Clash of the cyberpets

Clash of the cyberpets

They're less smelly than your average cat or dog, cost less to maintain and will keep you company all day long (even at work). But which one is best? ARN's Ellen Cresswell and Fiona Carroll check out two of the hottest desktop cyberpets on the market today, Fin Fin and TamagotchiFin Fin: The Real Computer CreatureFrom Fujitsu comes Fin Fin, a virtual half-bird, half-dolphin who will interact with users, responding to the sound of their voices and actions.

Fin Fin hails from Teo, the land where users can interact in real-time with Fin Fin. Based on Fujitsu's proprietry A-Life technology (as in artficial life), Fin Fin responds to users in a realistic way.

Included with the software is a microphone and whistle with which users can communicate with Fin Fin. Additionally, users can feed Fin Fin fruit from Teo and he changes colour.

And according to Kerry Little, corporate communications manager at Fujitsu, Fin Fin is one of a kind: "It is virtually impossible to duplicate the combination of Fin Fin's variables -- no two Fin Fins can ever be identical."

Fin Fin takes a little getting used to -- he's painfully shy and may be too time-consuming for the easily-frustrated; however, put a little effort in and you'll end up with the pet of your dreams.

Fin Fin is available for Windows 95 machines and uses 16MB of RAM.

Vendor: Fujitsu

Distributor: Dataflow

Tel (02) 9417 9700 Fax (02) 9417 9797

Price: $79.95 RRP

They're everywhere, they're everywhere!

The trend of 1997 has finally come to the PC in 1998. It was only a matter of time until Tamagotchi invaded the desktop. The PC version has "everything you love about the original Tamagotchi toy, plus extra features including voices and sound effects that make it cuter than ever".Apparently the cyberpets have travelled millions of light years through cyberspace and are ready to hatch and thrive on earth, right on users' PCs.

Once the "egg" has been downloaded, it needs to be given a name before it can "hatch". It needs to be fed and amused as soon as it hatches. Players have to feed it, turn off the lights when it needs to sleep, play with it, care for an ill one, clean up its droppings, check its health and discipline it.

There's a bar that displays Tamagotchi's discipline status.

It needs discipline when the attention icon alerts the user and it is full and happy or it's just generally being naughty.

Users can also choose from a number of background themes for Tamagotchi's environment. And, fortunately, there's a volume control that lets the user turn the music and voices off (or back on). A screen-saver option makes the Tamagotchi the default screen-saver.

And if caring for the Tamagotchi isn't enough, there's three games included with the program.

If caring for the pet gets too much, just send it to the care centre, but as with most other young things, don't leave it there for extended times.

One earth day is roughly equal to one year for Tamagotchi. The average lifespan for Tamagotchi is about 16.

Tamagotchi only operates in Windows 95 and requires 8MB RAM minimum.

Vendor: Bandai Digital Entertainment

Distributor: Metro Games

Tel 1902 240 527 Fax (03) 9329 2995

Price: $39.95 RRP

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