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problem solving software
Curious George Downtown Adventure is a combination interactive storybook, exploration/discovery program, video arcade game.
The program opens like many other interactive storybooks, with a narrator reading the onscreen type, as several classically illustrated Curious George storybook pages are turned. But unlike a conventional printed book, when Curious George accidentally causes problems on his visit to the city, it is the user's job to help him set things right.
At this point, the story text disappears from the program, and the narrator instructs the user in a series of obstacle-overcoming challenges. These are a cross between a Mario-type arcade game, and Rube Goldberg toolkit, wherein the user must help George reach his destination using a growing collection of objects. Along the way, the user acquires a working knowledge of the effects of things like trampolines, ladders, kites, conveyor belts and trapdoors.
When the user successfully helps George undo all his damage, the narrator and text return, and the end of the storybook is revealed.
Curious George Downtown Adventure offers users a wealth of exploration and discovery opportunities. Unlike most true video games, where hand-eye coordination and fast-twitch muscle fibers are rewarded, this program rewards logical thinking. Errors are not penalized, and speed is not a factor -- users can repeat a problem until it is solved. Nonetheless, our youngest testers found some problems just too difficut. In that case, the user can click on a hint button that shows the solution to the problem.
Our young testers enjoyed Curious George Downtown Adventure, with the caveat that those at the lower end of the recommended age range needed care-giver assistance. Curious George is a familiar and much enjoyed character, and the storyline and activities all feel very George-like.
Curious George Downtown Adventure installed without difficulty on our test machines. Program navigation is relatively intuitive -- although some of the tools are not instantly obvious. The built-in 'hint" button is available on every screen, and was helpful for occasionally stymied users (both young and old).
Curious George Downtown Adventure is a fun problem-solving program, but better suited for children in the older end of the recommended age range, or even a couple of years older. Even one 11 year-old reviewer reported enjoying the program.
PC: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, 233 MHz or faster cpu, 100 MB hard drive space, 64 MB RAM, 16-bit color 800x600 display, 12X or faster CD-ROM, Windows-compatible sound card .return to top of page
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