Remember origami? It's gone digital ...
cd-rom review; Andy Oldfield and young friends test a program that lets you print out and make 600 paper toys
Monday 19 February 1996
Paperopolis, a program for eight-year-olds and upwards, is likely to finish off your printer's toner cartridge, too. It boasts of more than 600 paper toys - and instructions for building them - that can be printed out and assembled.
The program is easy for even the youngest to use, with everything accessible through a simple point-and-click cartoon interface, influenced by the style of BBC 2's Ren and Stimpy Show. Ted the Toad, a wisecracking amphibian with a Bronx accent and a line in excruciating puns, is the program's guide. Younger users love him, although teenage mouse-wielders soon lose patience with his limited repertoire.
Starting from a cartoon toytown, you have the option of visiting different sites: an airfield, a circus, shops, cinema, et al. Each location has a selection of goodies to print out and fold into shape. They range from the straightforward (such as the stunt planes at the airfield), through the moderately difficult (birds with flapping wings at the aviary), to the potentially troublesome (dinghies in the harbour).
Whereas traditional origami practitioners buy sheets of coloured square paper, Paperopolitans have to make do with A4 of whatever quality is to hand, and if that is too thick then problems can arise with small, intricate folds. Although the option of choosing various designs to be printed out on the paper is appealing, having to cut out accurate squares to start the model off can lead to heartache as the model progresses and early inaccuracies get magnified.
One of the aims of the CD-Rom is to promote critical thinking. The quality of instruction sheets for making toys seems designed to do just that - they are variable and can lead to heated disputes in group folding sessions. Instruction sheets range from a single side of A4 with nine steps to follow for a stunt plane, to five sides with 37 steps for a flapping bird. In the case of the flapping bird, none of my volunteers, aged six to 13, could get past step 20. Neither could I. Fortunately, I had an old paperback book which had the same model in only 21 steps. With the book, my volunteers and I succeeded.
The QuickTime movies and animation are impressively done and the soundtrack is crystal clear. For the most part, the instructions are fairly clear, too. Perhaps the best recommendation, however, is that kids come back to the CD for more - even after a failure or two.
It might be an idea to buy a book as expert back-up, though. It will be more likely to give you a structured overview of the basic folding and creasing techniques, enabling you to sort out any problems with the instruction sheets. In turn, that will help to safeguard your printer ink and paper supplies.
Paperopolis, dual format for Windows and Macintosh, pounds 29.99, Funsoft (0181-748 7565).
The Microsoft mogul told fans a few home truths during his Reddit AMA
First full-length look is finally here
Life & Style blogs
Snapchat removed the Best Friends list feature and 'stalkers' are upset
Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Eight-year-old girl Camilla Lisant suggests possible cancer treatment to her scientist father over the dinner table
Lack of medically trained staff leaves NHS 111 phone service struggling to cope, insider claims
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
£120 - £145 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: French & German Teacher X2 Materni...
£25000 - £32500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in SW London, this compan...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion this leading designer and sup...
£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a friendly, confident i...