With a general election clogging the T.V. channels at the moment, education is likely to be high on the agenda. And quite right too, but teaching can seem to be a little too clinical these days what with financing and budgets etc. Thus it's good to see a little bit of gun injected into the learning process because, as we all know, it's much easier to learn if you're having fun.
The fun school series first began back in the mid eighties with Fun School 1, published by Computer Press. With Fun School 2, released in 1989 and Fun School 3 in 1990 selling impressively there was obviously a market for this sort of product, so now the much awaited Fun School 4 has been launched. It consists of three packs, each dedicated to a particular age group, each following current national curriculum guidelines and each retailing at the same price point. Parents take note, you might learn as much from these 'games' as your child.
All of these educational packages are well presented and have good graphics which helps greatly, guiding you colourfully through the different learning stages. Bleeps and squeaks are merrily animated indicating whether you've got things right or wrong but sound isn't really over impressive. In general though Fun School 4 is an interesting educational aid.
FUN SCHOOL 4 SEVEN TO ELEVEN
Let's face it, the one thing that everyone hates about school is the teachers. If you step out of line, you've had it. That's the great thing with the Fun School series, there's no teachers, hoorraaahh!
Now this is more like a game! Sammy the Spy (nice name!) goes to headquarters and picks up some instructions And. well, whadda you know they involve him working his way through many difficulties to Egypt and the stolen treasures of King Raram, which he must recover, solving all manner of puzzles along the way.
The first test is one of proportions and this is where the whole thing begins to go down hill as you've now got to put your brain in gear and tackle the dreaded mathematics! I used to have nightmares about maths, but don't worry it's not that bad. The first couple of sections are fairly manageable, but the third, which deals with the even more dreaded subject of fractions is a bit on the tough side (just use a calculator when no-one's watching!). If you persevere you're given a 'secret message', which brings you into a general knowledge question round.
If you ever go abroad you know you'll have to exchange currencv so here we go with the old mathematics again. This time it's multiplication and division and (shock, horror) you're actually allowed to use a calculator here, but don't use it too much, eh kids? Next up is a Geography test (as you travel to Egypt) and finally it's time for the History test before you get to see the Pharaoh treasure. Sounds like good fun or what?
For my money Fun School 4, Seven to Eleven is a much more exciting game than either of the other two. It has more of an adventure element and to be quite honest some of the questions and problems actually put me to shame! Apart from Multi loading problems I would say this game will keep the young ones beneficially busy for quite a while.
Label: Europress Software Memory: 48K/128K Price: £12.99 Tape, £16.99 Disk Reviewer: Julian Watsham