A&B Computing1st October 1987
Published in A&B Computing 4.10
Xor For Schools
I hope you're all familiar with Xor - after all, we did supply you with a unique free demo on disc a few issues back. At the time we knew that Logotron had committed themselves to developing the game in much the same way as their suite of Logo programs has been expanded and, shortly, they released the Xor Designer package.
Now comes the ultimate Xor kit. Designed obviously for schools (tis will be mail order only), it shows how, with imaginative development, a simple game can become a major piece of software with both entertainment and educational value.
The game is simple - a series of mazes have to be cleared within a fixed number of moves, whilst avoiding traps caused by the release of various icons that move in regular ways. Map icons can be found and there is a replay function that allows you to learn from your mistakes. I thought when it was first released that the game would be awful and I was prepared to say so - a nice surprise then to see that the free demo was not a poor program being cynically dumped but was instead using magazine publicity in a unique way.
The package consists of a number of familiar elements - inside a plain brown card envelope there are the two familiar packages of Xor game, Xor maze editor and icon designer but with the addition of six new introductory mazes, a maze planner (a photocopiable matrix that allows you to draw out your created mazes) and a very clear and well-designed A4 booket of 24 pages.
There is nothing new here (apart from the new mazes and the planner) that will force you to dash your cheque off to Logotron if you already have the main elements but I am very impressed with the whole package. It is well designed both as a game and as back-up material - a very classy piece of software.
I'll leave it up to the educational specialists to discuss how valuable this would be in a classroom - it seems to me, however, that pupils will return to this again and again from choice, which I don't think is true of many of the educational 'games' I have been unfortunate enough to see.
It gets my award as Game Of The Month purely and simply because Logotron have put a lot of effort into the game and the package - that is as worthy of respect as any machine code blaster that I might personally prefer to play!