DISNEY'S WINNIE THE POOH: ACTIVITY CENTRE


Winnie the Pooh has been a staple in Disney's edutainment lineup. Two of the three shorts that made up the 1977 feature film had already been adapted into Animated Storybooks, saving Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day for the bear's sole Activity Centre outing.

Released in 2000, the contents of the game, however, actually completes the Animated Storybook trilogy. After the previous year's Tigger Too, The Blustery Day storyline is finally presented in an interactive storybook form, with a fair amount of things to click on. Not as much as if it were part of that series but enough to make me think it was perhaps originally commisioned to be as one. The high-quality animations are still present along with read-a-long text but there are some differences. In order to make it a minigame to sit alongside the rest of the game, the idea is to find 8 bees positioned within the pages. Highlighting them won't change your cursor, so make sure you click on them before you finish or you might disappoint Pooh with a big fat zero!

The simplest of diversions still have their charms with 'Fly a Piglet' (left)
and 'Decorate Owl's House' (right). Toy stacking optional.

The other five mini-games fit in well with the story. The first has Piglet and Pooh caught up in high winds, flying the porcine plushy as if it were a kite. You have to dodge oncoming hazards such as rocks, rainclouds and bees. A simple timewaster that is elevated by the humour expressed in the animation.

It's because of this extreme weather that the two end up in Owl's house, and our next mini-game. Well, it's not really a mini-game but a digital sticker book. You get to decorate Owl's house however you see fit with objects from a number of themed boxes. There's not much to do here, to be honest. I would have liked some of the items to come to life with little animations once you're done but as it is, it's the most vacuous activity on the disc.

I'm sure Freud would have a field day examining Pooh's nightmares
where he conjures up his own 'Heffalumps & Woozles'

Next, we take a dive into Pooh's subconscious with a matching game called 'Heffalumps & Woozles'. Taking place in the bear's nightmares, a floating Tigger head guides you to match the monster Pooh is dreaming about. This would be simple enough were it not for the fact that the body parts float around the screen making them difficult to catch. Well, difficult for a five-year-old that is. You can also create your own Frankenstein Woozle without the puzzle element, which can lead to some funny designs as the pieces sit marching in the middle of the screen.

Things get mighty more difficult when the rain comes and it's Eeyore's turn to host a game. In his search for a new home for Owl, the depressed donkey wants to cross a recently formed swamp lake. Playing in a similar fashion to Pipe Dream, you do this by placing differently shaped pieces of wood to build a makeshift bridge. The choice is displayed at the bottom of the screen but you only have a short time to choose as if the camera catches up to him, it's back to the start.

'Eeyore's House Hunt' is an interesting idea, is poorly designed (left).
'Hillside Party Hop' on the other hand is great fun with a friend (right).

There are a few issues with how this game is implemented. It is often difficult to decipher what Eeyore can go through and what he cannot, especially on the hazard-filled difficult setting. You're also not guaranteed to have the bridge piece you need. It appears that the designers at least thought about this aspect as you can scrap all three for a different lot by clicking on the turtle, but you're not always guaranteed to get the right one. In fact, in my playthrough, it's more likely you won't. All in all, it would be a better diversion if it was implemented better.

Lastly, there's the 'Hillside Part Hop'. Everyone has been gathered around for Pooh and Piglet's hero party, but some of the food and decorations have gone missing. Guide either Rabbit or Tigger around the area to see who can collect the most party favours in the allotted time limit. In single player, you control Tigger with the I, O, K & L keys, whereas player two is left with Rabbit using Q, W, A & S. Without the manual, it took a bit of button mashing to figure this it out so I've mentioned it here so you don't have to. It's a fun Q*bert a-like with some interesting hazards popping up on the hardest difficulty but it's not exactly the most engrossing of games for anyone over the target age group.

As you read through the storybook, you are tasked with finding 8 bees.
See if you can find it in Piglet's flooded living room.

The best thing about this game is the Animated Storybook section which is as charming as you'd expect from the bear with very little brains. It compliments the titles in that series too by retaining the same aesthetic as Tigger Too. Perhaps the large number of animation needed wasn't as feasible anymore to make it fully part of that series but one can't help but wonder if it would be better served if it was. Winnie the Pooh has always skewed towards the youngest of Disney fans, and for the most part, the games here represent that. For anyone older, it is a tad disappointing compared to what's come before.


To download the game, follow the link below. This exclusive installer uses PCem running Windows '95. Press Ctrl-Alt-PgDown to toggle fullscreen. Press Ctrl-End or middle mouse button to release the mouse. Tested on Windows 10.

IMPORTANT - Remember to shut down the emulated version of Windows before exiting PCem. This could potentially result in errors, lost saves and corrupt data. Close the program only when it is safe to do so.
  27.5.2019 - Ver.2 - Fixed installer

File Size: 338 Mb.  Install Size: 590 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ

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Disney's Winnie the Pooh & the Blustery Day: Activity Centre is © Disney Interactive
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me


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2 comments:

  1. Tried to install, got an error about the Config file being invalid

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right! Looks like something went wrong when packing the installer. Version 2 is being uploaded now.

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