medium than software to send your kids on adventures through a
circus, into a spooky castle, and even inside a human body? The
following are our favorite adventure-style programs originally
produced by Humongous
Entertainment (now published by Atari) that take kids (under age 9) boldly where they've never been
beforeor to "places"
they've been, but never in quite the same way. These titles are wonderfully original, at times stumping, but
always funnot to mention the fact that they do have some
Each program plays much like an
interactive scavenger hunt. Kids need to solve a larger problem
step by step. They lead their hero through adventures, paying
attention to conversations with other characters, and collecting
items (such as ropes and french fries) that will help them solve
smaller dilemmas. The cartoon-like graphics are topnotch, and
mini-games only add to the fun. Kids use memory and mapping skills
in order to move about the environment.
Pajama Sam is an animated boy who
is always ready to overcome his fears and investigate his
concerns. Though his head looks like a pale green mop top, he's a
believable little boy whose adventurous spirit and determination
will appeal to kidswhether he's tackling his fear of darkness in Pajama
Sam No Need to Hide When It's Dark Outside, conquering his
fear of thunder in Pajama Sam 2 Thunder and Lightning Aren't So
Frightening, or learning about the importance of proper
nutrition in Pajama Sam 3: You Are What You Eat From Your Head
to Your Feet. These titles feature gorgeous graphics,
compelling story lines, and plenty of head-scratching problem
solving for children approximately 6-9.
The first title, No Need to
is generally available at a discounted price, and is excellent.
The second in the series, Thunder and Lightning, is probably the
best; and Pajama Sam 3 is the easiest. For kids under 8,
expect to help out a little.
For kids just a
little younger, Putt Putt is a fun software companion. Kids
will enjoy helping out this polite purple car and his puppy
pal Pep as they find displaced baby animals in Putt Putt Saves
the Zoo, retrieve school supplies (and Pep!) back in time in Putt
Putt Travels Through Time, prepare to race in the Cartown 500
in Putt Putt Enters the Race, and save the circus in Putt
Putt Joins the Circus. For newbies, both Putt Putt Saves
the Zoo and Putt Putt Joins the Circus are predictable
enough once solved to be comfortable. Kids who prefer a
"new" adventure the second time around will enjoy the
other titles mentioned here--objects are randomized so that new
challenges await kids in subsequent plays. Fun music, mini-games,
adorable graphics, and problem solving all contribute to make
these adventures fantastic.
Freddi Fish is an underwater sleuth who is always determined to
get to the bottom of any kind of fishy happenings under the sea.
She has starred in a total of five adventures to date. The latest
adventure, Freddi Fish 5: Creature in Coral Cave is
probably the most challenging of the bunch, and Freddi Fish 3: The
Case of the Stolen Conch Shell is our favorite, but difficult
Of the three Junior Adventure
series mentioned above, Putt Putt tends to be the easiest
(good for grades K-1), Freddi Fish a tad more challenging
(best suited for kids in grades 1-2), and Pajama Sam is
probably better for kids in grades 2-3.
Though each of these
adventure-style programs can be played solo, the richest
experience will be enjoyed when more than one child (or parent!)
teams up to brainstorm and think through the games together.
Spy Fox is a "Get
Smart" type of secret agent whose adventures are both
hilarious and educational. Kids uses their logical thinking skills
in Spy Fox Operation Ozone, in which they lead Spy Fox on a
mission to thwart a money-hungry poodle's diabolical plans to
destroy the ozone layer. This title is excellent, and appropriate
for children ages 8 or 9 and up. If you can find Spy Fox Dry
Cereal and Spy Fox Some Assembly Required, grab them as
well. They are uniformly excellent.
Spy Fox 3: Operation Ozone (Jewel Case)