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AIR GUITAR STARS: THIS GAME'S FOR YOU

IN RECENT YEARS, IBM HAS been trying to shed its decidedly uncool image. It has loosened its dress code, opened a hip World Wide Web site, and aired a series of uncharacteristically humorous TV commercials playing off various cultures around the globe. And now it has teamed with the rock band Aerosmith to publish a multimedia CD-ROM game for would-be musicians.

Created by privately held startup Virtual Music Entertainment Inc. in Bedford, Mass., Quest for Fame runs on IBM-compatible PCs with sound cards and has an anticipated street price of $48.95. Macintosh and Sony PlayStation versions are in the works, too.

Instead of a joystick, players use Virtual Music's V-Pick, a handheld device that lets you play an imaginary guitar. The gizmo, included with the program, senses when it has touched an object, such as a thigh or desktop, and signals the computer to play preset musical chords.

The object of the game: Achieve rock stardom by playing the V-Pick in time to Aerosmith's songs. Failing that, be jeered by fans and band members. Players start in their bedrooms and must strum their way to a garage and then to clubs before finally performing with Aerosmith in a stadium called the Humongodome. The impatient can bypass the story and go directly to any of the nine main venues and jam to their heart's content. ``That's what we call the party mode,'' says Bradley J. Naples, Virtual Music's president.

EDITED BY WILLIAM J. WINKLER


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Updated June 13, 1997 by bwwebmaster
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