Broderbund Zoombinis

Bob Roberts
• Monday, 16 November, 2020
• 8 min read

Can you guide these little blue creatures through a series of fun and increasingly challenging puzzles on their way to a new home? The small blue creatures, each with distinct personalities and appearances, are escaping imprisonment by the evil Bloats, who have taken over the Combines home.

(Source: steamcommunity.com)


Players will face a series of increasingly difficult challenges that stand between the Combines and freedom. Twelve perilous puzzles, each with four levels of increasing difficulty, require players to use logic, spot patterns, analyze data and hone their problem-solving skills.

More InformationSystem Requirements Windows Vista® SP1, Windows® 7, Windows® 8, Windows® 10¹, Intel® Core™ Solo processor 1.8 GHz processor or faster, 2 GB RAM, 256 MB VRAM Direct X 9 Compliant Video Card (Intel® HD chipsets supported), 2 GB Hard Disk Space, DVD-ROM drive, keyboard & mouse. Play Combines and guide the little blue creatures through fun and increasingly challenging puzzles on their way to a new home.

The small blue creatures, each with distinct personalities and appearances, are escaping imprisonment by the evil Bloats who have taken over the Combines home. Use logic, analyze data, spot patterns and hone problem-solving skills.

Players face a series of increasingly difficult challenges that stand between the Combines and freedom. Twelve perilous puzzles each with 4 levels of increasing difficulty, a great story, and many fun and memorable characters make for an engaging and challenging experience.

The Challenges Allergic Cliffs Stone Cold Caves Pizza Pass Captain Cajun's Ferryboat Titanic Tattooed Toads Stone Rise Flees Hotel Dimension Mud ball Wall Lion's Lair Bubble Wonder Abyss Mirror Machine Featuring Beautiful new backgrounds The original voices for the Narrator, Stone Guards, Pizza Trolls, Captain Cajun, and the Innkeeper Restored music from version 1.0 of the original game Improved celebrations and achievements More InformationSystem Requirements Windows Vista® SP1, Windows® 7, Windows® 8, Windows® 10¹, Intel® Core™ Solo processor 1.8 GHz processor or faster, 2 GB RAM, 256 MB VRAM Direct X 9 Compliant Video Card (Intel® HD chipsets supported), 2 GB Hard Disk Space, DVD-ROM drive, keyboard & mouse.

zoombinis mirror machine
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Combines is a series of educational puzzle computer games that were originally developed by TERM and published by Borderland until The Learning Company (formerly Soft Key) bought Borderland in 1998 and took over developing and publishing the series in 2001. On August 6, 2015, Logical Journey was updated and re-released (as Combines) for tablets and modern operating systems by TERM, Television, and Learning Games Network.

The series focuses on the Combines, small blue creatures each with different appearances and personalities, which the player must guide through strange puzzle-filled lands. The player then has to do a series of mini-games, helping the Combines traverse through dangerous places until they reach the next location on the island.

At the end of the final section lies the target destination Zoombiniville. After the foundation of Zoombiniville, the Combines 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 Boobies who occupy a city known as Bollywood. The gameplay takes more of an adventure game approach, as the number of Combines on a part of the journey differ throughout different parts of the game after each checkpoint between Zoombiniville and Bollywood.

Long after the take over of Zooming Isle at the hands of the Bloats, the island was completely stripped of its food and plant life, leaving the Marbles and native moths hungry and forcing the Bloats to evacuate. The player must then complete different puzzles, such as growing berries and breeding moths, to eventually restore the ecosystem of the island.

desktop zoombinis 90s redeveloped tablets updated game allergic cliffs
(Source: www.bostonmagazine.com)

This game incorporates science concepts as well as math concepts into the puzzles, including intersection of rates, cryptography, astronomical time, Venn diagrams, and Punnet squares, as well as some reincarnations of puzzles from Logical Journey. As a computer game, Combines is an entertaining activity for students from elementary to middle school.

The game works with problem-solving through mathematics, deduction, and hypothesis testing primarily by clearly stating the goal of the problem at hand, with the option to either deduce for one's self or learn from with gameplay strategies for success. “Pizza Pass”, “Allergic Cliffs”, and “Stone Cold Caves” exercise the sorting, grouping, and comparing of information.

“Captain Cajun's Ferryboat”, “Stone Rise”, and “Titanic Tattooed Toads” reinforce ordering, linking information, and problem-solving. “, “Mud ball Wall”, and “Hotel Dimension” emphasize graphing and mapping, while “Lions' Lair”, “Mirror Machine”, and “Bubble wonder Abyss” train the player in sorting, organizing, and algebraic thinking.

Sub-games such as “Allergic Cliffs” and “Stone Cold Caves” require the player to find patterns and arrangements of the Combines in order to pass the obstacle. Each game also has a select number of attempts which may be failures before a Zooming is taken back to the beginning of a path segment (to Zooming Isle, or to the base camps of Shelter Rock and Shade Tree), giving an incentive for the player to think critically and not randomly guess answers.

As a result, these games enable players' deductive skills while also enforcing strategic efficiency. Players also encounter critical thinking with testing and observing different logical outcomes in “Pizza Pass” and “Mud ball Wall”.

(Source: www.tumblr.com)

By examining the varying characteristics of toppings on a pizza and the number and color of dots on a wall, the player can experiment with the correct patterns to get the Combines to the next level. Similarly, with the deductive reasoning sub-games, these exercises discourage random guessing by giving only a few options to fail before losing a Zooming.

However, with the games that involve more hypothesis testing, the incorrect guesses remain on the screen in a categorized pile so that the player might learn from previous attempts to come to the correct conclusion. As a learning tool, the game is fun and interactive for children born into the continuously evolving technological era of 2016.

The characters are generalized, but still have a cartoonish look to entice any young person who wants to learn, and the format of the game inspires group work. The communication created between two or more players talking about how to find the right kind of pizza or nose, eyes, and hair matching Zooming is a simple and effective way that students have fun learning with the game.

“Nonprofit brings back Combines educational game and launches Kickstarter”. (Borderland)(The Learning Arcade) (Software Review)(Brief Article)(Evaluation)”.

Playful thoughts: A study of the effects of “Logical Journey of the Combines on elementary students' mathematical attitudes and reasoning skills (Ed. D. United States -- New York: Teachers College, Columbia University.

(Source: www.abandonware-france.org)

^ Rubin, Andes et al. What Kind Of Educational Computer Games Would Girls Like? The Zooming select screen at the start of each adventure Combines are a race of small blue creatures depicted with varying facial features, initially living in prosperous peace on a small island called Zooming Isle.

The game depicts the Combines search for a new home, featuring a variety of logical puzzles which the player must solve to get the Combines to their new home. Most of the puzzles involve the physical features of the Combines as part of the solution.

For example, in the puzzle 'Allergic Cliffs', the player is given a choice of 2 bridges, each of which will allow Combines to pass only if they have certain combinations of features. In total, there are 625 unique combinations, of which the game allows making up to two Combines (twins) with each combination, making 1,250 possible Combines in total.

The first and last 'legs' are compulsory and must be completed by all Combines ; for the second leg, the player is given a choice to take either the north or the south path. The first time the player successfully brings an entire party of 16 Combines through a leg, a building will be constructed at Zoombiniton/Zoombiniville to celebrate this achievement.

If three parties of 16 are brought through a leg, the difficulty of that leg increases for future trips (unless it is already the maximum difficulty, named “Very, Very Hard” and color-coded red). Once a leg has increased in difficulty, there is no way to reverse the change.

(Source: www.abandonware-france.org)

The original version of the game by Borderland Europe in March 1996 came in three languages: English, French, and German. The US division of Borderland made some minor changes and released a US version in December 1996.

As part of the US release they changed the names of several areas of the game. The US version of the game was expanded and republished as Combines Logical Journey v2.0” by The Learning Company in September 2001.

In February 2015, TERM, the original creator of Combines launched a Kickstarter Campaign to release an updated version of the game for modern tablets and computers. On 25 March 2015, the crowdfunding campaign was funded successfully, with the total pledged double the original target of $50,000.

In 2015, Logical Journey was remade for modern systems, under the name Combines. The main improvements of the remake are updated graphics and that the game is designed to run on modern operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and others).

In 2014, TERM, the original creator of Combines, began an internally funded redevelopment of the game. In March 2015, they launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund additional enhancements and releases, including PC and Kindle versions.

(Source: www.giantbomb.com)

Also in 2015, the National Science Foundation awarded TERM nearly $2 million to study how much “computational thinking” kids do while playing Combines, both at home and in the classroom, and whether teachers can extend the lessons outside the game. The Washington Post's Rob Ferraro wrote that the game's pattern and deductive logic puzzles teach “how to think” rather than a specific skill.

Barney said the game was fun and praised its audio cues for children with little reading skills. In 1997, the game won “Best Home Education for Pre-Teens” at the 12th Code awards.

The editors of PC Gamer US named Combines 1996's “Best Educational Game”, and wrote that it “has the same appeal and value for your brain as a favorite sport does for your body.” It was also a finalist for the Computer Game Developers Conference's 1996 “Best Educational Game” Spotlight Award, but lost the prize to Freddie Fish 2.

It received 4 out of 5 stars from Mac world, and 4 out of 5 from Mauser, whose editors declared it one of 1996's top 50 CD-ROMs. (Borderland)(The Learning Arcade) (Software Review)(Brief Article)(Evaluation)”.

PC Gamer Reveals Its 1997 Award Winners”. “Spotlight Awards Winners Announced for Best Computer Games of 1996” (Press release).

(Source: evabrittlina.wordpress.com)

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