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Just Joking is a Mac/DOS/Windows database of 2,800 jokes on 250 topics, from books "Friendly Advice" and "The Comedy Quote Dictionary." $49.95 from WordStar, (800) 523-3520 or (800) 227-5609. [Lawrence J. Magid, CC, 12/1.] (I'd rather have the books, but its good to see material appearing in electronic format.)

Funny Business from Sandhill Arts Publishing Co. (Menlo Park) offers 300 cartoons for $299. A CD-ROM version is sold by Educorp. Several formats are available, and $89 theme packs are planned. (415) 327-0845. [Ian Stokell, Newsbytes. BACC, 1/12, p. 63.]

The ten best computer games of 1992 selected by columnist Mike Markowitz: V for Victory; Carriers at War; Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe; Gateway (science fiction); Darklands (adventure); Zookeeper (educational); SimLife (Mac and soon MS DOS); Hoyle Official Book of Games, Vol. 3 (backgammon, checkers, dominoes, parchisi, and snakes and ladders); Spectre (Mac arcade game); and Ultimate Challenge Golf (strategy rather than manual skill). [MT, 1/4, p. 96.] The shareware JewelBox program distributed by BMUG is addictive, like Tetris. [David Morgenstern, MT, 1/4, p. 220.]

Chessmaster 3000 CD ROM displays 2D or 3D boards (your choice of notations), plays good chess, rates your play, and comes with a library of 150K starting positions. It can also play music, tell you about classic games, suggest moves, or talk you through a game. Documentation illustrates the history of chess. Also available on disks for MS DOS, but the ROM is better. $59.95 from The Software Toolworks (Novato, CA), (415) 883-3000. [Woody Liswood, MT, 1/4, p. 229.]

Dr. Marion Tinsley beat UAlberta's Chinook 20.5 to 18.5 in the 8/92 World Checkers Championship. Chinook had placed second at the 1990 U.S. Championship. Dr. Tinsley had (or has?) lost only five tournament games in the last 42 years, but lost twice to Chinook. Chinook lost four games, including a forfeit due to software difficulties in a draw position. A rematch is planned for 8/93. [Jonathan Schaeffer (jonathan@cs.ualberta.ca), SIGART Bulletin, 1/93.]

Diplomacy is an Avalon Hill email game with an automated gamemaster (or "Judge"). The game's popularity finally swamped a UWashington MicroVAX, so the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) is sponsoring the game on a new server. Other Judges are running in South Africa and Australia. [Christopher Davis (ckd@eff.org), com-priv, 2/24.]

Will Wright of Maxis has been demoing a new version of SimCity with 3D terrain and other slick improvements. It has "agents" competing with each other to find business opportunities (e.g., tearing down houses and putting up shopping malls). [Bill Park, 3/6.]

-- Ken