October 3, 1999
Welcome back. What’s on the calendar this week? October is Computer Learning
and this week is Fire
And even though Columbus
Day is not until next week, it’s been one of my most popular features
this week (along with Harry Potter and Pokemon.)
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Multiplayer Word Games
These multiplayer word games pit you not only against the clock but also
against real live opponents. They are fun and educational — a perfect
use of the communication power of the Internet. But all these games
include chat, so please supervise your children, and be sure to teach them
appropriate safety rules.
How many words can you make in three minutes out of
letters in the name "John Lennon"? Play "What’s in a
Name?" in one of the Free-For-All rooms and you’ll get points for all
words you make, or in the Speedster rooms where only the first player to
propose a word gets the point. I really liked "Word Know-It-All":
a timed vocabulary game that can be played at a variety of speeds. All
these Java-free games include chat, so appropriate parental supervision is
Mind Fun brings us two Java word games with chat. Word Web is a timed
scrambled word game, with twenty-five letters connected with web-like
strands. To form words you can either type them into the text box or drag
your mouse over the letters. You’ll immediately see your word and its
value (one point for four-letter words, two points for five-letter words,
and so on) on the scoreboard. Cerebral Vortex is a trivia game
("Cultivated for its long edible root, it’s the pale unpopular cousin
to the carrot"), with letters appearing hangman style (_ _ _ S _ I_)
as the timer counts down.
The Java scrambled word game Tangleword is fast and addictive, and an
all-time favorite at our house. You can play as a guest, but registered
users (registration is free) can participate in chat during game play, and
get a rating that increases or decreases with play. The Tangleword board is
a five-by-five square of letters. Words are formed by either typing or
dragging your mouse. If you run dry, try the "Rotate" button
— possible letter combinations won’t change, but your view of the
Sometimes Y (as in "a-e-i-o-u and sometimes y") challenges you
to make words by adding vowels to the supplied constants (for example from
"dn" you can form "done," "need,"
"nod" and so on). Headbone Zone’s Sometimes Y game is the only
one of today’s sites that includes SUPERVISED chat. Here’s how it works:
during chat hours (11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pacific time) you’ll find the chat-version of Sometimes Y open.
Silent Sometimes Y, however, is always open. Although there is no
free-form chat in the silent version, you can use AutoGab to send
preselected phrases ("Hey, everyone!" or "I can’t believe I
won!") to your opponents.
Word Zap (create as many words from a combination of letters as
possible) requires a software download (and isn’t always free), but rewards
you with a wide range of playing options (some of which are free). This is
a game you can play without an Internet connection, or you can play against
live opponents via ICQ or Igames.com. When is Word Zap free? Always
on Sundays, and always if you play on ICQ or Igames.com. When do you need to pay the $25
registration fee? If you plan to play off-line or over a local area
network on days other than Sundays. Whew!
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Copyright © 1999 Barbara J.
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