Brilliant Digital Entertainment lets you choose the way your story unfolds online

A few years ago, interactive movies were supposed to be the next big entertainment breakthrough, promising a future of theater audiences pressing buttons to dictate the big-screen action. Now Brilliant Digital Entertainment, an Australian multimedia studio headed by Mark Dyne and Kevin Bermeister, is beating offline filmmakers to the punch with Multipath Movies, online cartoons in which the at-home surfer decides how the story unfolds.

Using special freeware (, you select one of 17 $2.95 full-length titles. In The Evil Pen Pal, for instance, a boy and his warlock buddy concoct revenge on a bully. Should they torture him with, say, pterodactyl hallucinations? Choose yes and witness the ensuing bad trip; choose no and the story forks down a kinder, gentler road.

Cute, maybe, but for now the animation suggests a cheapo production of Toy Story. At least juicy license deals mean that upcoming BDE titles will include cartoon spin-offs of such mega-brands as Superman, Ace Ventura, and (yes!) Xena. The question is whether normally passive audiences will have the cojones to tell Xena what to do in the first place.