Mission US: A Cheyenne Odyssey

Common Sense Media says

History adventure challenges kids to make difficult choices.

Age

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Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Kids receive badges for making brave, wise, generous choices, but otherwise the game stays relatively neutral. Kids are expected to make tough choices (including violent options) that may not reflect the types of decisions they'd make in their own lives.

Positive role models

Your character has friends, family who are supportive, generous with their time, but many characters behave in less positive ways, just like in real life.

Ease of play

Simple play mechanics; mainly consists of "follow your own adventure" multiple choice decisions. 

Violence

Kids can use guns, arrows against other people, destroy or steal other people's property. There's discussion of acts such as burning down teepees, raiding. People die, but there's nothing graphic on-screen. Kids don't pull any triggers. They make choices about how a character will act. The website includes suggestions on discussing the violence with kids.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Mild privacy and safety concerns. Requires online login to save progress. Only personal information requested are an email address, location.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Mission US: A Cheyenne Odyssey is a first-person adventure that asks kids to take on the role of a young Cheyenne boy in the late 1800s as he grows to adulthood. This game-ified learning experience is intended to be used as part of an integrated curriculum on Native American culture (resources are provided on the publisher's website), not necessarily as a stand-alone experience. Although not visually explicit, the scenarios are true to the time period and involve some violence, including the use of guns and arrows; death by war, starvation, and other means; and raids and attacks. Kids will have to make decisions that would be morally questionable by today's standards, and some kids may find the content to be upsetting. They will be challenged to put themselves in the character's shoes as he attempts to survive and help his people. They can earn "badges" for generosity, bravery, wisdom, and impulsiveness. These aren't rewards so much as representations of personality traits within the experience.. The game itself doesn't choose sides, but, because of the perspective, kids may feel more sympathetic to the Cheyenne. Parents also should know that the game presents another cultural way of life, including a different religion. As an example, the adventure begins with a telling of the Cheyenne creation story.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • vocabulary

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding
  • historical figures
  • history

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • decision-making

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • perspective taking

Responsibility & Ethics

  • honoring the community
  • learning from consequences
  • making wise decisions

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

This isn't the typical video game or "edutainment" experience, and it shouldn't be treated as such. Instead of getting dry textbook lessons, kids will be very engaged by the game's immersive feel and the ability to make their own choices while still learning about the time period. They may even be intrigued about replaying the game multiple times to earn different achievements and discover separate outcomes. Still, between the difficult subject matter and the slower-moving style, don't expect that kids will choose this over pure entertainment titles.

Learning Approach

Learning is well integrated; the experiential/first-person nature of the simulation brings historical details to life and may help kids absorb the content more readily. The experience changes based on the choices kids make, and they can see how their decisions affect their character.

Support

Teachers may miss a central dashboard to track student progress, but other support materials are plentiful and top-notch. Lesson plans, activities, vocabulary words, and primary sources are available on the website to help educators and parents provide historical context for the simulation as well as a deeper learning experience. In-game help is available but rarely needed. Kids can collect badges, skills, and "smart words" (vocabulary words) as they play.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • vocabulary

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding
  • historical figures
  • history

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • decision-making

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • perspective taking

Responsibility & Ethics

  • honoring the community
  • learning from consequences
  • making wise decisions

Kids can learn about what Cheyenne culture was like in the late 1800s, as well as the relationships Native Americans had with white settlers and the U.S. government at the time. Players will experience tribal life, trading, and migration -- and they'll need to make difficult choices about how best to help the tribe. They'll discover how the choices they make shape their futures and that sometimes there may be a situation without a right answer. They also can see that historical issues often have many points of view. Kids can learn some key vocabulary words and practice their ability both to ask questions and absorb what they're reading. This isn't the most traditional game experience, but it's a great supplementary tool for classroom lessons. As kids relive history in Mission US: A Cheyenne Odyssey, they'll find plenty of critical-thinking opportunities, decisions to be made, and moral dilemmas to solve.

This Learning Rating review was written by Christy Matte

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Kids say

What's it about?

MISSION US: A CHEYENNE ODYSSEY follows the life of a Cheyenne boy named Little Fox in the late 1800s. His family life is beginning to change: His sister is about to be married and he's taking on more responsibilities, such as training wild horses, trading with white men, and protecting his tribe. During his journey, the player will need to make difficult choices on his behalf that may impact his future. Does he act bravely? Is he generous? Does he behave impulsively or thoughtfully? These decisions shape his personality and future. Little Fox will see people die through violence and famine, choose whether to adapt to the changing times or fight for his way of life, and even marry and start a family of his own. In the end, we learn about his children and grandchildren and how they have continued his legacy.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Mission US: A Cheyenne Odyssey brings to life many of the challenges and choices that faced the Cheyenne people in the late 1800s. Life wasn't easy, and that's reflected in the scenarios. This is a way for kids to understand the perspective of Native Americans as they fought to retain their way of life. Also, the game presents a clear point of view that isn't always captured in the classroom. Since each decision affects the character, the player has a personal and meaningful experience. It's a great starting point for dialogue and a chance for kids to do a lot of critical thinking.

The experience can go even deeper as you replay with different choices. Since your decisions result in different "badges," or personality traits, they can subtly or radically change Little Fox's fate. Kids can experience how each choice they make can affect Little Fox's life, a lesson that's valuable even beyond the constraints of the activity. Although "fun" isn't the right word to describe the simulation, it's certainly engaging in a way that typical history lessons aren't. This means that kids will connect more deeply with the subject matter and gain a greater understanding of the challenges of the time. Mission US: A Cheyenne Odyssey also offers a complete set of teacher materials, including activities, historical context, vocabulary, and primary sources, which make it useful for school and after-school programs as well.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it would be like to live in a nomadic tribe. How would life be different? Do you think you would like that kind of life?

  • What would you do if someone challenged your right to live as you choose? How would you react?

  • Is there ever a time when violence is justified? If so, under what circumstances?

Game details

Platforms:Mac, Windows
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Thirteen/WNET
Release date:October 16, 2013
Genre:Simulation
Topics:Adventures, Horses and farm animals, Trains

This review of Mission US: A Cheyenne Odyssey was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byMarco820aa2574 September 23, 2014
AGE
8
QUALITY
 
LEARNING
This website and this game is amazing, even if you're not looking to learn something. I love choose-your-own adventure style games, and its fun to play this game twice to make different decisions.
What other families should know
Easy to play/use

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