go to contents of current issue Dilbert, a thumbnail for the incognizant:

Dilbert, if you have not met him, is an engineer, a geek with delusions of adequacy who misguidedly presumes that his techno-wizardry and superior gadgetry make him a human of transcendent power, at least until his pet, Dogbert, or a woman of excruciating honesty remind him of his mundanity.

Dilbert's Desktop Games

Screen capture, Dilbert's Desktop Games

He is not so much a Twentieth century icon as Everygeek. His world is plagued by the dreadful philosophical questions of our times: what do you do if the person in the corridor behind you is just that distance away, you know, not convenient to hold the door open for without their being forced into a jog-trot (he lets it go in their face).

His job is a made hideous by the vicissitudes of management, at least, it would be if they could spell it. They respond to complaints that there isn't enough time to complete a project by demanding a 50 page report, cross-checked and countersigned by every one of the people in the project team, with all their comments compiled and integrated and all to be present for a two hour review meeting before the boss's golf game tomorrow. Marketing analysts recommend wheels be made more friendly by introducing a convenient square shape, sales departments sell fictitious items then demand instant production, and all memos are required in triplicate, signed in blood and proof-read by someone the local village idiot despises as vacuous and generally incompetent. (- the editor)

Richard's review:


Installed on an Intel Pentium 200MMX system with 32 MBytes of RAM and a 2.1 Gbyte HDD running Windows NT Workstation 4.0 with Service Pack 3 installed.

Installation was quite straight forward. Like many new games, the was an Autorun file on the CD which automatically started the installation. Opening graphics from Dreamworks were entertaining, especially when Dilbert flew past the kid on the moon and stole his fishing pole!!

After this was the standard gumpf about End User Licencing etc. When all of the OK buttons had been clicked, you are given the choice of WHERE you would like to install the bulk of the game. A nice touch, one that is finally being used by more people, and really should have been around a few years ago, better late than never.

I installed the package on my F: drive in DTTOYS, as the directory did not exist, the Installation Program asked whether I would like the directory created! Like many applications now on both Windows 95 and WinNT, there is the obligatory graphic showing the status of the installation. After a very short time, about what it took to write the above lines, the installation was completed.

One of the annoying by products of the installation is the elimination of a number of items from the System Tray on the Taskbar. The first time I installed Dilbert's Desktop Games, I though I had done something incorrectly and this had removed some of the icons from the System Tray, but there is nothing during the installation that even hints that this will occur. It requires a restart of the system to return the items that are missing from the System Tray ... unfortunately, it would appear that all new applications now require a restart of the system to ensure that the installation is complete. Any application that does NOT ask this question is, in my opinion, suspect.

The installation places an icon on the desktop, another in the system tray and into startup so that it runs minimised on the status bar! I know that some people really like their toys, but this is really going too far!

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The suite consists of a 10 games and activities. Some of the games are there for you to gain points and collect 7 missing components in order to have a meaningless paper certificate printed for you.

Unfortunately, I found the games to be rather boring and uninspiring. They look and sound as if they should be fun, but after a very short time, I found they were anything but. Adding insult to injury, the bulk of the games are keyboard driven!! When the keys used are the arrow keys it isn't too bad, but some of the games rely on alphabetical keys, some of which are arranged in an inverted-T formation while others do not actually make it easy to control your character.

Some of the games ARE mouse driven, but even these will cause frustration in an incredibly short space of time. If your pointing device in NOT a mouse, it becomes even harder to work these games.

The Jargonator seems like a good idea, but after only a few phrases even this lost its appeal. Granted, it really is only a buzzword generator, it just generates more than the standard three word phrase.

The graphics are pretty neat and having Ratbert dance around in the middle of your screen while various games load is cut, it still does not endear the whole of the package to me. It the games lead to something more than paper certificate or if there were actual screen savers or wall papers, this might be more of a package that I would go a buy, but in its present format, I'm afraid that even a techno nerd would find the package boring.

I guess that if you get really tired of the games supplied, and you are connected to your ISP, you could always use the URLs that are included with the startup screen to visit Dreamworks Interactive, Desktop Toys or UnitedMedia to pickup other games or diversions.

Richard Hryckiewicz

Jargonator sample:

Original text: Software evaluations require considerable expertise, thought and application in order to achieve an optimum end to the process.

Result: Program code value judgements require considerable expertise, thought in addition to application in order to achieve an optimum end to the process. Because, as you know, profit is the difference between sales and costs.

Original text: Please have it ready on Monday morning.

Result: If you please have furiously it ready by The empty first day of the parboiled week pre-noon. This is consistent with our intent of being the dominant leader and is now reflected in a variety of strategic thrusts and investment programs designed to make a broad-based attack on the problem.

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