MAKE SAM SMILE
Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Educational
Standalone Release(s) : 1984: MAKE SAM SMILE, <Unknown>, £5.95
Compilation Release(s) : None
Stated compatibility : Electron/BBC Dual Version
Actual compatibility : Electron, BBC B, B+ and Master 128
Supplier : Unknown
Disc compatibility : CDFS E00, DFS E00 (Assumed)
Instructions currently unavailable.
Review (Electron User)
Three separate packages, Counting, Word Matching and Spelling are designed to help with the first steps in learning to read and count. Each is divided into three or four sections with activities relating to the growing skills of the children using them. All have superb graphics and a most appealing format.
Number recognition, learning to count and an introduction to simple addition are all included in the activities of the first package, Counting. As with the others in the series this program features Sam, a friendly little chap who's very sad, but easily pleased by getting the right answers to his questions.
There are four games in the counting program. The first two require you to match numerals with a number of objects. In Game 1 a random number of croaking frogs, wriggling worms, skipping girls or barking dogs is displayed. I've discovered eighteen different shapes so far.
The numeral cycles through from one to ten. If the number matches then <RETURN> should be pressed. If not, the spacebar should be used. Game two is similar except the numeral stays constant but the number of objects cycles through from one to ten.
Games three and four display two sets of different objects, and the total number has to be matched with the numeral. This activity is a simple introduction to the concept of counting.
It is most important that these programs are carefully introduced to a child by an adult. The various aspects of each game are not really apparent from the screen display and the child needs to be shown what to do.
Changing from one activity to another is achieved by pressing a function key but there is no prompt on the screen to tell you when to do that.
I turned to the Word Matching program next. It has been designed to encourage the child who's just beginning to read. Objects are displayed on the screen and they have to be matched with the correct word. Again, this program only requires the use of the Spacebar to reject a word, and <RETURN> to indicate the correct answer.
The character Sam enters the screen and draws an empty box and a familiar object with the word for the object above it. In Game one words are placed randomly in the box until the correct match is obtained - the child is matched word to word.
Game two requires the child to remember an object word that is flashed on to the screen and match it correctly as the words are shown in turn.
Game three is the same but no dots are displayed after the object word leaves the screen. In all three, incorrect responses cause successive letters of the answer to appear.
The vocabulary is restricted but although the number of words is limited the quality of the graphics is very high. An interesting feature is a caterpillar that crawls along the bottom of the screen. Each correct response causes it to crawl a little further until it reaches a leaf, then a butterfly emerges and flutters back
across the screen. That piece of graphics is a real credit to the program.
Finally I tried out the Spelling package. This could not be introduced to a child until the rudiments of word recognition were mastered. The vocabulary is a subset of the Word Matching program and so forms a good follow up exercise.
However, spelling is a far higher level activity than the word matching exercises and care should be taken that the child is ready for this type of work.
John Woollard, ELECTRON USER 3. 6