- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 6, 2008

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

Just a reminder to the folks who have been living in a media blackout: The California Milk Processor Board and American dairy farmers have been pounding us over the head with milk mustache ads and the “Got Milk?” message for 14 years.

Among the board’s latest multimedia marketing campaigns is a slick online virtual challenge called Get the Glass (www.gettheglass.com) that places a single player in a virtual board game delivered via Flash animation graphics.

The goal of the game is to help the milk-deprived Adachi family (Walter, Lynn, Tad and Melissa) get a glass of the nutritious liquid from the fortified Fort Fridge. They must move through five regions on the three-dimensional board — Crazy Peaceful State Park, Lush Lockes George, Lucid Falls, Iron Vines Forest and Smiley’s Apple Orchard — to reach their bounty.

Beautiful video-game-quality environments highlighting a Rankin/Bass animation style bring the game to life as the player grabs and rolls a die (which bounces off the sides of the browser screen) to move the Adachi family truck along a path. As the turn-based game progresses, Fort Fridge security forces follow in pursuit (they roll a black die) and the player will land on spaces that require him to answer questions; take part in activities; or pull a Fortune, Misfortune or Master Mind card.

None of the timed board challenges is simple. They could involve helping father Walter (suffering from brittle bones) maneuver the family’s truck along a twisted road, dragging flowers to the correct spots on a layout to disguise Melissa’s unhealthy hair (from lack of milk) or solving a word-search puzzle.

Fail at any of the tasks and send the family to Milkatraz. The player can e-mail a friend to post bail (the pal must respond in 90 seconds), attempt an escape or sacrifice one of three lives to be released.

The final challenge to acquire the glass is a stressful attempt involving a combination lock and a secret message.

After about 40 minutes of tackling this slick Game of Life experience, I placed 16,034th out of the 41,000 players who finished and posted scores on the leader board.

The care of the overall immersion into the Adachi world is amazing. Even what I would consider a throwaway area to the game’s resources, the Crime Files on the four members of the Adachi family, presents a wonderfully interactive experience. Each member of the clan — mother, father, son and daughter — steps forward and is introduced from a police lineup when his or her name is clicked.

A file folder of information scattered next to them contains a variety of evidence for their crimes and is easily clicked on and viewed. For example, son Tad Adachi, nicknamed Mouth of Pain, has a dental problem caused by a lack of calcium in his diet. His dossier includes mug shots, a dentist bill, a rap sheet and a straw he used for drinking pureed food.

Additionally, a complementary set of seven humorous commercials about the Adachi family using live actors is available to view in a rotating carousel.

Visitors should have a broadband connection and monitor with a 1024 x 768 resolution to really appreciate the fun.

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 to jszadkowski@ washingtontimes.com).

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