From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
Subject:      TOURBUS -- 8 APR 03 -- ACROPHOBIA IS BACK!

TODAY'S TOURBUS STOP: Acrophobia is Back!

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

Man, our Chicago riders sure didn't take too kindly to my appropriating Carl Sandburg's "hog butcher for the world" quote to describe my beautiful hometown of Irvine, California. So, out of respect to our angry friends in the windy city, I promise I'll never again confuse Irvine with Chicago.

Anyway, howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from deep behind the orange curtain in beautiful Irvine, California, a large city located in northeastern Illinois, on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, at the mouth of the Chicago River. :P

TOURBUS is made possible by the kind support of our sponsors. Please take a moment to visit today's sponsors and thank them for keeping our little bus of Internet happiness on the road week after week.

On with the show ...

Acrophobia is BACK!

Back in December 1997, our friends at Berkeley Systems (the flying toaster people) unleashed one of the most addictive online games ever: Acrophobia. While most dictionaries define acrophobia as the abnormal fear of high places, those of us who were fortunate enough to visit back in the early days of the boom know better. Acrophobia is actually the fear of ACRONYMS!

[On a related note, if vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?]

Acrophobia is a surprisingly simple game. "Codymaxx," one of Acrophobia's beta testers, explained it best:

ACROPHOBIA is a word game that you play online with 2-13 other players at a time. Players from around the world are presented with a series of acronyms and are challenged to create a witty or descriptive phrase within a designated category. Answers are posted anonymously in random order, and players vote to decide the winner of each round. Bonus points are awarded for being fastest, as well. When one person reaches 30 or more points, he or she enters a face-off round to determine the final winner of the game, after which a new game starts immediately. The server is advertiser supported and is thus free to all players, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Games in progress can be joined at any time. There's a chat area where you can get to know other players or toss in good natured taunts and cheers. ... Each game "room" holds a maximum of 14 players, and [there are] both "clean" and "adult" rooms to choose among.

[Source:, 11/05/1997]

Acrophobia disappeared from the Internet a few years back, and there was wailing and gnashing of teeth. Well, wail and gnash no longer: ACROPHOBIA IS BACK! :)

Just point your Web browser to .

Before you can play Acrophobia, though, you'll need to create a screen name and a password at . requires you to key in an email address in order to register, so make sure to key in your Hotmail or Yahoo Mail address in the appropriate box. [For privacy reasons, most Net gurus have at least two email addresses: a personal email address that they share only with their closest friends, and a free, disposable email address that they share with companies and strangers. If you don't yet have a free, disposable email account, hop on over to or]

Once you have successfully registered, either click on the blue "GO HAVE FUN!" button or point your Web browser to .

This opens a pop-up window and automatically loads the Macromedia Flash media file necessary to play Acrophobia [make sure that you have disabled your pop-up killer first!]. This may take a few minutes, so be patient.

If all goes well, you'll eventually see a HUGE list of themed "rooms" on the right side of your screen. A "room" is just a game in progress, a group of a dozen or so people who are playing Acrophobia. Like most chat rooms, you can't join an Acrophobia room that is full (full rooms are grayed out on the list). However, to join an open room and start playing, just click on a room (or let Acrophobia choose a room for you) and then click on the blue "Start Game" button in the bottom right corner. If the list of rooms does not appear, just close the pop-up window and load the game again.

More often than not, you'll join a game in progress. The rest is pretty self-explanatory. >:)

Now for the bad news: play Acrophobia while you can, because I'm not too hopeful that Acrophobia or the other games at are going to be around too much longer. [Just an opinion, not a fact.] You see, is part of the Flipside Network ... which itself is a part of Flipside, Inc. ... which is a division of VU Net ... which is owned by Vivendi Universal ... which is the company that owns Universal Studios ... whose movie "Apollo 13" co-starred Kevin Bacon. :P

Seriously, though, both the Financial Times and the New York Times recently reported that Vivendi Universal intends to sell its entertainment assets by year's end. Let's just hope that Vivendi Universal Entertainment's new owners, whoever they may be, won't send to the .com graveyard.

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That's it for today. I apologize for the brevity of today's post, but I'm in the middle of a game of Acrophobia. Have a safe and happy week, and we'll talk again soon. :)

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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