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December 10, 1997 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-12-10

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 10, 1997 - 15

'Games' offers workplace fun with Dilbert

Dilbert's Desktop Games
Dreamworks Interactive
CD-ROM Win '95/NT
Being a college student low on time and money, I
have to really want a computer game before I'll shell
out the bucks to buy it.
"Dilbert's Desktop Games" is a lot of fun, but I'm
just not sure if it's $20-25 worth.
If "Dilbert's Desktop Games" somehow falls into
your hands without you purchasing it, I advise taking
her for a spin.
Like the comic strip, the program is meant for the
office worker and allows him or her "to play and get
paid for it."
"Dilbert," created by Scott Adams, is the cubicle
dweller trying to avoid pointless tasks from his boss
and insipid comments from his workers.
The strip is hilarious, and Dreamworks Interactive
has done a superb job of bringing it to animated life in
this program.
Once installed, you click on the Dilbert head icon,
and after a little tap dance number by Ratbert and a
cymbal crash, the Time Waster 2000 Game Master
appears on your desktop. You have a choice of nine
games and an intrusive screen saver.
Seven of these games will provide missing parts to
the Employee Incentive Box on the Game Master,
either because you have reached a certain level or for

no reason whatsoever.
When completed, this Box will print out your very
own Paper Plaque Certificate to hang on your wall.
I didn't need too much incentive to play, though. The
best of the games is Elbonian Airlines. Using the
mouse, you control how far and in what direction the
Elbonian sling shot flings the managerial clones that
Dogbert loads into it.
Famous destinations like France or the Swiss Alps
pop up on your desktop, and you get points if one of
these managers land in those places. You get big points
for hitting the airplanes, ships and hot air balloons that
travel across the screen.
If you miss, the clone splashes into water. Each time
you fire, Dogbert gives an instructive remark with
clones sometimes echoing in a monotone.
For instance, Dogbert says, "If you're talkin', you're
communicating."The clones respond, "Talking is com-
municating."
The spoken comments really enhance the program.
The actors as well as the casting department should
get a raise and their own Paper Plaque Certificate
because of the great readings of these parts.
Each voice fits in perfectly with the characters, and
with the spoken lines coming from the comic strip
itself, I spent half the time trying to listen to what was
being said instead of playing the game.
The CEO Simulator, which opens with the line,
"Leadership isn't something you're born with; it's
something you simulate," is my second favorite game.
It allows you to be your own boss and raise a start-

up business to a mega-corporation in much the same
way you raise a pet - through motivation and disci-
pline.
Employees can be motivated by corporate jets and
new cars or free T-shirts, mugs and baseball caps.
Discipline comes in the form of an electric cattle prod.
It's also important to hire the right worker for the job
and to hire consultants to write a stack of status reports
and improve their productivity, while decreasing your
own.
Another fun tool of non-productivity is The Final
Word rubber stamp. You can choose more than 40 dif-
ferent phrases to stamp on your desktop, save, and print
out.
There's also the Jargonator. Type in any phrase or
sentence or cut one out of something you're working
on, and youcan "Sizzle" the sentence with unnecessary
adjectives, "Punch It Up" with rare adverbs or
"Managerialize" it with vague directives.
These new phrases can be inserted into papers or
they can be printed out, which sounds like a great way
of putting off finishing an essay.
If you want to procrastinate, this is a great way to do
it, but I can procrastinate playing "Doom" or "Doom
II"as well. They sell for $19.95 at Target, and "Dilbert's
Desktop Games" is not in the same league asany of the
Doom Trilogy. It's not supposed to be, either.
As Scott Adams himself said, it's "another great way
to increase your perceived work while decreasing your
actual work." You have to be doing work in the first
place, though.

Jrban cowboy: Garth Brooks gets lucky with high-rolling 'Sevens'

rth Brooks
ens
It' ashvllle
**
hype surrounding "Sevens" was curtailed somewhat
n it was announced that the album would not be released
incide with Garth Brooks' Central Park concert last sum-
Although publicly it was attributed to the change-over in
agement at Capitol Records, doubts were raised about the
lity of the album itself.
ith the release of "Sevens," Garth Brooks successfully
s these rumors. The 14-track album is his finest in
country music is labeled as all being the
e, jacking creativity and ingenuity. This
im goes against that stereotype and thrives
is musical diversity.
does-contain more traditional country
gs such as "Longneck Bottle,"
wboy Cadillac," and "She's Gonna
It." Even these tracks, however,
tain the same crossover elements that
helped make Brooks' music famous.
I tunes include a progressive mix of
V'roll and country styles. "Do What You
Do," is a fine example of this, because it com-
hard-edged rock guitar riff with a fast-paced banjo.
ilarly, "When There's No One Around" begins with a
y Joel-style piano intro.
ith. yet another twist of musical styles comes the track
Pina Coladas.' If the title doesn't give it away, the track
thetfe ofa Jimmy Buffett tunes
ike,411 of-Garth Brooks' mutsic, onte thing does remain
to Country music - his trademark singing voice. His
ity sing intense emotional lyrics in a country key has
e truly a legend. It has also made the words he sings
o Pable.,Practically all of the songs on this album show-
his vine but there are a few tracks that clearly stand out
ve threst.
e r'using "How You Ever Gonna Know," with its inspi-
nat words - "How you ever gonna know / If you never
to t -y" ais a fast-paced tune that produces a memorable
-stomping chorus.
ut as'iinthe past, it's the slow songs where his voice is
ly given'achance to shine. "I Don't Have To Wonder,"a
a hving someone you love marry someone else,
ssmber and than climaxes with "I took your ring
pocket /And I held it one last time/ Watched the dia-
d sparkle / I drew back and let her fly." The intensity in
h these words are sung is enough to drive even the
.hest of cowboys to tears. Another track that has this
naseemotional level is "A Friend to Me."'This track is even
e uplifting.
'his album also includes Brooks' now legendary duet with
ha Yearwood (a former backing vocalist of Brooks'), "In
thers Eyes." Already a hit due to its release on Yearwood's
of compilation, it tops an already solid list of tunes.
Ss" comes when Garth Brooks is perhaps most need-
of another great album. With it, he proves his ability to
ntain himself as a true country superstar.
- Curtis Zimmermann

Diamon D
Hatred, Passions and Infidelity
Mercury Records
It may come as a shock to some, but all rappers from New
York don't sound like Bad Boy, The Firm or Jay-Z. In fact,
those performers are more the exception than the rule. Most
rappers from New York have spurned radio and crossover
appeal in favor of more conventional B-boy material. Nas and
Mic Geronimo followed this path in both of their now-classic
debut albums ("Illmatic" and "The Natural," respectively),
as did Mobb Deep and Capone 'n' Noriega.
Mercury recording artist Diamon D also goes this route
with "Hatred, Passions, and Infidelity," his sophomore
effort.
If you're looking for catchy R&B dance
songs or superficial, materialistic Mafia
raps, look elsewhere. Diamon D flies in
the face of hip-hop trends, and sticks to
the formula that made him and his
D.I.T.C. crew (which includes rap veter-
ans Lord Finesse, Big L, Showbiz & A.G.,
Fat Joe, and O.C.) into one of the most
respected crews in the Rap industry: raw, no-
frills beats, tough-as-nails battle rhymes, some
ghetto commentary, a little bit of ghetto serenade and a
lot of D.I.T.C.'s trademark "New York guntalk." There's noth-
ing fancy or lavish about songs like the melodic "Flowin,"'
and Big L has a special message for crossed-over rappers on
the vicious "5 Fingas of Death" (which features the rest of the
D.I.T.C. crew).
As the name of their crew implies, Diamon D digs deep in
the crates, putting together the most raw grooves from the
most obscure music tracks. You'll be able to find only one
song on this album that sounds exactly like the song it sam-
pled (the cheesy "Cream 'n' Sunshine") and that is the only
throwaway song on the album. Each beat complements
Diamon D's flow perfectly, such as the relaxed "This One,"
and the bombastic "The Hiatus."
The previously mentioned D.I.T.C. crew (namely Fat Joe,
A.G., Big L, and Lord Finesse) represent very well, but this
album is also blessed by the vocals of A Tribe Called Quest's
Phife Dawg, super producer Pete Rock, and Sadat X, as well
as on-album endorsements from Kid Capri and Busta
Rhymes. Out of all of these guest appearances, though, the
most impressive ones are from Diamon D's proteges John
Dough, Don Barron, and K Terroribul. These are three MC's
you definitely need to be on the lookout for in the future.
Of course, an album like this isn't for everybody. Only the
fans of real, classic, New York hip-hop will be able to appre-
ciate the freestyle-type flows of "Gather Round" and "K.T.,"
or the funky, upbeat "Can't Keep my Grands to Myself," or
the ghetto play-by-play of "No Wondah." Others won't be
able to get with the fact that the theme of the album isn't
catchy R&B-styled songs or cookie-cutter party songs that
make you get up and dance. In fact, MTV and most radio sta-
tions wouldn't touch an album like "Hatred, Passions, and
Infidelity" with a ten-foot pole ... and real hip-hop fans
wouldn't have it any other way.

Country superstar Garth Brooks returns to the top with the long-delayed "Sevens," an album that was initially to be released
to coincide with Brooks' free concert in Central Park four montha ago.

Mustard Plug
Evildoers Beware!
Hopeless Records
Some say it's just generic punk-ska music. Others swear
they're the best band in the state. Whichever way you call it,
Mustard Plug has put out a fun, catchy record that will not
disappoint.
It's hard to believe that any good music comes out of the
Michigan area, but with the mild success of punkers Suicide
Machines, and now the good, fun-loving boys of Mustard
Plug, Detroit looks to be a hotbed of talent for up-and-com-
ing ska-flavored bands.
"Evildoers Beware!" tends not to be too serious, which
lends to its charm. The production, for a micro-indie release,
is stellar, and makes the record all that much more enjoyable.
"Box" opens the album. It starts out as just a tale of a guy in
a box, but includes a very subtle social commentary: "Look

at yourself /You're living the same / Locked behind walls that
your brother has made / You were born in a box, you work in
a box, you live in a box / and you'll die in a box / so much
more that's outside your sphere / But you walk on by never
knowing how near."
The entire album is filled with horns, catchy choruses, and
a lot of great rhythms, although at times the songs start to
sound a little bit alike. Some of the highlights include the
funny "Miss Michigan," the driving rhythms of "Beer
(Song)" and "Suburban Homesick Blues."
In the midst of all the crappy local bands that shoot all
throughout the Detroit area, it's good to see that a band with
a grasp of what talent is actually exists. Mustard Plug has a
dedicated and rowdy fan base, and it's no wonder with the
songs that comprise "Evildoers Beware}" in its arsenal. Soon,
other states might start to catch a whiff of the Mustard Plug,
too.
- Colin Bartos
See RECORDS, page 16

F

- JuQuan Williams

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