SPLAT!

Reviewed by Geoff Turrell
Headteacher, St Peter's Junior School

This review first appeared in MAPE Focus on Art Summer 1998

SPLAT! comes from the SPA stable (remember PaintSPA, NewSPA etc.?) and continues the SPA tradition, of developing a plethora of easily accessible and novel tools for children to use for common tasks. SPLAT! is essentially painting software, but with knobs on. It costs 29 + VAT for a single user licence, or 98 + VAT for a primary site licence.

My first reaction on seeing the program was one of scepticism, as the layout and menus transported me back to the days of PaintSPA, which was an innovative program for its day, but which would not really do justice to the present day multimedia potential. But as children used the program and began to unearth the wide range of facilities contained within, my scepticism disappeared and I was converted. SPLAT! stands on its own as an excellent program.

Not only does SPLAT! provide the traditional electronic painting tools, but it also contains libraries of themed backgrounds and characters; all carefully drawn and suitably grouped. On the review copy there were at least 78 different backgrounds and a collection of characters and objects covering themes of school, witches and fantasy, sport, the farm, the beach, the circus, the wild west, sci-fi, a building site and even make-your-own potato people.

A collection of imaginative tools provides children with endless possibilities including the exploration of simple animated sequences and symmetry.

The ease with which these menus can be navigated was fully displayed by children as young as 5 and 6 managing to create their own fantastic landscapes without any adult intervention apart from the odd gasp and delighted comment.

I'll leave the final comment to Michael (aged 9):

'SPLAT' is a great game to play. It has quite a lot of pictures, and real moving characters. You can also make things move faster and slower. The pictures that you create can be saved, so you can come back to it later and carry on with it. You can go to 'more' and find more interesting activities. You can also make things bigger and smaller. There are also lots of colours. The 'abc' menu allows you to write things.'

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