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The new Road & Track has a photo of the 2004 Mazda Miata along with speculation based on rumors that there may be a rotary-powered variant in the lineup. Be-yoo-tiful. I'll take one of those, please.

Well, the Oh-limpics are on. So far so good. No deaths. Beyond that and the fact my sister and her fiance are there, I really couldn't care any less about 'em.

Anyone remember that cartoon Ducktales? Was that not a great show? I started watching that in 6th grade I believe. It was so polished and well done and had interesting multi-episode series (like the week-long 'Gold Fever' one which kicked off the show) and always-interesting subjects like time-stopping machines, a spell that brought fears to life, the Odyssey, an underground race of weeble-wobbles, the infamous Gizmoduck, and a helper robot bent on siezing control. Great style too. And the music was good.

Bikepic is this highway scene. Sure is nicer than a parade of fat ugly loud Hardleys.

Played a little more Starcraft. I really like it. Probably a cliché all these years later, but it's a DAMN well-put-together game. I can't remember if duo has Brood Wars (the add-on) or not. But as good as the single-player game is so far (and I'm only about 10-15% through it), I really need to try some multiplayer.

There are some definite not-to-be-missed games coming up shortly. Doom3, the next true Mario game, Metroid, and whatever they do for the Halo sequel. Not to mention in the Unreal camp: Unreal 2, Unreal Tournament 2, Unreal Warfare, and Dark Sector (MMORPG based on UT), as well as the completely new Unreal Championship for X-Box. I need to get into Age of Empires II (which I own), I want to borrow Baldur's Gate 2 in May and I'd like to try something like Civilization III or even Zoo Tycoon.

But the game I'm drooling over right this second (as I download screenshots) is Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (the big beta test is going on right now). Ohmigod. The list of new features blows me away. This isn't the Warcraft 2/Starcraft gameplay engine. There are four races (there were going to be six, but the demons (Burning Legion) and the dwarves kind of got absorbed by the undead and the humans). All the graphics are realtime 3D (high-end accelerator and GHz or higher CPU required). There are NPCs, neutral buildings, wandering monsters, and environmental effects. It supports 12 players in multiplayer. There are several different gametypes in muliplayer. You can record demos AFTER the game (as in Gran Turismo or Superbike, for example, as opposed to UT or Q3). It just looks like they've expanded everything by a factor of at least three over what Starcraft contains. The multiplayer game, spellcasting, campaign-style worlds, and the sharply rendered all-new races all seem worth the price of admission IMO. The mouse wheel zooms in and out! There are 'indoor' maps! There are 'days and nights'! It boggles my mind how these guys can pull this stuff together and create these amazingly polished and well-balanced games (the work involved must dwarf something like UT by several orders of magnitude). Random W3 pics: here, here, and here.

When I was in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades, we had this game we played at lunch and other times using pencils and paper. Each player had a base and a number of units and could move one unit four dashes or move two dashes and fire once or fire twice per turn . To fire you would stand the pencil up on the paper like a holder in football on your unit, aim, and flick the pencil with the index finger of your other hand. This left a streak on the page which if you were lucky and close enough, would hit the unit of the other player and cause damage or death. Simple enough, and fun. But it didn't stay simple for long, as we started designing different rules--terrain, different units with different speeds and damage, repairing units, multiple pencil flicks representing guided artillery, etc. etc. In our 9-12 year old minds, we had such plans for the whole thing, as I'm sure many kids around the country had.

These real-time strategy games sort of bring those plans to fruition. You know you're living in good times when these dudes will spend thousands upon thousands of man-hours pouring everything into a game just for you and only ask for $50 in return.