Magazine article Newsweek

Cyberscope

Magazine article Newsweek

Cyberscope

Article excerpt

HOT PROPERTY: Dreamcast's Final 'Phantasy'

Sega's console may be on its way out, but the company is still pumping out innovative content. Phantasy Star Online ($39.99; 800-872-7342), a sci-fi role-playing game, is a one-of-a-kind title that allows players from all over the world to team up for missions and quests. (The game connects to the Net via the Dreamcast's built-in 56K modem but not, oddly enough, through the recently released Broadband Adapter.) Players act as bounty hunters on a distant planet, where mysterious and dangerous creatures await. You can play the game offline, but the real thrill lies in taking your custom character to cyberspace for tougher quests. The optional Dreamcast keyboard ($24.99) is a big help with this game, as chatting is difficult without it. Either way, Phantasy will keep players hooked for weeks on end. Michael E. Ryan

GADGETS: Microsoft's Latest Trick: A Phone With a PC Built In

While Microsoft's Windows CE operating system lags far behind Palm in the handheld computing arena, mobile phones are still virgin territory. Last week, Microsoft unveiled its smartphone platform, code-named Stinger, at a wireless conference in Cannes, France. Stinger merges the capabilities of a Pocket PC into a mobile phone with a color screen and features like Web browsing, e-mail, audiovisual playback and personal information management. To pack all of that functionality into a compact 3.8-ounce package required some serious engineering ingenuity, says Phil Holden, director of Micro-soft's mobility group. …

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