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NEWER REVIEWS ARE LISTED FIRST 

SpyHunter -- Intense GamePlay!
Zach Vogel (12) used this program for 11/2 hours on a PlayStation 2.
"I didn't like the amount of health given and the time limit. I did like the intense gameplay and great graphics."
Easy to use? 2/5
Good learning experience? 3/5
Fun? 5/5
Tester Rating: 4
CSR Rating: 4.5
Would you buy it? Borrow it

Ferrari F355 Challenge -- Cool Cars

Matt Sine (11) used this program for 2 hours on a PlayStation 2.
"I didn't like the graphics and that you had to see from the drivers' view. I really liked the cool cars."
Easy to use?
Good learning experience? 1/5
Fun? 3/5
Tester Rating: 3
CSR Rating: 3.2
Would you buy it? Borrow it

QuickFacts - Endsight Software --Great basic mathfacts software!

Zerin Ankhi
Dapu 3 yrs old
2-5 hours
Windows 98
Tester Rating: 4.8
rubel_ahsan@yahoo.com
Its a very user friendly software. I like the way it allows you to go back and practice on the things you got wrong. I Also love the way you get to track your kids progress and set his daily goals.

Kidsnet Internet Parental Controls -- All accessable Web sies are reviewed by people.

Joy
Mary
20+ hours
Windows 98
Tester Rating: 5
joy@believeinlove.com
I like this Internet Parental Control software for several reasons, not only are the only sites that my daughter can access pre-reviewed by prople (not technology), it is very customizable and comprehensive. For example, I could choose to disallow nudity but allow it in an artistic, educational, or medical context.
 

Foniks -- practices well over 100 sounds!

Name: Tim Bowyer
Company: Active Audiences Pty Ltd
E-mail: tim@fonetiks.org
 
OK, it depends what you mean by "complete", but "Foniks" presents and practises well over 100 sounds, which is considerably more than any other phonics course that we know of.
 
"Foniks" is based on our belief that...
 
1 Many people do not buy software simply for fear that it will not install properly - with good reason! A significant percentage of software is returned for this reason. That's why all of our software uses your browser : no need to install anything, just insert the CD and away you go.
2 Much interactivity is redundant and merely a distraction from learning. Sure, you can sell more software with lots of gratuitous interactivity and disneyesque graphics, but it may not be used for very long. We believe children want to learn, and by focussing exclusively on the text-to-speech nexus with our "Talking Book" format we believe we are empowering children with respect to the written word in a way that other software has not yet done. It's simple but unique, and we humbly submit that simplicity is something that has been lacking from educational software to date.
3 Record-keeping and benchmark testing are both, in our opinion, best done by humans, for both of the age-old reasons : cost and effectiveness. Only elaborate record-keeping and evaluation systems can come anywhere near doing justice to the learner's efforts, and these increase the cost of the software considerably without ever being able to match the judgemental and motivating contribution of a skilled and interested human being.
 
In short: better a little done simply but right than the whole caboodle done in only a cosmetically impressive way.

2Simple Early Learning Toolkit -- Excellent writing and math tool for the early elemetary teacher!

Tony Gordon
multiple aged 4-7 in our District
5-10 hours
Windows 2000
Tester Rating: 5
agordon@spsd.net
As a Tech. Director in a large district, I was looking for a package that worked "with" the teachers, rather than a stand alone skills package. And in all honesty, I could not see one reason for more of these "busy work/entertainment portrayed as learning" CD packages being used in our schools, so I needed an alternate that allowed the IT literate teachers to extend the teaching activities using the computer, and although I could do that with Word or similar in the middle and high school, I needed something much easier to handle in the early el. classrooms.

LittleTykes 3-D Cruiser -- Very Dissatisfied with this one.

The wheel worked for apprx. 1 month
Tracy Byerly
Sam 3 1/2yrs
5-10 hours
windows xp 1.4 ghz athlon
Tester Ratin g: 1
tdbyerly@lexcominc.net
The wheel seems to have a short or something. Try to calibrate and it just jumps everywhere. Impossible for anyone to control.

ThunderController -- Educational program that expands logic skills

Todd Aspeotis
Kid Jnr, 8 yrs
20+ hours
Windows 98, Testing on XP as well
5
kyve@myrealbox.com
This program, free from http://www.thunderobotics.tk/ integrates perfectly with a Lego RCX, and allows children to spend more time building, and focussing on logic skills, rather than using the inadequate Lego software. ThunderController allows children to click on simple commands, which in turn, are transmitted to the robot via an Infra-red "tower". This really helps children to think creatively, and almost encourages them to use the harder programming languages with their robots. Even if you don't have a robot, it is worth downloading anyway.

Crayon By Number -- Very neat - our kids enjoyed it immensely!

David Schulkrept
Aaron and Judith
5-10 hours
Windows 98
4.5
iamover@hotmail.com
We started out by scanning in photos of both of our children's faces. We had a little trouble understanding the instructions but figured it out once we read the on-line manual (we would have preferred to have a paper manual) The program worked quite well. And when the children had finished crayoning - they were fascinated to have created such realistic images of their photos. To quote Aaron, "it looks funny up close but I can really see my face when I'm far away. Very nice program by Wentworth Institute."

Pajama Sam in "No Need to Hide When It's Dark Outside" -- One of the masterpieces of Ron Gilbert

Edward de Jong
19, 16, 10, 8, 4
20+ hours
old Windows
edward@magicmouse.com
This is one of the masterpieces of the graphic adventure genre. The amount of animation in this first Pajama Sam adventure is amazing; thousands of frames of hand drawn animation, fabulous voice work, clever writing, and funny to boot. Kids of all ages will enjoy it. The later titles in this series were not nearly as good; this title was a showcase title and resulted in Humongous being sold to GT Interactive for 30+ million dollars (and subsequently destroyed). Get this title before it disappears, as they don't make them like this any more.

SpongeBob SquarePants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman -- Too much talking!

Matthew Collins, age 8
"There was too much talking! It is too boring and too hard to figure out which door to go into. I didn't like it at all."
Easy to use? 2/5
Fun? 2/5
Tester Rating: 1
Would you buy it? No

Minority Report -- Lots of levels!

Eric Elberty, age 13 used this program for 8 hours on an Xbox.
"The game play was slightly repetitive. There was a lot of violence including punching, kicking and guns. Great sound and graphics. This game was really fun to play with 40 levels and many special features."
Easy to use? 5/5
Good learning experience? 4/5
Fun? 5/5
Tester Rating: 5
Would you buy it? Yes

Sonic Mega Collection -- Good controls

Benny Kates, age 9 used this program for 11/2 hours on a GameCube.
"The graphics were bad because it was a little blurry. Good controls. You go down ramps and loop-de-loops and it was exciting to play."
Easy to use? 5/5
Good learning experience? 1/5
Fun? 5/5
Tester Rating: 4
CSR Rating: 4.3
Would you buy it? Yes

Star Wars: The Clone Wars -- Exciting action!

Ian Grabowich, age 10 used this program for 2 hours on a PlayStation 2.
"I liked everything about it. It is challenging with exciting action. It really makes you want to play more!"
Easy to use? 3/5
Good learning experience? 2/5
Fun? 5/5
Tester Rating: 5
CSR Rating: 4.5
Would you buy it? Yes

Zapper -- Fun!

Benny Kates, age 9 used this program for 11/2 hours on a PC.
"The controls were complicated. It was fun because Zapper goes on a mission. Also, I liked the items they used like super zap and zapping boxes."
Easy to use? 3/5
Good learning experience? 1/5
Fun? 5/5
Tester Rating: 4
CSR Rating: 4.5
Would you buy it? Borrow it

Dragon's Lair 3D Return to the Lair -- I did not really like this one at all.

Eric Elberty, age 13 used this program for 5 hours on a GameCube.
"The controls were very strange and the graphics were bad. It was way too easy and the story was boring and unoriginal. On top of it all, it had violence."
Easy to use? 2/5
Good learning experience? 1/5
Fun? 1/5
Tester Rating: 1
Would you buy it? No

Star Wars Jedi Starfighter -- Boring

Eric Elberty, age 13 used this program for 3 hours on an Xbox.
"Very boring. It was hard to control and follow the story line. There was a lot of violence like shooting at other aircraft. The sound was pretty good."
Easy to use? 2/5
Good learning experience? 1/5
Fun? 1/5
Tester Rating: 1
CSR Rating: 4.5
Would you buy it? No

Oddworld Munch's Oddysee -- Challenging!

Eric Elberty, age 13 used this program for 10 hours on an Xbox.
"I didn't like the confusing puzzles. There was some violence, blood and bad language I did not care for. I really enjoyed the funny characters, great graphics and sound. The game was challenging and had an interesting story."
Easy to use? 5/5
Good learning experience? 3/5
Fun? 5/5
Tester Rating: 5
CSR Rating: 4.8
Would you buy it? Yes

WaveRace BlueStorm -- It is a lot of fun!

Matthew Collins, age 8 used this program on a GameCube.
"I liked everything about this game. I loved that you could go 200 MPH! Doing the cheat codes is great. I liked the challenge of going around cones. If you hit one you would have to retire.
Easy to use? 5/5
Fun? 5/5
Tester Rating: 5
CSR Rating: 4.3
Would you buy it? Yes

Pixter -- Great toy concept!

Josh, age 6 played with Pixter for 1 hour
Tester Rating: 3.0
CSR Rating: 4.5
gilroynh@yahoo.com
"My son loves his Pixter. However, he is left handed and finds it difficult to use. I think the manufacturers should put the pen/stylus in the center so that you can use it with either your left or right hand. Currently the Pixter string is too short for him to use left handed."

Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II (GameCube) -- Online gameplay is great!

Eric Elberty, age 13 used this program for eight hours on a GameCube.
"It is repetitive. I didn't like the violence including blood, use of guns and swords. The online gameplay was great. Good graphics, sound, and challenging levels made this really fun to play."
Easy to use? 5/5
Good learning experience? 2/5
Fun? 5/5
Tester Rating: 5
Would you buy it? Yes
 
Disney's Typing with Timon & Pumbaa
Working great for my special needs kid
Hank, 7 played for 20+ hours
Windows ME
Tester Rating:4.7
CSR Rating: 4.3
"My 7-year old has neurological issues and impaired fine motor skills, so it is crucial that he learn to type to do his school work. He has been working with this program over the summer and it moves at his pace. The animations are entertaining and keep him engaged. Much better for beginners than other typing programs we have tried."

Roller Coaster Tycoon -- Lots of Fun!

Andrea age 10
20+ hours
Windows 98
Rating: 4.8
blackbrn@tkk.att.ne.jp
Really lots of fun trying to design your theme park and keep it running. You need a pretty new computer to run it though, takes lots of memory.

Kasey the Kinderbot -- LOVE IT!

Name: Daphne Brown
20+ hours
Rating: 5
dbrown@mckenzie.tec.tn.us
My three year old son LOVES Kasey!! It is a great product. He plays with it 30 minutes at a time about every 2 hours. He dances, sings, and interacts beautifully with it. It is an excellent self esteem toy. He had the Spanish Cartdrige 1 week and can count to 10 in Spanish. I highly recommend it.

Planet Rascals -- The best educational toy I've seen in a long time!

Name: Chris Coronado
Kim (12) and Taylor (8)
20+ hours
Apple Powermac 7600 - 4 years old
Rating: 5
crisco411@aol.com
My kids have been playing with this thing for hours. Even though our old Mac is a little slow and outdated, the CDs still seem to work fine and the kids love them. They both like the stuffed animals too. Everyone should check out http://www.planetrascals.com.

Mavis Beacon 10: I really liked this program it is really fun to play at school.

Name: Chelsea, age 11
1 hour
Rating: 4.6
Gonekokonuts@aol.com
At school I play this when I am done with my lesson. It helps me a lot, because my teacher puts a tarp over the keypad when we are typing so we don't know where the keys are. This program helps me learn where the keys are without looking down at my fingers. It also helps you know where the numbers are so you never have to look down at the keys when you are typing.
 

StarFlyers -- You (CSR) really missed the boat on this one!  

Name: Sharon Phillips Company: Fountain of Life Lutheran School E-mail:
sphillips@follutheran.org
 
Comment: I run a computer lab in a private K-8 school. I have subscribed to
your magazine for over five years and rely on your reviews to guide me in my
software purchase decisions. You've never steered me wrong until now.
 
I bought multiple copies of StarFlyers: Royal Jewel Rescue and
StarFlyers:Alien Space Chase based on your reviews in the May/June issue.
You really missed the boat on this one! They are both almost entirely
devoid of educational content. Additionally, they have entirely too little
content period. I can spend a couple of months with my second graders
playing Treasure Galaxy or Read, Write, & Type. Several of my second
graders have finished Royal Jewel Rescue in just four class periods. The
program also freezes often on all of my hardware configurations. I have
always relied on your reviews in the past, but this one is so far off your
usual unbiased assessment that I almost wonder if The Learning Company paid
you for this review.
 
On Monday, November 25, 2002, at 10:20 AM, Warren Buckleitner wrote:
 
Hi Sharon, Thanks for the feedback. Regarding the Star Flyers, we have
plenty of family testing time on both titles to give us a high degree of
confidence in our rating. I don't see these titles working well in a school
lab setting, due to the indirect nature of the educational content, the
design of the game; plus the entire look and feel is very unschool-like (a
fact that I think is well described in the review).
 
PLEASE don't think that we get paid for reviews! We don't, never have and
never will. We publicly state our relationship with publishers, at
http://www.childrenssoftware.com/editorialguidelines.html. Please study
these guidelines. If you still don't believe me, please contact any
publisher directly and ask them if it is possible to buy, bribe, or
otherwise influence a review from CSR. They'll tell you.
 
I congratulate your willingness to question our ratings. We feel that every
review is the start of a conversation, and the more informed, unbiased
participants in the conversation, the better off we'll all be. In the
meantime, I feel your comments are likely to be helpful to other lab
coordinators, so we'll put them online.
 
Warren Buckleitner Editor, Children's Software Revue


Jumpstart 3rd Grade Adventure -- A Big Disappointment
Two CD-set; . Disc 1 Mystery Mountain had lengthy & boring story. Academic objectives were poorly organized & arbitrary. Disc 2 Adventure Challenge was much more enjoyable; children answered questions based on disc 1 using an arcade setting.
by: Alison Statton, with help from Leah Statton age 8
Time used: 2-5 hours
Hardare: Windows XP
Rating: 1
astatton@cedarwoodschool.com
This relatively expensive ($24) 2-CD set was a big disappointment. Disc 1, Mystery Mountain, had a long & boring storyline, and the game objective wasn't immediately apparent. This game would be difficult for independent play; a disadvantage in a school setting. Disc 2 had arcade style games based on content from Disc 1 and was much more engaging & fun. Academic content seemed disorganized and lacked focus for both CDs.


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone -- Won't Run on Windows XP
Ashley Anderson
Ashley
2-5 hours
Windows XP
Rating: 1
BORN2SCRAP@AOL.COM
I ALSO GOT THE HISTORY APPINIT ERROR IN WINDOWS XP WHILE PLAYING THE HARRY POTTER GAME AND CANT FIX IT.

MovieWorks Deluxe 5.1 and SiteCentral Should Be on All Star List
Name: Alison Statton
Company: Cedarwood School
E-mail: astatton@cedarwoodschool.com
Comment: In your All Star Awards for Sept/Oct. issue, you do not list two of my favorite creativity programs for middle & high school: MovieWorks Deluxe 5.1 and SiteCentral. These are great programs for teaching basics of web design and animation that I have used successfully in the classroom with students grades 5-7.

Martian Boot Camp -- a Fun Mac/PC game for kids for 1 or 2 players
by J.Tuverson, Seth age 7 and Travis age 9
Played for 5-10 hours
Hardware: Windows XP
Rating 5
jtuverson@attbi.com
I just bought Butt-Ugly Martians: Martians Boot Camp for my two boys and we are all very happy with the product. I admit that at first I was a little turned off by the "Butt" part of the title, but I realize that it is all just part of the fun of this game. When we got the game home, I installed it on my computer (no problem at all) and let the boys go at it. There are actually nine smaller games that can be played by 1 or 2 kids as they progress through the story of the Martians being shipped back to Martian training camp in order to prove themselves to their king, a guy named Bog. My older one (who is 9) gets computer games pretty easily, but the younger one (he's 7) sometimes has trouble; fortunately each game has easy instructions (from a helpful device in the game called an "Instructikon"!) that anybody can grasp. The games strike a good balance between being challenging and fun, and some of the dialogue is hilarious! The thing that the boys seemed to like the best is that the games change often enough where you don't get bored of the activity before you are able to go on to another challenge. I watched my sons play this game together for almost 2 hours (more than I usually allow at one sitting, but I couldn't bring myself to stop their fun!) without stopping. Another positive element of Martian Boot Camp is that the gameplay is balanced so that 2 kids can play together even if they are at very different skill levels, as my boys are. I highly recommend Martian Boot Camp, but you may have to intervene so your kids don't play for hours on end.

Tanagata Whenua O Aoteroa "The people from New Zealand"
This software deals with culutral aspects of the indegiouns people from New Zealand,useful for history, social studies subject content.
Paul Coxhead
2-5 hours
Windows
4.5
coxpaul@xtra.co.nz
The overall CD provides information regarding Maori culture (New Zealand's indigenous people) and its origins.
It provides a new way to learn about the lifestyle and culture of the Maori people from a past to present perspective.
It includes:
30 minutes of video
200 photos and paintings
Virtual tours of historical sites
Interactive timeline
Maori tour destinations
Online quiz to test your knowledge.
The CD-ROM relays history including legends, the information regarding different tribal groups and this location throughout New Zealand.
Video clips are an every present feature of historical information and current issues.
 
It is very well thought out and planned interactive demonstration. It features an array of pictures and images from museums and art exhibitions. More suitable for middle school students and above there is substantial content to absorb.
However the written content is well balanced with other animations that make it fun for lower aged learners to be enthralled with interaction of video clips, virtual tours and animated characters.
 
This mode of learning provides the users an opportunity to absorb and learn through instruction and interacting with the software features. It certainly would be beneficial for outside learners from other countries to learn from abroad about other cultures and their lifestyles without having been there.
 
Radica Play TV Baseball -- The game is not worth the price.
Marilyn
Sam
Played for -- 10-20 hours
This game plays on the TV
Rating: 1
artfullceramics@aol.com
This game only performed for approximately 12-20 hours, the baseball quit working. I've sent e-mails to Radica requesting information as to how I can purchased a replacement ball for the game. They have not acknowledged my request. The games they market are not cheap. For the price and the customer service, the game is not worth the price. My child enjoyed the game, but it is too expensive to replace the whole game every 3 to 4 months.
 

Fisher Price Little People Discovery Airport -- What an excellent game for young children!!

Tiare Solorzano
Jonah, almost 3
2-5 hours
Windows ME, 2 yrs.
Rating: 4.8
tiare@ivillage.com
Fisher-Price has done its research well and proves that they really understand this age group. My son had played quite a few computer games, and this is one of his absolute favorites. The concepts are just right for him...simple number concepts, object matching, classification, and creativity. Each game has several degreeing levels of difficulty, and the game automatically adjusts according to your child's skill level. The characters are fun and colorful and speak with very clear directions. Jonah especially loved the rewards...matching the correct airplanes/helicopters produced an animation of that airplane flying in fun patterns around the sky. Identifying correct numerals on pets in the airport results in the child having an opportunity to feed treats to a virtual pet. Desigining his own airplane (which Jonah loves) rewards him with the airplan he creates then flying across the main screen a few times. This is a terrific game! My only complaints are that I wish there were a couple more activities to choose from, and I wish we could skip the part where we must drill bolts into the airplane, as this frustrates my son.
 
Backyard Baseball 2003 (Win, Mac)
Zak, age 9
"I liked how I got to learn more about the players in this version. The new stadiums are good, too. I like how they put a new uniform on some players like Giambi. He now has a Yankee uniform on, because he got traded to the Yankees."
Tester Rating: 4.8
CSR Rating: 4.6
Would you buy it? Yes
 
Dexter's Laboratory: Science Ain't Fair (Win)
Zak, age 9
"I liked the levels, they were fun to do. I especially liked the last level where I had to beat Mandark's robot. I really enjoyed how it made me think. It was annoying that Dexter kept saying 'Stupid' and lots of other things were repeated." Zak's Mom says, " Zak completed the whole game in two days. The story mode had challenging activities that kept his interest with their level of difficulty and uniqueness."
Tester Rating: 5.0
CSR Rating: 2.7
Would you buy it? Yes
 
Dragon Warrior VII (PlayStation)
David, age 10
"Great character and monster design. The graphics could be better but there
are cool items and weapons. The sound effects and music were above average.
Great game.
Tester Rating: 4.3
Would you buy it? Yes
 
Jumpstart 3rd Grade 2 CD Set (Win, Mac)
Jane, age 9
"This software is very good for home. It covers a variety of skills in a
game format. The child helps a robot discover clues to go back in
time to find 25 robots that have been sent back to change history forever.
It has levels that can be set for each child; it also has levels that adjust
automatically. It keeps track of developing skills too. Overall, very good
for home."
Tester Rating: 4.5
CSR Rating: 4.3
 
Kelly Club Pet Parade (Win, Mac)
Sarah, age 5 1/2
"It's fun. The girls have different outfits and there is a boy in it. All the colors are cool. Sarah loves these characters so she very patiently played this game. She enjoyed dressing the characters in different clothing. This game is really annoying. I thought it was going to be better. The
programming glitches affected the rating. The loading time between activities was too long and too frequent. Sarah was not able to select what she wanted to do. After Sarah typed her name, the screen went black and we had to start over. When the intro came on the music was wobbly. It would freeze for about 10 seconds on a picture of Kelly and then would continue the intro. Then the screen would lighten in color, freeze or go to a black screen. Check hardware requirements before buying!"
Tester Rating: 2.0
CSR Rating: 4.3
Would you buy it? No
 
Lost Kingdoms (Nintendo GameCube)
Tim, age 11
"The story line was really good and the game play is just plain addictive.
Unfortunately, you can't replay missions until you beat the game. Good Job
making this game.
Tester Rating: 4.8
Would you buy it? Yes
 
My First LeapPad: Pooh's Honey Tree (LeapPad)
Jamie, age 2
"Jamie loved having his own LeapPad. At first he did not quite know what to do with it but after a very short time he picked it up. On his own he points to the go button and touches things in the book. He loves the games but is not as patient when it comes to listening to the story. He would enjoy even more activities than those already included."
Tester Rating: 4.5
CSR Rating: 4.4
 
Ollo and the Sunny Valley Fair (Win, Mac)
Sarah, age 5 1/2
"I like Ollo, it is really fun. I like seeing all the things I collect on the bottom of the screen. I like everything about this game." Mom says, "The narrator's voice was clear, well spoken, but at times it was difficult to hear supporting character's voices; they were not as loud. Sarah's nine year old brother thought it was a fun game too."
Tester Rating: 4.5
CSR Rating: 4.9
Would you buy it? Yes
 
The Operative: No One Lives Forever (PlayStation 2)
Mike, age 13
"I like the different camera angles, the graphics, and how she moved. I thought it was a hard game and I couldn't figure out how to use the gun. Try to give better instructions with the game."
Tester Rating: 3.0
Would you buy it? No
 
Pretend and Learn Shopping Cart
Ellie, age 1
"It's nice that the cart is so sturdy. She really loved pushing it around and putting things in and out. Ellie's really too young to get the whole scanning thing but even Erin and her friends (second grader) play with it. The price ($45) is a little high but the toy will last a long time."
Tester Rating: 4.3
CSR Rating: 4.3
Would you buy it? Maybe
 
Sylvan Children's Skills Test Grades, K-3 (Win, Mac)
Schuyler, age 10
"The games were fun. The testing portion was very helpful. We both (Mom and son) enjoyed the program very much. The testing proved too long unless my I was really up for it but that was my problem, not the program's."
Tester Rating: 4.0
CSR Rating: 3.5
Would you buy it? Yes
 
Kasey the Kinderbot Learning System
 
Ethan, age 4
"Ethan enjoyed the music and games. He liked the way the robot looked. The screen could be bigger and tilted up so when playing with Kasey on the floor the child can see the screen better. The graphics could be more detailed."
Tester Rating: 3.3
CSR Rating: 3.8
 
Mark, age 6
"Mark did not enjoy this toy. He was not interested in playing with it as a
learning toy. He did like pretending it was a real robot." He said, "I
thought it was boring. Everything is too babyish."
Tester Rating: 2.0
Would you buy it? No
 
Billy, age 3 1/2
"The Robot speaks pretty clearly. The lights blink too much -- makes it feel busy. The screen is hard to see if you are not sitting in front of it at the right angle. Some noises are too loud and crazy. This kind of toy would catch a baby's attention. Try making one for babies."
Tester Rating: 3.5
Would you buy it? Maybe
 
Sarah, age 5 1/2
Sarah says, "Three year olds would like how it moves. He was putting his arms up and down and he was spinning his head and his body around. He kept doing the same thing over and over. Kasey kind of looks weird but sort of fun. I don't really like robots. They should have other colors besides blue on the screen. It is not very fun. You go to one activity and then you go to it again and it says the same thing. I don't like when it says gazillions. He should say millions because gazillions is not a real word. The potato donut recipe says zucchini. I don't think that's very good, it should say potato. Also, radish pizza needs 7 apples, why can't it say 7 radishes? It gave me a headache. It is a bad toy. You should change some stuff in it like all the colors on the screen. You should make the screen bigger too." Mom says, "At the onset Sarah liked that Kasey moved, but it grew old quickly."
Tester Rating: 2.3
Would you buy it? No
 
2002 FIFA World Cup (Nintendo GameCube)
Tim, age 10
"The graphics were unbelievable and the gameplay was smooth. This was the best soccer game I have ever played."
Tester Rating: 4.8
Would you buy it? Yes
 
Kid Works Deluxe (Win, Mac)
Kerry Kim Matthews Jr.
"Kids Work Deluxe for Pre-K through 4th grade was a very entertaining program. This software provides young children with reinforcement through continual exercise of their basic reading and writing skills. This software is very interesting. My son and I were completely involved while operating this software. Children get to read stories, create stories and even write stories about their everyday life. This program also encourages creativity by the use of icons. These icons represent different characters that are present in the stories. This software is entertaining, up to date, and full of colored illustrations that makes this software pleasant to run. I would recommend this software to anyone trying to further their children's skills in the areas of reading, writing, and creativity.
Installation was quick and easy."
Tester Rating: 4.0
CSR Rating: 4.3
Would you buy it? Yes
 
Luigi's Mansion (GameCube)
Justin, age 10
"I liked vacuuming up ghosts and working out the puzzles. It was easy to use. Sometimes it was hard to vacuum up the ghosts."
Tester Rating: 4.0
CSR Rating: 4.7
Would you buy it? No
 
Mighty Math Carnival Countdown! (Win, Mac)
Kathie Dunlap
"This program keeps students so involved they don't realize they are using math skills. This program explores sorting, place value, greater/less than, shapes and more. It is entertaining and keeps their attention. It can be used for grades K-2. The levels of difficulty change as each child completes an activity."
Tester Rating: 5.0
CSR Rating: 4.8
Would you buy it? Yes
NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC (PlayStation, Dreamcast, N64)
Luke, age 13
"Good graphics. Gameplay was fast and every level was challenging. The many levels and statistic rankings kept my interest in the game. I did not like that the rosters were not updated and the create player section was limited. I also wish there were sequels and that it was available for other formats like the computer. Great game! Please update it and add more pause options.
Tester Rating: 4.0
Would you buy it? Yes
 
Oregon Trail 5th Edition, The: Adventures Along the Oregon Trail (Win, Mac)
Kathie Dunlap
"This is a great way for students to explore the trails of traveling west on the Oregon Trail. I really enjoyed this program. I think that students can learn a lot by experiencing what it was like to travel west. There were a few places that were frustrating because I didn't feel I received enough help or advice. I look for the ability to hold the attention of my students as well as my attention. I feel that this software will accomplish this. "
Tester Rating: 4.8
CSR Rating: 4.6
Would you buy it? Yes
 
Sega Sports NBA 2K2 (Nintendo GameCube)
Justin, age 10
"I like the graphics, very three dimensional. Great game, I hope they make another one for next year's season."
Tester Rating: 4.0
Would you buy it? Yes
 
Sesame Street Toddler Learning Basics (Win)
Jonah, age 2 1/2
"Sesame Street finally did it right...We love this game! The old Sesame Street Toddler game was boring and full of limitations. This one is educational, fun, and interesting. The most exciting part is that Big Bird can say most children's names, even if they are unusual. The game adjusts itself to become more challenging as children master each area, and there are several different activities to choose from within each category. Children can play games with numbers, letters, colors/shapes, classification, and art materials, and play short videos about various people within the neighborhood. I was particularly impressed that children can learn to recognize musical instruments and unusual insects by sight and sound. My son is pretty academically advanced, but he still is challenged by the activities within this game."
Tester Rating: 5.0
CSR Rating: 3.9
 
Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (Nintendo GameCube)
Tim W., age 10
"It was great but the graphics were not all-star quality. The part where you choose the story is awesome! I wish you could play as Sonic's shadow more."
Tester Rating: 4.5
Would you buy it? Yes
 
Victorious Boxers (PlayStation 2)
Jake, age 11
"I liked that there was no blood, no language, and no cuts. It's all translated so I think kids that can read would be able to play this game."
Tester Rating: 4.0
CSR Rating: 4.1
Would you buy it? Yes
 
Winnie the Pooh: Read with Pooh (Smart Toy)
Bryce, age 3
"This is a great toy that a friend passed on to my son when her granddaughter was no longer interested. He has insisted in having Pooh with him all the time. He really enjoys how Pooh turns the pages as he does and is able to follow along with the words in his own book. The two books we have are easily interchangeable and my son was able to turn the game on and change books on his own in no time. The only down part is there are only two short books about colors and shapes and we would really like to locate some more books but have been unable to. I don't suppose anyone knows where you can find more titles?????"
Tester Rating: 4.2
CSR Rating: 3.2


Tivola Peanuts Where's the Blanket Charlie Brown -- Fun Game, but Some Serious Flaws
Kent and Ashley
5-10 hours
AMD 1700+, 256 MB Ram, Win 98, GeForce 3
My Rating: 3.5
kent@kc.rr.com
Game installs easily and even runs OK on a Pentium 2 300 mhz. This game would get a 4 to 5 if I could save the game where I was at. Saving the game is not an option. Every time my child wants to play we have to start from the beginning. This is a serious flaw. We have never played long enough to finish the game.

 

The Magic School Bus Explores the Solar System -- A Wonderful CD-rom for Elementary age students that are interested in our solar system, or students with difficulty in reading.
Jodi Adkins
Classroom, 8th grade
2-5 hours
Windows 95
My rating: 4.5
I am teacher that tries to allow all of my students to learn. When finding this CD I knew that I had found a way for my learning disabled students to learn about the solar system. The universe is a vast place that many students have problems understanding because they can not see it. By using this interactive CD younger students or students that need extra help can learn what all others can. This CD is great because it does not require difficult reading or constant adult help. It gives the kids a since of independence and allows them to learn at the same time.
 
Read with Pooh (Fisher-Price) -- Great Toy but Need More Books
Brenda
Bryce 3
2-5 hours
Fisher Price
My rating: 4.2
This is a great toy that a friend passed on to my son when her granddaughter was no longer interested. He has insisted in having Pooh with him all the time. He really enjoys how Pooh turns the pages as he does and is able to follow along with the words in his own book. The 2 books we have are easily interchangable and my son was able to turn the game on and change books on his own in no time.
The only down part is there are only 2 short books about colors and shapes and we would really like to locate some more books but have been unable to. I don't suppose anyone knows where you can find more titles?????

>>>>Dear Brenda -- we'll pass your question on to Fisher-Price, but to our knowledge there have been no additional plastic books for this toy. WB
Note: we have since heard from Fisher-Price... this toy has been discontinued.
 
Intellitalk II: excellent software for regular and special needs students.
Shel Harris
20+ hours
I use all the platforms
My rating: 4.8
sharris@setbc.org
This is a recommendation for a group of software and a programable keyboard to be reviewed. I am an adapted technology consultan who has worked with this software for years. I enjoyed your recent review of the clicker 4 software. All of the software in the Intellitools access pak and the INTELLIKEYS keyboard is, in my personal opinion, worthy of your review for kids. I really like all of the product but may be considered to have a bias. I would recommend it for an impartial review.You may wish to visit www.intellitools.com for more information on the software and hardware.
thank you Shel Harris O.T.
 
Harry Potter (EA GAMES) Tough
Harriet Riley
none
5-10 hours
Windows ME
My rating: 4.5
harriet.riley@ntlworld.com
I thought this game was very good, considering it did have quite a few tough areas which ran through out this game. I managed to complete all of the tricky bits, such as catching Malfoy on the broom, finding the fire seeds and basically most of it. I do not think that many younger children would be able to play this game. I myself, havn't yet completed the game, since I can't beat voldemort at the end. Do you think it possible, that anyone/someone out there has a run through of the game, which tells you how to complete each stage.
Thank you for your time. Please get back to me. Yours, sincerely
Harriet Riley
>>>>Dear Harriet. This is a very challenging game, but it is beatable. You have to keep trying. One suggestion is to save frequently and take breaks... also let a friend have a try and try to solve it together. This makes it more fun. IF YOU GET COMPLETLY STUCK, search online for a solution. There are many game sites such as kidzworld or www.gameshark.com with "cheat codes" that will help you get through the levels. Good luck. WB.
 
Typing Tutor 10 Locks up my computer with "XP", tried installation four times. Works great with "ME".
Ken Gierman
none
20+ hours
Windows XP, two days old.
5
kgierman@aol.com
I have been looking for an upgrade for "XP" operating system. The use of this program on my other computer, with "ME" was great.
 
Music Ace 2 by Harmonic Vision --Great for home and classroom
Beth Jones
Andy, 10 (plus about 140 kids in grades 3-5)
10-20 hours
Windows 95
4.9
bvjones@speakeasy.net
After getting a start on Music Ace 2 at school, my son has completed the lessons up to about level 15. He started using the Doodle Pad tool, and has composed some very charming pieces. This software worked well with the 3rd through 5th graders at the elementary school where I work. Most of the kids enjoyed the program immensely for the entire 8 weeks (really only about 11 45-minute sessions). The kids who struggled received 1 on 1 assistance from the music teacher so that they could succeed and gain skills. My only complaint is that there is no way to print out the compositions from the Doodle Pad -- saving and printing 40 or 50 screen-shots is really boring. :-)
 
Pixter: Cannot find this product anywhere
Margaret Johnson
Stephanie age 7
5-10 hours
1 year old
4.0
ml_johnson13@msm.com
Love the game but can not find on the go game. It is advertise but never in the store.
 

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MAY/JUNE 2002

Barbie Beach Party (Win)
CSR Rating: 3.8
Julianna, age 7
"Loved the graphics, sound and colors! Also liked Barbie in action and the beach activities."
Tester Rating: 5.0
Would you buy it? Yes
 
Andrea, age 6
"I liked finding the sea creatures. Making your own sandcastles was a lot of fun. I liked picking out Barbie's outfits. "
Would you buy it? Yes
 
Abby, age 5
"Abby liked the variety of activities to do. It was easy to use and really fun! Surfing was especially fun with tricks like hand stands on the surfboard. Building sand castles was fun too. Abby did not like the beach bag. Barbie did what she wanted and Abby wanted total control."
Tester Rating: 4.5
Would you buy it? Yes
 
Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing 12 (Win)
CSR Rating: 4.8
Kimberly, age 12
"I thought that this game was very fun to play! It teaches you how to type!"
Tester Rating: 5.0
 
NHL Hitz 2002
CSR Rating: 4.6
Anonymous, age 13 (GameCube)
"The game play and game control are very good. Great graphics for a hockey game. The announcer can be funny when he says certain lines. The only thing I didn't like was sometimes it is hard to score a goal. Awesome, the coolest game on earth!"
Tester Rating 4.6
Would you buy it? Yes
 
Michael, age 32 (Xbox)
"Great action. Easy to get into and play a 'quick game' that can stretch into an hour or more. No real need for random fights. I know it is part of hockey but it felt gratuitous. Great follow up to NFL Blitz. Now we need an NBA JAMZ!"
Tester Rating 3.8
Would you buy it? No
 
Ollo and the Sunny Valley Fair (Win, Mac)
CSR Rating: 4.9
Owen, age 4
"Owen has really stuck with it. He keeps telling me what level he's on and is proud of his accomplishments. All of the fun characters, adventures and minigames are great."
Tester Rating: 5.0
Would you buy it? Yes
 
Pooh's Party Game: In Search of the Treasure (PlayStation 1)
CSR Rating: 3.5
Owen, age 4, Connor, age 8
"I have to say that this is one of the more frustrating experiences we've had with the PlayStation. Even with Connor's help, the game is confusing."
Tester Rating: 3.0
Would you buy it? No.
 
Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 (GameCube)
CSR Rating: 4.5
David, age 10
"I liked that there were new tricks to do. Also, the levels are great and there are new ramps. In Park Editor, where you make your own park, there are new pieces like the loop. I did not like some bad language and some inappropriate stuff. I also did not like the blood. I would like to tell the people who made this program to make a Tony Hawk 4."
Tester Rating 4.3
Would you buy it? Yes
 
Zoboomafoo Creature Quest (Win, Mac)
CSR Rating: 3.8
Jenna, age 7
"There's no adventure to go on. But I did the animals and the games."
Tester Rating: 4.0
Would you buy it? Probably not.
 
Zoombinis Logical Journey (Win, Mac)
CSR Rating: 4.6
David, age 10
"The narration is funny and helpful. The Pizza challenge was fun. The graphics are good. I liked that each challenge could be done at a different level of difficulty. The hard level was impossible to do. The easy level was sometimes too easy."
Tester Rating 4.5
Would you buy it? Yes
 
Tim, age 10
"It is a thinking game that does not move too fast. Good skill builder for late grade school."
Tester Rating: 4.8
Would you buy it? Yes

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