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accesses since September 11,1996

Hal Berghel's Multimedia Moment

review of Wyatt Earp's Old West

Wyatt Earp's Old West, Grolier Electronic Publishing, 800-285- 4534, 1995. Windows/MPC Version. [Review appeared in PC AI Magazine, March/April, 1996.]

The world of multimedia is now in a major transition. Limited by the bandwidth of the internal system bus and the limited capacity of the standard cd, there just isn't much multimedia potential on the modern cd - compared, that is, with the cd's five years from now. Traditional fare includes hundreds of megabytes of still- frame images, as much text, and a few dozen animations or movie clips thrown in for good measure. Limited in this way, the modern cd directors have their work cut out for them.

Since it isn't possible to include much in the way of motion picture content, the tendency is sometimes to dazzle the consumer with the footwork: unneeded links, gratuitous graphics, a confusing array of superimposed structures on the data (file cards, time lines, indices, etc.) and so forth. The result is often a fairly useless digital collage.

Wyatt Earp's Old West avoids all the glitz. It is a well- organized cd on subject with broad appeal. As is common nowadays, the introduction is a movie clip. This describes both the layout and toolset of the cd. [see figure 2] A background narration is available through the entire tour of the old Tombstone, up and down the streets and alleys, in and around the buildings, etc. Like all good cd scripts, this one allows the user to increase or decrease the depth of involvement at will.

What is more, the organization is carefully thought through. A town map may be brought up at any point which shows the location of the current image. One may navigate the town by change in relative direction from the still frame images or by clicking on the map object. The absence of this feature really detracts from the potential impact of many modern cds.

Finally, there's a simple interactive dueling game included which let's the users try their quick-draw techniques out against animated bad guys. The kids may find this fun.

This is one of the cleanest, best directed, information-oriented first generation cd's I've seen.

Figure 2. Note that the map shows Boot Hill on the map at the same time we see the actual photo.

The background narration is presented with a user-selectable sequence of still-frame images of old Tombstone. The beauty of this cd is the navigation aid - a map of the town that is accessible from any location.