The Playroom

aka: The Playroom: A fun place to explore reading, math, and more.
Moby ID: 11857
DOS Specs
See Also

Description official description

The Playroom is an educational game which is set in the locale of a child's bedroom. Almost everything on the screen can be clicked on, and the child will be rewarded by games, activities, or at least an amusing animation. In this first of what eventually became a trilogy of games including The Treehouse and The Backyard, children are encouraged to use the mouse by the wide range of interactivity with items on the screen. Games and activities encourage creativity, the learning of numbers, and letters, and the development of critical thinking.

Spellings

  • プレイルーム - Japanese spelling

Groups +

Screenshots

Credits (DOS version)

30 People (16 developers, 14 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 74% (based on 5 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 7 ratings with 1 reviews)

A fun board game and lots of useless stuff

The Good
The graphics are rather simple, but look nice enough. The "clock" section has funny pictures showing what the mouse is doing at different times of day (including a midnight trip to the refrigerator - not too educational...). The "story" section is dripping with sugar icing, but also looks nice anyway.
The game is, as I have already hinted, divided into several sections. However, almost everything in the room is clickable and items or creatures which don't lead you to a game section are at least animated - quite a bit like in the better-known and better-drawn Humongous Entertainment games.
However, the part I truly like is the board game, found in the mouse hole. It has three board sizes (the shortest route is boring because the game is over very soon, but the other two are OK, even fun) and each size has different variants (however, finding them is a bit tricky - you need to choose the game, exit to main screen and choose the game again - this way you get board variant no. 2). The most interesting thing is that it's not just a luck-based game like a typical board game for children. Instead you throw three dice and you can choose the one which gives you the optimal move. There are some bonuses and hindrances - white fields let you move +n fields forward if you land on them, black fields force you to move n fields back (so, for example, if you choose a 4 when standing 4 fields away from a +5 one, you move 9 fields forward altogether). So playing the game well also requires some clever thinking and counting, not just throwing the virtual dice over and over. Winning is very easy since the robot, you opponent, is quite a bad player. I only wonder: where did they get these 9-sided cubes you see on the biggest board? ;)

The Bad
Apart from the board game, the other sections are fairly boring. However, the true problem about this little game is that it's not really good at being educational. In the "story" section (books) children can at most learn a few new words - however, if a child is already at an age when it can read by itself, I suspect he or she may already know them. The "typing" section (the computer) is also about learning new words and maybe a bit keyboard layout, but the mouse makes it easy by saying "please type X". In the "counting" section (radio) you have to click on the mouse to discover it can indeed teach counting (if you do this, the mouse will choose objects and ask you "How many?"), otherwise you only choose items and numbers and keep looking at some silly animations. The first option should rather be the default one... So a child won't learn much from the game and it's not just a problem of the game being too easy, it's rather about bad design.

The Bottom Line
So, "The Playroom" is pretty much just a fairly nice board game, indeed worth trying out (however, due to finite number of board variants, it gets boring after some time), with much-less-interesting stuff thrown in. The real problem is that it's a wasted opportunity - the whole idea of a few games in one is very good, the different sections could teach different things, but in fact they don't teach much. The game could have been much better if the designers had given more thought to the problem of how educational games should really be made.

DOS · by Nowhere Girl (8680) · 2014

Trivia

Additional Content

The game came packaged with a stuffed Pepper Mouse toy.

Analytics

MobyPro Early Access

Upgrade to MobyPro to view research rankings!

Related Games

The Playroom VR
Released 2016 on PlayStation 4
The Electric Company Math Fun
Released 1979 on Intellivision
Basic Math
Released 1977 on Atari 2600
The Playroom: Toy Maker
Released 2013 on PlayStation 4
The Playroom: Ninja Bots
Released 2014 on PlayStation 4
Millie's Math House
Released 1992 on Macintosh, 1992 on Windows 3.x, 1995 on Windows
The Playroom: My Alien Buddy
Released 2013 on PlayStation 4
The Playroom VR: Toy Wars
Released 2017 on PlayStation 4
Ready, Set, Read with Bananas & Jack
Released 1993 on Windows 3.x, Macintosh

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 11857
  • [ Please login / register to view all identifiers ]

Contribute

Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by DaWade.

FM Towns added by Infernos. Amiga added by Xoleras. Apple II, Macintosh added by DJP Mom.

Additional contributors: jean-louis, Kayburt.

Game added January 27, 2004. Last modified December 19, 2023.