December 2001

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.


JumpStart Spy Masters: Unmask the Prankster from Knowledge Adventure and Art Explosion 600,000 Images from Nova Development

JumpStart Spy Masters: Unmask the Prankster from Knowledge Adventure

Here's a new 3-D arcade-style educational game from Knowledge Adventure with a theme all kids (ages 7 through 11) love: spying.  Kids will enjoy hours of educational fun tracking the villain, Prankster, and help stamp out the trouble caused by his robots.  With great graphics, music and sound effects kids will also learn some math, spelling, language arts and geography as they save the world from the Prankster.

After a quick installation, and then creating a secret identity, kids will jump right into their mission and begin one of several spy-related activities while earning spy gear and, of course, saving the world.  The missions will take place in various 3-D areas including in an ancient city, abandoned amusement park and in a robot factory. 

Becky, my 7-year-old daughter, loves anything related to spies and spying, and she said Spy Masters was "very fun".  She also requested the software for her birthday after reading about it on the Internet and seeing a commercial on television.  The game's theme also compliments her night vision binoculars, telescope, microscope and spy voice changer device, gifts recently acquired for her birthday.

Sarah, my 10-year-old daughter, also loved the game.  In fact, both girls were glued to the computer for two hours the first day we installed it.

JumpStart Spy Masters: Unmask the Pransker sells for $29.99 and will run on any multimedia PC, Pentium 233 MHz or faster, 32 MB RAM with Windows 95/98/ME/2000 and a 12x CD-ROM drive.  It will also run on a Macintosh, G3 iMac or faster, OS 8.1 or higher, with 64 MB RAM and a 24x CD-ROM drive. 

Art Explosion 600,000 Images from Nova Development

Art Explosion 600,000 Images is an unbelievable software package from Nova Development.  If you're a professional graphics designer or just an amateur, you'll know that this software package is a bargain at $79.95.  It includes more than enough clip art (black and white and color) and photographs to keep your graphics design business going for ages.  Also included is Kai's Photo Soap SE used to clean up and fix imperfections in your photographs to help improve your designs.

The 600,000 images are supplied on a 29 CDs, along with a 1470-page user manual comprised of mainly thumbnail photos of all the images.  Fortunately, the images are listed alphabetically under a number of subjects in the table of contents.  The clip art categories include Advertising, Backgrounds, Cartoons, Education & Schools, Fantasy & Medieval, Gardening, Hands, Interior, Kids' Stuff, Landscapes, Maps, Occasions, People, Real Estate, Science, Technology & Communications, Western & Rodeo, and more in between pictured in 1424 pages of the manual.  Also included are fine art images, backgrounds, technical symbols and 1500 fonts plus some bonus Web graphics and animation.  The graphics are provided in a variety of image formats including, vector, raster, tiff, and jpeg in low, medium and high resolutions and can easily be adjusted for your publishing needs.  All images can be used with any PC or Macintosh computer.

After you've installed the image browser software included, you're ready to browse the CDs to find that perfect piece of art for your latest advertising or home graphics project.  You can use the manual to find the art, and then go to the legend on the CD holder folder (two folders hold the 29 CDs) to find the CD number that has the category of graphics you're searching for.  Next, use the image browser to locate and then drag the image to any photo manipulation software package, word processor or your desktop.

Art Explosion is a tremendous bargain package for the price and a must-buy product for any user, business or home. One or two images alone can be worth the $79.95 price tag.  However, the commercial graphics designer may find it somewhat limiting since Nova Development does not allow (or license) use of the photographs picturing people for any commercial purposes including promoting of products.  Other limitations include libelous or obscene uses.  But, there's no limitation on any use of the clip art, and there are plenty of photos that don't involve people.  You should be able to find some acceptable photographs out of the 89,000 plus images.

Howard Berenbon

Software Companies Mentioned

Knowledge Adventure, Inc.
19840 Pioneer Avenue
Torrance, CA 90503
Phone: 1-800-545-7677

Nova Development Corporation
23801 Calabasas Road, Suite 2005
Calabasas, CA 91302
Phone: 1-818-591-9600