short circuits

A brief look at new and noteworthy experiences among DVDs, video games, gadgets and the Web.


Download some 'Booty'

New "Ratchet & Clank" games always make me giddy -- even though the latest, "Quest for Booty," is a download-only title. And even though it's not a full game. And there are no new weapons. And, well, it doesn't actually include robot sidekick Clank. But it's no clunker. Newly available on the PlayStation Network for the PS3, "Booty" finds the catlike alien Ratchet battling intergalactic pirates in his quest to find the creatures that have kidnapped Clank. The usual cheeky humor and arsenal of wacky weapons propel him on his brief adventure. At just several hours long, "Booty" is more of an episode than a typical "Ratchet & Clank" game -- about a fourth of the duration of the previous PS3 outing, "Tools of Destruction." Maybe that's why the download is only $15, a quarter of the earlier game's price.


More homework help

When I wrote last week about websites to help kids with homework, I overlooked one that, as reader Leslie Yoder points out, is a great free resource created especially for Minnesotans. The simply named Electronic Library for Minnesota, or ELM (, offers a huge electronic cache of databases, magazine and newspaper articles, and other information to help anyone with research. Sections are devoted specifically to kids in kindergarten through fifth grade and those in grades six through 12. (Some material might require a public library barcode for access.) There's even a Research Project Calculator to help students and teachers complete major assignments on time and conduct proper research along the way. "These are truly our tax dollars at work, and far too few people know about these great resources," said Yoder, an information literacy specialist in the Educational Technology Department of St. Paul Public Schools.



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