Problem Solving Skills Software -- The Big Picture
What do we mean by "problem solving skills" software? These are programs that focus on developing or exercising critical thinking skills by the user, rather than a specific academic discipline.
It's the Big Game Charlie Brown! [for ages 7 to 12] from Viva Media, is a quasi-adventure/life-simulation game centered on the user helping Charlie Brown recruit and play a baseball game. Best for patient young children learning to play the game.
Crazy Machines 2 [for ages 8 to adult] from Viva Media, is a puzzle game taken to the extreme. For parents looking for a challenge that they can share with their kids, this may be it.
Nancy Drew: The Creature of Kapu Cave [for ages 10 to adult] from Her Interactive, is a 3-dimensional world where the user helps solve the mystery of the Creature of Kapu Cave. Best for mystery lovers with good attention spans.
Gary Gadget: Building Cars [for ages 5 to 9] from Viva Media, is a fun program that combines elements of classic seach and exploration games. Best for young kids who like to build things, and/or to explore and solve puzzles. It is not designed to appeal to true video game players.
Crazy Machines 1-5 [for ages 8 to adult] from Viva Media, is a puzzle game in which players are presented with objectives and parts. The parts must be placed/arranged in constructed formations that accomplish the objective. younger players may need parental support.
Animal Hospital: Pet Vet 3D [for ages 10 and up] from Viva Media, is a simulation-style, problem solving program where the user is cast in the role of a small practice veterinarian. Patient, inquisitive students interested in pet health will find the program attractive.
Crazy Machines The Wacky Contraptions Game [for ages 8 and up] from Viva Media, requires the user to build devices from a collection of parts to solve specific objectives. A great rainy-day activity for the mechanically inclined.
Nancy Drew Curse of Blackmoor Manor [for ages 10 and up] from Her Interactive, is an engaging mystery-solving challenge, perfect for those with long attention spans and patience.
Lilo & Stitch 2: Hamsterviel Havoc [for ages 7 and up] from Disney Interactive, is a videogame that takes the user on an adventure with the heroes of the big and small screens of the same name. Best for videogame fans.
Nancy Drew: Danger on Deception Island [for ages 10 and up] from Her Interactive, encourages girls to be independent problem solvers. Girls take on the role of the famous teen sleuth: exploring new places, questioning motives, collecting evidence and analyzing clues.
I Spy Fantasy [for ages 6 to 10] from Scholastic, includes 54 riddles that players must solve by finding objects hidden in a scene. Best for children with longer attention spans.
Brother Bear [for ages 6 and up] from Disney Interactive, is a fun quest-style game based on the 2003 movie of the same title.
Moop & Dreadly in the Treasure on Bing Bong Island [for ages 5-8] from Hulabee Entertainment, is a wonderfully animated task in observation and problem solving, from the founders of Humongous Entertainment. Best suited to home use by young users (5-6) with persistence.
StarFlyers Alien Space Chase [for ages 5 to 8] from The Learning Company, is a pleasant, non-violent, near-arcade game suitable for children attracted to that genre. Very limited educational content.
Curious George Downtown Adventure [for ages 3 to 6] from Knowledge Adventure, is a combination interactive storybook, exploration/discovery program, video arcade game. Best suited for children in the older end of the recommended age range, or even a couple of years older
3 Great Adventures with MAX [for ages 3 to 7] from Tivola, is a collection of exploratory software that encourages users to be observant, decisive and mindful as they try to find secret passageways and hiding places. Fun, rather than intellectual challenge, makes this program best-suited for younger children.
Where's the Blanket, Charlie Brown? [for ages 4and up] from Tivola Publishing, is a well-designed point and click, exploration mystery program for young users. Snoopy fans (and others) will enjoy helping Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Snoopy find the missing blanket.
Freddi Fish 5: The Case of the Creature of Coral Cove [for ages 4 to 7+] from Humongous/Infogrames, is an exploration and discovery adventure, where users help the lead character solve a mystery. A beautifully animated and challenging program, best-suited for patient cartoon-lovers.
LEGO Creator: Harry Potter [for ages 6 and up] from LEGO Software, is a fusion program that melds the creativity inherent in playing with LEGOs, with the fantasy world of Harry Potter in a 3-D world-building exercise.. A challenging, if not difficult program to use, that's best-suited for patient LEGO fans.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone [for ages 8 and up] from Electronic Arts, provides a video-game, exploration adventure extension of the popular book and movie. Best-suited for video game fans.
Scooby-Doo! Jinx at the Sphinx [for ages 5 to 10] from The Learning Company, brings the familiar team of adventurers to Egypt to solve a mystery. Beautiful animation, but a very challenging mystery to solve for young users.
Spy Fox Operation Ozone [for ages 7 and up] from Humongous Entertainment. Help Spy Fox save the Earth from the evil Poodles Galore! A fun and challenging adventure, albeit with little educational value.
Zillions of Games [for ages 7 to adult]
Over 300 strategy-based board games and puzzles, from Chess to Solitaire, on one CD. A non-violent, rainy-day winner!
Emergency Room 3 [for ages 13 to 18] from Legacy Interactive, simulates a medical intern's residency experience in a hospital emergency room. Students interested in medicine should try out the program, but beware of content limitations and 'attitude' quirks.
Scooby-Doo! Phantom of the Knight [for ages 5 to 10] from The Learning Company, is perfect for kids who love Scooby-Doo cartoons, are experienced questors, and have plenty of time and patience. Young users, however, will need help with program navigation.
Disney's Dinosaur Activity Center [for ages 5 and up] from Disney Interactive, will appeal to fans of the movie, but may be a disappointment for those who are looking for a retelling or continuation of the Disney story. The activities themselves provide an updated introduction to some classic strategy games.
Puzz3D The Orient Express [for ages 10 and up] from Wrebbit, is an engagingly fun 3D jigsaw puzzle, combined with a mystery to be solved. Best for puzzle lovers, and those with patience.