Bits & Bytes
FOR PC GAME PLAYERS,A PLACE TO HANG OUT
For home-computer owners looking to expand their horizons, there's a new game in town. Sierra On-Line Inc., a maker of computer-game software in Coarsegold, Calif., has created The Sierra Network (TSN), an electronic game room and meeting place in which subscribers gather to chat and play by computer. Unlike other on-line computer networks that offer home shopping or information services, TSN is strictly for fun. "Our goal is to create a service where people just hang out," says Vice-President Michael D. Thornton.
The system officially premieres this June in California, where, for an $11.95 monthly fee, subscribers can dial a local phone number and challenge others to a half-dozen computerized board games such as chess. Non-Californian players can link up for an additional $2 per hour. By Christmas, Thornton hopes to expand the service to include two "amusement parks." The one for kids will offer computer games such as a flight simulator. In the proposed "Larry Land," adult subscribers send animated surrogates of themselves to buy drinks and flirt with newfound friends at the bar, just like Leisure Suit Larry, the hero of a popular series of Sierra PC games.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG