What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Gazillionaire! is a browser-based, outer space-themed business sim that teaches kids about economics in a fun way. Up to six real players can participate in a game (as well as the six computer-controlled characters) for a total of twelve. Kids can play up to 20 turns for free, then must pay a $14.99 per year subscription to unlock the full version.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- the economy
Thinking & Reasoning
- applying information
- working efficiently
- meeting challenges together
Responsibility & Ethics
- fiscal responsibility
Engagement, Approach, Support
The graphics and sound are dated, but the game has a lot of depth and detail that could engage high achievers.
Entrepreneurship, fiscal responsibility, and management get taught in-depth, but there's too much piled on too quickly. Gritty kids who stick with it should be able to transfer learning to the real world.
There are tutorials, but they're not ramped as well as they could be. Players can monitor progress with charts and graphs. The developer's website links to teacher worksheets.
What's it about?
As the president of a trading company in GAZILLIONAIRE!, players travel to different planets, buy up goods at low prices, then sell them on different planets at a profit. Through charts, players can monitor the demand of goods across the solar system to decide which planet to travel to next. Like The Oregon Trail, players frequently encounter random events that require them to make decisions, and the result can either be harmful or beneficial. The goal is to be the first company to achieve a predetermined amount of wealth (which changes depending on the game’s difficulty level), while competing against computer opponents and, optionally, up to six real players.
Is it any good?
Gazillionaire! isn’t the most polished package, and kids will spend a lot of time looking at charts and menus. But the game tackles the potentially dry subject of economics with enthusiasm, humor, and creativity. The ability to adjust the difficulty by toggling specific features on and off is a huge plus. Players can opt for a relatively stress-free experience by sticking with the tutorial settings, or add features like fuelling, staffing, advertising, taxes, and stocks for a more complex and realistic business sim. Kids will have fun while learning about important principles of the economy.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about taxes. Why do we have to pay tax? What kinds of things are taxes used to pay for?
Families can also talk about loans and interest. Is it better to pay a loan down as quickly as possible? What can happen if a loan is not paid back on time?
They can discuss what they like about playing simulation games.