Muppet Go-Round (along with Astro Grover and Big Bird’s Hide and Seek) was part of Atari’s planned children’s line of games for the Atari 5200. These titles would have utilized the 5200 Kid’s Controller, which was actually just a giant keypad that would have easy for children with small hands to use. However, while the 2600 children’s line was released (featuring completely different games), the 5200 games and controller never saw the light of day. The games were however eventually released by CBS on the Atari 8-bit computers, although some were slightly retooled.
As you may have guessed, Muppet-Go-Round is an an education game aimed at kids involving some sort or rotating device (in this case a ferris wheel). However instead of starring the Muppets as the title suggests, this game really stars the characters from Sesame Street instead. Why the discrepancy is anyone's guess, but the game was renamed to the more generic Letter-Go-Round when it hit the Atari 8-bit computers a year later. It is assumed that the game actually did star the Muppets at one point in its development and was switched over to the Sesame Street characters sometime early in its development. Like Astro Grover, Muppet-Go-Round consists of a series of educational mini-games.
Upper Case Matching
Lower Case Matching
Mixed Case Matching
One Little Word
Similar to the One Little Word mini-game, here you must figure out which letter is missing from the word. So if the letters M _ Y were displayed you would have to stop the ferris wheel when the A was over the word. This one could be a bit tricky for youngsters who aren't up on their spelling yet.
Spell The Secret Word
The last of the six mini-games, this one is the most difficult of them all (which isn't saying much). Here you must guess what the secret word is Hangman style. Since you only have six letters to choose from and infinite guesses, this isn't too hard, but it might give a younger child some trouble. There's also an interesting issue where perfectly acceptable words aren't accepted because they're not the secret word the computer is looking for (such as FIG instead of FIT). Then again, the most common word is the right answer, so this isn't likely to be a problem for kids.
Muppet-Go-Round is an amusing educational game, and was all but finished before Atari canceled it (only missing sound and music). Since the 5200 was being touted as the Personal Arcade Machine (PAM was the 5200’s code name), it was decided that there was no room for children’s titles on it. Why Atari ever considered making children’s games for the 5200 in the first place is anyone’s guess, but they may have simply decided to change strategies after seeing how the market was shaping up. All this work did not go to waste however as Muppet-Go-Round and the rest of the CCW developed titles were released on the Atari 8-bit computers by CBS.