Crash1st May 1987
Published in Crash #40
Aimed at students of Geography or Agriculture, Corn Cropper is a simulation of a commercial wheat farm. The player begins with cash resources of £50,000, 30 acres of rich arable land, a tractor and two farm workers. He must then build up his assets to £250.000.
The menu allows the user to call up information of different types: the weather forecast shows the likely rainfall and average temperature for each month, but - as with all weather reports - this cannot be relied upon totally: the crop status histogram shows the stage of growth that the crops have reached, together with information on whether or not a fertiliser has been used; a farm map, showing the cultivated areas, must be referred to before decisions to plant are made; and the cash account shows the monthly expenditure and receipts. All in all, a wealth of information must be accessed before the player decides to take any action.
A report rs shown at the end of each month. detailing the results of the decisions taken. Unforeseen problems arise from time to time, including such disasters as frost damage, rats eating the seed corn, and even the dreaded fire. The accompanying notes include some useful hints: players are told for instance, that crops need an optimum level of water each month, and that fertilising two month old crops doubles the yield.
The program contains five levels of difficulty, providing students with a very realistic and comprehensive simulation. It certainly drives home the point that farming is a highly technical and specialised industry! Corn Cropper is currently used for the secondary school Geography syllabus and in Agricultural Colleges. Amazingly enough, a French version is also available!
Control keys: clearly explained and kept as simple as possible
Keyboard play: very good
Graphics: sensible use of graphs and tables in most programs. The graphics in Airline are particularly good
Use of Colour: limited