Wander through a virtual house admiring classic artwork; to get from one room to the next you must solve a series of puzzles concerning the art on display. That’s about all there is to Masterpiece Mansion (Philips Media – ages 12 & up). If the puzzles weren’t so creative, challenging, and cleverly educational the disc would be sorely lacking – but, luckily, they are. Put artwork in chronological order, study a painting for 30 seconds and then answer questions about it, distinguish between different paintings when you can only see a small fraction of the canvas, assemble jigsaw puzzles, identify artists and locales, spot fakes, solve word searches, and much more. The program teaches in two ways simultaneously. First, there are exercises, like the aforementioned, which can be solved with a good eye and clear thinking; then there are exercises that must be researched from the information provided on the disc. A few hours with this disc can turn anybody into a perceptive art critic, and the game sections keep things from bogging down. The real artwork here is in the subtle way the program trains your eye, without you even realizing it.
– May 1996