Jeff Maier's Surfer video game had been out only a few months when he was offered $10,000 for it. The offerers' plan: hook up a real surfboard to the video image, creating a California version of the mechanical bull made famous in Urban Cowboy. But the 23-year-old engineer chose to go it alone. Good thing: he now has contracts for 900 Surf Simulators -- at a gross profit of $550 each.

-- Leslie Brokaw

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