BOOT UP SOME CD-ROM FUN
Smart Games CD-ROM for Windows (also available on 3.5" disks) (Smart Games Inc., $39.95).
The CD-ROM contains 20 games and puzzles. The numerically challenged can guide their mouse through crossword puzzles and anagrams, while several math puzzles will please the verbally challenged. Some games test your ability to visualize shapes, while others tax your ability to get your car out of the overcrowded parking lot. One puzzle is a high-tech version of dime-store games that had you shuffle sliding, numbered squares in an attempt to put them in order. The graphics are crisp and the music corny. From any screen, click on the "INFO" icon to get instructions on how to play the game at hand. Sure beats Minesweeper and Solitaire!
Toy Story Activity Center CD-ROM for Windows and MacIntosh (Disney Interactive, $39.95).
Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the rest of the toy-box characters from Disney's "Toy Story" turn learning into fun in virtual "rooms" filled with nine games and activities. Play cards with Hamm to help build addition and subtraction skills and a dash of strategic thinking. Several of the games can be played with two people. The CD also contains clips from the movie. A word of caution for those with older, slower computers. When the CD-ROM's makers give "50 Mhz" as one of the minimum requirements for computers running the game, they're not kidding. It's possible to play on slower machines, but the sound and graphics are slow.
Star Trek Omnipedia CD-ROM for Windows and MacIntosh (Simon & Schuster Interactive, $79.75).
This is a voice-activated exhaustive encyclopedia of all things Trekkie. Mac owners get all the fun, addressing their machines in Star Trek-like manner, as in, "Computer...Play video." Windows folks only get to issue the order, "play video." The CD-ROM is a great way to bone up on the history of the United Federation of Planets. Trace the evolution of starships, alien life forms, Star Fleet uniforms and hardware, and the cast of characters from Kirk to Janeway. For those who are trying to recall individual movie and TV episodes, the details are all here. "Monitor out."