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Made for Those Whose Tastes Lie in the Gutter


Sometimes, when my computer is humming along at 100 mhz, I like to think that I have already seen the worst in CD-ROMs.

After all, what could be more boring than the "Gone Fishin" fly-fishing CD-ROM? More tasteless than "Re-elect JFK," the game that supposes Kennedy survived, then turned detective to seek out his would-be assassin?

Surely, I think, I have already hit bottom. Then, "Alley Cats" arrived. This CD-ROM for Windows and Mac does not set a new standard for terribleness in the genre. It starts a whole new league.

Let's all imagine the creative development meeting where "Alley Cats" was born.

Creative Type 1: "What do guys like?"

CT2: "Bowling."

CT1: "OK. What else?"

CT2: "Naked women."

CT1: "Right. Let's put them together!"

Yes, "Alley Cats" is the first product in this medium, or likely any other, to combine bowling and strip tease.

It's hosted by Gilbert, who right from the beginning proves himself the most annoying character in the digital realm. He explains, between deep breaths that are supposed to be suggestive but are merely adenoidal, that if you score enough points in the bowling game at Twin Peeks lanes, you earn the right to see a video strip show.

Using your mouse, you then pick up a ball and begin a match. The women of Twin Peeks, who look as though they have seen perhaps too much of life, provide mysterious commentary. Candy, for example, declares upon you getting a gutter ball, "Gutter ball! Now, who's the dummy?"

I guess it's one of those Zen koans.

If you can not forbear, "Alley Cats" is available from Atlantean Interactive in Van Nuys.

For more serious enthusiasts, there are several sites on the Internet's World Wide Web, most of which are linked to the "Bowling Home Page"at

From there you can jump to a history of bowling, which claims that pins and balls have been found in Egyptian graves dating back to 5200 BC! This site also points out the interesting fact that when the game came to North America from Europe in the 1600s, it used only nine pins.

Eventually, because the game was associated with gambling, "bowling at nine pins" got a bad reputation and was even outlawed in Connecticut. To get around the law, an extra pin was added.

There is also a linked site that concerns the "mental game" of bowling. It recommends exercises in stress management, self-imagery and concentration to improve your game.

Numerous leagues have sites, as do the professional organizations. At one site you can participate in a bowling ball survey by voting for your favorite make and model. And members of the America Online service can participate in the CyberSports Online League.

* Cyburbia's e-mail address is

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