Playtoons: The Case of the Counterfeit Collaborator
Playtoons: The Case of the Counterfeit Collaborator (Sierra On-line ages 4-10) is one in a series of Playtoons titles developed by Sierra’s UK-based educational division. The manual for the title we saw spent pages blabbering about how really, really educational the series is and broke a couple of basic rules of grammar doing it. “Initially, the child, takes an imaginative journey, discovering, as the sequences progress, a marvelous story made up of superb screens, on which?.” We think the manual doth protest too much this isn’t an educational experience, it’s a elementary cartoon creator. Children can select from a basic repertoire of settings, characters, and props; place them on a page; tell some of them to walk from point A to B; and that’s it. The strange part of this program is that the kids have no control over what the characters do once they are placed in a story the characters interact randomly. They may point to each other and laugh, or they may whack each other over the head with a mallet. So how are kids supposed to control their story? We have no idea. Each story can contain up to 20 pages, but even a four year-old will get bored with the program before then. There are a measly seven characters and only a handful of props. Sierra hopes parents will spring for the other titles to “expand” the number of characters and props available (each disc has different ones). In fact, two of the three “prepared” stories that are provided on this disc are actually teaser advertisements for the other titles; and misleadingly, they include complex “Disney-style” animation that would be impossible for anyone to actually do with these programs. All in all, the real lesson kids will learn from this disc is not to believe everything they see and read.