- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Here’s a look at some hardware and software for the DVD medium.

Game Wave from Zapit Games, stand-alone unit, $110.99. The interactive DVD “set-top” game has been updated with help from this slick digital video station, which enables up to six contestants to use their own controllers and challenge one another in a virtual game show.

The curvy Game Wave console allows families and friends — those not enamored by titles such as Halo, Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty — to play together and interact in kinder video-game realms.

The unit simply plugs into a television’s A/V ports, and thanks to some internal memory, a graphics processor, infrared technology and a Zapit disc, its proprietary DVD format is delivered to the screen.

Each package comes with four wireless, color-coded controllers (additional controllers are $29.98 for a pair) and each has a numerical and selection pad along with four answer buttons that have players work simultaneously through questions and on-screen action. A nice touch is the stand-alone case for the controllers, which butts up against the console and melds with its design.

The Game Wave’s strength is in its trivia titles, which all use photographs, video and narration to blow away any of the comparable DVD board games currently on the market. For example, included in the package is 4 Degrees: The Arc of Trivia, Vol. 1, which comes loaded with more than 360 multiple-choice questions about sports, science, the arts, history, geography and lifestyle.

An on-screen timer and roll of a die determine point values on questions, and contestants who lock in answers the quickest get the highest rewards. Clues cascade onto the screen, and choices disappear as time runs out, so even the thickest players can make an educated guess.

Although the Game Wave is not as impressive graphically as any of the currently available video-game consoles, it does offer an easy way for a group of intelligent people to spend a night at home and have fun.

Thankfully, the Game Wave also plays standard DVDs, or the cost would be hard to swallow — especially because the current selection of games definitely could use some licensed properties or a bit more variety.

Here’s a look at some of the other titles available ($24.99 each).

• Lock 5 — This Yahtzee wannabe has players lock in five numbers within three-spin rounds as they try to match a score sheet of combinations (i.e., “3 of a kind,” ” set of 6s,” “two pair”) to collect points.

The standard game can be quite uneventful because players all work off the same spins and usually spot advantageous sequences and lock in the same combinations. The Player’s Pick mode works much better, as each player selects a personalized set of combinations he must match to win.

• Zap 21 — The casino comes to the entertainment room as up to six gamblers get $1,000 in chips and 14 hands to win big against the dealer in standard blackjack action. Nuances to the main game include the ability to split and double down and set options to increase the number of decks in play and the starting purse for each player. Additionally, a Quickdraw permutation requires that players grab dealt cards into their four work areas and try to assemble the most hands that equal 21 in a set amount of time.

• Rewind 2005 — A two-disc set unloads multiple-choice and true/false questions about the events of 2005. Contestants use speed and knowledge to work through 10 categories and collect the most points. Multimedia presentations and the ability to change answers at the last second add to the excitement.

Write to Joseph Szadkowski, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; or send e-mail ([email protected]washingtontimes.com).

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