Looney Tunes PhotoFun

Developer/Publisher:  MGI Software Corp
Year Released:  2000

Review by Rosemary Young (May, 2000)
pfun.jpgThis bright and breezy children's package is designed around using and abusing (in the nicest possible way, of course) photographs such as the digitised family photo album, scanned pictures, or other computer graphics. It stars a range of Looney Tunes characters including Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny and is hosted by Leo the Firefly who chats away happily to young users as he introduces each activity. He can usually be found at the bottom of the screen and can be called upon at any time for an encore and his every word is subtitled in a speech balloon.

Leo even greets the user by name because at the beginning children are asked to identify themselves so that each young family member can have access to their work individually. Henceforth, Leo 'remembers' the name and cheerily welcomes the child at the start of their activities. The colourful introduction leads the child inside Bugs Bunny's rabbit hole where the various activities, ever accompanied by your favourite Looney Tunes stars, can be found.

There's a whole range of activities included, all good ideas for making fair use or foul of digitised photos. These activities cover projects which allow the player to make pretend plane tickets or identification cards, party invitations and hats, fridge stickers, paper aeroplanes as well as fancy stationery, postcards and flyers. For each of these, and for the various other activities, the player is invited to personalise their creations by importing a photograph and adding numerous fun touches to spice them up. Add text, a special effect, a false nose or surround yourself with cartoon characters!

Room to create
The Painting Room allows the child to add many special effects such as autumn leaves, shiny balloons or crystal snowflakes. The Red Eye Room has the tool to get rid of those dreaded red eyes in flash photos and the Fix-it shop allows the user to enhance photos by adjusting the colour depth, clarity and contrast. Still not happy? Then the Prop Room has more gadgets in store including colourful and crazy wigs, spectacles, hats and moustaches. There's even an option to further manipulate photos by rippling or swirling them into foolish, funny faces.

Completed works of art can be saved and printed, of course, and PhotoFun comes with a packet of Project Papers for creating the finished article and a Project Book to assist with the creative process. Other projects such as letters and party invitations can be easily e-mailed through the integrated address book. Here the young player can store their friends' names, addresses and other information such as birthdays. Leo takes careful note and gives a timely warning when an auspicious date draws near.

This package is certainly filled with fun and hidden behind the scenes is the powerful photo-editing and creative program that masks the more serious component of educating children in the task of twisting the truth of photographs or image editing as we adults call it. It nicely combines this aspect with a correspondence package for keeping in touch with friends.

Because there is so much on offer there's a short and sharpish learning curve to get started. Parents might need to lend a hand and take advantage of the integrated on-line manual. You can also visit the PhotoFun Web Site and take the tour to see more of the features. PhotoFun is a complete multimedia activities program aimed at children aged six and upward and requires access to a scanner or digital camera as well as a printer to really take advantage of all it can offer. rating:  

Copyright © Rosemary Young 2000. All rights reserved.

System requirements:
Windows 95/98, Pentium II 266 Mhz or higher, 64 Mb RAM recommended, 140 Mb hard disk space; SVGA video card, 16 bit color, 800x 600 screen area; mouse; CD-ROM drive, 100 % Windows-compatible sound card. Recommended peripherals: 28.8k modem, color printer, scanner or digital camera.