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Reviews of Software for Girls

Fairy Tale: A True Story - Activity Center
Knowledge Adventure

For Ages

See also the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Girls Software programs, and the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.


Reviewed on:
Fairy Tale Activity Center Screen Shot PowerMac 6400/200 with 32MB and 8XCD
Pentium166 with 16MB and 12XCD

Description
Like the 1997 movie it’s based on, Fairy Tale: A True Story - Activity Center is all about fairies, little woodland creatures that presumably live among us, hidden to all but those who truly believe. Fairy sightings are plentiful, and with a little effort, the user can become one of those privileged few who gets to know them intimately.

The program’s activities center around three main venues. ‘The Beck’ is an enchanting, interactive glen that the user explores by scrolling to the right or left of the screen. It is here that hidden secrets and magical surprises are uncovered, including the fairy dust needed to turn ordinary snails and butterflies into Tinkerbell-like creatures that fly off with a sassy flutter of their wings. With luck, the user can photograph these nymphs, just as the characters in the movie photographed their fantasical friends.

A second area to investigate is ‘The House’. Here puzzles, games and a personalizable journal await in the ‘Attic’; a painting activity, word game, and stories about fairies are found in ‘Joseph’s Room’, and photos captured in the Beck are developed in the ‘Darkroom’.

Finally, users head over to ‘The Theater’, where they can opt to help the great Houdini escape his chains, build a customized stage and answer fairy trivia questions, or watch a number of movie clips from Fairy Tale: A True Story.

Ease of Install/Use
Fairy Tale: A True Story - Activity Center installed easily on our reviewers’ PCs and Macs.

The User’s Manual included in the CD case is brief but extremely helpful. Taking photos with the virtual camera, in particular, involves many precise steps, and is difficult to accomplish without first reading through the manual.

Educational Value
The numerous fairy stories included with this program cultivate reading comprehension skills, while multi-level activities strengthen problem-solving and memory skills. Learning to compose and develop satisfying snapshots with the camera is an especially creative and rewarding activity, one that may inspire a future Ansel Adams.

Kid Appeal
Fantasy and magic combine to make this program a delightful pastime. The activities themselves are moderately engaging and admirably diverse, but it is the ethereal fairy theme that captures and holds the young dreamer’s attention. Stories and facts about fairies abound, with lovely antique-looking illustrations that make the creatures all the more attractive, even to children who thought they were through with pretend forever.

Each of the activities matures as the user uncovers more secrets in the Beck--the simple paint program expands its picture, color and shape options; the puzzle supply increases; another movie clip is added to the collection. This build-by-exploration feature challenges the child to persist with the program, taking her beyond preliminary enjoyment.

SuperKid’s child reviewers noted that they didn’t like the character of Nanny Buttoncap, who appears throughout the program to provide help or instructions. They felt that her voice was grating and frequently chose to skip her monologues.

Best for/Bottom-Line
This program will enchant young children with avid imaginations and an interest in the world of fairies, gnomes and elves. Even children who have not seen the movie Fairy Tale: A True Story will delight in its magical theme.


See also the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Girls Software programs, and the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.



Children's Software System Requirements


PC

Macintosh
Operating System Windows 95 System 7.1 or higher
CPU Type and Speed Pentium90 or faster Power Macintosh
Hard Drive Space 5 MB 7 MB
Memory (RAM) 16 MB 16 MB
Graphics SVGA 256-color 256-color
CD-ROM Speed 2X 2X
Audio MPC-compatible sound card
Other Needs mouse

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