Today we talked about Donald Duck’s Playground by Al Lowe (Sierra).
The game is an Edutainment game which means that it is an entertaining educational game.
You play as Donald Duck your goal is to work in one of the four working places, in order to earn enough money to buy toys which get installed in the playground so Donald’s nephew – Dewy would be able to play them (thus the name Donald’s Duck Playground), you play as both protagonists: Donald (while working for money and while buying equipment) and as Dewy (when getting to the park to play).
As Donald you get to work in four different places which are actually four different mini games, try them all they are lots of fun!
After each work session you get your payment according to your accomplishment in the working mini game.
When you have enough of money, go to the three stores in which you can buy toys, which get installed in the park, you can check the park anytime you want, at the beginning the park toys aren’t accessible as you haven’t bought the special toys yet, so you want to climb the rocket but it has no ladder, so go to the shop, buy the ladder and now you can go up the rocket, but still you can’t slide down as there is a piece missing there so go to the store and buy the small bridge (or whatever it is called) and now you can slide down.
It is really lots of fun going to the park to try the new toys you just bought with your hard earned money!
The game can be played using Dosbox or Scummvm BUT I strongly suggest using ScummVM as with dosbox I didn’t manage to use the mouse, and the music was handicapped compared to the mouse support and music while using ScummVM
In scummvm, go to the configuration screen, to the misc tab, and configure the auto save to the minimum value (more on this in the “Game Tips” section)
Mouse support is quite clunky during the game (well, it was released at 1986) so you can use it to move Donald around (but it is not perfect) and maybe use it for other things but for most things, just use the keyboard arrows and the “X” key as the action button.
Please use the mouse to get to the top menu, it is a helpful little thing in this game.
The game can’t work faster, I tried using the designated keys with dosbox, and searched scummVM – the game was designed to be slow! – if you want faster gameplay then start it with advanced mode – everything will be faster (much easier IMHO)
In order to buy all toys you will need to earn 1.72$ at the beginner level, 9.37$ at the intermediate level and 28$ at the advanced level.
Pick the advanced difficulty level, as the speed of the lower levels is unbearable.
The original game had no “Save” functionality!! – which is a big no-no, but good for us, you can save the game state (which de-facto works like a save game) using ScummVMs auto save feature, just set it to auto-save every five minutes and your progress will be saved. This is kind of a hack as it saves all of the memory state of the game automatically, but for us it is great as we can use it to save the game. Just don’t accidently start a new game where the auto-save will overwrite the previous game save and your progress will be lost
Read the official manual – it is a really great manual with much added value, it even describes several educational “real-life” games like those in the video game which you can play and get educated in the same fields you get educated during the game.
The main menu holds a very important button which when clicked will transport Donald to the main street – use it for fast transfers from the park or anywhere else.
Several mini games which give you a nice variety of game play.
SLOW (especially in the lower difficulty levels)
Mouse controls suck
No save (although the ScummVM hack gives you some of the save game experience)
Fixed time in working places – you need to declare how much time you want to work at the working place before you begin – it is really frustrating, I would have prefered to have a nice “Finish” button to stop working when I like.
Tedious buying brocess – Shit, this is a really tedious process, I earn 28$ in the advanced difficulty level, I go to the stores, and need to buy all toys one by one !? While for each toy I need to pass the paying process (with change?) then get dumped outside of the store, just to go back and buy another toy WTF !?
In this podcast I intend to play DOS games and make some research over each game, then post a post per game where I will publish my conclusions about the game with links to relevant sources, pros and cons of the game, tips, technical details and other stuff I see fit, with the post I will record my podcast show where I will talk about the above details.
So here it comes for good or for worse…
I put a focus on the podcast shows of course, but I also put a focus on the posts about the podcasts where I will write about the game, post important links and have downloadable content relevant to the game, I will also have a nice category page for each series of games (eg: Might and Magic, King’s Quest etc).
Next show I will talk about Donald Duck’s Playground by Sierra