peppertsuki: A sweet, glitchy green moon. (Default)
[personal profile] peppertsuki
Rainbowgames seems like a good place to talk about weird children's games! I have memories of playing Sierra's Mixed-Up Mother Goose as a child... who was way too old to actually be the target audience (I was like nine or ten, I think, when the game is meant for much younger kids), but the game was easy and adorable so I ended up playing it more than a few times. The game is exceptionally simple, too. Just walk around, pick up objects simply by moving over to them, and try to find the nursery rhyme character who needs the thing you've picked up.

(This is the version I'm pretty sure I played, the 1992 version made with scanned paintings and full mouse control. Incidentally, this is the only Sierra game I am aware of where the opening logo is blue, not green.)

Now that I'm looking back on this game as an adult, I'm impressed by just how welcoming this game is. Considering this was made by the same person who created the King's Quest series, which tended to have death traps on the first screen, the game actively encourages kids to just go and explore. The world is set up so that you can often see where you're trying to go in the distance. Forgot where Banbury Cross is? Just wander into town and you'll see it. (Or you can use the handy little map.) The interface has a similar feel to it. All the options are right on the screen as part of the chrome. You don't need to know which function key will mute the music, or type 'talk jack' or 'pick up little miss muffet' to play the game. You can adjust everything immediately.

One tiny little neat thing I like too: after loud and jolly renditions of a nursery rhyme, there's this tiny, soft, reassuring ding as you get an egg marking your progress.

(There are a lot of other versions of this game! For instance, there's the original, which isn't quite as inviting as it's entirely keyboard based. Sierra didn't assume players knew what a mouse was until 1990. There's also the Deluxe version, which appears to be the same as the 1992 version but with slightly prettier graphics and the ability to change song styles! Apparently Little Bo Peep raps? I'm not too familiar with either version yet.)


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