Image: The disc of Vehicle Voyages. We do not have the original box nor jewel case.
Written By: Katelyn Vause
“Games from my Childhood Library” is a series I’ll be doing where I go through the CD-ROM games that I played/owned when I was growing up. Some have been given to the CD-ROM Fossil Library, but some, whether due to a lack of particular value or me being too nostalgic to give them up, are still in a black CD case at home. I’ll talk about both, and today I’m going to write about Crayola Vehicle Voyagers.
Sometimes a game enters your library and it’s the greatest thing ever. There are games from my childhood that, if I was able to, I would replay in a heartbeat. The music, stories, and adorableness of these titles still create a warm sense of nostalgia in my heart when I think about them, and I wish that these games still existed so that kids today could play them.
And then there’s Crayola Vehicle Voyagers.
To be honest, I barely have any memory of this game. I found it while flipping through my black CD case, and I had to pause for a minute and think very hard about what playing it was like. There are a number of possible reasons why this game didn’t stick with me. First of all, it’s an art game. There are space and vehicle themed coloring pages that appear on screen when you click on the respective category. You then use various tools to “color” each of the pages. There’s a glitter function, and patterns you can add for extra creativity. There’s also a Scribble Pad, which is a blank page where you can draw whatever you want using the aforementioned tools. You can save your pictures, and even print them out.
This is all well and good, except that I wasn’t a very artsy kid. I colored and used crayons like any kid would, but it was never my favorite activity, so translating it over to the computer didn’t make it that much more appealing to me. Also, the Scribble Pad function is basically the equivalent of Paint, so it didn’t add much diversity in terms of what I could do while playing on the computer.
The music for the game is decent. It’s upbeat, but not particularly memorable. It sounds like they hired an actual child to record the voice you hear whenever you click on something. This is good, but I found it a bit annoying at times. For example, whenever you scroll through the texture options, the child will say “more textures” every single time. If you scroll too fast, it all blends together to sound like high-pitched nonsense. I also found it unnecessary for the game to tell me what scrolling did after the first time I played it, and it felt a little condescending, especially given how straightforward everything is.
I also had an issue with the animations. Whenever you finish coloring one of the preset pages, a short animation will play. One animation is a helicopter with a clown parachuting out of it. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, and I wasn’t afraid of clowns as a kid, but this particular clown has an incredibly creepy, brightly painted face with eyes that continue to stare at you even as he drifts off the screen. If I had been afraid of clowns as a kid, I could see the page causing some nightmares. I understand that the creators were probably trying to be cute and fun, but the design just didn’t quite work. Additionally, the animations are from a preset list that doesn’t customize itself to the particular page you are coloring, meaning that you could have a cop car speed across your picture of a docked ship. To be sure, some of the animations are fun and whimsical, but the strange ones and the mismatch between the animations and the pictures never quite made sense to me.
Perhaps the biggest problem with Vehicle Voyagers is that there just isn’t a lot to it.
You can only color the same twenty or so pages so many times before it feels boring. Again, I give them credit for adding variety that you wouldn’t find in an ordinary coloring book with the textures and the option to let the computer randomly generate the colors for a page. But like I mentioned above, Paint overlapped with it in several places, so it never quite felt like a truly unique experience. And in a world where I could choose to play games that took me to fantastic lands or taught me about cultures around the globe, it makes sense that Vehicle Voyagers never quite held my attention in the same way.
Despite the fact that I never particularly cared for Vehicle Voyagers, it did teach me something. When you click on a crayon, it will tell you the name of that color. Because of this, I learned the names for the colors sepia and cerulean. I proceeded to use this to my advantage, and whenever my cousins and I played color tag, I would choose one of those colors because nobody else would think of them, meaning I could stay safe. This probably doesn’t help to make the case for Vehicle Voyagers, but it is a bit funny to look back on now.
Do you have a game from you childhood library that never quite made it into your top ten, or even top thirty? Or a game that you gleaned a tiny bit of knowledge from that you used to mess with your relatives? Tell us about it!