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Collins Soft
1983
Educational
£6.10
English
ZX Spectrum 16K
None

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79
Rosetta McLeod
Chris Bourne

This pack contains a story book and 5 programs on the cassette. Paddington Bear is, of course, well-loved by young children, and they are also bound to enjoy some of the computer games. The first game, Letter, shows the player how to set out a simple letter. After being prompted to type in his or her name, a letter to the user from Paddington appears on the screen to give demonstrate the layout. The question 'Do you know what a paragraph is7' is then asked and if the response is 'No', the program highlights each paragraph with a block of colour. The child is then directed step by step towards writing a letter, inserting the home address first followed by the date. After choosing a salutation - Dear or Dearest ... it is time to type in the message, using ENTER to create new paragraphs. Yours sincerely, Love. See you or Best Wishes can be used to sign off, or the author can conclude with a personal greeting. The best thing about this program is that the child's letter can be printed out ready to be sent if a printer is attached to the computer.

The second program, Type writer, begins with another letter from Paddington informing the player that this program can be used for instant thank you and having-a-good-time letters.

Having typed in a home address and the date, the child is asked who the letter is to, and what the occasion is - Christmas, birthday or other if a thankyou letter is to be written. The child must then say what the gift was, and whether it was lovely, very nice, just what I wanted, beautiful, such a surprise , or super.' The instant letter than appears on the screen ready to he printed out if desired. The children I tried this out with, had tremendous fun with the program and were delighted with their print-outs. They also appreciated the humour of the final part of the program, where an amusing letter from Paddington to his aunt Lucy, full of mistakes, appears on the screen.

I'm afraid that the remaining three games in the pack do not measure up to the quality of Letter and Typewriter. Posthaste involves moving Paddington around a street plan in order to get him to a postbox before the postvan empties it. We found that the game was almost impossible. Unless you beat the van to the first postbox you don't seem to be able to catch it up.

Wordcheck was voted rather boring by the children. This time, the idea is to make as many words as possible out of the name Paddington. Three letter words score One point, while a word such as padding scores Five. Unfortunately, the game is extremely slow, and the accompanying sound is enough to drive you mad! The final program Peru is essentially a geography lesson about the countries of South America. A map of that area appears showing where Peru and Lima are, and then the player is presented with three options- If the Grand Tour is chosen, the computer fills in all the South American countries on the map, giving information on the capital of each, the language spoken, and the population. The One at a Time option allows the child to select from a country from a list of fourteen, while Quick Quiz poses questions on the information given in the Grand Tour. I found that children young enough to be interested in Paddington Bear, were too young for all this geographical information. All in all though, the package is well worth buying for the first two programs alone.

CRITICISM

COMMENTS
Control Keys: the instructions regarding the control keys are simple and very easy to follow
Keyboard play: very good except for Posthaste which is far too slow
Use of graphics: extremely attractive
Colour: clear and bright
General Rating: Letter and Typewriter could be the answer to a prayer if your child hates writing letters! With a printer attached, the games provide for hours of fun, and represent a worthwhile learning experience.

Not Rated