Tech Reviews -- American Girls Doll Fans Can Stage New Stories
Special To The Seattle Times
Young fans of the American Girls dolls already know there is a lot of doll-related stuff you can buy. Now, right along with Samantha's Victorian Lemonade Set and Addy's Sweet Potato Pudding Kit, you can buy "The American Girls Premiere" CD-ROM from the Learning Company, 800-227-5609.
It might seem like fluff to some, but this software hits the digital bull's-eye for girls 7 to 12 who can't get enough of these hugely popular (and, yes, a little pricey) dolls.
The American Girls dolls are historically based. Each has a series of books that tells the story of the time in which that doll lived. The Addy doll, for example, lived during the Civil War and her books give a glimpse of what school and family life was like for an African-American then.
The software takes the same historical themes and lets girls create plays starring their favorite dolls. When you think about the variety of tasks involved in developing a stage production - prop set up, stage design, music and lighting, direction and script authoring - it quickly becomes clear how doing all that with computer tools could be very challenging, creative and rewarding.
The program's interface looks like an elaborate stage. Girls first click-and-choose an American Girl doll to be their play's star, and then design their set with historically accurate props and backdrops from that doll's time. Other characters can be the co-stars, and special effects like lighting, music and sound effects are added.
After girls have strung scenes together to create their play, the production can be played back from the curtain rising to the end.
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