- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 27, 2008

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

Virtual presidents

With a presidential election on the horizon, students can get a taste of life in the political spotlight through the virtual board game 2008 eLections (https://broadband.ciconline.org/elections).

The 3-D broadband adventure created by Cable in the Classroom returns with a few updated features and still delivers an educational look at the democratic process.

George Washington hosts the action that finds one or two players (Democrat and Republican) vying for the commander in chief’s job. An optional computer-controlled third-party candidate, Bull Moose, can be added to complicate matters.

Skill and luck are involved in the action, which mixes resource management within a Game of Life setting.

In each turn, players travel around a board using a numbered spinner, collect money at fundraisers and decide in which states they will campaign. They eventually declare their candidacy, enter primaries, receive the party’s nomination and watch the country vote and determine a winner.

Candidates start with a $250,000 bankroll and can manage spending, pick a platform and even track poll numbers.

A Learn More tab is always available on the left side of the screen, and it explores a wealth of topics on the electoral process supplemented by 30 video clips culled from the archives of the History Channel, C-SPAN and CNN Student News.

Fur fighting

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) pulls no punches when it targets a company for treating animals inhumanely. Take the case of its current campaign against British clothing manufacturer Burberry and the company’s use of real fur on some of its line.

A Web site called Bloody Burberry (www.bloody burberry.com) makes the animal rights organization’s case known to the cyber world and adds an interactive component to challenge visitors. Visitors should be forewarned — the site does include graphic images and video clips.

The odd and slightly creepy game, the Fur Fighters (www.bloodyburberry.com/ features/fur_fighters/index.asp), enlists cartoony creatures to perform acts of vandalism against Burberry. Players use keyboard commands to control a fox, rabbit or raccoon as they attack the company within three missions.

First, a cuddly friend must sneak into a clothing store and spray-paint fur coats while avoiding being caught by guards who look like Secret Service agents.

Next, fashion models are targeted. The player must move his creature in front of women as they walk on a runway and reveal the sign “Burberry Kills Animals,” to get them to convert to PETA’s cause. More guards stalk about to stop the mission.

Finally, PETA offers an unflattering caricature of Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, who roams a fur farm. The player must sneak around her to free caged animals destined to become fashion accessories.

If a creature is caught in any of the levels, it lets out a screech while the spookiest of pipe organ music plays in the background.

In addition to the game, the site offers video clips of PETA’s campaign under the sobering section titled Burberry’s Bloody Secret. A segment narrated by Stella McCartney showing some of the cruelty to the animals is just heartbreaking.

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).

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