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People who know me think that I am perfect in every way. But this is not quite true. I must admit to one minor character flaw: a weakness for stoopid computer games.

The latest bauble to catch my attention is an online golf game called Albatross18. It's a strange, surreal, Nintendoish game that is free to download and free to play. The company that produced it makes money by allowing players to purchase 'cookies' with real money that can be exchanged for improved equipment and clothing. But if you're too cheap to pay for items (like me), you can still improve your character buying items with 'pang', earned by competing in tournaments and making good shots. I've managed to purchase a stylish cowboy hat and a pair of sneakers so far.

The game is deceptively easy to play. After a few rounds, you'll easily be hitting par and making birdies on the easy courses. But veteran players can make eagles, albatrosses, and holes-in-one. And the hard courses take a long time to master. There are also special shots like the tomahawk, which rockets a great distance and comes down with an explosion. I've yet to see someone deploy one of these shots on the PGA tour.

To play, get an account on the OgPlanet site, log in, then download the software from the Albatross18 site. But don't do it if you don't have hours to waste on a pointless internet confection. I'm trying to quit cold turkey myself...


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