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Memory Magic (version 1)

Mercury Learning Systems LLC

All ages

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

Memory Magic Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

Memory Magic is designed to improve a person’s memory skills. The program presents a user with three games that may enhance memory – Silly Stories, Flash ‘Em and Follow that Dot. Silly Stories links nonsensical stories with pictures, so connections between parts of the story are easier to remember. Flash ‘Em challenges a user to remember images flashed in sets of ten. Follow that Dot requires the user to remember patterns traced by a bouncing ball. A character named Glo directs the user through the three games. By returning to the main screen, a user can play any one of the three games at any time.

Memory Magic supposedly improves a person’s memory from recollection of several images and one pattern to one hundred images and several patterns. The program targets users of all ages.

Educational Value
Each thought in Silly Stories does not follow from the previous sentence. Though the program may train children to remember a sequence of nonsensical thoughts, the value of this skill is unclear. Hopefully, most of the information that children must memorize follows a logical pattern!

Follow that Dot challenges users to convert a path traced by a moving object into a single image. Developing skills in this area may prepare children for graphing and analysis of motion in physical science and physics courses.

Evaluating the results from this software program is difficult. Memory Magic does not include any assessment tools. Also, the value of the program is questionable – the software may develop memorization skills that are not particularly relevant to real world problems.

Kid Appeal
The games in Memory Magic are not particularly interesting for adults or engaging for children. Older children will most likely dismiss Glo as a character for young children, and young children may not find Glo appealing because his personality is one-dimensional. He can only smile broadly and narrate, features that rapidly become boring and repetitive.

The software developers for Memory Magic may not have tested The Flash ‘Em game on children. When children must select the ten images flashed on their screen from forty or more images, they are likely to use a hit-miss strategy. Instead of carefully choosing the correct images based on their memory, they will probably click on every picture in the array until they find the correct ten images. The game would have been more successful if users faced a penalty for random guessing.

Ease of Use / Install
On a Macintosh, Memory Magic is easy to install. A user simply needs to insert the Memory Magic CD into a CD-ROM drive. When one clicks on the program icon, the program opens to the main menu, and the user can proceed with the games.

The program does not have many clear labels or heading to guide the user. Glo’s advice often seems out of sequence with the task at hand. His suggestions are not particularly insightful. Without adult guidance, a young user would not be able to figure out how to navigate through the program.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
Memory Magic seems useful for children who are trying to improve their skills at memorizing lists and sequences. While Follow that Dot brushes on an important topic – converting a pattern of motion into a single picture, kids can develop their abilities in this area in many other ways that are hands-on and more fun. For example, a kid can roll a ball in an interesting pattern, trace what she remembers of the pattern, cover the ball with paint, roll it again in the same pattern, and then compare her trace with the painted path. Or kids can play card and word games to improve their memories. Kids can also draw pictures to remember stories that do make sense!

[Editor's note: Since our review in 2001, the program's publisher has informed us that "Memory Magic has been completely redesigned and reprogrammed." SuperKids has not reviewed any subsequent versions.]

See SuperKids' Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 95/98, 486/33MHz, Pentium 132 MHz or faster cpu, 16 MB RAM, SVGA 15" graphics monitor and card, 2X or faster CD-ROM, 16-bit windows compatible sound card, mouse and speakers.

Mac: System 7.1.2 or higher, 68040/33MHz, PowerPC 132MHz or faster cpu, 16MB RAM, 15" color monitor with thousands of colors, 2X or faster CD-ROM Sound Manager 3.3 or later, mouse and speakers.

Reviewed on:

  • Macintosh I-Book, Mac OS 9.0.4
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