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© St. Petersburg Times, published March 15, 1999

Feeling e-mail deprived? Need a way to stay in touch with a friend -- a lot?

Hasbro thinks it has an answer -- e-mail versions of the classic games Battleship, Chess and Scrabble. I think this is an idea whose time has not come.

Here is how it works: One player buys the game, loads it onto a computer, sets up his ships on the game board and then sends an e-mail to someone, who has to download software (about 12 minutes on a 56k modem) to play.

A friend and I tried Battleship and went for a fast-track version. Over three nights, passing the time between moves by surfing the Web, we played one game. Granted, you can send messages with each move, so it is a way to stay in touch. But if we had answered e-mail normally, it could have taken weeks to complete. And it is not the kind of game one wants to fiddle with for days or weeks.

My friend, whose family enjoys several computer versions of Hasbro board games, including Sorry, and I were just happy to see the game end. Chess might have been better, but it has been years since either one of us has played.

On the kid scale, none of the three games drew any interest from my 13-year-old son, who is definitely into e-mail.

Platform: Windows 95/98 PC only.


Continuing the trend of putting favorite pastimes on the computer, Patch has come out with Elite Darts. Yes, that is correct. Darts on a computer

Play singles or doubles, choose from four dart boards, or have multiplayer games. But make sure your mouse is up to it. The way you "throw the dart" is to aim with the mouse, click and then move it back and forth before releasing it.

A few rounds persuaded me that this is not a game my wrist would enjoy for any extended period. Of course, there weren't any holes in the wall, either.

Platform: Windows 95/98 and Macintosh.


One game that did pass the kid test was Rocky & Bullwinkle's Know-It-All Quiz Game from Houghton Miflin Interactive. I thought it was cool, too

It aims for the 9- to 12-year-old set in a game show format featuring characters from the classic cartoon series. It has 2,800 questions in 12 categories, including science, history and "moosecellaneous." The questions can be challenging and fun, even for two teenagers older than the target audience.

Platform: Windows 95/98 and Macintosh

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