Old CD’s: Games, Encyclopedia, Apps.

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

World War I, World War II, War In the Pacific March 13, 2009

History & Mythology

World War I
World War II
War In the Pacific

Flagtower Multimedia’s first three releases represent installments in the Visions of War series, World War I, World War II, and War In The Pacific. All of the discs use similar interfaces and methods, which Flagtower calls the “Interactive Documentary” approach to CD-ROMs. This means that the discs are elaborate filmstrips – mostly still photos and narration – peppered throughout with video, text, and supplementary audio. Icons sometimes appear on the bottom of the screen as the filmstrips run, and these icons, when clicked, will serve as hotspots to transmit you to other relevant parts of the program. There’s nothing groundbreaking here and, to be honest, we find filmstrips a less-than-ambitious use of CD-ROM technology. But the production values are so high and the content so fascinating that they work here. While there are a number of problems with these titles (not the least of which being that these “Interactive Documentaries” are barely interactive), they provided some of the more interesting hours we passed in front of our computers this month. Stephen Rea does a brogue-heavy star turn as the narrator of World War I, and World War II, with its two discs worth of multimedia, is an intelligent and articulate in-depth examination of that conflict. Interface problems in all the titles, like the fact that your hotspot icons appear and disappear at the program’s whim, don’t detract from the discs if you sit and watch them straight through, which is the best way to appreciate what they have to offer – excellent photographs at high resolution, incisive exposition, and disturbing details.

– December 1995

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