History & Mythology
Critical Mass: America’s Race to Build the Atomic Bomb
Critical Mass: America’s Race to Build the Atomic Bomb, fromCorbis(Bill Gates’ other company), is a well-intentioned project that, like most Corbis titles, uses photography as its primary medium. The photographs have been assembled into different kinds of slide shows, called “narratives” if they feature animation and voice-overs, or “episodes” if they offer a handful of stills and some text. There are a few other features sprinkled around, like a 3D model of Los Alamos and a generous teaspoon worth of video, but these come few and far between. Critical Mass, like other“interactive documentaries,” manages to both educate and entertain but fails to justify being a CD-ROM – a videotape would serve nearly as well.The subject, though interesting, happens to have already been done to death on CD-ROM. Only a unique take on the topic (like Jayne Loader’s Public Shelter) would give somebody a reason to pay much attention.
– June 1996
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