BOOT CAMP 237 (02/08/02)




Over the past two weeks we’ve looked at a lot of useful freeware and shareware programs so to round off this short series, here’s a small selection of brain teasers and pointless time-wasters, in other words here’s some games and puzzles – including some you can make for yourself -- to while away a few idle moments, just don’t let the boss catch you…


Some of these programs are compressed or ‘zipped’ to make them smaller, so they can be sent over the Internet more easily. If you missed part one you will probably need to download a program called WinZip from, to decompress and extract ‘zip’ files on your PC.


Most of these programs are freeware but in the case of shareware titles, if you think they are worthwhile and you want to go on using them please register or pay the licence fee.



PHOTOINVADERS, freeware, 800kb, Windows 9x/NT/2000

Remember Space Invaders? Well here’s a brilliant twist on the classic alien shoot-em-up. PhotoInvaders is highly customisable and in addition to changing or designing your own backgrounds and sound effects you can use your own images and digital photographs of friends, relatives, enemies, even the rich and famous, in place of those interstellar creepy-crawlies, weapons and buildings, and then zap the lot of them…



COLOUR MAGIC, freeware, 550kb, Windows 9x/NT

This deceptively simple looking logic game can be very challenging. The game take place on a triangular board and the aim is to make triangles of six balls, using a specific combination of colours and patterns. There are six difficulty levels, and a ‘Hint Window’ feature, which you will need, when you get stuck…



SOLITUDE, freeware, 3.6Mb, Windows 9x/NT/2000

If you’re a fan of the Windows Solitaire game then you really should have a look at this collection of 91 games. You’ll find all of the classic variations, plenty of unusual and obscure versions and several entirely new ones, here’s a small selection: Aces Up, Auld Lang Syne, Baker's Dozen, Betsy Ross, Black Hole, Blind Patience, Bristol, Calculation, Carpet, Chameleon, Cribbage Solitaire, Deuces, Eight Off, Fly, Four Kingdoms, Four Seasons, FreeCell, Gargantua, German Patience, Golf, Indian, King Albert, Klondike, Lady Betty, Miss Milligan, Moojub, Mount Olympus, Nestor, Osmosis, Peek, Pluto, Poker Solitaire, Pyramid, Rank and File, Scorpion, Scotch Patience, Shamrocks, Simple Simon, Six By Six, Spider, Storehouse, Streets and Alleys, Strategy, Sultan, Tam O' Shanter, Terrace, Thirteens, Thirty Six, Three Shuffles, Thumb and Pouch, Will 'O The Wisp, Windmill and Yukon



TRAIN DISPATCHER, freeware, 1.8Mb, Windows 9x/NT/2000

Trains not running on time? Think you could do better? Then prove it! Train Dispatcher puts you in charge of a virtual railway system. You have a limited amount of track and resources and a lot of trains that have to get to their destinations on time. Sounds familiar…?



CHARLIE THE DUCK, freeware, 340kb, Windows 9x

Charlie The Duck should revive a few memories for those of you who grew up with classic arcade games like Donkey Kong and Super Mario Brothers. Your mission is to help Charlie collect diamonds and coins whilst avoiding malevolent frogs and angry bees, and the good thing about him being a duck is that he can swim, so it doesn’t matter if you fall in the water.



WINBOARD, freeware, 2.4Mb, Windows 9x/NT/2000

Winboard is one of the most popular PC chess ‘engines’, used by a number of computer chess programs (see below). The idea is that it generates the chessboard graphics but moves are controlled by either human opponents or by a separate program. The beauty of this system is that it’s an agreed standard and can be used in many different ways, including playing chess over the Internet.



GROMIT CHESS, freeware, 233k, Windows 9x/NT/2000

The argument over whether computers can ever be as good as humans at chess will probably never be resolved but the fact is the best PC programs can make very worthy opponents. Gromit Chess, not to be confused with an animated plasticine dog of the same name, is designed to work with Winboard and most novice and middle-rank players should find it quite challenging.



PARMEN 3D CHESS, freeware, 457kb, Windows 9x/NT/2000

And while we’re on the subject of chess, here’s a real oddity, 3D chess, as seen in various episodes of Star Trek. It’s a stand-alone game – no need for Winboard -- it’s just you against the computer but you’ll need Spock’s logic and Data’s Positronic brain to make sense of it so be prepared to receive a good thrashing…



I.O.T.W.C.L.T.M.B, freeware, 1.5Mb, Windows 9x/NT/2000

Invasion of the Weird Chicken-Like ThingaMaBobs, since you ask… This somewhat tasteless and gory game involves shooting alien chicken creatures as they fly across the screen but your ultimate goal is to destroy the planet with a nuclear weapon. It’s the usual sort of stuff, with a slightly ironic twist it doesn’t require a great deal of skill but it’s quite compulsive and there are some good sound effects.


VISUAL PINBALL, freeware, 620kb, Windows 9x/NT/2000

This game is still at the beta stage, it seems okay but it’s probably not something you should download onto a mission-critical PC containing lots of valuable data… Visual Pinball lets you design your own pinball table, start with the classic layouts and gameplay of real-world machines or just let your imagination loose and see what you can come up with.


Next week –  keyboard and mice update





The last stage in the development of a program, usually very close to the final commercial release but there may still be some one or two bugs lurking



Standardised component within a software application, designed to work in conjunction with other programs



Perfected by Dr Noonien Soong in 2336, the android Data’s Positronic brain has an 800 quadrillion bits storage capacity and is capable of 60 trillion operations per second, see:




Just enough room for one bonus program, it’s:

JIGS@W PUZZLE PROMO CREATOR, freeware, 1.7Mb, Windows 9x/NT/2000

This simple to use little program turns any image – it could be a photograph, drawing or even your company logo – into a jigsaw puzzle, which you can then send by email or load onto your web site, for a competition or promotion.

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