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Arty the Part-Time Astronaut consists of a paperback book and accompanying CD-ROM. The book introduces Arty, an average boy who, while out observing the night sky, happens to see a falling star collide with Earth. Rushing to the crater where the star landed, Arty is surprised to encounter a crashed spaceship. The pilot of the ship, Guplo, is a youth from the planet Krandu who has become separated from his vacationing family. He needs to find a new spaceship and locate his family as quickly as possible.
Fortunately, Arty is resourceful and adventurous, and soon the two are rocketing through the galaxy, stopping on each of the planets to search for Guplo's family. Despite the brevity of their visits, they are able to learn a thing or two about each of the planets, and they are more than willing to share their discoveries with interested students.
The CD itself takes the user on an entirely separate adventure. Arty and Guplo have apparently become frequent space travelers, and invite the user to join them. Exiting Arty's room through an open window, the user boards Guplo's spaceship and takes over the controls. S/he can choose to 'travel' to the planets, play a game, or log onto the associated website at www.artyastro.com.
The 'games' section lets kids play with interesting comparisons such as their age and weight on each of the planets, and how long it would take to travel to each planet by spaceship -- traveling at a speed of 18,000 mph, and by car -- traveling at a speed of 70 mph. A "Space Smarts" section includes quizzes about the material presented in the book and CD, and 3 arcade-type games give kids an entertaining break from their studies.
Our testers especially liked the program's 'games' section, through which they were able to make relative age, weight and distance computations, test their subject knowledge, and even play a few loosely related fast-twitch muscle type games. The hands-down favorite of these games, Jumpshot Robot, let's the user control a basket-throwing robot in a challenging game of strategy and coordination.
PC: Windows 98/95 or NT 4.0, Pentium 133 or faster cpu, 8 MB RAM, CD-ROM drive,return to top of page
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