media and technology

the lowdown

Theilatest multiémedia" 5:4 releases are reviewed by 1 Nigel Floyd and John i. " Henderson ' ' g

Cinemanla 97 (MiCrosoft. Windows 95 or NT, £30)

Like so many Microsoft products, this slick infotainment package is by far the best of its kind, yet not quite good enough. 20,000 reviews by Roger Ebert, Leonard Maltin or Pauline Kael, plus 4500 profiles. plus stills, dialogue clips and video extracts may sound like film heaven especially with hyper-text links to move between them with ease.

New features in the 97 version of this popular CD-ROM include tours hosted by celebs: John Waters on showmanship and Haskell Wexler on cinematography are exemplary; Bob Dorian on Hitchcock is anecdotal and sloppy.

Cinemrmia’s crucial failing, is its parochial Americanism: foreign titles are all but absent, awards means The Oscars only, and the new team picks include the atrocious Sammie and Rosie Get Laid. There is a strong case for localised Euro or Asian versions, with a broader sense of world cinema. The ugly facts feature (US certificate, running time etc.) also needs a cosmetic update. On the plus side, you can download monthly updates from the Net, check facts quickly, and browse till you go blind. Still essential, but a re-think is overdue. (NF)

Tekken 2 (Playstation, £44.99) Many people considered the original Tekken to be the greatest beat ’em up of all time. and as the old adage goes, if it ain’t broke. don’t fix it. Tekken 2’s designers have taken this advice, and simply improved on the game’s fluidity and quality rather than forcing radical change. Characters look more life-like and combinations have been reworked, and still the animation rate remains a startling 60 frames per second. A couple of new characters and moves have been added, but the real difference between the two games is one is perfect and the other isn’t. We love you, 'I‘ekken 2. (J H)

98 The List 4- l 7 Oct “)96

Games“; webJSites . fill-ROMS ..

She shoots, she scores

Football is no longer just a boy’s game. Tom Gorham talks tactics with Joanne Smith, editor of Britain’s first-ever women’s footy mag On The Ball.

Andy Cole’s controversial departure from Newcastle to Manchester United had repercussions throughout British football. But it would have taken a clairvoyant with outlandish intuition to foresee that as well as the predictable spiralling transfer fees and escalating movement of players. the move would trigger the launch of Britain’s first women’s football magazine.

‘It was all the fault of a nine— year-old girl I know.‘ says 23- year-old Joanne Smith. the editor of ()n The Ball. at new monthly title aimed solely at female footballers and supporters. ‘She was totally distraught when (‘ole left, but not because he was good- looking or anything like that. She wasjust concerned about whether it was a tactically correct decision.’

Smith reasoned that if a nine- year-old girl was fascinated by the nuances of the game. there must be thousands of women around the country who thought the same way. ‘We did our research.’ Smith says. ‘and it showed that there were loads of women simply

crying out for a title that treated them as equals.’

Undeniable logic props up Smith’s plans. ‘There’s a clear gap in the market for us. Hundreds of women’s interest magazines exist. and there are almost as many dedicated to football. Yet not one covers both subjects.’ Smith cites a mainstream title with a predominantly female editorial staff as her inspiration for the venture. ‘Four Four Tim is the type of magazine we’re aiming to be. although we hope to carry a lot more information.’

()1: The Hall will be targeted initially at women who take an active part in the game. A print run of l7.()()() will be delivered to women’s football clubs. which will take a cut of the cover price and then sell them on to the players.

No longer. if it was ever the case. do women suffer football solely to gaze upon well-toned thighs. :‘You just have to look at the arithmetic to see what a success the magazine could be.’ maintains Smith. "fhere are l5.()()0 registered women footballers in this country playing for 600 clubs and tip to 45,000 women who play regularly. That’s a hell of a market that hasn’t been

catered for.’

()n The [full has already laid plans for expansion and a more conventional distribution network should be in place by the end of

the year. Smith is hopeful, commenting conspiratorially: ‘We’re having discussions with a major retailer about distribution. Let’sjust say we’re hopeful of something coming off.’

Even before its first issue, the magazine boasts an eventful history. ’Wc were going to call the magazine Elle FC, which had a ring to it.‘ admits Smith, ‘but we had a letter from the publishers of Elle magazine. so we were forced to drop the title and settle for something a little more prosaic.’ At least there’s been nothing left to chance with On The Ball’s editorial. A full-time staff of two, backed up by an ‘army’ of freelancers will be responsible for the full-colour 52-pagc monthly.

Smith isn’t disputing that survival is the magazine’s first concern. The mushrooming empire of football publications is toppling under its own weight and there are bound to be casualties. A title exclusively targeted at what is still a minority must be among the favourites for a swift exit from the fray.

But Smith remains bullish. She might not play football herself— she has. she admits, two left feet but she’s sure she has the deft touch required to ensure that On The Ball won’t be a temporary landmark to women’s heightened interest in the beautiful game.

()It The Hall will be monthly

from/4 ()c! at £I.50.

Scanner covers the latest developments in media and technology. Address comments and queries to mediaList@aol.com