The Arthur Project (Unknown) Review | A&B Computing - Everygamegoing

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The Arthur Project
By Unknown
BBC Model B

Published in A&B Computing 5.07

The Arthur Project

I don't comment often on the packaging, but another pack came through the post as I was drafting out this review and the flimsy plastic wallet was split on arrival. By contrast, The Arthur Project is very attractively and sensibly presented in a red A4 file with the worksheets, slides and cassettes neatly packed inside.

In this pack the publishers have "assembled a multimedia set of resources which should go a long way towards helping teachers (of children from ages eight to thirteen and older) to present the myths and legends of the Arthurian Era is a proper historical context. The materials provide many different approaches and teaching styles, and have been deliberately designed to suit different age groups and levels of understanding." This latter point I found to be very much in evidence, which made it both a strength and weakness, e.g. the style and content of the commentary which accompanies the slides will be well above many of the children who will be able to manage the adventure quite comfortably.

The adventure provides a dramatic version of one of Arthur's legends, The Quest For The Holy Grail. "The adventurer is Arthur, and the more the user thinks like 'the King', the greater are the chances of success. There are several possible paths from Camelot to the Shrine of the Goddess wherein lies the Holy Grail, and what happens is partly determined by the choice of companion.

The program has a sound level option which rather pleased me, as I found the fanfare for success or alternatively return to Camelot rather irritating after a few times, while there were occasions when some suitable sound effects could have been used to advantage. Likewise, the graphics were reasonable without being terribly exciting - I quite liked the almost Lowry-like knights and horses - but the designer took rather a lot of artistic licence with Stonehenge!

If you intend using the project sheets with the whole class, you'll probably need to buy a few more copies. I haven't done a reading level test on them, but I think it would be fairly high and they are rather packed with information for the younger/slower children, so you may be better off using the ideas to produce your own sheets rather than buying more. As I intimated earlier the tape/slide sequence is probably more suitable for the oldest/brightest children, while the stories on the other cassette might have been improved with several voices, but of course the youngsters can produce dramatised versions for themselves.

Despite the fact that I've not been overenthusiastic about some elements, the principle of the multimedia pack is an excellent one. Producing one suitable for eight to thirteen year olds is quite a tall order. The results suggest that it's well worth hoping they'll come up with others.

Des Thomas

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