Web Site of the Week

http://www.neave.com/webgames

Neave's Webgames

In December 1978, the world was blessed with the arrival of a divine gift. (No, dear reader — not yours truly. I came a month later.) I speak of the puzzling, entertaining and curiously addictive offspring of Milton and Bradley; the rotund, handheld device that seeks utter acquiescence and perfect imitation. I speak, my friends, of SIMON. Its first version sold in 1978 and became a smashing success, and continues production into the new millennium. The beeps and bops and buzzers remain gloriously constant, but some idiot toy executive, in a misguided attempt to shove the glorious game buttons-first into the 21st century, redesigned our harsh master for the next generation. The retooled Simon (emphasis on the "tool") looks like a friggin' iMac. You can check it out at www.boardgames.com/elhansim.html.

Never fear. I come bearing leg warmers and raspberry berets, and direct you forthwith to one of many darling Web sites devoted to an age when Web was not a word requiring capitalization. Paul Neave, of Neave's Webgames, has lovingly converted all your favorites into Macromedia Flash and Java script. He's resurrected the old black-and-primary-colors Simon from its untimely repose, and made it — along with other arcade classics like Space Invaders, Pac-Man and Pong (the first video game in human history) — freely available for your immediate enjoyment and eventual debilitating addiction. Every game comes with Neave's own adorably British commentary. Regarding Pong: "The fact is that by today's standards, this game looks utter pants."

Neave's versions are quick to download and even quicker to master (except for Pong — I never could get a handle on that one). To your Final Fantasy-spoiled senses, these games might seem simplistic, but I promise, you'll love them every bit as much as you did when you owned an Atari 2600.

—Diana Peterfreund

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