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ZX Spectrum 48K

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Dave Golder
Chris Bourne

A is for apple and B is for books are blimmin' borin'. Turning over pages is such a drag, and the pictures are so, well, static. Could Picture Book, a four-program package that aims to file traditional paper picture books next to Bros, as a thing of the past, be the answer?

The main program is Alphabet Book, and is basically an animated picture book. There're 26 pics, which is handy as each of them is of an object starting with a different letter. You type in a letter on the keyboard and a piccie of an object that starts with that letter pops up on screen, along with its name. The advantage it has over traditional picture books is that the piccies are animated - the sails on the windmill go around, the apple has two great chunks taken out of it, that sort of thing.

According to the packaging the graphics were designed by a bloke with a degree. What did he get his degree in, crapness? It certainly wasn't in designing Speccy graphics. Look up blocky in a dictionary and the definition will probably say, "Check out Picture Book on the Spectrum." Colourful, yes. Distinguishable, no. The eggs looks like disembodied eyeballs.

The other three games all make use of the same 26 pictures, worse luck. Snap is based on the traditional card game. Up to three players can take part. All it involves is the computer displaying two pictures and if they're the same you have to press your allotted key on the keyboard before anyone else. A bit dull if you play on your own, with two or three people it can get quite frantic, and quite good fun.

There are three levels. In level one you just have to match pictures. This is handy as you don't have to know what the object is supposed to be - if two orange blobs come up on-screen then you know they're supposed to be a match. In levels two and three you have to match a word with the object.

In Count 'Em you have to, um, count em... A number of objects appear on screen and you have to tot 'em up and type in the number on your keyboard. Simple enough, but it makes good use of colour and there's a brill farty sound when you get the answer wrong.

In Spell It you have to, um, spell the name of the object pops up on screen (lots of thought went into the titles here). A nifty screen layout, bold colours and big bright text spruce things up no end.

Picture also comes with what the packaging proudly boasts to be 'revolutionary keyboard overlays'. Are they telepathic? Do they tell you when Neighbours is on the telly? Nope, they are just little polythene things that have the letters printed in lower case and in alphabetical order. Wow.

Picture Book is dead easy to use - a four year old could hack it which is lucky since that's who it's aimed

Should keep the nippers out of trouble for a while.


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OK, the names of the games aren't exactly exciting, but Picture Book's not bad.