UMJAMMER LAMMY, Sony Entertainment
What: Simon Says for guitar groupies. Details: Guitar heroine Lammy is running late for her gig with the all-girl band MilkCan when her path becomes blocked by a fire at a pizza store, a pregnancy-pride parade and so on; to continue on her way, she must put out the fire and care for the babies by, you guessed it, playing guitar. Don't let the goofy cartoon backdrop fool you -- this game will challenge even the most dextrous fingers. In each scenario, a "teacher," such as the karate-rapping Chop Chop Master Onion or Chief Puddle the soul-singing Dalmatian, lays down a series of rapid syncopated button pushes for you to follow. Each button triggers a note or chord. When you cop the teacher's licks and ride the rhythm, your score goes up on a performance meter. Reach "cool" and you can solo, using the controller to bend the notes. Throughout the game you acquire new "effecters," such as distortion, reverb and wah wah, which color the guitar sound with an added button push. The game closely follows last year's PaRappa the Rappa in style and format, except that Lammy's music ranges from punk to funk instead of PaRappa's dancehall and hip-hop. Bottom line: Will strike a chord with little hipsters.
-- Seth Hamblin
SUPERDISK USB DRIVE, Imation
What: High-capacity floppy disk-drive replacement, now in a faster, easier-to-connect version. Details: The archaic floppy disk holds so little data that Apple has scrapped it. But Imation is looking to save it with this update to its 120-megabyte, floppy-compatible drive. This little off-white box (boring color, incidentally) is a brisk performer -- about 2.5 seconds per megabyte writing to a SuperDisk, taking only a few seconds to copy files that require almost a full minute with a standard floppy drive. It's almost as fast as a built-in Zip drive, and certainly quick enough to play audio and video files without stutters. But with regular floppies, Imation's new hardware is not much faster than an old-school floppy drive. It's also rather noisy, emitting a constant whir. But installation
is a snap, thanks largely to its Universal Serial Bus (USB) connection: Just plug in the external power supply, USB cable, and insert the CD-ROM with its installation software. It's a good unit for iMacs, on which a backup floppy drive can be handy anyway, but PCs and Power Macs could probably do just as well with a (cheaper, more widely used) Zip drive. Bottom line: The drive I wish I had five years ago, and I bet Imation wishes the same.
Win 98/Mac, $170
-- Daniel Greenberg