Websites: metapet.net; betacity.de; rivals.net and others

The 10 best websites of the week
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The Independent Online

www.metapet.net

www.metapet.net

Metapet.net presents the world's first transgenic virtual pet game, and the planet doubtless breathes a sigh of relief that something it always wanted has finally happened. Presented in enjoyable Shockwave, the aim of the game is to join one of three biotech companies and keep your virtual employees happy in their work environment, thus increasing productivity and company share price. Increasing their pay and not exploiting them should work a treat.

www.betacity.de/game/

Erational creates Betacity, in which the visitor uses backgrounds and drop-in parts to build unique cities. Photographs of landscapes, from icebergs and army encampments to trees and the Las Vegas strip, can be adorned with cartoon-style roads, trees and even Star Wars spaceships, to construct (thanks to the mix of photos and graphics) oddly-endearing cityscapes, that can then be then saved and printed off if desired. It's a bit like Sim City, but without the worry of having to balance budgets.

www.rivals.net

OK, if you must keep your eyes on the World Cup prize for another week or so, you could do much worse than checking out Rivals.net for news, analysis, features and photos of all the action in the Far East. Opinionated and never dull, you can tell the site's writers are genuine fans, and the place also has a busy messageboard section where fans can vent their spleens.

www.worldhum.com

"Travel dispatches from a shrinking planet" is the byline for this "tell-it-like-it-is" site, which features tales of love, life, beauty and horror in equal measure from those citizens of Planet Earth lucky enough to have the time, money and inclination to wander around it. The site is massive, ever-growing, and a great portal to other essential web sites on the subject of real-world destinations.

www.planettribes.com/allyourbase

Can't keep the bonkers stuff from you for too long, and "All your base are belong to us" should keep you pondering long after you've left the site. A none-too accurate translation (from Japanese to English) of an old Sega Genesis game, Zero Wing, caused much mirth among bored netheads, and the result is a piece of humorous "haute cult-ure" that you need a piece of if you don't already know about it. Cleverly altered images show none-too sublimnal messages of alien intent.

www.doshtracker.co.uk

Ever wondered how far your money went? This is a UK sterling version of the dollar-based US site, wheresgeorge.com – and presumably for the same unknown reason as the American version, tracks banknotes. Relying on users to register and log the pound in and out of their pocket, this is an entirely pointless but also entirely fascinating exercise in fanatical fold-following. Quintessential quid-capering for the crazily cash-conscious.

www.epitonic.com

A high-quality free mp3 music site, for those shy of satellites, epitonic.com has plenty of free tunes for music-lovers to download. Keeping a growing catalogue of offbeat and cutting-edge material, the site acts as a contemporary musical magazine which you can listen to, introducing you to new artists, giving you some biography and background, and a chance to sample their sound.

www.0100101110101101.org

Successive pop-up boxes proclaim "Now you are in my computer", and it's not a bad place to be if you're no stranger to arty strangeness or art terrorism. Hi-jacking other web art projects and creating their own data-tracking statements using GPS, this anonymous Italian duo highlight the vulnerability of data, as well as offering their entire electronic lives (mails, projects, files) to continuous public consumption. Catchy url, too.

www.4learning.co.uk/sos/

Channel 4 continues to knock out some pretty decent websites, and SOS (Secondary Online Science) is no exception. Combining a fun approach to learning with eye-catching design, this site will keep teens on the educational straight-and-narrow, with fun games in the "Fashion Victim" and "Energy Quest" sections, with a "Sound Park" zone promised soon, all of which are linked to the UK national curriculum.

www.toewrestling.com

Today sees a tournament that ranks as a true test of human endeavour, skill, determination and strength. The Annual World Toe Wrestling Championships (taking place, as ever, in the Toe Mecca of Ye Olde Royale Oak public house in Wetton, Derbyshire) will be the home of hallucal hi-jinx as Robert Wyatt and Karen "Kamikaze" Davies defend their titles.

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