“ "It's classic preschool play perfect for young Thomas fans! Kids age 2 and up will love helping Thomas and his friends get ready for the big festival on the island of Sodor. There's lots to see and plenty to do at every stop, including color matching, shape sorting and counting." „
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When I upgraded my computer recently, part of the deal with my wife was that I would buy some software for our 2 young children. After a little deliberation I invested £15 in ‘The Great festival adventure’. At first, I thought I had spent the money really well. Our children really enjoy anything to do with Thomas and this game has proved to be no exception. They really love it and want to play it virtually every day. Herein lies the problem! It is driving me mad! There seems to be no way of turning off the background music without at the same time losing the commentary and sound effects. I am now humming Thomas tunes wherever I go. The most important point, of course, is that our children really love playing the game and for this reason alone it has been a good buy. I do, however, have a few reservations that prevent me from giving this a five star rating. For example, I have doubts about the educational value compared to other children’s software that is available. This game is all about a festival on the Island of Sodor. Sir Topham Hatt enlists you to help Thomas and a few other friends prepare for this great occasion. The whole thing starts with a short video sequence of Thomas and friends awakening to the new day you then start with stage one of the game. Stage One: The Engine Shed: ---------------------------- This is very popular with our children. They have to oil, add coal and do some simple maintenance on three different engines. They also get to clean the engines with a sponge, and this is the part they really love. Everything is controlled by pointing, clicking and dragging with the mouse. The children have become adept at this very quickly. Stage Two: Rock fall at the quarry ------------------------------------ A number of boulders have fallen onto the track in front of Thomas. With the click and a drag of the mouse you have to fly Harold the h
elicopter over the boulders and lift them into open trucks. Stage Three: Unloading Bulstrode at the Harbour ---------------------------------------- This is a variation on what you have to do at stage two. You unload boxes from 'Bulstrode the Barge' using 'Cranky the crane' and then place these boxes in open trucks. You have to place the right box in the right truck with the aid of coloured symbols. Stage Four: Picking up Passengers with Annie and Claribel -------------------------------------------- This is ‘our’ favourite. You click on passengers and they then enter a carriage. You have to load exactly the right number of passengers on to the train. You also have to listen carefully to Sir Topham’s instructions. Sometimes he is very precise about who he wants loaded on to the train. Only people with tickets are allowed on board. This stage is good because it not only develops the children’s computer skills but also their counting and listening skills. The only trouble is that they never get to count above five. Stage five: Cow round up with Terence --------------------------------------- You drag your mouse to direct ‘Terence the tractor’ to round up escaped cows. As a variation you have to steer Terence around obstacles. For some reason our children do not like this stage and very quickly move out of it. Stage six: Assembling Stalls and Rides with Harold ------------------------------------------- Here you use Harold to lift parts from trucks and then place them in exactly the right spot to assemble various stalls and rides. I suppose this is another variation on stages 2 and 3 of the game. Which leads me to one of my concerns. Is it all beginning to sound a bit samey? Stage Seven: Making Music at the Festival ------------------------------------------- Here you click on musical instruments and ot
her objects that join in with the games theme music. Great fun for the children. At the end of each successfully completed stage Sir Topham awards a certificate. This can be accessed and printed via his office. You can also print a number of colour or black and white line drawings, from his office. Each stage of the game is linked by an animated video sequence, which you can cut short by pressing enter. The graphics are pretty good, as is the commentary by Michael Angelis. I have alredy commented on the theme music, which is OK. But, it would be better if you could turn it off occasionally! Overall I think this is a reasonable buy. The children enjoy it and have certainly learned how to use a mouse as a result of it. It has also helped them to reason out simple puzzles (e.g. the box with the orange star goes into the truck with the orange star). I do, however, think that childrens software should be helping them to learn in other ways. To this end I would have liked to have seen some more counting games. For the age group at which this is pitched I guess they have quite rightly avoided including any reading games. I paid £15 for the game and part of the price must be the premium we pay for the ‘Thomas’ trade name. On the other hand, the mere fact that this is a game about Thomas probably means it will remain popular with the little ones, for some time to come. Nevertheless, there are probably less expensive games available to children in this age group, that they will enjoy just a much and with more educational value. But, hold on a moment! The sheer look of joy on the face of the children as they see Thomas chugging along is worth its weight in Gold.
I bought this CD Rom for my son, who's 2½, for Christmas. As he's a huge fan of Thomas the Tank Engine and is totally fascinated with the computer, I thought it would be ideal for him. The general idea is that you help prepare the Island of Sodor for a festival. This includes games such as cleaning the engines, filling them with coal etc; setting up tents and marquees; sorting out the music for the festival and loading up trucks - there's plenty more to do as well. It may not sound too exciting, but it does teach mouse skills (even at 2½ my son is getting the idea), it teaches colour and shapes as some of the objects that you load into the trucks have to be put into certain ones i.e. put the green star in the truck with a green star printed on the side. It also teaches size as there are different shaped boulders to be loaded and they go into the relevant sized truck, as well as different size of tents to be erected. After each activity has been completed you get a certificate from Sir Toppham Hat which can be printed out and filled in with your child's name. Josh has these on his bedroom door. Sir Toppham Hat is usually situated at the left hand corner of the screen to give helpful hints to help your child along. Whilst my son still isn't adept enough to use the mouse on his own, when he gets fed up of trying I take control of the mouse and he tells me what goes where by pointing to the screen. He loves playing with it and it's more educational for him then just watching Thomas on a video. I'm not sure how much it costs in the shops as I purchased mine out of the Avon catalogue for £14.99 which I think is a very good price. This program is recommended for 2 years and up, which I was doubtful of, but after seeing my son playing with it, it's absolutely spot on for this age group.
We bought his CD for my 4 year old son, who is a big Thomas fan, and it's proved really popular. The theme of the CD is that there's going to be a Festival on the island of Sodor, and your child has to help Thomas and his friends with the preparations. Thomas, Percy and Gordon need to be cleaned for the special day, and in the Engine Shed your child can help do this by cleaning them with a sponge, tightening any loose nuts, oiling the engines and replenishing them with coal. It all helps children to learn to control the mouse, and it's great fun too (yes, I admit it, I've had a go!) The coaches Annie and Clarabel are waiting at the station to take passengers to the Festival, and your child's task is to load the correct passengers on to Thomas (eg. children only, or any 3 passengers of your choice). Your child has to pay attention here or the Fat Controller (or Sir Topham Hatt as he's now known) will ask them to try again. You can also visit Sir Topham Hatt in his office and print pictures of all the characters, either in colour or in black and white to colour in. Every time you complete an activity correctly you are awarded a certificate which you can print. My son has loads decorating his bedroom wall! I saw this CD in PC World last week for £19.99, they also had some at £24.99 which included a Thomas hat and scarf. I think it's good value as you'd probably pay slightly more than £5 in the shops for a hat and scarf set. We bought our copy at a computer fair for £16.99, I was a bit wary about buying it from there as there are no guarantees the same sellers will be there the next time you go. A fault did develop after a couple of months (it just refused to work for some reason), so we contacted the manufacturers (Hasbro). They replaced it free of charge within a few days, which impressed me. They didn't even ask to see a receipt. If you have a Thomas fan in your house, I'm s
ure this would make a very welcome Christmas present!