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Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

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UK releases

It's a rainy, moody Friday down here in the South-East of England, but it brings about the release of many interesting new gaming delights. Of particular interest are PC titles Age of Empires II : The Conquerors, Dino Crisis and the epicurean Star Trek Voyager : Elite Force, Raven's Star Trek licensed Quake III engined title which has been long in the coming. The consoles are rife with new titles, including the aforementioned GBC and N64 releases. The PSX gets a healthy smattering of titles with F1 Racing Champs from Ubi Soft, Spiderman from Activision and Wacky Races from Infogrames. The latter also hits the PC today, much to the delight no doubt of gamers looking for a bit of Mario Kart-style action on their PCs. It really appears to be Sega's week this time around however, with Virgin introducing Street Fighter 3 Double Impact and Street Fighter Alpha 3, Ubi Soft releasing Deep Fighter and Eidos releasing Powerstone 2, successor to the innovative and successful Powerstone. As if this were not enough, Take2 have chosen this week to bestow Hidden & Dangerous upon us, but Konami's International Track & Field for the Dreamcast has slipped a week. Disappointing, for it's a game that looks set to utterly destroy the lacklustre competition from Eidos and to a lesser extent Sega in time for the Olympics. However, the biggest release of the week is not a game, it's Microsoft's next generation of the Win9x kernel, Windows Millenium. The operating system is basically a friendly upgrade for Windows 98 users, which cuts down bootup times immeasurably, introduces Media Player 7 and Internet Explorer 5.5 at the heart of the system (much to the distaste of the DoJ in America I dare say), and vanquishes DOS away completely from view. It's still there somewhere, hidden under all the whirs and clicks, but it's no longer a core element of the system. Users who chose not to upgrade to Windows 2000 may find Windows Millenium much more friendly, and although it's still the same old Windows 98, it's closing in faster on the stability threshold and has been finely tuned in a lot of areas.