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The Davka Graphics Collection V, a CD-ROM by the Davka Corporation in Chicago (www.davka.com; marketed in Israel by Alan Rosenbaum, tel. 02-993-3470), for Windows or Mac, for all ages, $29.95 or the shekel equivalent.
Ducati World Championship, a DVD-ROM in English by Ubisoft, distributed by Hed Artzi Multimedia, requires Windows XP and a 1.4 Ghz Pentium 4 PC or better, for all ages, NIS 149
Anyone looking for graphic images, even Jewish ones, can go to www.google.com's Images section and pick them up free. But they may be small or not exactly what you're looking for - and if you want to publish them, you may have copyright problems.
So those who want good-looking, colorful graphics on Jewish themes, with Hebrew or English subtitles for producing brochures, bulletins, newsletters, birth announcements, bar-mitzva invitations, book reports and many other uses should buy this inexpensive graphics collection on a disk. The images are meant for those who use the Davka word-processing program (just pull down the "Insert" tab and look for "Graphics"), but it can also be used with virtually any Windows or Mac applications that can accept graphics. All the images are presented in the universally acceptable and popular JPEG format.
The disk contains 250 images, including those of babies, bar and bat mitzva celebrations, the 12 Tribes of Israel, Shabbat and Jewish holiday themes, Israeli themes (the Western Wall, Masada, the Kinneret and the Israel Museum, to name a few) and Israeli holidays (such as Independence Day and Jerusalem Day). All of them come in full color, but there is a separate collection of the same images in striking black-on-white as well.
The previous Davka Graphics collection came out several years ago, but this fifth one is not only better but less expensive.
Apparently, Ubisoft thinks its motorbike racing disk is so boring that it needs to create excitement by starting it with the animation of a voluptuous, half-naked female, who fondles one of the shiny vehicles in the opening scene and then salutes the male drivers on the course. And the package says the game is suitable for everyone over age three!
Once you get over this embarrassing scene, you have to figure out how to play it. Pressing the arrow keys alone didn't move my bike in any direction, and I just sat there as my competitors whizzed by. In the absence of a user's manual, trial and error - or pushing every key on the keyboard - is your only option. Finally, I discovered that by pressing Q (an unusual choice, as the far left of the keyboard), the gas pedal is pressed down. Then maneuver with the arrow keys.
This disappointing offering is the official Ducati motorbike racing game. There are about five dozen different motorbikes in four categories. The brands include Ducati, Kawasaki and Yamaha, and you may participate in 60 tournaments along three dozen different tracks, including Laguna Seca (with its well-known corkscrew turn), Monza and Phillip Island. Both single races and championships are on the disk. Choose your weather conditions, either sunny or rainy, and pick your bike and driver. Both a single player mode (vying against bikes operated by the computer) and the multiplayer split-screen mode (against real-life competitors in cyberspace) can be played.
But many of the races are so easy that they're not likely to get your adrenalin pumping, and seasoned virtual bike riders will get bored and look for better games. The animations are often erratic (not to mention the first one erotic); the graphic engine, too, is uninspired, and looks as it was designed five or 10 years ago.
"You're retired!" said the on-screen sign when I crashed one time too many and skidded into the mud. I was thrilled.
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