Although the central concept of Windows XP—merging what were once separate Windows versions for corporations and homes—is a noble and largely successful one, a few peculiar juxtapositions result. If you’re a corporate user, for instance, you may wonder what to make of things like Movie Maker (for editing home movies), Outlook Express (a stripped-down, free version of Outlook)—and games. Yes, Windows XP even includes eleven games for your procrastination pleasure.
More interesting still, several of them let you play against other people on the Internet. At the Microsoft Game Center ( http://www.zone.com ), players from all over the world gather to find worthy opponents. When you choose one of the Internet-enabled games, your PC connects automatically with this Game Center. An automated matchmaker searches for someone else who wants to play the game you chose, and puts the two of you together, albeit anonymously.
The game board that opens, like the one in Figure 6-8, provides more than just the tools to play; there’s even a pseudo-chat feature. By choosing from the canned list of phrases, you can send little game exclamations to your opponent (“Good move,” “King me!” “Bad luck,” and so on).
The list of utterances available in your chat session is completely canned. For example, you can’t type in, “That was uncalled-for, you sniveling roach!” Still, its canned nature has a virtue of its own: You can exchange platitudes with players anywhere in the world. Your quips ...