September 1999

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.

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Disney/Pixar's A Bug's Life Action Game, JumpStart 1st Grade Version 2.0 and JumpStart Reading for Second Graders from Knowledge Adventure

Disney/Pixar's A Bug's Life Action Game

If you liked the movie, you'll love A Bug's Life Action Game from Disney Interactive and Pixar. Meet Flik, Slim, Heimlich, Francis, Rosie, Dim, Tuck and Roll, Gypsy and Manny, those lovable A Bug's Life characters as you move through 15 levels of this animated adventure. Your goal is to save the Queen Ant and Princess Atta from the evil grasshoppers. This is an action-packed 3-D adventure with the music, sights and sounds of the movie plus the fun of helping Flik save his animated ant world from the cluches of that nasty grasshopper, Hopper. It even includes video clips as a reward for sucessfully completing a level.

Kids (and adults) ages 8 and up will have a great time interacting with the memorable characters from another Disney hit animated adventure. My daughter, Sarah, who is 8 years old, likes to spend time with A Bug's Life. Although she says she loves the game, I know she's hasn't mastered many of the levels. And when she runs into trouble, she calls me for assistance. Some of the insects who challenge Flik frighten her a bit. When this happens, she asks me to help, or often abandons the game for other activities. It's definitely fun for me when I take over and save Flik, as in one case, from the fire ants. Then, I reluctantly give up the game to Sarah so she can continue her 3-D journey to save the ants. In our case, some of the activities do scare Sarah, but older kids may find the situations challenging and not frightening. I have to admit, when the fire ants are chasing Flik they make me a bit uneasy even though they're just animated game characters on my computer monitor. But that adds to the fun of the game.

This game will definitely keep your kids busy for hours with their favoriate Disney animated characters and some of the best 3-D animated action around. Sarah says she really likes the game, and enjoys spending time helping Flik train to improve his skills.

Disney/Pixar's A Bug's Life Action Game CD sells for a street price of $29.99 and will run on any multimedia PC, Pentium 166 MHz or faster processor with 16 megabytes of RAM and a quad-speed (4x) CD-ROM drive running Windows 95 or Windows 98. For more information contact Disney Interactive at 1-800-900-9234, or visit their Web site at

JumpStart 1st Grade Version 2.0 from Knowledge Adventure

Knowledge Adventure has entered into a new era with their JumpStart 1st Grade for the year 2000, now new and improved for kids ages 5 through 7. Enter the Y2K with Frankie the dog and Ms. Nobel, the 1st grade teacher with new graphics, sound effects and animation for a JumpStart 1st Grade treasure hunt adventure.

You'll find activities in every part of the school. In the classroom play the Beanbag Shooter for clues, Lost and Found for words and Book Club for reading. In the hallway play the Hall Pass. Out on the playground you'll find a word match game in the Sandbox and play Pogo Stick Drill Teams for math. In the lunchroom play Alphabet Soup for spelling and operate the Snack Machine for more math. In the kitchen you'll make pizza as orders come in and find the Food Machine for baking using the right ingredients and amounts. The Art Room offers painting with backgrounds ands stickers. And finally, you'll enjoy the Music Machine for listening and recording your own songs.

Once you've earned three clues you can search for the treasure. First you'll answer a quiz question, then hop on a boat with Frankie the dog for a trip to an island. There you'll get another clue to find the treasure and then accept your prize.

Becky, my almost 5 year old (she'll be 5 in November and is now in Kindergarten), helped test this newest version of JumpStart 1st Grade. She really liked math with the Pogo Stick Drill Team (looked like fun to me), loved , what she calls, the sling shot (the beanbag shooter) while learning science. And enjoyed the trip to the islands to search for the treasure. She just reminded me to tell you that she also liked to help Frankie uncover the buried bones in the sandbox.

JumpStart 1st Grade Version 2.0 sells for a street price of $20 and will run on any multimedia PC, Pentium 90 or faster and a Power Macintosh System 7.5 or higher. Both computers require 16 megabytes of RAM and a quad-speed CD-ROM drive. For more information contact Knowledge Adventure at 1-800-545-7677, or visit their Web site at

JumpStart Reading for Second Graders from Knowledge Adventure

Okay, second graders, and kids ages 6 to 8, you can get a jump-start on reading with JumpStart Reading for Second Graders, another fun and educational title from Knowledge Adventure. It really is an adventure in reading. With the help of CJ the Frog and Edison the Firefly, you'll journey through mysterious lands and learn the fundamentals of second grade reading as you search for the lost city of Ursulab.

You'll find this adventure filled with great graphics, music, animation and sound effects. With 9 imaginative and stimulating reading activities, you'll search mazes for parts of speech in the Caves of Cumae, cross chasms for contractions in Machu Picchu, find words in puzzle ruins, play Atlantis and journey to the bottom of the sea for letter combinations, duel with spelling, learn rhymes, synonyms, antonyms and homophones, hear stories to test your reading comprehension at Ayers Rock, learn alphabetizing in the Dig Game and more. Actually, the activities are cleverly disguised within arcade-style action games. And if kids playing, they can't help but learn.

Sarah and Becky spent at least two hours straight their first time on this CD. And then, later that day, before going to bed, they were on the computer for another hour. Since Sarah is 8 years old and Becky almost 5, Sarah played while Becky watched (they usually sit together in one chair--it's very cute to see). When I asked Sarah what she liked about JumpStart Reading for Second Graders, she said, "I liked the Dig Game. But I can't say I liked just one game. I liked quite a few of them. I also liked Machu Picchu, Atlantis, Ayers Rock and the Caves of Cumae."

JumpStart Reading for Second Graders sells for a street price of $20 and will run on any multimedia PC, 486DX2/66 MHz processor or faster, 16 MB RAM and a Power Macintosh with 9 MB RAM. Both computers require a quad-speed CD-ROM drive. For more information contact Knowledge Adventure at 1-800-545-7677, or visit their Web site at

Howard Berenbon