Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 73 / JUNE 1986 / PAGE 70

Stickybear Learning Games
For Apple And Commodore

Karen G. McCullough

Requirements: Apple II-series computer with at least 48K RAM and a disk drive. Joystick optional. Commodore 64 version scheduled for release by this summer.

    With their Stickybear series, Optimum Resources and Weekly Reader Software have developed a reputation for producing software that is reliable, educational, and entertaining. They maintain those high standards with three new releases: Stickybear Typing, Stickybear Town Builder, and Stickybear Spellgrabber.
    Typing is an application ideally suited to computerized instruction-it's an area where the computer can do a better job than traditional methods of teaching. A good typing tutor program provides immediate feedback-both aural and visual-for incorrect keypresses, and allows a student to progress automatically through levels as each is mastered, rather than dictating progress with a schedule or lesson plan.
    Stickybear Typing does all this and more. Each of the program's 30 levels introduces the student to the keys covered in the lesson, then offers practice using them. The lower half of the screen displays the keyboard; as keys are highlighted one at a time, the student must press the corresponding key on the computer's keyboard. A correct keypress prints the letter at the top of the screen. Incorrect keypresses make a low "bloop" sound, and the letter doesn't appear. At the end of each two screens of typing practice, the student gets a progress report which shows the starting level, current level, number of words typed per minute, number of errors, and corrected words per minute.

A Typing Game
Another section of the program-Stickybear Thump-allows typing practice in the form of a game. Stickybear and a robot throw things at each other while the player copies lines of letters displayed on the screen. The robot throws boxes at preset intervals; each time a line is completed, Stickybear throws a ball at the robot. The faster you type, the more balls Stickybear throws, the more points you get, and so on.
    A third section of Stickybear Typing, the Stickybear Stories Module, provides typing practice of a more practical sort-copying amusing stories, paragraphs, and jokes.
    Stickybear Typing has a number of nice features. Up to 25 names can be stored on the disk with current level information for each person. The sound can be toggled on and off, as can a hands display which illustrates proper finger placement on the keyboard. In two sections of the program, you can choose either typewriter mode (you must press RETURN at the end of each line, and you can't backspace to that line) or word processing mode (freestyle typing).
    Although Stickybear Typing is intended primarily for children, it can be used by adults just as effectively. We found only one problem with the program: A decent typist can outrun it. Particularly in the game sections, frustrating errors can occur as the program drops letters which are typed too quickly. However, most students won't be fast enough to experience that problem, at least at first.

Stickybear Typing
Stickybear Typing offers several ways
for youngsters to sharpen their keyboard
skills (Apple version).

Build A Town
Stickybear Town Builder, for children ages six to nine, lets the youngsters build their own towns on the screen, drive through them with a small keyboard- or joystick-controlled car, hunt for hidden keys, and learn some elementary map-reading skills in the process. Towns can be saved and loaded again later, or you can use one of three towns provided on the disk. The graphics are attractive, and the program is easy enough to be used by children even younger than six. But children at the older end of the suggested age range may not find the program challenging enough to hold their attention for long.
    If your child needs work on spelling, Stickybear Spellgrabber might be the answer. Three different games help a child learn selected word lists. All three games are fun, challenging, and really can help with spelling drills. A nice feature of the program allows you to enter your own spelling list or use one of the four lists included (keyed to grades 1-4). Stickybear can be controlled with either keyboard or joystick. While the joystick is slightly easier to use, both require practice to master. Unlike Town Builder, all three games are difficult enough to be challenging even to nine- or ten-year-olds, as well as educational.

Stickybear Typing
Stickybear Town Builder
Stickybear Spellgrabber
Weekly Reader Family Software
245 Long Hill Road
Middletown, CT 06457
$39.95 each (Apple versions)
$29.95 each (64 versions)