WIN CE gets games-- finally
by Alan Zisman
(c) 1998. First
published in Computer Player, February 1998
Remember Game Boys?
Popular with the sub-teen set a few years ago, these
were black and
white, hand-held game-playing units from Nintendo. For a couple of
you?d see kids toting them everywhere.
It?s been a while since I?ve noticed anyone with a
GameBoy. But they
remind me a lot of today?s Windows CE hand-helds?tiny PCs with a word
spreadsheet, web browser, e-mail, calendar and phone list. Monochrome
Cost $400-$800, from companies including Casio, Compaq, NEC, HP,
and more. About the size of a GameBoy, but less fun. Because, aside
the included Solitaire, where are the games?
Useful as a CE might be, it can?t count as a
successful computing platform
until there?s a critical mass of games. What?s the point of having a PC
that will fit in your pocket and run two weeks on a set of batteries if
there aren?t any games you want to play while waiting for the bus or
out in the airport terminal. There?s only so many times you can review
your notes for the business presentation, after all!
Microsoft has recognized that all work and no play
makes CE a dull hand-held
platform. As a result, they?ve released Microsoft?s Entertainment Pack
for CE, with ten games for the midget computers.
Don?t expect miracles; they?re faced with the same
limitations as other
software designed to run on the hand-helds: Because there are no floppy
disk or CD-ROMs, you need to load the software onto a Win95/NT PC and
it across to your CE using a serial connection. And because a typical
machine has to store all its software in its two to four megs of ram,
need to be tiny. And while CE 2.0 supports colour, the games, like
all the CE units in use today feature four shades of grey? in other
So what do you get for your $44.95?
A nice chess game. Space Defense, a clone of the
classic Missile Attack
(knock out enemy missiles by poking the screen with your stylus).
The classic kids? pre-digital hand-held game?Battleship, where you try
to locate and sink enemy ships on a grid. Codebreaker. FreeCell and
to the versions that ship with other Windows versions, though multiple
CE owners can play Hearts, with their units communicating via infrared
(finally a practical use for the IR ports!). Another Windows classic-
Brought back from the Windows 2/3.0 era?Reversi, a
nice version of a
game otherwise known as Othello. And snuck over from the big computer?s
Entertainment Pack?Taipei, a nice reworking of the Mah-Jong tile game.
Since every bit of RAM on a hand-held is a precious
resource, you should
only install the ones you think you?ll like (or try them all, then
Even with this software, my son?s GameBoy was a better
But it didn?t do the Internet like my CE hand-held. I wish, while the
of Redmond were porting over their favorites from the old Windows
Packs, they?d have included that package?s Tetris? but I guess that
me something to look forward to?a second edition, with another set of