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SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany — Airmen at Spangdahlem can now reach out and wreck somebody.

Microsoft donated 10 Xbox video games for the base’s new fun center, The Brickhouse. On Thursday, a group of airmen got behind the wheel and went racing against friends back in the States.

“It’s awesome,” said 2nd Lt. Paul Brighton of Buffalo, N.Y., and the 52nd Equipment Maintenance Squadron. “It’s another way to keep in touch. It makes it seem like you’re not so far away from home.”

The Xbox allows people to play video games against each other over the Internet. The Spangdahlem airmen were racing Thursday against players located at the United Services Organization (USO) at New York City’s Port Authority bus terminal.

Among those online — Brighton’s college buddy, Stephen Kotarski.

“I came in third place,” Brighton said after one race. “I’m pretty sure I beat him. Those New Yorkers don’t know how to drive anyway.”

Xbox is video equipment that allows users in different locations to play games online against each other. Games include NFL Fever, Voodoo Vince, Brute Force, Inside Pitch, Top Spin and Platinum Hits.

Airmen at Spangdahlem bought four Xboxes for The Brickhouse and e-mailed Microsoft for technical help. A month later, 10 more Xboxes complete with games and accessories — about $30,000 worth of goods — arrived in the mail.

On Thursday, the airmen were testing out the Project Gotham auto-racing game.

“On a scale of 1-to-10, I’d give it about an eight or nine,” said Airman 1st Class Anthony H. Brown of Brooklyn, N.Y., and the 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron. “It’s exciting, and it’s got good graphics and music and easy controls.”

Maj. Melinda Morgan, spokeswoman for the 52nd Fighter Wing, said other USOs and U.S. Air Force bases soon would be installing Internet game centers. Morgan said she didn’t know the details of the programs.

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