Remember the days when, as a kid, you could play in the backyard for hours with little more than a box and some sticks? Arthur's 1st Grade, from the Learning Company, is based on the television show where Arthur, his sister, D.W., and their gang of friends have fun using their imaginations. Incorporating math, reading, vocabulary, spelling, creativity, and strategy, the nine activities and 50 games complement a full year's worth of first-grade curriculum. The first CD-ROM has seven learning games; the second CD-ROM includes music activities and printable worksheets.
Arthur has a good heart and the central theme of Arthur's 1st Grade is to "do good deeds." The educational games have altruistic goals: Francine helps out in Mr. Gumdrop's candy shop, Arthur baby-sits, and Muffy picks up litter in the park. After the player chooses which of the seven characters to help, the character clearly explains his or her problem, engaging the player's attention and making it simple to jump right in.
The games are targerted toward children ages 5 to 7 and can be played alone or with a friend. The program provides three skill levels for each activity. A player can quit a game at any time and increase or decrease skill level. Although there are no time limits, Arthur provides clues and hints if a player gets stuck. Clicking on the words on screen will prompt Arthur to speak them aloud. This is helpful if the player is not yet reading.
At first, the number of characters, games, and activities can be overwhelming, especially to players who are not familiar with the Arthur characters. However, the games offer a wealth of educational adventures, making it worth the time to get to know Arthur and his friends.