Circus!: An Interactive Cartoon on CD-ROM

By on March 31, 2006

Let’s Go To The Circus!

A Review of Circus!: An Interactive Cartoon on CD-ROM


William T. Yates

Everybody loves a circus and with CIRCUS!, Voyager and Matra Hachette
Multimedia has brought the circus to your kids, right on your home computer!
This is an interactive cartoon – a clever design where kids can make choices
and see those choices embodied right on the screen as part of the circus.
CIRCUS! is billed as for ages 3 and up; if your child can click a mouse,
he/she can have fun with CIRCUS! Clicking on the Ticket Booth brings Skippy
the Mouse, your host, guide, and Ringmaster who provides a thorough
explanation of what’s available and how to get to it. He’s almost always
available for help when you need him.

The program is designed to educate as well as entertain and it accomplishes
it’s goal in a subtle way. For example, one act in the show has a lion
jumping on a see-saw to propel a ball (selected by you) up and through a
hoop. In order for him to be successful, you need to adjust the height of the
platform from which he jumps onto the see-saw. This teaches a little
intuitive physics – the higher you are, the more potential energy you have
which you can convert into kinetic energy.
In another act, a magician stacks
a character inside circular colored cabinets which he then scatters on the
stage. To release the character, the cabinets must be restacked in the proper
order. This teaches careful observation and memory. For the parade, each of
the characters can be dressed by clicking on an array of brightly-colored
items from hats to shoes. And when the parade starts, each character is
wearing the chosen costume!

There is a tent of rhythm instruments which can be played at the click of the
mouse. The clown’s trailer is full of surprises: you can make up a clown face
and even play a dart game (teaching coordination and elementary ballistics!).
Most of the screens have hidden surprises which are revealed only by clicking
on different portions of the screen. A sense of fun and excitement runs
throughout the circus. The concept is intriguing, the artwork is excellent,
the animation very good, and the sound excellent. A seven-year-old girl and
her five-year-old brother in my wife’s home day care want to play it every
time they come to the house. I looked, but I couldn’t really find anything to
complain about! This is an excellent program and I recommend it highly.


School House Scorecard


Product:

Circus!: An Interactive Cartoon on CD-ROM

Company:

Voyager
Matra Hachette Multimedia
1 Bridge Street
Irvington, NY 10533-9919

Cost:

$39.95


System Requirements:

For Macintosh:
25-MHz 68030 or higher, System 7.0 or higher,
5 MB free RAM, double-speed CD-ROM
and 640×480+ color display.

For IBM-compatible:
486SX-33 or higher, MS-DOS 5.0, Windows 3.1 or higher,
8 MB RAM, double-speed CD-ROM, SVGA Display,
8 MB free disk space,
MPC2-compatible sound card (22 KHz, 16-bit) and
640×480 256-color display (accelerator recommended).


Breakdown:


Ease of Use 5
Learning Value 4
Entertainment Value 5
Graphics 5
Sound 5


Overall Score:


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