Monday, May 14, 2007

Game Time

So, you want to be a BROOKLYN Judge?

This game is essentially a quiz making fun of the corruption of the New York Supreme Court. The player answers questions and the drawing of the character in the sidebar receives different novelties when the questions are answered correctly. As the game continues, the seemingly upstanding candidate transforms into a convict behind bars. It is a clever little game, but I think it is targeted at a very specific audience. I didn't realize this game was a mockery of Brooklyn judges until I got a few questions in and was consistently getting the answers wrong. The explanations of the answers are amusing in their sarcasm. For instance,
it says party loyalty and the ability to raise funds are more important than any judicial qualifications.

The final screen reads Congratulations! Your term in office has won you a term in jail.

But it's not the way it has to be...

Thus, the game portrays a sense of unease with the current judicial situation in New York and promotes a change for the better. I do not think that it really advocates much change, and acts as more of a joke than a serious petition for betterment of New York society.

The Oregon Trail

I was very excited to come across this game in my searching, because I played it a great deal in my elementary years. Although I was not able to relive the joy from this particular site, I am very familiar with the obstacles of the trek west. I played this game in my 5th grade class as a simulation of traveling on the Oregon Trail. The participants in the game must deal with rattlesnake bites, trading with natives, and hunting. The most suspenseful part of the journey was
seeing if your covered wagon could successfully ford the rivers. I think that much of the success is based on the fact that the various members of the family can get sick and die. I don't remember the animation being particularly impressive, but in such a life or death situation, the suspense was enough to keep us intrigued.
My experience with the Oregon Trail didn't end there. This past summer, I even babysat a 6th grade boy who would play Oregon Trail for fun at home. His attraction to the game was the hunting. The mouse cursor acts as the gun to shoot the wildlife flying across the page. With every hit, birds and bison collapse to the ground. I think that this ability to kill is sadly something that has contributed to the game's appeal. It seems death is characteristic of the more advanced video games that have been successful. The fact is that this game still appeals to youth today, so the creators of Oregon trail were on the mark.

I also found the game WordMunchers, another childhood favorite.

arthquake in Zipland

This game entails a journey that is designed to help children ages 9-12 cope with divorce. The game begins in Zipland, an island comprised of two parts held together by a zipper, which represents the marriage of the parents. An earthquake rips the island into two, leaving the king and the queen on separate islands. The character in the game sets out on a quest to build a new zipper and try to re-combine the two islands so that life can go on as before. The player ultimately learns it is not his responsibility nor is it a realistic mission.
Zipland is a game that takes insights from the fields of clinical psychology, family therapy, child therapy and divorce therapy in order to help children with a new changing lifestyle. Theoretically, this game supports a good cause with its ultimate goal being to aid in dealing with a broken home. However, I think that its effectiveness largely questionable. Whether or not it affects any change toward improving children's coping skills is difficult to determine. Parents may buy into the game solely out of guilt. I think it mainly serves as a distraction from the reality of divorce.

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