Review by Psycho Penguin
"There is no better game to give your kids."
We all miss the days of youth. We all had those special things we loved as kids that we still hold very dear to us. I had many such things, from ALF to TMNT. Sesame Street was a show I basically lived on when I was a young kid. I refused to go a day without getting my Big Bird fix. So, it's no surprise that my parents bought me a Sesame Street game. Best thing they ever did for me, actually. I may be a bit biased, then, when I say that Sesame Street ABC/123 is the best educational game ever. Fisher Price: I Can Remember is great, but nothing will EVER top this great classic.
For one, the games are so intelligently designed, it's almost scary. The game comes complete with 2 separate adventures, Ernie's Magic Shapes and Astro Grover. Ernie's Magic Shapes is an AWESOME shape recognition game, starring the lovable Ernie, while Astro Grover focuses on numbers. Also, each game has several mini games inside of them. SO, you are basically getting one hell of a good deal here.
You will have to get this game for your kids. You probably won't love it, because you're old enough to read this review and know it exists. But I'm sure many of you may be parents one day, and some of you already are. This would be the perfect game to get for your kids, seriously. I cannot stress this enough. It is truly a blessing to have such quality educational games.
Alright, time to focus on the games individually. Ernie's Magic Shapes is a thrilling shape recognition challenge. Ernie will sit at a table, dressed up as a magician, and he will pick a shape, and then he will hide it, and then you will have a choice of three guesses, and you'll have to pick the correct shape. If you get it right, you move to the next one, and if you get it wrong, you lose.
Yes, it's easy. Yes, it's basic and simple. But, I learned many basic shapes from this game alone, and the music is just top notch. The music is catchy and will stay in your head for days. It has this kiddy feel to it, but the beat is perfect and fits right in tune with the feel of the game. The victory music is the same as it is in Astro Grover, but it is still overall very impressive.
The problem here is that the game doesn't actually teach you TOO much about the shapes. They show you what color and shape the shape is, but they won't tell you THIS IS A PURPLE RECTANGLE if you get it right. So, think of this as more of a memory game than a true ''guess the shape'' type game, because it will test memory more than any knowledge of the shapes. So, I didn't think this was TOO bad of an idea, but still worth pointing out, I guess.
The thing I liked most about Ernie's Magic Shapes was how hard the advances stages got. Once you figured out how to match the shapes and colors in the earlier stages, the game would then rotate through several different shapes and colors, then stop at one, then start again and make YOU stop at the exact color. It is awesome, and I loved the idea. Of course, you never get to get the lecture onto what shape and color you are identifying, but that's why parents are around. ;)
Now, onto Astro Grover, which is the more enjoyable of the two, in my opinion. To start off with, the graphics are super cool. I used to love seeing silly Grover in a space suit, and it still cracks me up to this day, because I remember how much I enjoyed it as a kid. Plus, the numbers are individually colored, and the spaceship and space effects just look beyond awesome. The moon and houses also looked terrific.
Plus, this game was just great fun. You get several different fun games to choose from. The object of the first is to count the number of items being thrown from the spaceship, and then correctly guess. Guessing correctly means lighting up another house. If you get enough correct, you light up all the houses and you win. The second is my favorite. You get ''Beam That Number'' which features Grover prominently. A certain amount of items will be shown on screen, and you have to count the number of them and then correctly guess the amount. The more you guess, the harder it gets. Again, more fun gameplay here.
The Adding Countdown is fun, because now you have to use your brain to figure out how many items were taken away or added on before. More brain power is needed for the last great game, where you get three spaceships, with numbers underneath all of them, and you have to correctly identify the number you get when you add all 3. This was the best one, in my opinion, as well as the most challenging, because you had to do more than just count, you actually had to think hard.
Plus, the music is awesome. Nice and cheery, just like the Ernie's Magic Shapes, although it is certainly not as catchy. It has that nice unique feeling to it, as you would expect from a Sesame Street game, and it will never get annoying or grating. The victory music is exactly the same as in Ernie's Magic Shapes, as I mentioned earlier. But, I loved the victory music regardless, so having it in every time you win in either game is okay with me.
So, Astro Grover has several awesome and challenging stages. it is far superior to the classy Ernie's Magic Shapes, because math is an important part of a child's development, while Ernie's Magic Shapes is more memory-based. They both are top notch games, though, and compliment each other perfectly. I can't see Astro Grover being accompanied without Ernie's Magic Shapes, and vice versa.
The games aren't exactly challenging, but they will help your kid learn valuable stuff. The easy levels are so easy, and the hardest challenges are easily figured out with any sort of mental skill. I think this game was targeted for kindergartners, because most people out of kintergarden can easily figure out many of these challenges. Sure, you should be teaching them, but if you want them to enjoy themselves, and if they love Sesame Street, then they will love it.
I used to play it all the time just to see my favorite characters and hear the classic music. I don't play it much now, but I can still play it without feeling like less than a man. It's just that cute, and the Sesame Street characters will never get old. So, the replay value is definitely top notch, a lot more than you'd expect. I do feel kind of bad for the parents that paid 50 dollars for this, like my aunt, because my cousin probably doesn't play this game any more, although we used to play it all the time together.
Like previously mentioned, this is the PERFECT blend of games. You get your sesame street characters, you get your education, you get memory puzzles, color recognition, puzzle recognition, adding, subtracting, counting, and lovable graphics and music. This is an excellent educational game, the best I have yet to play. I wholeheartedly recommend checking it out, if you're not biased against the Sesame Street series or think you are too cool for it. Because chances are, you're not.
So, to recap. Sesame Street = good. This game = good. Thank you, and happy counting.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/20/03, Updated 06/20/03
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