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$16.99 list($29.99)
1. Learn to Play Chess with Fritz
$16.99 $11.50 list($19.99)
2. I Spy Fantasy
$4.35 list($29.99)
3. The Incredible Machine: Even More
$19.99 list($29.99)
4. Scooby-Doo Two: Monsters Unleashed
$17.99 $14.90 list($29.99)
5. I Spy: Spooky Mansion Deluxe
$14.99 list($19.99)
6. Nancy Drew: Danger on Deception
$19.99 $17.00
7. Nancy Drew - Curse of Blackmoor
$12.99 list($14.99)
8. Finding Nemo: Nemo's Underwater
$16.99 list($19.99)
9. Barbie of Swan Lake
$9.24 list($19.99)
10. Zoombinis Mini 2 Pack
$19.99 $17.97
11. Dragon Tales: Learn & Fly
$6.99 list($19.99)
12. Thomas & Friends: Thomas Saves
$18.97 list($19.99)
13. Math Missions: The Amazing Arcade
$59.99 list($9.99)
14. Return of the Incredible Machine
$16.99 $16.95 list($19.99)
15. Typing Instructor for Kids
$29.20 list($19.99)
16. Strawberry Shortcake Amazing Cookie
list($14.99)
17. Bob The Builder: Bob's Castle
$17.50 list($29.99)
18. Uru: Ages Beyond Myst
$29.99 $25.97
19. Learn To Play Chess With Fritz
$19.99 $14.99
20. Spiderman & Friends

1. Learn to Play Chess with Fritz and Chesster
list price: $29.99
our price: $16.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000950SM
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Viva Media
Sales Rank: 2
Average Customer Review: 4.77 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
My daughter is 8 and I recently bought this for her. She's never played chess before and her attention span can be somewhat limited at times. I played this game for a little while before letting her play (she had chores to finish and so I could see if it was something she'd be able to do). At first I was a little worried, some of the arcade games seemed to me to be too hard and not have enough instructions. At any rate I loaded it up and let her play, and she spent over 6 hours in one weekend totally absorbed and loving every minute of it. Some of the arcade games were too hard so she just skipped those, I don't know if it will have any negative effect on her later game play, but so far so good! Anything that is educational and can keep a child absorbed for so long is well worth the money. I hope she finishes the game so she and I can play chess together!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Chess Instruction, Clever, Funny and addictive!
My 5 year old wanted to learn how to play chess. I taught him, but I knew having reinforcement would help....furthermore, I didn't/don't know ALL there is to know about chess so I really wanted the help. I did a search and ran into this gem of a program...and I couldn't be happier.

With a story line, arcade like games, mazes, mini chess lessons and Chester the rat (who happens to be a chess master and your mentor) it doesn't get any better than this....Yes, there are flaws, but none worth mentioning, because they don't take away from the beauty and value of this program.

My son has already applied much of what he's learned...and he hasn't even finished his "training" with Chester yet! Moreover, the games you play with Chester (in preparation to face the evil king) can be set at vairious levels of difficulty. And that means it's going to take a while to grow out of this program (it'll challenge mom and dad easily!)

Truly a parents dream when it comes to software. I played it first to check it out, and I really didn't have to. This is a purchase you won't regret.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best program to teach kids (or anyone) chess!
Purchased this for an energetic 5-year old known as my son!

To summarize: King White is feeling a little tired and disinterested (a mysterious malaise that can best be described as boredom or maybe even depression - seriously! Maybe something gets lost in translation, as this game is made by Chessbase, a German company, but marketed here by Viva Media. Maybe he is a victim of "ennui?"), so his queen suggests that they go on vacation. They put their son Fritz in charge for the duration of their absence, and as soon as the king and queen are out the door, Fritz is challenged to a chess duel by the nasty looking King Black. PROBLEM: Fritz doesn't know how to play chess!!

Follow Fritz and his cousin Bianca across the kingdom as they play a variety of games in order to learn chess basics. Learn how the pieces move, and learn basic tactics like pins, etc. Piece valuation, how to win, etc. are other topics that are taught.

The cool thing is that my son doesn't realize that he is learning! The games are so fun and arcade-like, that he learns how the pieces move without even knowing it.

Examples of the games:
1. Sumo wrestlers on a circular board to teach about the king and the concept of "opposition."
2. A Pac-man-like game to teach the horizontal and vertical movement of the rook.
3. A Pong-like game of smashing toilets (no joke!) to get across the concept of the bishop's diagonal movement.

After going through all the training sessions, my son was ready to take on King Black. He still gets mostly crushed, but that is because he doesn't spend much time thinking before he makes a move. He has managed wins on the lower setting, but that's because the chess engine plays some of the most horrible moves, like leaving a queen hanging, etc.

Highly recommended for youngsters! My son may leave it alone for 3 or 4 weeks at a time, but he always comes back to play the games and to try his hand vs. King Black. Money well spent to teach kids a wonderful game.

Love it!
I bought this game from a software club on a whim. My 7 and 8 year old boys were sort of interested in chess, and my husband's name is Fritz. So I thought if I was lucky, the software could help them learn some of the basics of chess. It has FAR surpassed my expectations. They love it, and have spent HOURS playing it. They know how all the pieces move, have learned some of the finer points such as "castling", and still keep playing. I hear them repeating the little rhymes that the program uses to help them remember different strategies...."a knight on the rim is ugly and dim"...."pawns are afraid of nothing; they move straight ahead", etc. In just a couple of weeks, they know WAY more than I know about chess. I would love to have this program in my middle school classroom, as I think my students there would enjoy it, as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Daddy, can I play Fritz and Chesster! And Bianca!"
Fritz and Chesster was the holiday hit at our house. It lives up to all the reviews. I was a little nervous about unleashing a five year old on it, but my daughter is hooked on the game and has worked her way up the levels of challenge with an intensity that I haven't seen her put into other things. And Bianca, Fritz's queen, gives it a feminist angle.

What I found most interesting was her ability (and interest) in going back to replay parts she hadn't quite mastered conceptually even though she understood what she was challenged to do.

The learning approach is very thought out, and previous criticism of the game is accurate. It is clearly a "must buy" if you think your child might be interested in chess. ... Read more


2. I Spy Fantasy
list price: $19.99
our price: $16.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00009VRG5
Catlog: Video Games
Publisher: Scholastic
Sales Rank: 37
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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Features

  • Explore fantasy worlds and engage your brain
  • Three fantasy worlds: Undersea, Outer Space, and Dragon's Lair
  • Nine different adventures with 54 I SPY riddles
  • Designed for kids age 6-10
  • For one player

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars I Spy will keep you busy for hours
I was looking for a non-violent computer game for my grandsons. I found this one and decided to check it out before I released it to them. I played, and played, and played. I really liked it.

5-0 out of 5 stars I Spy Fantasy
My children are 6 and 8 and love this program! We are looking for another game for the next birthday. It has helped them cooperate and share. Wonderful!!

5-0 out of 5 stars fun without violence
My 5 year old daughter plays this game again and again. I love that it is difficult enough to challenge her to think outside of the box. (Seeing the three on dice verses written out.)She is learning without having to play the usual educational games that are childish or annoying. This is also a game for me to play with her that doesn't require me to master a sword.

5-0 out of 5 stars fun for all ages
I have bought more than 30 computer games for my 4 1/2 year old son over the last 3 years. I have to say that this one has the best graphics of all the games I have seen so far. My son has been into I Spy books ever since he was barely one year old (the board book version at first). I was afraid that this game might not live up to his expectations. However, it was that and much more. I get bored watching him play his other computer games sometimes, but I can actively participate in this one. I even installed it in my computer at the office so that I can play it when there is a lull at work. Excellent in terms of building their vocabulary as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good, clean fun for all ages!
An excellent compromise between my son (age 7) and me. He sees it as a fun computer game, I see it as a rated-G brain-squeezing activity that we can do together. It's a great way to spend some time with your kids, doing something you'll both enjoy.

The graphics are beautiful and vivid. The game is very easy to maneuver through. It even increases in difficulty so you can keep playing again and again! All in all, it's good, clean fun for everyone. ... Read more


3. The Incredible Machine: Even More Contraptions
list price: $29.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005KB3J
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Sierra
Sales Rank: 110
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com Review

This fantastic program will have your brain working as hard as a mandrill on a conveyer belt with bananas dangling in front of it. Don't worry, we'll explain. The Incredible Machine: Even More Contraptions gives players dozens of tools that perform an action: balls that bounce, cats that chase (and don't bounce), pulleys, ropes, generators, and yes, mandrill baboons on conveyer belts, bananas a-dangle in front of them. Then players are given a problem to solve with all of this crazy energy. Here's an example: in one puzzle called "Wood is Good," players must get three balls into a box, make wooden toast, and wood-smoke a hunk of gouda cheese for a mouse. Among the tools available to accomplish this task are a bike pump and an antigravity pad. And this is one of the easy puzzles.

There are 250 gizmos to build here, some designed for single players and some designed for head-to-head puzzling competition. There is also a field where players can design their own Rube Goldberg Machine from scratch. The vast amount of projects and their complexity make this a program with staying power. Mercifully, there is a tutorial that takes rookies and right-brainers in hand. Players can choose four levels of difficulty: easy, which is quite challenging; to expert, which is insane. Mitigating the challenge factor is a function that turns the cursor into a question mark, and allows players to inspect gadget elements and get in-depth information about what each object and surface does.

This game does a great job graphically. The well-rendered objects all perform as they ought, and form never hinders function. A thoughtful extra is a place where mad scientists can mess with their invention's appearance and background music: nice final touches for folks who want to take their custom-built games online to challenge others who are addicted to The Incredible Machine. This program's biggest strength is that it manages to put a humorous and creative spin on physics and engineering. They're not just giving you levers and weights to work with, they're giving you bottle rockets and alligators. A final wonderful point: there is no "right way" to build your contraption. If you scrabble something together that achieves the goal, it's right, no matter if you used the antigravity pad on the cat or on the bowling ball. No age rating given; we recommend ages 8 and up. --Anne Erickson ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars I love it! It's a great thinking game!
This game is soooooooo 3D!
You won't find silly cartoons stick poeple etc in this game!
I love making my own contraptions and letting my mom play!
If you want your kid to now a lot about physics then this is a great game!
It has a lot of new stuff like a monkey and a jack in the box.
It keeps all the old contraptions the same so don't worry about losing contraptions in the old game that you liked.
The gears are made easyer so you don't need to take them out then put them back to get them working unlike in the first game.
It is very compatiple with most computers I heard it works on Mac and I had a Windows me wich it worked on and now I have a XP and it works even better on that.
This game is not like most games that you complete in weeks, months, days, or even one day this game takes years!
But it's not too hard so you won't need to wory about not beeing able to complete one contraption.
The tutorial level is to get started and to learn the basics.
The easy level is to get you to understand the controls and to get your brain runing and any other stuff it also gets you better at reading the real hints and knowing those things that might trick you like extra parts.
This game is a great buy!
But there is some things like harming animals but what I do is say thay are just robots.

5-0 out of 5 stars 5 Year Old Loves it!
We got this game for my five year old son thinking it would be a great game to do together. That is an understatement! He is actually spending hours doing and completing contraptions on his own and is up to the harder levels. Definitely not a game for the mechanically uninclined but not as difficult as a previous review stated. My son is actually helping ME complete them. Tons of fun and learning!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great program and runs on Mac!
It's a very fun game for kids or adults. It allows you to build Rube Goldberg-like contraptions on your computer, and then watch them in action. You can also "solve" existing (partially built) contraptions by figuring out what pieces to put where to make it accomplish a specified goal. And you can build contraptions for other people to solve. Very cool!

There's little to criticize about it. The directions aren't as clear as they could be (typical: they describe how to do things instead of *showing* you) but you'll catch on quickly, since its very simple, and anyone who has used a computer will understand their cartoon-like interface (take normal computer widgets and make them big and cartoon-like and colorful: take a look at the screen shots to see what I mean). So if you have very young kids who haven't used the computer before, you might want to play it and let them watch: they'll catch on quickly. My first kid is still 4 weeks away, but I still can't wait to play this with him: we'll both enjoy it.

Another criticism is that you have a very small space in which to build the contraptions, so they can't be as big as your screen (unless I just didn't find this option). That is annoying and limiting, but it's still lots of fun.

The level of reality is cartoon-like, fitting the Rube Goldberg theme (many of Rube's contraptions wouldn't actually work because everything wouldn't fall perfectly into place) but that's good, of course.

1-0 out of 5 stars Save your money
This game is very difficult (even the easy level.) It has a lot of bugs. Clicking Help on the main screen freezes my computer. The objects are difficult to manipulate when they overlap anything. Everything has to be in perfect alignment for the puzzle to be solved, which is very difficult to do. I am returning it to Sierra for a refund.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent thinking game
This is a good, clean game that will provide hours upon hours of entertainment. It has a lot of puzzles at various difficulty levels that make it fun for beginners and those looking for a challenge. The game is very addicting, guaranteeing that you'll get your money's worth out of it. An excellent way to exercise your brain and have fun at the same time. ... Read more


4. Scooby-Doo Two: Monsters Unleashed
list price: $29.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00015HWTG
Catlog: Video Games
Publisher: THQ
Sales Rank: 38
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Based on the Scooby Doo 2 movie
  • Gather clues, set traps, use disguises
  • Fight off creepy monsters from the past
  • Game levels based on the movie
  • For 1 player

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mystery Fun!!!
This game is so mysteriously fun! I can't wait to finish the whole game. There are a lot of cool monsters to fight, and my favorite character to be is Daphne Blake. There are tons of clues that you have to find, and it's kind of a hard game to play, which is good because games that are too easy are boring. Oh, I almost forgot, you can find cool Scooby-Doo 2 toys at Burger King in their Kids' Club Meals. I hope you enjoy the video game as much as I do. By the way, I'm going to see Scooby-Doo 2 the movie tomorrow after school. Gotta go play the game now - see ya! ... Read more


5. I Spy: Spooky Mansion Deluxe
list price: $29.99
our price: $17.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001ZJRXU
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Riverdeep - Learning company
Sales Rank: 42
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Features

  • Brain-building games teach problem-solving, reading, and logic
  • 39 riddles; 2 fast-paced games; 7 unique ghosts to create
  • 3 different ways out of the house, each filled with spooky surprises
  • Fun learning includes a secret room to discover
  • For kids ages 6 to 10

6. Nancy Drew: Danger on Deception Island
list price: $19.99
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000CEM5O
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Her Interactive
Sales Rank: 23
Average Customer Review: 4.37 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Reviews (436)

4-0 out of 5 stars "Haunted Carousel" an entertaning ride.
In "The Haunted Carousel," teenage sleuth Nancy Drew is on her eighth case: investigating amusement park "hauntings" in Captains Cove, NJ. One of the park's famed carousel horses has been stolen, and the carousel has been mysteriously starting and stopping on its own. Also, the park's roller coaster stopped suddenly, causing a rider to injure his neck. With the park shut down, Nancy must interview the employees and explore the park to find clues.

"Haunted Carousel" has some nice improvements over past games: the addition of the "to do" list, journal, and cell phone (no more endless running back and forth to Nancy's hotel to call). If Nancy gets stuck, she can call her friends Bess and George and the Hardy Boys. The game has two levels, Junior and Senior Detective, and there are plenty of built-in tips and hints, including a park operating manual with an overview of most puzzle components. "Haunted Carousel" seemed to be one of the easier ND games.

"Haunted Carousel" really draws the player into the park's atmosphere, complete with hotel room service, arcade games, a ride on the carousel (and chance to grab the brass ring), and more. The storyline flowed smoothly, the puzzles were organic (programming an arcade game, switching roller coaster tracks, repairing the carousel's band organ, reading invisible ink), the voice work was above average and the characters had distinct personalities. Music was pronounced, including carnival music for the carousel and ominous creepy tunes for the haunted house.

Nancy must watch her step as always, since someone wants to stop her from finding out the truth behind the hauntings. Along the way she helps someone come to terms with the past, sniffs out an insurance fraud, and digs up long-lost truths and secrets about the park and its employees. This is a lovely adventure with a unique atmosphere that will delight young sleuths.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not worth the price compared to others in series
First of all, I would like to point out that the editorial review above is not for Secrets Can Kill. It is for one of the other games in the series, and is therefore a better review than Secrets Can Kill deserves. It may be confusing to see the editorial review for the Tower mystery right under the title for Secrets Can Kill.
I love the Nancy Drew series, and I am a college-educated woman in my thirties. I have played four out of the first five games in the series (I have not played Stay Tuned for Danger). The other games have wonderful graphics and storylines. Talking to the other characters is enjoyable, and the puzzles are challenging enough for an adult when played on the senior detective level. I played Secrets Can Kill on the Master level (there are three levels for this game instead of two), and I found that my nine-year-old son was not challenged by the puzzles. Most of the puzzles are easily solved word puzzles that have clues as to the items to gather or hints about the character's secrets. However, most of the puzzles have nothing to do with the game play itself. There is one slide puzzle that allows you to find an inventory item; otherwise, the puzzles are just there for hints. As mentioned in other reviews, this game has cartoon-like characters rather than the 3D-type characters in the other games, and it really does make the game less interesting. The dialogue is uninteresting and the characters become hostile and barely speak to Nancy through most of the game. Overall, the game requires only a few answered puzzles to solve the mystery, and the ending is disappointing, to say the least. I gave this two stars instead of one, which was my first inclination, because I feel that it might be interesting for a child to play, especially if the child has not had very much experience with adventure games for the computer; however, a child would probably still at least want to play on the senior detective level. I recommend the other Nancy Drew games that I have played to players of any age for a nice, relaxing mystery, and I especially recommend the Haunted Mansion game. I cannot, however, recommend Secrets Can Kill.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very interesting --- Another good mystery
I thought it was very good, only it was a little too complicated. I liked the usually good graphics (for Nancy Drew games) but I didn't particularly like the way you couldn't easily get around. Really well done ghost dogs, very scary. The mystery was a creepy one, and the villain was certainly unexpected. That's all I'll say. Anymore would spoil it.

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite ND game so far!
Treasure in the Royal Tower is one of the best computer games I ever played. This is a great starter Nancy Drew game for starting off because it's not too hard nor too easy. If you want a really easy game try the Haunted Carousel.
The story goes that you, as Nancy Drew, are snowed in at a ski resort in Wisconsin with an interesting history. In this game you learn about the French Revolution and Marie Antoinette.
"So, what's the mystery?" you ask. I'm getting to that.
There is a tower shipped over from France and was put back together on Wickford Castle, the ski resort you are staying at. The library at Wickford has been vandalized, and it takes a lot more than barging through the front door to investigate. Later, you hear about Marie Antoinette having a crown worth millions and somehow you figure that the library and treasure are connected. Your job is to find out the story behind the treasure and library.
This game took me about four days to beat. It's quite challenging in parts, like the ski lift, but you can get through it. It's also a little frightening, like the banging noises, but not too frightening that you never want to play it again, like the Final Scene. All in all, Treasure in the Royal Tower is a great game and everyone should buy it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not the Best
I've played all of the Nancy Drew Games (except the Final Scene) and this one was pretty good. It was well-written, but I didn't think it was as interesting as some of the other games. I would reccomend the Haunted Carousel or Treasure in the Royal Tower instead. ... Read more


7. Nancy Drew - Curse of Blackmoor Manor
list price: $19.99
our price: $19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0002ZALES
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Her Interactive
Sales Rank: 3
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Over 25 hours of spellbinding game play
  • Enhanced challenges with two difficulty settings
  • Suspects move, sleep and interact according to game time schedules
  • Forgiving ""Second Chance" option erases blunders and rookie mistakes
  • Play alone or with friends and family

8. Finding Nemo: Nemo's Underwater World of Fun
list price: $14.99
our price: $12.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00007LZ1N
Catlog: Software
Publisher: THQ
Sales Rank: 9
Average Customer Review: 3.23 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Review

Anyone who enjoyed the hilarity of Pixar's Finding Nemo movie will be tempted to pick up one of the two games that star everyone's favorite clownfish. Both games feature original voice work by the outstanding Nemo cast, including the pitch-perfect Albert Brooks, Willem Dafoe, and Ellen DeGeneres. Each game also has a selection of cut-scenes from the movies, shown when tasks are well done. The difference between the two games is that Nemo's Underwater World of Fun was created (says the box) for children four and over, and is by far the simpler of the two Nemo titles.

In Nemo's Underwater World of Fun, players have six mini-games to choose from, along with a section where kids can make music by clicking on members of the Tank Gang (Bubbles, Jacques, and the rest). In a section that resembles an ocean-bound Frogger, Nemo must swim with the turtles, avoiding obstacles and collecting items. Other activities include a shark-run shell game and a very difficult Pong-like segment called "Feeding Frenzy," where Nemo has to bounce kelp balls off obstacles and walls to reach Bruce's mouth.

Both Nemo games have two big drawbacks. First, computer owners with less than state-of-the-art machines will experience stutter and delay when the movie segments appear (which will disappoint kids, so be sure to check the system requirements carefully). Also, each game only offers about one hour of original gameplay (kids who repeat sections will, obviously, play longer).

Of the two games, Nemo's Underwater World of Fun is the weaker,mainly because it doesn't follow the ups and downs of the plot that made the movie so enjoyable. The age requisite, too, seems arbitrary: neither game teaches any particular educational skills (other than pattern matching and hand-eye coordination). For anyone over five, the other game, called simply Finding Nemo is a better choice. But both are loaded with the movie's charms, including an appearance by our favorite character, the sea turtle named Crush. Does everybody have their exit buddy? Okay, dude, you're ready to play.--Jennifer Buckendorff ... Read more

Reviews (30)

2-0 out of 5 stars The other version? Poor Quality Control Problem....
This is yet another pc game that could have been so good...The problem? Like the other 3 disney pc games we have, we had to go on-line to reconfigure our computer!!! It seems to be the SOUND that creates problems.

We bought the version for older kids, after reading the reviews here. Guess what? The voices for Nemo and others cannot be understood. It's as if someone put an old record on the wrong speed...high speed....everyone talks like the chipmunks! What we heard of the music and graphics however looked real good.

We're running these programs on windows XP and unable to get the program to work right out of the package, which is a real drag to an intelligent 5 year old and his mom! Bottom line, you probably have to go on line and get help to make the program work. OR you may have luck calling them...

With the exception of MULAN (has a great majonng game for kids...but you have to go on-line and learn HOW TO MAKE THE program work and reconfigure/disable a sound card or something like that....)We've sworn off of Disney pc games, at least for now....they're not worth the trouble.

1-0 out of 5 stars Misleading, disappointing, irritating waste of time!
The Nemo's Underwater World of Fun game disk enclosed in with the movie DVD, was a big disappointment. My young kids were very excited then very upset. Until I read user reviews here on AMAZON, I thought I had a malfunctioning game rather than a DEMO disk on which only 2 of the 6 activities were accessible, rendering the prizes unwinable and the main games unplayable. And one of the 2 accessible activities, the Tank Gang music maker, seems buggy! Neither the disk, its sleeve, nor the read-me file indicated that it was only a demo, so my exercise in futility began: I installed and reinstalled it. I called the Disney phone number only to find the voice menu options to be misdirected, and at Disney Interactive on-line found no help nor mention of the demo version. FINE DISNEY, so you don't want to give away a free game, but why waste your ad dollars on such a stunt? Guess what, I've not been enticed into buying the real game, just irritated into a resolution to spend NO money on Disney computer games! (It's not your fault THQ (the game designer) we still love you.) I'm Sooooo glad that wonderful PIXAR's contract with Disney is ending!!!

3-0 out of 5 stars My son likes it, I can't stand it
We bought this for our five-year-old, who loved the movie. Why is it that all Disney games turn into annoying (and cloying) lead-ins or promos for the movie? Why do we have to watch endless clips of it? The games seem kind of uneven (some way too hard, others too easy), and sometimes the software seems to get 'stuck' (we need to back out and repeat the objective to get it to work). I like THQ and their software in general, I've just noticed that anything Disney-related gets bogged down in their desire to "Plug the movie! Plug the products!" My son does like it when he plays it, but it's been used a LOT less than I had anticipated. Gets 3 stars for good graphic and audio quality, but I'd give the game itself a two.

1-0 out of 5 stars terrible
I bought the finding nemo software for my daughter today and I sincerely regret it. It is one of the worst games I have ever purchased. The games dont work. You get nowhere. I would advise everyone considering this game to just save your money. My daughter was excited to get it until we installed it and tryed playing it only to find out it is a lemon.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very cute
I just loved the movie, so naturally I bought the game. My sis and I have had these little, ummm...."problems" with games for kids 4+. We can't win them!! The older kid's games are easier. But that's what makes this game fun. I still can't win the "Surfin' With Crush" level though. "Nemo's Underwater World of Fun" actually has a story to it. Nemo wants to prove to his dad that he can move around just as well as any other fish. So Marlin sets up a "Super Swim Challenge" game, that will test Nemo's swimming skills. It goes from there in that you have to help Nemo win a certain number of "trophies" in each game in order to get up to level 5 in the Super Swim Challenge. After that, you can help Nemo prove to Marlin how good a swimmer he is. I love the games you can play. "Dory's Memory Match", "Surfin' With Crush", and "Tank Gang Sing-alongs" are just a few. Hope you have fun playing! I'm sure the kids will. ... Read more


9. Barbie of Swan Lake
list price: $19.99
our price: $16.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00008OE7Q
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Vivendi Universal
Sales Rank: 58
Average Customer Review: 3.71 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining for the young viever
Our granddaughter asked to watch this nearly everyday. It is a pleasant way for a young child to learn a classic story.

4-0 out of 5 stars She likes it!
Purchased this for my 5-year old. First try, it was a little difficult, after that she could do it by herself. Has been playing and continues to enjoy the different wands and the different colors and designs that the wands make on each scene. Make sure you try different wands at each scene to decorate. We didn't realize that on the first go around. I recommend for 5-10 year olds! Definitely.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Game
I have a five year old that loves this game. She can play with it for hours. She really enjoys it. Many diffent games, that she can do, even though she can't read yet. A must buy for all 4-6 year old girls!!

1-0 out of 5 stars BEWARE: Great Game...But Watch Out For Copy Protection
My kids love this game, but as it usually happens, the disks get scratched. After unsuccessfully making a backup copy, I sent an email to Videndi's tech support. In a nutshell, sorry you are out of luck....Here is the email and thier response:

Your original question:
----------------------------------------
Customer Submitted Question On: 11/10/2003 6:45AM
Why can I not get a backup copy of "Barbie of Swan Lake" and "Barbie Botique" working. I have three girls using these disks and they end up scratched very quickly. I have tried making a backup of both numerous times, but the program quits after the intro screen. Any ideas on this?

The response to your question:
----------------------------------------
Solution Added On 11/10/2003 8:12AM
Sorry sir this program contain copy protection there is no way to make a backup copy sorry

1-0 out of 5 stars same reviews three products
Barbie swan lake, My scene and Fashion Boutique all have the exact same customer reviews. Are these actually reviews of each product? I don't think so...what's up? ... Read more


10. Zoombinis Mini 2 Pack
list price: $19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00008OE50
Catlog: Software
Publisher: The Learning Company
Sales Rank: 46
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com Product Description

Go on an epic adventure of math and logic with the Zoombinis Logical Journey and Zoombinis Mountain Rescue educational software titles. Embark on a dangerous quest to a new Zoombini homeland and learn critical logic and mathematical thinking skills. Trek across treacherous terrain strewn with perilous mind-bending puzzles. Learn important life skills such as deductive reasoning, pattern recognition, hypothesis testing, and more, while leading the Zoombinis to freedom. These entertaining adventures are a journey into the math of the information age. Develop the cognitive mathematical thinking skills used in writing computer programs, organizing spreadsheet data, and searching for information on computer networks. ... Read more

Reviews (65)

4-0 out of 5 stars Love, love, love this game...
I was introduced to this game while helping out in an elementary school computer class (yeah, I'm technically a grown-up). It's an engaging way to teach logic skills, and the puzzles are a lot of fun. I agree that there are a LOT of Zoombinis to save (the purpose of the game)and that once you've mastered the higher levels it's a bit tedious to keep playing the harder versions of the puzzles, especially if there are any you don't like to begin with.

On the other hand, this game is wonderful for a variety of age groups (some of the younger kids may need some help figuring out the logic behind the puzzles), for different ethnicities (the Zoombinis are blue), and genders (most of the characters are somewhat ambiguous on gender, and the Zoombinis are all equal). I've seen it played solo, and in groups, with equally enjoyable results. And there are a number of resources available for educators, parents, etc. to help your kids make meaning from the games they are playing.

All in all, this is a must for any elementary/middle school computer educator, and a highly recommended for parents who want their kids to use computers as a tool as well as a toy.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best logic games, all in a fun package
I'm a 13-year-old boy, I loved Zoombinis ever since it came out about 7 years ago, and I still love it now. Zoombinis is a great education game, it teaches logic and mathematical skills essential to learn, and also lets children (and adults) have fun while doing it.

Zoombinis is set apart from so many other logic games by adding characters that are enjoyable and funny to a 2nd grader, while not being so annoying or childish that a 7th grader cannot enjoy or laugh at them as well.

Another way Zoombinis excels is in the way it adjusts to the user's ability. The game will start out easy and teach more simplistic concepts, and after the user is comfortable with that, it will move on to more complex problems.

A nice thing about this game is that it will encourage someone to learn and keep going. It can all happen because the game is both educational and fun, and the child will get a sort of self-satisfaction when they accomplish something. Whenever a puzzle is completed, the user gets a little bit closer to the goal of saving all the Zoombinis, and this gives them something to work for.

Zoombinis consists of 12 different puzzles for the user to go thru, and one of the factors that have made it so successful is how it makes the user actually think. Instead of letting you just guess the answers, Zoombinis has you think about why a certain answer does or doesn't work, then lets you come up with some sort of practical method to solve such problems, which can later be applied to more advanced levels of education (I am currently taking geometry, and I still use many of the methods I learned here to help me solve problems).

In all, Zoombinis is one of the most valuable and fun game (educational or not) that I have ever used. It is a great product, and I would certainly recommend it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice Game, but just a little hard
I got this game with a multipack and it rocks!!! But just kind of a little hard but I like it.

5-0 out of 5 stars My kids loved it!
Not only fun but a great logic builder! The best peice of software I've bought for my kids!

5-0 out of 5 stars What a great surprise!
We love this game! When I was searching for new games for my girls, 8 & 11, I came across this game, but made the mistake of not ordering it. One day, my daughter came home from her computer class and raved about this game - I ordered the Logical Journey and Mountain Rescue...I am so glad that I did. My 8 year old and I enjoy playing Logical Journey together - its a little more basic and easier for her to understand. My older daughter prefers the Mountain Rescue - the graphics are a little more advanced and she enjoys the games more. I would recommend these games to anyone looking for fun, safe, and mentally challenging entertainment! ... Read more


11. Dragon Tales: Learn & Fly With Dragons
list price: $19.99
our price: $19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00009VRG2
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Scholastic
Sales Rank: 48
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Features

  • Teaches essentials skills like arithmetic and logic
  • 11 engaging activities and 3 unique adventures
  • 3 levels of play automatically adjust to child¿s progress
  • Starring popular characters and voices from hit TV show
  • Automatic help allows for independent play; for ages 3 and up

12. Thomas & Friends: Thomas Saves the Day
list price: $19.99
our price: $6.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00009EG1Z
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Atari
Sales Rank: 344
Average Customer Review: 1.88 out of 5 stars
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Features

  • First adventure-style Thomas and Friends computer game follows video & book format
  • Chapter-based play lets kids play at their own pace
  • Explore 11 locations around the Island of Sodor
  • New storyline starring beloved Thomas and Friends characters
  • Gameplay encourages critical thinking and fosters listening and memory skills

Reviews (8)

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't use this if you have a Windows 98 computer!
This software crashes upon startup on my Windows 98 computer. Though not a computer expert, I think it has something to do with requiring video drivers that aren't compatible with Windows 98; that is, drivers only available for newer versions of Windows.

After spending four hours trying to get the compatible drivers onto my computer, my display was so destroyed that I had to restore back to a previous version of the operating system to make it work again.

The other Atari Thomas games have worked great on our Win98 computer, and today, most people have XP machines. But if you're in the Windows 98 minority, stay away from this game!

1-0 out of 5 stars Saves the Day? Save your money, instead
As a recent release from Atari/Infogrammes, it seems like this series is steaming towards a the scrapheap. Other releases -- The Great Festival Adventure, Building the New Line, or the keyboard add-on Railway Adventures are all better than this, and progressively have gotten worse. While some attempt at making this series more "educational" is somewhat laudable, the actual options for game play and interactivity have gotten simpler and less interesting for my 3.5 year old son.

1-0 out of 5 stars Thomas Wastes The Day
Hang your head in shame Atari, this game is terrible. Did they do any testing at all with the intended age group? My five year old is not interested in this game at all -- there's nothing compelling about it. My three year old liked the "chocolate factory" section for about 10 minutes, then never looked for this game again. If you're looking for Thomas, go for the "Festival Adventure" CD, that's definitely the best of the lot, with great graphics. Don't waste your time or money with this one.

1-0 out of 5 stars The worst game we ever bought
I can't believe how disappointing this is. It is not intuative at all. There aren't enough instructions as you move through the story method. It seems like you're just sent on a wild goose chase. The games are too simple and not at all educational. The activities are for 2 yr olds. What's with the chocolate factory? They could at least ask the child to pick a certain colored sugar.
You'll kick yourself for buying this.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not terrible, anyway...
I thought perhaps some of the other reviews were a little harsh. I bought this for my son who is 2 1/2 and it is a little over his head. Mostly I have to help him navigate his way through, though he has improved his mouse skills with the Harold the Helicopter game. I agree it is probably more for 4 year olds. Certainly this is not as educational as reader rabbit, but the graphics are terrific and it makes my son smile. Any avid Thomas fan will enjoy, though it may not be a necessity for others. ... Read more


13. Math Missions: The Amazing Arcade Adventure Grades 3-5
list price: $19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00009VRFK
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Scholastic
Sales Rank: 401
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Features

  • Solve real-world math challenges to make uniquely entertaining stores successful again
  • 15 math activities and 10 math missions; 3 complete grades of math
  • Arcade with 7 games to play; earn money to open your own arcade
  • 3 levels of play automatically adjust according to your child¿s progress
  • Automated personal education tutor; progress report

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great software
I bought this for my 8-year-old to spend more time practicing math. My son likes math and he likes playing this software. He asks to play it rather than needing to be prodded, as he was with the Math & Science Excelerator I bought for the same purpose. Even the neighborhood kids come to play it with him. I would also recommend it for kids having trouble with math as it puts the concepts into visual perspective, rather than just repeating equations.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic math software
Our family loves this program! It has a lot of content, bright graphics, and even a simulation game when kids do enough activities, which means they can open up their own arcade, buy games for the arcade, and manage it. This software has tons of activities that are all quite good. In terms of education, there are so many math concepts that the program explores. Very kid friendly software. A+ all the way. ... Read more


14. Return of the Incredible Machine / Even More Incredible Machines (Jewel Case)
list price: $9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000078COS
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Vivendi Universal
Sales Rank: 1819
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars 6 year old is fascinated by this program!
Our six-year-old and his four-year-old brother have spent hours with this program. They love creating their own contraptions. We often hear them laughing with glee about the funny chain of events that they have created. The program looked complicated at first, but it has a very good set of tutorial challenges which teach you about how the various components work (gears, lazers, mandrils on conveyor belts, vials of nitroglycerine, etc.). Our six-year-old is now able to solve most of these challenges without any adult help. Not every child will enjoy this program, but if you have a youngster who is intrigued by technology and how things work, give this program a try. You may be surprised about how much they can learn from it at a young age.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Brain Teaser
With me being a fan of Sierra and the original DOS version of The Incredible Machine, I had to get this one. I was not disappointed. With many new gadgets, better graphics, and fun animations, I was as pleased with this version as I was with the original. There are tons of puzzles to keep your brain working well into the night - and beyond! Puzzle fans will really like this game.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best game ever
The game is one of the best game that has been ever made. The goal of the game is to build machines. A'm sure ypu will love this game ... Read more


15. Typing Instructor for Kids
list price: $19.99
our price: $16.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0002TPFYA
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Individual Software
Sales Rank: 1009
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16. Strawberry Shortcake Amazing Cookie Party
list price: $19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00009VRGB
Catlog: Software
Publisher: The Learning Company
Sales Rank: 263
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Features

  • Interactive treasure hunt and cookie-making extravaganza including cookie recipes
  • 4 deliciously-fun activities hold more surprises each time they're played
  • 3 levels accommodate a wide range of dexterity and mental aptitude
  • Kids can play independently--the software provides help when a child needs it
  • Builds strategic thinking, listening, and spatial reasoning skills

Reviews (5)

2-0 out of 5 stars The Licensing Company
Very little educational value in this title. My daughter was bored after about 15 minutes. The whole underlying game is poorly planned and very disjointed. It was slapped together quickly to cash in on the name. The background music was the best part.
For this price, perhaps it will kill a rainy afternoon and get your kid smiling. But don't expect much after that.
I would highly recommend the I Spy series (only two now). They are much more engaging and kids get a sense of accomplishment AND learn in the process.
Oh and if you have a mac, forget it. We couuldn't get past the start menu. We have PCs in the house - it was fine on them. But don't waste your energy if you are mac only.

5-0 out of 5 stars Glad to own it!
We've gave this to our 4 year old daughter for Valentine's day and she loves it! She figured out how to play the games right away. The graphics are great and it was berry easy to install on our PC:) We also have Bob the Builder-Bob Builds a Park, Rolie Polie Olie-The Search for Spot and Dora the Explorer-Backpack Adventure on CD-ROM. This was a great educational and fun CD-ROM to add to our collection of computer games. Oh, what fun to be a little girl:)

5-0 out of 5 stars Cute, fun, and educational
We bought this for our 5 year old daughter for her birthday. So far, my daughter, son(6), and niece(6) have all been glued to it! It's cute with big colorful graphics. The kids all figured out how to play right away! We have a box full of software, but I think this one is going to be a favorite.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great game!!
This is a great game. It took a little while to figure out the object of the game but once I did it's great. It would have been easier if I would have read the instructions first instead of trial and error. My five year old daughter loves the graphics. She plays it all by herself and is already good at it. (we just got it today.) It's a really cute game.

I read in another review that it's not such a great game. The woman mentioned she had a 2 year old. Well, the box says for 4 to 6 years old. It's definitely not for a 2 year old.

I had no problem installing the game and I just dragged the shortcut onto the desktop. I'm glad I bought it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Shortcake fell short...
I had some trouble installing the software could not get shortcut to work kept wanting to reinstall. The games are not intuitively obvious so it took some time for an adult to figure out the object of the game to explain it to my 2 year old. Some I still don't get. The graphics are great beautiful colors all the characters are there so my little one loved watching the pictures. Small Children will need an adult to play with them. ... Read more


17. Bob The Builder: Bob's Castle Adventure
list price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00009ZLJU
Catlog: Software
Publisher: THQ
Sales Rank: 3122
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18. Uru: Ages Beyond Myst
list price: $29.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00008Z0IA
Catlog: Video Games
Publisher: UBI Soft
Sales Rank: 1742
Average Customer Review: 2.89 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com Product Description

Plunge into a world unlike any dreamt possible before. From the makers of the original Myst and Riven, this groundbreaking adventure beckons players to uncover the elusive secrets of the ancient D'ni civilization. Follow Yeesha, eccentric daughter of Atrus, to discover Linking Books, encounter descendants, and solve puzzles as you venture through visually stunning environments.


See more pictures
Uru: Ages Beyond Myst is the next chapter of the Myst franchise and the most immersive and ambitious Myst experience ever created. The game is bigger, better, and more innovative than any of the previous Myst adventures. Players can move at their own pace, spending hours discovering visually stunning, real-time 3D worlds, solving a large variety of mind-challenging puzzles, and following an epic storyline. Players can continue to discover new areas of D'ni by downloading new maps, worlds, and puzzles.

The Story of Uru

The story of the D'ni civilization began when they established their underground empire on Earth some 10,000 years ago. While living beneath the Earth's surface, the D'ni practiced what they called the "Art of Writing," which enabled them to create links to incredible, alternate worlds of fantastic variety called "Ages," to which they could travel through "Linking Books."

The D'ni people thrived for thousands of years, but later met with a great catastrophe that all but ended their civilization. Their vast cavern was left uninhabited, and their Linking Books and Ages seemed lost forever.


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Then, in the late 1980s, a few humans from the surface discovered that cavern. One of these humans was Elias Zandi. He devoted the rest of his life to exploring and, eventually, restoring that ancient city in the D'ni cavern, preparing to one day reveal their discovery to those who were suddenly feeling irresistibly drawn to the cavern.

When he passed away in 1996, his legacy was divided between a foundation that he set up and his only son, Jeff Zandi. The foundation came to be known as the DRC (D'ni Restoration Council). As their name implies, they took on the task of physically restoring the ruins of the D'ni cavern. If you choose to visit the cavern at some point, you're sure to run into them.


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Jeff Zandi, on the other hand, was interested in learning why the D'ni civilization fell in the first place. He continued studying the teachings of Yeesha, by far the most talented of all the D'ni writers, and daughter of Atrus and Catherine. After years of learning, the younger Zandi is finally comfortable bringing others to an uru (a D'ni word meaning "large gathering" or "grand community").

On your way to the cavern, if you decide to join us, it might be a good idea for you to learn some of the great teachings of Yeesha. Experience the adventure of a lifetime, Uru: Ages Beyond Myst.

Game Features

  • Experience a new freedom of movement, a first for the Myst franchise: Explore each unique age in real-time 3D, moving your character effortlessly through the world without pointing and clicking.
  • Create a realistic character: Choosing from a wide variety of facial and clothing features, you will be able to create a male or female avatar that you will use to explore the world. The range of character options allows you to appear the way you look, or the way you want to look.
  • Explore the mysterious and graphically intense world of Uru. Uru's work-of-art style graphics will immerse and captivate you like never before.

    See more pictures
  • Follow an epic storyline: At the request of Yeesha, the eccentric daughter of Atrus, you'll journey through a variety of different ages, and discover the lost civilization of the D'ni people. As the story unfolds, you'll be drawn deeper into the D'ni civilization, and if you choose to download new content, the journey expands even further. You can explore new ages and areas of the D'ni civilization, unravel new mysteries, and adventure in a world that continually changes and expands. Exciting new content will be downloaded regularly, providing an adventure experience that is fresh and ever-changing.
... Read more

Reviews (220)

4-0 out of 5 stars ATI Drivers May Need to be Updated - Fun after that
When I first bought this game, I could not get it to run, in spite of the fact that I had the high end of the system requirements listed on the box. I went to ATI.com and downloaded new drivers for free. The game ran beautifully after that.

Things I liked about this game:
1. The graphics. Incredible. I especially loved the 3-D environment that allows you to spin around and look at everything, and gives you more freedom of movement than previous Myst games.

2. The sound. Wonderful, rich sounds that fit perfectly into the game.

3. The story. Apparently, this a matter of taste, as I see most reviewers here on Amazon really disliked the story. Personally, I found the story at least as engrossing as Myst: Riven, although not on the same level as Myst: Exile. I enjoyed learning more about the D'ni people featured in the Myst games. The main story revolves around Yeesha asking you to restore four pillars in order to make things right for a new group of people, called The Least. I found the story very satisfactory.

4. The end. Again, this appears to be a matter of taste. Most people don't seem to have cared for the ending at all, but I loved it. I didn't feel like it was just a prelude for the online game, which I have no intention of playing.

5. The puzzles. They are definitely challenging. If you don't like a challenge, or you don't want to use a good walkthrough to finish, this may not be the game for you. I loved the puzzles (with a few exceptions), and as usual, found them to blend seamlessly into the game.

Things I didn't like:
1. Camera angles. They were pretty good most of the time, but often I would find myself watching my avatar walking somewhere on a path I couldn't see to an area I couldn't see. You can change the camera to first person, but the game will pull you out of it for puzzles, which interrupts the flow of the game.

2. Load times. It takes about a full minute sometimes for a new area to load. Granted, that isn't long, but considering how frequently you have to enter new areas, it can get annoying. This is probably an unavoidable drawback of having such lush graphics in 3-D game.

3. Jump, die, reload. Isn't that what most experienced gamers really hate about some adventure games? To be fair, you don't die, you're simply transported back to a central start point. Which has to load. Then you have to click to go back to the age you were in, and wait for that age to load. Then, depending how far you were from your last save point, you get to go find where you were when you fell. This can get tedious, especially when you factor in load times. One puzzle requires you to do quite a bit of difficult jumping, and I must have had to go through the above sequence 30 times. For that, I knocked a star off my review.

4. You can't save wherever you want. Jumping and falling would not be so frustrating if you didn't have to sit through the constant reloading of areas. You would not have to sit through the constant reloading of areas if you could save right before you jumped in the same area. However, this is not allowed. You never save in this game at all, except by finding and pressing jouney clothes. These save your place in each age. (Puzzles save themselves automatically once completed.) This isn't a huge problem, but can be inconvenient, especially if you're doing a lot of jumping and falling.

Overall, I really enjoyed this game, but there are definitely some flaws.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Myst game for gamers
There are a lot of complaints people have with this game that I didn't. Let's deal with them.

First of all, let me say this - the part of the box that says "minimum system requirements" is actually (gasp) the *MINIMUM* system *REQUIREMENTS*. If you DON'T HAVE THEM, then DON'T COMPLAIN when the game doesn't run. If you have a cheaper version of a graphics card, and Uru doesn't like it, oh well - it tells you quite specifically what you need. Being true 3D, it's a lot more than the previous bunch. My system is by no means incredible or new, and it looked profoundly gorgeous and ran with nary a hitch.

Second, a lot of people seem to be having trouble with the fact that there are running and jumping puzzles. Well, with Exile, when they added the ability to free look, there were quite a few puzzles based around pointing something somewhere. Now, they add the ability to move freely, so of course there are going to be some puzzles involving that. There aren't many, and to anyone who's ever played a third person adventure game, they're basically trivial.

Third, there seems to be this general backlash towards the game design in general. Less emphasis on story (which I simply don't understand - there were journals and backstories everywhere, just like the last three...but whatever), more open-ended design, etc. It seems to me that these guys weren't trying to make another Myst game, they were trying to make a good adventure game, and they displaced it from the rest of the mythology on purpose. This is a game designed to appeal to everyone, not just the people willing to click through an endless slide show.

Fourth, people seem to not like the puzzles. I don't get this at all. Aside from one fairly arbitrary solution at the very end of the last age, all of the puzzles made sense and I felt were quite clever. Exile had this feeling going that each puzzle was in isolation and I never felt like any of them really related to the game that much; here, each puzzle is an important part of whatever world it's in, more like the first game than either of the other two. There was only one age that followed the solve, move on, solve, move on mentality, and it was themed - each puzzle had an obvious solution that turned out to be completely wrong, and something else had to be done. It was genius, I thought - every solution made me think "oh, THAT makes sense!" once I finally got it.

It's not perfect - the not picking up objects thing was irksome, the load times can be annoying on older machines, and the ending is a little weak. But this is a Myst game that finally felt to me like a real adventure game, not an austere exercise in puzzle solving. I felt like I was part of it.

So, I'd reccomend this more to broad gamers than specific fans of the Myst franchise (as if the plethora of one-star reviews wasn't enough to make that clear), but I didn't think that it was anywhere close to as bad as most of the people here are making it out to be. One of the best games I've played in the last year.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great game, marred by a few issues
For the past several months, I've been lucky enough to beta-test this graphically stunning and intellectually challenging game. Yes, there's no doubt that the controls take some getting used to (but you can re-configure them all in-game), and the idea of seeing yourself takes some getting used to, as well. The online launch is proceeding, albeit very slowly and deliberately in stages to ensure that everything works properly.

The game, while not a direct sequel to the Myst series (it's more of a parallel storyline), is a stunning foray into adventure gaming and a ground-breaking one as well. To my knowledge, there have been no "Massively Multiplayer" adventure games. Imagine a game that requires you to work together with three or more players to solve logic puzzles to unlock access to other worlds. That's something you can look forward to.

"Uru Prime" (the single-player portion) is utterly gorgeous, and tells a tale of a culture's pride before their fall. The story also exposes a much darker side to the D'ni culture that hasn't been seen before (if you've played any of the previous games), including slave-trade, extermination of other races, and corruption within the supposedly "utopia" of the D'ni Guild system (which was hinted at, in the books). The single-player storyline perfectly sets up the online portion, while allowing a decently satisfying gaming experience for those who decide to not explore deeper, and participate in the online portion, dubbed "Uru Live".

The biggest portion that attracts me about the online portion is the sheer storyline potential for it. With so many of the other MMORPGs out there, the story is a sketchy framework wrapped around the gameplay. So much of the gameplay in those games seems too repetitious to me. In Uru, the gameplay serves the storyline, not the other way 'round.

The game's creator, Rand Miller (who created "Myst" and "Riven" with his brother Robyn), envisions the online portion much like episodic TV. He even calls each new story installment as "episodes" The announcement recently that has made waves is that there will be a multi-lateral approach to "Uru Live" episodes; you'll receive in-game mail, get to read posts on a message board, and you'll also run across other players in-game. The biggest difference is that these players will actually be acting out the story, to help further it.

In fact, I ran into one of these last night, in my first foray into "Uru Live". Was interesting, to say the least.

The other big thing that has got my attention versus other MMOGs, is that the sheer evolution of the environments. The new worlds will become available at an estimated one every other month, and there will be smaller changes to the online game environment weekly, according to the game's designer.

No RPG, this: there's no levelling-up, no killing, and no dying. No experience points, no buying better armor/weapons, and no PvP killing. It's all about the story, about using yer "noggin" and working with your fellow explorers to solve the puzzles.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent but flawed game
Uru: Ages Beyond Myst is an outstanding game with exceptional images, sounds and puzzles ... so why four stars and not five?

Uru has two significant flaws:

1) You can't save your game.

Your save points are set by touching each Age's seven Journey Cloths. It's the game designers - not the gamer - who determines save points.

Good save points make it easy for the gamer to explore alternate endings, and more importantly, to avoid having to solve the same puzzle repeatedly.

But unless you play Uru perfectly, some Journey Cloths are placed so that you must solve several puzzles multiple times.

2) Your avatar can walk, run, climb and jump.

Unlike Myst, Riven and Exile, Uru is no longer restricted to point-and-click movement from one scene to the next.

But there's a problem.

Your avatar is keyboard and mouse controlled, not joystick enabled. Its third person perspective is occasionally sloppy. Moreover, it can't use its hands when moving objects; that's a ridiculous constraint.

Uru's minimum hardware requirements are...

800 MHz Pentium/AMD Athlon
250 MB RAM
32 MB nVidia GForce 1 - 4 or FX/ATI Radeon 7000 - 9800 or better

Assuming you don't want long delays between Age loads, I strongly recommend, "or better."

My guess, Uru really wants a 2 GHz CPU with 1 GB of RAM and a 128 MB video card. Uru is designed for higher end hardware.

Uru also has hardware requirement gotchas. Here are some of them...

* 98SE is specific; no allowance is made for Windows 98.

* The video card requirement is precise: it's either a 32 MB nVidia GForce 1 - 4 or FX, or an ATI Radeon 7000 - 9800 or better.

No other video card will work, including lower end versions of nVidia or ATI Radeon.

* The "CD-ROM: 4x or better (not recommended for use with CD-RWs)" requirement is imprecise. Didn't fully appreciate it until I bought the expansion pack, which clearly states, "This game contains technology intended to prevent copying that may conflict with some disk and virtual drives."

Uru will not work properly in either a CD-R or CD-RW.

Finally, here's an Uru synopsis:

You begin in the Desert.

After touching seven Journey Cloths, you are given access to a linking book, which takes you to Relto (Island in the Clouds). Relto is your refuge and starting point between game sessions.

To solve Uru, you must transfer pillars from Teledahn (Mushroom Age), Gahreesen (Fortresses Age), Kadish Tolesa (Mechanical Age) and Eder Gira/Eder Kemo (Volcano and Garden Ages) from the Bahro (Pillar Cave) to Relto.

When all four pillars reside in Relto, you transfer them back to the Bahro and return to the Desert to solve its remaining puzzles.

3-0 out of 5 stars A step down for the series
Myst was great, Riven was insanely hard but genius, and Exile was spectacular, with perfect difficulty and great puzzles...with Uru, however, the series has gone slightly awry. The idea of an avatar isn't entirely terrible, but the ideas of kicking things into position and having to walk and jump accurately to progress are. As for the first one, just let us have an inventory, and have a set position for the items when we figure out where to put them back down! The soccer game that pervades Uru is absurd. And the need for nimble fingers has no place in the Myst franchise; if we want to test our ability to run and jump skillfully, we'll go play a platformer. Give us the ability to run and jump, sure, but don't make us master it in order to win the game.

A few of the puzzles in Uru, in my view, require a mental leap outside of the realm of logic, but others may disagree. In any case, I eagerly anticipate Myst IV: Revelation, and hope it will be less like this subchapter and more like Exile. ... Read more


19. Learn To Play Chess With Fritz & Chesster 2 (Mac)
list price: $29.99
our price: $29.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00076YWII
Catlog: Software
Manufacturer: Viva Media
Sales Rank: 782
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • For kids age 8 and older
  • A new chess adventure with Fritz, Bianca, and Chesster
  • Covers openings, middle-game tactics, endgames, and more
  • More than 20 mini games within the game for practice
  • Powered by "Fritz", the world's leading chess software

20. Spiderman & Friends
list price: $19.99
our price: $19.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0006OC0VW
Catlog: Software
Manufacturer: Activision
Sales Rank: 1274
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Product Description

These aren't your typical pint-sized heroes!

Kids will join Spider-man and his friends to help those in need in this fun, interactive and educational adventure. Every activity will feature 3 different super-heroes, each with their own special ability. Children will practice basic pre-school skills in a fun arcade-style environment, while learning problem-solving skills and teamwork in a positive and constructive manner. Spider-Man & Friends features math, language, color and shape recognition with multiple difficulty settings for each challenge. Learning is fun and exciting with Spider-Man & Friends.

Six Marvel super-heroes featured:

  • Hand Glider Spider-Man
  • Crime Fighting Wolverine
  • Air Rescue Captain America
  • Skating Spider-Girl
  • Laser Blast Cyclops
  • Deep Sea Explorer Spider-Man
  • Each activity features 3 of the 6 super-heroes
Each super-hero can perform a special activity
  • Air Rescue Captain America can fly
  • Deep Sea Explorer Spider-Man can swim
Kids can practice math, language, color and shape recognition skills:
  • Math skills: Number recognition, numeral recognition, greater than, less-than, and very basic arithmetic such as addition and subtraction
  • Language skills: Letter recognition, upper & lower case letter recognition, and word/shape association
  • Color and shape recognition
Two modes of play:
  • Training
  • Challenge
... Read more

Features

  • Join Spider-Man, Laser Blast Cyclops, Crime Fighting Wolverine and 3 more of your favorite Superheroes
  • Explore vast maps as you help those in need in this side-scrolling adventure
  • 2 modes of gameplay: training missions or challenge mode suit different learning levels
  • Learning while you play has never been so much FUN: test math skills, language recognition and shapes & color identification

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