Mission US: Flight to Freedom

Common Sense Media says

Riveting sim where your choices decide fate of teen slave.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The game presents slavery in a negative light and there are a number of characters who risk their own lives to help Lucy, the 14-year-old main character. On the other hand, kids earn badges for having Lucy disobey her master, destroy his property, and neglect her duties. Some kids may not understand that Lucy's disobedience was a form of protest.

Positive role models

The game presents both positive and negative role models throughout the story. There are those who help Lucy, and those who try to hurt her. 

Ease of play

Overall, this game is easy to maneuver and understand. It does have some quirks, however. The game relies mostly on multiple choice decisions, but has some parts that require panning around a scene. It's not always clear what you're supposed to do, but if you look around, you can figure it out. While some game controls are described (i.e., "Click on a person to talk to them"), it may take kids a little while to realize that they should be collecting badges and clicking on highlighted vocabulary words.

Violence

There is no on-screen violence in this game. However, there is a thread of violence or impending violence throughout. The story begins with Lucy's mother caring for another slave who has been badly whipped. At one point, a man pulls a gun on Lucy and her ally. Kids can earn a badge by having Lucy promise to one day learn how to shoot a gun.

Sex

There is some very mild flirting.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Very safe and private: The game is playable online, but it has no safety or privacy concerns within the game itself.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Mission US: Flight to Freedom is an age-appropriate, but realistic depiction of life for an African American teenage girl living in the pre-Civil War period. Kids will experience what it's like to be ordered around by a master, leave family behind to run for freedom, and have to make difficult decisions. If they make the wrong choices, Lucy can be caught and the game will end. Some kids might find the game experience to be intense because there is emotional trauma throughout the story as families are torn apart, people are treated poorly, and characters are unfairly imprisoned. Also, most decisions have no right or wrong answer, which may be a new experience for kids. They can earn a badge for being rebellious, but they can also earn one for following all of the rules. One badge is earned by saying a prayer in a difficult moment. In many levels it is not possible to earn all badges, as some conflict with others.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading comprehension
  • vocabulary

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding
  • historical figures
  • history

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • asking questions
  • decision-making

Emotional Development

  • developing resilience
  • empathy
  • perspective taking

Responsibility & Ethics

  • embracing differences
  • learning from consequences
  • making wise decisions

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

While this isn't your typical video game experience, students will enjoy the immersive feel and the ability to make their own choices while still learning about the time period.

Learning Approach

Learning is nicely integrated; students are encouraged to seek out vocabulary words and historical materials because it can impact their story. The first-person nature of the experience may help them absorb the content more readily.

Support

Teachers may miss a central dashboard to track student progress, but the other support materials are plentiful and top-notch.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading comprehension
  • vocabulary

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding
  • historical figures
  • history

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • asking questions
  • decision-making

Emotional Development

  • developing resilience
  • empathy
  • perspective taking

Responsibility & Ethics

  • embracing differences
  • learning from consequences
  • making wise decisions

Kids can learn about American history, in particular the pre-Civil War era of slavery, and what society was like for an African-American girl in the 1800s. Kids can discover how the choices you make shape your future, and that sometimes there may be a situation with no right answer. They can also see that many issues in history have many points of view. Kids can learn some key vocabulary words and practice their ability to both ask questions and absorb what they're reading. History comes alive as kids role-play an enslaved person trying to find her way to freedom.

This Learning Rating review was written by Christy Matte

Parents say

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Kids say

What's it about?

Mission US: Flight to Freedom follows the journey of 14-year-old Kentucky slave Lucy as she leaves her family behind in a quest for freedom. She begins on the plantation where she has chores such as laundry, feeding the pigs, and collecting eggs from the chickens. When things go wrong on the plantation, she must run away to avoid being beaten or sold to a different plantation. You lead Lucy as she runs, making decisions that control the course of her fate. She befriends abolitionists and joins the cause, putting her own life at risk in the process. And when her friends are in need, she can step up to help out.

Will Lucy ever be really free? Will she see her family again? It's your story, based on the choices you make. As you progress through the story, you'll collect badges along the way that help paint the picture of Lucy's personality. Is she self-reliant? Family-oriented? Rebellious? In the end, it's these badges that allow you to make the final decisions to tell the end of Lucy's story. 

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Mission US: Flight to Freedom is a powerful and compelling game that forces you to make difficult decisions, just as in real life. This is a strong title that can make history come alive. You can also play it over again, making difference choices with different results. Although the basic plot stays the same, it's interesting to see what happens when you choose a different path. This is not a frivolous edutainment title. This innovative game is designed to get you thinking and talking about challenging subjects, while learning more about American history. It's a good one to explore and discuss as a family.

Mission US: Flight to Freedom also has a complete set of teacher materials making it useful for school and after school programs as well.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about slavery. What would it be like to have someone own you and make all of your choices? How would you feel?

  • When is it OK to disobey someone? Name some situations where you should stand up for yourself and disobey. When should you listen and follow the rules? How do you know the difference?

  • What do you think life was like on a plantation for the plantation owner's family? For the slaves? Did you learn about history by playing this game?

  • Can you think of a time that you stood up for or helped someone else? Why did you do it? How did it make you feel? Why do you think the abolitionists helped Lucy?

Game details

Platforms:Mac, Windows
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Thirteen/WNET
Release date:January 24, 2012
Genre:Educational
Topics:Brothers and sisters, Friendship, Great girl role models, History

This review of Mission US: Flight to Freedom was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 9 years old February 8, 2012
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

its so much fun

its so much fun

What other families should know
Educational value
Kid, 11 years old May 10, 2013
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

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What other families should know
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byRainbowDash April 13, 2013
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

Amazingly fun game.

I love these kind of games! I love the Mission US games. It is easy to play and makes people think about before the civil war and how the "blacks" portested.

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence

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