in a while." Fearing that he may want it too, and wanting to stake first claim on the system, I abruptly grab it and shout, "Whoa, cool, I haven't seen this in a while." The boy is taken aback, and, as planned, I now have the owner's attention. Being the great actor I am, it came across as enthusiastic surprise from someone looking to relive his childhood, not a greedy collector wanting something rare. "Man, I gotta have this." He suspects nothing.

I begin packing up the carts, and he mentions a second Intellivision (which looks more like the ship from Captain Planet), so I grab that, too. There was a Star Destroyer model (it looked more like a comic book version of Destroyer with Blockade Runner-like features) that came with the second one, and I laid that in the molded plastic with the other gimmies (the second Intellivision was obviously very unreal; you know how dreams are). It seems he had a lot of stuff because he used to sell Intellivisions, and he apparently kept some of the more interesting stuff for himself.

I took my bounty over to the guy and asked, "How much?", hoping like hell he didn't want some exorbitant fee. "$6.15," he replied. "Not a problem," I thought, handing over the money without looking too eager, but keeping up the facade of boyish glee lest he see through my ruse. I note some other carts on a rack on the wall, and lazily ask about them. He didn't respond, but since they are common and I got one hell of a bargain, I don't press my luck any further.

As I turn to leave, he says, "Some of those may be rare." Uh, oh, perhaps my cover is blown? I ask, "What do you mean?" He mentions a cartridge I hadn't noticed, Grendel (named after the comic character, I presumed), and say that he doesn't think that it was ever released. Rather than screaming "My God! I've never heard of that one!" the way I want to, I counter with "Really? Huh. Cool."

At this point the dream ended, so I got away with everything without letting the experience and my extreme pleasure slip. Of course, waking up brought the disappointment that the games weren't real. :(

by Russ Perry, Jr.

Hey, kids, did you all see the article about that new holographic projector? It was in a recent issue of Popular Science as well as other sources. If you didn't see it, picture 3D images floating in front of your eyes! It's sort of like virtual reality without goggles and full immersion. And apparently it can be used to project live images or animation, reading them from a computer CD-ROM on the fly.

Obviously, there may be call for this in games (Virtua Fighters in your face!) and standard VR mainstays such as architectural walkthroughs and pornography. But imagine even cooler uses, like these:

Star Wars chess, just like in the movie.
Virtual pets (turn your room into a fishtank!).
Really cool business cards (a mini you gives the pitch).
Moving tattoos that snap at people who look too close.
New computer paradigm to replace laptops (Air OS).
Pranks (opening doors becomes an adventure).
Catalogs and menus that show exactly what you're buying.
Animated and more obvious traffic signs.
"Living" star dolls (Marilyn Monroe on your desk!).
Teleconferencing in presence.

Unfortunately, the technology looks a little bulky right now, so many of the above uses are not going to be possible. But hopefully in time the size of the projector will diminish, and the image produced will become brighter. For right now, keep an eye out for storefront ads that jump right out at you.


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