Ega Beva were recently commended for their work in special education. Look-Alike is a program for children who are not yet reading fluently, so will be equally useful at home, in the nursery/reception class or special schools. It consists of five games based on the well-known Beetle Game and is intended to exercise skills of perception.
As with all Ega Beva software, the instructions are screen-based, short but to the point. Likewise, the operation of the program could not be more user-friendly and a version which will operate from Star Microterminal's Concept Keyboard is available on request.
A menu page follows the usual Ega Beva logo, and the user can return to this at any time to change the game by a touch of the Break key. The five programs are well-graded in difficult by the choice of colours, e.g. in the first game, Kitten is one colour - except for facial features - against a constrasting background, while the Butterfly in game five is made up of the same three colours as the background.
All the games can be played against Ega Beva, i.e. the computer, or against another child. The name(s) are typed in - ideally this would always give initial capital only irrespective of the Caps Lock key. The character to be constructed appears in the centre of the screen and its component parts and dice values across the bottom which the names of the opponents are printed at the top left and right of the screen. This gives a rather "busy" screen.
Assuming someone is playing against Eva Beva, the dice score is revealed by pressing the Space Bar. If this corresponds to the score given to a part required to make up the figure, it is accepted by pressing the Space Bar again. If it is not, it is rejected by pressing any other key. The points scored and the number of mistakes made are recorded on the screen. The first to complete the figure wins and, assuming the users have selected to have the sound option, receives an appropriate musical accolade and a delightfully drawn picture of the character - we particularly liked Percy Penguin and the Butterfly!
Certainly, this type of game can be played using cardboard cutouts and a dice, but using the computer makes the management of the exercise considerably easier, and the quality of the graphics make it infinitely more pleasing to the children. The good readers will feel deprived if they're not given their turn in playing a game!