October 2003

Cyber News and Reviews is a monthly column published for parents, teachers & business owners featuring kids educational software reviews, business software reviews (small business & home business), games and entertainment articles, a free resource since 1995.


Disney Learning 1st and 2nd Grade from Disney Interactive, Barbie Horse Adventures Mystery Ride and Barbie Horse Adventures Blue Ribbon Race from Vivendi Universal

By Howard Berenbon

Disney Learning 1st and 2nd Grade from Disney Interactive

The new Disney Learning Series from Disney Interactive offers learning with the aid of their wonderful cartoon characters.   With Disney Leaning 1st and 2nd Grade, Kids (ages 6 to 8) will interact with Mickey Mouse, Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story) and Mowgli and Baloo (Jungle Book)  in this 3 CD educational package covering math, science and reading.  The CD series offer high-resolution graphics animation, music and sound effects, everything you need interact with your favorite Disney characters.

Search for the Secret Keys

In this CD adventure, you’re trapped in a haunted house with Mickey Mouse and gang (including Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy).  To escape the ghost-filled 3-D mansion, you must roam the haunted halls and solve problems encountered along the way.  You’ll earn keys that will eventually lead to your escape.  The problems cover math, reading, language arts and logic.

Disney/Pixar’s Buzz Lightyear 2nd Grade

Meet the cartoon hero of Toy Story, Buzz Lightyear, and friends in Andy’s bedroom for some educational fun. From the main navigation screen (Andy’s bedroom) you’ll have access to  eight activities including Math on the Rolling Arcade (math with marbles), Doodle Challenge (spelling, vocabulary, rhyming and synonyms), Fractions Arcade (rocket science math with Rex), Earth Builder (world geography using the mechanical globe), Mini-Rocker Math (manage a busy spaceport with the green aliens), Andy’s Scrapbook (more language arts), Time After Time (clocks) and Sonic Arranger Mark II (create and listen to music with Andy’s new keyboard), These activities and more await any Toy Story fan ready to enter the world of Disney with Pixar’s excellent 3-D animation.

Disney’s The Jungle Book Learning

Jump into Disney’s Jungle Book and practice some addition and subtraction with the help of Mowgli and Baloo, the stars of the story.  The CD offers several learning activities with Mowgli and Baloo. Kids will search for a magical object to will scare away the dangerous tigers while they count with fireflies, use words to build walls and learn anatomy with bees.

Becky, my 8-year-old, had fun with all 3 CDs, and especially liked exploring the haunted house with Mickey and friends.  She did say the problems encountered were too easy, because, she’s in fourth grade now, but still had fun interacting with some of her favorite Disney characters.

Disney Learning 1st and 2nd Grade is a 3 CD set selling for $18.99 and will run on any multimedia PC, Pentium II 266 MHz or faster, 64 MB RAM with Windows 98/ME/2000/XP and an 8x CD-ROM drive. It also runs on a Power Mac G3 350 MHz or faster with 96 MB RAM and an 8x CD-ROM drive.

Barbie Horse Adventures Mystery Ride from Vivendi Universal

If you are a Barbie fan, then Barbie Horse Adventures Mystery Ride from Vivendi Universal is the CD for you, or any girl 5 years old and up. This is one of several new software titles with girls in mind; and Barbie is definitely for girls.   Ride with Barbie and search for clues to solve the mystery of the missing horse, Lucy.  You’ll ride through a desert, a forest, cross a bridge and explore a prairie town in your search for clues to solve the mystery.  In your saddlebag of tricks you’ll find a metal detector, a slingshot and a 2-Way Radio to help overcome obstacles, solve puzzles and uncover clues.  The game offers excellent graphics and realistic sounds (like the clip clop of your horse) as you gallop through the 3-D world of Barbie on horseback.

Becky, my 8-year-old daughter loves anything Barbie, and found this title lots of fun as an after school diversion from her fourth grade school work.  She did solve the mystery a few hours after installation when I heard her exclaim, “I saved Lucky.” 

Barbie Horse Adventures Mystery Ride sells for $29.99 and will run on any multimedia PC, Pentium II 350 MHz or faster, 64 MB RAM with Windows 98/ME/2000/XP and a 24x CD-ROM drive. 

Barbie Horse Adventures Blue Ribbon Race, Game Boy Advance from Vivendi Universal

Here’s another horseback riding Barbie title, exclusively for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance and for girls only, also from Vivendi Universal.  Barbie Horse Adventures Blue Ribbon Race offers girls (I don’t know of any boys interested) a chance to ride with Barbie through a cross-country horseback riding charity event using the popular hand-held game machine.  Kids will move Barbie through the 8 riding events using skill and speed to race to the finish line.  They’ll even jump over obstacles like rocks and hay bales, race across bridges and avoid animals in the forest. 

Yes, girls use the Game Boy Advance as often as boys.  Both my girls use their Game Boy in the car during trips and sometimes in restaurants so they won’t be bored.  The display is small, but clear, and the kids say they don’t have trouble seeing it.  I’ve taken a peak, and the graphics and colors are good (just not the size for my vision).  Becky, my 8-year-old Barbie software tester, said this game title passed the test in flying colors.  Of course, she loves anything Barbie.

Barbie Horse Adventures Blue Ribbon Race for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance sells for $29.99.

Software Companies Mentioned

Disney Interactive, Inc.
500 S. Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
Phone:   1-800-228-0988
URL disneyinteractive.com

Vivendi Universal Games
4247 S. Minnewana Ave.
Fresno, CA 93725
Phone:  310-649-8004
URL education.com