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New Media's Invision '96

From New Media's September 9, 1996 Edition

This year's entries seemed to be going after a new audience: the public. Developers weren't designing for tomorrow's technology, wondering what would blow away the critics or trying to satisfy their inner children. They were treating multimedia as a business and looking at what would sell.

This didn't result in less creativity - far from it. The entertainment titles were incredible, including a touching tour of the Vietnam Memorial, games that explore life as a cockroach and a surreal night on a haunting boardwalk.

Best of Show

Beyond the Wall - Magnet Interactive Group

"It's the only CD-ROM that ever made me cry," one Invision judge admitted. Beyond the Wall, which won an Award of Excellence in Information and Reference, uses video, sound and graphics to simulate a visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It tells you a little about each of the 58,000 people commemorated there and brings you closer to many of them with photos and letters.

The disc started as a thesis project by then-NYU student Joe Feffer. A rough Macromedia Director prototype won him the trust of the wall's founders and a job at Magnet Interactive, where he is now a producer. "Just going down the wall is a multimedia experience," Feffer says. "I was blown away by the people leaving things and offering stories, and the poems and songs inspired by the wall." Feffer discovered that the objects left at the wall - notes, children's toys, a Congressional Medal of Honor - are collected at sunset and stored. He wanted a way to show the objects to the public, a place to put the stories and to help people remember the men and women who died in Vietnam.

The project has been extremely gratifying for Feffer. "People look at the disc at trade shows and start crying and then tell us their stories," he says. "We got e-mail from one vet who went through looking up 50 friends he'd had in Vietnam. It had been eating him up inside, but now he knew."

Entertainment and Edutainment

Award of Excellence - Critical Mass: America's Race to Build the Atomic Bomb - Corbis Corp.

During World War II, the United States and Germany each discovered the technology needed to create the atomic bomb: The race was to be first. Critical Mass brings this dramatic struggle to life with fascinating documentaries, biographies of the scientists and a 3D re-creation of Los Alamos as it was during the Manhattan Project. Our judges were impressed with the huge amount of information housed in an exquisite interface that lets users follow time, a personality or just streams of thought without getting lost.

Children's Title

  • Gold - Operation: Weather Disaster - Human Code Inc
  • Silver - 3D Movie Maker - Microsoft
  • Silver - Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster and the Beanstalk - TerraGlyph Interactive Studios
  • Bronze - Mother Goose's Farm - Albathion Software Inc.

Young Adult Title

Adult Entertainment Title

Interactive Movie Title

Arcade Game Title

Adventure/Role-Playing Game Title

Strategy/Puzzle Game Title

Information and Reference

Adult Reference Title

Children's Reference Title

Technical and Creative Excellence

Award of Excellence - Bad Mojo - Pulse Entertainment

Never read Kafka at bedtime because you might dream you're a cockroach trapped in a surreal 3D environment, surrounded by danger as you search for the meaning behind your lowly existence. Instead, play Bad Mojo and have the same experience. Two years in development, this game has more than 800 2D and 3D scenes, 30 minutes of video and navigation, and topographical mapping techniques the Pulse Entertainment engineers invented to give it realism. In the final round of judging, this disc stayed on the big screen longest: The judges kept insisitng they needed to see just one more scene and to solve one more puzzle.

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