By Key
Spectrum 48K

Published in Crash #33


Every primary school and every secondary English department ought to invest in a copy of this program. The writer, Andy Watson, is a teacher of children with special learning needs and he has devised this program especially to help children with their language development, particularly with the skills which are essential for fluent reading and comprehension.

The program contains a wide selection of passages in which all the lower case letters have been replaced by blanks. The player can use a variety of methods to reconstruct the whole text using knowledge of spelling and comprehension to predict words and phrases. There are 36 passages to chose from, loaded in groups of nine, and these cover a variety of interesting topics from fiction and non-fiction sources. When the main menu appears, the user cans choose Instructions, Play game, Create text, or End.

The instructions detail the keys to use, outlining the differences between those for the Spectrum and for the Spectrum Plus. A very nice feature is that the player can select the normal Spectrum typeface or a clearer redesigned typeface. When playing the game, the passage with blanks is displayed, together with a starting score of 20 and a bonus which can range from 0 to 100.

The player then has 4 options... Buy a letter, which reduces the score and bonus but has the advantage of revealing all instances of a given letter. Guess allows the player to type in a letter or group of letters which cannot include any existing displayed letters if the Guess is correct, all the instances of the letters in the Guess are displayed and the score is increased. Type is similar to Guess, but this time if the player is correct, the other instances of the letters are not displayed, but the advantage of this option is that, unlike Guess, the bonus is trot reduced. In order to obtain a high score, the user has to balance the advantages and disadvantages of the various options. The Help option reveals the letters that have previously been bought or correctly guessed. This game format makes the program interesting and enjoyable for children, working either individually or in small groups.

The Create Text option is invaluable for teachers who can either alter an existing passage, or can create an entirely new one. The instructions are so clear in fact, that pupils themselves could create passages for others to try. The need for correct spelling would then be immediately relevant for them. Expose comes complete with a detailed manual outlining the aims and objectives of the game, and a full program description. There are a number of programs on the market based on the same idea, but this is by far the best I have seen. Send off for it now to: Andy Watson, Key Software, 33 Hilton Street. Aberdeen AB2 30T


Control keys: clearly described on the screen and easy for children to operate
Keyboard play: good
Graphics: none
Use of colour: kept simple so as not to distract

Rosetta McLeod

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