Bushbuck Charms, Viking Ships, & Dodo Eggs/GeoJigsaw. (evaluation)
by Joyce Sides
A scavenger hunt by any other name could never be this much fun. BushBuck Charms, Viking Ships, & Dodo Eggs (yes, that's the name) is superior educational software. Not only will you gain an understanding of the world's cultures and increase your knowledge of geography, but you'll have fun along the way.
The object of the game is to fly to the different countries of the world and gather various common objects in each country you visit. Each location offers a special attraction or contains some historical significance; their descriptions can help you later, so read them all carefully. Points accumulate as you discover objects. Colorful, detailed maps and creative, animated sequences add interest, while the musical scores tend to stick with you for hours after you play.
Play alone, against another player, or against one of the included villains: Pierre, Natasha, and Otto von Slinkenrat, a real stinker who slimed his way to the top of the PICKLE (Preserving Individual Cultures and Knowledge in Lands Everywhere) Foundation.
My complaints are minor. Gathering all 15 objects requires some time; a save game feature would be appreciated. And although recommended for all ages, I wouldn't expect BushBuck Charms to hold the interest of very young children unless they're able to read and decipher maps. Children with those skills will love the game, if they can persuade Mom and Dad to quit playing for a while.
Another PC Globe educational game, GeoJigsaw, is far more suitable for young children. The color-cycling feature (available for VGA systems only) creates an illusion that the 12 puzzles are animated. Puzzle choices range from depictions of dinosaurs to the solar system. Additional puzzle disks would offer variety, but none were offered on the order blank included in the game box.
Puzzles may be cut into as few as 6 or as many as 294 puzzle pieces - just remember that you have to put the pieces back together. Puzzle pieces are easy to move with a mouse or joystick. A keyboard option is available, but maneuvering pieces using this option is difficult. The game supports only the PC speaker, but it does reward a completed puzzle with musical notes. A puzzle is automatically saved in its current state if you quit the game.
While GeoJigsaw not as strong a teaching tool as BushBuck Charms, both games offer children an opportunity to learn and enjoy themselves at the same time. And at a cost of $39.95 for GeoJigsaw and $ 49.95 for BushBuck Charms, learning comes at bargain prices.