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SuperKids Software Review - The Parent's and Teacher's Guide to Childrens' Software
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Life Begins

Quality Multimedia

Ages 10 and up

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

Life Begins Screen Shot System Requirements

PC / Mac Price Survey

Product Support

Subtitled "A Journey into the Miracle of Human Life", and containing 38 minutes of award-winning video footage, this information-filled CD-ROM offers an in-depth look into the ‘physiological processes involved in creating and maintaining human life.’ Topics are presented through illustrated screens, animations, slide shows, graphs, videos and a glossary of terms. The program is appropriate for use in schools and at home as a fact-based resource for parents and children who seek to understand human reproduction.

Life Begins includes six main sections including: the Human Body, Man, Woman, Pregnancy, Labor and Birth, and Life Choices. The first five of these sections are interconnected, so that a student beginning with the section entitled the "Human Body" can link from the sub-topic ‘DNA,’ through mitosis and meiosis, sperm and egg creation, fetal development and beyond.

The final section of the program, ‘Life Choices’, discusses the non-physiological issues involved in human reproduction, with topics ranging from self-esteem and goal-setting to intimacy and taking control of one’s life.

Educational Value
Direct and accurate, this program succeeds in providing information in an impartial and non-judgmental manner. At the same time it adequately instills in the user a reverence for the miracle that is human life. Multimedia resources are clear, well-labeled and tasteful, and the depth of information is impressive.

Kid Appeal
Our young testers were impressed with the amount of information available in this program. Although occasionally embarrassed by the program’s content, most admitted that it answered questions that remained unanswered or inadequately answered by previous classroom instruction and discussions. Furthermore, they liked the fact that they could use the program to seek answers to their questions and concerns privately and anonymously.

Ease of Use / Install
Installation of Life Begins is straightforward, with full instructions available in the accompanying User’s Guide. Quick Time 16-bit is required, and included on the CD-ROM.

Before using the program, the installer must run a ‘lockout’ configuration. This requires setting up an administrator password, and then making a few decisions about what content will be available for the users of the program. Because the graphics content may be considered controversial--including video clips, animations, illustrations and photographs depicting such topics as female and male external reproductive organs, birthing scenes, etc., accessibility options allow parents and teachers to restrict access to these portions of the program. Limiting access to the graphics does not, however, limit access to the information available in these sections. When queried about these graphics our parent testers were quick to note that although they are indeed explicit, the graphics in question are always tasteful.

Life Begins program navigation is complex and may initially require adult assistance. Because of the interrelatedness of the many topics, it’s easy to get sidetracked and lose sight of the original topic being pursued. For this reason, the program includes a "Trail" option, which can be accessed from the Taskbar, and enables students to retrace their steps (much like the ‘history’ Internet browser option) and return to the point of divergence from the original topic being explored.

Best for... / Bottom-Line
This complete program covers more than just the basic facts concerning the beginnings of human life. Its multimedia approach illustrates and clarifies the process of human reproduction in a manner that is at once clinical and awe inspiring.

See SuperKids' comparisons with other science software titles, and the Buyers Guide for current market prices of the PC and Mac versions.

System Requirements
PC: Windows 3.1 and up, Pentium 75 or higher, 16 MB RAM, 640 x 480 x 65K color monitor display, 4x speed or faster CD-ROM.

Mac: System 7.5 or higher, 120 MHz or faster cpu, 20 MB free RAM, 640 x 480 monitor in thousands of colors, 8x speed or faster CD-ROM.

Reviewed on:

  • PowerMac 6400/200 with 32MB and 8XCD
  • Pentium166 with 24MB and 12XCD
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