Games & CD-ROMS
Tuesday 04 November 1997
pounds 39.99, Mindscape
The legendary status of Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth is such that even many of those who are most indifferent to baseball have heard of them. It's doubtful, however, that this simulation needs their names attached in order to sell.
You can have teams of all-time greats swinging for glory in historical ballparks, but ultimately sims depend on how they play, rather than the theatre that's set up for them - and this one plays very well. While it allows you to adjust just about every variable you can think of - and probably some that never occurred to you - the basic controls for pitching and batting are simple and do not take much memorising. The result is that you can be playing within minutes and then explore the deeper stuff, meddle with tactics, investigate player biographies and so on.
The games on screen are over more quickly than those on the ball park, too: appealing to the impatient as well as the anorak is no mean feat.
Birds Of Britain & Europe
pounds 49.99, AA Multimedia
Windows 3.1 or later
Sound, video and animation are put to good use in this guide to 427 bird species. The interface is anchored to a virtual museum that lets you wander around and discover things either at random or in a more structured way, from avian taxonomy and how to attract birds to your garden, to examples of birdsong. It's easy to build up a comprehensive profile on any of the birds in terms of behaviour, migratory patterns, likely habitats etc.
Where this scores over paper encyclopaedias is in its use of multimedia. Using books and binoculars, I've laboured for years trying to work out whether they were swifts or swallows flying over my garden. The sound files here solved it in an instant - swifts, for sure.
pounds 40, Microprose
It's not often that so-called developments in adventure gaming advance the genre. This innovative CD-Rom developed by the French group Kalisto, however, makes a brave attempt. Using a proprietary 3D engine, the third- person action takes place in real time from various camera angles, with some nifty full-screen motion video scenes to stylishly expand on the most important bits.
For once, the description visually stunning is appropriate. Even the shadows are impressive. The characters you encounter and have to interact with in this post-apocalyptic world are more than merely one-dimensional ciphers and react according to their predisposition and the way they're approached. A strong plot and plenty of tension mean that the story line is, unusually, important rather than being a lame rationale tagged on at the end.
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets
Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 David Cameron refers to 83-year-old Labour MP Dennis Skinner as 'Jurassic Park'
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Optical illusion turns blue demon into brunette
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal will donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
Top Gear: Former co-host James May to present new BBC2 car show
The Rolling Stones announce biggest ever touring rock exhibition with Saatchi Gallery
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
'Dukes of Hazzard' pulled from screens by CBS as outcry over Confederate flag grows
Game of Thrones season 6: Release date, plots and dragons - everything we know so far
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
Tunisia beach attack: How can British Muslims respond to the latest outrages?