- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 27, 2006

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

Watch the Riffs

Guitarists have a new multimedia haven to help them hone their craft and enjoy the creativity of peers and industry legends. Publisher Music Player Network (www.musicplayer.com) and Internet broadcast network TrueFire TV (www.truefiretv.com) have combined to releaseGuitar Player TV(www.guitarplayertv.com).

The completely Web-based television experience offers a free mix of lessons, interviews, live performances, home recording tips and information on new products through a high-quality stream of video compatible with a broadband connection.

Visitors watch the 30-minute programs on a 3.5-inch-wide area of the Web page. The programs are broken into segments that always start with a commercial from the site’s latest sponsor.

The station uses a wide range of shows to deliver memorable content for the music fan. Programs include a concert from National Thumb Pickers Hall of Fame guitarist Thom Bresh and an interview with Joe Satriani, in which he talks about his high-tech techniques.

Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde reveals the studio process on his latest album with demonstrations of some of his speedy solo work, and Byrds frontman Roger McGuinn hosts McGuinn’s Den, where he presents memories from his career, talks folk music and even offers performances of “Turn! Turn! Turn!” and “Mr. Tambourine Man.”

Most important, players get instructional videos on modern rock guitar (under Rock Tricks), learn blues and jazz licks (under Assembly Lines) and are assisted on recording with Line 6 software.

A handy guide under the video player leads to a more detailed breakdown of the current program rotation and offers other resources, including PDF versions of lesson tablatures and extra audio snippets to reinforce the learning process.

Look for an additional trio of broadcast sites — Keyboard TV, Bass Player TV and EQ TV — to be available soon.

Living the Soaps

BBC America celebrates the introduction of the fourth season of its mature sports drama “Footballers’ Wives” to U.S. audiences with an online, real-time strategy game called Everyone Plays Dirty (www.bbcamerica.com/genre/ drama_mysteries/footballers_wives/footballers_wives_game.jsp).

Mirroring the show’s premise, which explores the screwed-up private lives of members of the fictitious Earl’s Park Sparks soccer team, the angst-ridden action is reduced to a cartoony presentation that resembles a very simplified version of the popular Sims role-playing games.

The player gets a crash course as he tries to keep the show’s players, agents, managers, wives and girlfriends in a good mood by making sure their wealth, power, fame, love and reputation monitor bars stay in the specified zone.

A two-dimensional board lined with locations sports tiny representations of Harley and Shannon Lawson, Jackie and Kyle Pascoe, Roger Webb, Noah Alexander, Amber Gates and sports agent Hazel Bailey that randomly move around or can be assigned to locales such as the hospital for cosmetic surgery or the tabloid news structure for extra fame from a fashion shoot.

Each location drains or increases the characters’ attribute bars, which directly affect their moods. The player must win nine soccer matches over the course of a 16-week time-lapse season, which is accomplished only if the on-screen folks are happy.

An especially silly part of the game occurs when characters have indiscriminate liaisons. A loud kissing sound is heard, and each character’s body is blurred.

Everyone Plays Dirty requires just a browser that supports the Flash 8 plug-in and the ability to micromanage characterizations of pitiful humans.

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 ([email protected] 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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