Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 157 / OCTOBER 1993 / PAGE 108


Faithful use of a screen saver is a good practice if you're interested in prolonging the life of your monitor screen, but the patterns most screen savers present tend to be rather mundane, with floating hearts, fish, or simple line patterns. These three programs offer quite a refreshing change.

Razzle Dazzle runs under either DOS or Windows, occupying a modest 234K of disk space and 12K of RAM as a TSR. After a period of keyboard inactivity, with a length you can specify, the program activates itself with a seemingly endless variety of striking patterns. Many are kaleidoscopic, but with effects no kaleidoscope ever imagined. Some simulate fireworks, with showers of stars. As the patterns change, the screen sometimes fades, scrolls, wraps up, or seems to melt from the top down.

The results are simply beautiful. Everyone who's seen the program has spent many minutes in rapt enjoyment of the effects. I can't recommend the program too highly; I was so smitten myself that I made a videotape of the screen and dubbed in some appropriate music for use as a background relaxation program on TV.

In quite a different mode and mood, Johnny Castaway runs only under Windows and requires 1800K of disk space. The program brings up an animated cartoon about a castaway on a small island (as you might gather from the title) and is complete with sound effects. The graphics and animation are quite well done. The program consists of a series of episodes rather than a continuous story line, so if you drop out and return, you don't miss a thing. The cartoon's mildly amusing for a while— children might enjoy it—but it gets pretty boring rather quickly, despite Johnny's adventures with sharks and mermaids and Lilliputian pirates. Moreover, you wonder a bit about the screen-saving feature, since much of the screen remains totally unchanged for long periods of time.

The most complex of the three screen savers, Origin FX, runs only under Windows and requires more than 5MB of disk space. In return for this, you get a menu of patterns. There are 26 “movies” from which to choose. Some of these are abstract patterns of lines or spheres, striking in their varying effects. Others have conventional moving objects, such as aircraft, spaceships, and asteroids. Others show cartoons, and still others display scenes from Origin's other programs, such as Ultima and Wing Commander. Many of the movies have sound effects, and all are very well done in their graphics and animation.

If you're tired of movies, you can select a slide show, which displays a sequence of static images taken from any bitmapped files you happen to have around. The program includes several such files, Windows has many, and you may add to these by capturing scenes from the program's movies or by including bitmapped files from other sources. If you want variety in your screen saver presentation, Origin FX does an excellent job.

Sierra's Johnny Castaway blanks your screen and tells a story as well.


Road Scholar

(800) 443-7623

Razzle Dazzle—$49.95

Circle Reader Service Number 444

Sierra On-Line

(800) 326-6654

Johnny Castaway—$34.95

Circle Reader Service Number 445


(800) 245-4525

Origin FX—$39.95

Circle Reader Service Number 446