A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that 404Sight is a downloadable platformer game created to make players think about the purpose and importance of Net neutrality for all. The players focus on regaining access to the Internet for a friend who has been kicked out of the online world by powering through levels that get progressively more difficult. Opponents come in the form of ISP (Internet service provider) inhibitors and slow tiles, which impede progress to the next level. This arcade platformer allows players to try to choose the best path, bridge, or platform over and over (you have unlimited lives) until they gain access to the next level. Play is fast-paced and takes some practice to get the hang of but can be mastered quickly by skilled players. Parents should know there's no objectionable content.
What's it about?
404SIGHT is an indie-produced arcade platformer whose goal is to teach players the importance of Net neutrality. Players take on the role of a nameless, faceless young girl, meant to represent anyone and everyone who uses the Internet. She's charged with regaining access to the Internet before it's too late and the ISPs (Internet service providers) deliver only the content they see fit. The futuristic world you traverse is full of chaos and obstacles. It's about getting from one level to the next as quickly as possible; although it's timed, you're in a race against yourself with unlimited lives to keep trying for forward progress when you fall into the abyss of this 3-D playground.
Is it any good?
404Sight is like a puzzle you must figure out as quickly as possible. Each level has a variety of challenges to take on, including slow lanes, launch pads, and inhibitors that block your path. The main character is fearless and flies through this cyberworld, careening along pathways and bursting through the air when going from one pad to the next. But the game is challenging -- the first few levels are easy to navigate, but they get harder the farther along you get, and some are hard to finish simply because there was no clearly defined path. It will definitely take some practice to get through each stage. In fact, you'll probably redo the same level over and over again; thankfully, you have unlimited lives to solve each puzzle.
But, apart from the heightened challenge, players will discover that the game focuses on the freedom to choose the solution to a problem. Whether it's using powers unlocked by a full bandwidth signal or avoiding hazards that are thrown in your way to slow your progress (and, by extension, your character's Internet access), players get a sense that there could be multiple answers to a puzzle, forcing you to think of clever ways to approach each stage. Sometimes, that involves running through a level as quickly as possible, whereas other times you have to destroy obstacles in your path. But once you've actually started to get the hang of the game, you'll find it goes by in a flash; a skilled player can beat it in less than two hours. Overall, though, 404Sight is a game all about freedom to choose, a real-life sentiment that the creators had in mind when it came to everyone's role in defending Net neutrality.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the importance of Net neutrality. What would happen if Internet service providers were able to deliver only the content they wanted us to see? What would the Internet be like without it?
Why is it important that access to the Internet and information for everyone around the world be equal? What would be some of the negative effects of not having Net neutrality?
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