Immigration Nation

Game review by
Chad Sansing, Common Sense Media
Immigration Nation Game Poster Image
Fast-paced matching game helps kids understand immigration.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn the basics of immigration policy as they evaluate immigrants' requests for entry into the United States. They also can practice reading-comprehension skills such as text analysis and evaluating and applying evidence as they consider each case and try to make the correct decision. Kids will get a good refresher or introduction to the basics of immigration, but don't expect the more complex and potentially interesting stuff to get covered.

Positive Messages

Kids get to consider the contributions of -- and respond compassionately to -- immigrants coming to the United States.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some characters bring very accomplished and specialized work skills to the United States whereas others bring short tales of survival or want to help their families.

Ease of Play

Accessible point-and-click matching that requires a bit of reading and evaluating a character's appeals for entry to the United States.

Violence

In their requests to immigrate, some characters mention crimes they have commited or had commited against them.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Immigration Nation is an educational, online game about the requirements for citizenship and immigration in the United States of America. The game uses a matching or sorting mechanic that teaches and tests knowledge of immigration requirements without getting into thornier issues of policy, xenophobia, or refuge. Cartoony graphics compliment clever writing that occaisionally sounds off-key when serious issues such as political oppression are mixed in with more humorous or benign appeals.

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What's it about?

Kids play as Liberty Belle, assistant to the Statue of Liberty, who greets arriving boats as they request entry to the United States. After reading each immigrant character's appeal, the player must decide whether or not to let the character into the United States. To help the player decide, there are a variety of entry ports, each conveniently named something like \"Born in the USA\" or \"Permission to Work.\" These ports help the player decide that some people -- such as criminals and music fans -- can't be allowed entry while others can. More ports open with each level, and more immigrants show up per level as the game progresses.

Is it any good?

IMMIGRATION NATION is a simple but effective matching game that also serves as a good introduction or review of factual requirements for entry to the United States. Still, its simplicity means a limited scope and a relatively brief experience. Parents will need to facilitate deeper discussions with kids about the politics and realities of immigration to provide a more well-rounded picture of the issue. The game paints a cheerful and cartoonish picture of the situation that helps make it accessible but also glosses over many of the more important and interesting issues about immigration that will get kids thinking.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Parents and kids can talk about current news stories dealing with immigration.

  • Discuss the history of immigration in your family, and then explore websites and museums that show other people's stories.

  • Discuss the pros and cons of different proposals for immigration reform.

Game details

  • Platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows
  • Subjects: Social Studies: citizenship, global awareness, government
    Language & Reading: reading comprehension, text analysis, using supporting evidence
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, applying information, decision-making
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: iCivics.org
  • Release date: December 1, 2011
  • Genre: Educational
  • ESRB rating: NR for Not rated by the ESRB

For kids who love civics and history

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