Old CD’s: Games, Encyclopedia, Apps.

Reviews About Old Software on CD-ROM from the 1990’s

Pony Express Rider December 1, 2008

Filed under: Book,Educational,Encyclopedia,Games,Multimedia — gamegoldies @ 10:01 pm
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History & Mythology

Pony Express Rider

It’s hard to pinpoint the perfect balance between fun and education, but it’s easy to recognize that Pony Express Rider (McGraw-Hill Interactive– ages 9-14), a game that teaches about history, errs slightly on the side of fun. We’re not complaining – Pony Express is a fairly good game, and if you play it long enough you’ll absorb a smattering of knowledge about the Civil War and the American West. Don’t expect to pass that History AP test, though. Pony Express Rider is divided into two basic sections, “towns” and “rides.” In a town you can wander around, interact with the locals, and pick up a lot of conveniently-placed pieces of paper. The papers – usually a letter, note, or a draft of a speech – drop some historical name (Lincoln is a big one) and provide a few sentences of insight. Then it’s out onto the trail, which triggers the “rides” part of the experience. This is straight video gaming, where you carry the mail from one town to the next while avoiding bandits, rattlesnakes, and buffalo. If you run into something, shoot it. There is also a subplot, of sorts, concerning a group of Southern spies who are plotting to overthrow the Union – a device that lets the program teach a little about secession without becoming overt. As you travel along the trails between towns you’ll find coded messages from the spies, and in decoding them you’ll learn Morse code, roman numerals, and semaphore. A modicum of fun and a thimbleful of history makes Pony Express Rider a good, if limited, CD-ROM.

– November 1996

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