Stephen King's F13 decks out your computer with a horror aesthetic, offering "deathtop" images, "screamsavers," and a trio of minigames. The capper is a beautifully presented novella, Everything's Eventual, a story that brings King's usual themes into a high-tech context.
The program is largely disappointing. It has been argued that the most critical element of horror media is sound, and F13 does have a cornucopia of chilling and ominous noises. However, everything else is carefully honed to a PG level of taste--rather than being scary, or even creepy, most aspects of F13 fall into the category of horror camp. Two of the three minigames are simple twitch games. In Bug Splat, you flatten insects messily before they can overwhelm your screen; in Whack-A-Zombie, you dispatch the undead with a shovel. The third game, No Swimming, lets you feed various animals to a school of piranha. The games are hilarious, especially Whack-A-Zombie. They're not very challenging, though, and definitely not fear-inspiring.
As for the novella, while its interface is gorgeous, it is also weak when compared to Stephen King's other work. It has a simplistic moral, a predictable ending, and offers little in the way of edge.
Still, hard-core King fans who want a complete collection may enjoy F13, as will younger horror aficionados who cut their teeth on the watered-down terrors of R. L. Stine. For everyone else, if you want truly scary wallpaper and other trappings for your PC, you will probably have to look elsewhere. --Alyx Dellamonica
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- 0: Mac
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