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Imagynasium

SouthPeak Interactive

Ages 6 to 12

Rating Scale
5 = great,    1 = poor
Educational Value
4.5
Kid Appeal
5.0
Ease of Use
4.5

Imagynasium Screen Shot System Requirements

PC Price Survey

Product Support

This creativity software, developed in association with The Sundance Institute (founded by Robert Redford), offers kids a new way to use computers to explore their imaginations. Three unique environments allow kids to delve into three basic fields of personal expression: art, music and storytelling.

In each venue, users collect objects that appear as both pictures and words. Double-clicking on an object morphs it into its alternate state (picture into word, and vice-versa). Each object also possesses a number of associated sounds. Once collected, the objects are brought into a design area, where they are manipulated in a variety of ways. In the art studio, they can be physically altered and animated, their sounds can be swapped, and they can be made to interact with other objects. The storyteller studio invites students to write their own stories, creating imaginative, collage-like illustrations, and adding text, sound effects and a musical score. Finally, in the music studio, objects take on individual sounds that can be adapted with a variety of acoustic tools.

As creations are polished and completed, they can be formally viewed, saved and even printed.

Educational Value
Its name aptly describes this program. It is truly a gymnasium for the imagination. Creativity is kindled, encouraged and challenged, and with an abundance of easy-to-use tools at hand, kids can mine their right brains with wonderful and surprising results. To further encourage kids to innovate, Imagynasium includes “Brain Boosters” that offer suggestions to spark project ideas and challenge users to ‘think outside the lines’. The Project Notes section provides the user with a place to keep track of good ideas. Also included are “Take-outs”-- activities to print and play without the computer. Each of the three creativity worlds also features a game to occupy arcade enthusiasts.

Kid Appeal
It’s obvious from the outset that Imagynasium is different from other programs. Objects swirl in a maelstrom, and a new dimension seems to open and draw the user into a magical world. Five likeable characters introduce and explain the program’s nuances, including Roxy (played by Glenn Close) who advises “if you can imagine it, you can create it”, and storyteller Mondo (Jonathan Winters) who explains that “you never know when something will come in handy in a story”.

Because the program is well-organized and clearly explained, kids can fantasize and create in a relaxed, enjoyable setting. Our testers enjoyed the program, and were anxious to commence new projects. They gleefully juxtaposed unrelated objects, making them behave in absurd ways. “I keep thinking of ways to change and improve what I created,” noted one SuperKids tester. “This program is very complicated,” reported another, “but that means there’s a lot of stuff to do, and I want to do it all!”

Ease of Use / Install
Imagynasium installs without difficulty. DirectX version 6.0 is required, and will install from the CD provided a more recent version is not already installed on the user’s computer.

The program’s creators did an excellent job of making it understandable and usable for kids. In addition to explicit instructions available in the ReadMe file, the “Info Station” includes a program tour, a navigation tour, and other specific program instructions. Pop-up help is available throughout (or can be turned off if it is not desired), and featured characters explain how-to’s in each of the three studios.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
Those with artistic flair will especially enjoy Imagynasium.

See SuperKids' Buyers Guide for current market prices of this PC-only program.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 95/98, Pentium 133 MHz or faster cpu, 30 MB hard drive space, 16 MB RAM, SVGA graphics card, Quad-speed or faster CD-ROM, 16-bit Windows compatible sound card.

Reviewed on:

  • Pentium 266 with 64MB and 12XCD
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