by: David & Steven
Television Entertainment, go
to the web site
95 or higher, Pentium computer, 64MB RAM, VGA video or
higher, 16-bit color, mouse, sound card
Television Entertainment (ITE ApS) was founded
in 1988 in Copenhagen, and in 1990 the interactive
TV show "Hugo the TV Troll" appeared for
the first time on Danish television. Since then,
the company has been actively producing interactive
kids TV entertainment for markets in Europe and South
America. Hugo the Troll shows are currently aired
from Denmark to Venezuela (who knew?). In 1998, ITE
founded the company ITE Media ApS, which develops
games based on the characters from the interactive
TV shows. Today, the games are sold on PC, PlayStation,
Nintendo Game Boy (not GBA), Set Top Boxes based
on the Open TV standard and Internet portals.
Like all Hugo titles, it helps if you've seen at
least a few episodes of the cartoon TV show, but
young kids soon get the idea anyway. In this game
Hugo the Troll, and his friends Fernando the Toucan
and Jean Paul the Monkey have moved out to Hugo's
hut in the Savannah. Suddenly a very busy but exhausted
stork arrives in the cave. The stork needs the help
of Hugo and his friends to deliver the last three
eggs on the stork's delivery route.
Dumb fathers who can't get the Ostrich egg to its
rightful place are an embarrassment to grown men
everywhere. Right off the bat the game suggests that
you get the mouse from the lion, but I never figured
out how to do it. The 9 year old who tested the game
for us more or less whipped through the Ostrich egg
delivery, essentially leaving some you-know-what
on my face.
In addition to the Ostrich egg dopiness, you've got Fernando
and the Eagle's egg, where you guide the toucan through
treetops and mountain labyrinths, while keeping an eye
out for flying elephants, irritating monkeys and several
other dangers hiding in the mountain grottos. As well,
Jean Paul and the Crocodile egg is a bouncy sort of quest
(you get to jump on trampolines to get around and leap
dangerous animals) to reach the crocodile nest.
The Photo Safari, in which you have to quickly take snapshots
of certain animals, was interesting only briefly. There
weren't enough key elements to keep the 6 year old's attention.
Best of all however, as usual for real youngsters, the
Memory Game lets kids turn over tiles to see what the various
animals eat, what their young look like, where they live
and so on.
Cons: Although ITE recommends Heroes of the Savannah for
6-12 year olds, for our 6 year old tester, the learning
curve was a bit like a vertical climb - the game was very
difficult for him. There are certain things you have to
know in order to play, but the information is usually only
known by experienced gamers - the standard sorts of things
that a more experienced youngster (7-9 years old) usually
knows. Definitely not for very young beginners - stick
to Reader Rabbit. It was difficult getting started because
the game tells you press F1 and displays an F1 icon on-screen.
Off course you're supposed to press F1 on your keyboard.
Worse is the instruction that 'after choosing the face
you want, click on the VEE' - the only problem being that
it's a check mark (some Danish to English localization
problems we think?). Needs a user interface review by someone
who knows kids games. Companies such as Edmark, Riverdeep
and The Learning Company have all proven that great kids'
user interfaces can be created for a variety of titles.
Pros: Our 9 year old tester really enjoyed this one. Eight
of the other ITE game titles are supported by full online
game engines, allowing kids to play with the peers around
the world, in a kid-safe environment. Note that Denmark
is a little more liberal than some other countries (Canada
and the U.S. for instance?). As well, don't let your kids
miss the Hugo's World part of the hugo-net web site. Game
and site are both recommended.
Letters to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public. Send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org