Written By: Katelyn Vause
Screenshot: The Book of Pooh – A Story without a Tail
“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 cover a game involving one of my favorite characters from childhood: The Book of Pooh: A Story without a Tail.
I loved Winnie the Pooh when I was a child. I had a stuffed animal Pooh Bear and watched the cartoons; ironically, I never read the original books. But I did have a Winnie the Pooh game, and A Story without a Tail was cute and fun in its simplicity.
The premise of the game is quite simple; Eeyore has lost his tail, and it’s up to his friends to try to help him find it and/or comfort him. One to three characters at a time go to various places in the Hundred Acre Woods to help him search or come up with something to make him feel better. All of the games teach something related to math or reading, but a few of them teach other skills as well, which, in retrospect, I find very interesting.
My favorite activity was always cooking with Rabbit and Owl. You go to Rabbit’s house and choose from various baked goods from a cookbook (such as chocolate chip cookies or carrot cake). You then gather the ingredients and place them in a bowl, and afterwards, you get to decorate. This mini game teaches basic counting, as Owl counts the number items you put in a bowl, but it also teaches the basics of cooking. The recipes seem to be based off of real ones, meaning there’s a realistic ratio of items in the bowl, and most are simple enough that a child could reasonably ask a parent to help them make one. I have always loved cooking, so I spent a lot of time on this activity.
Another activity I really appreciated was Pooh’s walk by the river with Eeyore. The premise is that Pooh has found a little stick boat Christopher Robin made, and Pooh puts it in the river for him and Eeyore to follow as they search the banks for the tail. You use your mouse to guide the boat toward various objects in the river, and when it hits one, Pooh says the name of the object, and you get to “keep” the letter it starts with. This mini game obviously teaches the alphabet, but I was also pleasantly surprised by the words that children could learn from playing it. Rather than stick to super simplistic language like most children’s games and books, this mini game has the boat bump into things like yachts and pollywogs. At the time I didn’t think about it too much, but now I realize just how neat it was that they bothered to add in more complex words.
There are other mini games that involve Kessie, Tigger and Piglet (and sometimes Pooh), but none stuck with me as much as the above two. For example, there’s another mini game that teaches the alphabet that involves Tigger jumping on branches with apples with a specific letter on them, which I find to be repetitive and a bit simplistic in comparison to the river walk mini game. Piglet’s mini game involves simply picking a story in a book, and clicking on stickers, which are then placed on a picture in the book. When all the stickers are in place, the narrator reads the one page story to you. I was fairly young when I began to dislike being read to, so this activity didn’t hold much appeal for me.
Another thing that strikes me as odd about the game as a whole is that there is no resolution. You can do the mini games as much as you want, but when you click the X in the corner to end the game, the characters wave you goodbye, and the narrator thanks you for helping before the credits roll. You never find Eeyore’s tail, which I guess technically gives the game endless replayability, but I find it odd that there isn’t a way to trigger a mini game where you find it, or at least have the end credits show you where it is. But maybe that isn’t the point of A Story without a Tail. It is, at its core and consistently throughout, an educational game filled with many a child’s favorite characters, and it’s one of the reasons why I remain nostalgic for it to this day.
Did you love Winnie the Pooh when you were a kid? Or did you play A Story without a Tail and have a different take than me? Let us know in the comments or at firstname.lastname@example.org!