I’ve not been playing any Origin games lately so it’s time to break out another random old DOS game. Several Youtube channels I watch would have me believe it’s edutainment month so I’ll vaguely go along with the theme.
I’m into my Sierra adventures and have played the majority of them with the exception of the really early stuff. Sierra had a partnership with Disney for a good deal of the 80’s during which numerous games were turned out. I’ve already played through The Black Cauldron on this blog which was one of the earliest games to use the AGI engine. Most of the other Disney titles were aimed squarely at younger kids so haven’t been high on my wanted list but I got the chance to buy 3 together recently and took it up. I think Donald Duck’s Playground was the only AGI game I didn’t own so I’ve put that right at last. I’m not going to be talking about that game though and will instead have a quick look at Winnie The Pooh In The 100 Acre Wood.
Sierra’s boxes from this era were a bit smaller than they would later become but had a nice opening flap to make up for it. The game was created by Al Lowe who did several children’s games for Sierra before having a complete change of direction and working on Leisure Suit Larry. The manual sets the story in more detail and includes some activity ideas for after the game is finished. I think Sierra were keen to push their family ideals with the perceived educational value of these products.
The game is shown from a first person perspective similar to countless other graphic adventures of the period. There is no walking a character around here but instead I simply have to pick from a selection of options at the bottom of the screen in choose your adventure style.
The storyline such as it goes, is that a big wind is scattering objects around the 100 acre wood and you have to walk around reuniting them with their owners. Their locations are random and every now and then the wind returns and moves them all again. To make life harder you can only carry one object at a time. Basically, this game is a series of random fetch quests except it’s up to you to figure out where each object needs to go.
The world map is relatively large at 6×5 with plenty of further sublocations. The biggest challenge in the game comes from learning your way around this map. All the characters from Winnie The Pooh are here to be interacted with and the graphics do a really nice job of bringing them to life even if there isn’t any animation within the game.
As I walk around the world, I’ll run into objects like a small scarf and can either guess who they belong to or go and ask owl who acts as a hint system. The scarf he tells me must belong to a small animal which in this instance means piglet. Once an object is returned the wind won’t move it again so it’s just a case of wandering around finding and returning all these items.
As an adult, this game can be completed in about 30 minutes. Now I know my way around the map, I expect a second run would halve that. I’d see this as being aimed at very young, not so PC savvy kids really. It’s a whole lot simpler than the likes of The Hobbit which I would have been playing at about the stated target age, not that I ever got very far in it mind you.
I’d have enjoyed this enough I expect at the time. It wasn’t that unpleasant for half an hour even now. The game does look really nice in composite CGA with a ton of screens considering the tiny file size. All these colours from a CGA card still seems like wizardry to me and this game certainly illustrates just how well composite CGA could work. I can’t recommend the game as such these days however. Any kid of the right age range would be far more likely to be permanently glued to Minecraft which arguably has more educational value.