The long-awaited sequel to Myst, the bestselling CD-ROM game ever, Riven serves up surrealist visual splendors unsurpassed in the computer-game universe. Players will spend many a pleasurable hour soaking up the mellow, mysterious atmosphere of this captivating world.
Ain't It Cool News
(www.aint-it-cool-news.com) Harry Knowles, a 25-year-old community-college dropout living in Austin, Texas, commands a nationwide army of test-screening spies to reveal juicy details of not-yet-opened movies. His homespun Web site is so well-read that Warner Bros. blamed it for spawning bad buzz about Batman & Robin, which fell far short of expectations last summer.
(corona.bc.ca/films) Complementing Ain't It Cool, this more comprehensive site tracks much-anticipated flicks from the first screenplay tidbits to the happy endings added at the last minute. Read both sites regularly, and you'll be as much in the loop as any showbiz-industry show-off.
Tomb Raider II
Meet Lara Croft, the ultimate pistol-packing mama. A cross between Indiana Jones and Cindy Crawford, this buxom computer-generated brunette kicks serious bad-guy butt in Eidos Interactive's top-notch Tomb Raider games for the PC and the Sony PlayStation. Just the gal to teach testosterone-addled gamers a thing or two about feminism.
The Royal Family
(www.royal.gov.uk) The official Web site of the British monarchy features copious info on royals past and present, right down to the Queen's beloved corgis. It proved its class after the death of Princess Diana by adding an elegant tribute and accepting cyber-condolence messages for her family.
(www.amazon.com) This popular online bookstore, with its user-contributed reviews and recommendations, is a brilliant example of how to harness the people power of the Web. Plus, snagging literary lion John Updike to kick off a continue-the-short-story contest last summer was quite a coup.
This easy-to-use CD-ROM lets users safely sample dos ranging from bouffants to dreadlocks. Accessories, from shades to handlebar mustaches, are also available. Perfect for those shrieky sleep-over parties or wiggy Christmas cards.