Math Blaster Online
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Math Blaster Online is an online role-playing game that is centered around educational play. As a player, your child will join the Blaster Academy and go through various training missions so they can learn how to protect the universe from bad guys. These training missions, while based in sci-fi themes, are all math games that involve performing equations to win. There is quite a bit of laser-shooting involved, but no blasting of living beings occurs. Also, while this is a social game, and children can befriend and chat with other players, they can only speak through the use of pre-selected phrases. Nor can they give out personal information.
What's it about?
MATH BLASTER ONLINE is a massively multi-player browser-based role-playing game in which you play the part of a new recruit to the Blaster Academy, a school that turns out future saviors of the universe. Players' avatars can be incredibly non-human-looking aliens if they want them to be. Cadets at the academy will train in all sorts of sci-fi action games, involving everything from shooting galleries and starship missions to platform jumping and wild monster riding. But each of these activities will involve solving math problems as a major part of it. Cadets can also chat with other players, team up with them for multiplayer games, and add them to friend lists.
Is it any good?
The scope of Math Blaster Online is quite impressive -- the academy is full of elevators and doors that lead to all sorts of different game areas. So is the way the developers have managed to keep the mini-game missions action-packed while being unabashedly math-focused. Being able to constantly tweak the difficulty level and the type of math problems you'll face is a nice way to make sure kids don't quickly outgrow the game. The social aspect is fun -- allowing kids to form teams and even make plans to meet for a multiplayer game -- while remaining safe through the use of pre-selected phrases (as well as loads of fun gestures and emoticons). And the earning of new academy ranks provides incentive for kids to keep playing -- and keep learning in the process. It provides a very nice transition from solo educational game to online social game.
Online interaction: This is a massively multiplayer game in which you can communicate with others using a drop down chat system. They cannot reveal personal information.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about social online gaming. Even though this game only lets you communicate through pre-selected phrases, it's still important to follow a proper code of conduct among the other players in a social gaming situation. What are some general rules you should follow?
Parents can also talk to their kids about the importance of math. Why should they play a game like this, which will build their math skills, instead of a straight sci-fi adventure that is pure entertainment? In what ways will the lessons they learn here help in their real lives?