Mixing play with education has been
one of the cherished tenets of teaching since the early
sixties when 'revolutionary' concepts upset the more
Victorian stick and no carrot traditions that held that
children should be seen and not heard and if seen, then
only when sitting quietly, neatly and in a well behaved
of expression has become everything, so
now we all know that when five year-old Johnny is caught
bashing in the head of four year-old Jimmy, he's not
really exhibiting a possible violent streak, but only
expressing his sense of angst at the world's oppression
of his free spirit.
the pre-sixties (repressive) era, children had to make
do with behaving properly in the prescribed manner and
venting their free spirits by watching animated cartoons,
which, as we all know, are excessively violent! Well,
ZZAP! isn't given to over-moralising, and this isn't
the place to examine in detail the value of releasing
pent up frustrations vicariously watching simulated
violence on screen (or discussing Mary Whitehouse et
al's refutation of such theories). No, we accept
that kids of all ages can be violent and enjoy cartoon
concepts whereby mice flatten cats' heads with smoothing
irons -- after all, the cat straightens out in the next
frame . . .
some senses animated cartoons are usually educational
even if only to promote some moral. Educational computer
programs have lived in a bit of a limbo -- parents approve,
children often don't! They want their computer games
to be fun. Well, some educational programs have been
successful in being both fun and useful, but with the
past twelve month's obsession with TV and film tie-ins,
it surely comes as no surprise to see the trend spread
to the educational field as well. A few programs have
appeared recently sporting famous and popular heroes
from the big and small screen. In an attempt to get
away from the stuffy 'educational' tag, most of them
are dressed up promotionally as 'Kids' games'.
mentioned in issue 3 of ZZAP!, US Gold have acquired
the rights to release the Walt Disney/Sierra range of
'educational' games in the UK and are doing so under
the label of Kids! I use the term 'educational'
very loosely though, as the programs are really games
for the younger games-player, with educational overtones.
The idea seems to be to subconsciously teach children
such rudimentary 'skills' as logical thinking, map making
and object matching through a series of simple, but
fun to play, games.
then, the Disney games seem to have the edge over the
home-grown product. On the other hand, they are more
expensive, especially if you opt for disk versions (essential
in the case of Winnie the Pooh), but honestly,
I would have to say that you also get rather a bit more
for your money.