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Games people won't play

Gamers, get ready for the ultimate challenge: workplace programs are silently scoping PCs for games downloaded from the Net--and eradicating them.

Students at Oregon State University's College of Business may not know DVD Software by name, but a lot of them already hate it.

That's because DVD Software puts out a utility that silently scopes computers for games downloaded from the Internet and then eradicates them. DVD, a home-based business in the Southern California city of Irvine, put out a new release of the utility, AntiGame, which can eliminate 6,096 games.

Greg Scott, IS manager at Oregon State's College of Business, calls AntiGame a lifesaver, or at least a time saver.

"I have about 135 workstations," he said. "We have two problems: viruses and games. I can't afford to have--how should I put it--geeky guys tying up machines to play Doom across the network or some such thing."

While the program does little to deal with viruses (plenty of antivirus programs can do that job), "this product has pretty much eradicated the problem we had on the network," said Scott, an ardent backer of the product.

While employees and students who like to play games instead of work might not be cheering this new technology, systems managers and bosses, worried that their employees are spending productive time killing cybervillains, encourage anything that can help them increase productivity.

Users can try changing file names, but that won't hide the games, said Yossie Hollander, whose wife, Dana, started the company after being frustrated by fellow workers playing games.

The program works just like antivirus software, he explained. It can be loaded through a disk or resides on the network and automatically scans computers every time users log on to the network. The user "is really never aware" that his computer is being scanned and neutralized, Hollander said, and the new version can detect games hidden in compressed files.

AntiGame costs $59.99 per file server connected up to 100 PCs. Evaluation copies also are available on the company's Web site.

Hollander said he and his family have nothing against fun and games, but there's a time and place for everything.

"We play games," he said. "But not at work."