A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this CD-ROM-type game that teaches kids about earning, trading, and spending money is free on the Internet.
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What's it about?
CYBERCHASE: THE QUEST (http://pbskids.org/cyberchase/) is an interactive game for kids ages 8 to 12 that looks and plays like a $20 CD-ROM -- and it's free! Kids become part of the Cybersquad -- a group of kids that protect Motherboard and all of Cyberspace from the evil antics of Hacker. They create a cyber character who must find objects for Motherboard so she can upgrade her operating system.
After purchasing subway tickets, players can travel to three different cybersites or go to the Cybermall to shop in four stores that sell and trade goods. Kids move around this universe of over 50 screens by clicking green arrows found at the edges of the screens. As they search for the items that Motherboard needs, they meet characters who engage them in games or offer them jobs. The games and jobs provide a way to earn snelfus, which kids can buy or trade to get items they need.
Is it any good?
Most of the games and jobs teach math or logic concepts. For example, when hired by the Logic Zoo in the R-Fair City cybersite, kids sort the zoo animals by using Venn diagrams. The software teaches kids how to earn, spend, and trade with money to accomplish a goal. It offers sophisticated animation, an engaging storyline with integrated math games, and over 20 characters with which to interact. The Quest does a nice job of balancing the need to earn money with the need to spend money to acquire the objects -- the end result is that kids enthusiastically play the math games to earn money.
Compatible with most browsers, The Quest requires the free Macromedia Flash plug-in (version 6.0 or higher), and it plays best on a high-speed connection.
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