Mr. Wonder’s Greatest Toyshop on Earth
At first glance, Mr. Wonder’s Greatest Toyshop on Earth (OmniMedia, ages 4-9) seems promising indeed. Old-fashioned 2D artwork and delightful voice characterizations kick off the experience, as you and your child settle down in a virtual toy shop with no loftier goal than a thorough exploration of all the shelves. Once you start looking around, however, both you and your child will quickly become disappointed. A lot of the toys don’t do anything except animate briefly, and the ones that actually do something don’t do very much. There are a lot of coloring games, a few educational cartoons, and some uninspired simulations, like a guitar that plays random chords when it’s clicked. The ultimate reward offered by the program is tokens, used to view little snippets of more cartoons. The only other substantial feature on the disc is a parent’s guide that keeps track of the child’s activities and successes, so you know if little Bobby needs to focus his energies on color schemes or deductive reasoning. This part of the program is extremely boring, warns Mr. Wizard; he recommends kids skip over it. Unfortunately, his warning could be extended to include the rest of the toy shop.
– July 1996
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