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Girls Software Reviews

Rockett’s Tricky Decision
from Purple Moon

For Ages 8 to 12

See the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Girls software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.


Reviewed on:
Rockett's Tricky Decision Screen Shot PowerMac 6400/200 with 32MB and 8XCD
Pentium166 with 24MB and 12XCD

Description
This sequel to Purple Moon's fall '97 release Rockett's New School offers a superior second episode in the continuing adventures of Rockett and her fellow classmates at Whistling Pines Jr. High.

Having had a few months to settle in at her new school, Rockett must now face the never-ending battle between questing for popularity at all costs, and doing what her conscience tells her is the right thing to do. This dilemma manifests itself in the guise of two Halloween-party invitations. The first invitation comes from Miko and Nakili, Rockett's down-to-earth girlfriends who seem to truly respect and admire her, and desire her presence at their get-together. The second invitation comes from Max, a boy who will be hosting the "in-crowd" gig, the one that all the popular boys and girls will attend. Unfortunately, those same popular kids comprise the least friendly, and most conceited crowd at the school. Not so tricky to know which is the right decision? Now add to the mix Ruben, an intriguing young man who Rockett secretly likes and whose band will be playing at Max's party. So what should Rockett do? Helping her decide is a fun and rewarding endeavor, and the best part of it is, unlike real-life, if you don't like the results of any particular decision, you can go back and make it over again, this time choosing another route.

As in the premier title in this series, Rockett's Tricky Decision not only contains a semi-animated story that can unfold in a number of user-directed ways, it also includes areas for undirected exploration and enjoyment. In this program, unlike its predecessor, student lockers are found in the 'Hidden Hallway', an unpopulated corridor that also includes the Whistling Pines Jr. High Teacher's Lounge and Yearbook Office. Lockers are numerous, and contain journals, notes, invitations and fun clickables, all of which reveal plenty about the locker owner's identity and personality. The Yearbook Office features Rockett's desk, with a computer that dials-up the school website so that Rockett can pick up her e-mail messages.

Educational Value
Once again, no actual teaching is achieved, and no skill drills are found in Rockett's Tricky Decision. Educational value lies not only in its ability to involve girls in computer activities at an age where they begin to wander away, but also in the story itself. The user must help Rockett make tough decisions about how to react in difficult situations. The potential consequences of each decision are vividly illustrated for the user--when Rockett acts hastily and unpleasantly she is met with an equally unpleasant reaction from her audience. When she tries to be upbeat and diplomatic her efforts are rewarded with smiles and universal satisfaction. Rockett can and does make good and bad decisions, but she doesn't hide from them, and she ultimately survives and (one hopes) learns better how to deal with the next dilemma.

Kid Appeal
Preteen girls are drawn to this program regardless of the purple packaging. Characters resemble those teen-darlings from the movie "Clueless", complete with valley-girl dialogue, and gestures (forming a "W" with two thumbs and forefingers while saying "whatever") and teenage angst. In many ways the series resembles an interactive sitcom with a greater wait between episodes.

Our young reviewers only major complaint was that they felt the faces displayed when choices were to be made influenced their decisions. Rockett appears with a smile on her face, a sad face, and either a grumpy or an indifferent face. "I always pick the smiley face," commented one 10 year-old. "When I pick one of the other faces bad things happen."

Parent reviewers were pleased with the values displayed in the story. "I liked that the characters talk about their mother's occupations with pride," was one comment, "...they admire each other's talents and strive to do well in school."

Ease of Install / Use
Rockett's Tricky Decision installed easily on our review PC and Macintosh computers.

No difficulties were encountered with program navigation. Interactive items, whether thought bubbles, directional icons or locker items, highlight in yellow, making them obvious targets. Decisions can be retracted at any point with a simple click, and each particular adventure can be saved and revisited.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
This program, although not terribly educational, provides thought provoking interaction and lots of fantastical female fun.

Education 3.0/5.0 Kid Appeal 4.2/5.0 Ease of Use 4.8/5.0
5=Excellent, 4=Good, 3=OK, 2=Weak

See the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Girls software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.



Children's Software System Requirements


PC

Macintosh
Operating System Windows 3.1, Windows 95 System 7.1 or higher
CPU Type and Speed 486DX/66MHz 68040/33MHz
Hard Drive Space 10 MB 10 MB
Memory (RAM) Win 3.1-8MB, Win 95-16MB 8MB
Graphics SVGA graphics n/a
CD-ROM Speed 2x 2x
Audio 16 bit Windows -compatible sound card n/a
Other Needs mouse, speakers 256-color monitor

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