X-Files mythology, TenThirteen Interviews Database, and more

Posts Tagged ‘unrestricted access’

Link-UP magazine: Software Review of The X-Files: Unrestricted Access

September/October 1998
Software Review of The X-Files: Unrestricted Access
Link-UP magazine
J.A. Hitchcock

[Original article here]

The X-Files movie, “Fight The Future,” the X-Files Interactive computer game, the TV series, even the X-Files EXPO got much more exposure than X-Files: Unrestricted Access, a computer “encyclopedia” of the series.. Maybe it was because Unrestricted Access isn’t a game. As far as I’m concerned, whatever the reason, this overlooked software will surely bring out the investigator in you. You can discover everything and anything about each of the TV series episodes, including character dossiers, evidence, videos, still photos, reports and more. In fact, this compendium of X-Files information is enough to make anyone dizzy. But before you delve into it, you must install it. So here goes:

The one thing I wasn’t too keen on was the fact I had to have Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) installed on my computer before I could use Unrestricted Access. I’m a Netscape-loyal user and grumbled about conspiracy theories, but installed IE (included on the CD-ROM), then installed Unrestricted Access. I found I also had to have QuickTime to view the videos in Unrestricted Access and installed that (also included on the CD-ROM, although I later went to the QuickTime web site to get the latest version).

I have a 6.1 gigabyte hard drive, which is “divided” into three sections. To save space on my C drive, I installed Unrestricted Access on the D drive. Wrong move. Although the program started up just fine, I couldn’t access any of the videos – QuickTime and IE were installed on the C drive. So I had to uninstall Unrestricted Access and reinstall it on the C drive. Learn from my mistake, folks!

When the program begins, you would never even know IE was involved. The integration of the IE browser and the program is so seamless I was properly impressed. The main screen offers a choice of going to the X-Files Browser or a Desktop Designer. Since I like changing my desktop frequently, I selected that option first.

More choices appeared: Fact File, Screen Saver and System Display

Fact Files allows short facts about the show or the “expanded universe” to pop up on your desktop screen when you start up your computer or once a day.


The Mulder screen saver

The Screen Saver offers several to choose from. I selected Mulder (a silhouette of David Duchovny in a dark blue/black background with UFO-type lights revolving around him and spooky music).

The System Display allows the look of the desktop to be changed. If you have Microsoft Plus!, there are Themes included to choose from. I selected the Mulder Plus! Theme to go with the screen saver and went back to the main menu to take a gander at the browser.

I have 64MB of RAM in my Pentium, but it still took a bit to load up (not minutes, but I’m used to everything loading pretty quickly). The wait was worth it.

The background was black, a digital clock ticked away (accurately) in the upper right hand corner and there were symbols on the left and bottom of the screen. I ran my mouse cursor over the symbols on the left and text appeared. I was given several choices, which opened up a separate window for each:

Search by category – case file, extraterrestrial, alphabetically or by keyword

Surveillance – photos of characters from the show appear, when one is selected, three more symbols pop up. However, these symbols don’t have text when the mouse cursor is run over them, although they are explained in the instruction booklet (included). The symbols offer choices to view a file on each character (which describes who they are, their background, etc); select from a variety of photos and stills from the show (which describe a scene or play a video when selected); and a 360 degree view of offices and homes of some of the characters.

Communication – Update case files (show episodes) via the net, go to the official X- Files web site, utilize the Help and FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) files or set the preferences to automatically update the case files.

History – This shows a list of what case files, videos, stills have been viewed for a quick review with a click of the mouse button – BUT only after they have been viewed.

Help – Explains each of the functions of the program

Mulder’s office is one place you can “spy” on in Unrestricted Access.
Who’s that woman behind his desk? Could it be?
Yes, it’s author Jayne A. Hitchcock. Guess she has connections, eh?

The bottom row of symbols are used only when a character or case file is selected. When this is done, one of the symbols “lights up” in red to show what is in the main window, such as a case file, dossier of the character, video, audio, etc. I found these buttons to be redundant. If I could have clicked on the video symbol to select a certain video to view, etc., it would have been much better.

I decided to try this whole thing out, went to the Surveillance selection, selected Mulder, then clicked on a padlock symbol, which brought up a collection of photos. I selected “Amaru Remains.” A filing cabinet symbol appeared and I clicked on that. Up came a description of the “case file” (name of the episode) and information related to it. There were hot links (underlined in red or yellow) throughout the text. Clicking on a character name brought up their dossier, clicking on an item brought up either an explanation of that object, a photo or video clip, but I didn’t know which it was until I selected it. The yellow highlighted words brought up a glossary explanation of the word(s), which relate to real things, not fiction made up for the show. I found this to be interesting and informative and sometimes pretty scary.

One annoying thing was that once a word was underlined, it was underlined for the entire text. I felt this was overdoing it a bit. At first, I thought there was more information if I clicked on the word “Scully” the second time I saw it underlined, but it brought up the same dossier info I had just read. Underlining something once would have been enough.

It was also very annoying when I clicked on a word and a new window popped up, but didn’t automatically overlap the existing Surveillance window or go to the side of it. I had to manually select and move the new window so I could view my selection. This was particularly a problem if I clicked on something that turned out to be a video – videos start automatically. The one I selected was almost over by the time I found it hidden under another window and moved it. And the new selected window never popped up in the same place every time. This was definitely poor software programming and very frustrating.

Once I did get used to the buttons, links and symbols, I was able to whiz through the case files and read up on things I didn’t even know about. I caught up with episodes I’d missed and learned a bit more about the various characters.

As an X-Files fan, I found Unrestricted Access a must, especially when it fully explained some of the episodes that were confusing to me. If I were a non X-Files fan, I just might still find it interesting, especially the glossary tidbits and various cases (plots). It would probably make a fan out of someone who is not one already, but this is geared more towards a fan.


  • Everything you wanted to know about the X-Files and more
  • Cool graphics and sound
  • Easy installation
  • Very nice layout and navigation
  • The Desktop Designer was a pleasant surprise
  • Help files are easy to understand
  • Video clips are short and fast but well done (especially if you have a 3D FX video card)
  • Tech support is great
  • Free case file updates
  • Rated T (ages 13 and up), so it can be used by just about everyone in the family


  • Being forced to use Internet Explorer instead of a choice of browsers
  • Pop-up windows are hard to maneuver and should be better organized
  • Underlined words in red don’t differentiate between text, video, photo or other so you never know what’s going to pop up
  • It’s really slow if you don’t have enough “power”
  • Takes a little getting used to

90 MHZ Pentium or compatible (I’d recommend at least 200 MHZ)
Windows 95
16MB RAM (I’d recommend at least 32MB)
4X CD ROM drive (I’d recommend at least a 10X Drive)
75 MB free hard drive space (100 MB is recommended)
Windows 95 compatible graphics card with minimum of 640-800 resolution/16-bit color
MS Internet Explorer (included)
Quicktime for Windows (included, but go to Quicktime’s site at for the latest version)
Internet connection is optional but recommended
Cost: $34.98 retail, available at computer stores everywhere

J.A. Hitchcock is a regular contributor to Compute Me. Visit her web site at jahitchcock.com.

Entertainment Weekly: The X-Files: Unrestricted Access

The X-Files: Unrestricted Access
Entertainment Weekly
Mike Flaherty

[Original article here]

Maybe, after five seasons spent inuring America to the schemes of a nefarious shadow government, Chris Carter and the folks at Fox have had some of that skulduggery rub off on them. How else to explain the awfully well-timed release of The X-Files: Unrestricted Access? Produced in collaboration with Carter, the exhaustive double CD-ROM arrives in stores on the heels of the series’ two most confoundingly complex ”mythology” episodes — yet sufficiently in advance of this summer’s big-screen feature The X-Files. Coincidence? Hmmm…Like the Sunday-night paranoia-fest it’s based on, Unrestricted delivers a wealth of information while still leaving you maddeningly mystified. But if approached as a user-friendly catalog of the truth that’s already out there — rather than a digitized Rosetta stone promising jaw-dropping revelation — there’s some good arcane fun to be had.Fun being an aesthetically relative term. Icons dimly illuminated against a pitch-black backdrop, its typeface the show’s trademark overmagnified newsprint, Unrestricted‘s design is as compelling as it is foreboding, consistent with The X-Files‘ gorgeous gloom.

Built on a Web-browser interface, the CD-ROM’s centerpiece is a sprawling search engine through which ”case files” (i.e., episodes) and ”dossiers” (for FBI, CIA, and NSA personnel; suspects; victims; and characters cryptically described as ”status unknown”) from the show’s first four seasons can be pulled up. They’re retrievable in chronological, alphabetical, even geographical order (a map of the states divided into thirds tells you if there’s a hotbed of ”human enigma” activity anywhere on the fruited plain). It’s also chockful of cross-referencing hyperlinks and glossary entries. Can’t remember what the Erlenmeyer flask contained? Need a definition of Munchausen-by-proxy syndrome? Want to touch base with Anita Budahas, Neech Manley, or the Stupendous Yappi? They’re all here.

Less rewarding but worth a look is the Surveillance database, featuring a sort of greatest-hits selection of stills and video footage for the show’s main characters: Agents Mulder and Scully, FBI assistant director Walter Skinner, Deep Throat, X, Alex ”Ratboy” Krycek, and others. The supposed money shots here are multi-angled views of Mulder’s and Scully’s office and homes. But while the 360-degree pan and zoom functions are a geeky little treat, their frustratingly limited image quality prevents gleaning anything new about the two or their work. That couldn’t be intentional, could it?…

Most innovative is the Communications area, which points you online to a restricted X-Files website that provides for regular updating of the case-file database as newer episodes are aired and archived. You can even adjust your preferences to initiate these downloads on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. The catch is that Fox Interactive insists you use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Web browser to make it happen.

Whaddaya know, Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch in cahoots: Now, that’s a conspiracy to make even Cancer Man proud. B


GLARE (Gillian Leigh Anderson Real Ecclesia)

[Original article here]


The truth is out there, but now, you could be closer to finding it than Mulder and Scully have ever been. The X-Files: Unrestricted Access CD-ROM gives you, for the very first time, the opportunity to freely explore the mysteries of The X-Files. Produced by Fox Interactive, in close cooperation with Chris Carter and Ten Thirteen Productions, a completely interactive reference product will soon be available that utilized the people, places and events from every memorable case of the worldwide hit Fox television series.

In The X-Files, the journey of Mulder and Scully is itself often more important and revealing than the destination. So, too, the primary goal of The X-Files: Unrestricted Access is to evoke the experience of the television series – not only the major narrative themes (such as paranormal phenomenon, alien existence, and illicit government activity), but also, and perhaps above all, mood and atmosphere – while not compromising functionality. All information in the product takes place within the X-Files *universe.* Rather than rehashing already-available large amounts of behind-the-scenes trivia, this product immerses the user in the conspiracy itself.

X Browser

This leads to the basic design concept of the *X-Browser.* By presenting content both locally from the CD-ROM and remotely via the World Wide Web, within a familiar browser environment which is robust yet transparent, the user will perceive the product almost solely as an ultra-high bandwidth Web experience. Accessing the product content through the X Browser will reinforce the effect of the television series – always feeling on the outside of the truth, no matter how deeply one has probed, while at the same time being absorbing. Simultaneously, a wealth of X-Files content will be easily and immediately accessible through powerful database functionally and an intuitive user interface.

The X Browser has customized functionality and a specialized user interface. All of the elements of the browser interface – the File menu bar, the tool bar, the location bar, the directory buttons, the logo graphic, and the URL display across the bottom of the page – are replaced by custom elements to maintain a unique look and feel.

The X Browser’s user controls, though customized in design, function similarly to familiar Web browser controls. These controls allow the user to navigate quickly and intuitively anywhere within the product, as well as to control the product’s general functionality parameters. The design is that of a functional home page, though, rather than a list-form main menu. It contains the following main features: Search surveillance communication Bookmarks Go Help Quit A clock A display area for e-mails/instant messages

Except for Search and Surveillance, all functionality is contained in frames on the main page. Distinct from these controls is a status bar which indicates the active/open/closed status of each type of Media window (see below).


The search engine for The X-Files: Unrestricted Access consists of a single, easy-to-use screen containing both queries and results. Query functionality consists of a sequence of hierarchical categories and sub-categories from which the user can select via standard buttons and pull-down menus. The user can sort by case files, individual dossiers, or evidence, and then cross-reference selections by category of case (extraterrestrial, human enigma, government conspiracy, etc.).

The search engine also applies an alphabetical, geographical, or chronological sort order function to whichever of the above categories is selected. In addition to select/sort query capabilities, this area of the product contains a full keyword search facility.

The search engine enable the user to comb through top secret information contained in case files and assorted dossiers. Each case file provides links to other documents and evidence, and can also be cross-referenced to other related cases. You will be able to analyze, interpret and draw your own conclusions about every X-Files case that exists.

Complete case files and dossiers on every event or individual that has ever appeared in The X-Files are in this product. Photographs, documents, and audio/visual evidence are also available to inspect at will. Advanced FBI electronic tools such as Fingerprint Analysis, Voice Analysis, and Image Enhancement are included in a wide range of investigative assets. Physical evidence from each case is shown in three dimensional Quicktime VR, allowing you to rotate, zoom in, and examine them from every angle.


Surveillance functionality accesses a vast store of classified records kept on each person. Through the network capabilities of the X Browser, the user can access files which would ordinarily be off-limits. Assets are sorted according to a concept of file residence – different classes of assets are found in different places.

The “security clearance level” of users of this network is far above that of Mulder and Scully. It is beyond Deep Throat, X, or even the Cigarette Smoking Man. Not only Mulder and Scully, but many important people in the world of The X-Files fall under surveillance by the user ( and, it is implied, perhaps simultaneously by other unknown powers).

Surveillance exists in two forms – live and archived. Live consists of ongoing remote video stakeout (shown as navigable three dimensional Quicktime VR images) of certain places, including Mulder and Scully’s homes and office, A.D. Skinner’s office.

Archived material (clips and original assets derived from the show) includes video, stills, audio wiretaps and a chronological log that details the movements of each “target.”

The X-Files : Unrestricted Access features a much tighter link between its local and online content. Though “true” Web functionality will be immediately accessible from within the product, the user is not required nor expected to remain online whenever he or she uses the CD-ROM.

Therefore, online content falls into two main areas: (1) content to be integrated seamlessly into the local content by periodic downloads, and (2) supplementary content which is not designed to be integrated into the product. Both of these types of content will be maintained and updated after product launch from the dedicated host site, thereby reducing the problem of obsolescence i nherent in the CD-ROM medium.

Located on the X Browser home page is the Communication option. Clicking on this option will launch a dialog box asking the user if he or she wants (1) to go online or (2) to view the directions for installing a download, if the user has accessed the online site previously. Once on the “true” Web site, the X Browser remains fully functional as the user’s active browser. Back/forward is available on all online pages, as it has been removed from the X Browser functionality bar. All online content will reside on the server, and will be maintained and updated by Fox Interactive on a regular basis during Season Five of the show.

This area of the product will feature the following sections:

Updates –
downloads of new content relating to subsequent X-Files episodes, including video clips, audio clips, case files, character dossiers, 3D assets, etc.

Links –
to the Fox X-Files site;
to other X-Files-oriented sites;
thematically related third-party sites (e.g., paranormal)

Hints –
an area offering information to animate further exploration of both the CD-ROM and online components of the product.

Check back bi-weekly for more details leading up to it’s release this January!

Be sure to check out the X-Files Unrestricted Access Web Site by Fox Interactive!

ua1 ua2 ua3 ua4 ua5 filogo