New multimedia products. (Multimedia PC) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Polly Cillpam
The Three R's
Davidson's best-selling educational programs, Kid Works 2 and Math Blaster: In Search of Spot, are now available in CD-ROM versions. Math Blaster: In Search of Spot is a learning adventure game that teaches basic math facts, problem solving, and mental math skills to children ages 6 to 12. Through four integrated activities, you help Blasternaut rescue Spot, who has been captured by Blasternaut's enemy, the Trash Alien. The program features 50,000 possible math problems, the ability to customize math data, six levels of play, and eight different subjects.
Kid Works 2 is a creativity kit that allows children ages 4 to 12 to write, illustrate, print, and hear the stories they create. It contains a word processor, a full-featured pain program, and patented text-to-speech technologies. Children can write storeis with words or icons on primary-ruled paper or a blank screen, color coloring-book pictures, or create their own paintings. They can combine the stories and pictures and have their stories read back to them.
Davidson (310) 793-0600 $59.95 each
Becomes a Member of Congress
Rise through the political ranks from freshman to Speaker of the House with Software Toolworks' Capitol Hill. This product gives you the opportunity to be actively involved in the political process, withy a first-person perspective of life on the Hill.
You can explore the inner workings of the nation's highest lawmaking body by voting on a bill or reviewing an operating budget. Capitol Hill uses narrated video clips, photographs, and illustrations to explore aspects of the United States legislature, such as the history and purpose of Congress, how a bill becomes law, operating budgets and average expenditures, and duties of the Congressional support staff. You can meet your poilitical peers and engage in a walking tour of the Capitol. All of these experiences are available in the Play the Game section, where the objective is to rise from a freshman Congressional member and become Speaker of the House or Senate Majority Leader.
The Software Toolworks (415) 883-3000 $49.95
Here's a multimedia educational program that can bring Europe alive culturally, geographically, and historically. Developed for ages 10 to 16, Code: Europe features digitized voicB, music, and graphics, and an instructional design that supports correlation and memory skills.elation
In the program, you're a disguised International Security Council agent who travels throughout Europe gathering "secret code" clues from a network of fellow agents posing as tour guides. The clues, which include facts about each nation's geography, history, art, trade, and culture, are based on research of 22 European countries. The program also offers maps, national anthems, and greetings in each country's language.
You're required to manage the time adn currency allowed by the ISC for each investigation. A limited budget is provided for purchasing transportation and hotel accommodations in the currency of the nation being visited. You may choose to travel by foot, bus, or taxi, and to stay in the least or most expensive hotel. Experiences take place based on your choices in these areas.
Compu-Teach (800) 44-TEACH $59.95
Media Vision Does Software
Just six months after it formed a publishing group, Media Vision has announced ten new multimedia CD-ROM titles. The titles fall into three categories: children's educational programs, interactive motion pictures, and daily planning software.
The children's titles are Forever Growing Garden, a fantasy gardening adventure with over 300 screens of animation; Peak Performance, an adventure with trivia questions, video footage, and a road race across the United States; and Professor Gooseberry's I Can Read Club, a series of early learning CD-ROMs, including Always Arthur, Who Wants Arthur?, and Buster's First Thunderstorm.
The two interactive multimedia movies are Quantum Gate, an interactive science-fiction story that uses the VirtualCinema technology, and Critical Path, an interactive action adventure which combines motion picture, videogame, and computer-generated animation elements in a single interface.
The Personal Daily Planlt series includes a daily planner with voice recognition, voice annotation, over 430 color photographs, video footage, and stereo sound. The firest three titles are Planlt Earth, featuring images by renowned wildlife photographers in conjunction with the National Wildlife Federation; Planlt Paradise, an enticing collection of today's hottest swimsuit styles with models from Swimwear illustrated; and Planlt Adrenaline, featuring a variety of action sports scenes.
"The breath and challenging scope of these initial titles will demonstrate that Media Vision has dedicated itself to becoming both a commercial force and a touchstone of artistic quality in the hardware and now software areanas of interactive multimedia computing," says Paul Jain, Media Vision president and CEO.
Media Vision (800) 348-7116 $49.95-$59.95 each
What a Trip?
Now you can have a CD-ROM with comprehensive travel information covering every state and region in America. Deep River Publishing's EVERYWHERE USA Travel Guide contains a collection of more than 3000 events, attractions, festivals, theaters, museums, historic sites, national parks, professional sports teams, and more. It has thousands of full-color photos illustrating attractions all over the United States. You'll find up-to-date descriptions, addresses, phone numbers, and hours, as well as a locator map.
"Our goal is to provide the USA's most comprehensive presentation of interesting attractions and things to do at a price everyone can afford," says John Lincoln, Deep River's CEO. Through its easy-access Windows interface, this travel guide brings thousands of interesting bits of information to the screen in seconds. Family vacation planners can search for activities suitable for their children, and business travelers can get information about the city or state they're going to. You can use the menu of listings based on geographical area and type of activity, or you can create a custom search based on a variety of criteria.
The listed items include aquariums, zoos, theme parks, museums, science centers, agricultural fairs, festivals, historic sites, national parks, dance, music, theater, sports tours, cultural centers, and more.
Deep River (207) 871-1684 $49.95
Early Reader ABC's
Here's a learning tool for children ages 4 to 7. The Big Bug Alphabet Book interactive CD-ROM is the first in a series from milliken Publishing. The program introduces the alphabet by teaching children to identify and distinguish the letters. The characters are brought to life through animation, learning games, high-quality speech and sound effects, and original songs, creating a fun-filled, interactive experience for kids.
Included with the disc is a copy of the original full-color storybook, so children can continue to learn and enjoy the characters and story when they're not at the computer.
Milliken Publishing (314) 991-4220 $39.95