Picks and Pans Main: Bytes

updated 02/26/1996 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/26/1996 01:00AM

LOST IN SPACE

On the surface, The Dig sounds like a CD-ROM blockbuster: a Steven Spielberg concept produced by another Hollywood heavyweight, George Lucas. This science-fiction role-playing game challenges you to rescue a team of astronauts stranded underground in an alien world and return them to Earth. Interactivity is limited. Command your astronaut to take certain actions, and the game may revert to a script that takes the action out of the player's hands. Still, the ride is entertaining, with characters who crack wise as you crack alien puzzles, a Wagnerian score and a diverting arcade-style game sneakily embedded in the interface. (CD-ROM for PC and Mac, Lucas Arts, $44.95)

A FATTER TUESDAY

You might think the bawdy fun of Mardi Gras wouldn't transfer well to the disembodied realm of cyberspace. But the more than 20 Web sites dedicated to this year's event do let the bon temps roulez, at least virtually.

Bedecked in the fete's signature purple, green and gold, the sites offer parade schedules, survival tips and mail-order goodies from New Orleans' bakeries. The city's "official" site (http://www.mardigras day.com) promises photos and dispatches from Bourbon Street. The Times-Picayune (http://www.new orleans.net) offers commentary by the paper's staff, as well as vérité from a video BourboCam.

Other sites (neatly cataloged at http://www.nashville.com/wwsl 111/ links.html) show you the krewes (the societies that run the parades), open old photo albums and even dole out virtual beads like the trinkets given to visitors.

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