Zoombinis

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Zoombinis
Genres Educational, puzzle
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)
TERC (2015+)
Platforms Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, OS X, iOS, Android
First release Logical Journey of the Zoombinis
March 1996
Latest release Zoombinis
August 2015

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 Odessy" (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][2]

Logical Journey of the Zoombinis (1996)[edit]

Screenshot of gameplay

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.[3] 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.[4] In 1997, the game won "Best Home Education for Pre-Teens" at the 12th Codie awards.[5]

Zoombinis Mountain Rescue (2001)[edit]

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.

Gameplay[edit]

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[edit]

Turtles[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Aqua Cube[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Left (North) Tunnel[edit]
Scarab Hall[edit]
Chez Norf[edit]
Right (South) Tunnel[edit]
Bubble Wonder Abyss[edit]
Fleens Level[edit]

Rescue Site 2 to Booliewood[edit]

Ski Level[edit]
Boolie Pinball[edit]

Booliewood[edit]

Zoombinis Island Odyssey (2002)[edit]

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.

Gameplay[edit]

Catapult[edit]

Wall[edit]

Planetarium[edit]

Greenhouse[edit]

Arno's Garden[edit]

Feeding Corral[edit]

Mating Barn[edit]

Zoombinis (2015)[edit]

Graphics improvement of updated game
Original Pizza Pass level
Updated Pizza Pass level

Zoombinis is a remake of the original Zoombinis game (Logical Journey of the Zoombinis).[6][7] 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,[8] on 28 October 2015.[9]

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.[10] 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.[11][12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dean Takahashi (2015-02-17). "Nonprofit brings back Zoombinis educational game and launches Kickstarter". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2016-04-16. 
  2. ^ Shao, Yiqing (2015-02-18). "Zoombinis App to Be Released for Tablets and Desktop". Boston magazine. Retrieved 2016-04-16. 
  3. ^ Pegoraro, Rob (April 7, 1996). "The Learning Game". The Washington Post  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "Logical Journey of the Zoombinis.(Broderbund)(The Learning Arcade) (Software Review)(Brief Article)(Evaluation)". Computer Shopper (subscription required) – via HighBeam Research. 
  5. ^ "1997 Codies awarded for best software.". Tape-Disc Business  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). April 1, 1997. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "Zoombinis on the App Store". iTunes App Store. Retrieved 2016-04-16. 
  7. ^ "Zoombinis on Google Play". Google Play. Retrieved 2016-04-16. 
  8. ^ "Zoombinis app page". Amazon app store. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  9. ^ "Zoombinis Steam Page". Steam. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  10. ^ "Zoombinis". TERC. Kickstarter. February 17, 2015. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ "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. 

External links[edit]