Software bundled with Packard Bell computers in 90s UK

In 1997, my dad bought a Packard Bell computer:

Packard Bell computer from 1997

Packard Bell threw in around twenty CDs to sweeten the deal. The CDs came in a yellow and white cardboard box:

packard-bell-box-of-software 3

The CDs were an eclectic mix of games (yay!), and encyclopaedias and demos (boooooo!).

My memory is shot from playing too much Batman Cartoon Maker as kid, so I don’t remember the CDs. But luckily, the internet does. Here they are.

Batman Cartoon Maker

Batman Cartoon Maker was, as the name suggests, Batman-themed animation software.

batman cartoon maker

The best thing about this game was that you could make Batman do backflips (or should that be BATflips?) all over the screen. You could also arrange a queue of a dozen Batmen in front of a firetruck, as someone has chosen to do here:

batman cartoon maker

But making movies was too difficult for me. I could never figure out how to make a movie as good as the demo one. You had to be as clever as the Riddler, I reckon.

Thinkin’ Things 2

Thinkin’ Things 2 is an offbeat, quirky game that teaches kids to dick around and waste time. You can tell it’s a cool game because Thinkin’ ends with an apostrophe instead of a G. Take that, establishment!

There were five mini-games:

1) A duck that plays a xylophone. Yes, that’s a fucking DUCK THAT PLAYS A XYLOPHONE.

thinkin things 2 duck

2) A dot simulator. A goddamn motherfucking dot simulator.

You could simulate a waterslide…

thinkin things 2 waterslide

…a dripping tap…

thinkin things 2 tap

…a roller coaster…

thinkin things 2 roller coaster

…but only if you knew how. I didn’t. Even dots were too complicated for me back then.

3) A crocodile in a Hawaiian shirt playing a cowbell, an ape playing a drum in the shape of a ball, and a poodle playing Saturn. It’s either that, or I’ve unwittingly ingested magic mushrooms and I’m hallucinating.

thinking things 2 band

4) A 2D to 3D animator. You draw a 2D image (like the world map, or a pair of tits) and then the 2D image wraps around a 3D shape, which then bounces up and down the screen (like a globe, or a 3D pair of tits).

thinkin things 2 ball animator

5) A match the pairs game. It seems boring in comparison to the rest of the games.

thinkin things 2 match

My First Encyclopedia

my first encyclopedia

My First Encyclopedia was an encyclopaedia in the shape of a tree. And why not? After all, there were hundreds of other virtual encyclopaedias back then, while the world waited for the invention of Wikipedia, the one encyclopaedia to rule them all.

my first encyclopedia - tree 2

You could go under the tree…

my first encyclopedia - underground

…and climb all the way up to the top.

my first encyclopedia - top

It also has some asshole American kids sitting in it. When you click on a kid, you play a shitty minigame.

Geez, these kids are cool. I wish I had been an American kid in the 1990s. One of them even has a fucking parrot on his shoulder and an explorer’s hat.

my first encyclopedia - explorer

Fucking Christ. I was never that cool.

I didn’t play this game much, because it kept trying to teach me shit! Do I look like I want to be educated? No, I want to play Batman Cartoon Maker, so I can make Batman somersault into Robin’s face!

By the way, check out this twat:

I’m not a computer expert, but I do know that’s not the correct way to hold a mouse.

Ecco the Dolphin

I like Ecco the Dolphin. It’s like no video game I’ve ever played. But I couldn’t get past second level, probably because I was only eight at the time. I got lost and couldn’t figure out what to do. I was also deeply afraid of Ecco running out of air.

Ecco the dolphin

Pro tip: By pressing Alt + F4, you unlock the ‘hot dolphin’ mod where you can have sex with other dolphins.

Language Learning with Asterix

Bonjour Asterisk! Bonjour Obelisk! I was a big fan of the Asterisk comics, but did I want that petit blonde cunt and his fat ginger friend to teach me a language? The answer: ‘non’.

Language Learning with Asterix

Microsoft Oceans

microsoft oceans

Microsoft Oceans was basically a virtual encyclopedia about ocean life. I remember being frightened by a big whale. Here it is:

What scared me was how big the whale is compared to the person – the person is a tiny white blob in comparison. Imagine swimming in the ocean when this thing comes out of the depths. Chilling.

Sid Meier’s CivNet


CivNet was fun. I played this a lot. But Gandhi and Queen Victoria kept getting angry at me. I swear, all the CPUs had personality disorders. Behind their smiling facades, they were all evil monsters. I mean just look at this screenshot of Gandhi declaring war:

civnet gandhi

Encarta 95

I only used Encarta for Mindmaze. Mindmaze tried to teach me stuff, but I didn’t mind because it was a game.


Other shitty games

  • Orsay Demo, which was a virtual tour of Le Musée D’Orsay in Paris. Booooooooring.
  • The Louvre, which was a virtual tour of the Louvre, as the name suggests. I think I put this in my CD ROM drive for less than one second before playing Batman Cartoon Maker instead. Why did these assholes keep trying to educate me?
  • CorelDRAW 4, which I tried once but gave up, because it was too complicated.
  • ELLE 2000 Recipes, which was also boring. BORING. Kids don’t cook, stupid. That’s mom’s job.

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