Money Town (Davidson/Simon & Schuster Interactive – ages 5-9) is ostensibly designed to teach children about money. Through a variety of games and activities, the program claims children are taught to “earn, save and put it to good use.” What this disc is more likely to do, however, is to acculturate kids into the “greed is good” mantra of ’80s-style Reaganomics. In fact, you half-expect Ron to pop up to congratulate the enterprising cartoon animals on the disc for their pro-capitalist tendencies. The song that opens the disc intones “?money, money can help our dreams come true?” and “?money makes the world spin ’round.” While you can earn money in a variety of ways in this program, there isn’t any place to save it. All you can do is spend it by purchasing items for Greenstreet’s dilapidated park to help get it re-opened – transactions that take place, symbolically, at the “money tree” in the center of town. Yup, money’s at the center of everything. In addition to the iffy lessons you learn here, you are also are subjected to inane animation, grating synth music and songs, and content that often seems age-inappropriate. For a real lesson in consumer power, save the money and skip this.
– December 1995