Mickey 123s is one of a series of American releases developed by Disney Software. As you've probably already guessed this is the same Disney of cartoon fame so all the characters in the programmes are the more famous cartoon stars like Mickey Mouse, Goofy and so on.
The package oozes quality - it is the type of program you could quite happily take off the shelf and thinking you would be all right in buying. It looks wonderful, complete with jaunty Mickey stuck on the cover. But as the program unfolds it seems that more time has been spent on the box than on the game.
For starts, it comes on two disks and is not hard drive installable. As a colleague of mine pointed out, if this program had been on the PC no-one would have touched it because it is not hard drive installable so why should we have to put up with programs such as these which boot from floppy?
When it opens Mickey is asleep in his living room chair. First you must wake him up and choose where he must go and what he will do. At this point I was seconds into the package and alarm bells were already ringing.
I was working with the manual beside me and following it to the letter but the action was incredibly slow. The machine tends to access the disk for some length of time then the screen will burst into frantic movement for a second of two then it will go dead again while it's accessing the disk.
In any other type of software this would be tolerable but because it's children's software you can't afford to have long gap where the child is not entertained. Everybody knows that children as a rule have an attention span of about half a second and they must be kept engaged. I really don't think that Mickey's ABC would stand up in a classroom.
Another thing which I found very unusual is the lack of educational content. Most of the sub-applications don't actually demand anything from the pupil.
To me the program is directed at pre-school children because a lot of the time it is dealing with concepts instead of actual numbers. It tries to introduce the child the ideas of more or less and quantities.
There are some nice reward sequences when you finish levels and some good sound effects to keep the children engaged but there is no long lasting appeal.