- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 16, 2006

Each week, the Browser features some pop-culture places on the World Wide Web offering the coolest in free interactive sounds and action.

Bunny trouble

Ubisoft’s Rayman Raving Rabbids, one of the better games for Nintendo’s new Wii entertainment console, has a couple of free online components to introduce visitors to a world ruled by hostile hares and give seasoned players a chance to tout their accomplishments.

First, the game’s official Web site (http://raymanzone.us.ubi.com/raving rabbids/index.html) sets the tone for the insanity as a crazed rabbit pops out of an outhouse and shoots a plunger at the visitor. As the suction cup slides its way down the screen, the site loads, presenting a force of noisy creatures that have little interest in anyone looking at their site.

Of the explosive sections that are constantly vandalized by the psychotic, screaming hares, visitors will want to look at Rabbids for an introduction to some of the troublemakers and, more important, the Game Zone to enjoy six minichallenges. Games include some hilarious, though difficult, three-dimensional, rabbit-inspired representations of rock paper scissors, Whac-A-Mole and a soccer shootout.

Those who register with the site before playing the games can accumulate points and receive some free downloads for their effort, such as e-mail signatures, mobile ring tones and wallpaper.

Next, a link from the main site takes visitors to Rayman Raving Rabbids Hall of Fame (http://rayman zone.us.ubi.com/hall_of_fame.php). Players who have rung up enormous scores within some of the more than 70 challenges on the Wii, PlayStation 2 or PC versions of the title are rewarded with a code in the video game that can be entered on the site. Once entered, the player is ranked among peers around the world who have shown a keen ability in tasks such as shot-putting a cow, filling up diving goggles with carrot juice and blasting bunnies with plungers.

Players also can see a progress graph for each minigame, compare accomplishments with friends and even check scores from other countries.

Mix a ‘Musical’

Disney Channel’s megahit made-for-TV movie “High School Musical,” will be broadcast again Dec. 26, and its stars roll in to the Verizon Center for a live performance on Dec. 28.

Those interested in learning about this pop-culture juggernaut need only stop by its official site (http://psc. disney.go.com/disneychannel/original movies/highschoolmusical/) to take part in some multimedia musical fun. Besides activities such as downloads to master dance moves, a 10-question quiz to find out which character a visitor most resembles and a party planner, the site offers a slick program to design a music video.

In Mixed Up Mashed Up, visitors use online software to create a 15-second masterpiece using segments with “High School Musical” themes. A timeline centers the creative endeavor as the director drags and places videos, graphics, music and sound effects on lines that mix all of the media into a single piece.

Visitors also can stop by the Mixed Up Mashed Up Club to find dozens of avatars that represent “High School Musical” fans who have created a video. A click on any of the faceless bodies offers a name, age and state of residence as well as their finished product.

Completed videos also can be sent to friends or to the Disney Channel, where they may be televised between the network’s programs.

Have a cool site for the online multimedia masses? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at the Browser, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send e-mail (jszadkowski@washingtontimes.com). Joseph also writes a Web-exclusive column for The Washington Times’ Web site, where he reviews educational software and family-friendly video games. Check it out at www.washingtontimes.com/family times/romperroom.htm.

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