LGR – Disney’s Aladdin Activity Center Review

When I reviewed Lego Island, I mentioned its passing resemblance to children’s activity centers and apparently that woke some long dormant
computery memories in some of you. While others had never seen it before and were curious! So let’s dive into what I showed there:
Disney’s Aladdin Activity Center. Developed by Gryphon Software with assistance
from several other studios and published by Disney in 1994 for
Windows and Mac computers. This is the first in a series of at least twenty
different Disney Activity Centers but since this one is based on Aladdin,
it is the best by default. I love this movie unwaveringly. As for these activity centers themselves, they seemingly came pre-installed on every other computer I used in the mid-to-late nineties. As a kid, I thought they were pretty rad. Not like amazing or anything, but rad enough to
click around when there was nothing else to do. Inside the box you get the
program CD-ROM packed neatly into this colorful foldout sleeve. An information card from Disney
that no one cares about but I feel compelled to point out
since nobody cares about it. And a surprisingly involved instruction manual. For a program as simple as this one,
it does not need a manual of this complexity, but I applaud the extra effort. Or rather, I applaud whoever was getting paid
by the hour to create this and rightly milk those Disney paychecks
for all they were worth. Once you install some endearingly unpredictable Quicktime and video for Windows software Aladdin Activity Center begins with a
centrally inactive introduction. Highly copyrighted imagery and music abounds, followed by an imposter Genie
that is clearly not Robin Williams. [Genie]: Okay, let’s get acquainted! [Genie]: If you see your name on the scroll,
click on it! [LGR]: No offense to Dan Castellaneta who is trying
his best to impersonate Robin Williams as those are some unfillable shoes indeed. But it’s a far cry from the performance in the movie. Yet what did I care, I was eight years old
when this thing came out. It was Aladdin on my computer! That alone made this the most
amazing thing around. Also amazing was this map that let you explore several locations based on scenes from the movie. The Agrabah marketplace, the Cave of Wonders,
the royal palace and the sultan’s movie theater. Is this further evidence that Aladdin isn’t set in the past and is actually taking place in a post apocalypse? I’m serious. There is a popular fan theory that states Aladdin takes place in a far distant future… which explains all the anachronisms in the movie referencing twentieth century culture. The magic carpet actually being a leftover of
futuristic hovering technology thing and… modern day street signs buried underneath
the sands of a nuclear wasteland and… Okay. Anyway, got off track there. This theater lets you watch significant chunks of the movie which was pretty unprecedented at the time. [Sultan]: Jasmine! Jasmine! [LGR]: Anyway, let’s start in the Agrabah marketplace,
since I always liked those scenes in the movie and wanted to live there for some reason. From here you have access to the center’s eleven activities. Each of which is represented by
clickable background portions. And they mean it when they call
these activities and not games since they’re not really games as you
would normally think about them. You get some art activities, a spelling challenge, a memory game, straight up mazes likeness matching, picture puzzles and
assignment music mimicking thing. And no matter which location you choose each one of these activities are
exactly the same, wherever you go. The only thing that differs is the overall aesthetic… with each activity taking on a look that
fits in with the selected movie scene. That is some top-notch padding right there. But yeah. In the art center you get a
coloring book that lets you draw and paint using virtual art supplies and
your computer’s mouse. And if you don’t want to bother picking out colors yourself you can use the magic paint brush and just… fill in the proper colors automatically,
like a psychedelic scratch-off card. There’s also a paint-by-numbers section
and good old connect the dots with a surprising amount of envolvement
by the Genie in the latter. He reads every single number aloud as
you click on them. That’s dedication. [Genie]: …twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight. Twenty-nine, thirty, thirty-one, thirty-two… [Count]: Yes! Ah ah ah. And at any point in time you can
print out what you see on the screen… although with a monochrome printer,
the results are less than stellar. The spelling challenge is precisely
what it sounds like. Genie gives you a word and a visual and you have to spell it out by clicking on the letters in the correct order. But don’t worry about screwing up because you can’t. The same goes with the memory game,
the matching, the mazes, the whole thing. With every activity there is no way to
lose and no penalty if you mess up. Nothing but praise and positive reinforcement
anytime you do anything at all. How delightfully nineties. [Genie]: How did you get so smart?
¡Fabuloso! [LGR]: About the only thing it does in terms of giving kids a reality check is making you feel bad for giving up. For instance, if you quit the music game, Abu just sinks down and gives you this incredibly sad look. Aw, no! Don’t do that, Abu. I’m sorry. Same goes when you quit the game.
Genie just starts bawling. [Genie]: Do you really have to go? [Genie]: Goodbye, master. Hurry back. Aw, man. I don’t remember Aladdin Activity Center
being so emotionally draining. Anyway, that’s about all this is.
I mean this is it. It didn’t keep me occupied for very long
as a kid and it certainly doesn’t now. About the most enjoyment
I’ve ever gotten out of it is watching those highly compressed
video clips from the movie. But I still kind of like this program if only
because of the Aladdin connection. And being reminded of a time when children’s
activity centers were all the rage. They were just freakin’ everywhere
and it made sense because they were probably pretty easy to make
and kids liked them because they knew what
they were about, sort of. Makes a lot of sense that
games like Lego Island would take from the same basic
idea here of using a license as a base. And built a little interactive world
for kids to explore around it. It’s really not that big of a leap to go from clicking static backgrounds to open basic mini games… to going to a 3D world to open basic mini games. Same idea, works just as well either way. So I’m glad this existed. If only because it’s sort of kind of led to
somewhat nominally better things later on. (Sega Genesis version of Prince Ali plays) And if you enjoyed this episode
of LGR, then I’m glad! and if not, I will mope around
like Abu and cry like Genie. Or at least you’ll just imagine me doing that.
I don’t really… You know. Whatever. If you liked it. Good.
Click these and see some more. And as always:
Thank you very much for watching LGR.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. LGR you should do a review of some of the Humungous Entertainment games for PC like Freddie Fish, Putt Putt, and Pajama Sam 😀

  2. I wish Disney bought back that "Activity center" games if they did I would want to see a "Wreck it Ralph Activity center."

  3. ah Clint I just cant stop laughing when you talk about these old pc stuff even though im simultaneously listening to all the great info you're providing

  4. The activity center,if you can call it that, I remember from when I was a kid was Packard Bell's Navigators "Kid Space". It was pretty much just a silly backdrop with little animations if you clicked on stuff, and it just linked to the Entertainment pack games, but I enjoyed it.

  5. Did you ever see a similar activity center called Hodj 'n' Podj? It was a collection of minigames, set on a boardgame backdrop. I had a trial version of it, back when I was a kid. The trailer is burned into my brain, because it played if you tried to do something outside the trial content: watch?v=Lac4mAFF8-U

  6. I remember playing this other aladdin game when I was younger. All I remember was Genie and Iago were in a dungeon and Aladdin was trapped in a vortex thingy.

  7. This game brought back memories of another Aladdin PC game I used to play the crap out of as a kid (but this one isn't as good lol) called Disney's Math Quest with Aladdin. It was one of my favorite games from my childhood. I would love to see you do a video on it one day.

  8. At this point, Dan Castellaneta has voiced Genie in so many different places that I accept him. outside of this, he did the animated series, and reprised the Genie role for various subsiquent video games involving everyone's favorite Djinn, such as in the Kingom Hearts titles.

  9. Omg this brought back so many memories!! As an Aladdin fan and as a previous faithful user of this Activity Center (matching and the connect the dots was my jam. I went to a youth center that had this, Ant Sim and other cool games in the computer lab collection.), this makes me almost want to try and find a copy for old times sake. Thanks again LGR for a stellar review and trip down memory lane.

  10. I may vaguely recall something like this with a Lion King theme… And horrible horrible memories of an 11 year old kid (me) who knew a lot less about computers than he thought he did, attempting to get it to run to absolutely no avail, staring longingly at the box art and the screen shots, desperately wishing I could figure out a way to play it… If you happen upon it, a review would be awesome, although I have a feeling it'd be identical to this one.

  11. Hey LGR long time fan first time posting. Can you do the jungle book game for pc where you had to use the mic and it was like a fmv game

  12. i remember the digital and interactice book games like alice in Wonderland, jurney to the center of the earth

  13. I remember playing a Shrek 2 Activity Center rented from the library when I was a kid. I was definitely a Shrek fan long before it was a meme.

  14. The Lion King was my beast. I had Timon and Pumbaa's Jungle Games, the Animated Story Book and the Activity Center which, I must say, far surpasses this one by menu screen alone. 😉

  15. The guy who did the Williams impersonation is still fairly good. Maybe it's my penchant for max volume John Williams, but if he hadn't pointed this out to me…

  16. Now Putt-Putt and Fatty Bear's activity center 🙂
    Kids Activity games we're the bomb back in the day. Although I'd trade this one in for the Disney's Aladdin game by Virgin in 1992 in a heartbeat.

  17. Hey, you should take a look at The Land Before Time Activity Center. I used to play that quite a bit as a kid, but the sound effects in it are just atrocious and way too loud. That wouldn't have been so bad if the game was played on a desktop with proper speakers, but god help you if you play it with good earbuds in. XD

  18. I remember getting this as a prize from a cereal box in Canada, and man, I spent hours on this since I didn't have internet readily available except for AOL. Not to mention that later on when we got dial-up, no game was fun the minute a phone call would come in. Thus, this "game" kept me entertained for hours when I was young.

  19. agrabah in the future huh? seems plausible enough,because if we MASTER science & technology, MAYBE magic could be next(could be that the world is repeating,like this has all happened before.you know, a cycle)

  20. Next game to review should be the Crayola creator games for PC. Crayola Make a Masterpiece or Crayola 3D Castle Creator.

  21. I love Aladdin! It came out when I was in high school and I went and saw it 3 times in the theater and collected the cards 😊

  22. I've been thinking about the anachronisms, and they all come from Genie. He makes pop culture references, but it's just him. Maybe he has future vision. That he can't shut off. And it drives him crazy.

  23. Once I heard his Robin Williams impression, I was always wondered why Disney didn't get Maurice LaMarche to do The Genie. No offense to Dan Castelleneta but LaMarche does a better Robin Williams. Unless Disney, who was already in legal dispute with Williams at the time, didn't want another one.

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