>> Monday, August 20, 2007
Perhaps The Netherlands has the most local releases of every country: Sport Freaks (by SPC Vision), Domino, De Zaak van Sam. Remarkably also quite a few word-games. For our dutch readers: Do you remember Lingo, Lettergreep and the one I'm highlighting in this post: "De Nationale Spellingwedstrijd"? That's what our dutch television was broadcasting in the ninetees: A competition between teams about the best spelling grade. Dictation on CD-i. Famous dutch presentor "Ivo Niehe" is the host. There are four difficulty levels and 3000 words to spell. This is edutainment how Philips meant it to be.
Dutch broadcaster "TROS" made the program "Nationale Spellingwedstrijd" in 1992 and in 1995 a digital game on CD-i was created. Just like in the USA with game shows like "Jeopardy" and "The Joker's Wild". The nice touch of this game is that it has a license to use the "Van Dale" dictionary, a well-known brand of dictionaries here in The Netherlands. It's also a game that you can play with two players, which is really the most fun option of the whole game. Testing your grammar against your friend is really fun, just like in the way "Brain Training does it right now on the Nintendo DS.
Another detail is the involvement of DIMA, who basically built the game engine. DIMA is the company who we know from our beloved "Family Games" titles and Christmas Crisis, and DIMA later was changed into Creative Media: Christmas Country, Tetsuo Gaiden.
When we start the CD-i, we are welcomed by Ivo Niehe who is showing us 'his' school, the place where we will hang out during our visit. There is a hall with a number of doors. Each door has a function, as well as different objects in the hall. At the "Administration" door you can control the number of players, you can enter the name of each player etcetera. Using the telephone you can call for Ivo's help. You can also enter the words by using the keyboard, or by using multiple choice answers. The gallery door will give access to pictures about the television program and photos of the previous winners of the game (on television). When you walk up the chair, the game will start. Now you can choose between four classes, each representing a difficulty level (Class 1 is easy, class 4 is difficult). Now, click on the cassette recorder and you'll hear your first word. Depending on the time you set at the administration, you have to be quick typing the word on-screen. You have ten words in each round and you can go for 50 points each game. The high scores are saved into the memory of your player. Playing alone, you'll be done with the game fairly easy, but it shines when you play it with a friend. It's pretty rare, so if you see a copy, try to buy it! And, I'd be happy to add some screenshots to this, so if you can help me with that, thanks!