Author: Logiciels Ortograf
Adam: Good educational games don’t come along very often. Most authors go for the shoot-em-up, battle-type games. Mr. Ortograf did something very new and different. He has made one of the best educational games I’ve ever seen.
Mike: I now have a confession to make. I don’t play Scrabble very often. In other words, I have to swallow my pride to write this review. It’s a little embarrassing, really. I’ll explain.
Here I am, a straight-A student, an excellent public speaker, a proficient writer, the whole nine yards. My schoolmates look to me to come up with a big word, give a definition, or just be their walking dictionary. I don’t usually brag about this stuff, but I’ll admit I’ve got a justifiably large amount of pride involved in matters like this. So, even though I’m not a Scrabble player, I thought I could handle Ortograf. I thought wrong.
Adam: One of the best features of Ortograf is the ability to play against the computer, so you don’t have to have another person to play with you.
When you go to “New Game,” you can select from 5 options for the person/computer you are playing against. You can select “A person” if you want to play against a human, or you can select “Mac the beginner,” “Mac the intermediate,” “Mac the expert,” or “Mac the champ.” My games were rather tough against the “Mac the beginner” setting, but they weren’t even close when I tried to tackle “Mac the champ.”
Mike: The computer intelligence was spitting out fifty-dollar words at me faster than I could say “Deep Blue.” I have never heard of many of these before. Meanwhile, I had trouble spelling “cat.” I was getting the pants beaten off me every time out. And this was at the beginner level! Mr. Kasparov, my sympathies!
My struggles with the artificial opponent aside, let me say that this is a well-done game. The game mimics a Scrabble board very well, plays just like it, and has enough options to satisfy even the most die-hard Scrabble fanatic.
Adam: You can have up to 4 players, and select between 4 different game types: Classic, Prepared, Belgian, and Duplicate. Once you get playing, the game is just like classic Scrabble. You have a list of letters, in a separate window, and you drag the letters to where you want them to go on the board. Once you are done with your word, you close your window, and your score is automatically updated.
There’s a built-in dictionary that lets you look up, verify, add, and delete words, so you can never say, “I thought that was a word!” The built in help is very helpful, explaining the rules of Scrabble, and all the features of the game. There is also a Scoreboard, Tops list (), and History, which is basically a “log” of the current game, stating each players move, what word they placed, etc.
Mike: The only complaint I have about this game is the “crippleware” attitude, and the multiple ways of registering. Many of the options I just mentioned are unavailable without registering, which is a pet peeve of mine.
Adam: I would have to agree with Mike here. For example, every time you launch the game, you have to enter a different “key code.” Though the code is right there in the window for you, it gets very irritating.
Adam: Except for the constant reminders to register, I have had a very positive experience with Ortograf. Its simulation and accuracy of a real scrabble game is unbelievable. And best of all, it keeps score for you! I’ll be sure to register my copy very soon.
Mike: Ortograf is a well-done and fun game to play.
There were no system requirements given with Ortograf. As for availability, you can download Ortograf from the Ortograf homepage at http://www.teamsoft.com/ortograf.english, or from the My Mac Software Library, at http://www.mymac.com/software.
Download Ortograf 1.0