INSTEAD OF BETTING HEARTS or playing Tetris on your office PC during those idle minutes, how about throwing a ball to your own digital dinosaur? You can do just that thanks to Expert Software Inc., based in Coral Gables, Fla., which ships the Rex CD-ROM game--the PC equivalent of the popular Tamagotchi digital toy. That means Rex, or whatever you name your dinosaur, is your responsibility from when he hatches until he grows up.

That's no wee thing. Rex is demanding. He needs to be fed, bathed, and played with, or he follows the fate of his real-life predecessors and becomes, um, extinct. But for all his demands, he's everything a person looks for in a pet: He dances, sings, colors cave drawings, and burps. You may choose to have as many as five dinos at once running around digital landscapes of deserts, jungles, caves, and forests. And you can switch him off when your boss stops by your desk. Each dino's life span depends on the time you spend with it, but typically runs 20 days. The $14.99 program is available at CompUSA Inc. stores--an inexpensive way to put the past in the present.

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