- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 7, 2006

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

TV Land Online

Cable television’s TV Land channel, a place to watch classic shows such as “Gunsmoke,” “I Love Lucy” and “Cheers,” provides a scattered but multimedia-rich Web site (www.tvland.com) for its fans.

Highlights include snippets of revealing interviews with former television stars such as Barbara “I Dream of Jeannie” Eden, Billie “H.R. Pufnstuf” Hayes and Bernie “Love Boat” Kopell; listening to 36 classic television show theme songs; or singing along, karaoke style, to “Bonanza,” “Bewitched,” “I Dream of Jeannie” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” (Yes, those themes actually have words.)

TV historians will appreciate a Landmarks section dedicated to pieces of art that celebrate sitcom characters, including a Ralph Kramden statue in New York City and a Mary Tyler Moore statue in Minneapolis. Multiple pages offer video clips of the dedication ceremonies, 360-degree virtual tours of the artworks in their locations and biographies of the sculptors.

Hard-core fans will enjoy a robust game area where they can cast a line at the Andy and Opie Fishin’ Hole to pull in a whopper while avoiding snagging Barney, try to bonk Marcia Brady in the nose with a football while not hitting the rest of her family, and decipher names of a famous producer’s shows in the Aaron Spelling Bee.

Additionally, one of the 9-year-old network’s recently debuted original programs, the casual interview show “Sit Down With Steinberg,” hosted by comedian David Steinberg, is available to surfers after it is broadcast every Wednesday at 10 p.m.

The 30-minute program can be enjoyed via video and audio podcasts as well as the Windows Media, Real Player and QuickTime browser plug-ins.

After selecting a format, which includes previews of the shows, viewers first get a commercial to help support the free content and can choose from current episodes featuring Mike Meyers, Larry David, Martin Short and Bob Newhart, who banter with Mr. Steinberg until there is not a dry eye in the studio.

Upcoming interviews range from Jon Lovitz on Wednesday to George Lopez on Jan. 18.

Frozen Fun

Dale City’s famed PC game developer and distributor Alawar Entertainment checks in with a couple new titles that frigidly fit in with this time of the year.

Each family-friendly puzzler works with the Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000 or XP operating system and requires a Pentium processor, a DirectX-compatible 16 MB video card and DirectX 7 or higher. More important, before buying either of the titles, players get to enjoy 60 minutes of free action to persuade them to spend $19.95 for each.

First, Arctic Quest (www.alawar. com/games/arctic_quest/) extends the Tetris format to a frozen tundra as the player grabs various pieces of ice falling from the sky, rotates and places them on a puzzle grid, filling in the missing shapes. Within a story surrounding a Snow King who has unleashed a bitter frost on tropical islands, the challenge incorporates 60 levels of action, hand-drawn graphics, power-ups and simple mouse manipulation into a fairly addictive adventure.

Next, in Ice Puzzle (www.alawar. com/games/Ice-puzzle-deluxe/), the player drags rows and columns of sparkling gems across gridded boards to create groups of three or more of the same stone. Three variations of action exist.

In the timed Explorer Mode, yellow tiles under the gems are eliminated as matches are made, and when a board is completed, animals including polar bears and dolphins are liberated from an icy suspension.

Next, Quest Mode offers the same game but without the pressure of a clock. In Logic Mode, players ice their noggins with 100 brainteasers as they slide pieces on a game board until they perfectly match the pictured solution.

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 an e-mail message (jszadkowski@washingtontimes. com). He 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 https://www. washington times.com/familytimes/ romperroom.

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