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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 game is part of a series of DS games produced by Ubisoft to help girls figure out what they want to be when they grow up. The game presents a balanced portrayal of life as a teacher, combining the gratitude of the students and the fun of planning lessons with the reality of disciplining students who act up, dealing with parental expectations, cleaning up the classroom, and buying supplies. Although the Imagine series is aimed at young girls, Imagine Teacher is one of the least overtly "girly" games in the series. The game has a multiplayer component that uses the DS's local WiFi connection. As long as at least one person has a copy of the game, up to four friends can play any of the mini-games together and try to beat each other's results.
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What's it about?
Ubisoft's Imagine series is a set of Nintendo DS games aimed at helping young girls and tweens explore different career paths. In IMAGINE TEACHER, kids step into the shoes of teacher April as she takes over for a retiring teacher at the local elementary school. As the only teacher on staff, April is responsible for not only teaching all of the lessons and marking homework, but also cleaning the classroom after school (by rubbing and dragging the DS stylus to clean up dirt and straighten tables), and buying new school supplies.
Lessons unfold as mini-games divided into categories like arithmetic, English, social studies, and art. The idea is similar to "brain training" games like Brain Age or Big Brain Academy, but the challenges are much, much simpler. Some examples include tapping and rubbing letters in a book to "practice reading," playing back simple sequences on a glockenspiel, matching pictures of animals to the correct name, and identifying items by the historical period to which they belong by dragging them into the appropriate column (such as a knight to the Middle Ages).
Is it any good?
The mini-games in Imagine: Teacher are too easy to hold the interest of gamers over the age of 10 or so, but the game has a lot to offer the younger demographic due to extra touches that keep the game from becoming monotonous. These include weekly lesson goals that require you to achieve certain scores in a particular subject, random fun events like field trips to the zoo or movie theatre, feedback from parents, weekly staff meetings, and having to pay attention to who likes who when seating the students at the beginning of class. Imagine: Teacher is one of the best games in the Imagine series to date, and a pretty good simulation of what it's like to be a teacher.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about which school subject they liked best and would want to learn more about or teach in real life. Would you want to be a high school teacher who specializes in one or two subjects, or an elementary school teacher who gets to teach a bit of everything? Do you think that the game was a realistic portrayal of what it's like to be a teacher?
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