Art, Intrigue, And High Stakes: A Game For Grownups

A startup called Eidolon Inc., located in Bronx, N.Y., is out to challenge the notion that computer games are just for kids. Its slick Millennium Auction game will pit as many as four adults, either sharing a keyboard or meeting over a computer network, against one another in an imaginative future world--but devoid of any rock 'em, sock 'em action.

Instead, players must wheel and deal their way through a series of cutthroat art auctions. Their characters get to prowl around stylish galleries and maneuver through a web of Clue-like intrigue. During about 90 minutes of play, competitors try to bid, bluff, and buy their way to the top, amassing more cash and art items than their opponents. Up for sale are Van Goghs, Picassos, and more mundane collectibles such as Bill Clinton's famous saxophone--into which, the game's narrator intones, "he never exhaled." The game will be available next spring on multimedia CD-ROM for less than $100.