Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 129 / MAY 1991 / PAGE 151

Pictionary. (computer game) (evaluation)
by Steve Hudson

The transition from the tabletop to the desktop isn't always a smooth one, but the PC version of Pictionary does a remarkable job ob of capturing the frenzied drawing, wild guessing, and leap-from-your-chair gymnastics that the board game inspires. Not only that, but it serves as an excellent introduction to computer draw and paint programs.

Pictionary for the PC can be played by two to four teams or by one to four individual players. The picturer (the person who does the drawing) is determined by the play format you select. If you have two or more people on a team, a member of each team draws the picture on the screen. A word card reference number appears on the screen, and the picturer uses it to look up the word to be drawn.

Drawings are created onscreen using your mouse or joystick and an array of drawing tools. If necessary, you can use the cursor keys, but I don't recommend it. An option for practicing your drawing skills will help before the serious competition begins.

Teams have one, two, or three minutes to guess the word that the picture represents. Dual onscreen clocks (one digital, one analog) keep track of remaining time. If you or your team guesses correctly, then a small die is rolled toward the center of the screen. The computer moves your piece forward the indicated number of spaces, and then it's time for the next turn.

Pictionary's biggest limits are the size of the teams and the size of the screen. There's a practical limit to the number of people you can crowd around a computer monitor. For smaller gatherings, it might work; but for large groups, it will prove frustrating.

You can play the game with the computer drawing the pictures and with you and a friend trying to guess what the picture is. Unfortunately, you only get one guess, which eliminates a lot of the excitement found in the board version. A better design would have allowed you to type in answers as the picture drawing progresses, rather than halting the action and making a single guess.

Despite this limitation, the computer is a remarkably human artist. It's fun to watch it draw pictures of varying skill and sophistication. And while the game lacks some of the board version's sizzle, it's nonetheless an engaging diversion. Board game purists will find it an interesting addition to their game shelf

IBM PC and compatibles (mouse or joystick recommended--$39.95

Also available for the Amiga ($39.95) and

C64/128 $29.95)


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