Science & Nature
Insects, one the most under-appreciated species, are given center stage in Bug Explorer (N-TK/Memorex – ages 3 & up). From the main menu, a line-up of cutely-rendered bugs and one spider (which made our skin crawl as we wondered why Mr. Spider, clearly an arachnid, was in a program about insects), kids can choose games by clicking on Maynard Mayfly or any one of his friends. A benign assortment of games (you won’t get to shoot cockroaches or squish spiders here) including memory puzzles, a spelling bee, an art space, and a music conservatory, are fun to play. They’re also informational, encouraging kids to hone basic thinking skills, while at the same time providing them with plenty of facts about insects. The two purely informational sections of Bug Explorer are totally interactive and include some wonderful Quicktime movies. Click on an ant or a moth or a beetle to see some live footage. If only the cockroaches in your apartment were so charmingly clickable! The creators of Bug Explorers have succeeded in concocting that magic blend of education and fun (two terms often mutually exclusive). So, just this once, we’ll forgive them the spider.
– September 1996
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