- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 2, 2006

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

Cyber slam-dunk

One of the purest forms of basketball in the United States was dramatized Friday with the Sony Pictures release of “Crossover.”

The sport of urban street ball also comes to life through the film’s official Web site (www.sony pictures.com/movies/crossover/), which offers not only the standard information about the movie, but also multimedia activities and a bit of education on the playground phenomenon.

An embedded music player on the opening screen sets the tone for the action with six hip-hop-fueled musical mixes.

One of the easiest ways to learn about the sport is through the History of Streetball section that presents an interactive map of 14 hot spots around the country. Hot spots translate into courts, and visitors get information on famous locales such as St. Cecilia in Detroit and the PS 44 playground in Brooklyn, along with the mecca of street ball, which is found at 155th and 8th streets in New York City, called Holcombe Rucker.

Once the map is digested, dribbling over to the Video section offers a highlight reel of some of the coolest tricks of the game. Fourteen moves are available to view with colorful names, such as Sauce Whirlwind, Heezy, Helter Spin and Nutcracker.

The See No Evil move was especially impressive as the player actually managed to make the ball disappear in front of his opponent by hiding it in his extreme shorts. Visitors looking for more slick tricks and instructions on how to pull them off should stop by the HoopsVibe Web site (www.hoops vibe.com/streetball/streetballmoves/index232.html) for 50 ways to dazzle a crowd.

Next, a pair of games is worth a look as visitors can either take a 15-question multiple-choice quiz about the NBA or play a four-round slam-dunk contest against the computer. The slamming simulation requires a player power up and launch his star with guidance from meter bars and colored circles before he lets loose the likes of a Tomahawk, Reverse Windmill or 360 dunk.

Visitors also can get an official street ball moniker under the Name Generator tag after answering 10 questions about their game. You can just call me the Souljah.

Additionally, amateur directors can use some simple online editing software under the Moves Mixer to string together 10 segments from 23 “Crossover” clips to create a highlight reel complete with a choice of four musical tracks.

Finally, all hot dogs can submit photographs of their nastiest dunks for others to view and rate on the Web site.

Invincible Internet

While on the topic of sports, Buena Vista Pictures’ “Invincible,” starring Mark Wahlberg as former Philadelphia Eagles player Vince Papale, opened last week as one of the better feel-good movies of the summer.

Its official site (https://disney.go. com/disneypictures/invincible/) is led by the Open Tryouts simulation that allows visitors to become a virtual player training and competing for a spot in the Top 10 online rankings.

Players first create a personalized profile card of themselves (with an option to add a photograph) to compile statistics before they take part in defense (push a tacking dummy), offense (pass a ball) and special teams (kick field goals) drills to accumulate points.

Kicking is the most fun and requires the player line up a ray of light with the goal posts and click a power meter to boot the ball. Wind complicates the challenge.

The site also has an interesting way to present information on the film through a series of five video clips wedged into an interactive playbook. Visitors can turn its pages to reveal scenes that take them through moments in the streets of Philadelphia through the Eagles’ regular season home opener.

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, DC 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.washington times.com/familytimes/romperroom.htm.

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