ONLINE WITH START
Summer Fun Is
Where You Find It
By Gregg Pearlman
If you think that CompuServe is just for electronic mail, news and financial information, then you haven't spent much time online. There really is a fun, entertaining side that isn't limited to downloading files with names like, oh, TIFFANY.PIC.
The idea of "online" fun might conjure up visions of adventure games, but there's much more than that on CompuServe--although if you really seek adventure games, you won't be disappointed. Just type GO ADVENT, which will bring up a menu featuring British Legends, CastleQuest, Flying Buffalo, House of Banshi, Original Adventure, New Adventure and Scott Adams Adventures--the latter a blast from Atari's 8-bit past. Many interactive online games are for multiple players, and the player interaction adds more variety than in a one-player game.
Typing GO FRPGAM brings you to the Fantasy Role-Playing Games forum, where you'll find such online classics as BlackDragon, Castle Telengard and Island of Kesmai. For a different type of role-playing game, just GO FOOTBALL for a sophisticated sports simulation. Typing GO CSW brings you to the Computer Sports World, featuring bookmakers' statistics for football, basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer.
And to talk with others about the games, there's the Gamers' Forum, featuring The Electronic Gamer, an online magazine full of reviews, newsletters and game walk-throughs. (Of course, even with a printout of a walk-through in front of him, one editorial staff member of Antic Publishing--we're not saying who--still couldn't finish "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.")
If you're more interested in a word-search game, type GO BAFFLE--in fact, for any of several brain-teasing games, the Board/Parlor Games area includes astrological and biorhythm charting, The Casino (a multi-player blackjack game), Hangman and Interactive Chess.
ARE THE STARS OUT TONIGHT?
For those cosmically inclined, you can get horoscopes online. When you type GO ASTROL, you need enter only your time, date and place of birth, the time zone in effect at the time, and optional information such as Morinus, Regiomontanus, Porphyry, Equal and Campanus systems. This horoscope chart gives you all sorts of information decipherable only by those well-versed in this sort of thing, such as your ruling planets and the relative positions of the planets at the time you were born.
And if the stars in the sky don't interest you, perhaps the stars in Hollywood will. Type GO HHL for the Hollywood Hotline (which carries a $6 per hour surcharge for daily entertainment news), a Showbiz Trivia Quiz, product information and more including more "Movie Reviewettes" than you can shake a stick at. In fact, without the Hollywood Hotline, we might never have known about the return of "My Sister Sam" to the CBS lineup or Dorothy Lyman of "Mama's Family" appearing on "ALF," or about Donald Trump buying 24.9% of MCA, Inc. (Universal Pictures).
For adult information and, let's be honest, entertainment--you can type GO HUMAN, which brings you to CompuServe's largest online magazine, the Human Sexuality Forum (HSF). The HSF has online transcripts, questions and answers, support groups, an index and more; to be perfectly blunt, there's something for many different tastes. Sexual issues are discussed in a straightforward, mature manner, although the answers occasionally seem self-evident ("What should I do if my child asks to watch my spouse and me in an intimate moment?" "Say 'no,' " state the experts. I don't think you need a degree in child psychology to figure that one out.)
For related pleasures of the flesh, you can always GO IO to get to Inside Outside Lingerie, which is an online catalog of intimate clothing. This might then prompt you to try GO FlSHNET--but it isn't what you think. It really takes you to the Aquaria/Fish Forum. The Aquaria forum has several message boards, data libraries and conference channels for those who enjoy tropical fish.
YOU DON'T NEED MUCH HIGH-Q
But if you think you're too smart for all this, then GO TMC for an IQ test (TMC means The Multiple Choice). You'll be given several short, timed quizzes encompassing general knowledge and a bit of math. Later, the test will flash numbers from three to nine characters on your screen, and you'll have to type them in as you saw them--in the second part of this section, you type the digits in reverse order. Then you get the standard analogies test, such as "INSOUCIANT is to WILDEBEEST as EMBOLIC is to: (a.) POCKET LINT (b.) STEGOSAURUS (c.) FENCEPOST or (d.) STYPTIC." This is the hard part. Last comes the famous quotations--in code. Simple substitution helps you decipher the famous sayings. At this point you're given an IQ "score" and told what it means.
The TMC area also has quizzes such as "So You Think You Know Me!," a two-player test, "Personality Profile," which requires honesty on your part, and a "Touch-Type Tutor."
So all in all, CompuServe provides plenty of areas where you can kill an idle hour and have fun doing it. The only drawback, of course, is the connect charge, but then that's always the drawback.
Gregg Pearlman is Assistant Editor of Antic.
CompuServe, Inc., 5000 Arlington Centre Blvd., P.O. Box 20212, Columbus, OH 43220, (800) 848-8190; (614) 457-0802.