Longman Software
Micromega
1984
Arcade: Action
£5.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

102,103
Rosetta McLeod
Chris Bourne

This program is, of course, based on the popular character Postman Pat from the children's books and the television series.

The aim of the game is to drive Postman Pat's van around Greendale to find the person or animal which has left a trail or footprints along the road. He then has to return to the post office with help from the tracks. Points are lost each time the van is driven into the verge or into a cow blocking the road, and the quicker you deliver the message and'return to the post office, the fewer time penalty points you lose.

The game has six levels of difficulty, which encourages the child to develop his or her problem-solving skills. The higher the level, the more cows will be blocking the road and the player needs to decide whether to wart until the animals move or attempt to follow another route, possibly trying a short cut instead of following the tracks on the road. The van is moved with the cursor keys or with a joystick, and the program is useful for developing manual dexterity as well as for encouraging an awareness of directions.

Although children love anything to do with Postman Pat, I didn't find that this program held their interest for very long. A bit more variety in the tasks would have livened things up a bit, and the irritating sound drove us all to distraction after a while.

I welcome programs, based on popular characters, which have been written for young children but it would be nice to see the games directly related to stories in which the characters appear. In this way, children could he required to read the stories before playing the games. The inclusion of more detailed guidance for parents would also be useful, as programs like this for the very young child are beneficial only with fan amount of adult support.

CRITICISM

COMMENTS
Control keys: move van with cursor keys - 5,6,7,8. Much easier with the joystick option.
Keyboard play: keys have to be pressed very firmly, which is a problem for the very young child.
Use of colour bright and clear
General Rating: Quite good for the very young pre-school child. Five and six year olds find it rather uninspiring.

Not Rated