Play and Learn series

Prisma Software

Status: No Download, Findability: 2/5

Also known as: Prof Plays a New Game and Prof Makes Sentences

Updates made

20/10/16 – Confirmed as not being Paul Harthen

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Yet another educational set of titles which are at large it seems, and highlighted thanks to Sean O’Neill.

Ironically, it is within a Zzap educational article back in 1992 alongside the Fun School series where our next set of titles get a mention.  Ironic, because some of the Fun School titles have been “fun” to try and find over the years.

Prisma Software (or was that Prism?) had apparently released two titles called Prof Plays a New Game and Prof Makes Sentences.  There were meant to be another 2 titles in the series, but the details on these are sadly lacking.

A contributor called Simon got in touch via the comments below, and mentioned that he worked on a title called Pepe’s Garden. It was a conversion of the 16-bit title, and seemingly was finished. It is hoped that Simon might be able to find something of it. Here’s what Simon had to say:

“I worked on the C64 port of another Prisma title, Pepe’s Garden. Never released. I remember having to use all kinds of tricks to fit the disk-based 16 bit title into a single load 64k. Got vague memories of having to compress stuff and stash it under one of the ROMs. Think I also did some stuff with dynamically creating sprites from the character set data, and maybe even some sprite raster tricks too, because obviously 16 bit machines had access to hardware like a Blitter, and all the little ol’ C64 had was 8 sprites. 🙂

I don’t have a copy of it any more. I think I managed to port most, perhaps all, of the original 16 bit game, but I don’t recall if I finished it. Don’t remember coding any sound or music. Slim chance the source code may be on an old floppy somewhere, but no idea where.”

The first title in the series was meant to have come with an audio cassette that you played whilst going through the educational parts.  The second part was apparently released later in July of 1991 (Zzap 80 was January 1992),  so it suggests that both titles were sold – maybe just in limited numbers?

For more details about the titles, check out the Zzap write up scan.  It is very likely that the games are out there, but now it is the task of trying to preserve them fully.  Can you help us?

Contributions: Sean O'Neill, Marco Das

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8 Responses to Play and Learn series

  1. I worked on the C64 port of another Prisma title, Pepe’s Garden. Never released. I remember having to use all kinds of tricks to fit the disk-based 16 bit title into a single load 64k. Got vague memories of having to compress stuff and stash it under one of the ROMs. Think I also did some stuff with dynamically creating sprites from the character set data, and maybe even some sprite raster tricks too, because obviously 16 bit machines had access to hardware like a Blitter, and all the little ol’ C64 had was 8 sprites. 🙂

    I don’t have a copy of it any more. I think I managed to port most, perhaps all, of the original 16 bit game, but I don’t recall if I finished it. Don’t remember coding any sound or music. Slim chance the source code may be on an old floppy somewhere, but no idea where.

    • Hi Simon, thanks for getting in touch and shedding some light on another title. It would be great to try and find a copy or something to preserve. Is there anyone you know or used to know who may have kept hold of a copy?

  2. My mum was one of the developers for Prisma. I was a guinea pig for them through most of primary school. They also produced a number of mouse-themed games whose name I don’t recall; knocking letter-engraved crockery off a dresser to spell words, popping balloons, and at least one maths one. However I think they were for the Amiga.

    There was also a never-completed game called – I kid you not – Cute and Cuddly Pink and Purple Baby Dragon Goes Flower-Arranging. You were a baby dragon in a nappy who wandered around a park, avoiding wardens and using various umbrellas to overcome rain, acid rain (which dissolved umbrellas), and magnets (which your acid-proof metal umbrellas stuck to).

    • Hi John, many thanks for sharing those cool memories!

      Can your Mum recall who may have been working on the C64 edition of the games, and if the other incomplete game you mention was ever started on the C64?

  3. Ah, Paul Harthen of Paint Pot 2 fame. I wonder how it felt to be a part of the infamous Amiga Format “Type Some S**t in Here Please” heading gaffe?

  4. I coded “Prof makes sentences” for the C64 in 1990. The game was published by Prisma software (based in Chester) – it was a port from the original BBCB version. I don’t recall there being an audio cassette but it was a long time ago l.

    Unfortunately I don’t have the original software and haven’t seen the rom anywhere on the internet. C

    • Hi Tony, thanks for confirming your involvement in the game and for getting in touch. If by chance you do ever find anything on disk or similar, then please let us know as we could help digitally preserve it for you. Is there possibly anyone you might know who could have kept a copy?

      Also, what other C64 games did you work on just out of interest?

  5. Hi there, I not it mentions me on here as the coder for this title, however I didn’t do this one.
    I did the Kids Academy Range, Pepe’s Garden, Paint Pot, Paint Pot 2, Shopping Basket and a few others which I would have to look at as I can’t remember the titles now 🙂

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