Africa Trail (MECC – ages 10 & up) is a good choice for older children. Similar in style to MECC’s popular Oregon Trail, this CD-ROM gives kids a chance to participate in bicycle trip across Africa. Based on a real trip made by a team from the US and Africa in 1993, the program contains tons of photos and videos that lend an air of authenticity often lacking in simulation programs. During the journey the considerations and choices that must be made are fairly extensive, and are governed by three factors – funds, weight (your team can only carry so much, after all), and time. How many (and which) spare parts to buy for your team’s bikes? Bring along too many and you won’t have room for enough food to stay healthy. Will the chickens you bartered for in the market give everyone salmonella? How many kilos of powdered milk are needed to make it to Ghardalia? Should everyone eat lightly, or pig out? In short, the program helps kids develop interrelated problem-solving skills. It also dishes out a lot of interesting details about Africa along the way, although it would be better if they were more integrated into the trip. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in completing the journey that you don’t always remember to click on the photos that bring up information about the culture and people along the way. Africa Trail is a strong title that really makes use of what multimedia is all about.
– December 1995