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|Developers||Brøderbund Software (1996)
The Learning Company (2001-2)
TERC, FableVision, and Learning Games Network (2015+)
|Publishers||Brøderbund Software (1996)
The Learning Company (2001-2)
|Platforms||Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, OS X, iOS, Android|
|First release||Logical Journey of the Zoombinis
Zoombinis are a series of educational puzzle computer games that were originally developed by TERC and published by Brøderbund Software until The Learning Company bought Brøderbund in 1998 and took over developing and publishing the series in 2001. The series consists of 3 games: "Logical Journey of the Zoombinis" (1996), "Zoombinis: Mountain Rescue" (2001), and "Zoombinis: Island Odyssey" (2002). A new version of the original Zoombinis game (Logical Journey), updated for tablets and modern operating systems, was released by TERC, FableVision, and Learning Games Network on August 6, 2015.
- 1 Logical Journey of the Zoombinis (1996)
- 1.1 Gameplay
- 1.1.1 Zoombini Isle to Shelter Rock-- "The Big, The Bad, And the Hungry"
- 1.1.2 Shelter Rock to Shade Tree
- 1.1.3 Shade Tree to Zoombiniville-- "The Mountains of Despair"
- 1.1.4 Zoombiniville
- 1.1 Gameplay
- 2 Zoombinis Mountain Rescue (2001)
- 3 Zoombinis Island Odyssey (2002)
- 4 Zoombinis (2015)
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Logical Journey of the Zoombinis (1996)
Zoombinis—small blue creatures, each with distinct personalities and appearances—are escaping imprisonment by the evil Bloats, who have taken over the Zoombinis' homeland in Zoombini Isle. Players take on the role of guide and help the Zoombinis reach the safety of Zoombiniville. Throughout the Zoombinis' journey, the player has to solve puzzles, such as having to figure out which pizza toppings Arno and his fellow trolls want on their pizzas in order to let the Zoombinis pass, or figuring out which "mudballs" to launch at a grid-covered wall in order to catapult the Zoombinis up a cliff. The player helps them across many challenges, eventually getting the Zoombinis to Zoombiniville (or Zoombiniton in some countries), a town where it is safe from danger and the Zoombinis can prosper.
The Washington Post's Rob Pegoraro wrote that the game was less insipid than he expected, and that the pattern and deductive logic puzzles teach "how to think" rather than a specific skill. Karney said the game was fun and praised its audio cues for children with little reading skills. The game was made in 1995, and released in 1996. In 1997, the game won "Best Home Education for Pre-Teens" at the 12th Codie awards.
The player starts at Zoombini Isle, where they assemble a team of 16 Zoombinis, picking from 5 options each in haircut, eyes, nose color, and footwear, as shown above. Each combination can be used twice in the game, so not all 625 possible combinations are necessary to get all of the required Zoombinis across to Zoombiniville.
Zoombini Isle to Shelter Rock-- "The Big, The Bad, And the Hungry"
The Zoombinis encounter 2 allergic cliffs, each of which has a rope bridge over it. The cliffs are allergic to certain features of the Zoombinis. Each Zoombini must be placed in front of the correct bridge based on their features to cross safely. If a Zoombini is placed in front of the incorrect bridge, the cliff will sneeze and send the Zoombini back. Holding up the bridges are 6 wooden stakes. Every time a cliff sneezes, a stake comes loose. Once all 6 stakes are loose, the bridges collapse and any Zoombinis that have not crossed will be sent back to Zoombini Isle.
Stone Cold Caves
The Zoombinis find 4 caves, each of which has a different path (column and level) to the entrance. There are 4 guards, 1 on each level, and 1 on each column. Each zoombini must be placed at the correct column and level to enter a cave safely. The guards will knock the Zoombinis down if they are sent up the wrong path based on their features. The guard on each column will knock down at both the upper and the lower level for the same Zoombini. At the Not So Easy difficulty, only 2 caves are used. At higher difficulties, all 4 caves are used. After a certain number of attempts, rocks will fall and block the paths, sending all the Zoombinis that have not entered a cave back to Zoombini Isle.
The Zoombinis enter another cave, where they encounter a pizza machine with up to five pizza toppings and 3 ice cream toppings, and up to three trolls depending on the level (1 Not So Easy, 2 Oh So Hard, 3 Very Hard and Very Very Hard). Each troll has a specific preference for pizza toppings, and no two trolls will like the same topping, nor will all toppings necessarily be used in a given round. Once all of the trolls are satisfied, the Zoombinis are allowed to continue on to Shelter Rock. If the player can not satisfy all of the trolls within a certain number of attempts, the trolls will begin to throw Zoombinis out of their cave and back to Zoombini Isle
Shelter Rock to Shade Tree
At the Shelter Rock checkpoint, there are two different paths to take the Zoombinis along on their trek to Zoombiniville, a north path through "Who's Bayou", and a south path through the "Deep, Dark Forest".
North Trail-- "Who's Bayou"
Captain Cajun's Ferry Boat
The Zoombinis must be placed on Captain Cajon's boat so that every Zoombini has at least 1 feature in common with the Zoombini sitting next to them. Captain Cajun will throw any Zoombini placed incorrectly off the boat and back onto the dock. In Not so Easy, each Zoombini will be next to 1 or 2 Zoombinis. In Oh So Hard, it is a 2 x 8, where each Zoombini will be next to 2 or 3 Zoombinis. Very Hard is a 4 x 4, where there are 3 or 4 Zoombinis next to each one. Very, Very Hard is a 4 x 4 but with the rows slightly shifted, so that there are up to 6 Zoombinis next to each one.
South Trail--"Deep, Dark Forest"
The Zoombinis arrive at a clearing in the forest, where they encounter sixteen fleens on rock formation and a tree branch. Each fleen has four distinct features, hair, nose color, eyes, and feet, which correspond to features on each of the sixteen Zoombinis. In the Not So Easy level, each feature directly corresponds to the feature of the Zoombinis, while later levels may use a transitive function or randomize the correlation. The goal of the level is to remove all three fleens from the tree branch, while using as few Zoombinis as possible, since there is only room for 6 Zoombinis to stand out of the way before they fall off of their branch and are chased by their matching fleens back to Shelter Rock. When all three fleens are removed from the branch, a swarm of hornets emerges from their nest and chase the fleens away, allowing the Zoombinis to continue through the forest.
Shade Tree to Zoombiniville-- "The Mountains of Despair"
Crystal Mirror Level
Bubble Wonder Abyss
Zoombiniville is where the Zoombinis form a new society after having to leave Zoombini Isle. For each leg of the journey completed at each of the four difficulties, a new monument is added to the town, for a total of 16.
|The Big, The Bad, and The Hungry||Not So Easy|
|The Big, The Bad, and The Hungry||Oh So Hard|
|The Big, The Bad, and The Hungry||Very Hard|
|The Big, The Bad, and The Hungry||Very Very Hard|
|Who's Bayou||Not So Easy|
|Who's Bayou||Oh So Hard|
|Who's Bayou||Very Hard|
|Who's Bayou||Very Very Hard|
|Deep, Dark Forest||Not So Easy|
|Deep, Dark Forest||Oh So Hard|
|Deep, Dark Forest||Very Hard|
|Deep, Dark Forest||Very Very Hard|
|Mountains of Despair||Not So Easy|
|Mountains of Despair||Oh So Hard|
|Mountains of Despair||Very Hard|
|Mountains of Despair||Very Very Hard|
Zoombinis Mountain Rescue (2001)
After the foundation of Zoombiniville, the Zoombinis find peace once more, until a small group of them get trapped inside a cave seeking shelter from a storm. They meet up with strange creatures called Boolies who occupy a city known as Booliewood. As a result of the storm, the Boolies have been scattered across the land, and their leader, the Grand Boolie Boolie, has disappeared. The goal of the game is to recruit a total of 400 Boolies to Booliewood to resurrect the Grand Boolie Boolie.
The player begins in Zoombiniville, where they assemble a team of 16 Zoombinis. There are two "Rescue Site" checkpoints between Zoombiniville and Booliewood, where Zoombinis that do not make it through challenges return to.
Zoombiniville to Rescue Site 1
Similar to the "Lion's Lair" level in "Logical Journey of the Zoombinis", the 16 Zoombinis must be arranged in a specific order across the shells of 16 turtles that form a bridge across a river, based on a guide engraved on a log along the bank. misplaced Zoombinis are tossed to the correct turtle, and a leg is removed from the pier. When all of the legs fall away from the pier, it falls into the water and any remaining Zoombinis are sent back to Zoombiniville.
Pipes of Paloo
Similar to "Stone Rise" from "Logical Journey", the Zoombinis must be matched together across a network of platforms, with each pair of Zoombinis having a given feature (hair, nose color, foot, or eye) in common. The plumbing networks range from simple pairings in "Not so Easy" to a single interconnected network of all 16 Zoombinis in "Very Hard". When all connections are made, or the player gives up and leaves Zoombinis behind, they turn a master valve with the click of their mouse, and the Zoombinis are sucked down into the plumbing system.
The Aqua Cube consists of a pod in each of its 8 (or 16 for Very Hard, with 2 interconnected cubes) corners, which contain either a Zoombini or a Fleen. The player operates a control panel with 3 (or 4 in Very Hard to jump between inner and outer cubes) levers to move around the cube in each of the 3 dimensions and save the Zoombinis while avoiding the Fleen(s). If the player catches a Fleen, it chases any saved Zoombinis back to Zoombiniville. In the Oh So Hard and Very Hard levels, there is also a "Warp" button, which allows the player to pull multiple levers in a short amount of time to move across multiple sections of the cube in a single turn and reach stranded Zoombinis while avoiding Fleens.
Rescue Site 1 to Rescue Site 2
After exiting the Aqua Cube, the Zoombinis reach the first "Rescue Site" checkpoint, where the player can store their Zoombinis and go to other bases on the map before continuing their rescue mission. The second leg of the journey only requires 8 Zoombinis instead of 16, so it is more likely that a player can continue on without having to go back to Zoombiniville and send more Zoombinis before moving on. From Rescue Site 1 there are 2 different routes through the cave network, a left (north on map) and right (south) tunnel.
Zoombinis Island Odyssey (2002)
In this game, the Zoombinis discover that they left the native moths to die in their former homeland of Zoombini Isle, and return to the Isle, which is now empty of the colonist Bloats who earlier enslaved the Zoombinis. A group of 12 Zoombinis, which can be customized, are each carrying a caterpillar in order to restore the island life. The player must then complete different puzzles, such as growing berries and breeding butterflies, to eventually restore the ecosystem of the island. This is the first game of the series to incorporate science in the puzzles, which include intersection of rates, decoding, astronomical time, Venn diagrams, and Punnett squares, as well as some reincarnations of puzzles from Logical Journey. The graphics have again changed, and the Zoombinis' features are no longer important to gameplay. Here, they are fully 3-D. When the Zoombinis release 224 Zerbles (native wildlife) into the wild, the Zoombinis return to Zoombiniville, and the game is won.
Zoombinis is a remake of the original Zoombinis game (Logical Journey of the Zoombinis). The main improvements of the remake are updated graphics (see pictures) and that the game is designed to run on modern operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and others). Zoombinis was officially released on 6 August 2015 for iOS and Android and was released for Windows and Mac, as well as Kindle Fire, on 28 October 2015.
In 2014, TERC, the original creator of Zoombinis, began an internally funded redevelopment of the game. Then, in March 2015, they launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund additional enhancements and releases, including PC and Kindle versions. It was successfully funded. Also in 2015, the National Science Foundation awarded TERC nearly $2 million to study how much "computational thinking" kids do while playing Zoombinis, both at home and in the classroom, and whether teachers can extend the lessons outside the game.
- Dean Takahashi (2015-02-17). "Nonprofit brings back Zoombinis educational game and launches Kickstarter". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2016-04-16.
- Shao, Yiqing (2015-02-18). "Zoombinis App to Be Released for Tablets and Desktop". Boston magazine. Retrieved 2016-04-16.
- Pegoraro, Rob (April 7, 1996). "The Learning Game". The Washington Post – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 23 May 2014.
- "Logical Journey of the Zoombinis.(Broderbund)(The Learning Arcade) (Software Review)(Brief Article)(Evaluation)". Computer Shopper (subscription required) – via HighBeam Research.
- "1997 Codies awarded for best software.". Tape-Disc Business – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). April 1, 1997. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
- "Zoombinis on the App Store". iTunes App Store. Retrieved 2016-04-16.
- "Zoombinis on Google Play". Google Play. Retrieved 2016-04-16.
- "Zoombinis app page". Amazon app store. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- "Zoombinis Steam Page". Steam. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- "Zoombinis". TERC. Kickstarter. February 17, 2015. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
- Toppo, Greg (2015-08-06). "How a beloved video game came back from the dead 20 years after its improbable birth". Usatoday.com. Retrieved 2016-04-16.
- "NSF Award Search: Award#1502882 - Zoombinis: The Full Development Implementation Research Study of a Computational Thinking Game for Upper Elementary and Middle School Learners". Nsf.gov. Retrieved 2016-04-16.