Kon-Tiki (Golem) Review | The Micro User - Everygamegoing

The Micro User

By Golem
BBC B/B+/Master 128

Published in The Micro User 3.03

Simulation, Not Stimulation

Kon-tiki is a program that simulates the voyage undertaken by Thor Heyerdahl in 1947 to show that it was possible that early man had travelled from the coast of Peru to the Polynesian Islands by balsa raft.

Available as a disc or tape from Golem it comes with a booklet giving background information and program notes. The basic idea involves plotting on a base map after the micro has updated the location.

Interaction with the micro is limited and is restricted to inputting a steering direction. At this point it is important to check the wind direction and to allow for the prevailing current.

There is only one screen used during the main program and this shows basic information such as the number of days at sea, the date, total distance travelled, wind direction, sight ings of creatures and birds and the distance travelled on the previous day.

It is suggested a log book is kept during the journey as well as updating the positions on copies of the base maps provided.

Before attempting the program it is suggested that the children should be familiar with coordinates for latitude and longitude, that they understand wind direction and have a broad knowledge of ocean currents in the Pacific Ocean.

Fifteen minutes are allowed for the journey and after this time the data is saved on tape or disc. This will allow various groups to use the program in a given time period and the journeys may be continued at a later date.

On the whole this is a tidy program that succeeds in achieving its rather limited aim. It does not really make a great deal of use of the micro's capabilities and is obviously only acting as a glorified calculator.

There are a number of other avenues that could have been incorporated such as the logistics of the expedition and this would have allowed a wider use of the program as well as giving better value for money.

My major area of criticism is in the presentation of the booklet. It contains much useful material that would be improved by typesetting, better cartography and much better printing of the base maps that must be copied.

Voyages of this type consist of many days of boredom in only slowly changing conditions. If this was a prime aim of the simulation it succeeds very well. However, it does not make for very stimulating learning.

Norman Parr

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