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Australian poets, Janice M Bostok and Beverley George were invited to each contribute 12 haiku to an interactive computer game that's proving to be loads of fun.

Haiku Journey Computer Game
(Report by Michael Dylan Welch)

A new computer game for word-game lovers from Hot Lava Games, available for free preview at http://www.nstorm.com/games/game_detail.asp?game_id=492. Featuring 540 haiku by 45 leading English-language haiku poets, selected by Michael Dylan Welch.

Hot Lava Games has just released Haiku Journey, a computer game that lets you explore Japan while "solving" some of the best English-language haiku available today. If you enjoy haiku and the board game Boggle, you'll enjoy Haiku Journey. In the words of Hot Lava Games: "Escape to picturesque and pastoral Japan at the foot of Mount Fuji in this new word puzzler. The unique experience of Haiku Journey is part logical mindbender and part relaxation therapy! Build words to gain inspiration and reveal/solve original haiku. Collect ancient artifacts along the way to power up your abilities. Includes two modes of play and a tranquil screensaver." And in the words of GameZebo: "Haiku Journey offers a unique experience. Relaxing and brain-straining at once, this oriental word-puzzler oozes atmosphere and high production values. From its slick interface to stunning visuals to tranquil music to challenging puzzles, it has it all, even a calming screensaver."

Haiku Journey features 12 haiku (three for each season) by each of 45 of the most prominent haiku poets writing in English today, for a total of 540 haiku. The poems appear randomly during the game as you advance through the various levels on your trip to the base of Mt. Fuji. The game also includes 11 informational screens that appear as you advance to each new level. These screens provide information about haiku's origins and aesthetics, introductions to Basho, Buson, Issa, Shiki, and Chiyo-ni, as well information about the haiku scene in Japan as well as the West, written by Michael Dylan Welch, who also served as editor for the haiku. The game has educational classroom value as well as lasting interest for haiku writers and other poets--and anyone who loves word games.

You can download Haiku Journey for a free 60-minute trial or purchase unlimited use for $19.95 (in U.S. dollars). For more information on downloading the game, visit http://www.nstorm.com/games/game_detail.asp?game_id=492 or http://www.mumbojumbo.com/game/game/56. To read a review of Haiku Journey (and to see screen shots), visit http://www.gamezebo.com/2006/11/haiku_journey_review.html. For additional information, please contact Michael Dylan Welch at WelchM@aol.com.

Hot Lava Games (www.hotlava.com), of Midlothian, Texas, was formed in 2005 to create entertaining casual games with the highest quality. Hot Lava Games launched 7 Wonders of the Ancient World on February 1, 2006 to major portals such as MSN, Real, Shockwave, and Yahoo. Haiku Journey was released on October 27, 2006, and is also available through numerous online portals, with further distribution is expected soon.