Multimedia Review: Nine Month Miracle

from A.D.A.M (Animated Dissection of Anatomy for Medicine) Software, Inc.

by Jorge Enrique Barreto

Nine Month Miracle is an exciting and engaging interactive title from A.D.A.M that allows the user to explore the human body and travel the journey from conception to birth using real-life videos and sound, narrated animation, medical illustrations, dictionary term definitions, in-body photography expert's commentaries, text and games. This CD-ROM fully exploits the advantages of mixed media and is intended for anyone who can benifit from exploring topics and issues regarding pregnancy. Further, Nine Month Miracle is a great educational title that not only entertains adults, but it also entertains and educates children ages 3 through 9 with a story, interactive games, and animations.

Upon doble-clicking on the Nine Month Miracle icon, an introduction screen appears showing a baby still attached to the umbilical cord and sucking his/her left thumb, and an icon-based index of the four topics to be explored. The topics are the anatomy, the family album, a child's view of pregnancy, and quit.

If one embarks in a trip to the Anatomy section, the first thing one will find in the contents area are all the anatomical systems from the male or female. The screen contains a control panel with icons that allow you to chose gender, any structure in the Anatomy, zoom to switch between enlarged and scaled-down view sizes, skin tone and corresponding facial features, magnify to enlarge an area in the current anatomical view, and others. At the top of the screen there are four menus that provide access to the full anatomy, reproductive system, and anatomical views. It also gives you the choice to explore The Family Album with Adam and Eve... sort of speak. So after much detail, let me say that this section of the title is entrataining and humorous. You can cut away and restore structures at will, something you are not able to do with a textbook. It's this kind of features that make this title more interesting than textbooks on the same subject, as I found its contents to be the same as those found in a introductory course in Anatomy. Also, Nine Month Miracle fully exploits the advantages of the CD-ROM media with its real-life video and sound and its animation.

Moving along, I went to The Family Album portion of this title. In this section modern-day Adam and Eve guide you through nine months of exciting moments as they uncover the voyage from conception to birth. As new life develops, the couple narrates stories aided by animations. Also, a range of pregnancy topics and issues are discussed by medical experts and others using videos, animations, narration and much more. For instance, topics range from fertilization to ultrasound and from how the baby's body develops in general to how gender is determined. The various topics contain not only very interesting information, but also lots of humor and great sound effects. Again, the use of mixed media is very good.

Now, as I was getting ready to explore the last topic of this interative multimedia title I paused, stared at the introduction screen, then glanced across the room and saw the perfect person, my four year old daughter, to review this section entitled A Child's View of Pregnancy. Andrea I cried, "yes Dad" she responded. Would you like to see how babies are created? Her eyes lit up as she screamed and ran across the room saying Yeah!!! So we began our critical review by doble-clicking on the baby's icon. Ballooms with letters started appearing slowly on the screen as a nice melody played on. Andrea was curios and immediately started her myriad of questions, a good thing when you are reviewing a product of this kind. The narration on the miracle of life began with some awesome, humorous animations. Fortunately for Andrea and I, the humorous animations never subsided. Andrea was totally into the story and her curiosity and attention span grew by the minute. She was fascinated by the stories, the animation and the games. Yes, games for children to explore and expand their visual capabilities and concentration. Games that create an environment in which the child can learn to think and be creative. This part was by far the most entertaining of all, and very much suitable for children. Needless to say, Andrea enjoyed it tremendously, giving this title two thumbs up!

In summary, I found this title to be entertaining, engaging and most of all humorous and suitable for children. I consider that an important issue regarding interactive multimedia is the ability of the user to control the system and A.D.A.M cleverly emphasizes the importance of shifting the user's role form observer to participant in this interactive multimedia system. So for the curious and for the not so curious, this is a title worth seeing or at least worth browsing over.