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Article #3 (74 is last): Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.8bit.reviews From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Ecologian / education / shareware Reply-To: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Date: Sun Nov 3 14:27:31 1991 Reprinted from Current Notes, Vol. 11, No. 6, July/August 1991 Ecologian --------- Review by Gerry Girard Intended "to help students understand the interactions among different organisms and their environment." Bresnik's _Ecologian_ definitely provides a quality environmental learning experience. Disguised as a videogame, the program places you in charge of sending down from your space stationed ark various species to create an ecosystem similar to Earth. A Help function is provided to enable the user to understand the various functions of the specific organisms. Overall, I enjoyed _Ecologian_. Accomplishing its goal, the program becomes a learning tool that is fun. _Ecologian_ not only reports on data, but shows you graphics of your planet's progress. The screens and graphics are in color, so a lot is lost if you use a monochromatic monitor. Other than that, the graphics were pleasing and well-defined. Also, after many hours of play, the program continued to run flawlessly with no bugs or crashes. Of course, the program would be extremely useful in an ecology class, but it also fulfills a hidden "creator" fantasy in all of us. Documentation files are provided on the disk. The instructions were complete and well organized, including the theory behind the program, some hints on game play, and suggestions for enrichment activities. And fear not for your printer, for _Ecologian's_ documentation is easy to access. Simply go to DOS, select option "J" and "copy" from "ECOLOGN.DOC" to "P:" (the printer). You can also obtain a copy from AtariWriter by loading "ECOLOGN.TXT." Don't worry about those key press errors, either. The instructions tell you how to recover. In fact, you don't have to worry about anything, except your planet! This program builds interest and excitement as the screen, colors, and data change. It held my attention and challenged me at a level that felt just about right. It didn't bite, either. _Ecologian_ is user-friendly, requiring little effort and preparation to set up. Just pop it in and go (actual loading procedure is given in the instructions). For me, the only real difficulty was in winning the game. I finally did it with an environmental quality index of 91.5% and an elapsed time of 330 million years. I ran _Ecologian_ on an Atari 130XE with DOS 2.5 and an Atari XF551 disk drive, but according to the docs it's compatible with the Atari 800XL computer and 1050 disk drive. Without a starship you might not be able to "boldly go where no man has gone before," but with _Ecologian_ you can certainly create and learn as no man has done before. Available from: Bresik Software, 555 Ware St., Mansfield, MA 02048. Shareware, all disks $5.95 + $2.00 P&H per order.