October 21, 1996 12:00 PM

Some kids, their parents worry, end up better friends with Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog than with real playmates. But what if they could stomp monsters alongside thousands of potential pals from around the world—all simultaneously, inside one big video game? That’s the premise of Castle Infinity, a new CD-ROM from Starwave (for Windows 95 only, $39.95). Kids use an Internet connection to jack into a Nintendo-style world of singing dinosaurs, villains and characters controlled by their fellow players. Typing into cartoon speech balloons lets kids communicate—a must, since many challenges require teamwork. Says designer Russell Ginns: “We didn’t want it to become a Lord of the Flies simulator.”

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