Donald Duck's Playground: Sierra AGI Version (PC/Apple II/Amiga/Atari ST) by Forteblast
Why this guide? Why now? Well, I had this game as a kid and I've rediscovered it recently. Al Lowe, the creator of this game (as well as many other games, most notably the Leisure Suit Larry series) has it on his website, free to download. When I tried playing it again, I noticed that the prices of the toys vary widely based on the difficulty you pick at the beginning of the game, so I figured writing a guide couldn't hurt.
This game is actually a port of the Commodore 64 version, which is similar in premise but different in execution. You can move around where the toys are in that version, only some of the toys are the same, and the prices are all different. I used the PC version to create this FAQ, which uses Sierra's AGI interpreter, also used for a lot of adventure games like Leisure Suit Larry, Gold Rush, and King's Quest. The AGI version was also released for Apple II, Amiga, and Atari ST as well, so this guide should be valid for those versions, but the version on Al Lowe's site is for PC.
For most of the game, you're Donald Duck, and your task is to earn money to buy toys to build out a playground in Duckburg's City Park. Once you earn money and buy toys, you can head to the park, where you control Dewey, one of Donald's nephews, to play with the toys you bought. Simple as that.
For starters, go to http://www.allowe.com/downloads/games.html and download the game. If you've already got an old PC with a floppy drive, copy the files to the drive and boot to the disk. If you're running on a modern computer, though, get DOSBox or ScummVM. If you don't know how those work, Google them and read up on it. I used DOSBox on a Mac laptop, and the game ran great.
The keyboard controls in this game are pretty simple. Theoretically you can use a joystick, but good luck getting that working.
If you're ever confused about what to do, just wait for a while. A dialog box should pop up telling you what you can do in that particular store or job.
Once you get the game running and get past the title screen, you'll be presented with a difficulty selection screen in the form of three gates labeled Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Your choice here is permanent, so if you want to change it you'll have to quit the game and start over. The difficulty affects how much you're paid, how much things cost, and most noticeably, how fast the game runs. Donald walks much faster in Advanced than he does in Beginner.
Once you're in Duckburg, you'll start out next to the four workplaces: The train depot, the produce barn, the toy store, and the airport. If you go off the left side of the screen, you'll see the three stores: 5 & 10, Hardware, and Junk. Going off the upper left of that screen will lead you to the park.
To work at a job, go inside the building on the right screen of Duckburg. For each job, you'll get to choose how long your shift will be, from one to nine minutes.
A train will circle around the tracks of 'Amquack Railroad'. Pressing the left or right arrow key will move Donald around the six numbered switches. When you're in front of a switch, press X to grab it and X again to pull it. Each switch will change the layout of the tracks and guide where the train will go. The train first needs to make a pickup at one of the eight stops, and then needs to deliver it to one of the other stops.
Each successful delivery earns you 10 cents on Beginner, 20 cents on Intermediate, 30 cents on Advanced.
An unseen person will throw produce at you, either a watermelon, pumpkin, or lemon. Pressing the left or right arrow key will move Donald around. If he's under a fruit when it reaches his hands, he'll catch it automatically. Move in front of the right box and drop it with X. If you miss a fruit, or put it in the wrong box, it'll splatter on the conveyor belt below Donald and he'll jabber disapprovingly at you.
Each fruit in the right box earns you 1 cent on Beginner, 2 cents on Intermediate, 3 cents on Advanced.
In 'Sandy's Toy Store', you'll see shelves with many toys on them, a small table in the lower right, and a ladder. Toys will appear on the table. Your job is to pick up the toy and drop it on top of a corresponding toy on the shelves. There's only one ladder, and Donald always carries a toy in his right hand, so if there's no corresponding toy just to the right of the ladder, you'll need to pick up and move the ladder with X. Once the ladder is in the right place, drop it with X, go to the table and pick up the toy with X, climb up the ladder, and drop it on top of the same toy with X again. If you drop a toy in the wrong place, it will fall and break.
At the bottom right there's a switch, and on the bottom of the screen there's a notice telling you when the train will go by. When the train is about to pass, hit the switch to protect the toys. The screen will rumble three times, don't turn off the switch early. If the train passes without the switch on, some toys will fall and break.
For each toy you put in the right place, you'll earn 5 cents on Beginner, 10 cents on Intermediate, 15 cents on Advanced. If a toy breaks, your pay will be docked by the same amounts.
The airport game gives you a conveyor belt with many boxes, and four bins behind you. Each box and bin has a three-letter code corresponding to an airport code. Pick up a box with X, go to the corresponding bin, press up to face the bin, then press X to throw the box in the bin. Unlike the other games, this one won't let you put a box in a bin if it won't match up.
To throw you off, there will be boxes that don't have any of the four codes on them. On harder difficulty settings, the conveyor will be faster and you'll get more boxes that don't match any bins.
For each box in the right bin you earn 3 cents on Beginner, 6 cents on Intermediate, 9 cents on Advanced. That doesn't sound like a lot, but it adds up quickly, so this is probably the easiest game in which to earn money.
Once you earn money, you can buy toys for the playground. Although you get paid twice as much in Intermediate and three times as much in Advanced as you do for beginner, the prices are more than two or three times higher for the actual toys, so the quickest way to buy all the toys is to play Airport on Beginner, then suffer through Donald's snail-slow walking animation. Unlike other AGI games, there's no text parser and pressing Escape will bring up an error message that will force you to quit.
There are there stores: 5 & 10 run by Minnie, the Hardware store run by Mickey, and the Junk store run by Goofy. Here are the prices for each item in each store:
5 & 10
|Tetherball and Pole||$0.10||$1.01||$1.99|
|Ladder to Rocket Ship||$0.25||$1.25||$2.95|
|Hand Walking Rope||$0.10||$0.50||$2.27|
|Catwalk to Rocket Slide||$0.25||$1.05||$2.99|
|Treehouse Fireman's Pole||$0.10||$1.05||$2.17|
|Slide for Fort||$0.10||$0.50||$1.98|
|Ladder to Treehouse||$0.05||$0.30||$1.24|
|Rope and Pulley||$0.25||$1.10||$2.68|
To buy every toy in the game, you'll need $1.72 on Beginner, $9.37 on Intermediate, $28.00 on Advanced. You can earn $1.72 in just over two minutes in the Airport game on Beginner.
To buy a toy, walk up to it in the store with the arrow keys and press X. The toy will disappear. Walk over to the counter, and press X again. You'll need to use the arrow keys to move a cursor to the coin or bill you'll need, press X to pick it up, move it to the top of the counter, and press X again. Then repeat until you've paid enough for the item. When you're done, move the cursor to the T key on the register and press X. If you didn't pay with exact change, you'll need to make change yourself by pressing X on a button on the register corresponding to one of the bills or coins you need, then repeat until you have enough change. When you do, the game will automatically recognize this and proceed. It won't let you take a coin or bill that's larger than you need.
If this sounds like a tedious process, it is, but it's meant to get kids to learn how to manage money. From a practical standpoint it seems weird that each store has a cashier, but you're basically doing the whole checkout process yourself. This game had the idea for U-Scan long before we did in real life, apparently.
Once you've bought all the toys you want, go to the upper left corner of town to find the train tracks. When you try to cross, Huey, Dewey and Louie will cross first in an amusing fashion. Then you can enter the park, and you'll control Dewey.
The park has four screens: The one you start in, and additional ones left, right, and up from the first one. Even if you don't buy anything, you can take a look around, though there won't be much for you to do. Some things are already there, but you can't use them without buying additional equipment - for example, the Rocket Slide to the left of the starting area is already there, but you have to buy the 'Ladder to Rocket Ship' and 'Catwalk to Rocket Slide' or you won't be able to ride it.
To use the toys, walk up to them and press X. You don't have to press a button to use poles, slides, and ladders.
Have fun! There's no way to save, unfortunately, so you'll have to earn the toys all over again if you quit. Other than Dewey's walking speed, there doesn't seem to be a difference in the playground based on the difficulty you picked.
This guide is copyright (c) 2015 J. Harvey. This guide may ONLY be posted on GameFAQs. I will decline permission to post it anywhere else.
If you have any missing information to add, comments, corrections, or anything else that you think may be helpful, please e-mail me at forte (AT) vgmusic (DOT) com.
Thanks to my dad, for buying this game for me and my brother when we were, as Scrooge McDuck would say, wee lads.