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Keyboard Component Spelling Challenge Play-through

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Happy Intellivision Day 2021!

 

Following our work on Conversational French, we've captured and digitized Spelling Challenge.  Like Conversational French and Jack Lalanne, Spelling Challenge was written by APh for Mattel.  We know from the 2004 CGE panel that Peter Kaminiski was one of the programmers (24:40).

 

Now don't get your hopes up!  It's unlikely that Spelling Challenge is going to blow you away. :|

 

The premise is that by correctly spelling words you help a monkey to feed a crocodile with coconuts.  What is it with Mattel's educational primate fixation?  Having shaken the coconuts from the tree, they have to be floated into the air using balloons, before they're picked off by a passing bird which ferries them to the crocodile!?  Why this convoluted process? :ponder:  Don't know!  Sounds like an idea generated at the end of a particularly long and liquid lunch to me.  The result is that you have to spell each word correctly three times to complete a level.  The game comes with five predefined lists, each containing 20 words.  The words to be spelled in the first two lessons are represented by sounds, in the remaining lists they're just spoken.  The player can also record their own lesson of up to 20 words with associated noises or spoken cues, providing unlimited spelling entertainment!

 

Here's a quick "highlights" video:
 

 

OK, so calling these highlights is probably stretching things.  Even for an edutainment title Spelling Challenge is pretty lack lustre.  Having to spell each word three times turns each list into a bit of a slog, it's missing the competitive, two player aspect of Math Fun or Word Fun, and it doesn't provide a timer, score or track your progress.

 

For the completionists, here are the full set of lessons (apologies for the changes in exposure on scene changes, this is caused by my cheaping out on an AV capture device).  For Animal Sounds we've provided a full play-through of all three game phases so you can see all the animations.  However, for the other lessons we only show shaking the coconuts from the tree. The balloon and bird sections have the same animations as Animal Sounds, and once the coconuts are on the ground, you've heard all the pre-recorded audio content:

 

 

And finally, you can record your own lists like this:
 

 

As was mentioned in the Conversational French "making of" video, the Kitty Faker cannot record audio, so we can't demonstrate using a home word list.


So far, we've not found Easter Eggs in Spelling Challenge.  The nearest to one is the rather cryptic text "SIGNAL for condition not ENABLEd" found in one of the program records (the capitalisation is as it's written in the program).  We've not worked out how this message is triggered or what it means yet.
 

As noted by @Lathe26, the K/C software was pretty expensive, with recommended prices between $50 and $70.  As a comparison, a regular Inty cart cost $25 at the time, and a tape from the album chart was between $7 and $10.  Spelling Challenge's program and audio amounts to about 8 minutes of content on the tape (1:15 of program and 6:30 of audio samples).  Although, as @intvnut has pointed out, at 12K decles of program, the game is quite a bit bigger than something like Math Fun.  Was it value for money?  We leave it to you to decide.

 

Again, credit to @Knarfian, @Ron The Cat, @Lathe26 and @intvnut for their help in bringing this to you.

 

Right, on to Jack Lalanne!

 


Cheers

 

decle
 

 

 

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The synopsis for this program reminds me of some folk tales from Senegal (and possibly other African/Middle Eastern countries). In particular there is one about a crocodile who is told by his mother to go out to hunt for monkey heart for dinner. He locates a monkey in the trees and befriends him. The crocodile is on his way to invite the monkey home, and admits that he is looking for monkey heart. The monkey tells him that the monkey has left his heart at the top of the tree so he has to run back to fetch it. Once at the top of the tree, the monkey throws down some coconuts for the crocodile and tells him that is the monkey heart. The crocodile is fooled, picks up the coconuts and heads home only to get scolded by his mother crocodile. In some variations of the tale, the coconuts may be figs or plums but generally it is the same story. There were no birds involved in that one though.

 

It would appear that this tale might have been the inspiration to the above program. There is also the Alligator Swamp game on the Sharp MZ-80 (later ported to Commodore PET and which I made an unfinished Intellivision game in the 2015 IntyBASIC competition) which may have similar origins.

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1 hour ago, carlsson said:

The synopsis for this program reminds me of some folk tales from Senegal (and possibly other African/Middle Eastern countries). In particular there is one about a crocodile who is told by his mother to go out to hunt for monkey heart for dinner. He locates a monkey in the trees and befriends him. The crocodile is on his way to invite the monkey home, and admits that he is looking for monkey heart. The monkey tells him that the monkey has left his heart at the top of the tree so he has to run back to fetch it. Once at the top of the tree, the monkey throws down some coconuts for the crocodile and tells him that is the monkey heart. The crocodile is fooled, picks up the coconuts and heads home only to get scolded by his mother crocodile. In some variations of the tale, the coconuts may be figs or plums but generally it is the same story. There were no birds involved in that one though.

 

It would appear that this tale might have been the inspiration to the above program. There is also the Alligator Swamp game on the Sharp MZ-80 (later ported to Commodore PET and which I made an unfinished Intellivision game in the 2015 IntyBASIC competition) which may have similar origins.

I can't say I am familiar with that folk tale, but it sounds a lot like one of Chuck Jones' Bugs Bunny cartoons, in which a mother buzzard sends her not-so-bright son to get a rabbit for dinner.  He tries to convince Bugs Bunny to come with him, but the rabbit just tricks him into returning with ... something else, I don't recall.  It's quite funny, as most of Chuck Jones' work is, even though on the surface the underlying story may seem a bit ... strange and sordid.

Edited by DZ-Jay
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Yeah. Given that Mattel licensed a few cartoon characters in games, it wouldn't have been out of place to use Bugs Bunny in educational software for the upcoming Keyboard Component. Perhaps the costs would have outweighed the sales profit so they saved such licensing to games that were projected to reach some serious volumes.

 

Here is a slightly different rendering of the tale by the way (though it has very little to do with Intellivision at this point).

 

Edited by carlsson
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15 hours ago, decle said:

Happy Intellivision Day 2021!

 

Following our work on Conversational French, we've captured and digitized Spelling Challenge.  Like Conversational French and Jack Lalanne, Spelling Challenge was written by APh for Mattel.  We know from the 2004 CGE panel that Peter Kaminiski was one of the programmers (24:40).

 

Now don't get your hopes up!  It's unlikely that Spelling Challenge is going to blow you away. :|

 

The premise is that by correctly spelling words you help a monkey to feed a crocodile with coconuts.  What is it with Mattel's educational primate fixation?  Having shaken the coconuts from the tree, they have to be floated into the air using balloons, before they're picked off by a passing bird which ferries them to the crocodile!?  Why this convoluted process? :ponder:  Don't know!  Sounds like an idea generated at the end of a particularly long and liquid lunch to me.  The result is that you have to spell each word correctly three times to complete a level.  The game comes with five predefined lists, each containing 20 words.  The words to be spelled in the first two lessons are represented by sounds, in the remaining lists they're just spoken.  The player can also record their own lesson of up to 20 words with associated noises or spoken cues, providing unlimited spelling entertainment!

 

Here's a quick "highlights" video:
 

 

OK, so calling these highlights is probably stretching things.  Even for an edutainment title Spelling Challenge is pretty lack lustre.  Having to spell each word three times turns each list into a bit of a slog, it's missing the competitive, two player aspect of Math Fun or Word Fun, and it doesn't provide a timer, score or track your progress.

 

For the completionists, here are the full set of lessons (apologies for the changes in exposure on scene changes, this is caused by my cheaping out on an AV capture device).  For Animal Sounds we've provided a full play-through of all three game phases so you can see all the animations.  However, for the other lessons we only show shaking the coconuts from the tree. The balloon and bird sections have the same animations as Animal Sounds, and once the coconuts are on the ground, you've heard all the pre-recorded audio content:

 

 

And finally, you can record your own lists like this:
 

 

As was mentioned in the Conversational French "making of" video, the Kitty Faker cannot record audio, so we can't demonstrate using a home word list.


So far, we've not found Easter Eggs in Spelling Challenge.  The nearest to one is the rather cryptic text "SIGNAL for condition not ENABLEd" found in one of the program records (the capitalisation is as it's written in the program).  We've not worked out how this message is triggered or what it means yet.
 

As noted by @Lathe26, the K/C software was pretty expensive, with recommended prices between $50 and $70.  As a comparison, a regular Inty cart cost $25 at the time, and a tape from the album chart was between $7 and $10.  Spelling Challenge's program and audio amounts to about 8 minutes of content on the tape (1:15 of program and 6:30 of audio samples).  Although, as @intvnut has pointed out, at 12K decles of program, the game is quite a bit bigger than something like Math Fun.  Was it value for money?  We leave it to you to decide.

 

Again, credit to @Knarfian, @Ron The Cat, @Lathe26 and @intvnut for their help in bringing this to you.

 

Right, on to Jack Lalanne!

 


Cheers

 

decle


That's very ... uhm ... interesting.

 

Still, it's exciting to see the software in action and the vision the designers had on the use cases for the Keyboard Component.

 

Notwithstanding, I feel I need to say this.


Decle, my friend, pay attention:

 

TRUNK:

image.thumb.jpeg.2a59be24bea70bc0df5c09c3f57423d3.jpeg
 

 

NO TRUNK:

image.thumb.jpeg.47fff469ed6d1ff5d08f2d23d4bf1881.jpeg


 

Got it?

 

😆😆😆😆

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