- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 18, 2006

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

Tycoon Cyber City

Atari’s latest real-time strategy-building simulation, Tycoon City: New York ($39.99), arrives in stores next week and gives PC owners with a Windows 98SE, Me, XP or 2000 operating system the chance to create and customize more than 100 types of businesses in the city that never sleeps.

Gamers who aren’t sure if they want to take the monetary plunge can download a demo version of the game by stopping by sites such as Softpedia (https://games.softpedia.com/progDownload/Tycoon-City-New-York-Demo-Download8215.html), Yahoo Games (https://videogames.yahoo.com/predownload?eid=431975) and UnderGroundOnline (https://downloads.ugo.com/file.php/id/6590).

The 627-megabyte file will take some time to load, but once the application is downloaded successfully and opened, Trumpian moguls can take control of bohemian-friendly Greenwich Village to build their fortunes.

A hands-on tutorial with the authentically accented Luco gives the player a chance to build a coffee bar from the ground up by pointing at an unused piece of real estate. The player can perform tasks such as adding a sign and outdoor tables to help pack the place with customers.

Entrepreneurs get $500,000 and a month’s worth of Tycoon time (minutes fly by as real seconds) to accomplish challenges such as appealing to the student population by building a bookstore or Internet cafe and keeping finances in check and tenants happy.

The full version of the game includes meticulously managing a Broadway theater opening, constructing massive skyscrapers, even coordinating the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as Manhattan moguls try to meet the demands of the hardest-to-impress demographic on the planet, New Yorkers.

Hold the Cute Tomatoes

Burger King’s Busby Berkeley-style tribute to its premiere sandwich during this year’s Super Bowl continues to live in cyberspace with an entire site devoted to the commercial and the world of the Whopperettes (www.whopperettes.com).

As an announcer gives a rousing welcome to visitors and compliments their selections, the site’s opening screen enables an aspiring producer to type in his name and then select up to 30 items via a food-icon menu to create his own musical Whopper production.

Lettuce, pickles, ketchup, onions, beef patties, bacon and cheese all are available and ready to please as a toe-tapping 1920s orchestral score plays during the casting call.

Once all the toppings have been selected, the visitor’s name appears in lights in a revolving marquee as the curtain rises and a bevy of real beauties dressed as the core condiments and elements of the sandwich begin to dive onto one another to construct the visitor’s personal creation.

The show features each lady ceremoniously jumping onto a poor gal dressed as the bottom bun, with occasional groans during the maneuvers. No matter the combination (anyone for a 29-patty burger?), the fun concludes with model Brooke Burke lowered onto the assemblage as the top bun. A chorus of “have it your way” plays, and that creepy, plastic-faced King (seen in the Burger King commercials) hangs out at the side, applauding the effort. Producers can replay the event, e-mail it to a pal or start all over again.

The site presents plenty of background on the Whopperettes. Visitors will find a photo gallery, screen saver, calendar and biography on each performer, including Miss Onion, who always evokes a strong reaction (fans can download an iron-on of her for their T-shirts), and Miss Cheese, who acts tough but is a real softy.

More commercials also are around, and visitors will find the original Super Bowl cast as well as segments devoted to the story of Little Mayo and the melancholy life of Extra Cheese, viewable in QuickTime, IPod and PSP formats. The commercials even can be added to a personal Web log.

Extras include an MP3, sheet music and Garage Band files (81 megabytes worth, which can be incorporated into the Apple ILife music-mixing software of the same name) of the theme song, along with ring tones, a “making of” video and costume design gallery.

The concept is clever and over-the-top, especially when the announcer not only mentions visitors by name as they look around the site, but even remembers them when they return.

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@washington times.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/ familytimes/romperroom.htm.

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