A&B Computing1st May 1984
Published in A&B Computing 1.07
The aim of this package is to teach the use of both compass points and co-ordinates to find points on a grid system. The game element consists of a car rally in which the first player to get to all checkpoints and then finish is the winner. The game can be played by two children at a time, one driving the red car whilst the other steers the blue one. For the teacher there is the possibility to see the performance of each child who has played the game via the monitor facility provided.
The first program uses compass points to steer the car. With a clue, such as NORTH and EAST, you are expected to input N followed by the number of kilometres (squares) to move and then repeat this for the EAST movement. If you land on a checkpoint then a tune plays and you have to check in before being sent into the next one. This seems reasonably good practice and has few problems.
Unfortunately the second program suffers a very serious flaw making it, in my opinion, worse than useless! As you may remember from your schooldays all map and co-ordinate systems work on Eastings before Northings; this, in mathematical terms, means that the x co-ordinate comes before the y value. This is a universal rule wihch is never departed from - except by this program! I take it that the idea is to get compatibility between the two parts of this package but this is not acceptable if it means that the child is learning a concept which then has to be unlearned later. This makes the second program unusuable and I would advise the company to change this as soon as possible if they expect to be taken seriously as having educational value. A mistake of this type is most surprising from a company of this calibre but goes to show that you should examine educational programs very carefully before you buy and use them.