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Cyber Digest

From a Kelsey-Grammer-voiced animation to the ”Dungeons & Dragons” movie, a weekly spin on the web

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While other online entertainment companies scurry overboard, MediaTrip.com is going full steam with Gary the Rat, a new animated series. Emmy winner Kelsey Grammer voices Gary, a nasty but successful New York City lawyer who turns into a six-foot rodent. Although clients find him more appealing than ever, others want Gary exterminated. In a bid for 100 million viewers, MediaTrip — the online entertainment arm of former Mouse House exec Joe Roth’s Revolution Studios — plans to debut the show Nov. 20 simultaneously on three well-trafficked Web portals and hype it during Grammer’s appearance on The Tonight Show.

If you’re enough of an X-Files fan to engage in a bit of conspiracy-theory brain noodling but not such a lone gunman that you bought the movie soundtrack, a visit to ParaScope (parascope.com/en/articles/xReview03.htm) will prove more revealing than Gillian Anderson’s neckline. Buried behind the UFO and Black Helicopter stories is a transcript of the CD’s secret track — 10:13 into the last song — in which Chris Carter pontificates on ”meta-scientific complexity” and the Vichy government. Still no clues about what planet Robert Patrick comes from.

We’ve been tuning in weekly to watch Kozik’s Inferno (wild brain.com), a she-devil tattoo-art-fueled interpretation of Dante’s classic story by legendary rock-poster artist Frank Kozik. As it turns out, Kozik is an Internet poster child in more than one way: His e-business is booming. Those limited-edition Nirvana, Neil Young, Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails, and Red Hot Chili Peppers prints have been available online since 1995, with around a hundred items selling each month. But Kozik’s works have been going like wildfire since his site recently began accepting credit-card payments (mansruin.com). ”The first month [of sales] is equal to the last three years,” Kozik says. ”And it’s pure profit.” Who says dot-coms are dead?

From the producers of Start-Up 2000, the simulation game where players take a fledgling dot-com to Wall Street, comes TV Star, in which gamers claw their way up the media-mogul mountain. You start as a cleaning man or woman digging through wastebaskets for information, then date a higher-up to gain status, and eventually become a David Letterman-size talk-show host. Try though you may to get ahead being nice, ”at one point you’re going to have to be mean to someone,” admits Marc Robert of Paris-based distributor Monte Cristo (www.montecristogames.com). ”It’s very cynical.” TV Star won’t be released until January, so you’ll have plenty of time to practice before sweeps month.

The Dungeons & Dragons movie (seednd.com), due in theaters Dec. 8, has the Ubernerdy Slashdot (slash dot.org) community atwitter — and they’re not drooling over Thora Birch, either. Most of the discussions are about how bad the trailer’s graphics look and what a rip-off of Lord of the Rings/Phantom Menace the movie, costarring Marlon Wayans, is going to be. Still, a D&D revival is brewing, so you might want to visit Wizards of the Coast, owner of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise (wizards.com/dnd/). The site is not only hawking the genre’s classic books — the definitive Player’s Handbook and Monster Manual — but giving away adventures and character sheets. It’s even selling those miniature painted figurines — and you thought Quake fanatics were bad…