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Early Learning Software

Maxis'
Marty and The Trouble With Cheese

Editors Review Screen Shot

See also the:
Parent's Review, the Comparative Ratings Table for Early Learning Software, and the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of PC and Mac versions..

Reviewed on:
Pentium PC w/8Mb and 2XCD, and
PowerMac 6100/60 w/8Mb and 2XCD

Marty is a young mouse who volunteers to get the mouse family cheese for their evening meal. Where? Mother sends him off to the Quigan's kitchen, presumably to steal a piece since no payment is mentioned. After so acquiring the cheese, a crow steals it from Marty, and the adventure is on.

The program's graphics and sound track are both nicely done. But the hook for Marty is a technical feature: Maxim describes Marty as a software program designed for very young children, requiring no use of the mouse or keyboard. In theory, all interaction with the program can be accomplished through voice commands. Our experience indicated this was true, once your machine was properly configured.

Ease of Install / Use
Installation was simple -- if tried on a Mac. On our PC, however, it was another story entirely. Because our PC had never before had a microphone attached, this turned into a two hour process -- your experience may be better or worse depending on your machine's set-up. We did not expect this to be so difficult; after all, Marty comes with a microphone, and our standard Sound Blaster card had the requisite "mic in" jack available on the back. Nonetheless, in the process of trying to get the system to recognize that a mike was now connected, we managed to corrupt the machine's sys.ini file. (If you don't know what that is, consider yourself lucky). We eventually discovered the problem, restored the old sys.ini file, and found a setup.exe file for the Sound Blaster card which had a mike volume default setting of zero. Once that was changed, Marty came to life, but remained finicky when used on a PC.

Balance of Fun and Education
Maxim positions Marty as a "talk to me adventure" that is "voice activated." In truth, Marty is sound activated, not voice activated. In other words, any noise made at the appropriate time will generate the same response. Did young children notice this? No! When Marty's mike was calibrated correctly to ignore background noise, young kids became quite animated while playing with the program.

Overall
Once successfully installed, Marty is an entertaining program for young children (5 and under). The underlying premise, however, that 3 to five year-olds can't handle a mouse, does not correspond with our experience.

Editor's Rating

Rating Table Header

Marty and The
Trouble With Cheese
Ease of Install *
Ease of Use * * *
Manual Utility * *
Technical Support n/a
Fun Factor * * * *
Educational Value * *
EDITOR'S RATING * *


See also:
Parent's Review and the Ratings Table for Early Learning Software


System Requirements
PC:
486/33 or faster, Windows 3.1 or later, 8MB RAM, 1MB free space on hard drive, CD-ROM drive, mouse, SVGA color monitor with 256 color, multimedia compatible sound card with sound input. Also runs on Windows 95.


Mac:
68030/25 or higher, including PowerMac, System 7.0 or later, 8MB RAM, 1MB free space on hard drive, CD-ROM drive, 13" or larger color monitor with 256 color graphics, QuickTime 2.0, Sound Manager 3.0




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