The Best and Worst of 1994 and
Predictions for '95
by Eric Berlin
Here are the views of Internet World's regular contributors on the year's best and worst trends, events,
resources, and sites, plus prognostications.
Best in Net Entertainment:
Worst in Net Entertainment:
- Nethack. A dungeon-exploration game to which even non-Dungeons and Dragons fanatics
can become addicted. Every adventure game has monsters and magic items, but Nethack has so many monsters, magic items, puzzling situations, and amazing secrets that you'll completely forget about the
ASCII graphics. It's the most complex and thought-intensive adventure you'll experience on the Net (to
access Nethack, FTP to linc.cis.upenn.edu
/pub/NH3.1/binaries; also read rec.games.roguelike.nethack).
- Diplomacy. Avalon Hill's board game Diplomacy is a classic that fits the Internet like a
hand in a glove, and that's why there are zillions of e-mail games going on as we speak; not to mention
discussion groups, Gopher sites, Web pages, and quite a few utilities. Modern-day Machiavellis will find
their electronic home right here (in rec.games.diplomacy).
- The Internet Chess Server. Always near to bursting with activity, you're guaranteed to find
a chess mate of your skill level. Brush the cobwebs off your game or challenge a grandmaster. I
personally keep a physical chess board handy so I can better visualize the game (to access, telnet to
- This Just In. Every week, Randy Cassingham rounds up the strangest news events he can
find; from bumbled bank robberies around the world to humorously bad decisions on the part of the
world's leaders, politicians, and CEOs. He then throws in a line or two of hysterically funny, ironic
commentary and mails the whole thing to thousands of his closest friends around the world. The arrival of
This Just In in my mailbox always brightens my day. To subscribe, send a message to email@example.com with "subscribe this-just-in" in the message
- alt.fan.cecil-adams. Cecil Adams is an acerbic and funny know-it-all, and author of The
Straight Dope, a syndicated column in which he spreads his wisdom, answering amazingly varied
questions from readers. The alt.fan.cecil-adams group is where Cecil (through his assistant Ed Zotti) posts
his weekly column, and where would-be Cecils ponder the mysteries of the universe. Less chaotic than
alt.folklore.urban, and just as entertaining.
- LambdaMOO. You're probably sick of hearing how great LambdaMOO is, particularly if
you haven't been able to log on because of overcrowding. Sorry. Fact is, there's so much going on here,
and Lambda is so darned addictive, how could I leave it off a "best of" list? If you can squeeze through
the door, check it out by telnetting to lambda.parc.xerox.com 8888.
- alt.flame and alt.bitterness. I know I'm only asking for trouble here. But the entertainment
value of these groups eludes me, and the die-hard seriousness with which the regulars go at each other
really gives me the creeps. I've learned to stay away.
- Jeopardy. I'm glad the IRC gaming channels are popular, but the #jeopardy channel is
usually so crowded the game becomes a typing race rather than a trivia game. Maybe the newer game
channels (#outburst and #boggle) will alleviate some of the crowding.
- The TSR/Diku flap. TSR wants to protect it